The Palestinians are again fighting for their lives, refusing to live in the prison known…
UK Conservative MP Suspended After Sex And Drugs Claims.
UK Conservative MP David Warburton has been suspended over sex claims and is facing allegations that he also climbed naked into a woman’s bed and groped her breasts, after snorting cocaine.
An image emerged showing the MP for Somerset and Frome sitting next to an upturned baking tray with four lines of powder on it – alleged to be cocaine.
Mr Warburton allegedly snorted “line after line after line” of the drug at the home of a younger woman he met through politics.
She says she was drunk and wanted him to leave after the early hours episode.
As she sobered up, she claims she emerged from her bedroom to find Mr Warburton naked.
He allegedly said he always slept in the nude and got into bed with her.
She says she had repeatedly told him she did not want to do anything sexual, but claims Mr Warburton groped her breasts and ground his body against hers.
The next morning, after a night of loud snoring, it is claimed he asked if she was “proud” that an MP had slept at her home.
And later that day, he allegedly sent a WhatsApp message asking if she was available, saying: “Promise I won’t remove all my clothes again.”
The incident was said to have happened in the early hours of Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
An audio recording allegedly captured him saying the £160 paid for two grams of cocaine was not expensive – or “spenny” – and was “quite good actually”.
( Mikey Smith, 02.04.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
Ukraine Has Long Been One Of The More Corrupt Countries In The International System.
Statements from U.S. and other Western officials, as well as pervasive accounts in the news media, have created a stunningly misleading image of Ukraine.
There has been a concerted effort to portray the country not only as a victim of brutal Russian aggression, but as a plucky and noble bulwark of freedom and democracy.
The conventional narrative would have us believe that Ukraine is an Eastern European version of Denmark.
The promoters of that narrative contend that the ongoing war is not just a quarrel between Russia and Ukraine over Kiev’s ambitions to join NATO and Moscow’s territorial claims in Crimea and the Donbas.
No, they insist the war is part of a global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a leader worthy of nothing less than Winston Churchill’s legacy.
President Biden, in his March 26 remarks on the war, said the conflict was “a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules‐based order and one governed by brute force.”
The notion that Ukraine was such an appealing democratic model in Eastern Europe that the country’s mere existence terrified Putin may be a comforting myth to U.S. politicians and pundits, but it is a myth.
Ukraine is far from being a democratic‐capitalist model and an irresistible magnet for Russia’s groaning masses.
The reality is murkier and troubling.
Ukraine has long been one of the more corrupt countries in the international system.
Ukraine’s track record of protecting democracy and civil liberties is not much better than its performance on corruption.
Even before the war erupted, there were ugly examples of authoritarianism in Ukraine’s political governance.
Just months after the 2014 Maidan revolution, there were efforts to smother domestic critics, which accelerated as years passed.
Ukrainian officials also harassed political dissidents, adopted censorship measures, and barred foreign journalists whom they regarded as critics of the Ukrainian government and its policies.
Such offensive actions were criticised by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other independent observers.
The neo‐Nazi Azov Battalion was an integral part of President Petro Poroshenko’s military and security apparatus, and it has retained that role during Zelensky’s presidency.
Indeed, some repressive measures deepened under Zelensky even before the outbreak of war with Russia.
In February 2021, the Ukrainian government closed several (mostly, but not entirely pro‐Russia) independent media outlets.
They did so on the basis of utterly vague, open‐ended standards.
Zelensky has now used the war as a justification for outlawing eleven opposition parties and nationalising several media outlets.
Those are hardly appropriate measures in a democracy, even in wartime.
The country is not a symbol of freedom and liberal democracy, and the war is not an existential struggle between democracy and authoritarianism.
At best, Ukraine is a corrupt, quasi‐democratic entity with troubling repressive policies.
Given that sobering reality, calls for Americans to “stand with Ukraine” are misplaced.
Preserving Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity most certainly are not worth the United States risking war with a nuclear‐armed Russia.
( Ted Galen Carpenter, 06.04.2022 ) .. cato.org
Boris Johnson’s Tory Government Accept Donations From Oil And Gas Companies.
The UK Conservative Government face fresh sleaze allegations after it emerged MPs and the party have taken almost £1.5million in donations from the energy industry under Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister has been warned his climate crisis credentials lie in tatters as his party has been “swimming in oil and gas money” since he took power.
An analysis of Electoral Commission records shows donations stretching back to 2019 linking the party with oil and gas magnates.
It comes as consumers are braced for massive hikes in their energy bills and as the PM attempts to lead efforts for the world to tackle climate change at the COP26 summit, while facing a flurry of sleaze claims levelled at his MPs since the resignation of Owen Paterson.
Donors to the Tories include Alexander Temerko, the Russian-born owner of Aquind.
The energy boss and his company handed various MPs, including former Cabinet ministers Liam Fox and Jeremy Hunt, and the current Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke, and the party, more than £350,000.
Ian Taylor, the former chief executive of Vitol, who reportedly turned down a knighthood offered by former PM David Cameron, has also handed the party some £115,000 since 2019.
The company he led until 2018 is a major trader and supplier of North Sea crude oil.
Weeks before the general election in 2019, Mercantile & Maritime gave the party some £500,000.
The commodities trading firm was founded by oil broker and billionaire Murtaza Lakhani.
Matthew Ferrey, part of an elite group of Tory donors and a former executive with oil trader Vitol, has given the party £675,000.
It includes £15,000 to an individual MP, the former minister and “ Brexit hardman” Steve Baker.
( Rachel Wearmouth, 11.11.2021 ) .. mirror.co.uk
The Roots Of The Ukrainian Conflict.
For years, from Mali to Afghanistan, I have worked for peace and risked my life for it.
It is therefore not a question of justifying war, but of understanding what led us to it.
Let’s try to examine the roots of the Ukrainian conflict.
It starts with those who for the last eight years have been talking about “separatists” or “independentists” from Donbass.
This is a misnomer.
The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in May 2014, were not referendums of “independence”, as some unscrupulous journalists have claimed, but referendums of “self-determination” or “autonomy”.
The qualifier “pro-Russian” suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term “Russian speakers” would have been more honest.
Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.
In fact, these Republics were not seeking to separate from Ukraine, but to have a status of autonomy, guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language — because the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the American-sponsored overthrow of the democratically-elected President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 that made Russian an official language in Ukraine.
A bit like if German putschists decided that French and Italian would no longer be official languages in Switzerland.
This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population.
The result was fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which was carried out beginning in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and some horrific massacres of the Russian population (in Odessa and Mariupol, the most notable).
( Jacques Baud, 02.04.2022 ) .. sott.net
Taxpayers Cash Wasted On Useless PPE.
Nearly £1.5billion of taxpayers cash was blown on useless Covid PPE bought through the UK Government’s so-called “VIP lane”.
The total was officially revealed by the Department of Health and Social Security after pressure from two Labour MPs.
And the money wasted on inadequate masks, gowns, goggles and gloves desperately needed by the struggling NHS would have paid for 58,400 new nurses.
The junk, some of which is being burned, was bought through a government High Priority Lane for PPE buying set up by PM Boris Johnson at the start of the pandemic.
It let Tory MPs and top civil servants recommend companies to supply PPE.
The true depth of the scandal emerged after Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and Public Accounts Committee MP Dan Carden put a written question to DHSC Minister Edward Argar.
His Commons reply confirmed that £1.46billion of £3.27billion worth of PPE “which cannot be used” or “was not suitable for use in the health and social care sector” had been bought through the VIP lane.
The lane was ruled unlawful by High Court judge Mrs Justice O’Farrell in January 2022.
Mr Carden said all suppliers of PPE products not fit for purpose should be made to return the money.
He said: “Those responsible must be held to account and steps taken to recover losses.”
Ms Rayner added: “Unusable masks, gowns, goggles and gloves our frontline key workers desperately needed are now literally going up in flames, along with billions of taxpayers’ cash spent on it. The next Labour government will establish an Office for Value for Money that would ensure taxpayers’ cash is treated with respect.”
( Andrew Buckwell, 02.04.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
Who Is Responsible For The Killing Of Civilians In Bucha?
The West has made a snap judgment about who is responsible for the massacre at the Ukrainian town of Bucha with calls for more stringent sanctions on Russia, but the question of guilt is far from decided.
Within hours of news on Sunday, April 3, that there had been a massacre at Bucha, a town 63 kms north of the Ukrainian capital, the verdict was in: Russian troops had senselessly slaughtered hundreds of innocent civilians as they withdrew from the town, leaving their bodies littering the streets.
Russia has categorically denied it had anything to do with the massacre.
Last Wednesday, March 30, all Russian forces left Bucha, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
This was confirmed on Thursday, March 31, by a smiling Anatolii Fedoruk, the mayor of Bucha, in a video on the Bucha City Council official Facebook page.
The translated post accompanying the video says:
“March 31 – the day of the liberation of Bucha. This was announced by Bucha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk. This day will go down in the glorious history of Bucha and the entire Bucha community as a day of liberation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the Russian occupiers.”
All of the Russian troops are gone and yet there is no mention of a massacre.
The beaming Fedoruk says it is a “glorious day” in the history of Bucha, which would hardly be the case if hundreds of dead civilians littered the streets around Fedoruk.
“Russian Defence Ministry denied accusations by the Kiev regime of the alleged killing of civilians in Bucha, Kiev Region. Evidence of crimes in Bucha appeared only on the fourth day after the Security Service of Ukraine and representatives of Ukrainian media arrived in the town. All Russian units completely withdrew from Bucha on March 30, and ‘not a single local resident was injured’ during the time when Bucha was under the control of Russian troops,” the Russian MOD said in a post on Telegram.
What happened then on Friday and Saturday?
As pointed out in a piece by Jason Michael McCann on Standpoint Zero, The New York Times was in Bucha on Saturday and did not report a massacre.
Instead, the Times said the withdrawal was completed on Saturday, two days after the mayor said it was, and that the Russians “left behind them dead soldiers and burned vehicles, according to witnesses, Ukrainian officials, satellite images and military analysts.”
It is possible that on Saturday the full extent of the horror had yet to emerge, and that even the mayor was unaware of it two days before, though photos now show many of the bodies out in the open on the streets of the town, something that presumably would be difficult to miss.
In Bucha, the Times was close to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, whose soldiers appear in the newspaper’s photographs.
In his piece, McCann suggests that Azov may responsible for the killings:
“Something very interesting then happens on Saturday, 2 April, hours before a massacre is brought to the attention of the national and international media. The US and EU-funded Gorshenin Institute online (Ukrainian language) site Left Bank announced that:
‘Special forces have begun a clearing operation in the city of Bucha in the Kyiv region, which has been liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The city is being cleared from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces. The Russian military has by now completely left the city, so this sounds for all the world like reprisals. The state authorities would be going through the city searching for ‘saboteurs’ and ‘accomplices of Russian forces.’
Only the day before (Friday), Ekaterina Ukraintsiva, representing the town council authority, appeared on an information video on the Bucha Live Telegram page wearing military fatigues and seated in front of a Ukrainian flag to announce ‘the cleansing of the city.’
She informed residents that the arrival of the Azov battalion did not mean that liberation was complete (but it was, the Russians had fully withdrawn), and that a ‘complete sweep’ had to be performed.”
Ukraintsiva was speaking a day after the mayor had said the town was liberated.
By Sunday morning, the world learned of the massacre of hundreds of people.
( Joe Lauria, 04.04.2022 ) .. consortiumnews.com
Refugees Sent To Rwanda From Israel Flee To Europe.
Rwanda’s previous involvement in receiving African deportees from Israel raises serious concerns over whether – even with UK funding – it has the resources or even willingness to host deportations.
Of about 4,000 people estimated to have been deported by Israel to Rwanda and Uganda under a “voluntary departure” scheme between 2014 and 2017, almost all are thought to have left the country almost immediately, with many attempting to return to Europe via people-smuggling routes.
In addition, at least one deportee still in Rwanda, tracked down by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper in 2018, described being destitute and living on the streets of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
Critics at the time, including the rights group Amnesty International, also pointed out that Israel had a far smaller number of refugees than Rwanda, and was a much wealthier country.
Amnesty said Israel was “foisting its responsibility on countries who have only a fraction of the wealth and resources”, an argument that would also apply to the UK.
( Peter Beaumont, 17.01.2022 ) .. the guardian.com
Russian Soldiers With Their Hands Tied Behind Their Backs Are Shot Dead.
A video published on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, shows Ukrainian soldiers killing their apparently captured Russian counterparts with their hands tied behind their backs – just as accusations of similar atrocities committed by Russian forces surface from the city of Bucha.
The video, which the New York Times verified on Wednesday, shows Ukrainian troops committing the killings, after what appeared to be an ambush outside a village west of Kyiv.
“He’s still alive,” one of the Ukrainians – identifiable by their flag patches and “glory to Ukraine” paraphernalia – can be heard saying, as a Russian soldier is seen with a jacket pulled over his head, “Film these marauders. Look, he’s still alive. He’s gasping.”
One of the soldiers then shoots the man three times.
After the second shot, the man keeps moving but stops after the third bullet.
There appear to be at least three other Russian soldiers dead lying near the latest victim, all wearing camouflage and three with white arm bands typically worn by Russian military units.
( Stephen M. Lepore, 08.04.2022 ) .. dailymail.co.uk
UK Invests In New Military Space Strategy.
The UK has released a new military space strategy and announced plans to invest $1.9billion in low Earth orbit satellites and other technologies over the next decade.
“This significant investment will help to ensure the U.K. remains at the forefront of space innovation and one step ahead of our competitors,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.
The new space strategy calls attention to the threats of anti-satellite weapons and emphasises the role of the UK’s private space industry in developing capabilities for the military and fuelling economic growth.
The Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said most of the new funding is for a global constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit that will provide surveillance and intelligence for military operations.
The program, called Istari, also will fund advanced laser communications technology for high-speed delivery of data from space to Earth.
In a related project called Minerva, the UK Space Command will experiment with a network of satellites that can autonomously collect, process and disseminate data from UK and allied satellites to support military operations, Quin said.
“Istari and Minerva will be the building blocks” of a future military space architecture, said Quin.
“We are starting with a small number of satellites, we’ll be looking to bring together packs of satellites that can work together, and learn how you control a formation of satellites,” he said.
UK military labs will launch small satellite experiments to test new designs and concepts such as software-defined spacecraft.
( Sandra Erwin, 01.02.2022 ) .. spacenews.com
UK Conservative MP Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting A Boy.
A UK Conservative MP has been expelled from the party after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy after forcing him to drink gin.
Imran Ahmad Khan, 48, was today (April 11, 2022) convicted of the attack, which happened at a house in Staffordshire in 2008.
In a statement, Tory HQ said Khan had been removed “with immediate effect”.
The court heard how Khan forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him onto a bed and asked him to watch pornography before the attack.
The victim said he wasn’t “taken very seriously” when he made the allegation to the Conservative Party press office days before Khan was elected as the MP for Wakefield in West Yorkshire in 2019.
He made a complaint to police days after Khan helped Prime Minister Boris Johnson win a large Commons majority.
( Dave Burke, 11.04.2022 ) .. mirror.co.uk
NATO Expert Denounces Western Coverage Of The Ukraine Invasion.
The problem is not so much who is right in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but how our leaders make their decisions.
It starts with those who for the past eight years have been talking to us about “separatists” or “independence” from the Donbass.
The referendums conducted by the two self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in May 2014 were not ”independence” referendums, as some unscrupulous journalists claimed, but ”self-determination” or ”autonomy“.
The term “pro-Russian” suggests that Russia was a party to the conflict, which was not the case, and the term “Russian speakers” would have been more honest.
Moreover, these referendums were conducted against the advice of Vladimir Putin.
In fact, these republics did not seek to separate from Ukraine, but to have a statute of autonomy guaranteeing them the use of the Russian language as an official language.
Because the first legislative act of the new government resulting from the overthrow of President Yanukovych, was the abolition, on February 23, 2014, of the Kivalov-Kolesnichenko law of 2012 which made Russian an official language.
This decision caused a storm in the Russian-speaking population.
This resulted in fierce repression against the Russian-speaking regions (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) which began in February 2014 and led to a militarization of the situation and a few massacres (in Odessa and Mariupol, for the most important).
At the end of summer 2014, only the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk remained.
In 2014, NATO was responsible for the fight against the proliferation of small arms, and they were trying to detect Russian arms deliveries to the rebels in order to see if Moscow was involved.
The information that they received came practically all from the Polish intelligence services and did not “match” with the information from the OSCE: in spite of rather crude allegations, they did not observe any delivery of arms or supplies from the Russian military.
The rebels were armed thanks to the defections of Russian-speaking Ukrainian units which crossed over to the rebel side.
As the Ukrainian failures progressed, the entire tank, artillery and anti-aircraft battalions swelled the ranks of the autonomists.
This is what drives the Ukrainians to commit to the Minsk Accords.
But, just after signing the Minsk 1 Accords, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko launched a vast anti-terrorist operation against Donbass.
Poorly advised by NATO officers, the Ukrainians suffered a crushing defeat at Debaltsevo which forced them to commit to the Minsk 2 Agreements.
It is essential to recall here that the Minsk 1 (September 2014) and Minsk 2 (February 2015) Agreements provided for neither the separation nor the independence of the Republics, but their autonomy within the framework of Ukraine.
Those who have read the Accords (they are very, very, very few) will find that it is written in full that the status of the republics was to be negotiated between Kiev and the representatives of the republics, for an internal solution in Ukraine .
This is why since 2014, Russia has systematically demanded their application while refusing to be a party to the negotiations, because it was an internal matter for Ukraine.
On the other side, the Westerners – led by France – systematically tried to replace the Minsk Accords with the “Normandy format”, which brought Russians and Ukrainians face to face.
However, let us remember, there were never any Russian troops in the Donbass before February 23, 2022.
( Jacques Baud, NATO expert, 09.04.2022 ) .. scheerpost.com