RAF Bombers From British Base In Cyprus Attack Middle East Nations. RAF Akrotiri, Britain’s sovereign…
Thousands Of Pounds Of Taxpayers’ Cash Paid To Government Ministers When They Lost Their Jobs.
Jacob Rees Mogg pocketed £16,800 in severance pay for a job he held for seven weeks, after arguing civil servants should have their redundancy money slashed.
The former Business Secretary, who now trousers more than £750 an hour as a presenter on GB News on top of his £80k MPs salary, was entitled to claim three months salary on leaving government when Liz Truss quit as Prime Minister.
But in his previous role as Government Efficiency Minister he unveiled plans to cut the amount of redundancy pay for departing civil servants by a quarter – from four weeks’s salary per year of service to three.
Tory chairman Greg Hands accepted a £7,920 payout – worth three months of salary – when he was sacked from the Business Department in September 2022, where he’d served for just under a year.
He was re-hired just four weeks later to be a trade minister in the Department for International trade.
Ministers are entitled to receive severance payments worth a quarter of their salary on leaving office, provided they are not reappointed within three weeks.
Mr Hands is refusing to hand back the money.
( Mikey Smith, 23.10.2023 ) .. mirror.co.uk
UK MPs Are Not Allowed To Ask Questions About The British RAF Base On Cyprus.
The UK Ministry of Defence has taken extraordinary steps of censoring all requests for information by MPs about RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, which Declassified has reported is facilitating arms supplies to Israel’s war on Gaza.
The British government has blocked MPs asking any questions about activity at RAF Akrotiri, its vast air base on Cyprus.
Blocking all parliamentary questions from MPs is a highly unusual move.
Government departments routinely refuse to answer specific questions about military operations for reasons of “national security”, but blocking all questions by elected parliamentarians goes far beyond the usual level of Whitehall secrecy.
It comes after Declassified revealed the RAF has made over 30 military transport flights to Tel Aviv since Israel began bombing Gaza.
The Ministry of Defence refused to provide Declassified with any detail of the cargo or personnel on the flights.
( Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis, 20.11.2023 ) .. declassifieduk.org
The Video Does Not Show The Missile Fired At Hospital Was By Hamas.
Social media users, mainly Israeli accounts, shared a video that allegedly shows the rocket that targeted the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on October 17, 2023.
The claim alleges that the hospital was targeted by a Hamas rocket.
The Israeli media outlet i24NEWS, notorious for its misinformation and propaganda, has blamed Hamas for the Gaza hospital massacre.
The outlet has previously started the propagandist disinformation claiming that 40 babies were slaughtered by Hamas.
A tragedy that the Israeli Forces denied.
CNN journalist Clarissa Ward also unscrupulously claimed that “It certainly could have been a Hamas misfire,” without any evidence.
The narrative exonerated Israel of the attack even before the facts were established.
Misbar’s team investigated the circulating video and found that the video dates back to 2022.
( Misbar, 17.10.2023 ) .. misbar.com
Uncontrolled And Potentially Discriminatory Way Technology Is Being Used By Government Officials.
UK Government officials are using artificial intelligence (AI) and complex algorithms to help decide everything from who gets benefits to who should have their marriage licence approved, according to a Guardian investigation.
The findings shed light on the haphazard and often uncontrolled way that cutting-edge technology is being used across Whitehall.
Civil servants in at least eight Whitehall departments and a handful of police forces are using AI in a range of areas, but especially when it comes to helping them make decisions over welfare, immigration and criminal justice, the investigation shows.
The Guardian has uncovered evidence that some of the tools being used have the potential to produce discriminatory results, such as:
An algorithm used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which an MP believes mistakenly led to dozens of people having their benefits removed.
A facial recognition tool used by the Metropolitan police has been found to make more mistakes recognising black faces than white ones under certain settings.
An algorithm used by the Home Office to flag up sham marriages which has been disproportionately selecting people of certain nationalities.
Artificial intelligence is typically “trained” on a large dataset and then analyses that data in ways which even those who have developed the tools sometimes do not fully understand.
If the data shows evidence of discrimination, experts warn, the AI tool is likely to lead to discriminatory outcomes as well.
Its use in the public sector has previously proved controversial, such as in the Netherlands, where tax authorities used it to spot potential child care benefits fraud, but were fined €3.7million after repeatedly getting decisions wrong and plunging tens of thousands of families into poverty.
( Kiran Stacey, 23.10.2023 ) .. theguardian.com
UK Metropolitan Police Linked To Israel.
Senior Metropolitan Police officers are regular attendees at a think tank closely tied to Israel’s military and intelligence services and have accepted hospitality from its embassy in London.
The police officers include Mark Rowley, the MPS’ current commissioner, and Cressida Dick and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, two previous commissioners.
A number of high-ranking MPS officers have also accepted gifts or hospitality from the Israeli embassy in London, despite MPS guidance stating that such offers be refused.
The revelations come after the MPS, under pressure from the UK government, initially urged pro-Palestine organisations “to consider postponing any demonstrations in London”.
It then acknowledged that it did not have sufficient intelligence to justify banning the protest.
Collaboration between the Israeli government and the Metropolitan Police Service dates back to at least the early 2000s, when an MPS team was sent to Israel to learn about the country’s counter-terror strategy.
( John McEvoy, 09.11.2023 ) .. declassifieduk.org
Independent Children’s Care Providers In England Made £300Million Profit.
The biggest independent providers of children’s care in England, UK, made profits of more than £300million in 2022, as concern mounts over the conditions that some children are being placed in and the spiralling costs for councils.
Fee income for the 20 largest operators of independent children’s care totalled £1.63billion in 2022, a 6.5% increase on the previous year.
And 19% of that – £310million – was recorded as profit, according to an independent analysis.
Half of the top 20 providers have some private equity or sovereign wealth fund ownership.
Council spending on independent children’s care in England has more than doubled in six years.
In 2021-22, spending on independently run residential care for vulnerable children increased by 11% on the previous year.
This comes with the number of children in care at its highest level since before the pandemic: 82,170 in England.
There are also concerns among councils over the indebtedness of some of the main providers.
( Michael Savage, 28.10.2023 ) .. theguardian.com
Israeli Social Media Accounts And Israeli Officials Spread Propaganda To Justify Killing Civilians In Gaza.
Throughout the ongoing conflict, the Israeli military has used its media channels to portray Israel as valuing civilian lives and upholding high ethical standards in its battle against what they term the “forces of pure evil,” referring to Hamas.
Since October 7, 2023, individuals aligned with Israel have continued disseminating misinformation in an attempt to manipulate the Palestinian narrative of civilian casualties in Gaza and elicit sympathy from the international community.
A video shared on October 12, 2023 by the Israeli Forces contained several clips meant to justify the civilian casualties in Gaza.
Ofir Gendelman, the Arabic spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, used the same video to justify their genocidal campaign during the May 2021 assault on the Gaza Strip.
Contrary to its viral claim, the video is unrelated to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza.
It has been identified as an old video, with origins dating back to December 22, 2019.
The video’s caption specifies that the footage was actually shot in Maarrat al-Numan, a city situated in north-eastern Syria.
On October 16, “Social Impact Israel,” an account with a pro-Israel stance, shared a photo purporting to feature a Muslim woman in a hijab shaking hands with a woman wearing a coat adorned with the Israeli flag and Hebrew words.
The account asserted that even Muslims are backing Israel in its conflict with Gaza.
Numerous prominent Israeli accounts, associated with the Israel Foreign Ministry and featuring ambassadors, counsellors, and diplomats, have shared and reposted the photo.
This suggests that the photo and its message have gained significant attention and endorsement from official representatives of Israel to gain world sympathy.
The photo in question was originally posted in the aftermath of the earthquake that occurred in Morocco in September 2023.
The photo is not associated with the current Israeli attack on Gaza.
( Wesam Abo Marq, 19.10.2023 ) .. misbar.com
Thanksgiving Day Is A Reminder Of The Genocide Of Millions Of Native People.
Most Americans are taught the same story about Thanksgiving — that Pilgrims sat together with Native Americans to share a meal and thank them for helping with a successful first harvest.
But most popular retellings of the first Thanksgiving have been proven to be riddled with mis-truths.
While you may know that on some level, what’s not often discussed is the truth about the holiday’s history and the effect it has on many Native Americans.
According to The New York Times, the Mayflower did, in fact, bring settlers from England to land which they colonised and renamed Plymouth, MA.
In 1621, those Pilgrims did hold a three-day feast, which was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe.
However, typically, when these settlers had what they referred to as “thanksgiving” observances, they actually fasted.
So this feast and celebration was known as a “rejoicing,” according to The New Yorker.
With that in mind, this meal actually being viewed as the “first Thanksgiving” is up for debate with experts.
Though there might have been turkey or some other type of poultry served, there was no pie or mashed potatoes, as we have today.
They would have probably had seafood, as well as a Wampanoag dish called nasaump, a porridge made of cornmeal, which the settlers had adopted.
As The Smithsonian points out, discussions of this event are often centred around the settlers, but Native Americans had been on the land for centuries before, and the story from their perspective obviously far predates this feast.
When Europeans began coming to what is now known as the United States about four years before the Mayflower arrived, they carried foreign illnesses which killed Native people at exceedingly high rates.
That then made it easier for colonisers to take over these lands.
There’s also the fact that settlers came to the land to kidnap and sell Native Americans into slavery.
The newly settled Europeans also did not invite the Native Americans to their feast.
Ousamequin, leader of the Wampanoag Tribe, had declared an alliance with the settlers, and members of the tribe were showing up to honour a mutual-defence pact.
After some talk, they decided to spend three days together and join the feast, but this type of coming together did not become a warm, fuzzy tradition as you may have been taught in school.
From then on, Pilgrims celebrated “thanksgivings” in their traditional way of fasting and praying, according to The New Yorker.
Several times this happened because of the massacres of Native people, including in 1637 when Massachusetts Colony Governor John Winthrop declared a day of thanksgiving after volunteers murdered 700 Pequot people.
This incident is also often cited as the first official mention of a “thanksgiving” ceremony, and is another commonly cited origin story for the Thanksgiving we know today.
Various dates of the modern-day Thanksgiving holiday had been declared since then and were celebrated by individual states, but it wasn’t until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, and the holiday as we know it stuck.
The atrocities against Native Americans did not end with the diseases or massacres, so seeing people celebrating the “positive” myth around Thanksgiving can be frustrating and painful for many, especially Indigenous people.
Combine that with the fact that some non-Natives choose to dress up in things like headdresses in “honour” of Thanksgiving, which many see as a mockery of sacred dress.
Some tribes view the holiday as a national day of mourning.
They see it as the day settlers came to their land, spurring decades of violence and mistreatment.
“Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture,” says the United American Indians of New England.
They’ve marked the occasion as a day of mourning for 48 years, according to Native Hope.
“Participants in National Day of Mourning honour Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”
( Kristin Salaky, 30.10.2023 ) .. delish.com
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
The UK’s responsibility for helping to resolve the current conflict in Gaza stems partly from its imperial past – when in 1948 it contributed to Israeli forces’ takeover of most of Palestine.
After the second world war British planners were confronted by the outbreak of a Jewish uprising in Palestine, which the UK had run since securing a ‘mandate’ from the then League of Nations in 1922.
This uprising led to a series of momentous events that shape the present-day Middle East: the British decision in February 1947 to withdraw from Palestine, the UN’s decree in November 1947 to partition the territory, the Jewish declaration of the state of Israel in May 1948 and the first Arab–Israeli war, in which Israeli forces annexed much of Palestine by December of that year.
Near the end of the second world war, the leadership of the Yishuv, the Jewish settler community in Palestine, headed by David Ben-Gurion, embarked on a campaign to push the British out of the territory.
A wave of terrorist attacks was conducted against British forces and Palestinian Arabs, in response to which the British declared martial law, enacted draconian emergency regulations and undertook brutal collective punishments on local Jewish communities.
At a time when Britain was faced with numerous demands on its resources, the Jewish uprising was clearly not going to be overcome quickly or cheaply, and Clement Attlee’s Labour government regarded Palestine as “an economic and military liability”.
Britain now began to promote the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, a policy supported by the Jewish leadership but which immediately undermined the interests of the Palestinians, who at the time made up around two-thirds of the population, compared to one-third of Jews.
In November 1947, the UN passed General Assembly Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine and awarding the Jews a state that comprised over half the country, against the will of the indigenous majority population.
In his outstanding book on the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe notes that a month after the UN resolution, the Jewish leadership embarked on the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine”.
( Mark Curtis, 07.11.2023 ) .. declassifieduk.org
The Highest Immigration Levels In History Thanks To Brexit.
In 2016, Britain went to the polls in a referendum on leaving the European Union, narrowly won by the Brexit camp which staked its claims on immigration being too high and Boris Johnson being right.
At the time, net migration was “too high” at 333,000 a year.
After four years of wrangling and two Prime Ministers, net migration went down to 212,000, probably because who’d want to go to a country that doesn’t know what it’s doing.
We Brexited in 2020, introduced a points-based immigration system of the kind Nigel Farage had been badgering for, and in 2022 net migration was 745,000.
Twice the levels that caused Brexit, and all because we “took back control” of our borders and gave it to the chaotic, self-destructive acolytes attracted to the heat and light of the raging skip fire which was Boris.
If you think the system they designed is responsible for high immigration, then it is Brexit that gave them the power to cock up on such an epic scale.
Before Brexit, about 6% of NHS staff were from Asia and Africa. Today, it’s 12%.
While 10% of doctors were from the EU in 2016, today it’s 8%.
The proportion of Asian and African staff has almost doubled in the same period.
Before Brexit, EU students could pay the same £9,250 tuition fees as a British citizen and study at any of our universities.
In 2016, 6% student places were filled by EU citizens, and 13% from the rest of the world.
After Brexit, the EU students had to pay the same as other foreign nationals, and fees jumped to as much as £38,000.
As a result the number of EU students has halved, while the number of students from elsewhere has jumped – China for example has gone from 107,000 students in 2017 to 151,000 in 2022.
It was the Tories who, thanks to Brexit, have agreed or are negotiating world-beating trade deals with Pakistan, India, Vietnam, African and Caribbean countries.
And each and every one of them includes clauses about guaranteed visas for work and study for their citizens.
If you think we have too many foreign students, or too many foreign health and social care staff, it is Brexit that gift-wrapped them for you.
The fact many people – Labour and Tory voters, migrant populations and not – think immigration is too high is why our Brexit-backing Prime Minister, his Brexit-backing Cabinet, and his leadership rivals including Brexit backer Kemi Badenoch and former Brexit minister Suella Braverman are all having a bit of a moment.
They’re running around, squawking and flapping about how there’s too many immigrants, and blaming each other for not fixing something which cannot be fixed.
( Fleet Street Fox, 24.11.2023 ) .. mirror.co.uk