Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Monday, September 26, 2016

Important message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign

It's important that the case for Palestine is heard loud and clear.

Dear friends,

Last week we wrote to you announcing the launch of our campaign against Israel's illegal settlements (https://www.palestinecampaign.org/campaigns/settlements/) . We want to spread the word about our campaign as far and wide as possible to make sure the government know that their words of condemnation are not enough - they must take action against settlements now.
Visit our settlements campaign page (https://www.palestinecampaign.org/campaigns/settlements/)
Last week, we took the message of our campaign to the Trade Union Congress in Brighton, where we talked to delegates from different Trade Unions about why this campaign is so important. We held a packed fringe event chaired by Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary and patron of PSC, featuring guest speaker Hasan Barghouti, Director of Democracy and Workers Right Centre in Palestine.

This weekend we will take our campaign to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, where we will be engaging with delegates at our stall and at our fringe meeting on Monday lunchtime. We will also have a stall and fringe event in October at the SNP conference in Glasgow.

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of TUC and Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite the Union with the PSC team at the stall at TUC.

** Taking our campaign to the UN Human Rights Council
Today, PSC's Acting Director Tricia Rich spoke at a side event of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva about corporate complicity and the international community inaction on settlements as well as the consequences of Israel's settlement policy for Palestinians. The event was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre and co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch.

** Join our Lobby of Parliament for Palestine

Join us on Tuesday 15th of November from 12pm onwards for our national lobby of Parliament for Palestine.

The most powerful way to let your MP know you care about Palestine is to ask them to meet you to discuss it. On the 15th of November, people from around the UK will arrange to meet their MPs in Parliament. By doing this together, it shows MPs that there are a huge number of people all across the county who care about Palestine.

Check our website for details and updates about the lobby. (https://www.palestinecampaign.org/2016lobby/)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More Terror in the Occupied Territories

I apologise for posting this bulletin from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign a little late. It's still relevant today. As always, I urge readers to contemplate joining the PSC and assisting their work.

Dear friends,

Threats of violence, killing and the expansion of illegal and harmful settlements have shaped the news from Palestine this week.  All of this reminds us why we need to step up our campaigns and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine.

There have been alarming developments with Israel's expansionist and destructive settlement policy this week. Vowing to accelerate the construction (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160902-israeli-housing-minister-vows-accelerated-construction-in-key-west-bank-settlement/) of housing units in a key West Bank settlement, Israel's Housing Minister told residents plans were in place for a 'construction bonanza' in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

On top of that, 464 settlement houses in the West Bank were approved (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37235922) , sparking criticism from the UN and senior US officials who stated that this move "fundamentally undermines the prospects for a two-state solution and risks entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict".

As Israel continues to flout international law and build its settlements at a disturbing rate, the international community seems set on just responding with statements. This is not good enough, so we are building a campaign to take action.

PSC will be launching our campaign against UK complicity in Israel’s illegal settlements and home demolitions. Look out for further information in our emails and on our website in the coming weeks about how you can get involved.

Earlier this week the family of Mustafa Nimir (http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=772996)  a 27-year-old father from Shufat Refugee Camp, received the devastating news that he had been shot, and killed by Israeli forces.
Mustafa had been returning home after going out to buy groceries with his brother-in-law, who was also injured when their car was 'showered with gunfire' by Israeli forces. Initially claiming that Mustafa had attempted to run over an Israeli policeman, Israeli forces later admitted that this was not the case, and that Mustafa's death was an 'accident'.

After leading regular raids on Al-Duheisha camp, an Israeli commander known as 'Captain Nidal' has threatened to make "all of the youth in the camp disabled" (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160826-israeli-army-commander-i-will-make-all-the-youth-of-al-duheisha-camp-disabled/) and made statements including: "I will have all of you walking with crutches and in wheelchairs,".

Highlighting the seriousness of the threat, 30 Palestinians have been shot in the camp with live ammunition since the beginning of the year, the majority in their legs and knees.

** Round up of other news this week:
* Nora Barrows-Friedman reports on Why Israel’s actions can be called genocide (https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/why-israels-actions-can-be-called-genocide)
* Brian Eno has refused a state-funded Israeli dance company permission to use his music (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/07/brian-eno-israeli-dance-company-batsheva-use-music)
* At least 19 Palestinians have been detained in overnight raids in the West Bank on Thursday (https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=773048)
* Ben White discusses a court case against the Jewish National Fund for their role in land theft (https://benwhite.org.uk/2016/09/05/court-case-challenges-role-jewish-national-fund-plays-in-israeli-land-theft/)
* PEN International (https://www.facebook.com/peninternational/) : Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, held under house arrest by Israeli authorities over a poem she wrote, should be released immediately (http://www.pen-international.org/newsitems/israel-all-charges-against-poet-dareen-tatour-must-be-dropped/) .
* Two young Palestinians shot with live fire and injured on Monday in West Bank village of Sabastiya. (http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=773003)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Who are these "Friends of Syria" revolutionaries in the UK?

No one is watching the activities of those in the UK supporting terrorism in Syria more than indefatigable campaigner Robert Stuart.

Here is an email he wrote to Louise Orton who it appears works for Amnesty International and was present at the Amnesty Refugees Welcome Autumn Fayre in Islington on Saturday 10 September 2016. I'm not aware if Robert received a reply. No doubt most of us would like to know what Amnesty International is doing associating itself with a body like Syria Solidarity UK.


Complaint: Syria Solidarity UK at Amnesty event
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 17:23:54 +0000
From: Robert Stuart
To: louise.orton@amnesty.org.uk

Dear Louise
Thank you for speaking briefly with me at the Amnesty Refugees Welcome Autumn Fayre in Islington on Saturday.

I was startled to hear your MC refer to the "revolution in Syria". Do you not feel that "a largely Sunni Islam uprising, dominated by Sunni extremists who are armed and funded from the heartland of religious extremism, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and their paymaster the United States" [1] might approach a more accurate description of events in Syria since 2011? 
I was then appalled to discover that the speaker being introduced was a representative of Syria Solidarity UK [2], an organisation which "appears to support all the al Qaeda aligned armed groups" [3]  in Syria. 
This speaker stated as fact the unproven - not to say thoroughly debunked [4] - claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and called upon the audience to support the illegal violation of Syrian air space with "humanitarian" aid-drops. As has often been observed, the notion that the Syrian government can prevent food, but cannot prevent armaments and munitions, from entering areas held by militant groups rather illustrates the dubiety of the former claim.
Your MC then publicly congratulated the speaker on her "call to arms" - a figure of speech, of course, but one which was thoroughly justified by the blood and thunder rhetoric to which the assembly on Islington Green had just been subjected. 
Yours sincerely

Robert Stuart 
[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-solidarity-uk-supporting-al-qaeda-and-denying-free-speech/5527476
[2] http://www.syriauk.org/
[3] http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/30/why-no-revolution-exists-in-syria/
[4] http://bit.ly/2cHrdmL 

Robert received this wonderful email from Lilly Martin which is a gem:

From: martinlilly20@yahoo.com
To: anotherrobertstuart@hotmail.com; louise.orton@amnesty.org.uk
Subject: Re: Complaint: Syria Solidarity UK at Amnesty event
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 07:10:51 +0200

Dear Mr. Stuart and Ms. Orton,
As an eye witness to the entire war in Syria, from March 2011 to present, I 
can state this was no revolution.  I am an American citizen living 
permanently in Syria, which is my husband�s birthplace.  I have been here 
24 years.
A real revolution would have the support of the people, inside Syria, not 
Syrian living in Paris and London for the past 40 years.  To have a real 
grassroots uprising, you need the support of the people living inside Syria, who 
would share your views.  
If it had been a real uprising/revolution, the whole process could have 
taken 3-6 months, because the Army would have followed the will of the people, 
given the fact the Syrian Army is made up of Syrians of all ethnic and religious 
sects.   The Syrian Army is a true representative of the Syrian 
population.  If the population wanted the goals stated by the �protesters�, 
which was to  establish Islamic law in Syria, and to abolish the current 
secular government, the Army would have eventually followed along, expressing 
the will of the people.
However, you had a small minority in the Syrian population who were for 
regime change, but this very small group was backed by USA, UK, NATO, EU, and 
the Arab Gulf Monarchies.   Money talks, as we say in America.
Yes, Syria is home to many Radical Islamic ideology followers, as is UK, 
USA and Europe.  However, their numbers are still in the minority.  In 
a democracy, the majority rule.  The Syrian opposition does include 
non-Islamist political people, mainly communists and other secular thinkers, but 
those people have never held a gun, and have never advocated violence, 
destruction or armed revolution.  It has been strictly the Radical Islamic 
ideology  followers who have supported armed rebellion.  Because their 
numbers were, and are still, so small comparing to the rest of the 20 million 
Syrians, they never had a chance to win, and can not win on the ground.  
Their �revolution� has just been an attack on the unarmed  civilian 
population who do not agree with them.
We are hoping that a peaceful negotiated settlement, with positive changes 
and reforms, can be made through joint talks between the UN, and both sides of 
the Syrian conflict.  This is our chance for peace.
Finally, this morning Sept 14, 2016 on the BBC they announced a UK Members 
of Parliament commission, studying the role of the UK in the war in Libya, had 
concluded the UK role was wrong, shameful and  �opportunistic, and for 
regime change�.  Meaning, the UK under PM Cameron should not have 
participated in the NATO and US attack on Libya, which was not a humanitarian 
effort, but an �opportunistic attack for regime change�, as stated on BCC.  
This is the same story of Syria.   Perhaps in 5 years time, we may 
watch BBC announcing a UK Parliament commission, studying the UK role in the 
death and destruction in Syria.  My question to myself, and all others: Why 
can�t we study these types of decisions BEFORE we commit to destroying lives and 
countries abroad?  I said this question out-loud at the breakfast table 
this morning, and my son who is an MBA graduate, answered back, �Mom, because UK 
always takes their  orders from USA, regardless of the 
consequences�.   That view should be the  focus of every UK 
citizen and politician, on how UK can stand alone, and make decisions in the 
future which benefit UK, and not follow USA blindly, down a road of 
Best regards,
Lilly Martin

If you are also interested in what Amnesty International is doing in this matter you might care to email them at sct@amnesty.org.uk and ask them to explain.

I am investigating not only Syria Solidarity UK but also Friends of Syria and also the "White Helmets". They all seem to be part of the same pro-Islamist propaganda movement which seems to be copiously funded as one would expect with a body connected to Saudi Arabia.

If you have any useful information then why not email me at colinbbennett@palmeira.org.uk

Thank you

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Atrocities in Palestine

I apologise for the tardiness in putting this blog post up. I recommend that readers join the PSC.

This is an urgent request for action as the communities of two Bedouin villages are under the immediate threat of demolition.

Earlier this year we wrote to you about two Bedouin villages under threat of demolition. Almost six thousand of you wrote to your MPs asking them to demand the foreign secretary protests in the strongest terms to the Israeli government to save these two villages. Thank you to everyone who has taken action already.

Unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated. We need to take urgent action. Please share this information widely, and if you have not already done so, write to your MP today.
Take action (http://www.palestinecampaign.org/fate-two-palestinian-villages/)
Susiya in the occupied Palestinian West Bank is constantly under attack from settlers and from the Israeli forces who regularly go in and demolish their homes and animal shelters. This week, the Israeli supreme court made the decision that the fate of the village would likely be decided by ultra right-wing Israeli Defence Minister Lieberman, leaving the residents of Susiya with little hope.

A few miles away, in the Negev desert in the south of Israel, the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran faces impending demolition to make way for a planned new village for Jewish Israelis only. This week when Israeli forces arrived in Umm al-Hiran with a tractor and several land surveyors they were met by Palestinian and Israeli protesters. Five protesters were arrested and one woman was hospitalised from injuries she sustained from Israeli forces.

If you have not done so already, please write to your MP asking them to take action to save these Palestinian homes. If you have already written to your MP about this issue please share this action widely on social media or by email to ensure as many people as possible write to their MPs.
Take action (http://www.palestinecampaign.org/fate-two-palestinian-villages/)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Barack Obama Visits Laos: A Long-Overdue First Step

I don't think the British media covered this important development very well. Although the 90 million Dollars is a bit mean and Obama could not bring himself to apologise to the people of Laos, it is a step in the right direction.

Here is how Democracy Now! covered it:


Is the USA a Civilised Country?

I've been quiet for some time but not now! Readers might be interested in this bulletin concerning Chelsea Manning. Please support her.

Chelsea Manning Support Network

Exposing war crimes is not a crime!

Chelsea Manning begins hunger strike protest
Sep 9th 2016, 20:38

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2016

 Contact: Christina DiPasquale, press@balestramedia.com
Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Bullying by Prison and US Government
Today, [September 9] after years of requesting the care she needs for gender dysphoria, Chelsea Manning has released a statement about the start of her hunger strike.
Chelsea is demanding written assurances from the Army she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria and that the “high tech bullying” will stop. “High tech bullying,” is what Chelsea describes as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”
Following her sentencing, Chelsea has respectfully requested that the US Government give her treatment for her gender dysphoria. Over a year later, Chelsea filed a lawsuit in September of 2014, where she sued the government to get a battery of treatments. As a result, she began hormone therapy in February of 2015.
However, the military has been making her cut her hair to the male length and grooming standards. As part of her treatment, her doctors recommended that she follow the military prison’s female hair grooming standards. In September of 2015 she amended her lawsuit, asking that the government allow her to grow her hair. The government’s response in December 2015 was “no.” The case is still active before a DC District court judge.
Statement from Chelsea Manning:
“I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”
“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”
“I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying—to “suck it up.” But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.”
“I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.”
“Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison—or by anyone within the U.S. government. I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect—that I once actually believed would be provided for—afforded to any living human being.”
“I do not believe that this should be dependent on any arbitrary factors—whether you are cisgender or transgender; service member or civilian, citizen or non-citizen. In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect—just more pain and anguish.”
“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall—refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.”
“This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vindictive. I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.”
“Until I am shown dignity and respect as a human again, I shall endure this pain before me. I am prepared for this mentally and emotionally. I expect that this ordeal will last for a long time. Quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death. I am ready for this.”
“I need help. Please, give me help.”
A statement from Chelsea’s lawyer at the ACLU, Chase Strangio:
I learned late last night that Chelsea has begun a hunger strike today in protest of the ongoing denial of her medically necessary health care and the relentless scrutiny and abuses she has experienced in the years since her arrest. I am deeply saddened and very concerned for Chelsea’s well-being. The government has long been aware of her medical needs and continues to ignore them. When we filed our initial case against the Department of Defense in September of 2014 over Chelsea’s treatment related to her gender dysphoria, we made very clear that the lack of treatment put her at very serious risk of harm. They have known this for years. We are still in litigation over her treatment and are optimistic that justice will ultimately prevail but the government need not wait to be ordered to do the right thing and we hope they act promptly to treat Chelsea consistent with their constitutional obligations.