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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The mendacity of the BBC takes one's breath away

While the world celebrates the amazing victory of the Syrian people in Aleppo (not forgetting the enormous suffering endured by all not excluding the soldiers themselves), one can feel nothing but disgust at the BBC's coverage of the events in Aleppo and indeed during the whole nearly five years of what the BBC calls a "civil" war.

This email from Robert Stuart is very well compiled and well worth perusing:

A reader of my blog has located the school featured in the BBC's 2013 "napalm bomb" reports.

The main video used to identify the location also shows one of the alleged victims walking calmly and unaided towards an ambulance and entering via steps at the side before taking an upright seat. The same woman appears in the BBC's footage at the conclusion of her journey, being stretchered out through the tailgate of the same vehicle by five men, appearing to scream in agony.

Posted here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/napalm-bomb-school-located/

"Napalm bomb" school located

Thursday, December 08, 2016

This interesting email appeared recently in my inbox. It will encourage 
those who campaign in what appears sometimes to be a battle against an 
unassailable adversary.
As most of you will be aware,  two weeks ago the New Statesman removed an article by Salah Arjama from its website. PSC had commissioned the article from Salah, the co-founder and Director of the Lajee Cultural Centre in Aida Refugee camp to be hosted on the New Statesman website. The New Statesman published the piece as part of a two year partnership between the PSC and the New Statesman.

The removal of the article followed two pro-Israel websites attacking the article which raised concerns about the New Statesman having responded to this lobby pressure.  PSC sought a clear explanation from the New Statesman as to the reason for the removal of the article but did not receive it. As the issue was in the public domain, we were left with no option but to publicly petition the New Statesman. Thanks to your response, the New Statesman was inundated with 25,000 emails. Several notable figures, including lawyers, politicians, trade unions and artists, also committed to signing an open letter. After the very large number of complaints the New Statesman received, and after we informed them of the forthcoming open letter, they requested to meet with the PSC.

We are pleased to announce that after discussions we have received an explanation from the New Statesman who have framed the removal in a wider context of reviewing all their commercial partnerships from a wider editorial perspective. We are pleased that the New Statesman have acknowledged the discourtesy done by not providing an explanation when requested.

The New Statesman have reassured us that the article was not removed because of lobby pressure, acknowledged that they had no issue with the contents of the article and have now most importantly provided a link to the article on their website, ensuring that readers can still access Salah’s words and perspective. We feel this outcome gives a clear message that any pressure to remove Palestinian voices from the media will be resisted. They have also given a commitment to ensuring that their coverage of Palestine will continue to include a range of perspectives.

The issues raised in Salah’s article which can be read here (https://www.palestinecampaign.org/frontline-israels-settlement-regime-salah-ajarma/) are of crucial importance. PSC believes it is essential that the voices of Palestinians facing injustice and the denial of their rights are heard in wider media coverage. Although we will have no continuing commercial partnership, we look forward to continuing our wider relationship with the New Statesman to ensure that Palestinian voices and perspectives from all sections of society are heard.

We could not have done this without you, and is fantastic news for all that are concerned with the representation of Palestinian experiences in the press.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Communication from Chelsea Manning

A few days ago I made a blog post containing information from the Chelsea Manning Support Network. I recently received in my email inbox this communication from Chelsea. It's rather sad but I thought it best to give it wider circulation.


Every day, I can feel the slow terror of us going backwards. Repression. People losing their heath care. People being stopped from voting.
People being blocked from speaking, and exercising their rights. I fear the horrible consequences that are facing a lot of us in the coming days, months, and years.

All of the people I care about. Everybody is hurting. Everybody is looking for something.
And I am no different. I am scared and I don’t know what to do, but I feel a lot of responsibility.
When I reflect on my own journey and political consciousness, I realize that I didn’t really think about politics until the passage of Proposition 8 — the ballot measure in California that repealed marriage equality. I suppose I “cared” about politics, but it was more of an abstract chess game. You know, like college basketball: A fun game that you watch for sport. Politics was intellectual and disconnected for me. It was something that happened in the world but not necessarily to me.
I really didn’t start giving a damn about politics until Proposition 8 passed. That pretty much changed everything for me. Even though political decisions affected my life in infinite ways before that point, I didn’t have a consciousness or analysis about it. When Proposition 8 happened, it was a wake up call to me, and I never looked back.

Although I had never imagined getting married before, as I watched our rights being suddenly snatched away, I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. My perspective of the world changed.
For the next few months, my insatiable curiosity dragged me to conduct intense research. I learned many things: our history, our stories, our theories, our movements, and our ideas. It was inspiring.
The process taught me that I cannot just learn from digesting the narratives that our fed to us. I learned that I had to push back and dig a little deeper. I felt the deep and unrelenting sense that I couldn’t just look the other way all the time.

Now, people are asking me what to do. I don’t know what to say. I feel just as scared and helpless as everyone else. I wish I could keep my cool and give an answer about what to do next. The answer is that I just don’t know.

For the queer and trans community, this year could mark a major turning point. I worry that our future is uncertain. Now, we face something that could be more vicious and terrifying than almost anything we’ve had to fight together as a community. There will be attempts to divide us — to turn us against each other. There may be efforts to roll back legal protections that have helped us survive. There may be forces in government aimed at subjecting us to discrimination or worse. It is scary to think about.

How will we protect ourselves and unite together?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Important news concerning the Chelsea Manning Support Network

I recommend that people read this important news bulletin. At first you might think it's bad news but actually it's not because the struggle continues.

I hope people download the materials mentioned from chelseamanning.org

I know that we all hope that this ordeal for Chelsea will end soon. We stand in awe of Chelsea and all other whistle-blowers. There's just a chance that Obama will use his powers to grant clemency before he leaves the stage. After all, what's he got to lose? Certainly not any reputation!

A message from the Chelsea Manning Support Network Steering Committee
December 1, 2016
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing the Chelsea Manning Support Network to an end. We will be transferring the chelseamanning.org domain to representatives of Chelsea Manning on February 1, 2017, for a new website that will launch early in 2017.
We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many tens of thousands of supporters worldwide who joined together to support this campaign, going all the way back to the days following Chelsea’s arrest in Iraq, June 2010. With your help, we were able to successfully cover 100% of Chelsea Manning’s legal fees throughout her court martial (nearly $400,000) and mount a huge publicity campaign to raise awareness about her situation. We are also deeply proud to have contributed toward the ongoing legal fees associated with Chelsea’s appeal (over $400,000).
It has been our honor to dedicate the last six years to advocating for the freedom of Chelsea Manning. Over 25,000 individuals donated $1.5 million leading up to and during Chelsea’s initial trial. During this time, we paid her legal bills in full, organized over 600,000 people to sign petitions in support of Chelsea, staged hundreds of events, rented billboards, purchased a New York Times ad, and rallied thousands to take to the street—at Fort Meade, Fort Leavenworth, Quantico Marine Base, and around the world. We are extremely proud of these efforts.
None of us believe that the work is done; however, it’s clear to those that know Chelsea best, that it’s time for a new, and different type of group, to best meet her needs going forward.
We are deeply grateful to donors, volunteers, individuals who attended Chelsea Manning Support Network events, all those who publicly spoke out in defense of Chelsea, former staff members, the advisory board, and so many other people who helped make this campaign possible. We also thank our fiscal manager, Courage to Resist, and the umbrella fiscal sponsor, Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ).
Many will still wonder why we are closing the doors of this organization now, when Chelsea is still in prison and thus still needs support. There are a few reasons for this.
Things have changed a lot in the last six years. When we first founded the Chelsea Manning Support Network, and for many years after, we operated with no direct communication from Chelsea. The website we created thus reflects the (often diverse) views of her supporters and fans, not of Chelsea herself. Now that Chelsea is able to speak out publicly, it’s appropriate that her message take center stage. We are stepping aside in order to amplify her voice and message, letting that take center stage in the advocacy efforts going forward.
Additionally, since the end of the court martial, we have seen a drop off in donations, and we no longer have any paid staff at the Chelsea Manning Support Network. We transfer nearly all of the few funds we do receive to Chelsea’s attorneys to help cover the costs of her appeal. Even responding to inquiries from supporters, maintaining the website, and depositing checks are burdensome tasks without even a part time helper in the office. At the same time, we’ve seen amazing organizations stepping up to spread the word about Chelsea’s situation, and we recognize that these organizations are better poised to provide long-term support for Chelsea’s needs.
We expect that supporters will soon be able to donate to Chelsea Manning’s defense fund via a new fiscal manager. For now, you can continue to donate to Chelsea’s defense at chelseamanning.org/donate. After February 1, 2017, we expect that there will be instructions on the new website with details of how to donate to Chelsea’s defense and advocacy. You may also contribute directly to Chelsea Manning’s legal fees by making a check payable to “FBH IOLTA”, noting “Manning” on memo line (and on an enclosed note), and mailing it directly to Chelsea’s legal team at: FBH, 20 First Plaza, Suite 700, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
The Chelsea Manning Support Network’s online materials will be available on chelseamanning.org until February 1, 2017, after which time the materials currently hosted will only be available through the Internet Archive. Please note that if there are any materials you want from chelseamanning.org—photos, trial coverage, press releases, etc.—you should download a copy now.  Individuals who want a copy of the entire site are welcome to mirror it elsewhere.
Our Facebook community, “Free whistleblower Chelsea Manning (@savemanning)”, with 97,000 likes, will be transferred to the new organizers. The Chelsea Manning Support Network will also distribute email announcements of this development, so that current supporters can follow these new efforts. Finally, any remaining funds held by the Chelsea Manning Defense Fund hosted by Courage to Resist, on behalf of the Chelsea Manning Support Network, will be transferred to Chelsea’s attorney and/or to a group Chelsea indicates.
Thanks to everyone who courageously spoke out for Chelsea Manning over the last six years.  We are proud of the work we accomplished together and look forward to seeing what Chelsea Manning will accomplish in the future.
Steering Committee

Jeff Paterson, Rainey Reitman, Kevin Zeese, Gerry Condon, Bob Meola

Thursday, December 01, 2016

So much for the alleged support for human rights in the UK and Sweden!

Most of us will be interested in this email from _______ not only for the news it carries, but also for the fact that the Swedish media have ignored this subject altogether. As far as I am aware, the BBC corporate media have always been silent. I am fairly sure this is true of BBC Radio 4, which I listen to a lot. 


30 November 2016: Today, the United Nations rejected the United Kingdom’s attempt to appeal the UN’s February ruling in favour of Julian Assange.

The decision of 5 February 2016 therefore stands, and the UK and Sweden are once again required to immediately put an end to Mr Assange’s arbitrary detention and afford him monetary compensation.
Earlier this year, the United Nations concluded the 16 month long case to which the UK was a party. The UK lost, appealed, and today - lost again. The UN instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure Mr Assange's liberty, protection, and enjoyment of fundamental human rights. No steps have been taken, jeopardising Mr Assange's life, health and physical integrity, and undermining the UN system of human rights protection.
Despite initially being given two weeks to appeal the 5 February ruling, the United Kingdom waited until after the first appeal period expired, and instead submitted an appeal for review on 24 March, which the United Nations now found inadmissable.
As a member of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Kingdom must now respect its commitments.
>From the UN press release:
The UN expert group also considered four requests for review of previous opinions, submitted by the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Working Group concluded that the requests did not meet the threshold of a review as enshrined in paragraph 21 of its methods of work, and that they were thus not admissible.
Reactions in Sweden
At time of writing, there is no response from the website of Marianne Ny or from the prosecution authority's Twitter account, and no mention whatsoever in Swedish media.