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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Please consider the dreadful situtation in Israel/Palestine

I received this email this morning. It is very well written in my view, and clearly spells out how bad the situation is in Israel/Palestine. Please hearken to the request to make contact with your MP. I don't think such an action is ever wasted, even in your MP doesn't appear to be fertile ground in this matter.  You never know, and things do change - and we help to make that change. I haven't noticed more understanding on this question on the part of my own MP. I don't harangue him, but just present information to him.


Issa Amro is a peace activist in the West Bank city of Hebron and has been engaged in organising non-violent activities against the Israeli occupation for over a decade. Now his crucial role is under threat – the Israeli military court has brought 18 charges against him dating all the way back to 2010.

The accusations against Issa are spurious and politically motivated (https://freeissa.org ) . They include “participating in a march without a permit”, and a charge of assault at a protest that he was not present at – because he had already been detained.

Issa has been recognised as a Human Rights Defender by the European Union and the United Nations. His case is an example of widespread targeting of human rights activists using trumped-up old charges, and brought through the military court system.
Take action (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/support-issa-and-omar)

As Amos Gilad, director of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau at Israel’s defense ministry told American officials (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/opinion/whos-afraid-of-nonviolence.html) “We don’t do Gandhi very well”.

Omar Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was arrested only days before traveling to the U.S. to receive the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University. The arrest for the fabricated allegation of  tax fraud (https://bdsmovement.net/news/bnc-statement-israels-ongoing-campaign-silence-omar-barghouti-repress-bds-movement) comes after years of harassment and threats by the Israeli government. The latest attack includes a travel ban on Omar, and is another attempt to criminalise the BDS movement, intimidate activists and stop free speech.
Take action (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/support-issa-and-omar)

Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC said: “Any day now Issa’s trial is due to start; unable to pin any crime on him, he is being retrospectively charged with his accumulated protests as a human rights defender. The international campaign to defend him is not important just because the trial is unjust, but because it is trying to silence legitimate opposition. Under international law it is lawful to resist military occupation – and campaigners for justice and peace like Omar and Issa are paying the price of the repression and intimidation by the Israeli government”.

Please take a minute to send a message to your MP asking them to raise the issue of Issa and Omar with the UK Government.
Take action (https://palestinecampaign.iparlsetup.com/lobby/support-issa-and-omar)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Support the Palestine Solidarity Campaign's judicial review

I recently received the following email regarding the government's new regulations to stop local councils from making the ethical decision of divesting from companies complicit in Israel's human rights violations. The PSC is currently fundraising to lead a judicial review into this serious issue. Please do make a donation to this important cause if you are able.


Dear friends,

We have some big news - we are taking the government to court to protect our right to boycott.

As you know, the campaign for justice for the Palestinians is under attack in the UK. Last year, the government brought in measures to stop local council pension schemes divesting from companies complicit in Israel’s human rights violations.

Theresa May’s government thought they could just announce regulations to stop councils taking the ethical decision to divest from companies complicit in Israel’s human rights violations, but they were wrong.

Could you give £10 or more to help protect the right to boycott? (https://palestinecampaign.nationbuilder.com/donation)   (https://palestinecampaign.nationbuilder.com/donation)

In December 2016, the PSC applied to take the government to judicial review – arguing that the new regulations broke the law. The government sought to convince the court that the case had no merits. The government has lost that argument, and we will go to a full trial this summer. The judge described the case as of ‘significant public importance’ and ordered it to begin as soon as possible. You can read more about the case on the Middle East Monitor (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170316-british-government-on-trial-for-blocking-bds/) . But the real legal fight has only just begun.

The principle for us is clear - you can’t put a price on justice. But legal fees are costly. To make sure we can continue with our necessary campaign work during the case, we need to raise £100k. That’s why we’re setting up the PSC Fighting Fund.

This money will enable to us to pay for the best legal defence available, continue to raise our voices for Palestine in parliament, the media, trade unions, on the streets, and run effective campaigns against settlements, HP, child prisoners and so much more. It will also help us to challenge other attempts to close down campaigning, such as the attacks on student activism.

Can you contribute a few pounds to the PSC Fighting Fund? (https://palestinecampaign.nationbuilder.com/donation)

We know it’s a lot of money –but protecting our citizens’ rights to boycott and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people is necessary. We can’t allow the government get away with this.

The government is trying to pull a fast one on the people of Britain who care about Palestine – but we aren’t having it. Nobody is above the law, and that includes Theresa May’s government.

Please donate today! Help us protect our movement. (https://palestinecampaign.nationbuilder.com/donation)

Thank you for donating whatever you can. Your contribution and solidarity makes a real difference.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Establishment Canonisation of Former Labour MP Jo Cox

We are all sadly aware that although the Syrian Government and people have made great gains in recent months in liberating their country, the war still continues. There have been several suicide bombs in Damascus in recent weeks, including a massive one in Damascus Old Town yesterday which killed many people. It's no surprise that the Western mainstream media have said very little about these atrocities. It's important that we take note of the terrible crimes committed against Syria by the West in supporting terrorism there.

We will remember the frantic attempts by some British MPs to prolong the war by sending British places into Syria using the smokescreen of "creating a no-fly zone". Creating a no-fly zone is an act of war as it means shooting down aeroplanes belonging to the attacked nation as well as attacking ground-based air defences. Hilary Clinton made it clear before the Presidential Election that she wanted to create a no-fly zone and everyone knew what that meant. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Syria had (I don't know if it still exists) two co-chairs. One was Andrew Mitchell and he was the lead campaigner for a "no-fly zone". The other co-chair was Jo Cox. She also made it clear that she supported the White Helmets and we all know who they are. I mention these facts because the pro-war lobby in the UK has not yet given up. It seems it's seeking to organise a national campaign purportedly to venerate Jo Cox. Of course, it's main campaign is to support what she stood for. Her widower, Brendan Cox, was given a great deal of time on BBC Radio 4 to launch this enterprise. I complained about that to the BBC and my email of complaint, together with a reply from the BBC, is below.

Readers might wish to make their own points to the BBC.


Complaint Summary: Depiction of propaganda as news.

Full Complaint: On 22 February, the Today programme devoted much time to an 
interview with Brendan Cox, the widower of Jo Cox. Her tragic murder was given 
great coverage on the BBC at the time and subsequently. It made strenuous 
efforts to link the murder with the Referendum result which was extremely 
distasteful. Who was Jo Cox? The BBC knows more than I do but is not telling us. 
I do know that she described herself as "an aid worker for Syria". That 
description normally pertains to people interfering in the internal affairs of 
other countries. I suspect that she was aiding the terrorist forces in Syria 
which, of course, was and still is UK foreign policy. We do know that she was 
very active in the campaign to promote war against Syria. She was co-Chairman of 
the All Party Parliamentary Group on Syria whose other co-Chairman was Andrew 
Mitchell MP. The raison d'etre of that Group was to encourage the UK Government 
to use military action in Syria especially in creating a "no-fly zone". This is 
a euphemism for invading a country and attacking its territory and its defences. 
We know that Jo Cox promoted the group that calls itself White Helmets which is 
a particularly vicious terrorist group. It is hugely funded by the governments 
of the US, UK and France. I believe Ms Cox put forward the White Helmets as a 
candidate for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Although that prize has been awarded 
to many unpleasant people and organisations, it appears that dimwitted 
Norwegians thought that was a bit too far. However, the promoters of the White 
Helmets are still active and they succeeded in getting awarded some kind of 
prize in the Oscars last night under the heading of Short Documentary. That film 
is by no means a documentary. The makers admit that it was made in Turkey and 
those portrayed in it are clearly actors. I've just heard PM today (27 February 
2017) who described WH as a "civil defence organisation". It is nothing of the 
sort. Syria has a well-establish civil defence force.

Dear Mr Bennett

Reference CAS-4247723-WTPC4S

Thank you for contacting us regarding 'Today' on 22 February.

I understand you are unhappy with our section with Brendan Cox.

Brendan Cox was on the programme to talk about the community event that is being 
organised to mark the 1st anniversary of the death of his wife. This event will 
involve many organisations, and the plan is for it to involve millions of people 
across the country. We believe that the magnitude of this planned event merited 
he coverage that we gave it.

Your feedback is important to us and your concerns have been placed on an 
overnight report which is made available to senior management and the 'Today' 
production team. This report can be used to inform future broadcasting and 
policy decisions, so please be assured that your complaint has been sent to the 
right people.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind regards

David Currie

BBC Complaints Team


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Combating fake news from the BBC

I have been a little tardy in producing blog posts lately, but I hope to catch up...
Yesterday I received an email from the indefatigable Robert Stuart who campaigns vigorously against fake news, especially that created or promulgated by the BBC.

Here is Robert's email to me in full, together with the links he sent me within it:

Following Panorama editor Rachel Jupp's recent statement on 'Saving Syria's Children', prompted by the intervention of TV, film and radio producer Victor Lewis-Smith, the following online articles have been published:

  *   Is the BBC still lying over Syria footage? - Jonathan Cook, award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth (8 March 2017)
  *   BBC Panorama As Propaganda? Controversy over Saving Syria�s Children - Tim Hayward, Professor of Environmental Political Theory, Edinburgh University (9 March 2017)

Robert Stuart

Insight: Saving Syria's Children - The Worst Case Of Fake ...
Mike Robinson, Patrick Henningsen and campaigner Robert Stuart take a look at what is quite possibly the worst example of mainstream media fake news in histo...