Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Lid coming off on British involvement in torture at Guantanamo. They just couldn't miss out on doing a bit of waterboarding

According to two high court judges [Justices Thomas and Lloyd Jones] 'grave threats' were made by the US against the British Judiciary and state in general. The US said joint intelligence cooperation would be in danger - and specifically that this would include information related to national security. BBC TV's flagship Newsnight programme asks if British court report was re-written by Washington. Binyam Mohamed, a British resident and an innocent man, is still languishing in Guantanamo Bay. Of the over 500 people released so far from the torture camp only three, according to the security services, have been 'involved' in 'terror related activities'.

From the BBC
'No torture pressure' - Miliband

David Miliband said the UK government would not authorise torture

David Miliband has disputed claims by two judges that the US threatened to stop sharing intelligence with the UK over an alleged torture case.
In a ruling, the judges said the US had forced the UK to suppress information about Binyam Mohamed, a former UK resident who claims he was tortured.

Queen Mary sit-in ends with most demands met

From the QM occupation blog
Occupation Ends. The Fight Goes On
After being in Occupation for eight days, we have been victorious in achieving most of our demands.

More football protests

On Sunday, January 27th, after scoring a goal during Egypt’s victory over Sudan, Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Aboutreika revealed the shirt he had been wearing which bore the slogan “Sympathy for Gaza” in Arabic and English.

Unfortunately the player was reprimanded by the Confederation of African Football, although, as the blogger points out, nothing has happened to the Ghanaian player who waved an Israeli flag during the World Cup

Let the Palestinian people run their own affairs - including distribution of aid

The real question is why isn't the UN working with the government - Hamas in this case - to deliver the aid. Palestinians rely on UN relief but it doesn't mean they have to give up their sovereign right to run their own affairs. The western media reports seem to imply that Hamas is an entitiy beyond the civilian population when in fact they are of course one and the same, like all genuine resistance movements.
A UN spokesman said policemen raided a UN warehouse on Tuesday after officials refused to hand over the aid to a Hamas-controlled ministry.

From the BBC

The UN said it was the first time its aid had been confiscated by Hamas.

It condemned the action and demanded the goods be immediately returned. Hamas denied its men had taken any aid.

UN spokesman Christopher Gunness said Hamas police took 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels.

The Hamas Social Affairs Minister in Gaza, Ahmed al-Kurd, denied that members of the Islamist movement had removed aid from a UN building.

However, he said his ministry was in dispute with the UN relief agency about how aid should be distributed.

Just in case you missed it - the now famous Vanity Fair article exposing the US/Fatah coup attempt in Gaza

Vanity Fair April 2008 by David Rose
The Gaza Bombshell
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

BBC hit by more protests

Gaza protest at BBC in Aberdeen
About 25 protestors gathered outside BBC Scotland's Aberdeen office over a decision by the corporation not to air an aid appeal for the people of Gaza.

On Friday in Reading, south-east England, the Evening Post reports:

BBC boss greeted by protesters over Gaza

By Chine Mbubaegbu
4/ 2/2009

Protesters angry about the BBC’s decision not to air a Gaza appeal staged a demonstration when the broadcaster’s director general visited Caversham on Friday.

Beeb boss Mark Thompson was in Reading to open a new operations room at BBC Monitoring in Peppard Road.

EU envoy berates Israel for not letting in reconstruction equipment

But why does the EU play into the Israelis hands by still refusing to recognise Hamas as legitimate representatives of the people?

From Reuters
Gaza must be helped out of "hell" -- EU envoy
Israel must lift its ban on materials to rebuild Gaza after its offensive in a territory resembling "hell" where children have to sleep outside shattered homes, the European Union's Middle East envoy said on Tuesday.

"What encouragement to terrorism would it be to rebuild the sewage system, have clean water, have kids going to school, have clinics that work, have mothers delivering their babies in safe conditions?" Marc Otte asked following Israel's devastating 22-day assault in the Hamas-ruled territory.

"I hope we see flexibility soon because it's not acceptable to simply say to people that for political reasons they and their children have to sleep outside."

UK student activists conference this weekend

This is a national event being held at Birkbeck College in central London, organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

Egypt under massive political pressure to reopen border

From Reuters
Egypt is considering opening its border crossing with the Gaza Strip to allow in reconstruction materials blocked by Israel after its 22-day offensive, Hamas said on Tuesday following a round of talks in Cairo.

Lebanese aid ship nears Gaza - Iranian one boarded

From AP
Larnaca Port Manager Pampis Vassiliou said the Togo-flagged "Tali" carrying about 60 tons of medicine and food as well as eight activists and journalists left Cyprus for Gaza Wednesday morning after an overnight stopover at the port.

Meanwhile, the Iranian chartered (Cypriot flagged) aid ship the Monchegorskthat (pictured) was boarded by the US Navy last week has been searched by Cypriot port authorities and they have sent a report to the UN. The US claimed it had found some weapons on the vessel but was unable to confiscate them 'for legal reasons' - not that legal niceties have ever got in the way of Washington's 'war on terror' before.

See AP story here

And on the BBC
Some reports say the US military boarded the Cyprus-flagged Monchegorsk cargo ship in the Red Sea last month, but could not legally detain it or seize its cargo.

Israeli government gives green light for more settlements

I think Haaretz, and of course the Israeli government, should be reminded that ALL settlements on the West Bank are illegal.

From Haaretz
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to approve the establishment of a new settlement in the Binyamin region in return for settlers' agreement to evacuate the illegal outpost of Migron. The Migron settlers will move into the new 250-house settlement after leaving the illegal one they built on private Palestinian land.

Also this morning, Egypt has barred Al Jazeera journalists from crossing into Gaza this morning.