From Morning Star: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman may project himself to simpering allies in Washington, London and Tel Aviv as the face of change, but domestic repression and war crimes in Yemen persist.
The Saudi military coalition, engaged in erasing all resistance in its southern neighbour, obliterated a bus in Saada province today, killing up to 39 people – the majority infants – and wounding another 43.
This massacre is merely the latest in a long list by the Saudi coalition, seeking to impose its will by terror bombing since its ground troops have failed so far to achieve its aim.
To improve its chances, Saudi Arabia and its coalition of corrupt Gulf kingdoms spend freely on weapons of mass destruction from Western powers, especially the US and Britain.
Britain’s Campaign Against the Arms Trade estimates that our Tory government has licensed £4.7 billion of arms to Saudi forces since the bombing campaign began in 2015, during which period 10,000 people have been killed.
From Morning Star: An all-party parliamentary group on drones has said the Tory government lacks a “clear policy and sound legal basis” for the use of unmanned weapons.
Britain’s involvement in the US-led bombing campaign directed at Isis in Syria and Iraq since 2014 had “raised some serious questions about the legality, efficacy and strategic coherence” of its drone programme, the MPs said.
The inquiry called on the government to immediately publish its “targeted killing” policy and establish an independent scrutiny mechanism that is answerable to Parliament whenever someone is killed by a drone — as such assassinations currently take place without any transparency or accountability.
Parliamentary concerns about the issue were raised in August 2015 when two British citizens accused of fighting for Isis, Junaid Hussain and Reyaad Khan, were killed by British drone strikes in Syria.
[Read full article on Morning Star website…]
From The Independent: Donald Trump and Theresa May have held hands once again, during the president’s visit to the UK.
[Read article on Independent website…]
From Evolve Politics: Despite famously telling a nurse who hadn’t had a pay rise in 8 years that there was no ‘magic money tree’, and in spite of 10 years of devastating cuts to vital public services such as the NHS and schools, the Conservative government have today promised a whopping £5m of taxpayer’s money specifically to enable Donald Trump to play golf during his planned visit to the UK later this month.
In a letter posted to Twitter, the Tory Treasury Secretary Liz Truss told the Scottish Government’s new Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, that the UK Conservative government would set aside the £5m needed to police Donald Trump, should the US President fancy playing a spot of golf at any of his resorts in Scotland.
Trump is reportedly planning to visit his luxury golf resort at Turnberry following his scheduled meeting with Theresa May later in July.
[Read full article on Evolve Politics…]
From Buzzfeed: “I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump,” Boris Johnson said. “I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”
“Imagine Trump doing Brexit,” Johnson said. “He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”
[Read full article on Buzzfeed…]
From The Guardian: Despite repeatedly embarrassing the British prime minister at a politically bruising G7 summit in Quebec, Donald Trump’s controversial visit to the UK next month would still appear to be on.
Theresa May insisted that she had exchanged warm greetings with the US president and he had said how much he was “looking forward” to his visit.
“We have a very good relationship with President Trump,” she said, after she had been challenged on his reported remarks that she was schoolmistressy and politically correct.
[Read full article on Guardian website…]
From RT: Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for a company that is the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since airstrikes in Syria.
The company, Capital Group, is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.
The fact has not gone unnoticed by some on Twitter, who agree that BAE Systems has done very well out of the UK-US-France allied airstrikes on Syria, which were sanctioned by Theresa May. It has been reported that the UK’s contribution to military strikes was to fire eight ‘Storm-Shadow’ missiles at an alleged chemical weapons facility, each of which cost £790,000 ($1.13 million) – totaling £6.32 million ($9 million). The missiles were manufactured by BAE Systems.
Theresa May’s husband has worked as a relationship manager for the research investment company Capital Group since 2005. The Tory-BAE links go even deeper, however. The former chancellor of the exchequer and present editor-in-chief at the Evening Standard, George Osborne’s other employer Black Rock is the fifth-largest shareholder in BAE Systems.
The latest news comes on the back of a recent deal agreed by BAE Systems and the Saudi government for the provisional sale of 48 Typhoon jets to the kingdom. The deal was welcomed by the relevant government officials from the UK and Saudi Arabia, who say it would help safeguard jobs. However, it was criticized by arms campaigners worried about the ongoing war in Yemen.
[Read full article on RT website…]
From The Guardian: Boris Johnson has been criticised for congratulating Hungary’s Viktor Orbán on his election victory, despite harsh criticism from international observers who noted the campaign’s intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric.
The foreign secretary tweeted congratulations to Orbán, who will now serve a third consecutive term as prime minister, having campaigned with his Fidesz party almost exclusively on an anti-migration platform.
“Congratulations to Fidesz and Viktor Orbán on winning the elections in Hungary,” Johnson tweeted. “We look forward to working with our Hungarian friends to further develop our close partnership.”
Within hours of Boris Johnson’s tweet, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticised the conduct seen during the Hungarian election campaign, saying there was “intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing”.
From Business Insider UK: Theresa May has been accused of secretly plotting to sell off the NHS after declining a request to rule out making the NHS part of any future post-Brexit trade deal with the US. The prime minister was asked by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable in the House of Commons to give an “absolute guarantee” that the NHS “will not be for sale” when the UK government begins negotiations with the Donald Trump administration.
However, May declined the opportunity, saying the UK did not yet know what “requirements” the US would make as part of any deal. “We are starting the discussions with the American administration,” May replied. “He doesn’t know what they are going to say in their requirements for that free trade agreements. We will go into those negotiations to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom.”
[Read full article on Business Insider UK website…]
From The New Arab: Theresa May has been urged to withdraw her invitation for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince to visit Britain over the kingdom’s human rights violations.
The visit, announced in December, is due in the coming weeks.
However, due to Saudi Arabia’s repressive policies against its citizens, and its bombing campaign in Yemen which created “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years” according to a senior UN official, several NGOs focusing on human rights in the Middle East signed a declaration on Tuesday asking the prime minister to cancel the visit.
“This visit will be regarded as an uncritical endorsement of the crown prince and the atrocities that his regime has inflicted on Yemen,” Andrew Smith, media spokesperson for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), told The New Arab.
From The Guardian: David Davis’s claim that the UK’s concessions in an agreement to move on the Brexit negotiations were merely a statement of intent has damaged trust and will see a hardening of positions in Brussels, the European parliament’s coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, has said.
The former Belgian prime minister claimed the Brexit secretary’s comments over the weekend were “unacceptable”, and undermined confidence in the British government’s trustworthiness.
The member states will now agree a tougher wording in their guidelines about the next stage of the talks, due to be signed off at a summit of leaders on Friday, Verhofstadt said.
From The Independent: Theresa May’s ties with Donald Trump are under intense pressure after the President promoted a British far-right extremist organisation to his 44 million social media followers.
[Read full story on Independent website…]
From The Guardian: Tory defence secretary Michael Fallon urged MPs to stop criticising Saudi Arabia in the interests of securing a fighter jet deal, provoking sharp criticism from human rights and arms trade campaigners.
Michael Fallon told the defence committee: “I have to repeat, sadly, to this committee that obviously other criticism of Saudi Arabia in this parliament is not helpful and … I’ll leave it there,” he said. “But we need to do everything possible to encourage Saudi Arabia towards batch two. I believe they will commit to batch two.” Read more
From LBC News: Progressive British MPs have accused Donald Trump of “fearmongering” and of making “inflammatory and ignorant statements” after he claimed a rise in UK crime was caused by “radical Islamic terror”.
[Read more on LBC website…]
From The Independent: Britain will “spread its wings across the world” with increased arms and equipment exports after Brexit, the Defence Secretary has said. Britain’s “clients” include totalitarian regimes and nations accused of perpetrating war crimes.
[Read full article on Independent website…]
From iNews: The Tory Government has been accused of inviting a “who’s who of human rights abusers” to the world’s largest defence and security fair opening in London next week.
[Read full article on iNews website…]
From Middle East Eye: Britain’s ruling Conservative Party came under fire for the 2011 intervention in Libya, while its own minister criticised Britain’s failures in Syria, during a foreign policy debate a week before the UK’s snap general election.
At a debate at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said she had not voted for the Nato intervention in 2011 that went on to “fundamentally destabilise Libya”.
She said the intervention had led to “a large amount of ungoverned space and that directly leads to us being less safe”.
[Read full article on Middle East Eye…]
From The Guardian: Jeremy Corbyn will return to campaigning for the general election on Friday morning after the pause following the Manchester bombing. He plans to give a speech criticising police cuts and drawing a link between British foreign policy and terror attacks.
With less than a fortnight until polling day, the Labour leader will tell an audience in London that a government led by his party would provide more resources for law enforcement and the NHS to ensure people were “not protected and cared for on the cheap”.
The longtime peace campaigner and former chair of the Stop the War coalition will also argue that it is the responsibility of government to ensure that “our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country”.
From The Independent: Theresa May would fire Britain’s nuclear weapons as a ‘first strike’ if necessary, the Defence Secretary has said.
[Read article on Independent website…]