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#Covid #Vaccine #Dissent #YouTube #Algorithm: Meet The #Censored: #Ivermectin Critic David Fuller!

Meet The Censored: Ivermectin Critic David Fuller | Matt Taibbi | TK News | SCHEERPOST.COM | 2 Sep 2021

If Internet algorithms can’t tell the difference between criticism and advocacy, what’s safe to report?
Why one filmmaker believes
“YouTube is unfit for the purpose for hosting journalism!”

They fixed the problem, twice. That’s the good news. The first time filmmaker, former BBC and Channel 4 journalist, and Rebel Wisdom co-founder David Fuller put together a video criticizing ivermectin advocates was on August 4th. Called “Ivermectin For and Against,” it was taken down by YouTube, on the grounds that it constituted medical misinformation.

Fuller appealed the decision for a variety of reasons – more on those later – and won. He continued investigating the subject, and taking on the claims of ivermectin advocates, hoping to conclude with a video called “Vaccines and DarkHorse: A Final Word.” This last piece included footage of well-known ivermectin advocates Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, whose DarkHorse podcast was previously featured on this site after YouTube banned some of their material.

Of course, Fuller was including the DarkHorse clip – not one of the banned ones, incidentally – to criticize it, not endorse it. But the Google/YouTube algorithm appeared confused, and Fuller’s work was not only taken down, he was also given a strike under YouTube’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” program. He appealed again, but this time lost, leaving only one option: the media.

It’s an unfortunate fact, but the human beings at the Google/YouTube press team have repeatedly proven to be the last, best option for fixing errors in some of the more bizarre content moderation cases. In this instance, when I reached out to YouTube to ask if they’d made a mistake, and perhaps confused Fuller with the people he was criticizing, the company quickly fixed the glitch, unstruck the strike, and restored his video, with the statement:

Upon further review, we determined that videos posted by Rebel Wisdom and Peak Prosperity were incorrectly removed. The videos are not violative of our policies and as such they’ve been reinstated.

Problem solved, right?

Not exactly. Not only was Fuller’s case just one in a recent series of deletions and strikes doled out to makers of reports about Covid-19-related issues, but the episode showed how dicey even discussing any of these issues has become for independent media figures. Fuller has done plenty of work for mainstream outlets and could have done so with this topic, but intentionally went the alternative route to take on ivermectin.

“I deliberately chose to tell the story on Rebel Wisdom rather than pitching it to a legacy media outfit,” he says. “I didn’t want to give Bret’s fans the chance to paint it as an ‘MSM smear.’”

In other words, Fuller was making a conscious effort to use an independent editorial approach, as a means of side-stepping the credibility concerns that some audiences have with mainstream outlets.

The problem is, in its zeal to clamp down on “misinformation” about everything from vaccines to perhaps-potential alternative treatments like ivermectin, YouTube and other platforms have had to rely upon algorithmic tools that can’t distinguish between critique and advocacy. The end result is a media landscape where whole subjects may now be off-limits to outlets like Rebel Wisdom, who will continue to be in the dark about where YouTube considers the line between informing and “misinforming” to be, especially with complex subjects like Covid-19.

The ironies of Fuller’s situation in particular are myriad. First, he counts himself as a friend of both Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. Despite this, he’s taken strong exception to some of their claims about ivermectin, as well as some of the language they’ve employed with regard to criticisms of the safety and efficacy of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.

Fuller, however, is also a critic of the mainstream approach of dealing with such issues, which often involves simply deploying ad hominem insults at anyone with interest in ivermectin or concerns about vaccines. “The assumption that anyone who questions the vaccines is stupid is clearly wrong,” he wrote, in a recent Medium piece.

He adds now that “these topics, especially ivermectin, have become swallowed whole as culture war signifiers.” As a result, “we’re now in a world where the mainstream won’t ‘platform’ alternative claims for fear of ‘false equivalence’ and are trying to keep alive a broken system of gatekeeping.” Fuller believes this is counter-productive, and his idea is to meet issues head on, including as much relevant information as he can, even if he ultimately comes down strongly against ivermectin and in favor of vaccines.

“This is how this is supposed to work, back and forth, ideas tested in the marketplace,” he says. “If they’re not tested, then it’s not a marketplace.”

In videos like “Ivermectin For and Against,” he set up a debate of sorts between a proponent of ivermectin in Dr. Tess Lawrie and people taking the opposite position, like Australian researcher Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz and emergency room doctor Graham Walker. These were, as he describes it, “medical figures who disagreed with [Lawrie’s] read of the evidence.” Rather than just insult people, he used an approach that he calls “balanced and journalistic.”

Nonetheless, that “balanced” approach earned a YouTube ban, which puzzled Fuller. “When I read through their guidance, there was no exception for journalistic treatment of a subject,” he says. “Even though I quizzed the interviewee pretty hard and pushed back, the rules were written in such a way that it didn’t matter what the interviewer did. That’s pretty screwed, in my view, [that] they’re unable to distinguish between a puff piece and a grilling.”

Fuller notes that the guidance does have a section that reads:

But that guidance isn’t terribly specific, and given that he himself received a strike despite adding plenty of “additional context,” it’s not clear if YouTube’s algorithm is capable of enforcing its own terms.

Fuller is the third straight journalist on whose behalf TK has (seemingly successfully) intervened with YouTube/Google, whose press team is courteous and responsive. The first involved Canadian broadcaster Paul Jay, while the second was a bizarre story we ended up not running (I’ll leave the convoluted explanation on that one for another day) involving a well-known investigative site that was not-so-humorously misidentified as adult content. The principals of all three of these outlets are glad their problems were fixed, but they’re also all decidedly unsure if corrective action by Google/YouTube’s press department leaves things better, or worse.

In Fuller’s case, he notes, “the appeal process was done. They only reviewed it because the press team got involved. Most people wouldn’t have levers they can pull in this situation.”

As another reporter caught up in one of these controversies put it, “This is the issue with monopoly companies. If we’re going to let them have monopoly market share, they should be forced to invest in real customer service, so fixing this kind of thing doesn’t depend on knowing someone in the media.”

Though Fuller and I disagree about whether or not things like demonetization of DarkHorse count as censorship, and whether such suppression works or is warranted, both his and Weinstein’s episodes are identical in showing for umpteenth time that algorithms simply cannot be depended upon to sort out the subtleties of public discussion about complex topics.

Moreover, once companies like YouTube get into the business of litigating what is and is not dangerous in a public health debate, they will inevitably make the mistake of deleting true information about drugs like ivermectin or facts about potential dangers (no matter how remote) of vaccines, either out of fear of the aforementioned “false equivalence” or concern that admitting certain truths will seem too much like affirmative advocacy.

Once companies take that step, it tends to have the impact of further convincing people that they’re being lied to by mainstream news and partners in Silicon Valley, which in turn might lead to urging people in the opposite direction of the content moderators’ intent. This Internet version of the Streisand effect is one of the reasons I’ve been against censoring proponents of drugs like ivermectin, but the much bigger reason is that any strategy based on bans inevitably leads to oversimplifications and groupthink that are easily seen through by audiences.

Fuller takes on issues like ivermectin by not succumbing to silly caricatures, and focusing on challenging specific assertions, like that ivermectin is “something like 100% effective as a prophylactic.” Fuller takes serious issue with such claims, but his solution is to try to confront proponents with more information, and show audiences the results of such exchanges.

This, however, is harder to do, when such an approach might earn an outlet like Rebel Wisdom a strike from YouTube. I asked Fuller his thoughts on the episode:

TK: After your first ban, when you looked at YouTube’s rules, you say you found there was “no exception in their guidance for journalistic treatment.” What did you understand that to mean? Did you think it meant you can’t criticize people like Weinstein?

Fuller: No, this [latest] film being taken down came totally out of the blue. It was the previous “Ivermectin For and Against” film that was taken down (I assume algorithmically flagged) and put up on appeal that made sense.

Bret had his film with Pierre Kory taken down, and lots of people framed it as that you couldn’t ‘discuss’ ivermectin on YouTube. However, I thought that he was blurring the line between discussion, and advocacy of particular treatments, in particular claiming that IVM was “100% effective” as a prophylactic, based on one study from Argentina (Carvallo), which would clearly suggest people should take it in lieu of vaccines. (Incidentally that study has now been shown to be at the very least fundamentally flawed, and may not even have taken place). 

So I made a film that showed both sides and challenged the Ivermectin advocate Tess Lawrie. It also featured two medical figures making the counter argument. It was still taken down, and when I checked the YouTube guidance, it was clear there was no exceptions for challenging questions/journalistic pushback/balanced pieces… From the way the guidance is written, the fact that I challenged her points seemingly doesn’t factor in. So they were within their rights to take it down, but they ended up restoring it on appeal, again with no information as to why.

If this current film was taken down because it had the clips from Bret’s film with Steve Kirsch in it, then this would also demonstrate that it’s dangerous to feature controversial content/figures even if you are critiquing them. However, I guess we don’t know if that was the reason.

TK: They reinstated you on appeal once, and now have done it again after a press query. Does that restore your confidence in this system? 

Fuller: Absolutely not. There is no transparency in the system at all. I still don’t know why either of these films was taken down, or reinstated. I’m lucky that I have a level of profile and experience as a journalist that I have more weight when I appeal, or that this gets taken up by other journalists, but as a content creator trying to tackle some of the biggest and most important topics there are, and topics I would argue the mainstream is failing at right now, then you are constantly walking a line that seems to move randomly.

I would argue that I have put together the most detailed investigation into both ivermectin and the vaccine claims that exists at the moment. With ivermectin the mainstream is still dismissively talking about “horse dewormer” and assuming that anyone taking ivermectin is stupid, and has failed to tackle the vaccine claims in any depth. 

I also put out one of the most important news-making interviews on the topic, where former member of Pierre Kory’s FLCCC, Eric Osgood MD, spoke out for the first time about his concerns that the case for IVM had been hijacked by anti-vaccine activists.

I deliberately published my work privately through Rebel Wisdom as I wanted to avoid any suggestions that this was an “MSM smear” and reach as many “vaccine hesitant” people as possible. I could have pitched more widely, I have bylines in BBC/Economist/Guardian and more. But YouTube have made it extremely difficult to do genuine journalism on their platform.

TK: Why is it important to show source material? As a filmmaker, what’s the difference between showing something and summarizing something? 

Fuller: The viewer needs to see the source material to understand how something was said, and the context. Clips tell the story in a way that summarizing would never do.

TK: What lessons do you take away from this experience? 

Fuller: That YouTube is unfit for the purpose for hosting journalism, and that their moderation system is secretive, random and very disrespectful to creators who have made large amounts of money for the company. I still have no idea why any of these films was taken down or why.

_________
source

#RFK assassin #Sirhan Sirhan wins parole with support of 2 #Kennedys

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP By JULIE WATSON and BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press Richmond Times Dispatch SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin was granted parole Friday after two of RFK’s sons spoke in favor of Sirhan Sirhan’s release and prosecutors declined to argue he should be kept behind bars.The decision was a major victory for the 77-year-old prisoner, though it does not assure his release.

The ruling by the two-person panel at Sirhan’s 16th parole hearing will be reviewed over the next 90 days by the California Parole Board’s staff. Then it will be sent to the governor, who will have 30 days to decide whether to grant it, reverse it or modify it.Douglas Kennedy, who was a toddler when his father was gunned down in 1968, said he was moved to tears by Sirhan’s remorse and he should be released if he’s not a threat to others.“I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face,” he said. “I think I’ve lived my life both in fear of him and his name in one way or another. And I am grateful today to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love.

”The New York senator and brother of President John F. Kennedy was a Democratic presidential candidate when he was gunned down June 6, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after delivering a victory speech in the pivotal California primary.Sirhan, who was convicted of first-degree murder, has said he doesn’t remember the killing.His lawyer, Angela Berry, argued that the board should base its decision on who Sirhan is today.Prosecutors declined to participate or oppose his release under a policy by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, a former police officer who took office last year after running on a reform platform. Gascón, who said he idolized the Kennedys and mourned RFK’s assassination, believes the prosecutors’ role ends at sentencing and they should not influence decisions to release prisoners.That decision is best left to board members who can evaluate whether Sirhan has been rehabilitated and can be released safely, Gascón told The Associated Press earlier this year. Relitigating a case decades after a crime should not be the job of prosecutors, even in notorious cases, he said.Sirhan has served 53 years for the murder of the New York senator and brother of President John F. Kennedy.

RFK was a Democratic presidential candidate when he was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after delivering a victory speech in the pivotal California primary.Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian from Jordan, has acknowledged he was angry at Kennedy for his support of Israel.When asked about how he feels about the Middle East conflict today, Sirhan broke down crying and temporarily couldn’t speak.“Take a few deep breaths,” said Barton, who noted the conflict had not gone away and still touched a nerve.Sirhan said he doesn’t follow what’s going on in the region but thinks about the suffering of refugees.“The misery that those people are experiencing. It’s painful,” Sirhan said.If released, Sirhan could be deported to Jordan, and Barton said he was concerned he might become a “symbol or lightning rod to foment more violence.”Sirhan said he was too old to be involved in the Middle East conflict and would detach himself from it.“The same argument can be said or made that I can be a peacemaker, and a contributor to a friendly nonviolent way of resolving the issue,” Sirhan said.Paul Schrade, who was wounded in the shooting, also spoke in favor of his release.Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has spoken in favor of Sirhan’s release in the past, wrote in favor of paroling Sirhan. […]

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan wins parole with support of 2 Kennedys — The Most Revolutionary Act

Via https://richmond.com/news/national/rfk-assassin-sirhan-sirhan-wins-parole-with-support-of-2-kennedys/article_63d097d5-c6b2-51ba-add0-b1e6dff0a830.html

ALSO SEE:
“In a 2018 interview with The Washington Post, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that he travelled to the Richard J. Donovan correctional facility in California to meet with Sirhan, and that, after a relatively lengthy conversation (the details of which he would not disclose), believed that Sirhan did not kill his father and that a second gunman was involved.”
https://t.co/ddVRPdOErC?amp=1

#Espionage: #ZioTheft of #US #Nuclear Technology: #Israeli #Nuke Arsenal isn’t Secret Anymore! #IMPUNITY #WagTheDog

Israel’s Secret Arsenal: It’s Not So Secret Anymore | Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19 Aug 2021

Israel has been allowed to get away with massive espionage directed against the U.S. and the theft of material and technology, Phil Giraldi writes.

Few Americans are aware of the fact that no U.S. government official, to include congressmen, can in any way mention or discuss Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated by some observers to consist of as many as 200 tactical nuclear weapons which can be delivered on target by air, land or sea. The prohibition is spelled out in a Department of Energy “classification bulletin” graded Secret, which was issued on September 6, 2012 and bears the file number WPN-136. The subject line reads “Guidance on Release of information Relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability.” It would be interesting to learn exactly how the text of the memo reads, but in spite of repeated attempts to obtain a copy under the Freedom of Information Act, the entire body of the document is completely blacked out.

What is known in that the memo is basically a gag order, presumably issued by the Barack Obama Administration to block any official from making a comment that might be interpreted to mean that the federal government recognizes that Israel has nuclear weapons. The silence over the Israeli arsenal dates back to an agreement made by President Richard Nixon with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In its most recent manifestation, President Barack Obama, when asked if he knew of “any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons,” responded “I don’t want to speculate.” He was, of course, lying.

The bulletin’s first known victim was Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear policy specialist James Doyle who in 2013 wrote a sentence suggesting that Israel had a nuclear arsenal. It appeared in an article entitled “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?” which had been security cleared by Los Alamos and appeared in the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. An unknown congressional staffer demanded a review and Doyle had his home computer searched before being fired.

Israel, as is so often the case, gets a free pass on what is for others criminal behavior. Its nuclear program was created by stealing American uranium and weapons technology. Preventing nuclear proliferation was in fact a major objective of the U.S. government when in the early 1960s President John F. Kennedy learned that Tel Aviv was developing a nuclear weapon from a CIA report. He told the Israelis to terminate their program or risk losing American political and economic support but was killed before any steps were taken to end the project.

Israel accelerated its nuclear program after the death of President Kennedy. By 1965, it had obtained the raw material for a bomb consisting of U.S. government owned highly enriched weapons grade uranium obtained from a company in Pennsylvania called NUMEC, which was founded in 1956 and owned by Zalman Mordecai Shapiro, head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. NUMEC was a supplier of enriched uranium for government projects but it was also from the start a front for the Israeli nuclear program, with its chief funder David Lowenthal, a leading Zionist, traveling to Israel at least once a month where he would meet with an old friend Meir Amit, who headed Israeli intelligence. NUMEC covered the shipment of enriched uranium to Israel by claiming the metal was “lost,” losses that totaled nearly six hundred pounds, enough to produce dozens of weapons. Such was the importance of the operation that in 1968 NUMEC even received a private incognito visit from a top Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan who later ran the spy Jonathan Pollard.

Also there was physical evidence relating to the diversion of the uranium. Refined uranium has a technical signature that permit identification of its source. Traces of uranium from NUMEC were identified by Department of Energy inspectors in Israel in 1978. The Central Intelligence Agency has also looked into the diversion of enriched uranium from the NUMEC plant and concluded that it was part of a broader program to obtain the technology and raw materials for a nuclear device for Israel.

With the uranium in hand, the stealing of the advanced technology needed to make a nuclear weapon, which is where Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchan comes into the story. Milchan was born in Israel but moved to the United States and eventually wound up as the founder-owner of New Regency Films. In a November 25, 2013 interview on Israeli television Milchan admitted that he had spent his many years in Hollywood as an agent for Israeli intelligence, helping obtain embargoed technologies and materials that enabled Israel to develop a nuclear weapon. He worked for Israel’s Bureau of Science and Liaison acquisition division of Mossad, referred to as the LAKAM spy agency.

Milchan admitted in the interview that “I did it for my country and I’m proud of it.” He was not referring to the United States. He also said that “other big Hollywood names were connected to [his] covert affairs.” Among other successes, he obtained through his company Heli Trading 800 krytons, the sophisticated triggers for nuclear weapons. The devices were acquired from the California top secret defense contractor MILCO International. Milchan personally recruited MILCO’s president Richard Kelly Smyth as an agent before turning him over to another Heli Trading employee, future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for handling. Smyth was eventually arrested in 1985 but insofar as is known neither Milchan nor Netanyahu has ever been questioned by the FBI regarding the thefts.

Israel’s nukes are now in the news because of an Op-Ed that surprisingly appeared in the New York Times on August 11th written by Peter Beinart entitled “America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes.” Beinart wrote that “Israel already has nuclear weapons. You’d just never know it from America’s leaders, who have spent the last half-century feigning ignorance. This deceit undercuts America’s supposed commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and it distorts the American debate over Iran. It’s time for the Biden administration to tell the truth.”

Beinart points out that the American public can hardly make an informed judgement regarding what should be done in the Middle East if it is uncertain whether Israel is a nuclear power or not, but one issue he does not discuss is the issue of money. IRMEP’s Grant Smith, who has been challenging the secrecy surrounding the Israeli arsenal, recently observed that 

“The Symington & Glenn provisions of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC §2799aa-1: Nuclear reprocessing transfers, illegal exports for nuclear explosive devices, transfers of nuclear explosive devices, and nuclear detonations) forbid U.S. foreign aid to countries with nuclear weapons programs that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, absent required special procedures …”

But no member of Congress has taken up this issue — or even mentioned Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal.”

Smith is frustrated by the reluctance of progressives in Congress, who have opposed recent additional $735 million in military aid to Israel permitting it to rearm after its assault on the Gazans, to ignore the gag order and raise the issue of the nuclear arsenal. He writes “It seems as though even these members of Congress, as well as the rest of the U.S. government, are abiding by this secret gag order when they could take action which would challenge the administration’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons and possibly stop $3.8 billion in taxpayer money from going to Israel.”

That the Energy Department document exists at all is recognition of the astonishing power of the Israeli Lobby over the U.S. government at all levels, particularly as it is intended to ignore or even negate other legislation passed by congress to combat nuclear proliferation. And the denial of what everyone knows to be true, i.e. that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, appears to all come down to the ability of the United States government to continue to reward a wealthy Israel with billions of dollars of taxpayer money every year. To suggest that the arrangement is nefarious would be to put it mildly, but it is more that that. It is criminal. Israel has been allowed to get away with massive espionage directed against the United States and the theft of material and technology while also since the 1970s being engaged in a conspiracy with the U.S. government that distorts America’s foreign policy, largely done to keep getting the billions of dollars that it is not entitled to receive under existing American law. It is shameful. Beyond that, it might be construed as treason.

Also by this author Philip GIRALDIPh.D.,
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.


Washington’s Clueless Ambassadors: Damaging American Interests Is Their Legacy

Washington’s Terrorist Friends: Prominent Americans Continue to Support a Murderous Cult

Another Israeli Spy Story: When Will It End?

Whither Afghanistan? Getting Out Is Harder Than Getting In

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

__________
source

ALSO SEE:

Secret gag order hides Israel’s espionage & theft of US nuclear technology | ALISON WEIR  | IF AMERICANS KNEW | AUGUST 19, 2021  

Tags: ARNON MILCHANDAVID LOWENTHALESPIONAGEHOLLYWOODJAMES DOYLEJFKNEW REGENCY FILMSNUMECSPIELBERGZALMAN MORDECAI SHAPIROZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA

Secret gag order hides Israel’s espionage & theft of US nuclear technology

Producer Arnon Milchan and Director Steven Spielberg attend the 88th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball, February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. Milchan says he spent his many years in Hollywood as an agent for Israeli intelligence, helping obtain embargoed technologies and materials that enabled Israel to develop a nuclear weapon. He says that “other big Hollywood names were connected to [his] covert affairs.” (PHOTO: Hollywood Reporter)

A classified 2012 gag order issued under Obama prohibits all governmental officials, including Congress members, from mentioning Israel’s nuclear arsenal…

Israel has been allowed to get away with massive espionage directed against the US and the theft of material and technology – while also being engaged in a conspiracy that distorts America’s foreign policy, largely done to keep getting the billions of dollars that it is not entitled to receive under existing American law

This might be construed as treason…

By Philip Giraldi, reposted from Strategic Culture (images and annotations added by IAK)

Few Americans are aware of the fact that no U.S. government official, to include congressmen, can in any way mention or discuss Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated by some observers to consist of as many as 200 tactical nuclear weapons which can be delivered on target by air, land or sea.

The prohibition is spelled out in a Department of Energy “classification bulletin” graded Secret, which was issued on September 6, 2012 and bears the file number WPN-136. The subject line reads “Guidance on Release of information Relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability.” It would be interesting to learn exactly how the text of the memo reads, but in spite of repeated attempts to obtain a copy under the Freedom of Information Act, the entire body of the document is completely blacked out.

What is known in that the memo is basically a gag order, presumably issued by the Barack Obama Administration to block any official from making a comment that might be interpreted to mean that the federal government recognizes that Israel has nuclear weapons. The silence over the Israeli arsenal dates back to an agreement made by President Richard Nixon with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In its most recent manifestation, President Barack Obama, when asked if he knew of “any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons,” responded “I don’t want to speculate.” He was, of course, lying.

The bulletin’s first known victim was Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear policy specialist James Doyle who in 2013 wrote a sentence suggesting that Israel had a nuclear arsenal. It appeared in an article entitled “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?” which had been security cleared by Los Alamos and appeared in the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. An unknown congressional staffer demanded a review and Doyle had his home computer searched before being fired. [This article has been removed from the IISS website, but is archived here.]

Israel defies Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. JFK told Israel to terminate its nuclear program but was killed before any steps were taken to end the project. (Ha’aretz)

Israel, as is so often the case, gets a free pass on what is for others criminal behavior. Its nuclear program was created by stealing American uranium and weapons technology. Preventing nuclear proliferation was in fact a major objective of the U.S. government when in the early 1960s President John F. Kennedy learned that Tel Aviv was developing a nuclear weapon from a CIA report. He told the Israelis to terminate their program or risk losing American political and economic support but was killed before any steps were taken to end the project.

Lowenthal and Shapiro (of Zionist Organization of America) funneled enriched uranium to Israel

Israel accelerated its nuclear program after the death of President Kennedy. By 1965, it had obtained the raw material for a bomb consisting of U.S. government owned highly enriched weapons grade uranium obtained from a company in Pennsylvania called NUMEC, which was founded in 1956 and owned by Zalman Mordecai Shapiro, head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. NUMEC was a supplier of enriched uranium for government projects but it was also from the start a front for the Israeli nuclear program, with its chief funder David Lowenthal, a leading Zionist, traveling to Israel at least once a month where he would meet with an old friend Meir Amit, who headed Israeli intelligence. NUMEC covered the shipment of enriched uranium to Israel by claiming the metal was “lost,” losses that totaled nearly six hundred pounds, enough to produce dozens of weapons. Such was the importance of the operation that in 1968 NUMEC even received a private incognito visit from a top Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan who later ran the spy Jonathan Pollard.

Also there was physical evidence relating to the diversion of the uranium. Refined uranium has a technical signature that permit identification of its source. Traces of uranium from NUMEC were identified by Department of Energy inspectors in Israel in 1978. The Central Intelligence Agency has also looked into the diversion of enriched uranium from the NUMEC plant and concluded that it was part of a broader program to obtain the technology and raw materials for a nuclear device for Israel.

Israel steals US nuclear technology

Embed from Getty Imageshttps://embed.smartframe.net/s/baeeb00ba17010131e44c0e4ef9b7f2e/53036003.html?source=aHR0cHM6Ly9pc3JhZWxwYWxlc3RpbmVuZXdzLm9yZy9zZWNyZXQtZ2FnLW9yZGVyLWhpZGVzLWlzcmFlbHMtZXNwaW9uYWdlLXRoZWZ0LW9mLXVzLW51Y2xlYXItdGVjaG5vbG9neS8.#0about:blank

Milchan with News Corp. President/Chief operating officer Peter Chernin and Co-Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment Tom Rothman at the premiere of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” on June 7, 2005. Both Chernin and Rothman are Israel partisans. In 2008 Chernin presented Milchan with a lifetime achievement award at an event honoring Israel, and during Israel’s 2014 onslaught against Gazans, Rothman signed a pro-Israel letter.

With the uranium in hand, the stealing of the advanced technology needed to make a nuclear weapon, which is where Hollywood movie producer Arnon Milchan comes into the story. Milchan was born in Israel but moved to the United States and eventually wound up as the founder-owner of New Regency Films. In a November 25, 2013 interview on Israeli television Milchan admitted that he had spent his many years in Hollywood as an agent for Israeli intelligence, helping obtain embargoed technologies and materials that enabled Israel to develop a nuclear weapon. He worked for Israel’s Bureau of Science and Liaison acquisition division of Mossad, referred to as the LAKAM spy agency.

Milchan admitted in the interview that “I did it for my country and I’m proud of it.” He was not referring to the United States. He also said that “other big Hollywood names were connected to [his] covert affairs.” Among other successes, he obtained through his company Heli Trading 800 krytons, the sophisticated triggers for nuclear weapons. The devices were acquired from the California top secret defense contractor MILCO International. Milchan personally recruited MILCO’s president Richard Kelly Smyth as an agent before turning him over to another Heli Trading employee, future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for handling. Smyth was eventually arrested in 1985 but insofar as is known neither Milchan nor Netanyahu has ever been questioned by the FBI regarding the thefts.

Israel’s nukes are now in the news because of an Op-Ed that surprisingly appeared in the New York Times on August 11th written by Peter Beinart entitled “America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes.” Beinart wrote that “Israel already has nuclear weapons. You’d just never know it from America’s leaders, who have spent the last half-century feigning ignorance. This deceit undercuts America’s supposed commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and it distorts the American debate over Iran. It’s time for the Biden administration to tell the truth.”

Beinart points out that the American public can hardly make an informed judgement regarding what should be done in the Middle East if it is uncertain whether Israel is a nuclear power or not, but one issue he does not discuss is the issue of money.

US aid to Israel illegal under US law

IRMEP’s Grant Smith, who has been challenging the secrecy surrounding the Israeli arsenal, recently observed that “The Symington & Glenn provisions of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC §2799aa-1: Nuclear reprocessing transfers, illegal exports for nuclear explosive devices, transfers of nuclear explosive devices, and nuclear detonations) forbid U.S. foreign aid to countries with nuclear weapons programs that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, absent required special procedures… But no member of Congress has taken up this issue — or even mentioned Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal.”

Progressive Congress members abiding by gag order?

Smith is frustrated by the reluctance of progressives in Congress, who have opposed recent additional $735 million in military aid to Israel permitting it to rearm after its assault on the Gazans, to ignore the gag order and raise the issue of the nuclear arsenal.

He writes “It seems as though even these members of Congress, as well as the rest of the U.S. government, are abiding by this secret gag order when they could take action which would challenge the administration’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons and possibly stop $3.8 billion in taxpayer money from going to Israel.”

That the Energy Department document exists at all is recognition of the astonishing power of the Israeli Lobby over the U.S. government at all levels, particularly as it is intended to ignore or even negate other legislation passed by congress to combat nuclear proliferation. And the denial of what everyone knows to be true, i.e. that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, appears to all come down to the ability of the United States government to continue to reward a wealthy Israel with billions of dollars of taxpayer money every year.

To suggest that the arrangement is nefarious would be to put it mildly, but it is more that that. It is criminal. Israel has been allowed to get away with massive espionage directed against the United States and the theft of material and technology while also since the 1970s being engaged in a conspiracy with the U.S. government that distorts America’s foreign policy, largely done to keep getting the billions of dollars that it is not entitled to receive under existing American law. It is shameful. Beyond that, it might be construed as treason.


[Because of the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, US politicians from both parties consistently vote to give Israel over $10 million per day of Americans’ tax money. To tell Congress to stop sending this money to Israel, go here.]


Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. He is currently executive director of the Council for the National Interest, which seeks to promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

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Yours Truly, Beast Rabban, Now Falls Victim to the Ultra-Zionist Witch Hunters

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I suppose it had to come and in truth, I’m not really surprised. Indeed, I’ve been half expecting it. I am, after all, a man of the Labour left. I have made no secret that I support a nationalised and properly funded NHS, nationalised utilities, strong trade unions, proper workers’ rights, a living wage, as well as ‘Communist’ policies like worker involvement in management in firms of a certain size, and a special workers’ chamber in parliament. Because 77 per cent of MPs are billionaires and precious few members of Britain’s great working and lower middle classes. And while I am bitterly critical of Black Lives Matter and much of the current anti-racism ideology, I have Black, Jewish, Asian and Muslim friends and relatives. And so I despise the rising prejudices against these ethnicities and religions in the Labour party under Keir Starmer. I have also been a critic of…

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#UK: Man gets 15-months suspended prison term at #FamilyLaw #hearing blasted by critics as return to #secrecy in #FamilyCourts!

Justice fears as father is sentenced in secret ruling: Man gets 15-months suspended prison term at hearing blasted by critics as return to secrecy in family courts |  STEVE DOUGHTY | THE DAILY MAIL | 6 Aug 2021

  • 15-month suspended sentence was delivered anonymously despite firm rules  
  • Ruling came after he defied judge’s order to stop making contact with sons
  • It appears to run directly against open justice rules established eight years ago

A father of three was sentenced to prison at a hearing described by campaigners as a return to secrecy in the family courts.

The 15-month suspended sentence was delivered anonymously despite firm rules to judges they should never give prison or suspended terms without naming the individual.

The ruling came after the man repeatedly defied a judge’s order to stop trying to make contact with his sons. Open justice campaigners criticised the decision and yesterday senior judges launched an inquiry into the suppression of the father’s name.

The ruling by Judge Gillian Matthews QC appears to run directly against open justice rules established eight years ago that say no adult should be handed a prison sentence in the family courts without being publicly named.

The ruling by Judge Gillian Matthews QC appears to run directly against open justice rules established eight years ago that say no adult should be handed a prison sentence in the family courts without being publicly named
The ruling by Judge Gillian Matthews QC appears to run directly against open justice rules established eight years ago that say no adult should be handed a prison sentence in the family courts without being publicly named

The order that family courts and the linked Court of Protection should stop sending adults to jail in secret was laid down in 2013 after the Daily Mail exposed the case of Wanda Maddocks – a woman sentenced to jail anonymously after she tried to remove her father from a care home where she thought his life was in danger.

Officials said Judge Matthews’ decision would be removed from the published roll of court rulings until she had explained why the sentencing was anonymous.

In her sentencing, Judge Matthews identified the father only as JE and her ruling is headed: ‘Anonymisation applies.’

She said the ‘judgment was delivered in private,’ and that ‘the anonymity of the children and members of their family must be strictly preserved’.

Judge Matthews said the father had repeatedly tried to contact his children despite a court ruling that he should not do so.

She added he had been banned from phone contact following ‘wild and inappropriate comments in his letters to the boys’ and that he had tried to contact them indirectly through a friend.The order that family courts and the linked Court of Protection should stop sending adults to jail in secret was laid down in 2013 after the Daily Mail exposed the case of Wanda Maddocks (pictured) – a woman sentenced to jail anonymously after she tried to remove her father from a care home where she thought his life was in dangerThe order that family courts and the linked Court of Protection should stop sending adults to jail in secret was laid down in 2013 after the Daily Mail exposed the case of Wanda Maddocks (pictured) – a woman sentenced to jail anonymously after she tried to remove her father from a care home where she thought his life was in danger

Her sentence follows an earlier nine-month prison term imposed on the father in December 2019 after he snatched the three boys from their mother.

The children were taken back from him by police who stopped his Mercedes on the M4. At the 2019 sentencing, Judge Matthews did allow him to be publicly named.

In her new ruling, given in Middlesbrough, the judge imposed a 15-month suspended sentence – which included nine months for contempt of court in 2019 and six months for attempts to contact the children last year and to pass them a SIM card earlier this year.

The father will be taken directly to jail if he makes any attempt to contact his sons over the next two years.

The judge added that his attempt to use another child to contact his sons was ‘wicked’. The father, who has consistently failed to co-operate with the court, was not present.

Family courts have historically been conducted in secret but have allowed a measure of public scrutiny over the past decade following a series of scandals.

However, under the current chief family judge, president of the family division Sir Andrew McFarlane, secrecy rules intended to protect children from being publicly identified have been tightened.

When family court judgments are published, social workers, medical witnesses and even the names of local councils are now suppressed.

Transparency campaigner John Hemming said: ‘We had hoped that the principle of open justice had been established.

‘A few years ago, family judges were instructed that the principle applied and they cannot send people to prison without naming them. Now that is taken away.

‘It is a disgrace that people can be sent to jail anonymously and not for their own benefit. This undermines open justice and public confidence in the law.’

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#UK #Constitutionality #Accountability #Corruption #Impunity: Death of the Last Good Chap! #WrittenConstitution overdue? #FoxesRunningTheHenhouse!

The Death of the Last Good Chap | Gavin Esler | BYLINE TIMES | 3 Aug 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street, after meeting the Queen and accepting her invitation to form a new government on 13 December 2019. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Reuters/Alamy

Why do those in positions of power now evade accountability despite numerous examples of incompetence, dangerous liaisons, lies, and even corruption at the heart of Boris Johnson’s Government? Because the British political system allows them to, says Gavin Esler

The most celebrated British legal figure of the 20th Century, Lord Denning, was the last English judge to have the right to stay in his job for life. He often joked that he had “every Christian virtue, except resignation”, but Denning also embodied something that the English political historian Peter Hennessy once called – with a pinch of humour – the ‘Good Chap’ theory of government.

Hennessy argued that a major tradition in English public life was for judges, government ministers and other “chaps” (of course, always “chaps”) to recognise the limits of their powers, even if there were no rules written down in law or codified in a formal constitution. 

“The British Constitution is a state of mind,” Hennessy wrote. “It requires a sense of restraint all round to make it work.”

When “good chaps” crossed some invisible line and abused their power, they did what good chaps do – they quit. Peter Carrington, Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary resigned as a result of the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falklands, even though he was cleared of wrongdoing. Lord Carrington felt that someone in government had to bear responsibility for a major policy failure. But that was then.

Hennessy and other constitutional experts have now been forced to reconsider what happens if those in positions of power do not resign despite embarrassing examples of incompetence, dangerous liaisons, lies and even corruption.

In the aftermath of the 2016 EU Referendum, Hennessy and a colleague, Andrew Blick, began to worry that the good chaps were becoming extinct. By 2019, they wrote: “If general standards of good behaviour among senior UK politicians can no longer be taken for granted, then neither can the sustenance of key constitutional principles.”

Blick went on to argue: “This perspective could lead to a number of possible activities, which would tend to have constitutional implications. They might include heavy politicisation of public appointments; the targeting of the rights of unpopular minority groups; the creation and deployment of excessively broad delegated executive powers; legislative ouster clauses restricting the potential for judicial review of those powers; attempts to bypass standards of propriety involving the use of public money to the benefit of political allies; misuse of emergency powers; and efforts to curb unfavourable media coverage (perhaps focused on public broadcasters).”

Does any of this sound familiar?

British “government sources” and their friends in the media have floated various ideas to “crackdown” on judges, public service broadcasters – the BBC and Channel 4 – and to make significant public appointments from their own political tribe. They have targeted the rights of unpopular minority groups, especially migrants. There have been repeated attempts to bypass standards of propriety involving the use of public money to the benefit of political allies, as exposed by the scandal around recipients of procurement contracts during the pandemic.‘Good Chaps’Left the Building a While Ago, Britain– It’s Time to Wake Up Hardeep Matharu

Turning a blind eye to the rule-breaking of Dominic Cummings’ road trip to Barnard Castle while instructing other citizens to comply with Coronavirus rules was merely the most obvious example of the declining health of the last good chap.

But there was also the matter of Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick pushing through a planning application from the former owner of the Daily Express, Richard Desmond. Jenrick’s involvement saved Desmond millions. Desmond donated £12,000 to the Conservative Party. Everything which occurred was legal – nothing to see here.

Nothing of note is worth mentioning either about Matt Hancock, Priti Patel, ‘Test and Trace’ consultants, or threats to neutralise the power of troublesome judges – although readers may have a view on whether Boris Johnson leads a Government in which “general standards of good behaviour among senior UK politicians… can no longer be taken for granted”.

Like a rotting fish, the decay of standards in British public life begins at the head. 


An Outdated Complacency

Books have been written about how Boris Johnson’s career has been built on lies. Heathcote Williams subtitles his A Study in Depravity; while Peter Oborne has penned The Assault on Truth and is creating a website to catalogue his reign of error – the many fabrications, mis-statements and untruths.

But, as we all know, when the Labour MP Dawn Butler dared to suggest in the House of Commons that this country’s Prime Minister is a habitual liar, she was punished for breaching parliamentary etiquette, while Johnson continues to survive and thrive as the Del Boy of Downing Street.

The core of the problem is that the ‘cream’ which was once attracted into government has now come to mean a significant contingent that is both thick and rich. There exists an astonishing British complacency that Westminster is the envy of the world, when as a nation we have gone from delusions of grandeur to delusions of competence.

No other political system has constructed anything like the bizarre configuration of the 800 unelected people currently in the House of Lords. Nor, as the eminent historian Linda Colley points out, is there any other major democracy which has failed to generate some kind of written and codified constitution. Colley points out that British experts have drafted constitutions for at least 70 other countries, but what is good enough for Johnny Foreigner is not good enough for ourselves.

In Victorian times, the constitutional theorist A V Dicey wondered how it was that all the key points of British governance and the “actual work of government… are marked by the utmost vagueness and uncertainty”. It possibly worked, as Hennessy suggests, if a narrow elite of “good chaps” truly abided by an unwritten code of honesty, decency and restraint. It is certainly does not work now, when among those of genuine talent in all political parties, we have in power a group who act as if rules, restraints and conventions apply to others but not to themselves.

There is an answer to all of this – constitutional reform – but this is something likely to bore most British voters who have more urgent matters to worry about.Subverting the ‘Will of the People’ How Brexit Sowed the Wind Chris Grey

Hennessy and Blick suggest some kind of constitutional convention. So do others, including the ex-minister Stephen Green and two top former civil servants, Thomas Legg and Martin Donnelly, who have produced ‘Unwritten Rule’ – an outline of how constitutional reforms might work. I advocate similar reforms in my new book, How Britain Ends, as the only possible way to save the Union of the United Kingdom.

But the Johnson Government is unlikely to create rules which would potentially vaccinate against the crony-virus within our political system. Besides, complacency is another great British tradition, and complacency has eroded trust in Westminster and government itself.

The Whig historian Lord Macaulay argued that written constitutions were like paper money while Britain’s unwritten constitution was pure gold. But, in 21st Century Britain, no one pays in gold. Even paper money is increasingly outdated. We tap our plastic cards and consider investing in bitcoin, yet inexplicably retain faith in a political system designed at the time of the horse and cart.

Peter Hennessy is right – the British Constitution is a state of mind. Unfortunately, we appear to be losing ours.

Gavin Esler’s most recent book How Britain Ends’ is published by Head of Zeus

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At Byline Times, we believe that looking into the ‘fault-lines’ as well as the ‘volcanoes’ is a key way in which we can shed light on what is going wrong and why. And it is with this in mind that our digital front page this week leads with an exploration of Britain’s constitutional failings, their consequences, and how they have, in turn, allowed a disruptive political climate to be created in which dark forces can thrive. 

As Gavin Esler observes in our lead article on the last of the ‘good chaps’, “the British Constitution is a state of mind. Unfortunately, we appear to be losing ours”. For Chris Grey, the subversion of the ‘will of the people’ and the toxic political environment created by Brexit both relied upon and further fuelled this vulnerability of the British state, which is predicated on elected representatives following norms and respecting long-established conventions. 

A current example of such constitutional distortion, as Robert Saunders reports, is the Government’s plans to transfer the key power of dissolving Parliament to the Crown, thereby removing checks on the Prime Minister in the process. Meanwhile, I dig into the lack of trust at the heart of the Government’s attempts to reform procurement.

#LestWeForget 6Aug1945: #Truman’s #Nuclear #WarCrimes at #Hiroshima then #Nagasaki!

Truman’s War Crimes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki | Jacob G. Hornberger | The Future of Freedom Foundation | 6 Aug 2021
This month marks the 75h anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While proponents of the bombings have long justified them on the basis that they shortened World War II, the fact is that they were war crimes. The only reason why President Truman and the pilots who dropped the bombs were not prosecuted as war criminals is because the United States ended up winning the war.

It has long been pointed out that Japan had expressed a willingness to surrender. The only condition was that the Japanese emperor not be abused or executed.
President Truman refused to agree to that condition. Like his predecessor Franklin Roosevelt, Truman demanded “unconditional surrender.”



That was why Japan continued fighting. Japanese officials naturally assumed that U.S. officials were going to do some very bad things to their emperor, including torture and execution. In the minds of Japanese officials, why else would the United States not be willing to agree to that one condition, especially given that it would have meant the end of the war?

The dark irony is that Truman ended up accepting the condition anyway, only after he pulverized the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs.
In an excellent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times today entitled “U.S. Leaders Knew We Didn’t Have to Drop Atomic Bombs on Japan to Win the War. We Did It Anyway” the authors point out:

Seven of the United States’ eight five-star Army and Navy officers in 1945 agreed with the Navy’s vitriolic assessment. Generals Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and Henry “Hap” Arnold and Admirals William Leahy, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and William Halsey are on record stating that the atomic bombs were either militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible, or both.

Keep in mind that there is nothing in the principles of warfare that required Truman and Roosevelt to demand the unconditional surrender of Japan (or Germany). Wars can be — and often are — ended with terms of surrender. Both presidents were willing to sacrifice countless people on both sides of the conflict to attain their demand for unconditional surrender.

But Truman’s unconditional surrender demand is not why his action constituted a war crime. This bombings constituted war crimes because they targeted non-combatants, including children, women, and seniors with death as a way to bring about an unconditional surrender of the Japanese government.

It has long been considered a rule of warfare that armies fight armies in war. They don’t target non-combatants. The intentional killing of non-combatants is considered a war crime.

A good example of this principle involved the case of Lt. William Calley in the Vietnam War. Calley and his men shot and killed numerous non-combatants in a South Vietnamese village. The victims included women and children.

The U.S military prosecuted Calley as a war criminal — and rightly so. While the deaths of non-combatants oftentimes occurs incidentally to wartime operations, it is a war crime to specifically target them for death.

Truman justified his action by arguing that the bombings shortened the war and, therefore, saved the lives of thousands of American soldiers and Japanese people if an invasion had become necessary. It is a justification that has been repeated ever since by proponents of the bombings.

There are two big problems with that justification, however.

First, an invasion would not have been necessary. All that Truman had to do was to accept Japan’s only condition for surrender, and that would have meant the end of the war, without the deaths that would have come with an invasion and that did come with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

More important, the fact that lives of American soldiers would have been saved is not a moral or legal justification for targeting non-combatants. If Calley had maintained at his trial that his actions were intended to shorten the Vietnam War, his defense would have been rejected. He would have still be convicted for war crimes.

Soldiers die in war. That is the nature of war. To kill women, children, and seniors in the hopes of saving the lives of soldiers by shortening the war is not only a war crime, it is also an act of extreme cowardice. If an invasion of Japan would have become necessary to win the war, thereby resulting in the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers, then that’s just the way that war works.

It’s also worth pointing out that Japan never had any intention of invading and conquering the United States. The only reason that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor was in the hope of knocking out the U.S. Pacific fleet, not as a prelude to invading Hawaii or the continental United States but simply to prevent the U.S. from interfering with Japan’s efforts to secure oil in the Dutch East Indies.

And why was Japan so desperate for oil as to initiate war against the United States? Because President Franklin Roosevelt had imposed a highly effective oil embargo on Japan as a way to maneuver the Japanese into attacking the United States.

FDR’s plan, of course, succeeded, which ended up costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Japanese citizens, including those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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ALSO SEE:
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki | Wikipedia

“The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.”

#Privacy #Pegasus: #UK law firm may sue #NSO Group, investors #Novalpina and #Govts over alleged targeting!

Pegasus: UK law firm may sue NSO Group, investors and governments over alleged targeting | Ian Cobain | MiddleEastEye | 5 August 2021

Potential claimants include a baroness who sits in the House of Lords, human rights activists and a MEE columnist

Bindmans says it is considering bringing proceedings against NSO Group and a private equity group, Novalpina Capital, which has invested in the firm, as well as a number of governments (AFP/File photo)

A leading London law firm is considering bringing legal proceedings on behalf of nine British people who were allegedly targeted by mobile phone spyware created by the Israeli company NSO Group.

The group includes a baroness who sits in the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK’s parliament, a Middle East Eye columnist, human rights activists, academics and leading members of the country’s civil society.

Law firm Bindmans says it is exploring whether it can sue for breach of privacy as well as personal injury and possibly interference with property on behalf of people allegedly targeted with the use of NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

Monika Sobiecki, a partner at the firm, said: “The shock of the revelations from the Pegasus Project lies in the fact that the misuse of this surveillance spyware touches us all.

“No matter where in the world an individual may be, or which country they are a citizen of, they and their family, friends and contacts are all vulnerable to having their most intimate personal data raked over by hostile third parties, including authoritarian regimes and political opponents.

Pegasus: UK government complained to Israel over NSO operations Read More »

Bindmans says it is considering bringing proceedings against NSO Group and a private equity group, Novalpina Capital, which has invested in the firm, as well as a number of governments. It is setting up a crowdfunding campaign to help finance potential litigation.

The potential claimants include Manzila Pola Uddin, a member of the House of Lords; Madawi Al-Rasheed, a professor at the London School of Economics and columnist at MEE; Raghad Altikriti, president of the Muslim Association of Britain; her brother Anas Altikriti, chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation, a London-based research and advisory organisation; and Sayed Al-Wadaei, head of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

All are believed to have had their phones infected by spyware developed by NSO. As the company insists it does not operate the programme itself, and licenses it for use only by governments, there is reason to suspect that the potential claimants may have been targeted by authoritarian Gulf states.

The extent of the alleged surveillance was uncovered by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based NGO, which received a leaked list of 50,000 telephone numbers that had apparently been identified by governments using NSO’s Pegasus spyware. 

Following analysis by the two organisations and by a worldwide group of news organisations, the Guardian reported that the government of the United Arab Emirates appears to be the principal government responsible for selecting the UK numbers.

There have also been reports that Pegasus spyware has been used by the governments of Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico and Hungary.

‘Real harm to democracy’

“Litigation will pave the way to others seeking redress for the unwarranted intrusions into their privacy and will send a strong signal globally that the development and misuse of this surveillance technology causes real harm to democracy everywhere,” Sobiecki said.

Another London law firm, Leigh Day, is already bringing proceedings against the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged use of NSO spyware to place Ghanem al-Masarir, a Saudi activist and satirist, under surveillance.

Amnesty has said that forensic analysis suggests that the mobile telephone of David Haigh, a British human rights lawyer fighting to free Dubai’s Princess Latifa, was compromised by Pegasus spyware in August last year.

NSO Group and Novalpina have been approached for a comment.

In a statement issued last month to the media organisations that reported on the allegations of widespread surveillance, the NSO Group said the reporting contained “false claims” based upon a misinterpretation of leaked data.

The company also said that the data “has many legitimate and entirely proper uses having nothing to do with surveillance or with NSO”.

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Pegasus spyware Morocco and the Pegasus scandal: Mohammed VI knewAli Lmrabet

Pegasus spywarePrincess Latifa campaigner’s phone ‘infiltrated by Pegasus spyware’

Pegasus spywarePegasus: Saudi Arabia targets Middle East Eye’s Turkey bureau chief

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ALSO SEE:
Another Israeli Spy Story: When Will It End? | Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29 July 2021

One wonders when the penny will drop and the American people will rise up and say “enough is enough,” Philip Giraldi writes.

“It is perhaps not necessary to point out how the mainstream media in the United States as well as in Europe and Oceania persist in ignoring or otherwise covering up stories that make the Israelis look bad. Recent accounts of the slaughter of children and mostly civilians in Gaza by Israeli planes, missiles and artillery consistently try to depict the conflict as warfare between two comparable opponents, ignoring the enormous disparity in the military force available to the two sides. Israel has a modern army, air force and navy while Hamas has nothing but some small arms as well as improvised rockets and incendiary balloons.”

#JigsawIdentification? #Whistleblower #CitizenJournalist: Craig #Murray’s jailing is latest move in battle to snuff out independent #journalism!

Craig Murray’s jailing is the latest move in a battle to snuff out independent journalism | Jonathan Cook | 30 July 2021

Craig Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, the father of a newborn child, a man in very poor health and one who has no prior convictions, will have to hand himself over to the Scottish police on Sunday morning. He becomes the first person ever to be imprisoned on the obscure and vaguely defined charge of “jigsaw identification”.

Murray is also the first person to be jailed in Britain for contempt of court in half a century – a period when such different legal and moral values prevailed that the British establishment had only just ended the prosecution of “homosexuals” and the jailing of women for having abortions.

Murray’s imprisonment for eight months by Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge, is of course based entirely on a keen reading of Scottish law rather than evidence of the Scottish and London political establishments seeking revenge on the former diplomat. And the UK supreme court’s refusal on Thursday to hear Murray’s appeal despite many glaring legal anomalies in the case, thereby paving his path to jail, is equally rooted in a strict application of the law, and not influenced in any way by political considerations.

Murray’s jailing has nothing to do with the fact that he embarrassed the British state in the early 2000s by becoming that rarest of things: a whistleblowing diplomat. He exposed the British government’s collusion, along with the US, in Uzbekistan’s torture regime.

His jailing also has nothing to do with the fact that Murray has embarrassed the British state more recently by reporting the woeful and continuing legal abuses in a London courtroom as Washington seeks to extradite Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, and lock him away for life in a maximum security prison. The US wants to make an example of Assange for exposing its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and for publishing leaked diplomatic cables that pulled the mask off Washington’s ugly foreign policy.

Murray’s jailing has nothing to do with the fact that the contempt proceedings against him allowed the Scottish court to deprive him of his passport so that he could not travel to Spain and testify in a related Assange case that is severely embarrassing Britain and the US. The Spanish hearing has been presented with reams of evidence that the US illegally spied on Assange inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he sought political asylum to avoid extradition. Murray was due to testify that his own confidential conversations with Assange were filmed, as were Assange’s privileged meetings with his own lawyers. Such spying should have seen the case against Assange thrown out, had the judge in London actually been applying the law.

Similarly, Murray’s jailing has nothing to do with his embarrassing the Scottish political and legal establishments by reporting, almost single-handedly, the defence case in the trial of Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond. Unreported by the corporate media, the evidence submitted by Salmond’s lawyers led a jury dominated by women to acquit him of a raft of sexual assault charges. It is Murray’s reporting of Salmond’s defence that has been the source of his current troubles.

And most assuredly, Murray’s jailing has precisely nothing to do with his argument – one that might explain why the jury was so unconvinced by the prosecution case – that Salmond was actually the victim of a high-level plot by senior politicians at Holyrood to discredit him and prevent his return to the forefront of Scottish politics. The intention, says Murray, was to deny Salmond the chance to take on London and make a serious case for independence, and thereby expose the SNP’s increasing lip service to that cause.

Relentless attack

Murray has been a thorn in the side of the British establishment for nearly two decades. Now they have found a way to lock him up just as they have Assange, as well as tie Murray up potentially for years in legal battles that risk bankrupting him as he seeks to clear his name.

And given his extremely precarious health – documented in detail to the court – his imprisonment further risks turning eight months into a life sentence. Murray nearly died from a pulmonary embolism 17 years ago when he was last under such relentless attack from the British establishment. His health has not improved since.

At that time, in the early 2000s, in the run-up to and early stages of the invasion of Iraq, Murray effectively exposed the complicity of fellow British diplomats – their preference to turn a blind eye to the abuses sanctioned by their own government and its corrupt and corrupting alliance with the US.

Later, when Washington’s “extraordinary rendition” – state kidnapping – programme came to light, as well as its torture regime at places like Abu Ghraib, the spotlight should have turned to the failure of diplomats to speak out. Unlike Murray, they refused to turn whistleblower. They provided cover to the illegality and barbarism.

For his pains, Murray was smeared by Tony Blair’s government as, among other things, a sexual predator – charges a Foreign Office investigation eventually cleared him of. But the damage was done, with Murray forced out. A commitment to moral and legal probity was clearly incompatible with British foreign policy objectives.

Murray had to reinvent his career, and he did so through a popular blog. He has applied the same dedication to truth-telling and commitment to the protection of human rights in his journalism – and has again run up against equally fierce opposition from the British establishment.

Two-tier journalism

The most glaring, and disturbing, legal innovation in Lady Dorrian’s ruling against Murray – and the main reason he is heading to prison – is her decision to divide journalists into two classes: those who work for approved corporate media outlets, and those like Murray who are independent, often funded by readers rather than paid big salaries by billionaires or the state.

According to Lady Dorrian, licensed, corporate journalists are entitled to legal protections she denied to unofficial and independent journalists like Murray – the very journalists who are most likely to take on governments, criticise the legal system, and expose the hypocrisy and lies of the corporate media.

In finding Murray guilty of so-called “jigsaw identification”, Lady Dorrian did not make a distinction between what Murray wrote about the Salmond case and what approved, corporate journalists wrote.

That is for good reason. Two surveys have shown that most of those following the Salmond trial who believe they identified one or more of his accusers did so from the coverage of the corporate media, especially the BBC. Murray’s writings appear to have had very little impact on the identification of any of the accusers. Among named individual journalists, Dani Garavelli, who wrote about the trial for Scotland on Sunday and the London Review of Books, was cited 15 times more often by respondents than Murray as helping them to identify Salmond’s accusers.


https://twitter.com/CraigMurrayOrg/status/1356926031551152129

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Rather, Lady Dorrian’s distinction was between who gets protected when identification occurs. Write for the Times or the Guardian, or broadcast on the BBC, where the audience reach is enormous, and the courts will protect you from prosecution. Write about the same issues for a blog, and you risk being hounded into prison.

In fact, the legal basis of “jigsaw identification” – one could argue the whole point of it – is that it accrues dangerous powers to the state. It gives permission for the legal establishment to arbitrarily decide which piece of the supposed jigsaw is to be counted as identification. If the BBC’s Kirsty Wark includes a piece of the jigsaw, it does not count as identification in the eyes of the court. If Murray or another independent journalist offers a different piece of the jigsaw, it does count. The obvious ease with which this principle can be abused by the establishment to oppress and silence dissident journalists should not need underscoring.

And yet this is no longer Lady Dorrian’s ruling alone. In refusing to hear Murray’s appeal, the UK supreme court has offered its blessing to this same dangerous, two-tiered classification.

Credentialed by the state

What Lady Dorrian has done is to overturn traditional views of what constitutes journalism: that it is a practice that at its very best is designed to hold the powerful to account, and that anyone who engages in such work is doing journalism, whether or not they are typically thought of as a journalist.

That idea was obvious until quite recently. When social media took off, one of the gains trumpeted even by the corporate media was the emergence of a new kind of “citizen journalist”. At that stage, corporate media believed that these citizen journalists would become cheap fodder, providing on-the-ground, local stories they alone would have access to and that only the establishment media would be in a position to monetise. This was precisely the impetus for the Guardian’s Comment is Free section, which in its early incarnation allowed a varied selection of people with specialist knowledge or information to provide the paper with articles for free to increase the paper’s sales and advertising rates.

The establishment’s attitude to citizen journalists, and the Guardian’s to the Comment is Free model, only changed when these new journalists started to prove hard to control, and their work often highlighted inadvertently or otherwise the inadequacies, deceptions and double standards of the corporate media.

Now, Lady Dorrian has put the final nail in the coffin of citizen journalism. She has declared through her ruling that she and other judges will be the ones to decide who is considered a journalist and thereby who receives legal protections for their work. This is a barely concealed way for the state to license or “credentialise” journalists. It turns journalism into a professional guild with only official, corporate journalists safe from legal retribution by the state.

If you are an unapproved, uncredentialed journalist, you can be jailed, as Murray is being, on a similar legal basis to the imprisonment of someone who carries out a surgical operation without the necessary qualifications. But whereas the law against charlatan surgeons is there to protect the public, to stop unnecessary harm being inflicted on the sick, Lady Dorrian’s ruling will serve a very different purpose: to protect the state from the harm caused by the exposure of its secret or most malign practices by trouble-making, sceptical – and now largely independent – journalists.

Journalism is being corralled back into the exclusive control of the state and billionaire-owned corporations. It may not be surprising that corporate journalists, keen to hold on to their jobs, are consenting through their silence to this all-out assault on journalism and free speech. After all, this is a kind of protectionism – additional job security – for journalists employed by a corporate media that has no real intention to challenge the powerful.

But what is genuinely shocking is that this dangerous accretion of further power to the state and its allied corporate class is being backed implicitly by the journalists’ union, the NUJ. It has kept quiet over the many months of attacks on Murray and the widespread efforts to discredit him for his reporting. The NUJ has made no significant noise about Lady Dorrian’s creation of two classes of journalists – state-approved and unapproved – or about her jailing of Murray on these grounds.

But the NUJ has gone further. Its leaders have publicly washed their  hands of Murray by excluding him from membership of the union, even while its officials have conceded that he should qualify. The NUJ has become as complicit in the hounding of a journalist as Murray’s fellow diplomats once were for his hounding as an ambassador. This is a truly shameful episode in the NUJ’s history.

Free speech criminalised

But more dangerous still, Lady Dorrian’s ruling is part of a pattern in which the political, judicial and media establishments have colluded to narrow the definition of what counts as journalism, to exclude anything beyond the pap that usually passes for journalism in the corporate media.

Murray has been one of the few journalists to report in detail the arguments made by Assange’s legal team in his extradition hearings. Noticeably in both the Assange and Murray cases, the presiding judge has limited the free speech protections traditionally afforded to journalism and has done so by restricting who qualifies as a journalist. Both cases have been frontal assaults on the ability of certain kinds of journalists – those who are free from corporate or state pressure – to cover important political stories, effectively criminalising independent journalism. And all this has been achieved by sleight of hand.

In Assange’s case, Judge Vanessa Baraitser largely assented to US claims that what the Wikileaks founder had done was espionage rather than journalism. The Obama administration had held off prosecuting Assange because it could not find a distinction in law between his legal right to publish evidence of US war crimes and the New York Times and the Guardian’s right to publish the same evidence, provided to them by Wikileaks. If the US administration prosecuted Assange, it would also need to prosecute the editors of those papers.

Donald Trump’s officials bypassed that problem by creating a distinction between “proper” journalists, employed by corporate outlets that oversee and control what is published, and “bogus” journalists, those independents not subject to such oversight and pressures.

Trump’s officials denied Assange the status of journalist and publisher and instead treated him as a spy who colluded with and assisted whistleblowers. That supposedly voided the free speech protections he constitutionally enjoyed. But, of course, the US case against Assange was patent nonsense. It is central to the work of investigative journalists to “collude” with and assist whistleblowers. And spies squirrel away the information provided to them by such whistleblowers, they do not publicise it to the world, as Assange did.

Notice the parallels with Murray’s case.

Judge Baraitser’s approach to Assange echoed the US one: that only approved, credentialed journalists enjoy the protection of the law from prosecution; only approved, credentialed journalists have the right to free speech (should they choose to exercise it in newsrooms beholden to state or corporate interests). Free speech and the protection of the law, Baraitser implied, no longer chiefly relate to the legality of what is said, but to the legal status of who says it.

A similar methodology has been adopted by Lady Dorrian in Murray’s case. She has denied him the status of a journalist, and instead classified him as some kind of “improper” journalist, or blogger. As with Assange, there is an implication that “improper” or “bogus” journalists are such an exceptional threat to society that they must be stripped of the normal legal protections of free speech.

“Jigsaw identification” – especially when allied to sexual assault allegations, involving women’s rights and playing into the wider, current obsession with identity politics – is the perfect vehicle for winning widespread consent for the criminalisation of the free speech of critical journalists.

Corporate media shackles

There is an even bigger picture that should be hard to miss for any honest journalist, corporate or otherwise. What Lady Dorrian and Judge Baraitser – and the establishment behind them – are trying to do is put the genie back in the bottle. They are trying to reverse a trend that over more than a decade has seen a small but growing number of journalists use new technology and social media to liberate themselves from the shackles of the corporate media and tell truths audiences were never supposed to hear.

Don’t believe me? Consider the case of Guardian and Observer journalist Ed Vulliamy. In his book Flat Earth News, Vulliamy’s colleague at the Guardian Nick Davies tells the story of how Roger Alton, editor of the Observer at the time of the Iraq war, and a credentialed, licensed journalist if ever there was one, sat on one of the biggest stories in the paper’s history for months on end.

In late 2002, Vulliamy, a veteran and much trusted reporter, persuaded Mel Goodman, a former senior CIA official who still had security clearance at the agency, to go on record that the CIA knew there were no WMD in Iraq – the pretext for an imminent and illegal invasion of that country. As many suspected, the US and British governments had been telling lies to justify a coming war of aggression against Iraq, and Vulliamy had a key source to prove it.

But Alton spiked this earth-shattering story and then refused to publish another six versions written by an increasingly exasperated Vulliamy over the next few months, as war loomed. Alton was determined to keep the story out of the news. Back in 2002 it only took a handful of editors – all of whom had risen through the ranks for their discretion, nuance and careful “judgment” – to make sure some kinds of news never reached their readers.

Social media has changed such calculations. Vulliamy’s story could not be quashed so easily today. It would leak out, precisely through a high-profile independent journalist like Assange or Murray. Which is why such figures are so critically important to a healthy and informed society – and why they, and a few others like them, are gradually being disappeared. The cost of allowing independent journalists to operate freely, the establishment has understood, is far too high.

First, all independent, unlicensed journalism was lumped in as “fake news”. With that as the background, social media corporations were able to collude with so-called legacy media corporations to algorithm independent journalists into oblivion. And now independent journalists are being educated about what fate is likely to befall them should they try to emulate Assange or Murray.

Asleep at the wheel

In fact, while corporate journalists have been asleep at the wheel, the British establishment has been preparing to widen the net to criminalise all journalism that seeks to seriously hold power to account. A recent government consultation document calling for a more draconian crackdown on what is being deceptively termed “onward disclosure” – code for journalism – has won the backing of Home Secretary Priti Patel. The document implicitly categorises journalism as little different from espionage and whistleblowing.

In the wake of the consultation paper, the Home Office has called on parliament to consider “increased maximum sentences” for offenders – that is, journalists – and ending the distinction “between espionage and the most serious unauthorised disclosures”. The government’s argument is that “onward disclosures” can create “far more serious damage” than espionage and so should be treated similarly. If accepted, any public interest defence – the traditional safeguard for journalists – will be muted.

Anyone who followed the Assange hearings last summer – which excludes most journalists in the corporate media – will notice strong echoes of the arguments made by the US for extraditing Assange, arguments conflating journalism with espionage that were largely accepted by Judge Baraitser.

None of this has come out of the blue. As the online technology publication The Register noted back in 2017, the Law Commission was at the time considering “proposals in the UK for a swingeing new Espionage Act that could jail journalists as spies”. It said such an act was being “developed in haste by legal advisers”.

It is quite extraordinary that two investigative journalists – one a long-term, former member of staff at the Guardian – managed to write an entire article in that paper this month on the government consultation paper and not mention Assange once. The warning signs have been there for the best part of a decade but corporate journalists have refused to notice them. Similarly, it is no coincidence that Murray’s plight has also not registered on the corporate media’s radar.

Assange and Murray are the canaries in the coal mine for the growing crackdown on investigative journalism and on efforts to hold executive power to account. There is, of course, ever less of that being done by the corporate media, which may explain why corporate outlets appear not only relaxed about the mounting political and legal climate against free speech and transparency but have been all but cheering it on.

In the Assange and Murray cases, the British state is carving out for itself a space to define what counts as legitimate, authorised journalism – and journalists are colluding in this dangerous development, if only through their silence. That collusion tells us a great deal about the mutual interests of the corporate political and legal establishments, on the one hand, and the corporate media establishment on the other.

Assange and Murray are not only telling us troubling truths we are not supposed to hear. The fact that they are being denied solidarity by those who are their colleagues, those who may be next in the firing line, tells us everything we need to know about the so-called mainstream media: that the role of corporate journalists is to serve establishment interests, not challenge them.

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#NI #GoodFriday #UnionistFantasy or #QuestForJustice? “There is no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended!”

“There is no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended.” | Terry Wright | Slugger O’Toole | 28 July 2021

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“The time that was continues to tick inside the time that is.”
– Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano

There have been proposals for ‘Dealing with the Past.’ None of them appear to work either in securing prosecutions or in allowing the community to future-proof political, social and economic life.

Solutions collide as political intent, perceived victim hierarchy and contentious narratives produce unchallenged trust in their own ideological flatness. Blame and justification are voiced accordingly; accusation and counter-accusation ensue within a deeply adversarial, fragmented and disconnected process that continues to present as ‘not yet’ post-conflict.

Progress towards resolution is erratic and piecemeal: strewn with unrealistic expectations, with denial and silence as the moral options.

For politicians, it is never far beneath the surface, if at all. For individuals and families impacted by loss, injury and lack of atonement and remorse, it slumbers, if at all.

The recent proposals for measures including the highly publicised Statute of Limitations by the Secretary of State, the debate at a recalled but less than consensual Stormont and now the court pronouncement with regard to the Omagh bombing are all a case in point.

There is little evidence of any significant movement forward as only one element of the proposal is highlighted to the neglect of other provisions and addressed in politically loaded and charged atmosphere. Uniformity of opposition failed to produce any harmony of values. Agreement breaks apart.

It also flows into local politics.

The Business and Culture Committee of Derry and Strabane District Council last week recommended support for a request by the Bloody Sunday Trust, based in the city, for £50,000 funding and assistance in kind to support events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the deaths resulting from actions on 30 January 1972.

3 Unionist representatives on the committee withheld their support, 8 independents and nationalist Councillors, of different hues, took an opposite view.

Claiming lack of detail in what is being planned, the Unionist representatives referred to inequality and marginalisation in how legacy is addressed in the city and Council area. They have since expressed discontent at, in their view, some deaths being highlighted above others and prioritised by media and justice campaigners in academia and NGOs; seemingly of most interest when it relates to the state.

The organisers, the Bloody Sunday Trust have intimated a desire to promote reconciliation through the commemoration but there does not appear to be any specific or equally- weighted reference to other ‘bloody days’ in the Council area, not least in Strabane, Castlederg and Claudy.

Inevitably, it is seen as running counter to addressing the shared tragedy of conflict; as lacking inclusivity and sensitivity in acknowledging the hurt of the ‘other.’

Those withholding approval do not see why an event should be funded by the Council if it is likely to have a negative impact on community relations and prove detrimental to collaborative governance going forward at a time when there a need for co-operation on economic recovery and jobs.

The situation serves as a microcosm of how sensitive issues of inequality and a level playing field linked to ‘dealing with the past’ and left unresolved in the Good Friday Agreement emerge to stall the community in moving forward.

Anyone who is surprised at this has not been paying attention.

Many in Northern Ireland have shared the experience of conflict and violence but those experiences have not been the same. There are many pasts and many narratives. There are different views of who or what is right and who or what is wrong; whether or not the war was justified. The champions for the differing views are absolutist and unyielding.

This is a situation which has run like a fault line within the community since 1998.

In its acceptance of the Good Friday Agreement and the promise of a new beginning, the majority of people chose the extent to which they were prepared to adjust and risk their respective stances to nurture a moral fudge that facilitated and continues to inform what remains a process.

The unorthodox became the new orthodoxy.

The previously unacceptable was mainstreamed.

It became right to do what seemed the wrong thing as representatives of armed groups, yet to de-commission, were accepted into politics and prisoners were released.

For their part, paramilitary groups, particularly republican, judged it necessary to promote a peace process as a strategic ‘other means’ of continuing the struggle to make acceptable the futility of the loss and injury of its soldiers. It became necessary to steal the dead for political purposes; to pursue the demonisation of the perceived enemy both to justify past actions and promote the open secret of the ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda.

This was facilitated by a process lacking in any consensually-agreed moral compass or narrative. Sectarianism, political attrition and competing constitutional outcomes from all sides have been embedded into the institutions as a result.

The past has become weaponised and factional as politicians fail to show courageous leadership and bring resolution to establishing truth, delivering closure, in so far as this is possible, and meeting the financial, welfare and personal needs of those affected by loss and injury.

Community allegiance is paraded as a commodity but serves only to camouflage failure.

At times, legitimising a preferred narrative appears to be the real priority as initiative after initiative edges towards a state of inertia.

Victims and survivors who, in their words, wish to move on are continually dragged back by the belligerency.

To sustain peace and work towards a future from which fresh generations should benefit, these ‘legacy ‘politics and what flows from them need to be de-commissioned.

Attempts have been made through enquiries and court actions. They are costly and in the main focus on the actions of the state. There is no even- handed strategy offering enquiries into similar incidents perpetrated by paramilitary organisations so they create as many problems as they solve.

Any audit of their effectiveness would indicate that the time is now probably past for such a measure to be meaningful.

Better practice is seen in the approach of those groups who are not leaving the work of reconciliation and restoration to the politicians. They choose to work in the space provided by the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements, to build reconciliation through often raw discourse and interaction aimed at resolving difference.

It is rarely easy but they are re-establishing a stable, humane and civility-focused base, firmer than in the past, for taking society forward with a more inclusive and determined focus. Theirs is the methodology and agenda more likely to ensure that there will be no return to the past. They take a hard look at themselves. The scales fall off to see the other without pre-judgement. Relationships are built on what people are for rather than what they are against.

The emphasis is on learning from the hurt; developing a contextual understanding of the troubles to bring healing and ensure that as a community we never repeat what we have done in the past; that younger generations will construct a different history.

For this to continue, requires support through political leadership embedded in the necessity of doing what must be done to re-build shared moral and ethical values, the absence of which promotes an imperfect peace and political instability.

For this to continue requires grace and compassion from those who were the orchestrators and perpetrators of conflict. It requires atonement and truth telling on all sides. It requires remembrance where it is practised to be repentant. It requires honesty and openness for no person can be their own mediator. It requires all to test their actions, past and present, against measures that are robust in terms of humanity and social justice.

The resources lie within and acted upon without selection may begin to repair the brokenness of victims left on the margins of the political Agreements.

Some victims seek retribution, whilst others seek information, justice and closure or a combination of these. They are not all attainable in every instance.

However, all need truth and it should not be beyond our capacity to create processes wherein this can happen. Not without difficulty, this is the most achievable and once underway and completed may diminish the demand for other actions.

In his proposals currently tabled, the Secretary of State may not have provided all the answers but he is posing the right questions as have others like John Larkin on previous occasions.

Ending access to lawful recourse is highly problematic. It challenges our sense of justice but is this already compromised, not least by letters to OTRs, secret deals and the arbitrary decision-making of governments, not just within the United Kingdom?

The pursuit of justice is not achieving for all if it shuts down other ways of knowing.

Without truth and information recovery, justice is reserved for a few.

It seems clear at present that the community and politicians, publicly at least, are unwilling to endorse the proposals by the Secretary of State. Privately, views are less robust as individuals and groups realise the current situation is unsustainable.

There are issues within the proposals to be resolved within a framework of rights and responsibilities but there are aspects which emulate previous good work in Eames-Bradley and the Stormont House Agreement. These need to be energised and brought in from the side-lines to build unity across the whole community, with victim and survivors central, around core purpose.

A quality of response more constructive, transparent and considered, than that which has so far emerged from political forums, could build hope for a future better than our past.

Northern Ireland has had enough of the tyranny of selective hearing.

The task is not to consign present opportunities to a list of past failings.

The words of Senator George Mitchell have not lost their challenge:
“There is no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended.”

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