‘No Jab, No Job’
Policies in UK
Set to Spark Deluge of
August 2nd, 1:33pm (FNA)
Lawyers expect a wave of legal action against UK
companies over attempts to make sure staff are
double-vaccinated against COVID, amid
growing fears of draconian “no jab,
no job” policies in the workplace.
Trade unions have criticised the government for
encouraging the idea of mandatory vaccination
for office staff: after transport secretary Grant
Shapps, said it was a “good idea” for
companies to insist staff are double-
jabbed, The Independent reported.
Tech giant Google, has said mandatory jabs for US employees
will later be rolled out to staff in 40 countries where it operates,
and Mr Shapps said he expected some British firms will soon
“require” full vaccination.
Employment lawyers told The Independent that British companies
had been in touch to explore their options on putting COVID
vaccination requirements in place.
“We’re definitely going to see a lot of employment tribunals on this,”
said Elissa Thursfield, head of employment lawyer and a director
at Gamlins Law – predicting a wave of vaccine-related
discrimination claims in the months ahead.
Lawyers and union chiefs warned that a blanket approach to
making jabs mandatory could breach the Equality Act by
discriminating against some groups, including those
with disabilities or certain religious beliefs.
“Having a blanket policy is almost always dangerous – it’s
fraught with legal difficulties,” said Thursfield, adding,
“For existing staff, if you don’t have a clause in your
contract that says you can receive mandatory
instructions on health, which is rare, that’s
potentially a breach of contract, as well as
the discrimination claims.”
She added, “If the government pushes any further on this,
in terms of encouraging employers, they are going to
start getting into hot water.”
Charlie Thompson, an employment partner at law firm
Stewarts, also predicted legal action against
companies that don’t consider their
vaccine policy carefully enough.
“If you’re not able to go back to your existing job, or you’re
denied a job, and the employer’s justification [for
vaccination] doesn’t stack up, then I can see
legal claims,” he said.
Responding to Shapps’ encouraging remarks about companies
asking staff to get the jab, Labour leader Keir Starmer said he
did not think “no jab no job” policies were wise.
“I don’t agree with that,” said Keir.
“For day-to-day routines, access to the office, access to health
services or dentistry or even food – I don’t agree with vaccine
passports for day-to-day access,” said the Labour leader.
Downing Street has made clear the government has no plans to
bring legislation to make full-vaccination mandatory for entry
Unison General Secretary Christina McAnea said the government
should not be encouraging any form of “coercion” when it comes
to employees getting the vaccine before returning to work.
“Only with widespread take-up can the virus be defeated,” she
said, adding, “Achieving this requires persuasion and
encouragement – not compulsion and coercion.
Forcing people can only lead to needless
confrontation at work and legal cases
that could drag on for years.”
Unite’s National Health and Safety Adviser Rob Miguel said COVID
vaccine compulsion would be a “bad” way for companies to
encourage a return to work, and is “embroiled with issues
such as equalities, human rights, privacy and
Goldman Sachs raised alarm bells last month when it sent a memo
to UK staff saying the company “strongly encouraged” them to
report their COVID vaccination status before returning to the
office – before clarifying vaccination was not compulsory.
In the US, companies are beginning to be more severe in their
demands. Google and Facebook, along with Delta and United
airlines, have said full vaccination will be mandatory for staff.
The Independent understands leading UK companies are
examining how they can make sure staff are double-
jabbed, despite potential legal difficulties.
Some keen on getting offices fully-staffed say employees have
told them they are uncomfortable about returning to the office
until all their colleagues are vaccinated.
Others have said they would not try to enforce
any rules about the COVID vaccine.
Imran Hussain, director at Harmony Financial Services, said
it would be “ridiculous” to try to draw up a policy about
“The whole idea is highly undemocratic and draconian,” he said,
adding, “People should be allowed to make their own decisions
and if they wish to take the jab, that’s great.”
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned
against blanket mandatory policies on vaccination.
A spokesperson for the CBI said, “The bar for compulsory
vaccination is high, and there will be few industries where
this approach would be appropriate."
“However, in some sectors it could prove necessary.
Wherever possible, businesses will be approaching
questions like this trying to bring their staff with
them,” the spokesperson added.
Poll Suggests Tories
at Risk of Losing
‘Blue Wall’ Seats
July 31st, 1:04pm (FNA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is at risk of losing several seats
in Conservative “blue wall” heartlands, a new poll suggested.
YouGov conducted research in 53 constituencies in the South
and East of England currently held by the party, which voted
Remain in the 2016 EU referendum and have a higher-than-
average concentration of university degree holders, The
It said vote intention in the “blue wall” stands at 44% for the
Conservatives, 24% for Labour, 18% for the Liberal
Democrats, 9% for the Greens, and the rest for
YouGov research manager Patrick English wrote, “The
Conservatives could be set to lose up to 16 seats in
their ‘blue wall’ heartlands if an election was
On the vote intention findings, he noted, “That represents a
change of minus eight for the Conservatives from their 2019
performance in these constituencies, plus four for Labour,
a surprising six-point drop for the Liberal Democrats, and
a sizeable seven-point gain for the Greens."
“The Conservatives are falling almost twice as fast in the blue
wall as they are nationally, with the latest YouGov poll
showing them five points down on their 2019
general election showing,” he continued.
Concerns over the Government’s handling of Brexit and the
need for people to have a say on local housing develop-
ments were among the issues to feature in the
responses of those surveyed.
English also stated the research suggested the Conservatives’
by-election defeat in Chesham and Amersham was “no
The Tories held the Buckinghamshire seat with a majority of
more than 16,000 in 2019 but the Lib Dems won it by 8,028
votes last month.
“If the swings were uniform across all constituencies, Labour
would be set to gain a total of nine blue wall seats and the
Liberal Democrats three," English added, saying, “While
it would not be anywhere near enough to offset the
party’s losses in the so-called red wall in 2019,
Labour punching holes in traditional Tory
foundations will send alarm bells ringing
across Conservative Associations and
MPs in the South.”
Catholic church spent millions
meant for Canada residential
school victims on lawyers &
expenses - court documents
seen by media
July 29th,, 2:27pm (RT)
Millions of dollars that were supposed to go to Canadian
residential school survivors -- as part of a 2005 settle-
ment -- were reportedly spent by the Catholic Church
on lawyers, fundraising, administration costs
and unapproved loans.
At least 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend
some 140 residential schools across the country, which
were funded by the federal government and run by
churches. The children had been forcibly taken
from their families in order to strip them of
their cultural identity.
Under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
(IRSSA) between the Canadian federal government,
indigenous representatives and the various
church bodies that operated the schools,
more than Can$3 billion (US$2.4 billion)
has been paid to compensate
survivors, as of March 2021.
While the other churches have apparently paid their amounts
-due in full, the Catholic Church has failed to meet its quota.
Besides being required to make a lump cash payment of
Can$29 million (US$23.2 million) and provide Can$25
million (US$ 20 million) of “in-kind services,” the
church was to give its “best efforts” to raise
Can$25 million (US$20 million)
The church had claimed to have paid most of the cash amount
and fulfilled its “in-kind services” commitment. In 2015, it
invoked the “best efforts” clause in court, where a judge
absolved it of the legal obligation to pay the remaining
unpaid sum of $21 million (US$16.8 million) from that
In recent weeks, it has emerged that the church was able to
raise around $300 million (US$240 million) for construction
and renovation projects during the same time period that
it claimed it could only raise a total of $3.9 million
(US$3.1 million) for residential school survivors.
Now, court documents accessed by CBC news reportedly
contradict the church’s claims. A federal government
“factum” document that summarized the evidence
from the 2015 court case... pointed to “a large
number of serious accounting discrepancies
that are alarming to Canada.”
The church had also not filed its mandatory annual financial
statements to the government until 2012 – five years after
IRSSA went into effect in 2007, according to the
documents seen by the CBC.
From the Can$29-million cash payment, some $2.7 million
(US$2.1 million) was reportedly paid to lawyers and an
additional $2.3 million (US$1.84 million) was spent
on administration expenses --- something no
other church group claimed.
As well, Can$1.6 million (US$1.28 million) was claimed as
donations made to projects 'related' to indigenous issues.
These projects were not covered in the approval process
and no explanation or invoices have reportedly been
provided to back these claims.
The church’s accountant testified that it had provided the
Can$25 million of “in-kind services” but he had admitted
that he relied only on “minutes of meetings” supplied by
As for the Can$25-million fundraising campaign that eventually
only raised $3.9 million, the accountant told the court that many
donations came with a “string attached” that instructed him
on where to put the money. This was, again, apparently
contrary to the agreement.
Federal government lawyers had also asked the judge to
declare the church had not fulfilled its obligations and
order an independent review of the expenses,
among other recommendations.
However, ahead of the 2015 hearing on the case, the judge
approved a controversial $1.2 million (US$962,418) church
buyout proposal and the case was closed... without it
having to justify any expenditure.
Court officials recently declined to make that 2015 court
document public. The Federation of Sovereign
Indigenous Nations, which represents First
Nations communities in Saskatchewan
province, claimed this refusal was an
example of “systemic racism.”
A Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB)
official, told CBC news that it is “committed to
continue engaging and listening”... but
declined to comment on the issue.
In recent months, more than 1,000 unmarked graves
believed to belong to indigenous children have been
found at former residential school sites across the
country. The discoveries have prompted public
anger --- over the failure of government and
church bodies, to properly address what
has been termed as “cultural genocide.”
UK MPs warn of collapse of
country’s ‘hollowed out’
justice system - due to
stagnant pay & years
of government cuts
in legal aid
July 27th, 3:02pm (RT)
A UK parliamentary committee has warned that the
country’s “hollowed out” justice system is at risk
of failure because of poor pay for public defence
lawyers, for many of whom a career in legal aid
has become “less attractive.”
In a new report, the House of Commons Justice Committee
has urged the government to consider implementing
major reforms and conduct a review on how it funds
legal aid. In this system, the state pays defence
counsel fees for defendants who cannot
afford to hire their own lawyer.
The report, titled ‘The Future of Legal Aid’, noted that there
had not been any increase in criminal legal aid fees for
the past 20 years. This has contributed to a “growing
imbalance” between the ability of criminal law firms
to recruit and retain staff – with many preferring to
join the better-paying Crown Prosecution
Service (CPS) instead.
“It is fundamental to our adversarial justice system that
criminal defence services have sufficient resources to
provide high-quality representation to suspects and
defendants,” noted the MPs who recommended that
the government should look into linking legal aid
fees to CPS pay rates.
Without significant reform, the report warned of a shortage
of qualified criminal legal aid lawyers. This “shift in the
balance” between prosecution and defence could
“compromise the fairness of the criminal justice
system,” it added.
Committee chairman Bob Neill said years of government cuts
to reduce the legal aid bill had “hollowed out key parts of the
justice system.” As a result of fixed fees, he said, the
number of people receiving legal aid is falling while
legal aid firms are struggling since the costs
involved in complex cases cannot
“The legal aid system is there to ensure that everyone has
access to justice. If the most vulnerable in society are
being left to navigate the justice system on their own
then fairness is lost and the system has failed,”
The committee also pointed to reports by legal aid providers
of a “culture of refusal” at the Legal Aid Agency, which is the
body within the Ministry of Justice that oversees legal aid
in England and Wales.
However, witnesses had told the committee that the agency
was seen as “the voice of the Government against the
profession” and looked for the “slightest slip” to
deny applications for legal aid.
The MPs called for “fundamental changes” to the legal aid
system, which needed to be made “more flexible” to
ensure that there is a “consistent pipeline of legal
aid lawyers” to help the most vulnerable.
Earlier in the year, a report by the House of Lords Constitution
Committee had urged the government to increase the legal
aid budget, which had seen a “radical reduction” by almost
40% in under a decade.
The report said this had - “exacerbated barriers for accessing
legal representation” and recommended that the government
increases the legal aid budget to “meet the new challenges for
access to justice that have arisen during the pandemic.”
That report also warned that the funding cuts to courts and
tribunals had led to a backlog of court cases in England
and Wales that had reached “crisis levels.”
Hundreds of children sexually abused
over several decades in London
council's care on a scale ‘hard
to comprehend’ – inquiry
July 27th, 12:58pm (RT)
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has
found that more than 700 children in the care of
London's Lambeth Council were abused for
several decades, as part of a “toxic
In a Tuesday report, the inquiry alleged that children in
the care of Lambeth Council “were subjected to levels
of cruelty and sexual abuse that are hard to
comprehend” at three care homes –
Shirley Oaks, South Vale, and
Angell Road: “where violence
and sexual assault were
allowed to flourish.”
Since the 1960s, Lambeth Council allegedly received
complaints of sexual abuse from 705 former
residents of the care homes, however only
“one senior employee” was ever
disciplined by the council.
“The report finds, that the true scale of the sexual abuse
against children in Lambeth's care will never be known,
but it is certain to be significantly higher than is
formally recorded,” declared the inquiry, which
also alleged that black children in the care of
the council experienced racism and
Following the revelation that a child who was found dead
at Shirley Oaks in 1977... had complained about sexual
abuse in the care home, the inquiry is now calling on
the Metropolitan Police --- to consider whether a
criminal investigation into the circumstances
surrounding the death, should be launched.
Inquiry Chairwoman Alexis Jay – who led the similar 2014
investigation into Rotherham child sexual abuse, which
found at least 1,400 victims and implicated members of
the council – said the children in Lambeth “became
pawns in a toxic power game” between “the
Council and central government.”
“There was a vicious and regressive culture, for which a
succession of leading elected members were mainly
responsible, aided and abetted in some instances
by self-serving senior officials,” Jay declared,
adding that the culture “contributed to
allowing children in their care to
suffer the most horrendous
Lambeth Council formally apologised, on Tuesday, for its
failure to protect vulnerable children, with council leader
Claire Holland, calling the report “deeply shocking.”
“On behalf of the council, I want to restate our profound
and sincere apology, to all victims and survivors of
abuse and neglect while in Lambeth's care,” she
said, before going on to blame the “council of
Holland argued that while the council accepts its
“inexcusable failings” and that it “failed so many,”
there is a “big difference between the council of
the past with Lambeth of today,” which is a
“different, more child-focused and positive
place for young people.”
The council also promoted its redress scheme,
which allows victims of the abuse to apply for
financial compensation and free counselling.
China’s hammer blow to
private education shows
it will do --- whatever it
takes to meet its goals
by Tom Fowdy
July 26th, 12:31pm (RT)
Tom Fowdy, is a British writer and analyst of politics and
international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.
Perceived as promoting inequality and a hindrance to birth rates,
tutoring in China has suddenly been transformed into a non-
profit industry. It’s a ruthless reminder that Xi Jinping will
always put the needs of society first.
In a spectacular display of government authority, China has,
with the stroke of a pen, demolished its $120-billion private
education industry by forcing it to reform into a non-profit
initiative. The move has cost at least one billionaire
It follows a number of crackdowns waged by Beijing against
various sectors of the economy which were deemed to
contravene the national interest. The ruthlessness of
such sudden decision-making has undoubtedly
shocked Western observers and capitalist
advocates, yet its purpose appears to
As highlighted by Reuters, Beijing is dismantling a sector
that is not only exacerbating the inequality of education
among rich and poor, but is also increasingly perceived
as an obstacle to the country’s fertility rates. So, now...
a hammer has come down on it, as a social disruption.
It shows that Beijing is prepared to do whatever it takes
to meet its national goals, and is another example of
how the Chinese Communist Party’s authority has
stiffened against the creeping liberalization
which the West once welcomed.
Education is of exceptional importance in E. Asian societies,
and is often considered a determining factor in a family’s
status. Parents invest heavily in their children’s future,
and, as a result, the systems in these countries often
turn out to be extremely competitive, resulting in an
intense commitment towards extra-curricular and
out-of-school private study.
This has sparked the development of a huge private education
and tutoring sector, with parents investing vast amounts of
money to ensure that their children can be among the very
best. It is admirable yet strenuous, and it inevitably has a
knock-on effect on fertility rates --- as each child,
effectively, becomes a massive investment.
The example of neighbouring South Korea, which is fully
developed, illustrates how in a capitalist society, the
zealous over-competitiveness of the education
system is having negative effects on society.
High-school-age children typically go to
school, only to attend private ‘Hagwon’
classes afterwards, which often offer
miserable working conditions for
the teachers involved.
As a country that is developing fast, China has increasingly
been heading in the same direction. Despite being a
communist state, this has created a growing urban
-rural divide, where the wealthy children of cities
such as Shanghai, are able to afford these
educational boosters, but the poorer
children of the provinces, are
This is an obstacle for future growth. Beijing, also, now sees this
arrangement as dragging down its birth rate, which has become
a national priority. A new white paper called for extensive reform
- to enable people to be able to afford more children, including in
education and healthcare.
As a result, Beijing has clamped down hard on this sector by
instantaneously transforming it into a non-profit, sending
shares plunging. The goal is not to end tutoring, but to
make it more affordable and accessible to all, so the
vices of inequality and capitalism cannot strangle
society. It’s a stark reminder that although China
embraces market economics, it is nonetheless
still a communist state and, under Xi Jinping,
it is, in many ways, hardening its resolve
to be so.
And this is, of course, precisely why the West does not like Xi.
The CPC chairman has reversed the trajectory of liberalisation
in society, which Western observers once hoped would see
China ‘evolve’ into a democracy. Instead, Xi has centralized
and consolidated CPC rule.
His strategy is not so much tyranny, as has been caricatured,
but based on an increasing belief that if China’s problems are
to be overcome, the political will invested into it needs to more
resolute. The education saga helps explain why. If the private
education system was simply allowed to spiral out of control
as a capitalist initiative – which is acceptable from a Western
point of view – it would become an obstacle for the country’s
other socio-economic goals and development.
Increasingly, we see this kind of ruthlessness shape Xi’s leader-
ship of the country – such as at the start of the pandemic, when
he imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, which was condemned by
the West at the time, yet ultimately paid off. Although the
uncompromising nature of the Xi era has put China on
a collision course with the West, it nonetheless may
be what the country truly needs... to move forward.
Many of his actions are arguably ‘necessary evils’
in the pursuit of a longer strategy, even if one
believes they are morally troubling, or even
The South Korean model of education is a warning sign of what
can happen if an over-competitive educational culture is super
-seded by the demands of profit. Xi has just made sure this will
not happen in China. It shows how the state is continuing to
dominate Chinese society and drive forward its vision for
the future, even if it means culling billionaires along
‘Filthy, disgusting & selfish’:
Australian ''leaders'' blast
unleash ‘strike force’
to track them down
July 25th, 4:38am (RT)
Australian police have already issued hundreds of fines
in the wake of mass anti-lockdown rallies, and are
looking for more info' about the violators, as
state ''leaders'' condemn protesters, for
endangering other people’s lives.
In just 24 hours after Saturday’s mass protest, police in
New South Wales issued 510 penalty infringement
notices, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys
said, --- according to the Sydney Morning
Herald. He vowed that the authorities
will continue to investigate the acts
of “violent, filthy, risky” behaviour.
A strike force is set up right at this moment, that
continues to ask for people to bring forward any
video files or telephone footage that they have,
of ''that sort of behaviour''.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott earlier announced that
at least 22 veteran detectives will be working as part of
a special unit - to identify and track down people who
attended the rallies.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian echoed these sentiments,
saying she was “absolutely disgusted” by the mass
gatherings, and urging anyone who recognized
any of the activists, to contact the
police - immediately.
''I’m just so utterly disgusted, disappointed and heartbroken
that people don’t consider the safety and wellbeing of their
NSW reported 2 deaths and 141 new cases of Covid-19 on
Sunday, which is slightly lower than the day before.
The ''authorities'', however, have hinted that as the
protest risks turning into a superspreader event,
the month-long lockdown in Sydney... might be
extended even further.
“We don’t want a setback, and yesterday could have been a
setback – time will tell,” Berejiklian said. The state’s current
lockdown rules bar residents from leaving home except to
obtain food and other “essential” goods and services, for
medical care, including vaccinations, and for outdoor
exercise and “essential” work.
Over HALF of Australia’s population is now under stay-at-
home orders as South Australia becomes the third state
to enter lockdown.
The state of Victoria, in the meantime, recorded only 11 new
cases, but Premier Daniel Andrews blasted the protesters
for putting “many other people in real danger,” and said:
that he could not rule out that the state’s own lockdown
will also be extended.
''We can’t vaccinate against selfishness, and these people
should be ashamed, absolutely ashamed, it’s just wrong.''
Since the pandemic began, Australia has repeatedly staved
off the spread of Covid-19, with some of the world’s most
draconian lockdown measures, -in pursuit of driving new
cases down to zero even at the expense of civil liberties.
Over the course of the pandemic, the country recorded
just over 32,700 cases and 916 total deaths.
On Saturday, thousands of people sickened by perpetual
restrictions and confinement, marched through major
Australian cities, chanting “Freedom!” and clashing
with police who were deployed to disperse these
UK police ABANDONED
July 24th, 12:55pm (RT)
UK police ABANDONED investigations into
over 1,000 crimes daily in 2020, with one
in seven probes dumped within 24
hours - reports.
Police forces across the UK reportedly wrote off over 1,000
crimes a day last year. Investigations into serious crimes
like threats to murder, rapes, assaults and arson -- were
apparently closed within 24 hours during the pandemic.
Assange's Lawyer Says:
It's Not Worth Trusting US
Guarantees for Extradition
July 24th, 1:14pm (FNA)
It is not worth trusting the 'guarantees' given by the United
States for the extradition of Julian Assange as Washington
has repeatedly violated such obligations, WikiLeaks
founder's lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, said.
"The United States has systematically violated guarantees
provided in other extradition processes, with European
countries. In fact, it is a common practice to give
guarantees for extradition--- and then not take
them into account ... So, these international
obligations, which the United States wants
to sign, should not be accepted by a UK
court," Garzon told Sputnik.
He further added that he hoped that the High Court in London
would ratify the decision of the first instance court to deny
extradition and "put an end to this case, which should
never have happened in the first place".
According to the lawyer, it is vital, since Assange's case is
not only about him, personally, or the WikiLeaks, but
affects the basic principle of the freedom of press.
The US has long sought the extradition of the whistleblower,
who was accused of espionage and computer fraud after
WikiLeaks published thousands of classified US military
records and diplomatic cables.
In January, a UK district court ruled not to extradite Assange,
citing health reasons and the risk of suicide in the US prison
system, but decided that he must wait in prison for the
outcome of the appeal process, which, according to
his defense, might take years. However, in early
July, the US received limited permission to
appeal the decision.
The hearing is expected to start in November.
The US has reportedly assured Assange that he can serve
any jail time in his native Australia should he be tried and
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in London in April 2019,
and sentenced to fifty weeks in prison for breaking his bail
in 2012, when he took refuge inside the Ecuadorean
Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he
was facing sexual assault charges which were
later dropped. Assange has been held in a top
security prison in Belmarsh since 2019,
pending an appeal in an extradition
case initiated by the United States.
China Rebukes Washington
for Covering Up Biological
July 23rd 11:59am (FNA)
A Chinese diplomat urged the United States to cooperate with
the international community, on origin-tracing of COVID-19,
instead of covering up information on its biological
"If the US indeed aspires for truth and transparency, they must
agree to an international investigation on the coronavirus,
identify the source of the epidemic in the US and the
reasons for its incompetent response," Chinese
Ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, said on
Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
Washington "has to answer the existing questions about
biological experiments in the US and other countries,
where the Americans also have a number of
laboratories", he told a press conference.
Washington scrupulously studied the situation in
other countries, but hid the situation of its own.
Meanwhile, it displayed a non-scientific approach to
researching the origins, Russian news agency Tass
quoted Zhang as saying.
"This is a job for scientists -- while the Americans posed
this question and this task to their intelligence services:
for the CIA to determine the origins of the coronavirus,"
China has always upheld the principles of openness,
transparency and cooperation on the COVID-19
origins investigation, but some US politicians
only doubted "the statements of scientists,
contrasting them against conspiracy
theories, therefore politicizing the
matters of science",
Why UK Reporters Fear
New Official Secrets Act
Would Prevent Journalism
‘In The Public Interest’
July 22nd, 11:48am (Sputnik)
The original Official Secrets Acts was created in 1911
and was reformed in 1920 and 1939 with an entirely
new version in 1989. But the Home Secretary, Priti
Patel, says the legislation hasn't kept pace with
the digital age, and needs to be updated.
A Home Office consultation on changes to the Official
Secrets Act closes at midnight on Thursday, July
22nd --- and journalists up and down the country
are warning it could be used to prevent matters
of “public interest” from being disclosed.
Under the proposals journalists who publish information
based on leaked documents or data, could be jailed for
up to 14 years.
Veteran BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson is
among dozens of prominent journalists who have
warned of the dangers of the changes, which he
claimed would put reporters in the same
category as spies.
Netflix is currently airing a film, Official Secrets, in which
Kiera Knightley stars as Katharine Gun, an employee at
GCHQ who faced jail after she leaked an email in which
she and her colleagues were asked to find incriminating
material which could be used to blackmail members of
the UN Security Council --- to force them to vote for a
second resolution on invading Iraq in 2003.
Gun leaked the email to peace campaigner, Yvonne Ridley,
who then passed it on to Observer journalist Martin Bright
- who wrote a front-page article which embarrassed Tony
Ultimately, the second resolution wasn't passed, but
Britain and the United States invaded Iraq anyway,
on the spurious pretext of searching for Saddam
Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,
which were never found.
Gun, who intended to claim she had acted in the “public interest”,
was never prosecuted because to do so would have been too
embarrassing for GCHQ and the government.
Daniel Cuthbert, co-author of the Open Web Application Security
Project, said: “What is being proposed is incredibly dangerous
and is a direct attack against the free press. The official secrets
act has a place --- but not classifying journalists as spies, to
The News Media Association’s legal policy and regulatory affairs
director Sayra Tekin said: "As part of any thriving democracy,
the public and a responsible press must be free to shed light
on the state’s injustices.''
"The proposed measures will deter whistleblowers from coming
forward with vital information which the public have a right to
know and place a chill on investigative journalism, which
holds power to account."
She urged the government to “reconsider these measures.”
The Sun newspaper, in an editorial on Wednesday 21 July, said:
"The Home Office bid to criminalise journalists’ public interest
scoops is shameful. Such a chilling clamp would be wildly
out of step with other democracies too…(It) is a licence
for cover-ups - of disastrous failures, criminal
negligence or career-ending hypocrisies...
like The Sun’s Matt Hancock revelations."
Earlier this month Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned
after The Sun published an image from a CCTV camera in
his office showing him kissing an aide, Gina Coladangelo,
in breach of coronavirus restrictions issued by his own
Department of Health.
The new Official Secrets Act could also have prevented
publication of the MPs’ expenses scandal, which was
exposed by The Daily Telegraph in 2009 and led to a
number of MPs being prosecuted, and many others
stepping down at the next election.
Times crime reporter Sean O’Neill said it would “severely
restrict the ability of journalists to report on misconduct
and wrongdoing in the police, the military, the NHS, the
intelligence services and Whitehall departments.”
A Home Office spokesperson told the Press Gazette:
"Freedom of the press is an integral part of the UK’s
democratic processes --- and the government is
committed to protecting the rights and values
that we hold so dear. It is wrong to claim the
proposals will put journalists at risk of
being treated like spies and they will,
rightly, remain free to hold the
government to account."
Beijing renews its call for
Fort Detrick biolab probe
as 4.7 million Chinese
petition WHO to search
in US for Covid origins
July 21st, 10:52am (RT)
The Chinese foreign ministry has backed calls - for an
investigation into the Fort Detrick biolab as an origin
of the Covid-19 pandemic - after 4.7 million Chinese
petitioned the WHO to send experts to the
Speaking on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao
Lijian, said that the Chinese people had delivered a clear
message in signing a petition, created by state-run news
agency The Global Times, calling for a World Health
Organization (WHO) investigation into the Fort
“In less than five days, about five million people participated.
The rising numbers represent the aspirations of the Chinese
people and show their anger at some people in the US for
political manipulation through the issue of traceability,”
The foreign ministry spokesman said that the responsibility
to investigate their own lab must lie with the US. He claimed
that reports of an unknown respiratory disease that caused
pneumonia in Virginia in summer 2019 and the decision to
terminate some operations at the Maryland biolab, was
suspicious - and worthy of a probe.
In 2019, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
issued a “cease and desist order” to halt operations at the
germ lab, amid safety concerns. Zhao also cited a large-
scale outbreak of e-cigarette disease, in Wisconsin, that
As of Wednesday morning, around 4.7 million Chinese
citizens have signed the petition which calls on the
WHO to investigate the US lab as a potential origin
for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition was launched last week as WHO chief Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus blasted Beijing for failing to
provide the raw data from the early days of its
spread in China. “We owe it to the millions
who suffered and the millions who died
to know what happened,” he said.
WHO experts spent around four weeks in China, earlier this
year. Their report suggested that cases identified in Wuhan
in 2019, were believed to have been acquired from
“a zoonotic source, as many reported visiting or
working in the Huanan Wholesale
US, Canada practiced ‘indigenous
child removal’ to destroy tribes:
July 19th, 11:06am (PressTV)
The United States and Canada have a long history of
separating indigenous children from their parents
and putting them in state-run boarding schools,
supposedly to prepare them to be assimilated
into society, but the real intent behind the
centuries-old colonial program has been
to destroy the native tribes and steal
their land, says a Native American
historian and journalist.
“It's important to remember the intent behind native child
removal is to destroy the family, because if you destroy
the family, you destroy the nation, you destroy the
tribe,” Nick Estes said on Press TV's
“And if the tribe isn't strong, they're not going to resist
against any kind of, you know, attacks on the land,
and that was, that was the clear intent," added
Estes, who is also a host of The Red Nation
Podcast and the author of Our History Is
the Future: Standing Rock Versus the
Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long
Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.
He said that calling those indigenous residential institutes
that were paid by the US and Canadian authorities to cut
children off from their families and their culture,
“schools”... would be a misnomer.
"School is a misnomer. It is not the correct definition because
these were not schools. Children didn’t go here, and get
educations which they could apply to the realities that
they faced at home on reservations. The skills they
learned, were almost useless,” he said, adding,
“They were drilled with military discipline and
taught flag worship, to a point that, around
the time the United States entered WWI,
the enlist rate of Native people was
far beyond that of the average
He said, at that particular period more than 80 percent of
Native Children... went through boarding schools run by
the federal government or Churches. "At that particular
moment in time, about 84 percent of children went to
boarding schools, whether they were federally run
or, you know church-run boarding schools,"
Canada mass graves
A series of mass graves have been discovered in Canada,
at various Indigenous Residential Schools, containing
the remains of over 1,600 indigenous children.
The separation of Native children from their families was a
brutal program to cut them off from their Native cultures,
families, languages, and heritage, and to indoctrinate
them with the White colonial system.
Historians and journalists who have researched and
documented these systems, found out that these
boarding schools were regarded as a “prey-
ground” for predatory priests and other
officials, who would terrorize Native
children as they bathed or slept,
permanently breaking and
damaging their body and
soul, to fulfill their
Estes, who is himself a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux
Tribe, and also an Assistant Professor in the American
Studies Department at the University of New Mexico,
said the sad event of discovering the mass graves
of the Native children at these boarding schools
in Canada, was to be expected.
He said, however, that the Canadian government has yet to
unveil the full scope of this tragedy, given the large
number of children who were going through
those systems, for a long span of time.
"It is Indian child removal - taking the children from their
families and placing them in White institutions," he said,
adding, “Whether it is run by the Church, the federal
government, or a private home, if we think about it
in terms of child removal, the scope of it spans
He said the Canadian government had in the past launched
“a truth and reconciliation” commission --- to discover and
reveal the wrongdoing of the government, but it failed to
find the ratio between the Native population and the
number of Native children who died.
The journalist noted that as early as the 1800s, churches
were being paid to basically take Native children from
their families to give them schooling and
He pointed out that the tribes have always been very
resistant, not selling their lands to the government
and the white settlers.
"The United States policymakers that backed boarding
schools called the children hostages for ‘the good
behaviour’ of their parents. And, if children
were not sent to boarding schools, parents
were withheld rations, they were withheld
any kind of support that they would have
gotten from the federal government,"
Estes said the government system of separating the
Native children from their parents, continued to the
"Native children are overrepresented in the foster care
system. Because Native families are considered, you
know, inept at taking care of their own children,"
In the meantime, Native families have been denied
access to adequate employment, decent homes,
or just the basic necessities to have a safe,
clean home for their children, the
"And it's seen as native people's fault," Estes said.
Shock findings: UK teachers
receiving govt. 'Diktats'
July 16th, 4:54pm (PressTV)
by Robert Carter
Accusations of a state-led anti-Palestine crackdown
in British schools... have been proven true... after
the release of a case study by Muslim-advocacy
Watch the video here - and prepare to be shocked:
Group: Probe into indigenous
remains in Canada has still
'barely scratched the surface'
July 16th, 6:43am (PressTV)
A Canadian indigenous group says more unmarked
graves are expected to be found near former
church-run residential schools, as
The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation made the
statement after releasing on Thursday its first full
report on the discovery of 215 unmarked graves
at the site of a former residential school in May.
The First Nation’s leadership announced on May 27th
that 215 unmarked and previously undocumented
grave sites have been found, using ground-
penetrating radar, at the site of the former
Kamloops Indian Residential School in
Kamloops, British Columbia.
The group said ground-surveying research in areas
close to the school shows there could be as many
as 200 potential burial sites there, and that the
number could increase as much of the area
has yet to be surveyed.
Sarah Beaulieu, a ground-penetrating radar specialist
who presented the findings, said the investigation has
“barely scratched the surface,” covering just under
two acres of the total 160-acre residential
“This is a long process that will take significant time and
resources. They were children, robbed of their families
and their childhood,” she said at a press conference.
“We need to now give them the dignity that they
never had. Those are our next steps.”
Beaulieu went on to say that the previous discovery of a child’s
tooth, a juvenile rib bone found by a tourist, and the stories of
elders and knowledge keepers... led to the search of an
orchard area around the former Kamloops Indian
Residential School site.
“All residential school landscapes are likely to contain burials
and missing children,” she stressed. “And remote sensing
such as [ground-penetrating radar] merely provides some
spatial specificity to this truth.”
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir, who revealed
the discovery in May, said during the Thursday’s presentation
that the next step for her First Nation is to form a team of
archeologists and technical experts to employ more
radar to scour the rest of the grounds.
“We are not here for retaliation. We are here for truth telling,”
Casimir said. “We are here today to honor the missing
children in our caretakership who have experienced
unthinkable circumstances leading to their death
and whose remains were placed in
Casimir reiterated a call for the Canadian government and
the Roman Catholic Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which
ran the school, to release records: that will enable the
First Nation to identify the remains.
Casimir reiterated a call for the Canadian government to
release attendance records to begin the process of
identifying potential victims.
“Every student who ever attended the Kamloops residential
school is documented in those records,” she said. “We are
loath to put the responsibility of identifying those lost on
the survivors … who have been traumatized and
Casimir also called on the Catholic church to release its
records, taking aim at an institution that has faced
growing criticism over its failure to
“The Roman Catholic church has repeatedly refused to
accept responsibility or formally apologize for its direct
role in the numerous and horrific abuses committed …
through the residential school system,” she said.
Canada has been grappling with its past treatment
of indigenous people in recent months.
Since May, hundreds of unmarked graves of children have
been discovered at former residential schools, run for
indigenous children forcibly separated from their
families in what has been called
Two more Catholic churches have been set ablaze
in indigenous communities in western Canada.
The victims, most of them children, died of disease,
malnutrition, neglect, and other causes at the
schools, where physical, as well as sexual
abuse, was rife.
The discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves at
former indigenous residential schools has convulsed
Canada, provoking anger and grief in indigenous
More than a dozen churches across Canada have been
burned in recent weeks, and statues of Britain’s Queen
Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria — who reigned over the
country when the first residential schools were opened
in the late 1800s — were torn down by protesters.
UK: More Than 1mln Children
from Key Worker Families
Living in Poverty
July 14th, 10:31am (FNA)
More than a million children from households in the
frontline of the fight against the coronavirus
pandemic, are living in poverty, according
to new research published by the TUC.
The study found that one in five children of key workers
in England, Scotland and Wales, were living below the
official breadline – rising to almost one in three in
the worst-affected region, the North-East, The
The TUC said low pay and insecure hours – widespread
in occupations such as social care, supermarkets and
delivery drivers – were the main reasons for in-work
poverty among key workers.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary, said,
“Every key worker... deserves a decent standard of
living for their family. But too often their hard work
is not paying off, like it should. And they struggle
to keep up with the basic costs of family life."
“The prime minister [Boris Johnson] has promised to
‘build back fairer’. He should start with our key
workers. They put themselves in harm’s way
to keep the country going through the
pandemic. Now, we must be there
for them, too," O’Grady said.
“This isn’t just about doing the right thing by key workers.
If we put more money in the pockets of working families,
their spending will help our businesses and high
streets recover. It’s the fuel in the tank that
our economy needs,” he said.
The report, prepared for the TUC, by the consultancy
firm, Landman Economics and using the government
definition of key workers --- found that 29% of the
children of key-worker households in the North
-East, were living in poverty, followed by
London (27%), the West Midlands (25%)
and Yorkshire and the Humber (25%).
The lowest rates were in the East of
England (15.5%) and the South-
[Figures for Wales? Where are they? - Rhondda Records]
The TUC said that as well as pay and hours, high housing costs
were reducing the amount of money key worker households
could spend on groceries and utility bills. Support through
universal credit, to be cut by £20 a week in the autumn,
after a temporary pandemic uplift, was not enough to
guarantee that families avoid poverty.
Current government policies were likely to increase child
poverty rates, because as well as cutting universal credit
ministers had capped pay rises for key workers in the
public sectors, leading, in some cases, to cuts in
wages, when adjusted for inflation.
The TUC said these policies would put brakes on Britain’s
recovery --- because curbs on household spending would
restrain business activity and have knock-on effects on
wage growth for other workers.
Over 1,250 Irish artists
pledge to boycott Israel
in protest at mistreat-
ment of Palestinians
July 10th, 10:24am (PressTV)
Hundreds of Irish artists... including actors, novelists,
playwrights, poets, designers, composers, architects,
painters, sculptors, filmmakers and others, have
expressed solid support -- for the international
anti-Israel movement of Boycott, Divestment,
and Sanctions (BDS) -- and announced that
they intend not to perform or exhibit in the
Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)
announced that its "Irish Artists’ Pledge to
Boycott Israel" has just passed the
1,250 signatory mark.
The IPSC said the boycott of Israel also means that the
cultural workers would not accept any funding from
institutions linked to the Tel Aviv regime.
The pledge signed by the artists stated that the boycott
would continue, “until such time as Israel complies
with international law and universal principles
of human rights”.
The Irish artists’ pledge was initiated by
renowned composer, and IPSC
co-founder, Raymond Deane.
It commits signatories to refrain from performing in Israel.
The campaign was launched by the Ireland-Palestine
Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in August 2010.
Irish singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey hoped the
boycott would encourage young people in Israel who
disagreed with the regime to “speak out”.
Musician Donal Lunny said he was taking part to
“express solidarity with the Palestinian people”.
When asked about the boycott’s chances for success,
Eoin Dillon, a performer with Irish and world music
band Kila, said: “It worked in South Africa.”
The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170
Palestinian organizations that were pushing for
“various forms of boycott against Israel until it
meets its obligations under international law.”
Thousands of volunteers worldwide have since then
joined the BDS movement, which calls for people
and groups across the world to cut economic,
cultural and academic ties to Tel Aviv, to
help promote the Palestinian cause.
Western Scientists Face
Death Threats, for
Theory, Report Says
July 6th, 10:50am GMT (Sputnik)
Prominent US and Australian scientists focused on the
COVID-19 origins tracing are now facing tremendous
political pressure, and some have been sidelined for
not yielding to politicians-driven conspiracy theory
on the matter and received anonymous threatening
letters with bullets, the Global Times learned from
people familiar with the matter.
Chinese experts have urged the US to stop
politicising the origin-tracing research and
conduct a comprehensive investigation
in the US.
Since the Biden administration ordered, in May, US
intelligence agencies to report on COVID-19 origins
within 90 days several US scientists have been put
at the centre of a political storm. These scientists,
have been facing the suppression of Republicans.
For example, Anthony Fauci, who advises US President,
Joe Biden and leads the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases, has been a target of the GOP. Elise
Stefanik, the House Republicans conference chair,
sent a fundraising email recently with the subject
"Fire Fauci" & senator Josh Hawley also tweeted
that Fauci's recently released emails and
investigative reporting about COVID-19
origins, are ''shocking''. The time has
come for him to resign, and for a full
congressional investigation into the
origins to take place, according to
US media reports.
Under such growing political pressure, Fauci has been
increasingly... ambiguous in his rhetoric. Another US
scientist, who also took part in the WHO-China joint
team, on the research of the origins, has also been
a target of such attacks, the Global Times learned.
After collaborating in the project with China,
Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth
Alliance, was recused from UN-backed
commission work on the origins of
A source close to the matter told the Global Times earlier
that the US scientist is being personally threatened by
emails, phone calls and messages on social media,
and people who attacked him generally have far-
right and even white supremacist leanings.
GOP members of Congress are whipping
those extremists up, now.
"There is a coordinated political campaign to undermine
anyone involved in the origins work if they do not fit the
lab leak narrative. This is coming mainly from the right
-wing circles in the US, Australia, and in Europe,
mainly the UK", the source said.
In the meantime, some so-called "international scientists"
seeking attention, have been making grandstanding
campaigns, by issuing open letters to call for an
investigation into the COVID-19 origins.
It's revealing that some so-called "international scientists"
who recently called for a COVID-19 origins inquiry, were
politicians with political agendas. But many scientists
who truly uphold the spirit of science - objectivity
and impartiality - have been attacked by some
governments and extremists, or even
received death threats, the Chinese
Foreign Ministry spokesperson...
Wang Wenbin said at Monday's
routine press conference.
Wang said that the right idea, was to carry out more
in-depth, detailed scientific studies in a wider range.
Facing Death Threats, Unable to Continue Work
Letting politics override science is not only prevailing in the
US but also in Australia. Evolutionary biologist Edward
Holmes at the University of Sydney, who released an
open letter back last April, is being probed by the
In the letter, Holmes claimed that there was no evidence that
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans,
originated in a lab in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei
Province. Like many others who oppose the lab-
leak theory, Edward Holmes has received a
number of threatening letters with real
bullets, the Global Times learned,
from the people familiar with
He was threatened that, if he continued expressing
opinions on the origins of the virus, he may face
even further crackdowns, a source close to the
matter said. Due to the tremendous pressure
Holmes faces, he is undergoing psycho-
therapy... and is unable to carry out
normal scientific research work,
the source said.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report in October
2020, Holmes became the target of online harassment
after he co-authored a paper in Nature Medicine
debunking the ''pervading conspiracy theory''
that the virus was engineered in, or escaped
from, a laboratory in Wuhan. He also
received "death threats" from
conspiracy theorists, the
Though the US government and politicians have been
pushing forward their political agenda --- in bashing
China with the lab-leak theory, targeting a number
of global scientists, and the Wuhan Institute of
Virology (WIV), most scientists spoke out and
dismissed the theory, reiterating that the
most likely scenario, is that the virus
has a natural origin.
For instance, Danielle Anderson, the only foreign scientist
who once worked at the WIV, was quoted as saying in a
Bloomberg report, on June 28th, that no one she knew
at the Wuhan institute was ill toward the end of 2019.
Recently the Wall Street Journal falsely claimed that
three researchers from the lab were hospitalised
with flu-like symptoms in November 2019. She
also described the place as having the
highest biosafety designation with
very strict procedures.
After she told Health Feedback that it's "simply false" to label
the WIV as a bioweapons research lab, she had her name
"trashed so viciously by extremists she had to call in the
police", the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday.
"I really find it hard to think that if something escaped from
a laboratory it would be this difficult to prove that concept.
Among other things, it is an unknown virus that has no
signs of genetic engineering inside", said Massimo
Galli, director of Infectious Diseases at Milan's
Luigi Sacco Hospital, the Adnkronos reported
on June 22nd.
He said that there is a 99-percentage chance that the spread
of the virus is a natural event. "This story of the laboratory
virus, does not have the slightest basis, from a scientific
point of view, to be carried forward," added Galli.
Next Country for Tracing Virus Origins: the US
The US National Institute of Health issued a new antibody
testing study, that suggested the virus was present in
some states in late December 2019, earlier than the
first case reported in the country in January 2020.
With some US scientists reporting earlier cases,
Chinese scientists have urged that these cases
should serve as evidence for the next stage:
virus-tracing investigations in the US.
In the All of Us study, by the US institutes released on June 15th,
researchers analyzed more than 24,000 stored blood samples
contributed by programme participants across all 50 states
between January 2 and March 18, 2020.
"In this study, the first positive samples came from participants
in Illinois and Massachusetts, on January 7th and 8th, 2020,
respectively, suggesting that the virus was present in those
states in late December," it said.
However, the study authors noted several limitations to their
study. While the study included samples from across the
US, the number of samples from many states was low.
Fort Detrick laboratory
Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan University, told the Global
Times on Monday that the research has shown the epidemic in
the US probably emerged earlier than in Wuhan. In other words,
the epidemic in the US was probably caused by a domestic
virus, rather than one transmitted from Wuhan.
But more large-scale epidemiological surveys are needed in the
US to identify the relationship between these cases and those
in other countries and regions, including Wuhan, to
determine the origin and transmission route of
Yang mentioned the outbreaks of flu and pneumonia-related to
the use of E-cigarette in the US prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,
calling for the US to release epidemiological surveys into these
outbreaks -- if they did any -- to find out if they were
The US has nearly all the variants spreading around the world,
based on this, the virus most likely originated in the US
rather than the Wuhan lab, according to Yang.
This article was originally
published by Global Times
Postal voting on demand is an
affront to British democracy
and George Galloway may be
about to shine a light on it
July 5th, 2:59pm (RT)
Paul A. Nuttall is a historian, author and a former
politician. He was a Member of the European
Parliament between 2009 and 2019... and
was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.
Britain claims to be a bastion of democracy but its largest
political parties do nothing -- as that very democracy is
being perverted by the postal-vote system.
Following Labour’s surprise victory in the Batley and Spen
by-election, Sir Keir Starmer, the party leader, declared
that “Labour is back.” It seems a somewhat strange
assertion, considering that his party’s majority had
been cut --- from over 3,000 to 323 during the by-
election. It also might be a little premature, as
George Galloway, the Workers Party of Great
Britain candidate, said that he is mounting a
legal challenge, to have the result set aside.
Last night, on his talk show, the Mother of All Talk Shows
(MOATS), Galloway announced the basis of his challenge.
He listed a host of reasons, including the telling of
untruths about a candidate, the removal of his
posters by the local council, the lack of a
recount, overspending, and alleged
The one that interested me most was the postal vote issue.
Now, I have some experience of this, having stood and
campaigned in too many elections to recount. I have
also voiced concern about postal vote fraud, for
over a decade, and Galloway may well be on
to something here. But before I get into it,
let me just describe how we got to
Prior to 2000, if an elector wanted a postal vote, then they
had to give a ''good reason'' why they could not attend a
polling station in person... They may be old, infirm, in
the armed forces, or on holiday. However, Tony Blair’s
government changed the system, to allow for postal
vote on demand, so no reason was required. Blair’s
government argued that it would lead to greater
engagement in politics. They pointed to the
paltry 24% turnout at the 1999 European
Elections, as proof that something had
to change. So, in some ways, it could
be argued that some alteration of
the system was necessary.
But, as with many political decisions, it has had unintended
consequences, and the overriding one has been corruption.
Now, I will just name a few: In 2002, Muhammed Hussain, a
Blackburn councillor, was prosecuted, and jailed for three
and a half years, after being found guilty of conspiring to
defraud local elections. Judge Peter Openshaw said that
Hussain’s actions were of a scale unknown in Britain for
a hundred years; he then exposed the postal-voting
system, for being “wide open to fraud.”
In 2008, Mohammed Choudhary, former Labour Mayor of
Peterborough, was jailed for nine months following the
uncovering of a postal vote-rigging scam... where
applications were made for ballot papers to be
sent to different addresses.
In 2015, Lutfur Rahman, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, was
removed from office because of a number of irregularities
including ballot tampering, and the fact that ballots were
double-cast, or cast from false addresses. The judge
who presided over the Rahman case, was Richard
Mawrey QC, who himself had previously called
for postal voting on demand to be scrapped.
He asserted in 2014 that “postal voting on
demand, however many safeguards
you build into it... is wide open to
fraud,” making “election rigging
a possibility and, indeed, in
some areas, a probability”.
In 2019, Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe,
wrote that he had received “accounts of candidates
visiting electors’ homes, demanding postal votes
are completed in front of them, and then taking
them away.” He rightly concluded that:
“this simply cannot go on.”
The UK prides itself on being a bastion of democracy, yet
our main political parties sit by idly whilst that very same
democracy, is being perverted by the postal-vote system.
Why do they do this and why do they refuse to tackle the
issue? Well, maybe it is because, possibly, they benefit
Whenever I challenged postal vote on demand following
elections, it was passed off as sour grapes by my
opponents. But it was nothing of the sort. My
complaints were based on a sense of fair
play and on the fact that the current
postal vote system has failed to
achieve its stated objective,
which was to increase
For example, the turnout in the 1997 General Election, the
last, before postal vote on demand, was 71.3%... yet the
turnout in the 2019 General Election was down to 67.3%.
There is absolutely no legitimate argument for retaining
this system, which, as has been shown time and time
again, makes it easier to commit fraud.
Now, I suspect George Galloway and I have little common
ground politically beyond our support for Brexit and the
Union. But if his court case shines a light on the
corruption involved in postal voting on demand,
then he should be backed by all those who
support democracy and fairness.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!
The statements, views and opinions expressed
in this column are solely those of the author
and do not necessarily represent those
Batley and Spen:
Labour narrowly wins
seat in parliamentary
July 2nd, 1:58pm (PressTV)
Former MP, George Galloway, from the Workers
Party of Britain, came 3rd in the bitterly-fought
parliamentary contest --- vowing to challenge
the result of the contest in the courts and
take legal action "on multiple grounds"
to get the election result "to be
UN human rights experts
urge Vatican to halt
child sex abuse
June 21st, 2pm (PressTV)
UN human rights experts have expressed grave concern
over numerous allegations of child sexual abuse in
Catholic Churches around the world -- urging the
Vatican to put an end to violence committed
by members of these institutions,
In a letter released on Monday, the experts called on:
"the Holy See to take all necessary measures to stop
and prevent, the recurrence of violence and sexual
abuse against children in Catholic institutions and
to ensure those responsible are held to account
and reparations are paid to victims."
They also voiced concern... about measures adopted
by the church to "protect alleged abusers, cover up
crimes, obstruct accountability of alleged abusers
and evade reparations due to victims"... adding
that there had been persistent allegations of
obstruction and a lack of cooperation with
legal proceedings... to prevent any
accountability or reparations.
The experts further urged the Vatican to cooperate
fully, with law enforcement in the countries
concerned, and to hold off signing
agreements, in order to evade
accountability for church
They also said they are concerned about “continued
attempts to undermine legislative attempts to
prosecute child sex offenders.”
The letter was penned by the special rapporteurs on
the sexual exploitation of children; on cruel and
degrading treatment; on the promotion of
truth, justice and reparation; and on the
rights of persons with disabilities.
The four special rapporteurs, who do not speak for
the United Nations, but report their findings to it,
had written to the Vatican, in April.
There are widespread accusations that the Catholic
Church not only ignored, but even covered up,
cases of child abuse.
Back in September 2018, a leaked study found that
Catholic priests in Germany sexually abused
thousands of children, over the course of
nearly seven decades.
The document, which was compiled by three German
universities, showed that evidence, in many cases,
was destroyed or manipulated.
According to the study, clerics accused of sexual abuse
were often transferred to another location, without
providing "appropriate information" about them
to the new site.
Only one third of those accused were subject to
disciplinary hearings by the Church, and
sanctions imposed, were, at most,
minimal, the report said.
Also in August the same year, a devastating US grand
jury report was published, that decried a systematic
cover-up by the US Catholic Church.
A grand jury in the US state of Pennsylvania released
the findings of the largest-ever investigation of sex
abuse in the US Catholic Church, finding that 301
priests in the state had sexually abused minors
over the past 70 years.
More than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, but
the "real number" was "in the thousands," the
grand jury estimated.
Victims were often traumatized for life, driven to
drugs, alcohol and suicide, the grand jury said.
The report was thought to be the most comprehensive
to date into abuse in the US church, since The Boston
Globe first exposed pedophile priests, in the state of
Massachusetts, in 2002.
Pedophilia in Catholic churches has done
enormous damage to its image.
Pope Francis, who was appointed in 2013 with a mandate
to overhaul the Vatican, said that there would be a "zero
tolerance" approach to clerical sex abuse. He promised
to take strong action in response to accusations of
cover-ups and leniency by the Vatican.
However, Francis has been accused of being too soft on
pedophiles. His credibility on the issue has been hit by
a series of missteps - and victims' organizations
maintain that the Church remains reluctant to
hand pedophile priests over to any criminal
Sitting on a ‘TIME BOMB’:
Deutsche Bank issues grim
on US economy
June 12th, 9:56am (RT)
Further disregarding inflation.. will push the global
economy to a major crisis, according to the latest
report issued by Deutsche Bank economists,
who point the finger at the US's
Germany’s largest lender warned that the unprecedented
levels of cash being injected into the economy, while
inflation fears are being dismissed, will lead to
excruciating economic pain, if not in the
near term, then in 2023, and beyond.
The report points to the US's “breath-taking” monetary
stimulus, that is reportedly comparable with that seen
around World War II.
“Then, US deficits remained between 15-30% for four years.
While there are many significant differences between the
pandemic and WWII we would note that annual inflation
was 8.4%, 14.6% and 7.7% in 1946, 1947 and 1948 after
the economy normalized and pent-up demand was
released,” Deutsche Bank notes.
Moreover, the experts forecast dire impacts from the Federal
Reserve’s new framework that supports tolerating higher
inflation for the benefit of a full recovery of the country’s
economy, after the slumber caused by the Covid-19
“The consequence of delay... will be greater disruption of
economic and financial activity than would be otherwise
be the case, when the Fed does finally act,” Deutsche’s
economists wrote, in the first report of the new
series, titled “Inflation: The defining macro
story of this decade.”
“In turn, this could create a significant recession, and
set off a chain of financial distress around the world,
particularly in emerging markets,” the
According to the bank’s analysts, neglecting inflation
leaves global economies “sitting on a time bomb.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters in UK
storm Runcorn factory
parts to Israel
June 11th, 10:42am (PressTV)
Pro-Palestinian activists have taken over an aerospace
factory in the northwestern British town of Runcorn,
which reportedly supplies parts for drones
produced by Israeli arms manufacturer
The protesters scaled the roof of the APPH facility,
which is owned by Canadian firm Heroux-Devtek,
sprayed red paint on the walls of the premises
and waved red flares.
Palestine Action said in a statement that its members
“stormed, scaled, and occupied” the premises of the
military equipment manufacturer at 4.30 a.m. local
time on Thursday.
“So far, activists have broken into the factory to
dismantle drone and aircraft machinery, have
destroyed property including floodlights,
ventilators, windows & cameras, have
sprayed blood-red paint across the
premises, and are currently
occupying the roof --- to
prevent operations at
the site,” the organ-
Palestine Action, which describes itself as a direct-
action network of groups and individuals, said the
Runcorn facility manufactures military technology
and landing gear for Elbit's long-endurance
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which
were used in the Israeli onslaught
on the besieged Gaza Strip.
At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were
killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip
in 11 days of the conflict that began on May 10th.
Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread
devastation to the already impoverished
The Gaza-based resistance movements responded
by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied
territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and
even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.
Palestine Action said it would target other
Elbit-owned locations in the United Kingdom.
Commenting on the protest, local Labour MP
Mike Amesbury said, “People have got a
right to protest, but it must be done
“I would be very disappointed, if any components
used for military hardware involved in the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict are being manufactured in
my constituency,” he noted.
Martin Brassard, president and chief executive officer
of Heroux-Devtek, confirmed that all staff had been
sent home and the company was working with the
police to resolve the situation.
On Wednesday, Palestine Action targeted the head-
quarters of LaSalle Investment Management – a
subsidiary of real estate giant, Jones Long
LaSalle, who are landlords of the building
where Israeli arms company Elbit runs
its main office in central London.
The pro-Palestinian activists had earlier targeted sites
linked to the company in the county of Kent and the
Greater Manchester area, among other places.
Israeli minister supports calls
for Jews to arbitrarily open
fire on Arabs
June 2nd, 2:33pm (PressTV)
Israel’s Public Security Minister, Amir Ohana,
has backed calls for Jews to open fire at the
Arab residents, in the mixed city of Lod.
Last week, Ofer Cassif, a member of Israel’s Knesset,
for an alliance of Arab political parties, the Joint List,
decried as ''incitement'', the call by Amichai Langfeld
--- with the Lod city council --- to Jewish gun owners,
to ‘protect their communities.’ The call was made
in the presence of Lod's Mayor, Yair Revivo.
In a letter to Ohana, Cassif warned that "there is an explicit
call for armed people to take the law into their own hands
and even to use live fire… all of this under the auspices
of the Lod mayor, who stood beside the inciter."
"Without immediate intervention - on your part - to stop the
blatant incitement, from escalating to violence, a horrible
tragedy may occur," Cassif added in the letter.
But the Israeli minister defended that call as “legitimate.”
"I disagree that it is incitement. The call to citizens to defend
themselves against their attackers, with the means of fire
-arms, for which, they have a legal license, among others,
is a legitimate call," Ohana wrote in reply.
Ohana also said the law allows people “to
act in self-defense, in their time of need.”
Cassif’s disputed the minister’s remarks, saying, "There is
no dispute as to whether someone can defend their lives
...or those of others. But we are not discussing self-
defense --- as the inciting words of Mr. Amichai
Langfeld, are not a call for self-defense... but
for organized groups to come to a specific
place and walk around there while carry
-ing weapons – that is, to establish
"In addition, the events of the past weeks, as well as journalistic
investigations... prove that a large amount of those who heeded
the calls aren't interested in protection, but rather in attacking
Arab civilians, whoever and wherever they may be. That is,
peaceful citizens, with nothing to do with acts of
violence," Cassif wrote in reply.
Tensions were high in Jerusalem al-Quds recently amid acts of
aggression by Israeli soldiers and settlers, and an imminent
forced eviction of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah
neighbourhood of the city, by the Israeli authorities.
It was the trigger for protests in al-Quds and the occupied territories.
Then followed the 11-day Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza
Strip, which began on May 10th, and killed over 250 Palestinians.
UK act of parliament
authorizes torture and rape
under "certain circumstances"
May 11th, 10:49am (PressTV)
Proposed legislation giving police sweeping
powers to decide whether protests are
justified, the power to impose start
and finish times - and even the
right to disband one-person
protests... has led to
The legislation includes vague criteria such as
being “too loud” or a “nuisance” as being
sufficient justification for any action
undertaken by UK police
The protestors feel that the Police, Courts,
Sentencing and Crimes bill, violates their
right to free speech and all UK subjects'
right to assembly.
Laws have also been passed by HM government
which would result in undercover agents being
granted Criminal Conduct Authorizations
authorizing them, as the name implies,
to engage in criminal conduct
including rape, murder and
torture --- without any
One controversial bill, the Overseas Operations Bill,
stipulates a statute of limitations on war crimes
prosecutions against British troops,
effectively legalizing war crimes,
including torture, rape and
Currently people all over Britain are out protesting
against a controversial new law that would,
essentially, make protesting illegal and
slap harsh sentences on those who
fail to comply.
The movement called 'Kill the Bill', seeks to stop
this legislation while it's still in passage through
Parliament. However, in recent months the UK
also passed two other laws, that effectively
and explicitly allows undercover agents in
Britain to commit any crime, and gives
British troops immunity from war
crimes prosecutions, the latter
of these, has gone largely
unnoticed, by the British
public at large.
The Police State
The British government has spent the last few months
enacting, or attempting to enact, extremely worrying
These bills will completely destroy any shred of Britain's
democracy. There are three bills, two of which have
already been passed and the third is currently
pending, which will completely alter
Although there was considerable debate in Parliament,
these controversial and worrying bills were barely
covered by the mainstream media.
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
The first cause for concern is the Police, Crime,
Sentencing and Courts Bill, also known as the
anti protest bill. This is the bill at the centre
of kill the bill protests, that are currently
underway all over the United Kingdom.
The second bill is the Covert Human Intelligence
Sources, CHIS, Act, also nicknamed the Spy
And finally, the third, is the
Overseas Operations Act 2021.
Despite the fact that these bills are extremely archaic,
authoritarian and threaten civil liberties - along with
international law - the British public is almost
completely unaware of their existence, with
perhaps, the sole exception being the anti
protest bill, simply because of the wide-
spread unrest and protests that it has
caused in the country.
On March 17th, 2021, a vigil was held for 33 year old
Sarah Everard, whose body was found earlier that
month, in London.
Wayne Couzens, 48, a serving officer in the London
Metropolitan Police is accused of murdering her
and is currently in custody pending trial.
The largely peaceful vigil turned violent when police
attempted to disperse and shut down the event.
Scenes of women being violently dragged, arrested
& manhandled by the police were met with disgust
and shock. The vigil --- and the violent arrests that
took place there, occurred just as a new piece of
legislation was being introduced, which helped
spark the kill the bill movement.
In March 2021, Britain's Tory government under
Boris Johnson, introduced the Police Crime,
Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The goal of this mammoth piece of legislation is
essentially to shake up the criminal justice
system in England and Wales.
The reason people are so upset about it --- is because
it gives the police sweeping new powers where they
can randomly decide whether a protest is justified
or unjustified, and shut it down on the spot. This
even includes protests by a single person, not
only that, but the police would also be able
to impose a start and a finish time.
The criteria proposed for shutting down a protest
includes vague arbitrary language, like being
"too loud", or "a nuisance".
Home Secretary Priti Patel when asked about
what these things mean, couldn't even give
a straight answer.
People who refuse to comply with police orders can
be fined up to 2,500 pounds. The punishment for
defacing or damaging memorials, has been
increased from three months to 10 years.
This comes in the wake of 'Black Lives Matter' protests
in the summer of 2020 when the statue of slave trader,
Edward Colston, was thrown into Bristol docks.
In order to help ease the passage of this bill through
Parliament the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well
as Home Secretary, Pritti Pattel, have deflected: by
pointing to other things in the bill that would give
life sentences to killer drivers, for example, or
harsher sentencing for premeditated child
murder, and serious violence against
But this doesn't address the concerns with giving police
sweeping powers to disband protests --- given that free
speech and the right to free assembly are considered
pillars of a liberal democracy, many view the
legislation as authoritarian, and a violation
of the Human Rights Act.
As a result, protests have erupted in response all over
Britain --- including London, Bristol, Birmingham,
Liverpool and other major cities, with hundreds
being arrested and detained by police
Currently, the anti protest bill has passed its first and
second readings and it is at the Committee stage...
While this act is currently still pending, there are
two others that are just as dangerous that have
been largely unnoticed and unreported, while
having made their way through Parliament
and becoming law.
The Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill, or CHIS
Bill, which is also nicknamed the Spy Cops Bill,
gives undercover agents permission to commit
crimes through a so called Criminal Conduct
Authorization. This could include rape,
torture, murder, and other
These criminal conduct authorizations are not just
for MI5, Britain's domestic security service --- but
also for any police force in Britain. this includes
agencies like the gambling Commission, the
Food Standards Agency, the Home Office,
the Ministry of Justice, and several
other government departments.
Undercover officers can commit criminal acts, if it's
in the interest of national security, and also in the
economic interests of the United Kingdom.
Unions and other direct action groups
have previously been targeted in the
past --- by undercover police ---
We've seen police disproportionately target left wing
groups, activists and ordinary protesters, while
providing cover to right wing and far
The Guardian reports that Scotland Yard, in 2019, had
been forced to pay a total of more than £700,000 - in
compensation to 153 anti fascist campaigners, who
were arrested by police during a demonstration -
and detained for up to 14 hours.
The Guardian also disclosed, in 2018, that The London
Metropolitan Police had used over two dozen officers,
to infiltrate left wing groups as part of an undercover
spying campaign, that spanned 37 years.
When the time came for parliament to vote on this bill,
the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, did not tell his
party to vote NO, and oppose the bill. Instead, he
told them to abstain. And... given that this is a
piece of Tory legislation, and the Tories were
bound to vote overwhelmingly 'YES' ----- the
majority of labour being whipped to abstain
...had the effect of simply letting the bill
pass through the House of Commons
unopposed; a complete gift
to the conservatives.
There were However, 34 Labour MPs who decided to
rebel and vote against the legislation -- among them
former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. For breaking
the ''whip'', various Labour MPs, including 7 front
benchers, were punished, by Stormer, for voting
against it:- like Nadia Edith Whittome, the MP
for Nottingham East, who was sacked, as
Once the Spy Cops Bill reached the House of Lords an
amendment was put forward to make sure that under-
cover agents could not commit murder, rape and
torture as part of their duties.
The amendment was passed, removing some
of the most heinous crimes from a heinous bill.
Nonetheless, when the bill was sent back to the
House of Commons, the amendment to ban
murder, rape and torture... was removed.
The CHIS Bill was passed more or less in its
original form: allowing undercover agents
to do whatever they like.
It was passed through Parliament and received Royal
Assent on March 1st, 2021. And at every step of the
way, the bill went through virtually unopposed.
Even amendments to ban the use of children, or
to limit the scope of the crimes that undercover
agents could undertake, were all defeated.
It goes without saying that such carte blanche to
commit crimes and a Licence to Kill in the wrong
hands, can be devastating --- and gives the state
extraordinary powers over the lives of
It is reckless at best and authoritarianism at worst.
Another extremely concerning bill that also has
made its way through Parliament and just
become law is the Overseas Operations
Bill. This bill completed its passage
through Parliament on April
The overseas bill proposes a so called presumption
against prosecution for servicemembers overseas
and essentially gives British soldiers immunity
from being prosecuted for war crimes.
It introduces a statute of limitation of five years,
meaning that, if an alleged crime took place
more than five years ago, it will not be
considered by the courts or the
Ministry of Defence.
The reason the British government wants to pass this
bill is because it claims to protect British troops from
what it calls "vexatious claims of war crimes and
other atrocities". Essentially, the British
government is saying it thinks war
crimes allegations are annoying,
and wants to ban older
Previously, the UK had opened two investigations into
war crimes by UK troops. In 2014, it set up Operation
Northmoor to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan,
and then in 2010, The Iraq Historic Allegations
Team, or IHAT for war crimes in Iraq.
Years later, and not a single British soldier has ever
been prosecuted for crimes in these investigations,
despite the inquiries making recommendations - to
do so when evidence of cover ups was discovered.
Instead, the British government shut down Operation
Northmoor, and IHAT, without bringing charges on a
single case. And just to further illustrate their
animosity, Operation Northmoor was closed
before any Afghans were even interviewed.
The British government thinks that these war crimes
investigations are a waste of time and money and
that people were unjustly accusing British troops
...so it wants to introduce a statute of limitation
which gives all British soldiers immunity from
prosecution for war crimes, torture, and for
other heinous crimes older than five years.
This bill has been rightly, if insufficiently, criticised
for its violations of the Geneva Conventions, the
Convention Against Torture and other cruel,
inhumane or degrading treatment
The bill was passed with an overwhelming majority
of Tories voting YES ...and UK's Labour abstaining.
Jeremy Corbyn was one of few labour MPs to vote
against it, saying that: the overseas operations bill
violates essential rule of law principles, including
the absolute prohibition of torture. It also fails to
protect the safety, well being, and rights of our
The House of Lords actually managed to pass an
amendment, which would not give immunity for
war crimes, torture crimes against humanity
However, once this was sent back to the House
of Commons, the amendment was defeated.
The overseas operations bill ultimately made it
into law: allowing these heinous crimes to be
protected by the government. It received
Royal Assent on April 29th, 2021.
And while the British government claims that this
doesn't violate the Human Rights Act of 1998 -- it
still included a clause allowing itself to derogate
from the European Convention of Human
Rights... if it wishes to do so.
Zionist Entity Says
‘Rejects ICC Authority’
to Investigate War Crimes
April 9th, 11:33am (al Manar)
The Zionist entity said on Thursday that it rejects
the International Criminal Court’s authority to
investigate war crimes committed by the
occupation regime in the West Bank,
Gaza Strip, and east Al-Quds
According to Hebrew media sources, the Zionist
regime will send its response via a letter, where
it will argue that The Hague “lacks jurisdiction”
in the matter.
According to the Associated Press, the notifications
were sent to all signatories of the Rome Statute,
the court’s founding charter, as well as the
Zionist entity and Palestinians, on
Under Article 16 of the Statute, an ICC investigation or
prosecution can be deferred for up to a year -- on a
request from the UN Security Council, which must
first approve the appropriate resolution.
The occupation regime is not a party to the Rome Statute
and has impudently protested the court’s decision,
claiming that it is “capable of conducting its
Source: Israeli media