US And UK Escalate Russia War Fever, But NATO Splits Over Ukraine Emerge

The US and UK are ramping up threats to Russia over Ukraine by sending more weapons, vowing more sanctions, and lodging evidence-free claims of a Russian plot to install a pro-Kremlin leader. But comments by Germany’s navy chief that Russia “deserves respect” — leading to his resignation — underscore that not everyone is on board with Washington and London’s war fever. Scholar and author Richard Sakwa discusses the latest in the Ukraine crisis.

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Palestine Action Raid And Dismantle An Israeli Arms Factory

Palestine Action have raided Elbit System’s subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd, in Shenstone, Staffordshire at 7.15 this morning. The activists have sprayed blood-red paint and begun dismantling the weapons factory, whilst occupying the roof to prevent site operations. With windows smashed and equipment dismantled, the action draws parallels with Israel’s forced demolitions of Palestinian homes​​​, sounding the alarm on the ethnic cleansing Israel is currently enacting in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestine.

Elbit Systems are Israel’s largest arms manufacturer and hold a significant presence in Britain. A key subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd has been a target of Palestine Action since the group’s launch in July 2020, when activists shut the site five times in five months and caused millions of pounds of losses.

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Telling Lies On An International Scale

The mainstream media have been replete with stories of a new Tory “red meat” initiative of right-wing policies.

“Government sources” briefed the media that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Home Secretary Priti Patel were in talks with their counterparts in Ghana and Rwanda about setting up internment camps to receive asylum seekers deported from the U.K.

Apart from the fact it would be entirely illegal to deport Syrians or Afghans to Africa, I knew it to be simply impossible the story was true. I have had the pleasure of being friends with President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, and with many of his family, for 20 years. Nana would never agree to such a thing; his background is as a human rights lawyer and activist.

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Patel Defeated In The Lords But The Battle To Kill The Bill Continues

On Monday night the House of Lords inflicted a series of bruising defeats on the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, irreversibly sinking some of its worst aspects. In defiance of the anti-protest nature of the bill, demonstrators outside made so much noise it resonated inside the chamber while the Lords voted against the government on 14 separate counts.

But this is not the end of the road. Kill the Bill protesters celebrating this victory must keep piling on the pressure – this attack on civil liberties and our fundamental democratic rights needs to be defeated in its entirety.

The bill, described by Amnesty International as an “enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers” and seen by others as an attack on democracy reminiscent of “Cold War era Eastern European dictatorships” enables the authorities to effectively ban peaceful protest and criminalize freedom of speech and assembly.

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2022’S First Major Nationwide Protests Were To ‘Kill The Bill’

Home secretary Priti Patel’s authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the police bill) has caused uproar. Many see it as racist against Black people and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. It will also clamp down on our rights to protest, to roam, and to take strike action. Amnesty International said the bill:

represents an enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers

2021 was filled with protests over the bill. Some of these were marred by police violence. Courts have sent some protesters from Bristol to prison – possibly the shape of things to come.

Since the Tories first unveiled the police bill, they’ve made several changes to it. It’s now even worse.

So, on 15 January, people hit the streets once more to show their anger over the bill.

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Biden’s Failure To Provide At-Home Covid Tests Looks Extra Ridiculous

After two years without being able to travel home from London, England to Los Angeles, Cali. to see my family, I finally arrived in a chaotic U.S. in time for the holidays amid the Omicron wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although I’d been preparing for a difficult return thanks to the new variant, I had been eager to see my family now that I’m finally vaccinated against Covid-19 and that my partner, who holds a British passport, was able to visit alongside me after more than a year of travel restrictions barring Europeans. What I hadn’t been expecting, however, was to find family and friends desperately trying to procure rapid antigen tests as many of them developed Covid symptoms and wanted to protect their loved ones and community over the holidays.

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Palestine Action Targets Another Israeli Arms Factory After Forcing Elbit Out Of Oldham

Palestine Action breached security and gained entry to the heavily guarded Israeli arms factory in Shenstone. The site, used for the manufacture of engines and components for Elbit’s murderous drones, was broken into at 11:00 this morning, with the two women evading an extensive security presence. Aiming to disrupt operations at the site, the activists have covered the factory in painted slogans including ‘Shut Elbit Down’, ‘Free Palestine’, ‘First Oldham, Next Shenstone’. One activist was arrested on the site.

The site has been targeted as part of an ongoing campaign of direct action against Elbit Systems, which is Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer, and which has produced 85% of the drones in Israel’s drone fleet. The UAV Engines factory is crucial for Elbit’s manufacturing of drones.

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Boris’s Garden Party – A More Pressing Issue Than Yemeni Genocide

Over the past several days, the news story that has dominated British news headlines, and consequently, the news headlines of the rest of the Western world, is controversy over a leaked email confirming Boris Johnson’s attendance at a Downing Street garden party in May 2020 – a time when the Summer weather is usually at its peak in Britain, and incidentally, the same time when the entire country was under stringent lockdown measures.

In spite of offering an almost immediate apology in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Johnson has faced intense calls to resign from his position from not only the opposition of Keir Starmer’s Labour, Ed Davey’s Liberal Democrats and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, but also from prominent members of his own Conservative Party such as Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

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UK Accused Of Blocking Ban On ‘Killer Robots’

Britain has been accused of blocking progress towards a global treaty banning so-called “killer robots” and leaving the door ajar for the development of hi-tech weaponry capable of taking lives without human control.

Campaigners have said the UK is part of a small group of “militarized states” whose stance on autonomous weapons is now at odds with much of the rest of the world after a United Nations conference in Geneva last week failed to make a breakthrough on negotiations towards a global ban on lethal “digital dehumanization” technology.

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How The Black Education Movement Took On The Racist Schools System

The fight to end racial disparities that continue to blight the British education system has been energised by the Black Lives Matter  movement, with a growing number of campaign groups joining the push to bring about real change in UK schools.

Grassroots organizations such as No More Exclusions (NME)  are aiming to end exclusions that disproportionately impact Black boys, while the Black Curriculum  is leading the fight to make Black history mandatory on the UK curriculum. And the fact it has already helped to do so in Wales suggests things may finally be changing.

But this is not a new fight. Decades before these groups were formed, the Black Education Movement (BEM) – a radical community collective of the 1960s and 1970s – took on the establishment and fought for equality in the schools system.

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Assange’s Fiancee Accuses US Of Using UK As ‘Executioner’ In Plot To Kill Him

Earlier this year, reports surfaced detailing alleged plots in 2017 to either kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, when he was five years into his political asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At the time, Assange’s team hoped the revelation would helped their push to not have the publisher extradited to the US.

Stella Moris, the fiancee of Julian Assange, accused the UK on Sunday of playing the “executioner” in a US “plot” to kill the WikiLeaks publisher.

In a Statement to the Daily Mail Online, Moris stressed to the outlet that Assange’s “incarceration is having a catastrophic effect on his health”.

“The US government plotted to kill him and have found a way to do so – get the UK state to play the role of executioner,” she said, adding that “this is a slow-motion Khashoggi playing out in the heart of London”.

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Palestine Action Acquitted In First Trial

United Kingdom – Three activists who defaced an Israeli drone engines factory in the UK were found not guilty of criminal damage on Monday.

The two-day trial took place at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court, near Stoke-on-Trent in central England.

Palestine Action co-founder Huda Ammori told The Electronic Intifada that the victory showed they were on the right track.

“We’re going to continue to take direct action in order to shut down and undermine Israel’s arms trade,” she said.

It was reassuring to have court backing for taking action against Israeli arms makers, she added, and that “to disrupt them and throw red paint over their buildings is something that’s perfectly within our rights to do.”

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US Empire Seizes UK’s National Health Service

One of the recent roles of the Parliamentary Healthcare Committee has been to reassure the British public that any claims regarding the ‘Americanization’ of the National Health Service (NHS) were wildly overstated, “creating a climate that risks blocking the joining up of services in the interests of patients.”

In fact, the penetration of the healthcare system by the giant U.S. insurer UnitedHealth reveals the opposite to be true, with the full extent of its influence capable of surprising even seasoned NHS watchers.

The Health and Care Bill making its way through official channels simply reinforces this, with the bill’s centerpiece, the 42 regional-scale Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), aimed at bringing together GPs, hospitals, mental healthcare and council services.

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England And Wales’s Police Bill Threatens Anyone With A Cause

Just over a year ago, disturbing reports began trickling out: the British government was preparing an attack on the right to protest in England and Wales. The right through which we won many of the things we take for granted today – from voting rights to marriage equality – which allows all of us to stand up against injustice. Now we know the government is taking a sledgehammer to this right, smashing everyone’s ability to stand up to power.

In February, we at Liberty obtained proof that a bill was coming that intended to retain lockdown-like restrictions on our protest rights. Throughout the pandemic, we warned that “crisis is the ground on which long-term erosion of our rights and freedoms are often seeded”.

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How Britain Aids Saudi Massacres In Yemen

A small English village is hardly the first place that comes to mind when mentioning the war in Yemen. Yet Warton in the northwest of England is playing an oversized role in what the United Nations has repeatedly called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” The Lancashire village is home to an airfield and a manufacturing site where weapons dealer BAE Systems maintains, repairs and rearms Saudi jets responsible for much of the worst destruction in Yemen.

Today, Lowkey speaks to Phil Miller, an investigative journalist and producer who is currently a staff reporter for Declassified UK. He has just released the documentary “Warton’s War on Yemen,” which exposes how BAE Systems is playing a key role in the carnage in the Middle East.

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