Monthly Archives: May 2016


Support Diego Garcia Football

If you hate the corruption of FIFA and the commercialisation of football, hate the US air base on Diego Garcia, and are ashamed of the British forced deportation of the entire Chagos Islands population to make way for the base, you have an ideal opportunity to do a little good in the world by supporting the appeal to finance the Chagos football team to participate in the Conifa World Cup.

chagos team

This blog makes a point of never asking for money or taking advertising, yet has asked for donations for good causes twice in a fortnight. I apologise but I love this idea, both for the spirit of football and to support the islanders in affirming their right to be considered a nation and to return to their homeland. I have carefully checked it out and this football team – based in Croydon – really does consist of the Chagos community, and it is important to them in helping the young people preserve their identity.

Donate via this page using the “Sport Fund” option. Alternatively you can donate to the UK Chagos Support Group here.

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On the Dangers of Travelling, and on Elections

I have been travelling on business all week, hence the silence. The dangers of travel were brought home to me on Wednesday when, at the White Hart hotel in Lincoln, I inadvertently found myself sitting next to Nigel Farage at breakfast.

I find myself unable to get back home to Edinburgh today and cast my vote, which is frustrating. In Scotland, I do urge everyone who has not yet done so to get out and vote for Independence. I have been slightly downhearted by the tenor of some of the discussion as to whether it is safe to give the list vote to parties other than the SNP. Certainly for any supporter of Independence to give their constituency vote other than to the SNP is Quixotic. But in the entire central belt and in NE Scotland, I am prepared to state boldly – and twelve hours will prove the case – that a list vote for the SNP in those regions is almost certainly wasted, and could rather have helped elect a different pro-Independence MSP.

But I have no argument with the SNP, with Rise, with Solidarity or with anybody else supporting Independence. Differences on how to cast the list vote are largely over calculations of the best tactic, and for that reason some of the hard words and intolerant attitudes I have seen on social media – including on my favourite sites Wings over Scotland and Scot Goes Pop – are not appropriate. We should save our hard words for our enemies, not those fighting for the same cause who may have a different tactical preference. And we should look in future to change the horrible voting system to STV to give voters real choice.

On the Scottish Greens, I should say it very much differs from person to person but I am unconvinced of the strength of their collective commitment to Independence. I am afraid to say I have always found it hard to believe their leader is committed to anything but his own personal advancement. I confess it is not entirely rational, but sometimes I judge people by the feeling I get about them, and in Patrick Harvie’s case it’s “self-serving weasel”.

In England, for the first time in my entire life I find myself wishing well to the Labour Party. This is because the Blairites are self-evidently hoping their own party crashes and burns so they can launch a coup. I hope Labour does well in England because the media campaign against Corbyn has been absolutely disgusting – and because I hate the blue Tories. But even in England, I could never actually vote Labour myself until they expel all the Blairite and Brownite war criminals.

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The Pregnant Woman: An Everyday Story from Palestine

Our corporate and state media deliberately fails to report what is happening daily in Palestine. This account from Reuters three days ago was not used in any British mainstream media:

JERUSALEM // Israeli police shot and killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her teenage brother yesterday at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, police and witnesses said.

Israeli police claimed the pair approached the vehicles-only lane at the Qalandiya military checkpoint and tried to carry out an attack. They said the woman was holding a knife and both she and the man walked rapidly towards police and security guards in a vehicles-only lane at the Qalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem.

Alaa Soboh, a Palestinian bus driver who said he witnessed the incident, said the pair had appeared to be unfamiliar with crossing procedures and were swiftly challenged at the checkpoint.

“As soon as the two crossed, [Israeli forces] started screaming ‘Go back, go back’, and then they began shooting,” he said.

“The first one they shot was the girl, the boy tried to go backward, when they fired seven bullets at him.”

A witness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli forces fired more than 15 rounds into the woman’s body.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces denied Palestinian paramedics access tothe woman for medical treatment, the agency reported.

The pair were identified as 24-year-old mother of two Maram Abu Ismail, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Taha. The siblings were from the West Bank town of Qatuna.

The victims’ family, interviewed by Palestinian media, said that Maram was five months pregnant at the time of her death.

No Israelis were injured in the incident.

The military checkpoint where the two were killed is a main ­access point for Palestinians to cross from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem and has been the site of a number of alleged, actual, and attempted attacks since October.

In the past six months, Israeli forces have killed at least 193 Palestinians, 130 of whom Israel said were assailants.

Many others were shot dead in clashes and protests.

* Reuters

Frankly I do not believe that the pregnant woman was walking towards the heavily armed soldiers openly wielding a knife from a distance. If she were attempting to stab a soldier, she would have concealed any knife, and not called attention by walking in the vehicle lane. Even if the account were true, I do not accept that a group of soldiers could not defend themselves against a heavily pregnant woman with a knife, spotted at a distance and approaching on foot, in any other way than by putting fifteen bullets into her, even if her sixteen year old brother was with her – and witnesses say he was backing away when he was himself shot.

The truth is that Palestinian lives simply do not matter. They did not matter to the Israeli soldiers who callously shot them dead rather than try to discover what was actually happening, and they do not matter to the British media who do not report this, yet find massive room for ludicrous accusations against British supporters of Palestine. Reuters tells us that 193 Palestinians have been killed in six months. These two will be added to the 130 whom Israel claim were assailants, a very large number of whom were in reality not. But even the Israeli figure admits Israel has killed 63 Palestinians who were not assailants, and many thousands more have had their homes destroyed to make way for yet more illegal Israeli settlers.

An everyday story for Palestinians. A terrible personal tragedy for the murdered woman, her murdered little brother, her unborn child and her surviving small children.

And here is the secret. The British media are frightened that you will care. That is why they do not tell you.

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