Tag: united kingdom

We Need To Talk About Fascist Terrorism

Jo Cox was murdered by a man with links to neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Britain was warned about the risk of far-right violence. Something has to change.

Let’s start with a few things we know.

We know that Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was murdered yesterday. She was a woman who stood up against gender violence, a politician who spoke up for multiculturalism and an activist for some of the most oppressed peoples in the world. Each of these things is significant.

We also know that Thomas Mair, who has been arrested in connection with the murder, was listed in 2006 on the website springbokcybernewsletter as a subscriber to the magazine S.A. Patriot (“the South African patriot in exile”). This is the publication of the White Rhino Club, a white supremacist organization for supporters of a return to apartheid in Southern Africa. It claims to be in favour, among other things, of ‘imperial solidarity’, ‘global Western leadership’ and ‘separate development’ (ie, racial segregation).

UK Minister ‘Passes Buck’ Over Saudi Police Training During Westminster Debate

The government today refused to answer questions from MPs about its controversial police training programme with Saudi Arabia.

The subject was debated at Westminster following revelations yesterday from the BBC and international human rights organization Reprieve that Britain’s College of Policing is teaching the Saudi Arabian interior ministry high-tech forensic skills – which could be used to identify individuals who later go on to be tortured and sentenced to death.

FCO minister David Lidington MP said today that the police training programme was “clearly a matter that the Home Office leads on”.

However, the project is coordinated through the British Embassy in Riyadh and, according to documents obtained by Reprieve under Freedom of Information, is designed to support UK foreign policy in the Gulf.

On Ethiopia Trip, Hammond Refuses to Request Kidnapped Brit’s Release

The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says he has used a visit to Ethiopia today to secure ‘legal access’ for a British man who was kidnapped and rendered to the country in 2014, and who is now held under sentence of death.

In a statement today, following meetings with the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Hammond said that he had “raised the case” of Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, a father of three from London. Mr Hammond said he had “received a commitment from the Prime Minister that Mr Tsege will be allowed access to independent legal advice to allow him to discuss options under the Ethiopian legal system”, and that, following a consular visit from a senior Foreign Office official, he was “satisfied that he is not being ill-treated.”

Mr Hammond had faced calls to use today’s visit to request Mr Tsege’s release, including from international human rights group Reprieve, which is assisting his family in the UK.

From Russia, With Blood: The Impact of Coal Exports to Britain

In my home country of Russia, open-cast coalmining is expanding, leading to growing environmental devastation and countless human rights abuses affecting indigenous peoples. Coal consumption within Russia is dropping, but exports have grown tremendously in recent years, with Britain the second-biggest consumer of Russian coal, after China. A new report, the Cost of Coal produced by my organization, Ecodefense, establishes a direct link between increased extraction and expanded coal exports over the past decade.

Over 60 per cent of Russian coal is extracted in the Kuzbass region of Siberia. Part of it – 15.6 per cent of total exports – is then transported almost 6,000 kilometres to be burned in British power stations. The human and environmental costs of this coal are high.

What Did the London Anti-Corruption Summit Achieve?

What steps did the London Anti-Corruption Summit make towards eliminating corruption?

On 12 May 2016, David Cameron hosted the Anti-Corruption Summit in London. This summit aimed to bring together world leaders to discuss ways to expose corruption, punish those responsible, and to eliminate institutionalized practices that encourage corruption. I previously wrote an article explaining why this conference was unlikely to result in meaningful reform. So far, many civil society organizations have claimed that the Summit was underwhelming and did not go far enough. However, some positive steps were taken and as a result, I believe that it is worth exploring the end result of this Summit.

In the days before the Anti-Corruption Summit, tension started to brew as David Cameron was caught on camera stating that “Nigeria and Afghanistan are possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.” This was expected to cause problems as the Nigerian and Afghani presidents were high profile invitees to the conference. Fortunately, this faux pas appeared to have been forgiven and the summit was able to proceed in a cooperative manner. At the Summit, several commitments and provisions were agreed to and published in a communiqué. Some of these provisions are as follows:

Britain’s Dishonesty Over Yemen

A year ago this week, a Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab countries launched military operations against Ansar Allah, the Houthi armed group, and in support of the Yemeni government. Since then at least 3,200 civilians have been killed and 5,700 wounded, 60 percent of them in coalition airstrikes, according to the United Nations.