Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bulldozing Palestine, one village at a time

Bulldozing Palestine, one village at a time | Israel | Al Jazeera

It was a bit ironic to see a small group of Israeli settlers enter the large solidarity tent stationed at the entrance of Khan al-Ahmar last Wednesday. They had come, they said, to show "solidarity" with the Palestinian Bedouins protesting a demolition order.

Since 2017, the whole Bedouin village has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli authorities. Earlier that day, Israeli soldiers attacked villagers and activists who had staged a protest, injuring 35.

"You know, I try not to be afraid, but I don't know what will happen to us. Where will we go, what will we do?

Khan al-Ahmar, a village of 180 people, is about 15km northeast of Jerusalem and falls within what is known as Area C of the occupied West Bank, as defined by the Oslo Accords. The area has been inundated with more than 300,000 Israelis living in 125 illegal settlements and is under Israeli administrative control. Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authorities was supposed to take over administering the area, but, of course, Israel never let that happen.

As a result, it is now the Israeli state that controls the land in Area C and that decides on building permits. Khan al-Ahmar existed before the state of Israel was created in 1948. In the 1950s, Palestinian Bedouins expelled from the Negev desert by the Israeli army moved to the West Bank and settled in the village, expanding it. Read More

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

5 Ways Indigenous Groups Are Fighting Back Against Land Seizures

Governments, corporations and local elites are eager to acquire land to extract natural resources; grow food, fibers and biofuels; or simply hold it for speculative purposes. Most communities hold land under customary tenure systems and lack formal titles for it. While national laws in many countries recognize customary rights, the legal protections are often weak and poorly enforced, making community land especially vulnerable to being taken by more powerful actors.

Communities, however, are not standing by idly. They're increasingly taking action to protect their lands.

Here are five ways communities are defending their land rights: Read More

Monday, June 25, 2018

Britain’s Brave New World Just Got Braver

Sajid Javid: Backs dodgy software to spy on crowds. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a new counter-terrorism initiative last week that he says targets an ever-metastasizing threat, yet it raises a raft of new questions about people’s rights.

The government is acting on the imperative that something needs to be done. But MI5 – officially known as Britain’s domestic Security Service and the lead organization combating terrorism within the UK – has already, since the start of the “war on terror,” doubled in size and has been promised yet more staff over the next two years.

Yet despite these boosted resources for MI5, as well as increased funding and surveillance powers for the entire UK intelligence community, virtually every terror attack carried out in the UK over the last few years has been committed by someone already known to the authorities. Indeed, the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, had been aggressively investigated but MI5 ignored vital intelligence and closed down the active investigation shortly before he carried out the attack.

This failure to target known threats is not just a UK problem. Attacks across Europe over the last few years have repeatedly been carried out by people already on the local security radar.

New approaches are needed. But this latest offering appears to be a medley of already failed initiatives and more worryingly, a potentially dangerous blueprint for a techno-Stasi state. Read More

Friday, June 22, 2018

Nikki Haley: ‘It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America’

All Hail The Land of the Fee & Home of the Slave

A United Nations report condemning entrenched poverty in the United States is a “misleading and politically motivated” document about “the wealthiest and freest country in the world,” according to the Trump administration's ambassador to the world body.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized the report for critiquing the United States' treatment of its poor, arguing that the United Nations should instead focus on poverty in developing countries such as Burundi and Congo. The U.N. report also faulted the Trump administration for pursuing policies it said would exacerbate U.S. poverty.

“It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America,” Haley wrote in a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday. “In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues every day. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering.”

The rebuke comes two days after Haley announced the United States' resignation from the U.N. Human Rights Council over that body's perceived bias against Israel and toleration of human rights abusers. Read More

Friday, June 15, 2018

UK MPs double down on demand for public registers

UK MPs double down on demand for public registers - Cayman News Service

Andrew Mitchell MP

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell told the British newspaper, The Guardian, “The overseas territories share our queen, they travel under our flag and they must also share our values.” He said that he and Dame Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who was part of the cross-bench campaign, will not drop it. The next step, they say, is to include the Crown Dependencies.

Dame Margaret said no British territories should be allowed to continue financial services business without a publicly accessible list of beneficial ownership.

“All territories associated with Britain ought to be governed to the same standards and with the same transparency,” she added. “The purpose of this measure is to tackle all dirty money entering through any British territories. You cannot leave a few out.”


The relevant question, from the colonial point-of-view, the elephant in the room, is our future constitutional status. We, the colonies, not only have to stomache Orders-in-Council, but more importantly, are without democratic representation in London and are therefore second-class citizens.

I suggest that the Cayman Islands demand all the rights that we are not afforded, such as the National Health Service and all the social services and unemployment benefits that full UK citizens are entitled to.


Monday, May 21, 2018

The intellectual capacity of local authorities are staggeringly lacking

Hundreds of homeless people fined and imprisoned in England and Wales

Councils use a range of tools to crackdown on begging, but PSPOs are the most popular. Breaching a PSPO can lead to a £100 fixed-penalty notice, but offenders face a summary conviction, sometimes a criminal behaviour order (CBO) banning an individual for future begging and a fine of up to £1,000 if they fail to pay. Violating a CBO can result in five years in prison. Read More

Local councils are criminalizing poverty, however, the thought process behind the fines are laughable. A person begging or ‘sleeping rough’ can be fined up to £1,000 for so doing. Obiously someone at this state of poverty has no money. The fine therefore, will be uncollectable and the individual will go to jail, thereby costing the state more money. It costs £65,000 to imprison a person in the UK once police, court costs and all the other steps are taken into account. https://goo.gl/hf0mnj ]

However, inprisonment has vastly improved the situation for the homeless person as they now have a roof, food, a warm bed and full medical care. Eventually they may be able to sue the government for wrongfull imprisonment and collect enough to purchase a home.

Ignorance on a shocking scale

How we grew arrogant enough to believe we have the right to kill

In the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting, Texas' lieutenant governor Dan Patrick blamed such attacks on gun owners who don't lock up their guns, and on the "design of schools" which have too many "entrances and exits".

While licensed gun holders should certainly take care to safely lock up their guns, that does not address the larger issue of gun ownership, nor does it address our US culture that, whether we admit it or not, has become desensitised to these mass shootings. Furthermore, blaming building design for this shooting is just one more way US officials are evading their very real responsibility to do more to stop such attacks