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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Are we really back to where we started?

 

Life returns to Gaza as truce holds but Netanyahu faces criticism in Israel over the offensive.

 

Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce in Gaza City.
Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce in Gaza City


After 50 days of intense bombardment by Israeli military forces and fierce resistance from the Palestinian factions within Gaza, the ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians came into effect at 17:00 yesterday (26th August). Not withstanding what Mark Regev, the Israeli mouthpiece for Benjamin Netanyahu, may say to try to convince you otherwise, the ceasefire terms agreed to in Cairo are not the same as those that were "on the table", 3 weeks ago. By now of course, we are only too well aware of how Mark Regev, Peter Lerner,  Ron Prosor and other Israeli spokespersons are, without even batting an eyelid, able to turn fantasy and wishful thinking into their presentation of "fact and truth". Regev's phrase "and that is fact" after practically every sentence always had a hollow ring to it.
Mark Regev



A browse through this mornings Israeli newspapers particularly the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, demonstrate all too clearly the divisions within Israeli society following the announcement of the ceasefire. There are those perhaps in the majority, who believe that Israel should have done far more in destroying the so-called terror tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza. They believe that Netanyahu has cut and run in his eagerness to come to some sort of ceasefire arrangement with the Palestinians. In the Israeli cabinet there are divisions between those who agree with Netanyahu's position and those who believe that operation Protective Edge should have continued. On the other hand there are those within Israeli society and within government who believe that the past 50 days of intense fighting and more than 60 Israeli soldiers killed as not advanced the prospect of security or calm in Israel. Consequently, they are of the view that the offensive operation against Gaza should never have taken place and blame Netanyahu for bulldozing the military action through the Israeli government in July.No matter which way you look at it, Netanyahu's position within Israel seems to have become marginalised by both sides of the argument. His prospects at the next Israeli election must be very bleak.





Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after explaining in a statement why Israel had agreed to the ceasefire.
Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu




There was no dancing in the streets last night in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem or any of the other towns in Israel, where a mood of sombre reflection dominated the atmosphere. Knesset member Danny Danon said , “Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat them. Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up, and in the end we’re back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defence.” These words, or something very similar, were repeated in towns across Israel. The Israelis do not feel that they have obtained a victory with the operation in Gaza, but despite all their military might together with all the damage inflicted upon the infrastructure and of Gaza, together with more than 2100 civilians killed, most of the people of Israel, feel that they have somehow been defeated, as they were with their disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 2006.The Israelis know that they have been forced to concede a partial lifting of the blockade with all border crossings between Israel and Gaza now being opened and the fishing limit off the Gaza coast being extended from 3 to 6 miles. These two concessions alone have completely undermined Israeli confidence and the credibility of the Israeli government in being able to achieve its objectives as stated at the start of the operation.

The celebrations in Gaza were completely the opposite of the atmosphere in Israel. Although undoubtedly tempered by the reality, that at least for now, the fear of Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardment had been lifted, the Palestinians were very much aware that big concessions had been extracted from the aggressor. The cost in human lives had been significant, and the destruction caused to homes hospitals, mosques, schools and infrastructure will require a great amount of cash and building materials which have so far been prohibited from entering into Gaza by the provisions of the blockade. The Palestinians in Gaza had taken on the might of the Israeli army and had continued to offer resistance for more than 50 days and now face the prospect of obtaining, more concessions during the negotiations commencing next month in Cairo, in respect of building an airport and a new deep sea port.


Gaza declares 'victory' as ceasefire holds



The international community have seen over the past two months, how the myth of invincibility surrounding Israel has been challenged, and Israel though perhaps not defeated militarily has suffered a significant setback in terms of his domination of the area.

Clearly it would be wrong to suggest that we are now only where we were two months ago. The concessions gained by the Palestinian resistance has given new impetus to the not unreasonable aspirations of the Palestinian people, in respect of their demands for a free port and airport allowing them to trade with the rest of the world. The negotiations in Cairo next month, must ensure real progress towards the expectation that a just settlement may be reached. In this objective the West, particularly the United States, must ensure that Israel will cooperate fully and negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians to make positive moves towards a resolution to this long-standing problem.in addition to the questions of lifting the blockade and ending the occupation of Palestine, there must also be positive moves towards theestablishment and recognition of a free Palestinian state,with full United Nations representation.

Notwithstanding the concessions already gained from the Israelis, unless the remaining issues are resolved within a reasonable period, a matter of months rather than years, we may yet see the continuation of hostilities between Israel and its neighbour with all the resultant killing,destruction and misery such a resumption would undoubtedly create.













Manufacture a "confrontation" to achieve the real objective.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/26/nato-east-european-bases-counter-russian-threat



NATO plans east European bases to counter "Russian threat"


NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen





 
It has always been about creating NATO bases in Ukraine.
The entire Kiev, Moscow confrontation has been engineered by "the west" (aka the United States and US dominated NATO), using the European Union links and ultimate membership dispute in justification.


NATO



The ousting an elected President (whether we like ,Viktor Yanukovych or not,), to install the pro western, pro European government of Petro Poroshenkoof is not an unusual occurrence or tactic in American politics. It is a foreign policy, still very much in use today, which has numerous files under the collective title of "Replacing a few enemies with a few friends". In the Ukraine, it is a not very subtle excuse being used as a front for basing American missiles and personnel along practically the entire Russian border from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Loaded questions to obtain the "right" responses.


Cameron says" We want to hear your views. Please take our survey to have your say" A contemptible exercise in public manipulation.





Take a minute to fill in our quick survey




A glaringly barefaced example of how questions can be "loaded", to ensure that only the response required by the questioner can be given.

Capping benefits to ensure that an out of work household can claim no more than an average family actually earns by working sounds attractive, but fails to address the stark reality that average earnings are being driven down by government policy, causing many working people to actually claim benefits. The government are using the decline in average earnings, caused by their own policies, to cut overall benefit levels. A vicious circle, which suits government and employers objectives.

Housing benefit payments are determined, not by those claiming the benefit, but by those setting the cost of housing. Landlords both in the private and the social housing sectors have enjoyed a steady source of income from local authorities paying housing benefit, often directly into the landlords rent account. In the case of social housing, the vast majority of such accommodation is provided by Housing Associations which have seen their incomes grow significantly over recent years.
It is the level of rents being charged in the rented sector which need to be controlled or capped, not the level of the housing benefit trying to keep pace with an increasing problem.

When workers wages and salaries are increasing by less than 1% per year, and yet inflation is running at over 3% per annum, (I use the real figure rather than the “doctored” RPI and CPI figures produced by government statistical departments), it is obscene to suggest that benefit levels are racing ahead of workers wages. For as long as earnings are held down by artificially contrived justification from public sector and private sector employers, then comparisons are malicious and produced only for mischievous and divisive purposes.

The “Help to work scheme” has been, rightly criticised, in many quarters as being nothing more that a wretched publicity stunt, produced by government to provide cheap or even free labour to employers and to allow the “unemployed and claiming benefit” figures to show a month on month fall, albeit that the reduction is marginal. Not that this would stop various government “spokespersons” to loudly herald that “our policies are working and this fall in unemployment is good news for the country”, on every television or media interview that they are invited to give. The fact that the “Help to work scheme” is underpinned by the most draconian and unfair sanctions ever devised and is administered by what in many cases has been demonstrated to be an inept and ignorant set of “assessors”, is conveniently ignored.



In this reprehensible “Survey” promoted by the Conservatives, it would be possible to respond “Strongly agree” to most questions asked as each point appeals to the emotions of the responder. That is the, not very subtle, reasoning behind the construction of the points. The government could then claim overwhelming support for their policies to “TO FIX THE WELFARE SYSTEM “, when in fact the complete opposite in the case.

A pathetic and contemptible exercise attempting to influence public responses from a pathetic and contemptible Conservative government.



Monday, 25 August 2014

British actor and director Richard Attenborough has died.

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/richard-attenborough-dead-veteran-actor-and-director-dies-aged-90-9688669.html


A sad day for the British film industry




Richard Attenborough
 
Richard Samuel Attenborough, 29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014.
Brighton Rock, The Guinea Pig, Morning Departure, Dunkirk, Angry Silence, 10 Rillington Place, Great Escape, the list of acting roles is almost endless and as a director Attenborough will probably be most remembered for Gandhi.


Regimental Sergeant Major Lauderdale





His portrayal of Regimental Sgt. Major Lauderdale in Guns at Batasi stands out, albeit that the film did not achieve the same degree of recognition as many of the others.(See YouTube entries)
Richard "Dickie" Attenborough. R I P









Crime comes to Litton Cheney

A small village in the Dorset countryside.



"Main Street" Litton Cheney.

 

There are some really nasty people wandering around. Last night, a thief stole a wrought iron table and two wrought iron chairs from our front garden.
The furniture had been sitting in front of our cottage for around 7 years, in fact it is even shown in the Google street view. It is unlikely that anyone in the village would have stolen this furniture as it has become a bit of a landmark for people giving directions to others.
In the unlikely, (though not impossible), event that the thieving b*****d who stole these items reads this comment, my wife and I hope that you enjoy the use of the chairs and table, especially when having a snack or afternoon tea when we sincerely wish that you choke on the sandwich or biscuit. Give us a ring and we will pop round to see that you are all right.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

How the man without credibility or legitimacy becomes the "Good Guy"

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/west-poised-to-join-forces-with-assad-in-face-of-islamic-state-9686666.html


West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State




Bashar al-Assad




 
While we will be giving weapons and support to the FSA at the same time presumably. A truly remarkable piece of hypocritical contrivance. This is not the first time,nor will it be the last, when the arms trade has managed to sell weapons in this case via the UK government, to all sides in a conflict. Eighteen months ago we were arming a group, which is now called the Islamic State, as well as the Free Syrian Army, and numerous other splinter groups because they were opposing and seeking to remove Bashar al_Assad, a dictatorial President, who we said, who had "lost all credibility and legitimacy" as the leader of Syria. The British and the American governments were desperate (and still are, but that will have to wait as circumstances have now changed), to bomb Syria in support of the "rebels" and hasten the removal of al-Assad. There was even a conference convened in Geneva to talk about a "transition government" in Damascus.

Now it seems that we were wrong or at least the politicians and military establishment would have us believe we were wrong, or is it simply a case of expediency, a commodity in abundant supply amongst politicians both here and in the united States.
Today, Bashar al-Assad in "one of the good guys" and we must join forces with him to defeat the evil Islamic state. It may or may not be that the FSA and the many other "rebel" groups will join this "coalition of the righteous" to bring about the end of the so called Caliphate now stretching across vast parts of Syria and Iraq. Well equipped and well armed with American materiel obtained when the Iraqi army abandoned their positions (and everything else) in Northern Iraq, to add to the arsenal of weapons given to them when they were the good guys two years ago, Islamic State now it seems represent a threat to American and European interests even more dangerous than al-Qa’ida.
Over the past week or two we have heard, almost ad nauseum, the words "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", a phrase going back in history to the 4th century BC, with an English version being introduced in 1884 but made popular more recently by George W Bush and numerous other neoconservatives in connection with Middle East intrigues. The phrase is merely an excuse to justify expedient changes in relationships between hypocritical governments and it is no more true today than it was 2000 years ago.


History has shown us that politicians in "the west" will stoop to any depths to justify their duplicitous actions, particularly when seeking to influence events in the Middle East. The latest round of shifting relationships, spattered as it is with the rhetoric of "Apocalyptic." "End-of-days strategic vision." "Beyond anything we have ever seen." "An imminent threat to every interest we have." "Beyond just a terrorist group." "We must prepare for everything." demonstrates all too clearly that Washington,  London and Europe require a new ally in the region to combat the perceived threat. Bashar al-Assad fits the bill. The man who lacked any legitimacy as the leader of Syria, now through some remarkable piece of transformation and expediency, becomes our friend, because our enemy is his enemy. It has yet to be explained whether his enemy becomes our enemy as well. The complications of that scenario are mind boggling, but no doubt the script writers in the Whitehouse, Downing Street and the military establishment could crate an almost credible  interpretation should the need ever arise, even though the rest of us will not believe a word of it.
 

  

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Condor Ferries will cease operations from wymouth early neat year.

 http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/11420375.Condor_Ferries_to_leave_Weymouth_next_spring/?ref=var_0


Condor purchase new high speed Austal 102 trimaran 



 Sea Trials


 The "new" Condor Ferry:: Austal’s 102-metre trimaran


 Sea Trials




Why should anyone be shocked and surprised by this story?
On the 19th April I blogged this entry.

http://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/201 4/04/the-writing-has -been-on-wall-for-al most.html

Today, channelonline.tv carries the following:
"Condor Ferries has bought a new £50 million high speed vessel.
The latest addition to the fleet will come into service in spring 2015.
The purchase follows the news Condor secured a ten-year licence to provide Jersey and Guernsey with ferry services.
The Austal 102 trimaran can carry 1,165 passengers, 254 cars and has a 630 nautical mile range.
The new licence allows for a rival operator to set up providing it can match Condor's services.
CEO James Fulford said: "I am delighted to announce that we are now proud owners of the Austal 102. This represents £50m of investment in our Islands and it will enable us to improve reliability, increase capacity, and give our guests a much greater level of comfort.
"We plan to introduce the 102 in spring 2015 and, in the months ahead, we will be sharing more details about this superb new ship and announcing ways in which Islanders can be involved in our preparations."

When it comes to planning, foresight and commonsense, it seems that the States of Jersey are streets ahead of the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.