Archive | June 19th, 2017




Zionist puppet Sadiq Kahn tells local Jewish media that his office and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officials had spoken with officials in the Nazi state. 
 Zionist Sadiq Kahn

Zionist Sadiq Kahn said he spoke with Nazi officials for advice on how to combat urban terrorism in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester.
“My office has been in contact with not only Tel Aviv but other places as well,”  he told the Jewish News in an interview published Tuesday.

In the wake of those conversations, police took new actions including placing concrete blocks in strategic locations on London Bridge as is done in various sites in ‘Israel’.

He also said that hate crimes had risen significantly in the wake of the attacks. Police are taking a “zero tolerance” approach to hate crime, he told the news website, and said: “No hate crime will be regarded as too trivial to report.”

Several hate crimes against Jewish victims have been reported in recent weeks, including an Orthodox Jewish teen who was beat up by minority teens in a public park.

Kahn spoke on Sunday night to about 1,000 guests at the annual Jewish Care dinner in London, where he received sustained applause.

During his speech he pledged to use “all his influence” to try to repair rift between the Jewish community and the Labour party, which has been accused of institutional antisemitism.


First “normalization flight” from the Nazi state to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi family to take off

 First “normalization flight” from Tel Aviv to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime  to take off
Reports emerged on Thursday on underway agreements to activate direct flights from the Nazi state to Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime, in the first such move in the kingdom’s history, to carry Muslim pilgrims.

According to Hebrew-speaking Yedioth Ahronoth daily, direct flights from the Nazi Ben Gurion Airport to Saudi Arabia with a stopover in Amman, Jordan are to kick off sometime soon in a symbolic move aiming to normalize ties with the Nazi regime.

According to the same source, the decision was reached following behind-closed-doors talks carried out recently between the US, the Palestinian Authority, chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan, and Israel to transfer pilgrims from Ben Gurion Airport to Saudi Arabia.

The plane will reportedly stop over in Jordan before re-taking off to Saudi Arabia.

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Nazi official as stating that talks have been in full swing to put the agreement into effect at the soonest time possible. The first phase of the accord includes flights onboard foreign airlines.

The agreement makes part of underway attempts to normalize Saudi Zio-Wahhabi family-Jewish Nazi regime ties under US mediation.

Recently, Nazi transport minister proposed linking its freight railway network with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and said he presented the idea to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy. Under the proposal, goods and passengers could travel by rail from the Nazi state Mediterranean port of Haifa through Jordan to Saudi Arabia’s Gulf port of Dammam via Jordan.

Prior to the agreement, Saudi Arabia refused all normalization initiatives, including the transfer of pilgrims to Makkah to perform Hajj (greater pilgrimage) or Umrah (minor pilgrimage) through Ben Gurion Airport.

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‘Leave no one alive’: Senior Jewish Nazi rabbi calls for execution of all Palestinians


Image result for Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu CARTOON

A senior Jewish Nazi rabbi says Tel Aviv should execute Palestinians instead of arresting them and “leave no one alive” in order to establish safety in the occupied Palestinian territories, Palestinian media report.

“Israeli army has to stop arresting Palestinians,”Jewish Nazi Shmuel Eliyahu said in a message posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday, adding, “but, it must execute them and leave no one alive,” Palestine News Network reported.

As chief rabbi of the city of Safed, Eliyahu is known for his racist behavior and remarks about Arabs and Muslims. He had earlier urged the Nazi regime to take “revenge” against Arabs in order to restore what he called ‘Israel’s deterrence’.

He also described Palestinians as the enemy of Nazi regime  and claimed that they “must be destroyed and crushed in order to end violence.”

“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand. And if they do not stop after 1,000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying in 2007.

In 2012, he was charged for making racist statements as he called the Arab culture “cruel” and accused Arabs of having “violent norms” which “have turned into ideology.”

Eliyahu alleged that Arabs steal farm equipment belonging to Jews and blackmail farmers.

“The minute you make room for Arabs among Jews, it takes five minutes before they start to do whatever they want,” he purportedly said.

However, the Nazi  Justice Ministry dropped the charges against him, claiming that reporters ‘may’ have changed his statements.

Read also:
Turkish plotters: Who is Who

Back in December, the Jerusalem Post quoted Nazi Eliyahu as saying, “Should we leave them (Palestinians) alive in order to then free them in another gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? The fact that they still have a desire to commit … attacks shows that we are not operating strongly enough.”

On his Facebook page, he also called for the prosecution of those Nazi forces that keep Palestinians alive, saying, “We must not allow a Palestinian to survive after he was arrested. If you leave him alive, there is a fear that he will be released and kill other people… We must eradicate this evil from within our midst.”

The comments come as tensions have been running high across the occupied Palestinian lands in recent months over the Nazi regime imposition of restrictions on Palestinian worshipers’ entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in August last year.

More than 160 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed by Nazi forces since the beginning of last October.

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Owned! UK Politicians Shilling for International Jewry ”VIDEO”

Posted by: Kitty Moses

Image result for JEWISH CARTOON

These politicians have no shame in their speeches to UK and International Jewry — owned 100%.

Zionist Puppet 

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US Shoots Down Syrian Plane It Says Bombed Coalition Allies

Syrian government forces and US-led coalition are operating in close proximity in Raqqa province

An American fighter jet on Sunday shot down a Syrian warplane that the US-led coalition said attacked its allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in the war-torn country.

The escalation comes as Syria’s six-year-old war becomes ever more complex, with US forces and their allies converging on the northern IS bastion of Raqqa in close proximity to Russian-backed government troops.

Further complicating matters, Iran said it launched missile strikes on Sunday against “terror bases” in Syria’s northeastern Deir Ezzor province in revenge for deadly attacks on its capital claimed by IS.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces – an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters – is battling to oust the militants from Raqqa, and broke into the IS stronghold city last week.

JUST IN: U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shoots down Syrian regime fighter jet south of Taqba, the first such occurrence in Syria.

U.S. Navy fighter jet shoots down Syrian jet that had dropped bombs on rebel forces fighting ISIS in Syria.

View image on Twitter

Government forces are not involved in the battle for Raqqa, but they are advancing in an area southwest of the city, skirting around SDF fighters, their eyes set on the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor.

“Aircraft from the ‘international coalition’ targeted one of our fighter planes in the Resafa region of southern Raqqa province this afternoon while it was conducting a mission against the terrorist Islamic State group,” the Syrian army said.

It warned of “the grave consequences of this flagrant aggression”.

The US-led coalition later confirmed it shot down the Syrian warplane that it said had dropped bombs near SDF forces.

“At 6:43 pm (1743 GMT), a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters… in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.

It said that two hours earlier, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had attacked the SDF in Jaaydine, south of Tabqa, “wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town”.

Coalition aircraft stopped the advance of Syrian pro-government troops with a “show of force,” the coalition added.

Before it downed the plane, the coalition had “contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established ‘de-confliction line’ to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing.”

The coalition does “not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces” but would not “hesitate to defend itself or its “partnered forces from any threat,” the statement said.

The US-led coalition has in recent weeks escalated its aerial bombing campaign in northern Syria and Raqqa province.

The Syrian army said the “aggression” against it came as government troops and their allies made up ground in the battle against IS “on several fronts in the badiya“.

It was referring to a large stretch of desert that extends over some 90,000 square kilometres from central Syria to the borders with Iraq and Jordan to the east and southeast.

Since 2015, much of the badiya has been held by the militant group, but Syria’s army has been chipping away at it for months.

Looks like the @realDonaldTrump Administration is fighting a war in Syria with no congressional authorization & no explanation to the people 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting broke out in two villages, Jaaydine and Shouwayhane, some 40km south of Raqqa.

The Observatory said the clashes came after government troops had reached the edges of Resafa, also in the same area, as part of an offensive to reach Deir Ezzor.

“The regime is trying to reach the oil province of Deir Ezzor through Raqqa,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The regime has lost control of many oil and gas fields since the start in 2011 of Syria’s conflict, especially in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor.

Most of the province is held by IS, including parts of the provincial capital, Deir Ezzor city, and the militants are besieging government-held parts of the city.

SDF fighters entered Raqqa on 6 June after months of heavy clashes to encircle it, and the US-led coalition has been backing them with air strikes, equipment and special forces advisers.

Since then they have seized a few neighbourhoods, including one in the east and one in the west, and are battling to push into the Old City of Raqqa.

312 ISIS militants killed, four districts liberated in Raqqa operation so far: SDF 

Photo published for 312 ISIS militants killed, four districts liberated in Raqqa operation so far: SDF - ARA News

312 ISIS militants killed, four districts liberated in Raqqa operation so far: SDF – ARA News

ARA News Leadership of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday that in 10 days of fighting they have controlled four districts in Raqqa city, killed 312 ISIS militants and have…

The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating IS militants in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants’ control for almost three years.

An estimated 300,000 civilians were believed to have been living under IS rule in Raqqa, including 80,000 who fled there from other parts of the country.

IS seized Raqqa in 2014, transforming it into the de facto Syrian capital of its self-declared “caliphate”.

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011 before turning into a complex war involving regional and international players.

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US strike on Syrian pro-govt forces: ‘Aggression masquerading itself as defense’


We can’t trust anything Washington says; the US-led coalition claims its primary goal in Syria is to fight ISIS but is attacking the dominant force fighting the terrorist group, says investigative journalist Rick Sterling.

The US-led coalition inside Syria has said it destroyed pro-government forces that entered the so-called ‘deconfliction zone’ established around a coalition training facility.

“Despite previous warnings, pro-regime forces entered the agreed-upon de-confliction zone with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers posing a threat to coalition and partner forces based at the At Tanf Garrison,” the coalition said in a statement.

Moscow rejected US justification for the attack, saying it does not recognize any ‘deconfliction zone’ declared by the US unilaterally. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that such zones were different from ‘de-escalation zones,’ which Russia, Turkey, and Iran are in the process of establishing with the full support of the United Nations Security Council and the government of Syria.

RT discussed the incident with analysts.

“The US calls its air coalition ‘Inherent Resolve,’ but a more accurate term for it would be ‘inherent contradiction,” says Rick Sterling, investigative journalist and a member of the Syria Solidarity Movement.

“The US says it supports Syrian sovereignty and yet it’s effectively taking control of a great chunk of Syria and claiming the Syrian army can’t go there,” he said.

“The US coalition claims that their primary goal is to fight ISIS. Yet, here they are attacking the Syrian army and their allies which are the major force fighting ISIS. So, it’s full of contradictions, and really we can’t trust anything that Washington, of the Pentagon, says: they say one thing, but they do something else.”

He went on to say that the Astana agreement between Russia, Turkey and Iran “established some deconfliction zones, but here we have the US claiming the right to attack the Syrian forces.”

“In other words, they are taking the conflict to the Syrian army, which is just entering this area. It is aggression masquerading itself as defense,” Sterling told RT.

As to what can come out of a UN Security Council meeting, he said that the body is divided, in his view, two of its permanent members, Britain and France, will not support a resolution.

“Basically part of the UNSC has been violating the UN Charter by actively supporting proxy war against the sovereign state of Syria. They need to take it to the UNSC. I think it is important that Russia and other people around the world try to restore international law. So it needs to happen, but unfortunately, we’re not there yet – where we can restore international law. We just to have to point out that what the US is doing is a clear violation of international law and the UN Charter.”

US ‘salami tactics’ of Syrian slicing territory

Former US Army judge advocate, Todd Pierce agrees the US can’t justify strikes in a foreign state where they haven’t been invited.

“They entirely depend upon people being gullible enough to accept the idea that [the US] is there legally instead of illegally – which we are… So no, there is justification for us being there,” he told RT.

To understand the situation better, everything should be put in context, Todd said.

“That goes back to 2003 with the Iraq invasion. And out of that, as we know, came the birth of ISIS – out of our detention prisoner camps… As General Wesley Clark has said, we had a plan from the very beginning, right after 9/11, to destroy seven Arab countries. And we’re now on what – on number three or number four? So the point about why we’re in that particular place – because it’s on Syrian territory, but near the Iraqi border, but also near Iran -answers a big part of the question,” he said.

According to Todd, the US is using “salami tactics” in Syria.

“We’re slicing off a piece here and piece there and expanding our territory, and anyone who approaches, even though they have a legal right to be there – as the Assad forces – we’re deeming them to be the enemy and threatening to us. So that we don’t get this dislodged from that point,” he said.

‘US has intention to stay’

According to Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official, the US intends to remain in the area. Commenting on how Washington is defining the ‘deconfliction zone,’ he said:

“It’s probably an area where they occupy, and it’s hopefully meant to be some kind of a safe zone. But in this case, it’s really meant to be an area where they are training, where they have their own forces and also to basically take over territory that they can ultimately use in the future as a bargaining chip with the government of Syria. The intent is not to preserve the government of Bashar Assad; the US intends, in my view, to actually occupy that eastern part of Syria, whether it’s at At Tanf or up in the Kurdish area in order to maintain perhaps a semi-permanent base, particularly for a post-war stabilization effort.”

Maloof added that the US “is not doing all of this just to go in and then leave again as they did in Iraq.”

“I think there is an intention to stay,” he said, adding that it’s done without permission of the Syrian government. “This is something that politically is going to have to be dealt with at very high levels between the US, Russia, and Syria.”

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“Voices from Syria”: Syria’s War for Humanity


Important E-book by Author Mark Taliano Available Now


Global Research Publishers brings you “Voices from Syria”, an important e-book by Mark Taliano. The book is available for order on our online store.

Click HERE to order.

Former high school teacher Mark Taliano is an author and independent investigative reporter who recently returned from a trip to Syria with the Third International Tour of Peace to Syria. In this book, he combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes mainstream media narratives about the dirty war on Syria.


The Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) is an ancient holy land surrounded by terrorist-sup-porting countries that want to destroy it. These countries, in turn, are supported by the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The secular government of Syria is led by Bashar al-Assad, its elected President. al-Assad is progressive and forward-looking. The terrorists invading and occupying parts of the country are neither progressive nor forward-looking, and most Syrians are happy to be rid of them. Many Syrians are critical of al-Assad for being too soft on the terrorists. They have dubbed him Mr. Soft Heart.

Al-Assad has earned the support of most Syrians by providing for them and by protecting them. Healthcare and education, including higher education, are free in Syria. Before the externally orchestrated and perpetrated war on Syria started, Syria was one of the safest countries in the world to visit.

Now that the West has injected terrorists into the country and imposed illegal sanctions on Syrians, the war-torn country and its people are mostly defiant. The future of the country is theirs to decide, as per international law, and they will not be colonized. Their defiance comes easily thanks to the Western-supported, illegal “opposition” that confronts them.

Image: Author Mark Taliano

None of the “opposing” terrorists are moderate. They slaughter Christians, minorities, and Muslims alike. They seek a blank slate upon which to impose their extremist Wahhabi ideology, and they seek to erase both Syria’s history and its people.

Historical memory teaches us that the West’s use of proxy mercenaries is not new. The West has destroyed a series of countries in quick succession since 11 September 2001 (9/11), including but not limited to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, all by design, and always aided and abetted by mercenary ground troops.

But Syria has strong institutions and strong allies. It will be victorious, to the benefit of Syrians and humanity.

This book presents the story of Syria and Syrians as they struggle valiantly against NATO terrorism.

The narrative contradicts mainstream messaging, as it must. The West and its agencies could never garner public support for their genocidal campaigns if the truth emerged and was acknowledged by a broad base.

Truth leads to peace, but the governing polities that manipulate us and contaminate the public mindset enrich themselves through war, mass slaughter, and propaganda campaigns. Truth and justice are their unstated enemies.

This book aims to shed light on truth, justice and governing lies, with a view to expanding the reach of global peace and destroying the cancer of terrorism.

We initially recount the story of Syria as told by Syrians, unfiltered by mainstream media propaganda. We see and hear the trauma lived by defiant, heroic Syrians, and we discover that this ancient, holy land will surely survive the current barbarian invasion to rise again as a beacon of civilization, hope, and dignity.

The externally orchestrated war is being resolved internally – by Syrians, for Syrians –and the solutions are often the fruit of genuine democratic processes, in contrast to the processes masquerading as democracy in the West. Syria insists on being a sovereign nation.

We subsequently elaborate upon the real story of Syria and the drivers behind the current war, in which the US-led Empire is using terrorist proxies to advance its reach, contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of Syrians.

The alternative to Syria’s elected government is genocidal despotism and sharia law. The (non-existent) “moderates” cannot be separated from the “extremists” because all of the mercenary terrorists share the same goals and the same ideologies.

The predictable result of engineered deception is that domestic Western populations re-main deceived and politically passive. The truth is inverted and large swaths of our populations remain deluded. Whereas the West and its allies support all the terrorists invading Syria, our domestic populations think that we are fighting terrorism. This is the great fraud of the “Global War on Terrorism.”

Between 15 and 23 September 2016, I travelled to war-torn Syria because I sensed years ago that the official narratives being fed to North Americans across TV screens, in newsprint and on the internet were false.

The invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya were all based on lies; likewise for Ukraine. All of the post-9/11 wars were sold to Western audiences through a sophisticated network of interlocking governing agencies that disseminate propaganda to both domestic and foreign audiences.

But the dirty war on Syria is different. The degree of war propaganda levelled at Syria and contaminating humanity at this moment is likely unprecedented.

I had studied and written about Syria for years, so I was not entirely surprised by what I saw. What I felt was a different story.

Syria is an ancient land with a proud and forward-looking people. To this ancient and holy land we sent mercenaries, hatred, bloodshed and destruction. We sent strange notions of national exceptionalism and wave upon wave of lies.

As a visitor I felt shame, but Syrians welcomed me as one of them. These are their stories; these are their voices.

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US-led coalition’s downing of Syrian plane ‘act of aggression’ & ‘support for terrorists’ – Moscow


Image result for Syrian plane CARTOON

Moscow views the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian government military jet as an act of aggression and assistance for the terrorists that the US is fighting against, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

“What is it then, if not an act of aggression, an act directly in breach of international law,” Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow.

“If you want, it’s actually help for the terrorists the US is fighting, declaring that they are conducting a counterterrorism policy,” the official added.

Ryabkov added that he believed the strike “should be first of all regarded as the continuation of the US agenda of neglecting the norms of international law. Regardless of who has power in Washington, people there are used to the fact that there are circumstances allowing them to arrogantly look down on – and in some situations, to openly ignore – the basics of international relations.”

A Syrian SU-22 warplane was shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet on Sunday while it was on a mission in the countryside around Raqqa.

Damascus stated that the plane was carrying out operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists when it was downed.

Washington says that the Syrian warplane “dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah” and was shot down in accordance with “rules of engagement” of Coalition partnered forces.

Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged US forces in Syria and those of any other country to refrain from unilateral, uncoordinated action.

“We call on the US and all others who have their forces or advisers on the ground in Syria to ensure the coordination of our work,” he said.

De-escalation zones are one of the possible options to move forward jointly, he said.

“We call on everyone to avoid unilateral moves, respect Syrian sovereignty and join our common work, which is agreed with the Syrian government,” Lavrov said.

He also called on everyone on the ground to “respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In June, the US deployed HIMARS long-range rocket launchers from Jordan to its base in At Tanf in southern Syria. The move may be intended to cut off Syrian government troops from allies in Iraq, since there are no Islamic State militants in the region to target with the weapons, Lavrov said following the deployment.

In April, US President Donald Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Airbase, claiming this was in response to alleged chemical weapons use by President Bashar Assad’s forces, before anyone had the chance to verify this via an investigation.

Last September, a coalition airstrike on Syrian government forces’ positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor left more than 60 Syrian soldiers dead.


US-led coalition downs Syrian army plane in southern Raqqa
Lavrov: No ISIS troops in southern Syria where US deployed multiple rocket launchers

Russian military halts Syria sky incident prevention interactions with US as of June 19 – Moscow

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An Article on the Grenfell Tower Tragedy and the ‘Regeneration Agenda’


A lot of conspiracy theories have been floating around online about the tragic Grenfell Tower fire: I’m not really buying any of them. This horrible, terrible event looks less like ‘conspiracy’ and more a simpler case of mismanagement, apathy and criminal negligence.  


‘Grenfell Tower Tragedy Reveals Ugly Flaws of Regeneration Agenda’…

(By Joseph Downing)

I grew up in social housing. It provided a stable and secure (albeit overcrowded and cold) home for my family, for life. As fire tore through Grenfell Tower, just 500 metres from where I was staying in London, I witnessed the complete and terrible destruction of 120 homes just like the one I grew up in. In the morning, I passed the police cordon and saw dozens of fire fighters standing in complete, abject shock.

Yet as the ashes settle, it is clear that the threat of ruin extends well beyond Grenfell Tower. Indeed, the policies which I argue have contributed to this disaster have been rolled out across social housing projects both in the UK, and across Europe. Earlier this year, not far from Grenfell, local residents in Westminster voted against any form of refit to their notoriously poorly-maintained Brunel Estate. And many residents across London fear the prospect of “urban regeneration”, seeing it as a type of social cleansing, shorthand for a modern form of slum clearance.

Residents worry that any improvements will set them on a slippery slope to gentrification and eventual displacement. Over the years, I have watched with dismay as successive governments – both Labour and Conservative – have depleted the available housing stock through schemes such as right-to-buy, while also running down the standard of the remaining housing stock with constant budget cuts. Faced with this gradual depletion and dilapidation, many family homes languish in a state of disrepair, while tenants’ fears that they could lose their homes go unassuaged.

This is not just a British problem. During my academic research in France I have seen deplorable incidences of housing stock that are not fit for human habitation, and where repairs are routinely neglected. Where regeneration does take place, I fear it is often done with little consultation and even less accountability.

A warning

As Londoners get to grips with the tragic losses at Grenfell Tower, reports have emerged about a recent refit that the tower underwent. Only last year, the site was given a £8.7m refit, during which a new central heating system was installed, more homes fitted in the lower levels and new cladding added to the outside of the building, among other things.

Yet a local residents action group claims that throughout the process, their concerns about fire safety risks – relating to cluttered exits, lack of emergency access and faulty wiring – were ignored by both the building owners, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), and the local authority, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.


It has also emerged that the new cladding was made of aluminium – a heat conducting material which did nothing to halt the spread of the flames. This type of cladding is commonly used across Europe, and indeed the world, to cover the outside of buildings to improve insulation – and also appearances. Indeed, a spate of fires in Dubai, where the cladding is very common, forced authorities to change building regulations.

During my research in Roubaix, in the north of France, another residential block – the Mermoz Tower – was also refitted with aluminium cladding, as part of a redevelopment to add a shopping mall to the base of the estate. The residents I spoke to there for my research were concerned about the quality of the refit, and felt that their worries went unacknowledged. Some time later, a fire broke out and spread up the outside of the building, just as we saw in London. A report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation later indicated that combustible cladding can play a role in the spread of fire, listing the Roubaix fire as a case in point.

KCTMO said in a statement “it is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread. We will co-operate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy.” A spokesperson for the council said: “We have heard a number of theories about the cause of the fire at Grenfell Tower. All of these will be thoroughly investigated as part of the formal investigation which has already begun.” The construction company behind the recent refit of Grenfell has also said it would “fully support” an investigation, and that the work met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards.

Redressing the balance

The regeneration agenda has not only contributed to the destruction of social housing – it has also made it much more difficult to hold those responsible to account.

Since urban regeneration became a policy priority in the 1990s, such schemes have become increasingly complex. New Labour touted the third way as a means of drawing private companies and funding into urban regeneration schemes. The goal was to harness the efficiency of the private market while undertaking repairs and building schemes. The result was a labyrinthine system, wherein private building contractors are given complex and far-reaching responsibilities for social housing sites.

Grenfell Tower is a case in point. Owned by the local council, it is managed by KCTMO, which is a separate tenant management organisation and which sub-contracts repairs out to further private operators.

As the inquiry into this disaster unfolds, it is likely that the decision-making mechanisms and accountability structures in this complex arrangement will be examined carefully. Yet as social housing tenants who complain about repairs will know only too well, it is likely that the investigators will find it difficult to determine exactly what has happened – and which party in this confusing arrangement is at fault.

The tragedy which occurred at Grenfell Tower exposes the problems with the successive reforms to social housing in the UK. All too often, I see profit and regeneration being placed above the safety and satisfaction of residents. In the wake of this catastrophe, political and community leaders must work to rebalance the scales of power toward the residents themselves, and away from the interests of private developers.

My grandmother grew up in the terrible slums that the Grenfell tower replaced. When asked about rehousing options, she chose uncertainty and a new start in a pre-fabricated house in the suburbs. As I was on the phone to my extended family – who still live in the house – we were very pleased she did.


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The lies that are told to justify Canadian foreign policy

Image result for canada flag cartoon
By Yves Engler 

Lies, distortions and self-serving obfuscations are to be expected when political and business leaders discuss far away places.

In a recent Toronto Star column Rick Salutin observed that “foreign policy is a truth-free, fact-free zone. When leaders speak on domestic issues, citizens at least have points of reference to check them against. On foreign affairs they blather freely.”

Salutin vividly captures an important dynamic of political life. What do most Canadians know about our government’s actions in Afghanistan or Haiti? Most of us have never been to those countries and don’t know anyone living there, from there or even who’ve been there. We are heavily dependent on media and politicians’ portrayals. But, as I detail in A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, international correspondents generally take their cue from the foreign policy establishment or diplomats in the field.

Journalists are prepared to criticize governments and corporations to a certain extent on “domestic” issues, but the spirit of “challenging power” largely disappears regarding foreign policy. One reason is that nationalism remains an important media frame and the dominant media often promotes an “our team” worldview.

Another explanation is the web of state and corporate generated ideas institutes, which I review in A Propaganda System, that shape the international discussion. In a forthcoming second volume I look at the Canadian Left’s contribution to confusing the public about international policies.

The state/corporate nexus operates largely unchallenged in the Global South because there is little in terms of a countervailing force. Instead of criticizing the geo-strategic and corporate interests overwhelmingly driving foreign policy decisions, the social democratic NDP has often supported them and contributed to Canadians’ confusion about this country’s international affairs. The NDP endorsed bombing Serbia and Libya and in recent years they’ve supported military spending, Western policy in the Ukraine and the dispossession of Palestinians. The NDP has largely aligned with the foreign policy establishment or those, as long time NDP MP Libby Davies put it, who believe a “Time Magazine version” of international affairs.

Closely tied to the NDP, labour unions’ relative indifference to challenging foreign policy is another reason why politicians can “blather freely” on international affairs. On many domestic issues organized labour represents a countervailing force to the corporate agenda or state policies. While dwarfed by corporate Canada, unions have significant capacities. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual dues and fund or participate in a wide range of socially progressive initiatives such as the Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Council for Refugees and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. But, unions rarely extend their broader (class) vision of society to international affairs. In fact, sometimes they endorse unjust international policies.

To the extent that politicians’ “blathering” is restrained it is largely by other countries. The recent political conflict in the Ukraine provides an example. Canadian politicians have aggressively promoted a simplistic, self-serving, narrative that has dominated the media-sphere. But, there is a source of power countering this perspective. Moscow financed/controlled media such as RT, Sputnik and others have offered a corrective to the Western line. A comparatively wealthy and powerful state, Russia’s diplomats have also publicly challenged the Canadian media’s one-sided portrayal.

An important, if rarely mentioned, rule of foreign policy is the more impoverished a nation, the greater the gap is likely to be between what Canadian officials say and do. The primary explanation for the gap between what’s said and done is that power generally defines what is considered reality. So, the bigger the power imbalance between Canada and another country the greater Ottawa’s ability to distort their activities.

Haiti provides a stark example. In 2004 Ottawa helped overthrow Haiti’s elected government and then supported an installed regime that killed thousands. Officially, however, Ottawa was “helping” the beleaguered country as part of the “Friends of Haiti” group. And the bill for undermining Haitian democracy, including the salaries of top coup government officials and the training of repressive cops, was largely paid out of Canada’s “aid” to the country.

A stark power imbalance between Ottawa and Port-au-Prince helps explain the gulf between Canadian government claims and reality in Haiti. Describing the country at the time of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster, former Globe and Mail foreign editor Paul Knox observed, “obviously, in the poorest country of the Americas, the government is going to have fewer resources at its disposal to mount a PR exercise or offensive if it feels itself besieged.”

With a $300 US million total budget for a country of eight million, the Haitian government had limited means to explain their perspective to the world either directly or through international journalists. On the other hand, the Washington-Paris-Ottawa coup triumvirate had great capacity to propagate their perspective (at the time the Canadian International Development Agency and Foreign Affairs each spent 10 times the entire Haitian budget and the Department of National Defence 60 times). The large Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince worked to influence Canadian reporters in the country and their efforts were supplanted by the Haiti desks at CIDA and Foreign Affairs as well as the two ministries’ communications departments and Canadian military officials.

While an imbalance in communications resources partly explains the coverage, there is also a powerful ideological component. The media’s biased coverage of Haiti cannot be divorced from ‘righteous Canada’ assumptions widely held among the intelligentsia. As quoted in an MA thesis titled “Covering the coup: Canadian news reporting, journalists, and sources in the 2004 Haiti crisis”, CBC reporter Neil McDonald told researcher Isabel McDonald the Canadian government was “one of the most authoritative sources on conflict resolution in the world.”

According to Isabel McDonald’s summary, the prominent correspondent also said, “it was crazy to imagine Canada would be involved in a coup” and that “Canadian values were incompatible with extreme inequality or race-based hegemony”, which Ottawa’s policies clearly exacerbated in Haiti. (Neil Macdonald also said his most trusted sources for background information in Haiti came from Canadian diplomatic circles, notably CIDA where his cousins worked. The CBC reporter also said he consulted the Canadian ambassador in Port-au-Prince to determine the most credible human rights advocate in Haiti. Ambassador Kenneth Cook directed him to Pierre Espérance, a coup backer who fabricated a “massacre” used to justify imprisoning the constitutional prime minister and interior minister. When pressed for physical evidence Espérance actually said the 50 bodies “might have been eaten by wild dogs.”)

The Canadian Council on Africa provides another example of the rhetoric that results from vast power imbalances and paternalist assumptions. Run by Canadian corporations operating on the continent, the council said it “focuses on the future of the African economy and the positive role that Canada can play meeting some of the challenges in Africa.”

Similar to the Canadian Council on Africa, the Canadian American Business Council, Canada China Business Council and Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce also seek to advance members’ profit-making potential. But, the other lobby groups don’t claim humanitarian objectives. The primary difference between the Canadian Council on Africa and the other regional lobby organizations is the power imbalance between Canada/the West and African countries, as well as the anti-African paternalism that dominates Canadian political culture. A group of Canadian corporations claiming their aim was to meet the social challenges of the US or UK would sound bizarre and if they said as much about China they would be considered seditious. (Ironically the US-, Britain- and China-focused lobby groups can better claim the aid mantle since foreign investment generally has greater social spinoffs in more independent/better regulated countries.) But, paternalist assumptions are so strong — and Africans’ capacity to assert themselves within Canadian political culture so limited — that a lobby group largely representing corporations that displace impoverished communities to extract natural resources is, according to the Canadian Council on Africa’s previous mission statement, “committed to the economic development of a modern and competitive Africa.”

To counter the “fact free zone” individuals need to educate themselves on international issues, by seeking alternative sources of information. More important, we should strengthen internationalist social movements and left media consciously seeking to restrict politicians’ ability to “blather freely”.

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