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BBC Persian correspondents are not spies

It has been alleged that there are 152 British spies operating in Iran. These men and women are not just shadowy attachés at the British Embassy in Tehran, or secretive returned émigrés, lurking in the shadows of Revolutionary Guard get-togethers. These people are journalists, and if they really are spies, then the Iranian government has just busted one of the largest spy-rings in any country, ever. The Iranian security services are no doubt very capable, of course, but they haven’t busted twelve dozen spies all at once before. All of the criminal charges brought against these 152 journalists, which were complained about at the United Nations last week by the BBC, are false. These ordinary press-hounds are the unfortunate victims […]

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Even the Labour party cannot get enough of Saudi’s war on Yemen

British peace activists Sam Walton and Reverend Daniel Woodhouse were arrested in January for breaking into a BAE Systems factory. Their aim was to “disarm” Typhoon fighter jets. “We did not want to take this action, but were compelled to do so in order to stop the UK government’s complicity in the destruction of Yemen,” they said in a statement. Their trial took place this week. They were acquitted. In theory, this is the kind of civil disobedience that the new Labour party claims to encourage. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has spoken of “insurrection” when trying to rouse his troops. Jeremy Corbyn has a long history with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament who were famous for these kind of stunts. Momentum, […]

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British officials harbour doubts about Saudi-led investigations into alleged war crimes in Yemen

Internal emails obtained by MEMO show that British diplomats appear to be nervous about the quality of the investigation being carried out by the Saudi-led coalition into alleged war crimes by its forces in Yemen. The news comes as NGOs claim that Britain is set to obstruct an attempt to launch an independent investigation this Thursday at the UN about the allegations. The emails show that following the attendance of British officials at a conference organised by the Joint Incident Assessments Team (JIAT), the UK-trained group tasked by the Saudi-led coalition with investigating the alleged war crimes, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official warned colleagues that the findings “will be controversial and no doubt disputed.” The JIAT meeting was […]

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Ignore the spin, the siege of Gaza endangers everyone, Israelis included, so end it now

Save the Children reckons that the Israelis have delivered a major project in record time, with the Gaza Strip described in the NGO’s latest report as “unliveable.” The United Nations made its own prediction in 2012, giving the territory until 2020 before it would be at that inhospitable stage. As autumn wears on and some three years ahead of the UN deadline, the Israeli government has turned basic essentials such as food, water, hospital access, education and shelter into luxury items in an enclave that the state and its supporters still claim somewhat disingenuously to have “withdrawn” from in 2005. Of course, Save the Children and the UN aren’t to be trusted; it you pay heed to the pro-Israel lobby […]

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Who benefits from a report into cigarette smuggling in the Maghreb?

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is one of the finest think tanks in the world. Its experts offer sober advice on foreign and defence policy far outstripping that of other, more politically motivated, organisations operating in and around Westminster. It is disappointing, therefore, to see that RUSI is being paid by big tobacco firms to shore up business interests in the Maghreb, and being far from transparent about it in the process. “Over twenty per cent of cigarettes consumed in the Maghreb are illicit,” claimed a KPMG report published last month, to which RUSI contributed its own analysis and research. While it may have been KPMG’s logo on the front of the report, a closer reading shows that the […]

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