• A Prize from Fairyland

    Mossadegh represented a bulwark of sorts. He alone stood in the way of the Soviet Union’s laying claim to much of the planet’s known oil reserves. The US wanted Mossadegh to sign up to its anti-communist crusade, which would require Iran to settle its differences with Britain. In return, the US would provide Iran with economic and military assistance. But Mossadegh’s cause was anti-imperialism, not anti-communism. He was first and foremost a nationalist: full sovereignty for Iran was his goal. He would neither compromise with Britain nor do America’s bidding. In Mossadegh’s view, the Cold War was not Iran’s fight. Even while earnestly petitioning Washington for money and military hardware, he didn’t disguise his determination to follow the neutralist course set by Nehru.

  • With Brexit, Israel Loses a Major Asset in the European Union
    Britain helped moderate and balance EU decisions about the peace process, blunt criticism and even harness the member states against anti-Israel moves at the UN; voices sympathetic to the Palestinian cause could now become more dominant.

    Barak Ravid Jun 26, 2016 8:32 AM
    read more:

    Israel has lost a significant asset in the European Union, according to a senior official familiar with Foreign Ministry discussions on the U.K.’s EU referendum. Israeli diplomats believed before Thursday’s referendum that Britain leaving would not serve Israeli interests, especially on the Palestinian issue.
    In the weeks before the British voted on whether to remain in the EU, the Foreign Ministry held a series of discussions on what it would mean for Israel if the “leave” camp won. Despite a flood of reports from the Israeli embassy in London that included political analyses, polls and conversations with people on both sides, none of those taking part in the discussions was able to predict the referendum outcome.
    Prime Minister David Cameron, who met leaders of the Jewish community in London a few days before the referendum, expressed what many in the Israeli Foreign Ministry were thinking. “Do you want Britain – Israel’s greatest friend – in there opposing boycotts, opposing the campaign for divestment and sanctions, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the discussion that takes place?” he asked.
    As a key member of the EU, and with a large Jewish community and Israel-friendly government, Britain had exerted a positive influence regarding Israel in recent years. On several occasions, it helped to moderate and balance EU decisions about the peace process, blunt criticism and even harness the member states against anti-Israel moves in UN institutions.
    “Without Britain, the voices of states more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, such as Malta, Ireland, Sweden and Slovenia, will be more dominant,” a senior official said.
    However, quite a few of the participants in the discussions argued that Britain’s leaving the EU would actually serve Israel’s interests. The official cited one argument to the effect that Britain’s leaving would considerably weaken the EU and its institutions, reduce its international influence, and take the sting out of its Israeli-Palestinian decisions.
    Another argument was that Britain’s leaving the EU would strengthen the bilateral relations with Israel and give Britain more maneuvering space, without depending on the EU and its positions. A third argument said Britain’s leaving would undermine the EU’s stability and require its institutions and members to direct their energy toward unifying the ranks, rather than toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • GCHQ chief accuses US tech giants of becoming terrorists ’networks of choice’

    Privacy has never been “an absolute right”, according to the new director of #GCHQ, who has used his first public intervention since taking over at the helm of Britain’s #surveillance agency to accuse US technology companies of becoming “the command and control networks of choice” [#cybernétique] for terrorists.

    Robert Hannigan said a new generation of freely available technology has helped groups like Islamic State (#Isis #OEI) to hide from the security services and accuses major tech firms of being “in denial”, going further than his predecessor in seeking to claim that the leaks of Edward #Snowden have aided terror networks.

    GCHQ and sister agencies including MI5 cannot tackle those challenges without greater support from the private sector, “including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web”, Hannigan argued in an opinion piece written for the Financial Times (03/11/2014) just days into his new job.

    #infoguerre #médias_sociaux Cf.

    • Voir aussi l’édito du Financial Times du 5 novembre 2014 : « It is time to forge a post-Snowden settlement » (#paywall)

      The terms of that debate should not be hard to define. In democratic states, there must be strong and independent accounting of the way the security services operate. Following Snowden, it is evident that procedures in the US and UK are insufficiently transparent.

      That said, US internet companies cannot ignore their responsibilities vis-à-vis national security. These firms do not inhabit some separate planet where they can operate independent of state obligations to defend the public against terrorism. No government can tolerate a situation in which citizens communicate with one another over data networks without any possibility of legitimate surveillance. Mr Hannigan is correct to state that “privacy has never been an absolute right”.

      The FT believes the moment has come to redress the balance in the debate over privacy and security. Mr Hannigan’s call for a “new deal” between the intelligence agencies and the tech companies is a good place to start – before another wave of jihadist violence is inflicted on the west.

    • Réponse du NYT à l’édito du FT :

      But the crocodile tears of the intelligence chiefs overlook the fact that before those barriers were put in place, the United States National Security Agency and Mr. Hannigan’s GCHQ misused their powers for an illegal dragnet surveillance operation. The technology companies are doing their job in protecting people’s private data precisely because the intelligence agencies saw fit to rummage through that data.

      Mr. Hannigan’s argument overlooks the many legal avenues intelligence agencies have to seek data. Demanding that the technology companies leave “back doors” open to their software or hardware also potentially assists Chinese, Russian and other hackers in accessing reams of data.

      A Spy’s Deceptive Complaints (12/11/2014)

  • Britain and Spain escalate dispute over Gibraltar - World Socialist Web

    Britain and Spain escalate dispute over Gibraltar

    By Paul Mitchell
    22 August 2013

    The Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition government in Britain and the Popular Party (PP) government in Spain are escalating the dispute over Gibraltar as part of an effort to whip up nationalist sentiment and deflect attention away from the social crisis in both countries. In addition the PP and the Spanish monarchy are embroiled in corruption scandals, which have seen support for the two institutions plummeting.

    #gibraltar #espagne #royaume_uni #frontière #différend_territorial

  • Palestinian students force British envoy out of West Bank university -


    Dozens of Palestinian students at a West Bank university heckled a British diplomat and attacked his car on Tuesday, preventing him from speaking on campus.

    British Consul-General Sir Vincent Fean was mobbed by students at Birzeit University who chanted and held banners protesting what they said was Britain’s support for the establishment of Israel and its policies.

  • Why Anonymous hacks UK government sites?: Voice of Russia

    The famous hacking collective @Anonymous has admitted that it has successfully hacked several British government websites, including that of the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry. According to the group’s blog on Twitter, the attack was carried out in retaliation for Britain’s handling of @WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

  • Très intéressant : comment le plan Annan a été sabordé dès le début. Why Kofi Annan had enough over Syria. L’épisode du Communiqué de Genève est très parlant.

    In short, the communique appeared to move the US, Britain and France, as well as Turkey and Qatar, which also attended the Geneva meeting, to an even-handed stance at last. It marked Kofi Annan’s finest hour as the UN and Arab League’s special envoy.

    A few days later, Russia circulated a draft resolution at the UN in New York to endorse the new approach. It urged member-states to work in the co-operative spirit of the Geneva text, extend the UN monitors’ team in Syria and press for a ceasefire. Then came the spanner. Britain, France and the US proposed a rival resolution with the one-sided elements that provoked earlier Russian and Chinese vetoes – punishment of Assad if he did not comply, threats of new sanctions, no word of pressure on the opposition and veiled hints of eventual military force by referring to chapter seven of the UN charter.

    Pour mémoire, le Communiqué de Genève du 30 juin 2012 :

  • - FTTH Broadband for the Rural North : Sponsored By Carrera IT Ltd

    The purpose of the project is to take a new approach to the ownership, financial and deployment models used traditionally, and still proposed by, #telecommunications companies. These models invariably leave rural areas outside of the scope of economic viability for the telecoms companies, and have helped to create the Digital Divide between rural and urban Britain.

    #fibre_optique #campagne

  • The alternative games in London : Voice of Russia

    In spite of the excitement and the extravagant opening ceremony - not everyone in London is thrilled that the city is hosting the Olympic Games.

    Crackdown on London graffiti artists ahead of Olympics : Voice of Russia

    Police in Britain have been accused of needlessly arresting people to keep London looking smart ahead of the Olympics. Four graffiti artists have been arrested by transportion police and banned from using public transportation and games venues.

    Les autres facettes des Jeux Olympiques

  • Mass arrests outside London’s Olympic opening ceremony: an eye-witness account

    London 2012’s opening ceremony paid tribute to Britain’s rich history of political dissent. But while Suffragettes and trade unionists were on parade inside the Olympic village, outside a group of peaceful cyclists on their monthly ride around the city were being stopped and kettled by police. Kerry-anne Mendoza, one of the 182 arrested, gives her personal account

    #JO #UK #Police #Anti-JO

  • The Fog of Civil War - By Stephen Starr | Foreign Policy

    Contrary to reports, the Syrian government is allowing foreign journalists to enter the country. Teams from Fox News and Britain’s ITV television were recently granted 10-day visas to cover Syria from the capital. Many of these journalists are reporting from the bedsides of wounded regime soldiers and have remarked that Syria is, in fact, a divided country and that significant support does exist for the regime. But the limitations on official reporting are manifold. Government minders place restrictions on travel and contact with locals, making it difficult to report anything that does not fit the regime’s narrative.

    Embedding with the rebels, who are equally eager to present themselves as victims rather than aggressors, invites similar hurdles in accessing the truth. But the rebels are a complicated bunch. Elizabeth Palmer, a journalist with CBS, recently managed to escape her government minders and go in search of fighters in the Free Syrian Army. When she found them, however, she was promptly told that she would be executed for having Syrian government stamps in her passport. Others covering events in the countryside have reported insurgents to have been a menace.

  • Sarah Bint Talal: Voiceless in the Kingdom

    Princess Sarah Bint Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud is adamant about resisting attempts to dissuade her from seeking political asylum in Britain. In an interview with Al-Akhbar, she reiterates her refusal to compromise over her demand that corrupt individuals in the Kingdom be held accountable, particularly those who work in the Royal Court, starting with its chief, Khaled al-Tuwaijiri. She wants the same accountability for those in the diplomatic corps and the judiciary.

    The princess refuses “to drop the political asylum application in return for my Saudi passport to be reissued.” She says: “They want a solution? I accept, but it has to be comprehensive, and the process of accountability in government departments should begin in practice not just in words.”

  • Britain flooded with ’brand police’ to protect sponsors - Home News - UK - The Independent

    Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush #marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official #sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP.

    Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

    Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”.

    #JO #sport #capitalisme via @sabineblanc

  • Now Syria time line

    15:36 Activists said on Tuesday that Syrian forces shelled Latakia’s Al-Haffa and Al-Dafeel, Al-Jazeera reported.

    15:00 Britain on Tuesday said Syria must offer unrestricted access to aid agencies, saying the humanitarian situation in the country is expected to worsen with thousands more likely to flee the bloodshed.

    14:45 France on Tuesday joined the United States in raising concerns that new massacres were being prepared in Syria as regime forces pounded for the eighth straight day the town of Al-Heffa.

    14:42 Tuesday’s death toll in Syria has risen to 27 people, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Syrian Network For Human Rights as saying.

    13:54 Armed “terrorists” kidnapped on Tuesday a group of Syrians travelling in two taxis on the road to Qusayr in the central province of Homs, the state news agency SANA reported.

    13:41 Regime forces rained shells on rebel positions in northwestern Latakia province on Tuesday, pounding for the eighth straight day the town of Al-Heffa as they prepared to storm it, monitors said.

    12:41 UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan hoped a key meeting to address the crisis in Syria will take place soon, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.

    12:30 Iran on Tuesday welcomed a Russian proposal on holding an international conference on Syria aimed at saving a faltering peace plan for that country’s conflict.

    12:27 Christians in the Syrian town of Qusayr have come under increasing threat from rebel factions controlling the town, according to a Tuesday report in the Vatican Fides news agency.

    12:19 One person was killed and dozens injured in the shelling of Rastan in Homs, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying on Tuesday.

    12:01 Syria’s main opposition coalition has called for “peaceful protests” across the world on Wednesday against Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

    11:36 Syrian security forces shelled the towns of Byanoun and Hayan in the Aleppo district, Al-Jazeera quoted activists as saying on Tuesday.

    11:34 Syrian forces pounded a neighborhood of the eastern city of Deir az-Zour with mortar fire on Tuesday, killing 10 civilians including a young girl, a monitoring group said.

    10:12 Syrian forces on Tuesday imposed a blockade on Latakia’s Al-Haffa, Al-Arabiya television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.

    10:11 Syrian forces on Tuesday prevented international observers from accessing the Latakia town of Al-Heffa, Al-Arabiya television quoted the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution as saying.

    10:08 Syrian forces on Tuesday killed 13 people; most of them in Deir az-Zour, Al-Jazeera television quoted the Local Coordination Committees as saying.

    8:16 Syrian troops have tortured children, executed them and used children as young as eight as “human shields” during military raids against rebels, according to a UN report released Tuesday.

    8:10 UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday demanded UN access to the surrounded Syrian city of Al-Heffa amid what he called a “dangerous intensification” of the conflict in the country.

    8:08 US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday there was “no silver bullet” to fix what he called a tragic, complex situation in Syria, but renewed calls for the regime to relinquish power.

    8:05 UN envoy Kofi Annan will have to decide if his peace plan was working in Syria when the UN mission’s 90-day mandate expires next month but it cannot remain open-ended, a top Arab official said Monday.

    8:00 MORNING LEADER: United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday demanded UN access to the Syrian city of Al-Heffa, as regime helicopters fired on rebel stronghold towns, leaving more than 100 people dead. Ban added that “intensive military operations” by government forces against Homs and firing from helicopters on other towns had caused heavy civilian casualties.

  • Britain on Tuesday said Syria must offer unrestricted access to aid agencies, saying the humanitarian situation in the country is expected to worsen with thousands more likely to flee the bloodshed.

    Accusing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of committing “serious human rights violations” against its own people, British Minister of International Development, Alan Duncan, urged Damascus to “give unrestricted access for humanitarian agencies to help those in need.”

    To read more:

  • Bush Blocked Iran Nuke Deal

    France and Germany were prepared in spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of its enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States, according to a new account by a former top Iranian nuclear negotiator.

    Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who had led Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in 2004 and 2005, makes it clear that the reason that offer was rejected was that the George W. Bush administration refused to countenance any Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumstances. Mousavian reveals previously unknown details about that pivotal episode in the diplomacy surrounding the Iran nuclear issue in memoirs published Tuesday.

  • WikiLeaks’ Assange loses extradition case

    Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, closing his final legal avenue of appeal in Britain.

    “The request for Mr Assange’s extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly is dismissed,” said Supreme Court president Judge Nicholas Phillips.

    The seven judges were split five to two but the majority ruling was that the Swedish prosecutor was a judicial authority and therefore allowed to issue an arrest warrant for him to be questioned on sex crime allegations.

  • Adam Curtis Blog: If you take my advice - I’d repress them

    Bahrain, along with Syria, has become a symbol of the failure of the Arab Spring to deliver real democracy and freedom across the Arab world. The media in Britain portray a rigid, oppressive almost feudal elite who are stubbornly holding out against the inevitable wave of modern freedoms and political justice.

    But what is hardly ever mentioned in the press and TV reports is that this very system of oppression, the rock against which the dreams of democracy are being dashed, was largely created by the British. That, throughout most of the twentieth century, British advisers to the Bahraini royal family, backed up by British military might, were central figures in the creation of a ruthless system that imprisoned and sometimes tortured any Bahraini citizen who even dared to suggest the idea of democracy.

    The same British advisers also worked with the rulers of Bahrain to exercise a cynical technique of divide and rule - setting Shia against Sunni in a very successful attempt to keep Bahrain locked in an old, decaying and corrupt system of tribal and religious rivalries. The deliberate aim was to stop democracy ever emerging.

    The Bahrainis know this, practically everyone else in the Arab world knows this - the only people who seem to have forgotten are the British themselves.

    So I thought I would tell the story of Britain’s involvement in the government and the security of Bahrain over the past 90 years. Especially as the present King of Bahrain is coming to have lunch with the Queen on May 18th.

  • Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes | UK news | The Guardian

    Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.

    Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

    #archives #colonialisme #Royaume-Uni #histoire

  • In Breivik, troubling echoes of #West's view of #Islam
    By Timothy Stanley, Special to CNN, April 17, 2012

    Editor’s note: Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of the new book “The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan.”

    (CNN) — The trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik has confirmed one thing so far: He seems quite mad. Looking plump and dumb, with a slightly receding hairline, the Norwegian gave a right-wing salute as he entered the courtroom and smirked his way through CCTV footage of his handiwork.

    Breivik claims that he killed 77 people as an act of self-defense against the #Islamification of Norway, that he is a member of the Knights Templar and part of an “anticommunist” resistance to multiculturalism. Reading his insane manifesto, it is tempting to dismiss him as a nut with a gun.

    Nevertheless, there’s no denying the political context to what Breivik did. Since 9/11, fringe and mainstream politicians in Europe and America have spoken of Islam as incompatible with Western values. Breivik quoted many of them in his manifesto. This is not to say that he took direct inspiration from those public figures, or that they bear personal responsibility for his crimes. But Breivik’s paranoia does conform to a popular — wholly negative — view of the twin problems of Islam and multiculturalism. Tragically, it is a view that few mainstream politicians have been willing to challenge.

    Breivik makes two false claims. The first is that Islam is ethically inferior to Christianity and cannot exist peacefully within the secular democracies of the post-Enlightenment West. That is the open view of the Dutch Party for Freedom, the French National Front, the English Defense League and the Finnish True Finns. It was implicit in Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s aversion to the building of mosques. We might also infer it from much of the testimony presented at Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings into the radicalization of American Muslim youth. King has opined that there are “too many mosques” in the United States and that roughly 80% of American Muslims are radical.


  • The incorporation business: They sell sea shells | The Economist

    Up to 2million [shell companies] are set up in America each year [...]. Britain creates some 300,000; around 250,000 are set up in offshore locations [...]. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) alone registered 59,000 new firms in 2010. It had 457,000 active companies as of last September—more than 16 companies for every one of its 28,000 people.

    Many such firms may be real, with their own offices and employees somewhere in the world. But many are paper firms, often with nominee directors and free of any obligation to publish their accounts. That helps stop outsiders from working out what they do or own, where they operate, who controls them and whom they really belong to.
    [...] A World Bank report last year, “The Puppet Masters”, investigated 817 big cases of corruption between 1980 and 2010. Almost all used shells. “It’s a basic launderer’s tool,” says Robert Palmer of Global Witness, a campaigning group.

    One reason for their ubiquity is an American-led push against money laundering.
    Tracing the real owners of private firms is harder in America than almost anywhere else. Some formation agents there do not ask for identity documents, let alone verify them

    #mafia #capitalisme

  • Mapped : British, Spanish and Dutch Shipping 1750-1800 | Spatial Analysis

    I recently stumbled upon a fascinating dataset which contains digitised information from the log books of ships (mostly from Britain, France, Spain and The Netherlands) sailing between 1750 and 1850.

    These maps were produced with the latest version of R‘s ggplot2, maptools, geosphere and png packages.

    #R #cartographie

  • Questions for News Corp over rival’s collapse

    Part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire employed computer hacking to undermine the business of its chief TV rival in Britain, according to evidence due to be broadcast by BBC1’s Panorama programme on Monday .

    The allegations stem from apparently incriminating emails the programme-makers have obtained, and on-screen descriptions for the first time from two of the people said to be involved, a German hacker and the operator of a pirate website secretly controlled by a Murdoch company.

    The witnesses allege a software company NDS, owned by News Corp, cracked the smart card codes of rival company ONdigital. ONdigital, owned by the ITV companies Granada and Carlton, eventually went under amid a welter of counterfeiting by pirates, leaving the immensely lucrative pay-TV field clear for Sky.