On the nauseating political doublespeak scale, David Cameron’s claim to “support the Arab spring” on a trip to sell weapons to Gulf dictators this week hit a new low. No stern demands for free elections from the autocrats of Arabia – or calls for respect for human rights routinely dished out even to major powers like Russia and China.

As the kings and emirs crack down on democratic protest, the prime minister assured them of his “respect and friendship”. Different countries, he explained soothingly in Abu Dhabi, needed “different paths, different timetables” on the road to reform: countries that were western allies, spent billions on British arms and sat on some of the world’s largest oil reserves in particular, he might have added by way of explanation.

Seumas Milne on the UK backing for repression and torture in the Middle East.

Read the rest here.


A new survey out today reveals that 59% of Israeli Jews would favour a formal apartheid system of Government if the West Bank were to be completely annexed.

Ha’aretz documents the substantial numbers of Israeli Jews who advocate near-total racial separation and legal discrimination:

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.”

In what should be a constant rebuke to those who demonise supporters of Palestinian rights for using the rhetoric of apartheid, the report also notes that:

Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here.

Israeli Jews weren’t born supporting such inhuman policies. They have been conditioned to do so by decades of brutal colonial expansion and aggression conducted in their name.

Despite illusions on the left, and complaints from the right that Labour’s economic policy has not been spelled out, in fact the position is entirely clear – the essential thrust of the Coalition’s austerity policies will be maintained. The only concession to concerns about the impact of the cuts is an entirely unclear promise that under Labour the cuts would be ‘fairer’, and that the pace of cuts would be marginally slowed.

Socialist Action sets out what the reality of the possible 2015 Labour party government will be. Hint: this isn’t happy reading if you’re banking on a break (even a timid one) with austerity.

Sheena Campbell


Sheena Campbell reading a copy of An Phoblacht at the GPO in Dublin. Today marks the 20th anniversary of her murder. Sheena was a dedicated Sinn Féin activist, a young mother and student. There will be a vigil to remember her tonight at 7.30pm outside the gates of Queen’s University, Belfast. Read more about Sheena: www.anphoblacht.com/contents/10670

Remember Allende

Today, a timely anniversary in the lead-up to elections in Venezuela next month, a reminder of the human cost of US interference in Latin America.

From the Pat Finucane Centre, on Facebook

Today, September 4, marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Peter Mc Bride in Belfast by two members of the Scots Guards Regiment, James Fisher and Mark Wright. Despite their convictions for the murder of the unarmed teenager in broad daylight both soldiers were allowed to rejoin their regiment having served only three years of their life sentences. One, Mark Wright, was discharged for medical reasons following an shooting injury sustained in Iraq. The other, James Fisher, remains a serving soldier in the British Army.

As Jean Mc Bride deals with the daily consequence of loss and grief she is confronted with the additional agony that the British Government, army and large sections of the British media find it perfectly acceptable that the killer of an unarmed teenager should remain in the British armed forces. No demands in parliament that convicted murderers should be dismissed, no outrage on the Steven Nolan Show on the BBC as has been the case concerning the employment of others with convictions for murder, no demands to change the law as some Unionist politicians have campaigned for… just silence. Peter who ? And Guardsman James Fisher ? Twenty years ago today Wright and Fisher shot Peter in the back. They remained soldiers while in prison awaiting trial. They remained soldiers following their conviction. Fisher remains a soldier today. No outrage to be heard on behalf of an ordinary working class mother from a Catholic area of N. Belfast…just silence.

Henrique Capriles Radonsky, the presidential candidate of the right-wing coalition, has been keen to state that he will ensure that social programs to meet the needs of all Venezuelans are put into place. For a taster of what he means in the case of housing, we can take a look at the few houses that have been built under his governorship in the state of Miranda.
This video, from a private TV station strongly opposed to the Chavez government, Globovisión, shows Capriles talking to people who have been given new homes, and then having a look around one of them.
For those who don’t speak Spanish, some of the comments from those who have the homes include:
“Well, there are still a few details to work on, I have no floor in the corridor and the walls need to be plastered and painted.”
Capriles, on entering one of the occupied bedrooms in the house he visits states, “Yes, the only thing missing here is some plastering, painting, and to put in windows.”