genocide

Cartoon: Michael Gove – Idiocracy

Here’s another of my cartoons, in which I lampoon the Conservatives and their horrendous government. This piece is based on that photograph taken when Cameron decided to make Michael Gove education minister, or something like it. It showed Gove looking somewhat depressed and forlorn in front of a crowd of primary schoolchildren, as if he had suddenly twigged that a group of five or six years olds were far brighter than he was.

It reminded me of the Jack Black SF comedy that came out a few years ago, Idiocracy. Based on the William Tenn short story, ‘The Marching Morons’, this was about an ordinary, average American joe, who wakes up two hundred years in the future to find out that he’s the cleverest man on the planet. It’s a future where people irrigate their crops with Gatorade, what monster truck rallies on TV and where the most popular comedy programme is where men get hit in the crotch called Ow! My Nuts! And unfortunately, thanks to the Tory media, this does seem to be the future we’re heading for. I am convinced that the Murdoch press is actually diminishing intelligence, rather than enhancing it. Just like a media monitoring survey in America found that you were far better informed about the world if you watched no news at all, than if you watched Fox News.

Tenn’s story is a classic, but it makes me very uneasy. Like one or two other stories from the same period, it’s based on an article of eugenics ideology. This is that the less intelligent are more fertile, and will outbreed the intelligent, thus causing average intelligence to drop over time. It’s the thinking behind the sterilisation programmes in America, Sweden and most notoriously, Nazi Germany, against those considered mentally unfit, and which during the Third Reich led to their murder. In the story there’s an intelligentsia, who have preserved their own intellects through rigid interbreeding. They ask the man from the 20th century how they can raise intelligence back to its former level. He suggests that they pack them into faulty rockets with promises that they’re going on holiday to Venus. The rockets won’t get there, and will instead fall apart, killing their retarded occupants. Then the man, who devised this plan, finds that he himself is put on one of the same rockets to kill him for his ruthless cleverness.

As I said, it’s a grim story, and mercifully human evolution doesn’t actually work like that. Although morons like Andrew Sabisky and Toby Young clearly think that it does, and the racist currently ensconced in No. 10 seems to agree. Or at least he and the polecat, Dominic Cummings, have no problems employing men whose disgusting views should mean that they should be nowhere near government.

But enough of these disgusting people with their depressing, sordid views. Here’s the cartoon to cheer you all up.

 

Indian Minister: We Made a Mistake Not Committing Genocide Against Muslims

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/02/2020 - 5:12am in

A government minister has sparked controversy after expressing his regret that India did not sufficiently ethnically cleanse itself of Muslims during the countries’ creation in 1947. At a public event in his native Bihar state, Giriraj Singh, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rallied his supporters, claiming, “It is time to commit ourselves” to building the Indian nation properly.

“It was a big lapse by our ancestors that we’re paying the price for now. If at that time Muslim brothers had been sent there and Hindus brought here, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said.

This is not the first time Singh has called for retribution against the country’s 138 million Muslims. In 2016 he called for controls on Muslim procreation to limit their numbers relative to Hindus. Article Two of the United Nations Convention on Genocide (which India has signed and ratified) explicitly prohibits “imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group” as genocidal behavior, while its definition of the synonymous crime of ethnic cleansing includes “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group.”

Just four days ago Singh was reprimanded by his own Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for comments he made describing Muslims as a terrorist scourge and a famous Islamic seminary as the “fountainhead of terrorism” in India.

The “situation” that the minister references India currently finding itself in is the nationwide resistance against the BJP government’s attempts to marginalize and criminalize the country’s largest religious minority. The most controversial steps towards this end have been the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registration Council (NRC). The CAA makes it easier for people from neighboring Muslim-majority countries to apply for Indian citizenship– if they are Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain. But it explicitly rejects certain classes of people it deems as undesirable, especially Muslims.

The NRC demands all Indians provide extensive documentation of their ancestors’ births and nationalities –something hundreds of millions will surely be unable to do. It, therefore, gives the government the authority to strip citizenship away from virtually anyone it wishes to, effectively rendering them stateless and without rights. This policy has already been applied to the northeastern state of Assam, where 1.9 million people were declared illegal – most of them Muslim. Modi’s government is building a network of huge detention camps to house the population, sometimes using the disenfranchised population itself to build them.

Since December, major cities across the country have seen large and ongoing protests aimed at opposing the direction the BJP is taking the country. In Delhi, people of all backgrounds have set up an occupy-style encampment in the Muslim majority Shaheen Bagh neighborhood. In response, Modi effectively placed the city under martial law in January.

The Shaheen Bagh has become a metaphor for the resistance against Modi’s attempts to move India away from its secular tradition towards a Hindu nationalist state. As one writer put it, “It’s not just about saving Indian Muslims. It’s about saving India.”

Earlier this month Delhi conducted elections, with the BJP telling voters to “press the button [of the electronic voting machine] …with such anger that the current reaches Shaheen Bagh.” However, they managed to win only eight of 70 seats, with the Aam Aadmi Party led by popular figure Arvind Kejriwal sweeping the vote. However, this should not be mistaken for a repudiation of the BJP. Indeed, Kejriwal made pains to present himself as Hindu and disassociate from being perceived as a pro-Muslim candidate.

The BJP also scored an overwhelming victory in the April/May elections last year, winning 303 of the 545 seats in the lower house of parliament, a remarkable achievement in a federated, multi-party subcontinent where nearly forty parties won seats. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi continues to retain high approval rates. Thus, Kejriwal’s reluctance to be seen as pro-Muslim and Singh’s comments serve as examples of how far the spectrum of acceptable public discourse has moved.

The growing resentment towards the Muslim population comes in the context of three decades of neoliberal economics, which has transformed society. While generating substantial economic growth, it has also brought greatly increased inequality and limited benefits for the country’s poor. Despite changing the definition of poverty to exclude people making just 26 rupees (36 U.S. cents) or more per day, over 400 million Indians remain below the poverty line. In January an estimated quarter-billion people conducted the largest strike in world history, demanding comprehensive new legislation to improve worker rights across the country.

While Modi’s government has given little to the country’s working-class economically, it has been able to provide the large Hindu majority with a Muslim enemy and an outlet to express their frustration. Singh’s latest comments serve as an example of this – and as a worrying harbinger for what could be to come.

Feature photo | An Indian man paints a portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump on a wall in Agra, India, Feb. 21, 2020. Pawan Sharma | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Indian Minister: We Made a Mistake Not Committing Genocide Against Muslims appeared first on MintPress News.

Therese Coffey: Another Tory Minister Who Thinks Food Banks Are Brilliant

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/01/2020 - 9:41pm in

Yesterday the Canary reported that the Labour MP Zahra Sultana, who called food banks a ‘national disgrace’, wrote to Coffey about the obscene injustice of nurses having to use food banks while fat-cat bosses are rewarded with massive payouts. Sultana was understandably upset that there were now more food banks in the UK than branches of McDonald’s and that the British boss of the fast food firm had received a settlement of £30 million after they had fired him.

She got this bland reply from Coffey:

I visited a similar food bank in my own constituency that has been working together with food redistribution schemes. Marrying the two is a perfect way to try to address the challenges that people face at difficult times in their lives.

Coffey also called the people using food banks ‘customers’, thus giving the misleading the impression that they had some kind of choice over whether or not to be there.

Sultana wasn’t impressed, and neither were other commenters on twitter. She commented

I just asked the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions about the gross injustice of nurses relying on food banks while the rich get richer.

Her response? She called food banks a “perfect way” to meet the challenges of those in poverty.

The Tories are totally out of touch.

The article goes on to report that BristolLive had also said that they’d been told by one volunteer at a food bank that four or five nurses had visited a food bank in one week.

The Canary’s article also criticised Coffey for not mentioning that food banks run by volunteers are supported through donations. They’re there to help poor people struggling to feed themselves and their families because of ten years of Tory austerity, welfare cuts and Universal Credit. And Coffey certainly wasn’t going to tackle the problem of bloated salaries for fat-cat bosses and widening inequality.

The Canary further reported that the Trussell Trust had stated in April 2019 that food bank use had reached a record high point. Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March the charity had distributed 1.6 million food parcels. This was a rise of 19 per cent from the previous year. About half a million of them were given to children.

Sabine Goodwin, the head of the Independent Food Aid Network, commented that Coffey’s remarks showed how food bank use had been normalised in the UK, and that they were now the fourth emergency service.

The Canary concluded:

The DWP is not fit for purpose. And Coffey’s latest response highlights just how dangerous it truly is.

See: https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2020/01/28/dwp-minister-thinks-foodbanks-are-a-perfect-solution/

This is just the latest scandal in which a Tory minister has made a bland, evasive statement praising food banks and ignoring the underlying problem of the massive suffering the Tories themselves have caused. I think the last one was Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was similarly blasted for his complacency. In fact, food banks and the volunteers who run them are doing an excellent job. I know that two of the great commenters on this blog are involved with those in their communities. That isn’t the point. The point is, they shouldn’t be needed. There should be no benefit sanctions nor false or falsified fitness for work tests throwing people who are too ill or disabled to work off benefits. The unemployed and disabled should be given benefits at a level that allows them to live properly, paid the moment they request and need them. They should not have to wait a few days, let alone five weeks, before receiving a payment. Working people should also be paid a decent wage, so that they also can afford to feed, heat and clothe themselves and their families.

But this is precisely what Tories like Coffey do not want to happen. They are dismantling the welfare state because they wish to relieve high earners – the rich – of the tax burden of supporting the poor. They originally tried justifying this with specious arguments about ‘trickledown’. The money the rich saved would trickle down to the poor as their social superiors opened new businesses, employed more people and paid higher wages. But they don’t actually do any of that. It just stays in their banks accounts, accumulating interest while they boast about how many hundreds of K they’ve trousered. I also believe the Tories actually like food banks because they see them as the British counterpart to the American system of food stamps.

They also have absolutely no problem with rising inequality. In fact, I remember them openly being all for it. Right at the beginning of the Thatcher project in the 1980s, various Tories appeared on BBC documentaries about benefit cuts and wage restraint raving about how wonderful it was. They believed that conditions should be made worse for the poor, as this would encourage them to ‘do well’. Thatcher herself was a fan of the less eligibility system of Victorian poor relief. Like them, she believed conditions should be made as humiliating and oppressive as possible for those on welfare in order to make them get a job as quickly as possible. He successors have weaponised it further, and now see it as a means of culling the sick and poor. 130,000 people have been killed so far by austerity in a campaign described by Mike and other bloggers and welfare commenters and organisations as the genocide of the disabled.

Food banks are not a perfect solution for people people at a difficult point in their lives. They are a severely inadequate attempt to ameliorate some of the worse effects of Tory austerity and welfare cuts. It is great that people are there, trying to do something for the poor.

But it is a glaring disgrace that they should be needed in first place. Coffee is a smooth, smiling dissembler trying to put a good front over utterly disgraceful, murderous Tory policies. She and the wretched government she serves can’t fall soon enough.

Genocide Scholar Warns That the Groundwork for Genocide in the US Has Been Laid

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 28/01/2020 - 6:18am in

Writer, scholar and activist Brynn Tannehill came out to say that the United States, particularly under the Trump administration, is already several steps down the path towards committing genocide against certain segments of the population. In a viral tweetstorm, the navy veteran and former defense analyst claimed that immigrants, Muslims, the homeless and transgender people are most at risk, noting that India, Brazil and much of Europe are moving in a similar direction. 

Tannehill, who studied genocides for her Ph.D., noted that they “rarely go from zero to all out slaughter in the blink of an eye.” Instead, preparations begin sometimes years in advance, slowly moving the population to the point of acceptance or support for an all out crackdown on demonized populations. 

First, there’s the propaganda, supported by things like government reporting of the crimes committed by the people they target,” she said, “then there’s public safety measures. Removing them from the military, and from federal service. Revoking clearances. Egging on stochastic intimidation and violence and failing to prosecute people who commit it.” 

With clear allusions to Trump’s Muslim ban and transgender bathroom laws, Tannehill states that revoking a targeted population’s civil rights often follows, establishing them as “lesser to the others being a key step towards what comes next. If the government, she asked, “went full Nazi on trans people, would the American population as a whole rise up? How about immigrants? Muslims?… The answer clearly seems to be almost certainly not,” she said.

However, Tannehill was at pains to stress that not every, nor even most, genocide ends in Nazi-style death camps, but that, studying the history of events like those in Rwanda, the Ottoman Empire, Darfur or Myanmar, there are “common themes and patterns” that emerge. 

“Usually it happens in an economically distressed country with falling standards of living for most people,” she said, laying out a checklist of common steps towards mass killings which include:

  • Demonizing government propaganda,
  • The creation of a mythological past free of targeted minorities,
  • Populist government,
  • A breakdown of democratic norms,
  • A politicized court beholden to a party or leader,
  • The removal of a minority from federal service,
  • Legalizing a minority’s second class status,
  • Stochastically encouraging violence,
  • Preventing access to healthcare and other services to said minority,
  • Mandatory segregation,
  • Requiring minorities to publicly identify themselves,
  • Random arrests and indefinite detentions in black hole sites,
  • Testing to see foreign governments’ reactions to violence against a minority,
  • Groups fleeing the country

Generally, those enacting this legislation are populists who push an “us vs. them” narrative against those they deem inferior, blaming them for the country’s poor economic state while promising to bring the country back to a mythical past of strength and respect. The “others” are defamed as criminals, terrorists, degenerates or threats to society. If this sounds familiar to you, then you are in the same boat as Tannehill, who revealed that, as a transgender woman, she is already planning to leave her Ohio home and move to Canada with her Canadian partner and children.

 

Laying the groundwork for genocide

Many of the conditions that Tannehill warns about already exist throughout the world. In India, for example, an openly Hindu supremacist government has come to power, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi currently trying to enact anti-Muslim and anti-transgender immigration legislation and pass citizenship laws that would allow the government to reclassify potentially hundreds of millions of Indians as illegal aliens. The NRC law, as it is called, has already been implemented in the northeastern state of Assam, where nearly two million people (more than half of them Muslim), have been declared illegal. The government is currently building a huge network of concentration camps to house them. 

In the U.K., after what its Human Rights Chief called “decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion,” the United Nations has urged the British government to tackle the open hate speech of tabloid newspapers, comparing their rhetoric to Nazi media coverage of Jews in the 1930s. The government has failed to act. Indeed, populists like Nigel Farage and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have risen to prominence precisely by echoing media attacks on and demonization of foreigners, particularly Muslims. Meanwhile, in much of Europe, majorities of the population now tell pollsters that they see Muslims unfavorably. Tannehill singles out the U.K., Hungary and Poland as particularly worrying cases.

Cyrus McGoldrick, takes a photo with his cell phone of an anti-Muslim poster in New York's Times Square subway station.

Cyrus McGoldrick, takes a photo with his cell phone of an anti-Muslim poster in New York’s Times Square subway station. Thirty-three key organizations promoting anti-Muslim sentiment had access to a combined budget of $205,838,077 between 2008 and 2013 alone. Photo | AP

Closer to home, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was elected into office promising to kill anyone he deemed a leftist: “These red outlaws will be banished from our homeland. It will be a cleanup the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history…Either they go overseas, or they go to jail,” he said – an ominous threat, considering the country’s history of fascist rule. Bolsonaro also constantly defames LGBT people, and last week his government charged American journalist Glenn Greenwald, possibly the country’s most prominent gay person, with cybercrimes, widely seen as a politically motivated retaliation.

In decaying and collapsing societies that are on the verge of violence, writer and journalist Chris Hedges argues that much of the population descends into magical thinking, believing in conspiracy theories and stories of past greatness. This is already happening in much of the world; a 2018 poll found that 41 percent of Trump voters and 31 percent of British people supporting Brexit believed that governments in both countries were secretly trying to make them Muslim-majority states through rampant immigration. Trump was elected on a promise to make America great again, a phrase that anti-racist educator Tim Wise argues sounds more like a threat than a promise to many Americans.

Tannehill concluded by saying, “Are you worried yet? You probably should be. Because I am very, very worried. I am not saying it will definitely happen, but the necessary conditions are there, and many of the precursor events are in motion.”

Feature photo | A woman holds a protest image as she takes part in a demonstration march against President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, Feb. 4, 2017. Matt Dunham | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Genocide Scholar Warns That the Groundwork for Genocide in the US Has Been Laid appeared first on MintPress News.

Trump’s Climate Denial Is a Danger to Post-Brexit Britain

Yesterday Mike put up a piece reporting and commenting on Trump’s denunciation of Green activists at the Davos summit. He called them ‘prophets of doom’, who were trying to dominate, control and transform the lives of everyone in the world, and announced that he would not change his country’s high carbon economy. He would, though, sign up for planting, restoring and conserving a trillion trees.

This didn’t impress Greta Thunberg, who was also there. Mike quotes her as saying

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she said.

“You say: ‘We won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.’ And then, silence.”

And she asked: “What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing… climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?”

Beeb wildlife presenter Chris Packham also made a speech about the climate emergency at the BAFTA’s, warning that unless we act to solve the environmental crisis, future generations may look on Trump, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Vladimir Putin and Australia’s Scott Morrison in the same way as mass murderers like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, because of the millions killed through climate change.

Mike also makes the point that while the world’s leaders are doing nothing about climate change, Boris is moving closer to a trade deal with Trump, one that will also make him deny the danger. Mike states that our clown of a prime minister has missed opportunities to make a difference, and asks if he will sell us down the river again for the sake of a few American dollars.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/01/22/trumps-prophets-of-doom-speech-suggests-the-uk-should-not-enter-trade-deal-with-him/

The answer is yes, yes, he will. And it’s for the same reasons Trump and the rest of the Republican party are denying climate change: powerful corporate interests. The Republicans received very generous campaign funding from big industrialists like the Koch brothers and the other heads of the fossil fuel industry. These big businessmen also sponsor fake grassroots organisations and biased scientific think thanks in order to lobby against and discredit climate research and laws to protect the environment. The results have been disastrous. Since he took power, Trump has gutted the environmental protection agency and forbidden it from publishing anything supporting climate change or environmental decline in America. Koch money has seen universities close down proper climate and environmental research and their replacement with laboratories and organisations funded by the brothers and others in the fossil future industry. These present as fact the false information they want the public to hear: that climate change isn’t occurring, and the coal and oil industries ain’t wrecking the landscape. But these industries are. There are a whole sections of the Louisiana swamps that is heavily polluted by oil. The oil pipeline through indigenous people’s land in Idaho that made the news a few years ago was opposed because the indigenous people of the area feared that there would be spillages that would pollute the water they use for drinking and which nourishes their wildlife. They were right to do so. There have been a large number of similar spillages, which have not garnered so much media attention, which have similarly contaminated vast acreages of land. And then there’s the whole fracking industry, and the damage that has also caused the water table in areas where it has been allowed.

These are the industries funding Trump’s campaign. They’re part of the reason why there were right-wing jokers all over the internet yesterday sniggering at Trump’s put down of Thunberg. Trump and his supporters really do believe that environmentalists are some kind of crazy apocalyptic cult with totalitarian aims. There’s a section of the American right that really does believe Green activists are real, literal Nazis, because the Nazis were also environmentally concerned. And the corporate interests sponsoring Trump are the same industries that want to get a piece of our economy and industries.

The Tories have already shown that they are little concerned about the environment. They have strongly promoted fracking in this country, and the book The Violence of Austerity contains a chapter detailing the Tories’ attacks on the environment and Green protest groups. David Cameron’s boast that his would be the greenest government ever vanished the moment his put his foot across the threshold of Number 10.

If Boris makes a Brexit trade deal with Trump, it will mean that our precious ‘green and pleasant land’ is under threat from highly polluting, environmentally destructive industries. It will mean further reductions in funding for renewable energy in favour of oil, gas and coal, attempts in this country to discredit and silence respectable, mainstream climate research and scientists in favour of corporate-sponsored pseudoscience. And there will be further laws and state violence against environmental protesters.

Trump’s climate denial is a threat to the British environment, industry, the health of its people, democracy and science. But Boris depends on him for any kind of successful trade deal.

He will sell out and wreck this country and its people for those dollars offered by Trump and his corporate backers.

Architect of Soviet Terror Loathed Himself for His Crimes. What About the Tories for Theirs?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 9:54pm in

Bhaskar Sankara’s book, The Socialist Manifesto, contains a very interesting quote in its chapter on the rise of Soviet communism and its transformation into the brutal, repressive, murderous state under Stalin. It’s from Felix Dzherzinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police after the Russian Revolution. Dzherzinsky became so disgusted with himself for all the tens of thousands of people he’d had arrested, tortured and murdered that he declared, ‘I have so much blood on my hands that I don’t deserve to live’. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent the Soviet state from continuing to kill and torture, so that the victims of Stalin’s purges amount to over 30 million.

When can we expect similar remorse from the Tories? Their system of welfare reform, work capability tests and benefit sanctions have resulted in 130,000 deaths at least. When do we get to hear something like Dzherzinsky’s cry from Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and the other grotesques in the DWP? When will we hear expressions of sadness and regret for Maggie’s friendship with General Pinochet, a real Fascist, who also had tens of thousands rounded up, raped and tortured after the overthrow of the democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende? When are we going to hear Paul Staines, of Guido Fawkes, express contrition for his membership of a Libertarian Tory outfit, that made the head of a central American death squad their guest of honour at one of their annual dinners?

We aren’t. Not ever. Because the Tory party will not, not even personally, feel sorrow for its complicity in death and terror, not even in private.

It will just hide it, and carry on lying to people that it stands for freedom and humanity while continuing to support mass death.

 

Austerity and Prison Violence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/01/2020 - 11:37pm in

A week or so ago Mike put up a piece reporting and commenting on the death of a disabled man in prison. From what I remember, like many such instances the man’s own special needs had been ignored and he was actually in prison for a minor offence. At least, one that should not merit his murder. Mike connected this to the Tories’ ongoing campaign of mass murder against the disabled.

In fact, violence, including self-harm, has risen massive in British jails since the Tories launched their wretched austerity. Joe Sim has authored an entire chapter on it in Vickie Cooper’s and David Whyte’s The Violence of Austerity. Sim has his own particular view of the crisis. He considers that prison violence hasn’t itself been created by austerity. It’s always been there, and is part of society’s brutal maltreatment of the poor and marginalised. But it has been massively intensified by the Tories’ cuts.

The stats are horrifying. Between 2011 and 2016, sexual assaults almost doubled. In 2014-15 there were over 400 serious incidents requiring the intervention of the specialist National Tactical Response Group, In 2015 an average of 160 fires were started each month. Self-harm rose by 40 per cent in two years, so that in 2015, 32,313 incidents were recorded.

321 died in the year to June 2016, an increase of 30 per cent on the previous year. 105 of these were self-inflicted, a rise of 28 per cent. Deaths by natural causes rose by 26 per cent to 186. Between January 2010 and December 2016, 1637 prisoners died, 542 of which were self-inflicted.

In 2015-15 there were nearly 5000 assaults and acts of violence against the different groups of people working in prisons. These included 423 on prison officers below the rank of principal officer, 828 on nursing auxiliaries and assistants, 640 on nurses, 535 on care workers, and 423 on welfare and housing associate professionals.

Sim states that to many commentators, including the media, Prison Officers’ Association and mainstream politicians, the cause of this increased violence are the cuts to the prison budget. These amounted to £900 million between 2011 and 2015, or 24 per cent of its overall budget. The Prison Reform Trust said that it was

[n]o mystery that violence, self-harm and suicide rise when you overcrowd prisons, reduce staff by almost one third, cut time out of cell and purposeful activity. The backdrop is a more punitive climate, increased injustice and uncertainty which have sucked hope out of the system for prisoners and staff.

I’m not disputing that very many of those incarcerated are guilty of the most heinous offences, and fully deserve their incarceration and punishment. But it is very clear that austerity has resulted in a massive deterioration in conditions which fueling violence in prisons against staff and prisoners. There’s obviously a long and complicated debate about the purposes of prison – to punish, reform, or even both – but it is clear that neither staff nor prisoners deserve the maltreatment and violence the cuts have generated.

This isn’t reformative. It isn’t proper punishment. It is carnage.

But the Tories just love killing and death when it’s directed against the poor and powerless.

Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/12/2019 - 5:30pm in

Leaders currently in office rarely make an appearance before either the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court. International law remains affixed to the notion that heads-of-state are, at least for the duration of their time in office, safe from prosecution. Matters change once the time in office expires. Be that as it…

The post Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble appeared first on The AIM Network.

Armenian genocide resolution reaffirms the ‘g-word’ is a tool for US interests

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 01/12/2019 - 5:00am in

Max Parry Last month, the US House of Representatives voted in an overwhelming bipartisan majority to officially recognize the Armenian genocide more than a century after the atrocities were committed. The motion was a departure from decades of US government refusal because of its ‘realpolitik’ considerations of regional ally and fellow NATO member, the Republic …

Identity of Monster Behind Uighur Concentration Camps Revealed

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/11/2019 - 12:47am in

The I today has published a piece revealing the identity of the Han Chinese minister behind the concentration camps used to imprison and torture China’s Muslim minority, the Uighurs, simply for practising their own culture, language and religious identity.

The article by Jane Clinton, titled ‘Revealed: man behind Uighur camps’, runs

After bloody race riots rocked China’s far west in 20089, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.

Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or so Uighurs into detention camps.

Written in 2017, the documents were signed by Mr Zhu, as then head of the powerful Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region.

Mr Zhu joined the party in 1980 and moved up Xinjiang’s bureaucracy. By the 90s, he was so fluent in Uigher he corrected his own translators during meetings.

“If you didn’t see him, you’d never imagine he’s Han Chinese, he really spoke just like a Uighur, because he grew up with them,” said a Uighur businessman living in exile in Turkey, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation.

The Han are the majority Chinese population.

From what I understand, this is at heart all about the Chinese development of Xinjiang for its resources of coal and iron. This has led to massive Han Chinese immigration, which is resented by the indigenous Uighurs, as they fear they are becoming a minority in their own homeland. The concentration camps are part of a policy of forcibly suppressing Uighur national identity, including the use of their language and the practising of their religion, Islam. According to an article in the ‘Letter from…’ column in last fortnight’s Private Eye, even after release, Uighur former inmates are not free from surveillance and to pressure to abandon their national identity. Han Chinese spies may be billeted in their homes to make sure they don’t return to their old customs and identity. The policy’s similar to the way General Franco in Spain tried to stop the Basques speaking their own language, and the Soviet Union’s campaign to eradicate religion and religious practices.

By international law, Zhu Heilun and the Chinese government responsible for this policy are guilty of crimes against humanity, as I believe that attempts to suppress an ethnic group’s national identity is considered genocide.

Zhu is a monster, and his government deserves criticism and contempt for this policy.

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