Rishi Sunak floats sanctions on young people for refusing national service

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https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/jun/20/rishi-sunak-floats-sanctions-on-young-people-for-refusing-national-service

PM suggests curbs on finance or driving licences for 18-year-olds who refuse service during challenging Question Time leaders’ special

Rishi Sunak has indicated that young people might face restrictions on access to finance or driving licences if they refuse to do national service, as he faced a TV quizzing from voters.

Asked during a BBC Question Time special what sanctions people could face for declining to take part in the Conservative policy of compulsory national service for all 18-year-olds, the prime minister pointed to “driving licences, or the access to finance, all sorts of other things”.

Questioned on whether this could mean denying young people bank cards, he replied: “There’s lot of different models around Europe.”

In his half-hour slot on the show, following Keir Starmer, Ed Davey and John Swinney, the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish National party leaders, Sunak was also repeatedly challenged on why the public should trust the Tories after 14 sometimes chaotic years in office.

He received shouts of “shame” after refusing to say he would keep Britain in the European convention on human rights.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/jun/20/rishi-sunak-floats-sanctions-on-young-people-for-refusing-national-service

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Tories rocked by sleaze as campaign director leaves over gambling scandal

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https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/tories-rocked-by-sleaze-as-campaign-director-leaves-over-gambling-scandal

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club in Cambridge, while on the General Election campaign trail, June 17, 2024

COLLAPSING Conservatives lost their campaign director today as the party was rocked by a fresh row over insider betting on the election date.

Tony Lee was forced to take leave of absence from the campaign as the suspension of his wife, Tory candidate Laura Saunders, was called for by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The Gambling Commission is reported to be looking into bets placed on the timing of the election. Another Tory candidate who worked in Downing Street, Craig Williams, has already apologised for wagering on a July election in the days before PM Rishi Sunak called the snap poll.

Ms Saunders is the Conservative standard-bearer in Bristol North-West and previously worked at Tory headquarters.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/tories-rocked-by-sleaze-as-campaign-director-leaves-over-gambling-scandal

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BRITAIN SPENDS £12,000 A MINUTE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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https://www.declassifieduk.org/britain-spends-12000-a-minute-on-nuclear-weapons/

Britain tested nuclear weapons in the Pacific in the 1950s. (Photo: Yui Mok / Alamy)

The lavish spending would continue under Labour.

Britain spends a larger portion of its military budget on nuclear weapons than any other state, a major report published today reveals.

Rishi Sunak’s government is putting 12 per cent of defence expenditure – equivalent to £12,000 every minute – towards the UK’s arsenal of at least 225 warheads.

Sunak increased spending on nuclear weapons last year by 17 per cent to £6.5 billion – a greater increase than any other nuclear power except the US. 

Over the last five years UK expenditure rose by a staggering 43 per cent.

The startling figures appear in new research by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a widely respected group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

ICAN calculates that Britain is the world’s fourth highest spender on nuclear weapons after the US, China and Russia.

Nuclear Starmer

The group’s report comes at a time when the Labour leadership is championing nuclear weapons. The party’s manifesto states: “Our commitment to the UK’s nuclear deterrent is absolute.”

This spending commitment is in stark contrast to Keir Starmer’s extreme caution when it comes to investing in public services. 

The party describes the “independent nuclear deterrent” as “the bedrock of Labour’s plan to keep Britain safe”.

However, it is far from independent. Regular flights from the US carry material that are essential ingredients of Britain’s Trident nuclear missile system.

A Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) between Britain and the US enshrines Whitehall’s reliance on the Pentagon for essential technology. 

The agreement, which is due to be renewed this year, is incorporated in US law. Yet it has no legal status in Britain and has never been the subject of a substantial debate or vote in parliament.

The Liberal Democrats’ policy is identical to those of the Conservatives and Labour, saying they will “maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent with four submarines providing continuous at-sea deterrence”. 

The Scottish National Party has a long record of being opposed to nuclear weapons, which it says are “wrong strategically, morally and financially.” 

It adds that it supports long-term investment in the Trident submarine base in Faslane as a conventional military base.

The Green party says it would “dismantle Britain’s entire Trident nuclear deterrent and remove all foreign nuclear weapons from UK soil.”

https://www.declassifieduk.org/britain-spends-12000-a-minute-on-nuclear-weapons/

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Israeli Politician Quotes Hitler to Argue for Resettlement of Gaza

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dizzy: It’s difficult to argue that they are not Fascists when they commit the very crimes created immediately after WWII to address Fascism, to ensure “never again” and quote Fascist Adolf Hitler. It’s difficult to see that supporting countries are not aiding and abetting and complicit in genocide and war crimes when such blatant calls for such crimes are and have been made.

Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Israeli far-right Zehout (identity) political party chairman Moshe Feiglin gives a joint press statement with Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu (unseen) in Ramat Gan, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on August 29, 2019. (Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

“In what kind of society can one openly advocate policies modeled on Hitler’s conduct? In a society that feels complete impunity due to America’s protection,” one foreign policy expert said.

Former Israeli Knesset member Moshe Feiglin quoted Adolf Hitler as he called for Israel to resettle the Gaza Strip and create a “Hebrew Gaza.”

Feiglin, who quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to found the right-wing Zehut Party and plans to challenge Likud in Israel’s next elections, made the comments during a panel discussion on Israel’s Channel 12 that was shared on social media on Sunday, as Middle East Eye reported.

“We are not guests in our country, this is our country, all of it…” Feiglin said, adding, “As Hitler said, ‘I cannot live if one Jew is left.’ We can’t live here if one ‘Islamo-Nazi’ remains in Gaza.”

Feiglin’s remarks earned widespread condemnation on social media.

“In what kind of society can one openly advocate policies modeled on Hitler’s conduct?” asked Trita Parsi, the executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “In a society that feels complete impunity due to America’s protection.”

Former Greek Finance Minister and leader of the pan-European leftist political party DiEM25 Yanis Varoufakis wrote that “the evidence of genocidal intentions is mounting” and asked, “When will the ICC [International Criminal Court] act?”

Israel has killed at least 37,337 people and injured 85,299 in its war on Gaza since October 7, when Hamas carried out a lethal attack against southern Israel, killing around 1,100 people and taking more than 240 hostage. Prior to the attack, Israel had maintained a 16-year blockade of the narrow enclave.

South Africa brought a case before the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, citing the vast destruction of its bombing campaign as well as statements made by high-level Israeli politicians, including Netanyahu, that portray all Gazans as complicit in the October 7 attacks. Several human rights experts and scholars have also concluded that Israel is committing genocide.

This is not the first time that Feiglin, who served in the Knesset from 2013 to 2015, has called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza.

“We need a different prime minister who is willing to stick his neck out to win. Zehut will provide, whenever elections happen, such a candidate,” he told supporters in January, according to Middle East Eye. “For us, the war in Gaza is not merely a defensive war. It’s a war of liberation, the liberation of the land from its occupiers.”

In an October 2023 interview with Al Jazeera, he also advocated for the “complete destruction of Gaza, before invading it… Destruction like Dresden and Hiroshima, without a nuclear weapon.”

Zehut’s 2019 platform included the cancellation of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, according to Haaretz.

“Don’t talk to me about international law, because there is not such a thing. You know, the minute you use the word ‘Palestinian,’ you stop saying the truth. Because there is no Palestinian nation, and they know it,” Feiglin said that same year.

Other currently governing Israeli politicians have also called for the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said in January that the Israeli government should “encourage the migration” of Palestinians out of Gaza.

Later the same month, Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich attended a right-wing conference calling for the “resettlement” of Gaza.

Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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Oxfam Joins Case Calling on High Court to Stop UK Arms Sales to Israel

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Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

A pro-Palestinian protester holds a sign during a national demonstration to mark the 76th anniversary of the Nakba on May 18, 2024 in London.
 (Photo: Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)

“As long as Israel is killing Palestinian civilians in apparent contravention of international law, the U.K. government has a responsibility to stop selling it arms.”

As government data showed the British government has approved more than 100 arms licenses for Israel since it began bombarding Gaza in October, the humanitarian group Oxfam on Thursday joined a legal case demanding the U.K. High Court intervene in the country’s continued weapons sales in the interest of protecting Palestinian civilians.

Oxfam said the court “has been presented with evidence that Israel is not complying with the legal obligations that apply during armed conflict.” Human rights experts have said for months that Israel is blocking crucial humanitarian aid and failing to take steps to protect civilians, as in its recent attacks on encampments in Rafah and at Nuseirat refugee camp, where at least 274 Palestinians were killed in the Israel Defense Forces’ operation to rescue four Israeli hostages.

Oxfam joined Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and U.K.-based Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) in calling on the High Court to order the Secretary of State for Business and Trade to suspend all licenses of weapons and military equipment for Israel, and to stop granting new licenses.

At a Royal Courts of Justice hearing on Thursday, Oxfam was granted permission to act as an intervener and provide a witness statement outlining the conditions the group has seen in Gaza since October.

“Gaza is fast becoming completely uninhabitable,” said Halima Begum, chief executive of Oxfam Great Britain. “More than 37,000 people have been killed and a further 84,000 have been wounded, the majority children. At least 500,000 Palestinians in Gaza are facing famine and children are dying of starvation. As long as Israel is killing Palestinian civilians in apparent contravention of international law, the U.K. government has a responsibility to stop selling it arms.”

Begum called on the U.K. to use “all the diplomatic leverage it has to push for an immediate and lasting cease-fire.”

Oxfam joined the legal case days after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution endorsing a U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday accused Hamas of holding up the cease-fire deal by proposing more amendments to the agreement, while Hamas said it had only proposed counter-revisions to changes made by Israeli officials.

Meanwhile, Israeli attacks continued in Rafah, Gaza City, and other parts of the enclave.

“Morally, the U.K. should not be fueling this onslaught by selling Israel more weapons,” said Begum. “It is vital that the bombardment of Gaza ends, so that Oxfam and our fellow humanitarian agencies can safely deliver life-saving aid to civilians on the scale that is so urgently required.”

The U.K. has licensed at least £489 million ($624 million) of military exports to Israel since 2015, and the country provides about 15% of the components of the F-35 stealth bomber aircraft being used by Israel in Gaza.

On Tuesday, after the government released new figures regarding U.K. arms sales to Israel, Begum said the British government is engaging in “a remarkable feat of intellectual compromise” as it claims to support peace efforts in Gaza “while facilitating the supply of even greater flows of weapons to one of the belligerents.”

“It is a comprehensive failure in the U.K.’s moral leadership and the values of humanity for which this country is still known on the global stage that the government has granted more than 100 new licenses for arms sales to Israel,” said Begum. “This has occurred in the unequivocal knowledge that tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian children and their parents are being killed by Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza.”

Tim Bierley, campaigner for Global Justice Now, noted that “it’s clear to most people that the U.K. must cut off the supply of arms” to Israel as it faces an International Criminal Court investigation into its actions in Gaza. A YouGov poll last month found 55% of Britons supported suspending arms sales to Israel for the duration of the fighting in Gaza, including 40% of Conservative voters and 74% of Labour Party supporters.

“Despite the breathtaking scale and brutality of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, the U.K. has given the green light to huge shipments of weapons to the country, including components for military aircraft and guns,” said Bierley. “The leaders of many countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain, have taken steps to [halt arms sales], but the British government has opted instead for complicity in war crimes. We must not accept this as normal.”

The High Court is scheduled to hold a judicial review hearing about a potential intervention in arms sales in October.

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingOxfam Joins Case Calling on High Court to Stop UK Arms Sales to Israel