Thursday, 27 April 2017

Category » Liberty Wall

From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Syria’s ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ (Part One)
WHATEVER the reasons behind the armed conflict in Syria, there’s no doubt that the war between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his many ememies – in particular those associated with Islamic State – has become increasingly bloody. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without some form of atrocity being reported.

But is every atrocity being evenly investigated and reported to the same degree? And are all the innocent victims – in particular defenceless children – receiving the same attention? Or is there some perverse ‘hierarchy of suffering’ at work in Syria?

Robert Fisk is one man who appears to think that there is some form of ‘hierarchy of suffering’. Fisk is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent, based in Beirut. A veteran and highly eperienced reporter, Fisk has lived in the Arab world for more than 40 years, ‘covering Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions’
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The article reproduced below first appeared in The Independent of 17th April http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-suicide-attack-refugee-buses-trump-only-cares-sunni-children-a7687066.html However, Nations without States has taken the decision to to reproduce it in two sections – as it’s felt that this is the best way to stimulate debate concerning the situation in Syria.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Robert Fisk, The Independent or Nations without States.

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If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children?

US President Trump doesn’t seem to care when some Syrian children are killed. Nearly 100 children were recently killed but they don’t count as their parents supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Robert Fisk (right) seems to believe that there’s some form of a ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ in Syria. Is he correct?

Dozens of children were killed in Syria this weekend but where is the US president’s lament on how ‘beautiful’ they are, let alone action? Where are the denunciations by the EU and the UK? The West must react with equal outrage when it is Shias that are the victims of terrorism. Or do we just not care?


It was the Mother of all Hypocrisy. Some dead Syrian babies matter, I guess. Other dead Syrian babies don’t matter. One mass murder in Syria two weeks ago killed children and babies and stirred our leaders to righteous indignation. But the slaughter in Syria this weekend (1) killed even more children and babies – yet brought forth nothing but silence from those who claim to guard our moral values. Now why should this be?

When a gas attack in Syria killed more than 70 civilians on 4 April, including babies and children, Donald Trump ordered a missile attack on Syria. America applauded. So did its media. So did much of the world. Trump called Bashar al-Assad “evil” and “an animal”. The EU condemned the Syrian regime. Downing Street called the gas attack “barbaric”. Almost every western leader demanded that Assad should be overthrown.

Yet after this weekend’s suicide bombing of a convoy of civilian refugees outside Aleppo killed 126 Syrians, more than 80 of them children, the White House said nothing. Even though the death toll was far greater, Trump didn’t even Tweet his grief. The US navy launched not even a symbolic bullet towards Syria. The EU went all coy and refused to say a single word. All talk of “barbarism” from Downing Street was smothered.

Do they feel no sense of shame? What callousness. What disgrace. How outrageous that our compassion should dry up the moment we realised that this latest massacre of the innocents wasn’t quite worth the same amount of tears and fury that the early massacre had produced. It fact it wasn’t worth a single tear. For the 126 Syrians – almost all of them civilians – who have just been killed outside Aleppo, were Shia Muslims being evacuated from two government-held (ie Bashar-held) villages in the north of Syria. And their killer was obviously from al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) or one of the Sunni “rebel” groups we in the West have armed – or quite possibly from Isis itself – and thus didn’t qualify for our sorrow.

The UN, clip-clopping on to the stage-boards as usual, did speak out. The latest attack was “a new horror”. And Pope Francis called it “ignoble” and prayed for “beloved and martyred Syria”. And having been brought up by a pretty anti-Catholic dad, I said what I often say when I think the Pontiff has got it right, especially Francis: Good old Pope! Why, even the virtually non-existent anti-Assad “Free Syrian Army” condemned the attack as “terrorist”.

But that was it. And I recalled all those maudlin stories about how Ivanka Trump, as a mother, had been especially moved (2) by the videotape from Khan Shaykoun, the site of the chemical attack on 4 April, and had urged her father to do something about it. And then it was Federica Mogherini, the EU’s ‘High Representative” for foreign affairs and security policy, who described the attack as “awful” – but insisted that she spoke “first of all as a mother”. Quite right, too. But what happened to all her maternal feelings – and those of Ivanka – when the pictures came in from northern Syria this weekend of exploded babies and children packaged up in black plastic bags? Silence.

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-bomb-attack-children-dead-civilians-swap-bashar-al-assad-a7686241.html

(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/ivanka-trump-donald-bomb-air-strikes-sir-kim-darroch-syria-chemical-attack-sarin-idlib-province-a7674951.html
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From The Liberty Wall – The St. George’s Committee – The St. George’s Committee Says Happy St. George’s Day!

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – Tyranny Of The Minority (Part 1)

FREEDOM LOVERS may recall that issue 1 of Free Speech took its cue from Mick Hume’s excellent and thought-provoking book Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? Therefore, it highlighted several areas (such as the internet, comedy and football) where the right to free speech (and assembly) is under threat from illiberal ‘liberals’ and ‘Reverse-Voltaires’.

Trigger Warning was published in June 2015. Now Hume has produced Revolting! an equally polemical, thought-provoking and timely book. The sleeve notes describe the theme of the book:

‘We live in strange days in the history of democracy. Every serious politician in the Western world supports it. Yet when the EU referendum and American election both delivered the ‘wrong’ result, elites challenged the merit of the people’s will, and some even tried to block it. Preferrimg unelected institutions, from technocrats to the courts, self-appointed higher minds questioned whether voters are fit to be trusted with their futures.

And yet the answer will never be to impose limitations. Popular democracy must offer better choices, rather than removing choice altogether. It’s time to defend democracy and fight for more of it, with no ifs, buts or backtracks’.

The article reproduced below is adapted from Revolting! It originally appeared in the Daily Mail of 25th February http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4258522/A-poisonous-conviction-taking-root-Left.html However, we’ve taken the decision to to reproduce it in four sections – as we feel this is the best way to stimulate debate and highlight and reinforce our belief that the Establishment itself is the real enemy of free speech and thought.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Mick Hume, the Daily Mail and Free Speech.

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Tyranny Of The Minority: How the most sinister trend of our age is a poisonous conviction taking root on the Left and among the elite that ordinary people are too stupid to be trusted with voting

Mick Hume (top right) is a journalist and author of Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? and Revolting! Revolting! looks at how the Establishment are undermining democracy and what they’re afraid of. Two recent events have shook the Establishment to the core – the UK Brexit vote and the election of US President Donald Trump (bottom right). Revolting! represents a short, sharp intervention in the crucial debate about the future of democracy.

Back in the 18th century, political reformer Henry Fox was advocating giving the vote to more people. But only, he insisted, to what he called ‘the better sort’. Not ‘the mob or the mere dregs of the people’. Heaven forbid!

Now, in the 21st century, such derogatory sentiments about ‘the people’ are dangerously back in fashion — ever since they dared vote for Brexit in Britain, and for Donald Trump in the United States.

Questions are being asked in high places about whether ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues.

As a result, democracy — the cornerstone of our way of life — is being undermined, its very survival put at risk. Its modern enemies are mustering from all corners — but most worryingly from the Left, the very area where its stoutest defenders should be.

As a long-standing person of the Left, I fear that democratic freedoms are now in danger of being abandoned as elitists in our midst attempt to restrict them.

Every serious politician and thinker declares his or her belief in democracy. Yet, in practice, they seek to separate power from the people. The mantra has become ‘I’m a democrat, of course, but …’

Over Brexit, this profoundly insidious attitude was exemplified by John Major, former Tory prime minister, who denied the referendum result was binding and declared: ‘The tyranny of the majority has never applied in a democracy.’

Some of us might naively have imagined that majority rule was the very essence of democracy. But not, it seems, when millions vote against the wishes of a tiny political elite.

It was, of course, George Orwell in his 1945 novel Animal Farm, who described how ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.’

Fast-forward to today and we find many Remainers similarly convinced that anyone who voted to leave the EU is too stupid to have the vote. The response was the same in America when voters failed to elect Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s victory, one U.S. professor declared, was ‘the dance of the dunces’, the result of ‘uneducated, low-information white people’ being given the vote. He added: ‘Democracy is supposed to enact the will of the people. But what if the people have no clue what they’re doing?’

The fury against the 17.4 million UK voters who dared to back Brexit — and the 62 million Americans who had the temerity to vote for Trump — brings frightening anti-democratic poisons bubbling to the surface of our societies.

The sheer bile that erupted from political and cultural elites in Britain after the Brexit vote revealed a deep-seated contempt for the people and for democracy. The Establishment reacted as if the ground had disappeared from beneath their feet. How could this have happened?

After all, the Remain campaign had marshalled every authority in the Western world to warn that a Leave vote would lead to economic ruination, a descent into barbarism, world war and, worse, falling house prices.

The people had been told to vote Remain by leaders of all Britain’s mainstream political parties, the governor of the Bank of England, the Chancellor of Germany, the then President of the U.S., and every celebrity from David Beckham to Johnny Rotten.

Yet a majority of voters actually disobeyed!

• To check out a review of Free Speech click here: http://nationalliberal.org/review-of-issue-1-of-free-speech

• Check out Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? Click here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/

• For an excellent review of Trigger Warning click here: https://countercultureuk.com/2015/07/26/trigger-warning/

• Check out Revolting! Click here:  https://www.amazon.com/Revolting-Establishment-Undermining-Democracy-Theyre/dp/0008220824/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490209013&sr=1-1&keywords=mick+hume

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From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists – It’s Our NHS!

NATIONAL LIBERAL TRADE UNIONISTS – along with the vast majority of the general public – gave their whole-hearted support to the It’s Our NHS national demonstration held in London at the start of this month.

Here tens of thousands marched in support of the National Health Service. They marched against Tory cuts – driven by their lunatic Austerity agenda – and the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

The NLTU knows all too well the problems faced by the NHS. But slashing budgets, awarding derisory pay increases and cutting jobs will not make the situation any better. Indeed, the reverse is true – with many sections of the NHS now virtually on their knees.

We are also concerned at the way private companies are – slowly but surely – taking over sections of the NHS. Here they feel that they can make a profit out of the illness and misery of others. This is totally wrong. The NHS should remain a public service and resource – and not a profit making machine.

The NLTU would like to step up the fight in support of the NHS by producing a publication researched, written and distributed by NLTU Health Service workers. Indeed, we would like to produce publications for various different trades and professions. This would also include those involved in co-operatives, who are self-employed or who own small businesses or who view themselves as entrepreneurs.

If you think that you fit the bill and have something to say get in touch by e-mailing nationalliberal@aol.com Do it today!


• FOR MORE information about the National Liberal Trade Unionists – NLTU – click here: http://nationalliberal.org/liberty-wall-3/national-liberal-trade-unionist

• CHECK OUT the NLTU Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277840098977231

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech Debate (1) – The Threat To The Free Press

FREE SPEECH: How Do We Protect It? aims to promote, protect and preserve civil and religious liberties for all. We’re interested in all aspects of freedom. However, we’re particularly interested in instances whereby elements of the State try to restrict freedom of speech and assembly.

However, Free Speech isn’t the only group that is interested in the concept of civil and religious liberties for all. To illustrate this we reproduce an article by barrister Robert Rinder (better known as ‘Judge Rinder’) which originally appeared in The Sun of 23rd December, 2016. It raises concerns over what many liberty-lovers regard as an attack on press freedom.

He views Section 40 of the Government’s proposed Crime and Courts Act as having the potential to cripple the media – something that would only be welcomed by those who believe in totalitarianism.

which show elements of the State trying to curtail free speech and so on. which show elements of the State trying to curtail free speech and so on.
It goes without saying that there are no official links between Judge Rinder, The Sun or Free Speech. We’ve simply reproduced this article to stimulate a debate on Section 40 which will be held on the Free Speech Facebook page:

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Section 40 law is a threat to the press – it’s there to protect privacy… not celebrities’ right to be hypocrites
Legal expert Judge Rinder says the law protects privacy… not celebrities’ right to be hypocrites

Barrister Robert Rinder believes that Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act has the potential to shackle the press. Debate his view on the Free Speech Facebook site.

MY grandfather was a Holocaust survivor – he came to England having miraculously survived the Nazi death camps that killed the rest of his family.

He knew the devastating consequences of living in a society where there is no freedom under the rule of law.
It was he who taught me to cherish our country’s greatest freedom — the ability to say what you want.
He would sometimes take us grandchildren to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, where we would listen to men on soap boxes spouting the most appalling anti-Semitic bile.
“You see,” he would say with pride and a sense of awe. “In this country, even this man can say whatever he wants and nobody can stop him.”
My grandfather wanted to remind us that freedom of expression is the fundamental ingredient for democracy, and all the rest is detail. It is the scaffolding around which every other freedom is based.
Like me, my grandfather would be troubled to hear about Section 40 and the threat it poses to the free press we are rightly proud of.
This section of the Crime and Courts Act – and the prospect of another round of the Leveson inquiry – could cripple any newspaper or website, including our struggling local press, that refuses to be police by a state-approved regulator under the Government’s Royal Charter.
If the press is to be free, the state has no role in regulating what is published. While signing up to a regulatory body is supposed to be voluntary, Section 40 sets out the enormous financial burdens that would be placed on publications that want to remain independent.
It could kill investigative journalism, including at local papers that have been instrumental in exposing numerous miscarriages of justice, because of the spectre of crippling legal costs.
This is very worrying, not least because if you want to curtail something as important as the freedom of the press you should have a jolly good reason. The case simply has not been made.
But it is more important to consider this now because of the global context we live in. There are returns to dictatorships, efforts to restrict the press and politicians who want to silence uncomfortable facts.
There are also people who want to shut down freedom of expression on the basis that newspapers might say or write something that will hurt someone’s feelings. There is a pincer movement where this most vital of freedoms is under attack from all angles.
We need journalists to be fearless and hold power to account. Never has it been more vital. Instead, people point to the mistakes the press has made. Undoubtedly, there have been bad ones.
However, it is important to remember the effect the press has had, not just on holding power to account, but also on social change.
Look at the paedophile allegations against public figures. Without journalists fearlessly reporting on the alleged abuses, victims who stayed silent for decades would not have found their voice.
It is difficult to understand why new regulation is necessary. The worst things journalists have been accused of doing are already illegal, and they have been held to account.
Which brings me to privacy, that one thing rich and powerful campaigners such as Max Mosley — who has funded the new State-approved regulator Impress — care about the most.
Of course, people are entitled to their private life. There are safeguards in European Convention law (which, by the way, still applies despite Brexit), which protects your right to privacy. It doesn’t give a celebrity carte blanche to be a hypocrite.
If you are a politician who styles yourself as a model of family virtue but are having a secret affair, you have no right to expect it to remain secret.
The only way we will truly understand the value of press freedom is when it is gone. Only then will you know the full horror of what it means to live in a state where the government seeks to regulate, control and cajole the press, where scandals and abuses go unheard, and lies go unchallenged.
My grandfather knew what that meant. I really hope we never find out.
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From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Issue 4 Of Nation Out Now!

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