Archive | January 26, 2016

Dutch Parliament Now Backs Illegally Bombing IS Targets in Syria*

Dutch Parliament Now Backs Illegally Bombing IS Targets in Syria*

A majority of MPs now support the involvement of Dutch armed forces in bombing IS targets in Syria after the ruling Labour party had a change of heart. The party’s defence spokesman Michiel Servaes said on Tuesday afternoon the PvdA now supports possible military intervention in Syria.

Dutch bombers are currently involved in missions over Iraq but the government has so far resisted calls for a direct role in Syria. Servaes told broadcaster Nos that the Labour party ‘sees opportunities to intensify efforts to combat IS’. This must be an ‘effective contribution’ to the well-being of the Syrian people, he said.

‘It is up to the cabinet to come up with a proposal.’

Ministers are now expected to reassess the situation and decide what official position the Netherlands will take at Friday’s cabinet meeting. Cross border The PvdA’s coalition partner, the right-wing Liberal VVD, has backed military intervention in Syria for some time. The party argues that restricting efforts to Iraq is artificial given that IS operates a cross-border campaign. Labour’s doubts have also partly been removed by the start of peace talks between Syrian president Assad and the moderate opposition parties on Friday, Servaes said.

However any Dutch contribution is likely to be short lived because the Netherlands is due to hand over its roll to Belgium in June, the NRC points out.


Related Topics:

Former Iraqi PM Slams the 60 nations in the U.S. –Led ‘anti’ ISIS Coalition*

U.S. Threatens to Use Force in Syria as ‘Western Coalition is Falling Apart’*

U.S. Senate to Declare “International Martial Law”*

Australian State Leaders Move to Cut Ties with the British ‘royalty’*

Australian State Leaders Move to Cut Ties with the British ‘royalty’*

Australian leaders say the nation shouldn’t wait for the end of Queen Elizabeth II‘s reign to become a republic.

Seven of Australia’s eight state and territory leaders have signed a declaration urging for a home-grown head of state to replace the monarch.

The only state leader not to sign the document, on the eve of Australia Day, was Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett.

He said he was also in favour of a republic, but didn’t believe that “the time was right.”

Others are much more articulate about their support, though. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said it would be “the ultimate act of respect” on the queen’s part if she oversaw the transfer.

“She could do it in the elegant and expert way in which she has handled her relationship as head of Australia. I mean if you think about it, what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for her to die? I would have thought that it’s much more respectful to have her supervise this transition,” he told the ABC.

The regional leaders are in tune with the country’s federal leadership. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a known supporter of the republic, pushing the cause in a failed 1999 referendum.

However, he has recently been somewhat less fierce about the issue.

“My own view…is that the next occasion for the republic referendum to come up is going to be after the end of the queen’s reign,” Turnbull said last year.

The republican and monarchist movements have stated their point, too.

Republican Movement Chairman Peter FitzSimons said that “all of Australia’s political leaders now support an Australian head of state.”

“Never before have the stars of the Southern Cross been so aligned in pointing to the dawn of a new republican age for Australia,” he said, referring to a constellation on the national flag.

Gabrielle Hendry, a spokeswoman for the Australian Monarchist League, told AFP “the system works” and provides Australia with “an impartial head of state.”

The U.K. crown’s power is regarded as mainly symbolic in Australia, with opinions divided over the issue. Some favour retaining Queen Elizabeth II, while others believe the monarchy is anachronistic and a colonial throwback.

Popular opinion on a republic is also divided. In 2014, a Fairfax-Nielsen poll showed that 51 % of 1,400 surveyed were in favour of the status quo, with 42% supporting the republic.


Related Topics:

Joint Statement on UN Declaration and the Doctrine Of Discovery

Australia: When Recognition Means the End for the Indigenous

Putting Australia under Raps*

Over 100,000 British Orphans were Sent Overseas as ‘child migrants’*

Now the Queen Can Go Back to Ruling Britain and 15 Other Nations*

The Five Eyes Silencing Snowden, Silencing Us*

What can be made of this Royal Conundrum?*

Keep it in the British Royal Family: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are Related*

Royal Babylon

An Innocent Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan Speaks Out*

An Innocent Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan Speaks Out*

By Jon Queally

“It’s not about me. It’s about every civilian who has been killed in Waziristan.”

Those are the words of Faheem Qureshi who was just a young boy in 2009 when a U.S. drone, on the orders of a newly-elected President Barack Obama, fired a missile that slammed into his uncle’s home in the Waziristan region of Pakistan where family and friends were gathered. Though others in the house were not, Qureshi was lucky to survive.

As the Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman reports Saturday:

“It took nearly 40 days for Qureshi to emerge from a series of hospitals, all of which he spent in darkness. Shrapnel had punctured his stomach. Lacerations covered much of his upper body. Doctors operated on the entire left side of his body, which had sustained burns, and used laser surgery to repair his right eye. They could not save his left.

“His family kept the worst from him while he recuperated. Two of Qureshi’s uncles, Mohammed Khalil and Mansoor Rehman, were dead. So was his 21-year-old cousin Aizazur Rehman Qureshi, who was preparing to leave the family’s North Waziristan home for work, also in the UAE. Fourteen of Qureshi’s cousins were left fatherless.

“Barely a teenager, Qureshi was suddenly an elder male within his family, tasked with providing for his mother, brothers and sisters. Once a promising student who wanted a career in chemistry, his priority would become scrounging a living. The family never had the money to repair the guest lounge.

“Obama, now in the twilight of his presidency, wants to be remembered as a peacemaker. In his own telling, as in his final state of the union address earlier this month, he is the man who denuclearized Iran peacefully, who opened Cuba and ended the last vestige of the cold war, who replaced the ‘dumb wars he campaigned against with the prudent, precise counter-terrorism of drone strikes.”

Now approximately 21-years-old (he doesn’t know his exact age), Qureshi has given his first interview with a western journalist in order to let the world know the damage the U.S. drone program has done to his life and those of others in the remote areas of Pakistan that have experienced the most aggressive attacks under the Obama presidency.

If there is a list of tyrants in the world, to me,” Qureshi told Ackerman through a translator, “Obama will be put on that list by his drone program.”

As Ackerman reports, Qureshi’s experience stands out not only because the attack which took one of his eyes and nearly killed him is believed to be first every ordered by President Obama, but also because it, like many others, killed and wounded many innocent people while missing its intended target:

“The available evidence suggests the strike was an error. Reporter Daniel Klaidman’s book about Obama’s drone strikes, Kill or Capture, claims that the first January 2009 strike had gone ‘terribly wrong,’ with the targeted Taliban member never having been on the premises. A leaked Pakistani government document records ‘9 civilians‘ being killed in a drone strike on 23 January 2009, an apparent reference to the one on Qureshi’s home; an unredacted version seen by the Guardian names his village and his dead uncle.

“There are so many people like me in Waziristan that I know of who were targeted and killed who had nothing to do with militancy or the Taliban,” Qureshi said,

“so many women who have been killed, children who have been killed, but there is still no answer to this. Forget about the answers, there is not even acknowledgement that we were killed.”

Qureshi acknowledged that sometimes drone strikes do, in fact, hit fighters but said the majority of people are like him – regular people with dreams and desires.

What we know of the U.S. is this is what they do to people like me,” he said.

“They uproot us, they kill us, they target us, without any reason. They turn our lives upside down. Of course the U.S. is hated in that part of the world, and it’s hated more because of what they’ve done to people like me.”

“I am the living example of what drones are,” said Qureshi who told Ackerman he wants “acknowledgement, apology and compensation” from the U.S. government for what they did to him and his family.

“I had all the hopes and potential and now I am doing nothing and don’t know what there is for me in the future.”


Related Topics:

Somali Man Takes Legal Action against US, Germany Over Father’s Drone Killing*

Ex-Drone Pilot ‘They don’t care who gets killed’*

Drone Pilots have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder*

U.S. Air Force Hires Private Companies to Fly Drones in War Zones*

U.K.-based Israeli-owned Drone Factory Faced Forced Shutdown*

Drone Operators Asked to Follow their Conscience*

USA Drone Base in North Africa*

Outsourcing the Killing Chain: Eleven Drone Contractors Revealed*

U.S. Drones Attack Syria’s Military, “Disguised as an Airstrike against ISIS”*

U.K. GPs to Gather Info on Sick Patients for the State*

U.K. GPs to Gather Info on Sick Patients for the State*

By Sofia Lind

Details around practices’ issuing of Med3 statements for patients are to be extracted by the Government in a move described by GP leaders as amounting to ’state snooping’, Pulse has learnt.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will extract information from GP records, including the number of Med3s or so-called ‘fit notes’ issued by each practice and the number of patients recorded as ‘unfit’ or ‘maybe fit’ for work.

As part of the programme beginning next month, GPs will have to inform patients of the extraction, but cannot withhold information unless their patient explicitly objects.

GP fit note programme has ‘failed to get people back into work’

The data will be published anonymously at CCG level, but DWP officials will have access to practice-level data – which they will not be able to pass on to other bodies.

GP experts criticised the decision to obtain practice-level rather than CCG-level data, and warned it could be used to create ‘league tables’ for practices and have a knock-on effect for other extraction programmes.

The ‘fit notes’ scheme allows GPs to refer patients who are in employment, but off sick to an occupational health service.

Under the extraction plans, the DWP said that ‘a small number of DWP analysts will have secure password access to the anonymous aggregated data at GP practice level.’

These data – which will be published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre from the spring – will include the duration of fit note, patient gender, type of health condition, their location and whether workplace adaptations were recommended.

The DWP said it will use the data to ‘help provide a better understanding of why people take sickness absence in different areas across the country, so we can make the service as effective as possible for businesses and employees’.

It told Pulse no practice-level information would be shared outside the department, with a spokesperson saying: ‘Only the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to access the data at GP practice level.’

GPs, as data controllers, will be required to tell patients in person, via notices in the practice and on the practice website of the impending extraction.

But GP leaders warned that the scheme is an invasion of privacy.

Family Doctor Association chair Dr Peter Swinyard said:

’I think that is state snooping. Although I am sure some civil servant thought it was a terrific idea somewhere, I am not entirely sure I agree. I don’t know if patients understand that when I write a fit note, some bureaucrat is going to be able to have a look at it.’

GP and data sharing campaigner Dr Neil Bhatia said he was ‘not sure why’ these practice-level data were required, ‘other than to compare practices, create league tables, name and shame’.

He also warned that the extraction could have ‘knock-on effects’ on other secondary use data extraction programmes, such as and the National Diabetes Audit, if it prompts more patients to log ‘type 1’ objections to data unrelated to direct care being extracted.

Questioning how useful these data would be, he said: ‘I think it would be extremely difficult to make sense of the information out of context of the consultation.’

The GPC was consulted about the plans.

Deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the DWP has

‘responded to the concerns that we raised, not least trying to reduce the workload pressures on GPs that this might create and producing a generic fair processing statement for practices to use’.

Why does the DWP want this data?

‘Fit notes’ form part of the Fit for Work scheme, under which GPs in England and Wales can refer employed patients that are likely to be off sick for four weeks or more to a free occupational health advice service helping them get back into work as quickly as possible. Employers can also refer employees to the service.

The Government’s evaluation of the scheme, rolled out just over a year ago, is still pending.

As reported by Pulse, GPs were unconvinced by the scheme before its launch, and also did not feel equipped for it.


Related Topics:

U.K. Ground Foot Soldiers, the Social Services to Run the NHS*

U.K. Doctors Want NHS Out of TTIP Now*

20,000 Doctors Protest in London*