Home Office defends decision for UK to halt migrant rescues

Department says helping vessels acts as ‘pull factor’ but rights groups say escaping war and famine is more likely motive

The Guardian, By Alan Travis, October 28

The Home Office has defended its decision to end British support for search-and-rescue operations for migrants in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean, after criticism that it marked [...]

United Kingdom ends Afgan combat operations

CBS/AP, October 26

London – Britain has ended combat operations in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, defense officials said Sunday.

U.K. troops have witnessed the lowering of the Union flag for the last time at the Camp Bastion complex in Helmand, which they shared with U.S. Marines, who also folded up operations in Afghanistan in [...]

The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Margaret Thatcher’s Sins

The Scots got sick and tired of Thatcherite policies imposed from London.

The American Prospect, By Robert Kuttner, September 23

Why on earth did the Scots, largely quiescent as part of Great Britain for three centuries, suddenly become the mouse that roared?

It wasn’t because they became besotted watching re-runs of Braveheart or Rob Roy, [...]

Scotland votes ‘No’ to Independence

BBC – How the ‘No’ side won the referendum

1. They were always the favorites 2. The Scottish feel British 3. The risk factor 4. They stemmed the “yes” surge 5. For richer, for poorer?

Details of these theories at the BBC link

Scotland Independent? Three men went into a burr…

Comments?

The Independent

Weekend Jukebox: Scotland

With the vote over independence coming up in Scotland next week…

Roy Williamson (Corries) wrote what may become the Scots anthem.

[...]

All Wet: Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister

h/t Steve H.

Guardian -The British government’s problems with missing files deepened on Wednesday when the Foreign Office claimed documents on the UK’s role in a CIA global abduction operation had been accidentally destroyed when they became soaked with water.

In a statement that human rights groups said smacked of a cover-up, the department maintained [...]

20 strong ‘powerful elite’ abused children for decades – whistleblower

RT, July 8

At least 20 former MPs, government ministers, judges and other prominent figures abused children for decades, claims a former child protection manager.

Whistleblower Peter McKelvie, whose allegations led initially to a 2012 police inquiry, told BBC Newsnight a “powerful elite” of pedophiles carried out “the worst form” of abuse.

RT: Claims [...]

UK military’s secret plan to train Syrian rebels to topple Bashar al-Assad

General Sir David Richards’ bid for 100,000-strong force had support from US heavyweights but was shelved as too risky

The Guardian, By Ewen MacAskill, July 4

The British military drew up a secret plan two years ago to train a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel force aimed at toppling president Bashar al-Assad.

The plan was the brainchild [...]

White House lawyers ‘unable to find’ critical Iraq letter from Tony Blair telling George Bush: ‘I’m with you whatever’

(The Independent) – A letter sent by Tony Blair to George Bush that is “critical” to the Iraq Inquiry has gone missing from official White House records, it has been reported.

The publication of secret correspondence between the UK and US administrations in the build-up to the Iraq War has become a major stumbling block [...]

Tony Benn dies aged 88

Former Labour politician and cabinet minister dies at the age of 88 at his home in west London, surrounded by family members

The Telegraph, By Peter Dominiczak & agencies, March 14

Tony Benn, the veteran Labour politician, has died at the age of 88.

The former cabinet minister, who served as an MP for more [...]

‘Why Have You Gone to Russia Three Times in Two Months?’—Heathrow Customs Agent Interrogates Snowden Lawyer

The Dissenter/Firedoglake

[.....]

Radack said she was “stone face cold” during the interrogation but afterward was shaking and in tears. “How did he know to bring up those names?”

Notably, Radack mentioned she was told she was on an “inhibited persons list.” Jennifer Robinson, an Australian human rights lawyer who has represented WikiLeaks, discovered she [...]

Cameron urges fracking opponents to ‘get on board’

BBC – Councils that back fracking will get to keep more money in tax revenue, David Cameron has said as he urged opponents to “get on board”.

The prime minister said English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes – rather than the usual 50%.In a visit to a [...]

Northern Ireland talks collapse as main unionist parties reject Haass proposals

David Ford, the Alliance leader, accuses main loyalist parties of pandering to extreme elements of their constituencies.

The Guardian, By Henry McDonald, December 31

Marathon all-night negotiations in Belfast to resolve outstanding peace process issues in Northern Ireland have broken up without reaching an agreement.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said it was disappointing, but [...]

Alan Turing, British code-breaker castrated for homosexuality, receives pardon

CNN, By Jethro Mullen, December 24

Alan Turing, a British code-breaker during World War II who was later subjected to chemical castration for homosexual activity, has received a royal pardon nearly 60 years after he committed suicide.

Turing was best known for developing the Bombe, a code-breaking machine that deciphered messages encoded by German machines. [...]

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