Even Meghan Markle can’t make feudal privilege acceptable | Kenan Malik | Opinion | The Guardian

OpinionEven Meghan Markle can’t make feudal privilege acceptableKenan MalikThe excitement about a black princess simply underlines how anachronistic the royal family really isSun 20 May 2018 07.59 BST Last modified on Mon 21 May 2018 12.07 BST

In today’s celebrity culture Meghan Markle is the most authentic royal of them all. Photograph: Max Mumby/Getty ImagesSo, Britain has a black princess (or a “biracial” one, as the princess herself would have it). Along with anticipation of the dress and gossip about her extended family has come a debate about how much Meghan Markle will transform both the royal family and perceptions of blackness and Britishness. It’s a debate as dysfunctional as the Windsors themselves.According to the 2011 census, 2.3 million people in Britain are either married to, or living with, someone of a different ethnicity.

The excitement and, for some, apprehension at Harry doing the same is a reflection not of how much the monarchy is being modernised, but of how anachronistic it really is. Is anyone less enthusiastic about the royals than BBC presenter Simon McCoy? – videoIn today’s celebrity culture, Meghan may actually be the most authentic royal of them all.

In the past, the mystique of the royals derived from the distance between their lives and those of their subjects and from the secrecy with which they surrounded their affairs. Now, the royals capture the imagination for exactly the opposite reason:

they’ve become a soap opera in which their every sneeze is splashed across the gossip pages.

Welcome to Meghan’s world.

As for the belief that Meghan will break down barriers for black people and make minorities more accepted as truly British, that’s as anachronistic as the monarchy. Faced by an abusive skinhead or by a police officer about to stop and search me, my first thought has never been: “If only there was a black Windsor, then I might be accepted more.

”Nor can I work out why adding a few more black dukes and duchesses, or even kings and queens, should be a step forward. Equality does not mean making inherited privilege more “diverse”.

It requires us to get rid of the whole shebang.

Adding a splash of colour to a feudal relic is not my idea of social progress.• Kenan Malik is an Observer columnist

Source: Even Meghan Markle can’t make feudal privilege acceptable | Kenan Malik | Opinion | The Guardian

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Propornot 2 — Setting Up the Atlantic Council for Lawsuits

Propornot 2 — Setting Up the Atlantic Council for Lawsuits

OffGuardian

by George H. Elias, Donbass

Early in 2018, I pulled back the veil Propornot hid behind and disclosed the groups behind the smear site.  Propornot is a product of the Atlantic Council’s backers.  It is a symptom of the ongoing Information War.  People in the groups behind it are waging to destroy Press Freedom in the US by branding dissenting voices as objects of ridicule at best and enemies of the state at the worst. Below, you’ll see the results of yet another website scan, as well as circumstantial evidence showing the InterpreterMag and the Atlantic Council, are responsible for Propornot. The lawsuits are starting and because of the damage Propornot’s lists have done, will trickle down to the InterpreterMag staff,  the Atlantic Council, and their backers at some point.

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For those that don’t know, the Atlantic Council is brought to you by the Central and Eastern European Coalition (CEEC)

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Palestinians Warmly Welcome Gilberto Gil’s Cancellation of Tel Aviv Gig Following Israel’s Massacre in Gaza | BDS Movement

Palestinians Warmly Welcome Gilberto Gil’s Cancellation of Tel Aviv Gig Following Israel’s Massacre in GazaMay 21, 2018 / By Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) / Brazil

Palestinians warmly welcome news that Gilberto Gil, a legendary Brazilian musician and cultural hero, has cancelled his July 4 performance in Tel Aviv. His cancellation appears to be in response to Israel’s slaughter of over 100 civilians in Gaza over the past few weeks.Gilberto Gil.pngGilberto Gil (Photo Credit: Up Magazine)May 21, 2018, Occupied Palestine —  Palestinians have warmly received the news of Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil’s cancellation of his performance in Tel Aviv, scheduled for July 4, in response to what Palestinians and some international observers have termed as Israel’s “massacre” of over 100 civilians in Gaza over the past few weeks.Gil, who has won multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards and has served as minister of culture in Brazil, is widely regarded as among Latin America’s most prominent musicians.

In its attempt to suppress the overwhelmingly peaceful “Great Return March” by tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has implemented what Amnesty International describes as a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy. As a result, more than 100 Palestinian civilians have been killed since March 30 and more than 10,000 injured, many by live ammunition. Among those killed were at least 12 Palestinian children who have been slaughtered, including 8-month-old Laila Ghandour, who was asphyxiated by Israeli tear gas dropped on her family more than 1 kilometer away from the fence where Israeli snipers were positioned.

The march, launched on March 30, demands the right of return for Palestinian refugees, who make up the absolute majority in Gaza, and an end to Israel’s 11-year-old illegal blockade.While Amnesty International has called for a “military embargo” against Israel, the UN has called for an independent investigation into Israel’s “unlawful, calculated killings” in Gaza.

Gilberto Gil was twice a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN.In 2015, Gil, accompanied by another Brazilian music legend, Caetano Veloso, defied Palestinian and international appeals to refrain from performing in Tel Aviv. A few months later, Veloso announced that he would “never go back” to play Israel.

Hind Awwad for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a key member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, commented:We warmly welcome Gilberto Gil’s cancellation of his concert in Tel Aviv, the center of Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. We thank Gil’s fans in Brazil and across Latin America whose outrage over Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza and support for Palestinian human rights seem to have played a decisive role in his decision.

We consider Gil’s cancellation as a belated gesture of solidarity, almost 3 years after crossing our nonviolent picket line. We want Gil to know that we never held any grudge. And as our daily resistance shows, our hope never dies.Our Nakba, or catastrophe, began 70 years ago, and is ongoing. International artists should not wait for another Israeli massacre to realize the importance of not lending their names and art to a regime that is targeting our rights and our very existence every day.By cancelling this show, Gil is in the good company of many world-renowned artists who have refused to art-wash Israel’s regime of oppression, including Lorde, Lauryn Hill, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Faithless, Roger Waters, among many others

We sincerely hope that Gil will never perform in Israel until Palestinians enjoy freedom, justice, and equality.The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI at https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi and follow us on Twitter @PACBI

Source: Palestinians Warmly Welcome Gilberto Gil’s Cancellation of Tel Aviv Gig Following Israel’s Massacre in Gaza | BDS Movement

‘Sometimes dancing, sometimes furious’: a girl shot dead in Gaza | World news | The Guardian

‘Sometimes dancing, sometimes furious’: a girl shot dead in GazaGazaWesal Sheikh Khalil was an ordinary teenager confronting an extraordinary political situationOliver Holmes and Hazem Balousha in al-Bureij, GazaMon 21 May 2018 15.40 BST First published on Sat 19 May 2018 09.00 BST

Wesal Sheikh Khalil during a demonstration on the Gaza border, she was shot dead on Monday 14 May. Photograph: Sari JamalThe family of Wesal Sheikh Khalil say that in a matter of weeks the teenager experienced a complete transformation, from a hop-scotching child to an adolescent infuriated by injustice in Gaza.“You are cowards,” she screamed at her aunts when they refused to join protests at the border, where health officials say Israeli forces have killed more than 110 and shot thousands since demonstrations began in late March

.Her immediate family, impoverished even by the coastal enclave’s dire standards, had been unengaged in politics. Wesal and her 11-year-old brother were the only ones who trekked weekly to the perimeter, into the surging crowds and the black smoke of burning tyres. Their siblings tried to stop them, but they would sneak out.“She kept saying: ‘You have to go. You have to go,’” recalled one aunt, Ahlam, 30. “She was the most dedicated of all of us.”Wesal, 14, was shot dead on May 14, one of more than 60 people killed as Israeli snipers fired on protesters.

The teenager has left behind a family who are grieving, but who also feel purpose in their loss.“Now she is dead, I’m ready,” said another aunt, Anwar. “After what she did, we are not afraid.”

Wesal’s brother said she had been carrying wire cutters to break through the fence that day, and others say she ferried water bottles and stones to people at the front, metres from Israeli snipers.Unlike Wesal, most of those killed were men, and Gaza’s de facto ruler, Hamas, says 50 of the dead that day were its members.

The group, whose military wing is on a UK terrorism list, says its men joined other Palestinians to protest unarmed, although Israel accused them of several attacks on the fence involving explosives.But children in Gaza being shot is not unusual.

The United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, says more than 1,000 have been wounded since protests began, some resulting in amputations. Save the Children says its own study found 250 children have been shot with live ammunition.During Wesal’s life in al-Bureij refugee camp, her family spent their time focusing on the mundane struggle to get by. Her mother and six siblings lived together in single rooms, moving every few months when they were evicted for lapsed rent payments

.Reem Abu Irmana said her husband, from whom she is now divorced, had a mental illness and would mix cannabis with pain medication such as tramadol. She worked as a house cleaner, earning 50 shekels (£10) a day, but he would confiscate most of it.A suicide in Gaza Read moreWesal focused on her passions – playing outside in the streets and learning to read the Qur’an using an audio version downloaded on her mother’s phone. Reading was difficult, but she loved mathematics and, inspired by her favourite teacher, wanted to teach the subject in the future

.Drawing was another hobby, and her mother keeps a picture of a sketch her daughter made for her three weeks ago in a school notebook. It shows hearts, and a dedication in Arabic: “The love of my soul”.Recently, however, she started to stay indoors, said Abu Irmana. “Wesal lived a tough life: the absence of her father, all of us sleeping in one room.”She would flip-flop from joy and warmth to rages and fatalism. Wesal started to crave death. She told her mother that if she died, there would be more room for her siblings and they would not have to live cramped “like fish in a net”.

“She had nothing. Not like her friends. She was jealous. She was deeply depressed,” said Abu Irmana. “Sometimes dancing, sometimes furious. Once, she said she wanted to rip someone apart.” When her mother tried to comfort Wesal, she replied she would only rest when she was “with God”.Unicef says one in four children in Gaza needs psychosocial care.Gaza’s economy has collapsed under a decade of Israeli and Egyptian blockades.

Internal divisions between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority mean salaries and electricity supply have at times been cut from the coastal enclave.Unemployment hovers around 40% and debt is rampant. Border crossings trickle with people when they are open. Many have never left the strip, a piece of land similar in size to a large city.UN human rights chief rebukes Israel as Egypt opens Gaza crossing Read moreIsrael says it is forced to limit access to the territory for security reasons, although

Source: ‘Sometimes dancing, sometimes furious’: a girl shot dead in Gaza | World news | The Guardian

DAVID BALLARDA GOOD MAN AND A SURPORTER OF KEN LIVINGSTONE AND JEREMY CORBYN

David Ballard shared a post.6 hrs · Ken LivingstoneLike Page20 hrs · Statement from Ken Livingstone – please share widely ↓

“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.We live in dangerous times and there are many issues I wish to speak up on and contribute my experience from running London to, from the need for real action to tackle climate change, to opposing Trump’s war-mongering, to the need to end austerity and invest in our future here in Britain.I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor antisemitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so.I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.Under Labour’s new General Secretary I am sure there will be rapid action to expel anyone who genuinely has antisemitic views.I am loyal to the Labour party and to Jeremy Corbyn. However any further disciplinary action against me may drag on for months or even years, distracting attention from Jeremy’s policies. I am therefore, with great sadness, leaving the Labour Party.We desperately need an end to Tory rule, and a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and end austerity. I will continue to work to this end, and I thank all those who share this aim and who have supported me in my own political career.”LikeComment

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Selfish US Diktats,  Push Europe to Develop Ties With Russia, China & Iran

The Americans delivered yet another snub to their supposed European allies.

Source: Selfish US Diktats  Push Europe to Develop Ties With Russia, China & IranSelfish US Diktats Could Push Europe to Develop Ties With Russia, China & Iran

By Finian Cunningham

May 21, 2018 “Information Clearing HouseRussian President Vladimir Putin’s cordial reception for German leader Angela Merkel in Sochi last Friday made for a pleasant contrast to the boorish way that Washington is acting towards its European allies.

On a sun-lit day at the Black Sea resort, Putin greeted the German chancellor with smiles and a bouquet of roses. After discussions, the two leaders told reporters about the need for cooperation and dialogue to resolve various international issues, including the Ukraine crisis, conflict in Syria, and the Iran nuclear deal.

Three days before Merkel visited Sochi, the Americans delivered yet another snub to their supposed European allies. US envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker went to the Kiev-controlled side of the conflict zone in the eastern Donbass region, where he declared American military support for retaking the breakaway self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The envoy also said that President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis were “on the same page” concerning the Ukraine policy.

Volker’s hardline message was a revelation of Washington’s role in the four-year-old Ukraine conflict, which has seen the US-backed Kiev regime launch an offensive on the breakaway republics. The eastern areas declared independence following the illegal overthrow of the Ukraine government by US-backed factions in February 2014. The factions that came to power characteristically espouse anti-Russian sentiments and Neo-fascist politics, which the ethnic Russian people of Donbass repudiated.

Washington – which made its first delivery of lethal military equipment to Kiev forces last month – is thus standing in direct violation of the Minsk Peace Accords that were negotiated in 2015 under the so-called Normandy Format brokered by Russia, Germany and France.

In Sochi, Merkel and Putin restated the importance of abiding by the Minsk agreement.

Washington is thus audaciously snubbing the Minsk process and its European allies, in particular Germany and France.

Hours before Merkel arrived in Sochi, there was a surge in ceasefire violations along the contact line in Donbass, reportedly committed by the US-backed Kiev forces.

It seems certain that given the recent supply of US weaponry and the American envoy’s gung-ho rhetoric about retaking the breakaway republics, the Kiev forces were emboldened to send Merkel a message ahead of her meeting with Putin. The message being: to hell with Minsk and dialogue.

It also seems plausible that the Americans gave the Kiev regime a tacit green light to step up the violence to coincide with Merkel coming to Sochi. Merkel may be talking about dialogue and adhering to the Normandy Format with Russia, but in effect Washington is giving the orders for more aggression.

The upsurge in ceasefire violations is exactly what Moscow warned of if Washington proceeded with supply of Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Putin and Merkel also emphasized ongoing cooperation on the Nord Stream 2 project delivering natural gas to Europe via Germany. The $11 billion, 1,222km pipeline under the Baltic Sea is estimated to double the gas supply to Germany by 2019. It represents a major joint venture investment by Russia and Germany, as well as other European energy companies.

Another area of cooperation concerns the Iran nuclear accord. Merkel and Putin said Europe and Russia remain committed to the 2015 UN-ratified accord, despite the Trump administration’s abrupt withdrawal earlier this month.

Again, Washington has strained transatlantic relations on both counts. While Merkel was in Sochi, Washington reiterated threats that it would impose sanctions on Russia and Germany if they proceed with the Nord Stream 2 project. The US has justified invoking sanctions on “national security grounds” owing to alleged Russian meddling in its 2016 presidential elections, as well as due to the crisis in Ukraine, which Washington blames on Russian interference.

The Trump administration has also warned that European companies and banks could be liable for secondary sanctions if they continue to do business with Iran under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump’s tearing-up of the JCPOA comes with the US re-imposing sanctions on Iran which were supposed to have been cancelled through the earlier signing of the accord by the Obama administration. If Trump follows through with threats of secondary sanctions on European firms, it could cost the Europeans billions of dollars’ worth of investments and trade.

The intensifying disputes between the US and Europe reach back to several other broken understandings, including the Paris climate accord, which Trump ditched last year, as well as Washington playing hard ball over trade tariffs and financial contributions to NATO military spending.

What seems to be emerging is the US using high-handed tactics to unilaterally push European partners into accepting Washington’s strategic priorities. In particular, sanctions are being wielded by the Americans to coerce others into conforming with US economic interests.

The Nord Stream 2 project is a perfect example. The US wants to dislodge Russia as the gas supplier to the vast European energy market. But American gas would cost 20-30 percent more than Russian supplies. In order to warp market forces in its favor, the Americans are using sanctions under dubious pretexts. The upshot is the Europeans will pay more for energy supply, which will have widespread inflationary knock-on impacts.

For the Europeans, recent geopolitical developments represent a harsh learning curve. Following Washington’s policy has already cost the Europeans bitterly in terms of the Ukraine crisis and the US-led sanctions on Russia. The biggest loser in terms of exports and jobs is Europe.

That crisis has led a precarious decline in relations between Europe and Russia from the buildup of US-led NATO military forces. If a war were to break out, it would be Europe that would bear the brunt of catastrophe.

What seems clearer than ever is Washington’s arrogant disregard for European interests. Threatening sanctions on European businesses over legitimate participation in the Iran nuclear deal and jeopardizing regional security are just two examples of how little Washington actually cares about so-called allies.

Then when Europe’s strongest leader, Germany’s Merkel, makes a cordial visit to Russia, Washington blatantly delivers a slap to her pronouncements on cooperation and dialogue for finding peace in Ukraine, or on the future of European energy security from working with Moscow.

Europe is learning the hard way that it has much more to gain from developing amicable relations with Russia than from pursuing Washington’s self-serving policy of hostility.

That has long been the case, arguably. But what is making the case increasingly palpable and urgent is the way Washington is riding roughshod over Europeans, inflicting economic and material pain on their livelihoods. That harsh experience of Washington’s selfish diktats will inevitably drive Europe to asserting more independence and possibly seeking more normal relations with Russia, as well as China, Iran and others.

Some cynics in Western media pooh-poohed Putin’s bouquet of flowers to Merkel, snidely saying the Russian leader was condescending. How irrational. What’s wrong with showing a little human kindness and respect? American politicians seem to have no idea about that. Giving orders and cynicism is all they seem to know.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by “RT” –

 

Fake news instead of real criticism

Fake news instead of real criticism

OffGuardian

by Denis Churilov, Australia

There are so many real things Trump should be criticised for, yet the mainstream media keeps making up stuff, producing fake stories and misreporting news about him. What for? Isn’t there already enough real material for the media to destroy him without repeatedly making fools out of themselves?

The most recent case was last week, when major American news outlets (including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, as well as the Washington Post) reported that Trump called illegal immigrants “animals”, when in reality he was specifically referring to the members of MS-13, a criminal gang whose associates have been accused of beheading their victims.

Don’t they understand that, by fixating on minor things, taking remarks out of context, misreporting and blatantly making up stories, they only de-legitimise the anti-Trump movement?

Why do they have to lie?

***

Attempting to…

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