Lawlessness – part 2

Priti Patel

“What the Priti Patel scandal tells us about the dark operations of the UK’s powerful Israel lobby” by Jonathan Cook

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
The scandal surrounding Priti Patel, who was forced to resign as Britain’s international aid minister last week after secret meetings with Israeli officials during a “family holiday”, offers a small, opaque window on the UK’s powerful Israel lobby.

Ms Patel’s off-the-books meetings with 12 Israelis, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were organised by a British lobbyist in violation of government rules requiring careful documentation of official meetings. That is to prevent conflicts of interest and illicit lobbying by foreign powers.
= ===

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Above Ground is a Canadian NGO monitoring overseas activities of Canadian companies with federal government backing. The organization teamed up with Justica, a Brazil-based human rights watchdog, to author the report Swept Aside, focusing on the alleged abuses in Brazil.

Released Monday, the report said a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, headquartered in Toronto, has forced nearby residents at the Morro do Ouro mine near Paracuta off their land. Kinross owns Brazil-based Kinross Brasil Mineração, which operates the mine.

Before you give the Canadian government or the Canadian minining industry the benefit of the doubt, read Todd Gordon’s “Imperialist Canada” and Yves Engler’s “Canada In Africa – 300 Years Of Aid And Exploitation” a read.

From Mondoweiss:
President Donald Trump visiting the Western Wall. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“New Israeli train line with station named after Trump was built on stolen Palestinian land” by Allison Deger

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

I went to report from Bab al-Karamah for the few days it thrived prior to the Israeli military dismantling it and a group of teenagers from the village pulled my attention to the valley below. There, a team of construction workers were laboring on a tunnel for a high-speed rail line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Unlike the “village” we were standing in, the train line had permits from the Israeli government, but lacked permission from the Palestinian owners of the land who reside in Beit Iksa…

The villagers petitioned Israel’s high court to stop the construction on the grounds that the land was illegally taken from them, and lost…

Now, this train line is back in the news, but this time for an all-together different reason: a stop on the route will be named after Donald Trump, according to a statement made by Israel’s traffic minister yesterday, reported the Jerusalem Post. The station will be near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, notably in occupied East Jerusalem.

From “This Can’t Be Happening!”:
Removed President Manuel Zelaya, the incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez and Salvador Nasralla

“Poor, Abused Honduras; Groped Again” by John Grant

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Honduras is now embroiled in street protests following an election count that stinks like three-day old fish in the sun. President Juan Orlando Hernandez was running for a second term, despite an apparently un-amendable Constitutional provision that precludes a second term. Former sportscaster and TV game-show host Salvador Nasralla ran against Hernandez, who was favored to win. The Organization of American States says the election count was seriously flawed and it’s pushing for a new vote. Here’s how the count went: The day after the election, it was announced Nasralla led the vote count by five percentage points, which suggested a real upset. A third candidate for president conceded Nasralla was the winner. At that point, the election tribunal suddenly stopped communicating with the public. After a hiatus, the next communication was to declare Hernandez the winner by one-and-a-half percentage points. Immediately, the nation erupted in protests that led to fatalities. Knowing how important the United States is to Honduras, Nasralla flew to the US to consult with friends and the OAS. The OAS publicly called for a new election.

The Rex Tillerson State Department responded this way: “The United States notes that Honduras’ Supreme Election Tribunal has declared incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner.” The United States notes . . .    Such tentative language suggests the Trump administration can’t deny the smell of rotten fish in Honduras, so it’s being coy in its support for Hernandez’s spurious re-election count.

“US border cops told to stop copying people’s files just for the hell of it” by Shaun Nichols

An excerpt from the above-linked to article follows:

With device searches at American border crossings reaching an all-time high, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) this week tightened its rules for when agents can pull data from phones and computers.

The updated directive [PDF] amends the 2009 CBP border search guidelines to require that agents at least have “reasonable suspicion” shown before they can use external equipment to connect and copy the contents of devices they encounter at border crossings.

“Basic” searches, where agents simply peer into the contents of a device, including photos, texts, and contacts, can still be conducted at random without a warrant nor reasonable suspicion.

From Metro:
Protestors gathered at City Hall voicing their concerns about the Scarborough subway, which critics are already calling a white elephant. One of the protestors came dressed as one.

“Scarborough subway escapes scrutiny despite mistakes and missteps” by Matt Elliot

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Here’s the really unbelievable thing: despite the overwhelming legacy of incorrect information connected to the Scarborough Subway project, last week Toronto City Council voted 13-27 against a request from [Josh] Matlow to have the city’s auditor general conduct a value-for-money analysis comparing the subway with the LRT.

Entirely absurd.

Absurd because this council routinely demands volumes of information to justify smaller projects. Both the Bloor Street bike lanes and the ongoing King Street transit pilot are subject to a remarkable level of analysis. Every business affected must be consulted, every user counted, every potential cost considered.

To put things into perspective, the subway will cost at least 6,700 times more than the Bloor bike lanes and 2,200 times more than the King pilot. Scrutiny, apparently, does not scale with project budgets.

With billions on the line, the recklessness is breathtaking. It’s astounding that someone could look at the history of this project and think there’s no need for further analysis. After all the mistakes, changes and fundamental untruths, how could anyone think there isn’t more trouble ahead for the Scarborough subway?

The King pilot referred to is a pilot project – so far seen as successful but needing tweaks that have already been green-lighted – whereby a stretch of King St in downtown Toronto is closed off to regular car traffic to allow streetcars (a disaster in their own right in my view) and buses a clear run through that stretch (between Bathurst St and Jarvis St).

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