Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hamas Thugs Betray Palestine

As Israel defends itself against Islamic Hamas thugs pounding its population with relentless rocket attacks, an increasingly anti-Jewish western media continues misguided and naive support for Iran-backed fanatics. 

It's difficult to use the age old excuse - blame it all on the Jews - when the town of Beersheba was hit again today as Hamas Grad-type rockets continue to be fired deep into Israel, the latest through the roof of an empty school (pictured).

The western media sat back for years with hardly a report, while a bunch of fanatics took Gaza's population hostage and lobbed Iran-supplied missiles into Israeli schools and hospitals as part of its vowed jihad to annihilate the state of Israel.

The repeated and escalating cross-border attacks from a deranged group of Islamic extremists, egged on by Iran in its war by proxy, showed no mercy, no morals and no decency.

On Christmas Day, with Hamas rocket attacks reigning down on Israel, Channel 4 with all the political nouce of a dead slug tried a cheap ratings stunt with an outrageous and deeply insulting, broadcast from the Jew-hating tyrannical Iran president, dressed up as an 'alternative Christmas message', immediately condemned by the UK foreign office.

Firing missiles from Gaza into Israel is a stupid act of folly which betrays the Palestinian cause. Underestimating the Israeli response is foolhardy. For months Israel was planning a swift, precision response. Identifying the tunnels on the Egyptian border, identifying Hamas military strongholds, biding its time until it was time to swiftly strike back: Maher-shalal-hash-baz

Now Damascus-based Hamas has the audacity to blame Israel for the Palestinian casualties in this week's air-strikes, finding some support in the West's pseudo-liberal media. But there's one big difference between the two air-strikes. Hamas is deliberately targeting kindergartens, schools and civilians because in its warped value system, any Jew is a legitimate target. Israel is trying to target cowardly Hamas, as it launches rockets hidden among the civilian population.

No UK western media has raised the central issues of funding and training for the Hamas attacks. Hamas receives $20 million annually from Iran, along with a $50 million bonus after staging the coup against the opposition Fatah organization, turning it into a full-fledged terrorist state. 

More than 900 Hamas operatives have received training in tactical warfare, sniper tactics and bomb-making from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Since Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Palestinian terrorists, in particular Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have fired more than 6,000 mortars and rockets into Israel, killing 10 civilians, wounding 780 and traumatising thousands including children in Israeli towns like Sderot, close to the border with Gaza.

Israel's intelligence services have been reporting for months that Hamas has used the ceasefire agreement to strengthen its military arsenal against Israel as it tries to whip up fanatical support in more moderate Arab states. 

Back in July, then-presidential candidate Obama, after visiting Sderot, stated that if someone "was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing." 

How times change. Hamas and Iran are exploiting that US presidential transition. Despite Obama's pre-election hype to stand by Israel, the future relationship with Israel and indeed the future of Gaza is uncertain. Israel is not prepared to take a chance. No Drama Obama will only say he's "monitoring the situation". 

That's not good enough. Obama will be president officially in a few weeks time and what he says now would influence events. Hamas stepped up its violence, knowing full well that the presidential election would test Obama's pro-Israeli credentials. 

Here the UK's state broadcaster, the BBC, continues its torrent of anti-Israeli propaganda,  refusing to give an unbiased picture of events in both Gaza and Israel. Only today has the BBC reported the devastating effects of Hamas rocket attacks. Few accounts contained any detailed reports of Jewish casualties, just deaths by a few numbers. 

Meanwhile Channel 4 News is becoming increasingly anti-Jewish in its reporting (as shown here in recent unnecessary Jewish references in a report on the $50b Madoff Wall Street scam) and glued to the Arabic news service, Al Jazeera.

Israel has stated publicly that it would strike Hamas with an "iron fist" but would treat Gaza civilians with "kid gloves" in its humanitarian effort. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of that statement. 

The UK government, with a Jewish foreign secretary in a sensible David Miliband, is ideally placed to act as a voice of reason and sanity. While urging Israel to do everything possible to minimise civilian casualties, it should stand firm by placing the blame squarely on Hamas. But the pressure is growing to move away from that current US stand, towards the more pro-Arab EU view.

The acronym 'Hamas' so beloved by the western media bellies the true meaning - the Islamic Resistance Movement, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel's critics in the West wilfully refuse to acknowledge that Israel's current military operation constitutes an internationally recognised legitimate act of self-defence against Iranian-backed terrorism. 

The reality is that the vast majority of Palestinians want a peaceful settlement as the only way out of poverty and desolation. A two-state solution is still there if they could only take it. But now there are two Palestines: the West Bank governed by the more moderate Palestinian Authority (PLO-Fatah) and the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas.

As Hamas is determined to win a one-state solution bought at the price of a second Holocaust, with tacit approval of the EU, expect Jews to be made the villains of the piece once again.  

Israel's UK ambassador today rightly condemned Hamas for betraying the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause. The Orange Party is proud to support the state of Israel and all who struggle for a genuine peace in the Middle East.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

C4's Jew-Hating Fascist For Xmas Message

Channel 4 is sinking to appalling depths to court controversy and boost flagging ratings, by airing a Jew-hating, gay-bashing tyrant, in a deeply offensive TV message during a Christian celebration. 

The insulting broadcast by Iran's president, as part of C4's 'alternative' Christmas message, is a disgraceful act of wilful publicity, justified by the usual pseudo-liberal clap-trap. 

Even the government has condemned the broadcast, with the foreign office saying that allowing Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to deliver Channel 4's 'Alternative Christmas Message' will cause international offence. Too right.

This is a dangerous fanatic with well-documented anti-semitic and anti-gay views, a despotic ruler using 'religion' as an excuse for a fascist regime preaching hatred and bigotry.

Reminiscent of a student union debate, which deliberately uses controversial speakers to drum up interest, Channel 4 justified its broadcast with a pathetic claim that it was offering viewers an "alternative world view". 

But Channel 4 is a state-owned and publicly-subsidised broadcaster and the prats at the top should realise with that comes responsibility, taste and decency. At best it's a deeply embarrassing, national disgrace.

The Orange Party doesn't give a fig what this fascist bastard may say during his broadcast. Allowing an outrageous tyrant airtime is an insult to Jews around the world and condones the actions of a regime which oppresses homosexuals  and treats women as second class citizens. 

Who next Robert Mugabee? Why not go the whole hog and just re-run some of Hitler's anti-semitic speeches, dressed up as the 'alternative' voice? 

Labour MP Louise Ellman, of the Labour Jewish Movement, said: "I condemn Channel 4's decision to give an unchallenged platform to a dangerous fanatic who denies the holocaust while preparing for another, and claims homosexuality does not exist while his regime hangs gay young men from cranes in the street."

Channel 4 has deliberately and wilfully given a platform to a despot who has made no secret of of the fact he wants to wipe Israel from the face of the earth and persecute Christians.

More importantly, it is disturbing that a national broadcaster would stoop so low to try to shock its pitiful audience to grab headlines and boost ratings.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell  called on the broadcaster to "pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world's most bloody tyrants".

Squirming with the usual and predictable twisted pseudo-liberal garbage, C4's head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, said: "As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential ... As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view."

The Orange Party will watch with interest which advertisers have chosen to buy advertising slots around this appalling broadcast - but will treat the actual broadcast with the contempt it deserves - and give this fascist despot a very wide berth. 


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Brown's 'Sellit & Soon' New Year Sale

Brown is planning his own New Year sale of the last few state assets at a knock-down price, in his bid to claw back cash and head off fears of vote-losing tax increases. 

Ministers are quietly forming a new firm of Sellit and Soon, as they make the dash for cash from the attic. 

Today's ComRes opinion poll for The Independent explodes the myth of a Brown bounce as no more than a blip. In a month, the Tories are up two points at 39 per cent against Labour at 34. But if the Conservatives pledged lower public spending with no tax rises, that rose to a staggering 49 per cent for Tories, 32 per cent for Labour. And that would lead to a Tory landslide.

Time and again New Labour politicians and supporters, obsessed with clinging on to power for as long as they can, quash any talk of an early election. But political strategists suggest time is running out for Brown and the gang. 

Brown's promise to spend more on public services, then raise taxes is hardly an election winner. Pulling troops out of Iraq and riding on the back of Obama's visit won't be enough to sway public opinion. To survive with any chance of winning, the government needs to pull an economic rabbit out of the hat.

That economic miracle swindle was laid bare last week when the sale of the government's remaining share in the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) to an American company was sneaked out without telling parliament, in the hope it would get buried, as MPs broke up for the long Christmas hols. 

But equally disturbing was that the AWE share went for an undisclosed sum. No figure has been made public for the sale of this public asset. 

With the sale of the AWE share, the Orange Party warned this was the thin end of the wedge and other state assets would follow. With the High Street slashing prices up to 60%, in times of economic hardship, these public owned assets too are set be sold off at a bargain price. 

What has become clear is that ministers have formed a Sellit & Soon firm (the Operational Efficiency Programme) as part of the sell-off strategy, with details buried in the Pre-Budget Report (p119). Few choice plums remain. There really isn't much left to sell-off in the recession fire sale. 

The Met Office is a prime target and ripe for a sell-off, followed closely by the Forestry Commission, the Westminster Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, the Covent Garden Market Authority, the Royal Mint, the Tote, buildings owned by British Waterways, British Nuclear Fuel's stake in uranium enrichment company Urenco and the Oil & Pipeline Agency. 

Come the New Year, the Tories will finally get their economic act together with a much simpler and less confusing economic message strategy, with less attacks on Brown's reckless borrowing plans and higher taxes, more on driving home a Tory manifesto promise of a real alternative. 

As the government flounders over the economy, just putting the blame on global this and that has worn thin, Brown as saviour of the world is a joke, which only Mandleson seems to see the funny side. 

Setting up the new firm of Sellit & Soon is the only option, as the government tries in vain to convince voters, struggles to make ends meet and avoid the election suicide note of tax increases. 


Monday, December 22, 2008

Quick Now Knackered Of The Yard

The home secretary's favourite copper has been forced to make an unprecedented apology to the Tories, in a wake up call for the Met and the political police. Now the only question is how quick will Quick go?

A direct police attack on Her Majesty's Opposition had blown out of the water any pretence the Met is not a highly politicised arm of the current government.

Now assistant commissioner, Bob Quick, head of the counter-terror squad, has issued an "unreserved" apology to the Conservative Party after his outburst accusing the Tories of behaving in a "corrupt" way and mobilising the press against the Met.

Publicly the Tories have drawn a line under it, privately they must be seething.

Quick was clearly peeved with Mail on Sunday hacks sniffing around his wife's luxury car hire firm run from the family home but too quick to lay the blame. Absurd and churlish comments were to be expected. But to accuse Her Majesty's Opposition of behaving in a "corrupt" way was at best naive, at worse an inexcusable affront to democracy.

Only a fool would directly accuse the Tories of being in some way behind the Mail on Sunday expose without a shred of evidence. Mail journalists don't need Tory politicians to do their dirty work.

But the Conservatives are not a two bit political party that police can trample all over. They are officially Her Majesty's Opposition and, as such, parliament affords them rights and privileges.

Slowly the Met is having to wake up to the fact that the official Opposition has just as an important right and part to play in democracy as the government of the day.

But that of course is what is getting up the nose of the government and its pals at the Yard, which is no stranger to corruption claims against it. Accusing someone else of being corrupt is a bit rich coming from the Met.

To make matters worse, Quick's absurd and damaging outburst re-ignited the whole Damian Green affair which all key players now hoped will just go away. It called into question the political bias of Quick, a keen supporter of the home secretary's 42 day detention, who is also heading an inquiry into the alleged home office leaks which sparked off the Greengate scandal.

No politician wants Green's part in that affair to drag on for much longer. There's too much at stake for the government's credibility. Many are expecting any allegations against the MP to be dropped, leaving parliament and MPs to deal with the vexed questions of the unwarranted police raid on the sanctity of parliament.

The government's cosy relationship with the Met is so over the top it's almost laughable. But times when police could pander to politicians are changing and the Met should get used to it.

Mayor Johnson fired a warning shot over the bows, when Blair's poodle and namesake Sir Ian Blair was forced to quit as commissioner because he'd lost the confidence of the Conservative London mayor.

Top jobs in the Met will no longer be handed out as rewards and favours to faithful supporters who suck up to government and to keep them in line. The 'cash for peerages' scandal showed where that corruption can lead.

That, commander Quick, was corruption. What is starting to happen now is called democracy.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Disgraceful Sneaky Aldermaston Sell-Off

Arrogant government ministers have put two fingers up to parliament, slipping out the sneaky fire sale of the UK's nuclear bomb factory as a crafty way of boosting treasury coffers and bypassing MPs. 

Opposition MPs are furious over the secret sale which makes a mockery of any claim the UK has an 'independent' nuclear deterrent.

The government is tight-lipped over how much it got for its stake in the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), as news of the sale slipped out just before parliament broke up for the long Christmas hols.

The sale to a US firm was announced in a single one-paragraph statement posted here on the firm's website:

"BNFL is delighted to confirm that it has today agreed the sale of its one third shareholding in AWE Management Limited to the Jacobs Engineering Group".

This underhand behaviour from the government is a disgrace. The fact that something of such strategic importance could happen without a by-your-leave to parliament beggars belief. 

Opposition MPs are furious, accusing the government of burying the sale. And there's anger the UK would no longer control the site where controversial Trident nuclear warheads are produced, maintained and due to be replaced.

The sale means we no longer have any stake in the production of our own Trident nuclear warheads. The other two thirds of AWE were already in private hands, split between American defence giant, Lockheed Martin and the UK firm, Serco.

There are concerns too that this was a knock-down sale at below the market price and is the thin end of the wedge, as the government steams ahead with sell-off sales to claw-back some cash in the face of a recession borrowing binge.

Other state assets ear-marked for quickie sales include Ordnance Survey, Met Office  and Forestry Commission. 

As with the planned part-privatisation of Royal Mail, these sales have the paw prints of deputy prime minister, Mandleson, all over them.

And, like the sale of Royal Mail, the whole issue of back-door privatisation and indeed the hugely expensive and morally corrupt Trident missile programme are dear to the hearts of the Orange Party and many backbench Labour MPs and trade unions.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brown's Iraq Gibberish Dupes Public

Brown came up with more gibberish today as he finally got round to telling parliament what he had already announced on his carefully staged whistle-stop tour of Iraq to capture the headlines. Much of the media toed the Downing Street line with troop withdrawals spun as Brown's decision. The Orange Party doubts the public are so gullible.

Brown threw out Tory and LibDem calls for an immediate Iraq inquiry as he simply repeated the timetable for withdrawal to MPs, now old news as Brown has already declared everything but 'mission accomplished' to the BBC. 

Does the government really believe we are a bunch of fools to be taken in by all the lies, spin and deceit? 

The troop withdrawal has been spun as a decision of Brown's own making, when it is nothing of the sort. 

The Orange Party has repeatedly pointed out that the UN mandate for foreign troop occupation in Iraq expires at the end of this month. The withdrawal timetable is being fixed by Washington and Baghdad. 

It was the Iraqi council of ministers who only agreed a new resolution on Tuesday to allow UK operational troops to stay until the end of July.

To say a few hundred troops will remain in Iraq for "training and mentoring duties" is deceitful. Operational forces will be stationed at and around the historical base in southern Iraq to guard the Gulf oil supply routes. 

The BBC was alone in leading with Brown's troop announcement on yesterday's evening news. Both ITV and C4 news saw through the sham and rightly chose the Woolies closure tied in with unemployment. 

Not being straight with the public over Iraq is clearly an inherited genetic defect for Brown and his New Labour heirs to Blair. 

Any reputation Brown had as another pretty straight sort of guy was thrown out of the window last year, with an act of blatant political opportunism, popping up in Basra to announce a troop reduction that never was, followed by a snap election that never was, all to wrong-foot the Tories. 

Yesterday and today to MPs, Brown repeated the deceit that troop withdrawal was possible because of the "success of the UK's mission in improving security to Iraq, training Iraqi troops and police, reducing violence around Basra and helping reconstruction - tasks which would be completed by the end of May. People can be proud that Iraq is a far better place than it was five years ago."

Those words will come back to haunt him. And paying tribute to the 178 troop deaths is an insult to the huge numbers of troops wounded and the hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.

Holed up at a heavily defended base at Basra airport forced to watch on while US forces cleared up the mess is hardly a triumph. But the mission in Iraq must end in triumph, regardless of the truth. So we have to sit back and suffer more spin. 

The Iraq war was Blair's criminal legacy. But Brown was there and helped rubber-stamp that illegal and immoral war. He should share that blame and responsibility. 

Brown has repeatedly used the get-out clause, citing that the time for an inquiry will come after the end of 'active military operations'. But even then any remit would be tightly drawn up by the government. 

Parliament approved the war based on the lie of WMDs, not regime change. No UK parliament would have given approval to invade another sovereign state, simply to topple a dictator. 

The illegality of the war would be the only question for an inquiry to address but that would re-open a whole can of worms and put into sharp focus the bloody, mad hopeless war in Afghanistan, now escalating on Brown's watch as he too develops Blair's 'taste for war'. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brown Spins Over Iraq To Duck The Flak

When the going gets tough, the tough get going - in Brown's case to Iraq for more photo-ops for the Downing Street Christmas album, a chance to grab a few headlines and escape some hard questions in the final commons punch-up before the hols.

In a parting shot and final insult to parliament, the saviour of the world chose to announce troop withdrawals on another whistle-stop tour of Baghdad and Basra. 

The announcement has been widely expected and predicted in the run up to the general election. For months the Orange Party has been pointing out that the UN mandate for foreign occupation ends in a few weeks time and the actual announcement left for political advantage. 

But it is a major announcement of the final pull-out nonetheless and that should have been made to parliament. 

So what else is happening today that made that quick trip to Iraq so important? 

Oh yes, harsh questions in the commons at PMQs. Unemployment close to 2 million and rising - the nightmare for this government hanging over its head, now at their highest since New Labour took over in 1997.

Many face a bleak Christmas as the recession (or BBC downturn) starts to bite. The TUC, is warning today that half a million people are likely to spend their second Christmas in a row on the dole because of a rise in long-term unemployment.

The sharp rise is much more than expected and that's using the government's own preferred method of fiddling the figures.

Unemployment is set to rise to over 3 million next year and into 2010 and there's no light at the end of the tunnel, according to a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, reported today by the Guardian.

So just what is the government doing about it? Planning to sell-off Royal Mail and put thousands more jobs at risk. 

Mandleson's plans for a sell-off dressed up as 'part-privatisation' will not go away especially among backbench Labour MPs, furious at the betrayal of a central plank of Labour Party policy and manifesto commitment. 

No matter how Mandy the Mailman tried to spin it, this is a backdoor sell-off with disastrous consequences for jobs. 

At the moment the outrage is coming from backbench Labour MPs. Soon it will filter up to some pay-roll MPs in lowly government positions and then to the cabinet, where former postie, Alan Johnson, won't get away with just a bemused smile. 

Questions would be asked in the House - if only Brown could be bothered to turn up. 

11am UPDATE: Labour MP Jim McGovern has resigned from the government in protest at Mandelson's Royal Mail part-privatisation plans. McGovern, PPS to business minister Pat McFadden, whose department would overseeing the changes said: "In his statement Pat McFadden said he welcomed an expression of interest from the Dutch postal company TNT, for me it simply beggars belief that we would employ the services of a company from abroad to tell the Royal Mail in this country where they are going wrong."


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sats Whitewash Lets Balls Off Hook

Ministers have been let off the hook over the Sats shambles with a widely-leaked whitewash which laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the government quangos and contractor. Nowhere did the report answer a simple question - what was Ed Balls doing while the Sats fiasco was falling around his ears? 

As expected and highlighted by the Orange Party here, the Sutherland report, out today, blamed the exam watchdog QCA and private contractor ETS Europe, under a tight remit drawn up by the school's secretary, Ed Balls, craftily crafted to get him off the hook. 

As Balls apologised to schools and families for "all their inconvenience, stress and frustration", questions still need to be asked over how on earth ministers could sit back and let this all happen, when teachers and markers were shouting from the rooftops that something was amiss. 

The 178 page Sutherland report is full of strong criticism of government quangos. 

The QCA watchdog "failed its remit". Pupils, parents, schools and markers were "badly let down". The impact had been "massive". There had been a culture within the QCA and its National Assessment Agency (NAA) that "it'll be all right on the night". It has not delivered and there have been "massive failures."

And the report blames ETS Europe and its "insufficient" capacity to deliver the tests with a "lack of comprehensive planning and testing" of the systems used for the tests.

Not a word about the government. Setting up government quangos and then watching them implode at arms length is irresponsible. But ministers have found a neat device to hide behind, saying they know nothing and it's all down to their own complacent quangos. 

Teachers were telling the secretary of state there were problems long before the marking stage. 

The Tories want answers: Ken Boston has pointed out that ministers were closely involved at every stage of the process. They cannot escape their role in the fiasco by claiming, as Ed Balls has done, that they were at 'arms length' from this disaster."

The LibDems also called for ministers to accept responsibility: "Ministers themselves should also accept some blame for their complacent attitude to the delivery of the tests. It is clear that they were asleep at the wheel."

But Downing Street spinners have managed to work their warped magic and control the fall out from the summer Sats fiasco, shifting the blame away from the school's secretary. 

Most ministers are elected MPs and that makes them both accountable and responsible to parliament and the electorate. 

Political voices from both ends of the spectrum speak with one voice but in vain if they expect Brown's trusty lieutenant to hold up his hands over this latest cock-up. As with the Baby P scandal, saying sorry isn't good enough.

6pm UPDATE: Balls has said he's sorry again, telling the commons he blames ETS and QCA and, er, that's it. 


Wasteful Govt Computer Says Nein

Government waste and crap computer systems reached a new low today with revelations that a transport department 'efficiency drive' will end up costing taxpayers £81m. The commons watchdog has branded it "stupendously incompetent". And to make matters worse - the damn computer speaks German. 

Public accounts committee (PAC) chairman, Edward Leigh, said it was one of the worst cases of project management he had seen.

The Swansea department of transport payroll and admin centre was originally down to cost £55m leading to £112m savings.

But the programme will now cost £121m and save £40m, meaning taxpayers will have to make up the difference, as £81m is poured down the drain.

MPs were told the new computer system had even issued messages in German.

PAC seems to be running out of words to describe government IT scandals but they threw the dictionary at this cock-up. The project had been "rushed through", deadliness "overly optimistic" and the result was "lamentable". 

The computer system was "inadequately procured and tested, resulting in an unstable set-up when it was switched on." 

Of course no-one has been disciplined yet alone fired over the scandal. And no government minister has crawled out of the woodwork to issue even the slightest apology, explanation or take any of the blame. 

Even that is small fry compared with the NHS's multi-billion pound Connecting for Health (CfH) computer system. The biggest non-military IT computer project in the world, is set to become the biggest IT disaster in the world, costing a staggering £12.7 billion and four years behind schedule. When will they ever learn?