Now the consequences of BREXIT are clearer we should be allowed a second referendum

Reverse Brexit with second referendum to save your economy OECD tells UK

‘The positive impact on growth would be significant,’ influential thinktank says of reversing Brexit – as it forecasts £40bn cost of ploughing on

Economic experts have made an explosive suggestion of a further referendum to reverse Brexit, to avoid the crippling of the British economy.

The influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the deadlock in the exit talks now threatened a “disorderly Brexit”, with severe consequences.

Its report controversially puts the case for a dramatic rethink on the agenda – suggesting halting EU withdrawal is a route to avoiding that fate

May must stand up to Johnson to unlock Brexit talks, says

“In case Brexit gets reversed by political decision (change of majority, new referendum, etc), the positive impact on growth would be significant,” the report said.

The suggestion is certain to infuriate Brexiteers, but will bolster campaigners calling for the British public to be given a second vote, when the “facts of Brexit” are known.

The report was immediately seized on by one pro-EU group as the “final nail in the coffin for the already long-buried notion that Brexit will benefit our economy”.

The OECD analysis suggests a “no-deal” Brexit would wipe up to a staggering £40bn off UK economic growth by 2019.

The UK economy will grow 1.5 per cent slower in 2019 if the country crashes out of the EU without a trade deal or a transition deal with the bloc in March 2019, it said.

Crucially, it makes the assumption that trade talks will break down – triggering a hard Brexit and slapping tariffs on imports and exports between the EU and UK.

Wes Streeting, a Labour MP and supporter of the Open Britain group, said: “Today’s OECD analysis should be the final nail in the coffin for the already long-buried notion that Brexit will benefit our economy.

“A hard Brexit or walking away without a deal would wreak even more punishment on the UK economy.

“The Government can avoid this if they drop their ideological and self-imposed red lines and start negotiating for continued membership of both the single market and the customs union.”

The OECD admitted that Brexit negotiations were difficult to forecast, and could “prove more favourable” than assumed in its report – boosting trade, investment and growth.

But it warned the very real threat of no deal would spark a sharp reaction by financial markets, sending the exchange rate to new lows and leading to a downgrade in the UK’s sovereign rating.

“Business investment would seize up, and heightened price pressures would choke off private consumption,” the report said.

“The current account deficit could be harder to finance, although its size would likely be reduced.

There are also risks that Scotland and Northern Ireland could vote to stay in the EU, in a second referendum, which would have a “major” impact on the national economy

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Half of UK Citizens Support Idea of Holding Second Referendum on Brexit, including Nigel Farage

Half of UK Citizens Support Idea of Holding Second Referendum on Brexit

in favour of a 2nd referendum

Brexit negotiations turned out to be harder than expected as no progress yet has been made on major issues. The recent poll proves that British citizens could occasionally change their minds on the issue of UK withdrawal from the European Union.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Just over half of surveyed UK citizens, or 51 percent, support a second referendum on Brexit in some form, while 39 percent oppose the idea, a poll by Politico newspaper and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research company showed on Monday.

The number of people, who feel “hopeful” about the outcome of the country’s future after Brexit has decreased and now stands at 46 percent, according to the poll.

A large-scale UK divorce settlement with the European Union proved unpopular with the nation as 60 percent oppose the idea of paying Brussels 50 billion pounds ($56.6 billion), while only 23 percent said it would accept it. The lower settlement of 30 billion pounds is considered unacceptable by 54 percent and backed by 29 percent, the poll indicated.

Majority of the surveyed also expressed their discontent with the direction “that things in this country are going” as 52 percent think that the direction is “wrong” and only 30 percent consider that the direction is “right.”The poll was conducted on September 11-13 with some 1,200 taking part in the survey.

The United Kingdom voted to leave the bloc in a referendum in 2016. Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels officially kicked off on June 19, and are due to be completed by the end of March 2019

Britain’s Distant War

Source

The latest attack in London is deeply connected to a hidden war Britain itself is waging

Battle of Mosul U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin at Q West


Britain is engaged in a major war, and has been for three years, yet very few people recognise this and there is little debate about the rationale or potential consequences.

It is mainly an air war fought with strike-aircraft and armed-drones and is at an intensity not seen since the Gulf war in early 1991. As then, this war is run by a United States-led coalition and has killed tens of thousands of people. What is difficult to explain, though, is that few make the connection between this new war and the many attacks of the past three years, including Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Nice, Berlin, Istanbul, Manchester and three attacks in London – Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and now Parsons Green.

That there is a direct connection should hardly be a surprise, since ISIS propagandists were calling for attacks on the “far enemy” as soon as the coalition’s air war started in August 2014. Nor should it be forgotten that this blowback has happened before. After the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, prime minister Tony Blair insisted strongly that there was no connection between the Iraq war and those attacks; but this stance was quickly undermined with the release of suicide-videos by the bombers and by the deputy head of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The latter said: “this blessed battle has transferred – like its glorious predecessors in New York, Washington, and Madrid – the battle to the enemies’ land”, and that the attacks were a “slap” to the policies of Tony Blair.

For one of the bombers, Mohammad Siddique Khan, the matter was clear-cut:

“Until we feel security, you will be our targets. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”

A major commitment

An odd element about the current war with ISIS is that its extent and intensity are actually in the public domain, but are scarcely covered in the media outside of the specialist security and military publications. As a result, there is virtually no political debate, even after four attacks in Britain this year alone, and many more elsewhere, not least Barcelona.

A few indicators are illuminating. The independent monitoring group Airwars finds that in the 1,134 days of the campaign so far, there have been 26,739 coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria with 98,532 bombs and missiles dropped. The great majority of these have been precision-guided munitions; the Pentagon currently estimates that over 60,000 ISIS personnel have been killed.

The Pentagon does acknowledge that many hundreds of civilian have died, but Airwars has examined the evidence very closely and estimates the number of civilians killed at a minimum of 5,343. The great majority of all the attacks have been by the US airforce and navy: the USAF flying mainly from bases in Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar, and the navy from aircraft-carriers.

The Parsons Green attack on 15 September did not kill anyone, but left several people badly burned and scores more traumatised. On 15-16 September, Airwars reported sixty-six airstrikes in Iraq and Syria which, if the death-toll was average for the coalition, would have killed at least fifty-five people on each day.

Why should Britain, in particular, be a target and why is there so little discussion? The first relates to Britain’s substantial role. In the wider coalition involved in this war, Britain is the second-most significant country after the US, followed by France and a number of others (including Belgium, Denmark and Australia); still more, such as Spain, deploy troops to Iraq to train forces being used against ISIS.

Britain operates mainly out the RAF base at Akrotiri in Cyprus, but also deploys drones from elsewhere in the region, possibly including a base in Kuwait, with these operated remotely at RAF Waddington just south of Lincoln. Furthermore, many other RAF stations in Britain are indirectly if substantially involved.

The extent of what is officially known as Operation Shader is remarkable and was covered in a useful briefing from the House of Commons library in March 2017 and a much more recent summary in the ever-reliable Jane’s Defence Weekly (see Tim Ripley, “Heading for Brexit”, JDW 54, 36, 6 September 2017)

At the forefront of the UK contribution are Tornado and Typhoon strike-aircraft and Reaper armed-drones. The strike-aircraft number fourteen at any one time, which is likely to require at least thirty available overall, but the back-up from other aircraft adds greatly to this. They include Airseeker surveillance aircraft, Voyager tanker aircraft, C130 and C17 transport-aircraft, E3-D, Rivet Joint and Sentinel surveillance aircraft and, reportedly, the newest transport aircraft in RAF service, the Airbus A400.

The Commons report in March listed 3,000 missions flown including 1,200 airstrikes, with the RAF “conducting operations not seen since the first Gulf War” in 1991. Interestingly, Jane’s reports satellite data showing that RAF Akrotiri has also been host to heavy-lift Chinook twin-rotor helicopters, indicating, in its view, that they are there to support UK special forces.

The use of special forces, which governments consistently refuse to discuss in parliament, has figured in some newspapers with close links to the ministry of defence such as the Mail and Telegraph. In this case, the way the forces are organised will mean a fairly broad-based commitment.

While centred on personnel from an SAS squadron, there will also be units from the Special Forces Support Group which normally includes elements of 1 Para, the Royal Marines and the RAF regiment, as well as specialists from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Signals Regiment, with the Chinooks and other aircraft operated by the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.

A time to rethink

A clear conclusion follows from all this. Britain is at war; ISIS wants to bring that war home to its “far enemy”; the movement succeeds in Nice, Barcelona, Manchester, London Bridge and elsewhere. The second question above, of why there is so little discussion of how the two connect, remains to be answered.

There are several reasons. One is that it is a “remote war”, with very few boots on the ground, virtually no risk to military personnel and therefore no body-bags coming home and no funeral corteges through Royal Wootton Basset.

The Remote Control Project at Oxford Research Group chronicles how this kind of conflict is part of a much wider trend towards remote war, and is accentuated by the almost complete absence of western media reporters at the war’s receiving end. There is copious coverage of grim attacks like Parsons Green but no coverage whatsoever of the daily attacks in Iraq and Syria.

The political significance is considerable: for this situation is likely to continue unless ISIS gets lucky and succeeds in a major attack. At least until now, it has not been able to use chemical or radiological weapons in its targeting on the far enemy. Hopefully it never will, but if it does then that may be the circumstance when people wake up to the fact that we have been involved in a very dirty war for more than three years with no end in sight.

Furthermore, this is likely to be the model of conflict that states like Britain will repeatedly fight in the coming years – unless they consider radically different approaches to security. A week after the country entered the seventeenth year of the “war on terror”, there is so far little sign of that much needed rethink.

Source: openDemocracy

dispatches – inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby

 

UK government must come clean about its secret wars, including helping Syrian terrorists

The government must come clean about its secret wars

How the British government is using a Special Forces loophole to wage war without democratic oversight.

British Army soldiers with the 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, wait inside the belly of a Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron CH-53D Sea Stallion. Image, public domain.

When David Cameron made his case for airstrikes in Syria in 2015, he explicitly ruled out sending in UK ground forces to fight Islamic State. Yet the following year British soldiers were photographed on the ground, reportedly fighting alongside Syrian rebels. All without any disclosure to parliament.

How is this possible?

The answer comes through the use of special forces. As far as the government is concerned, the operations of any units that come under the command of the Director of Special Forces are exempt from public disclosure and scrutiny. In theory, this means British troops can operate anywhere in the world without the public or parliament ever knowing about it, let alone getting the chance to debate or vote.

This may not seem unreasonable at first glance. After all, aren’t we talking about a very small number of elite troops carrying out a similarly small number of ‘quick-in, quick out’ operations? We could hardly equate missions like ending the Iranian embassy siege in 1980 or the rescue of British soldiers captured by the ‘West Side Boys’ in Sierra Leone in 2000 with full-blown military interventions. And secrecy has arguably been understandable to avoid compromising these missions and endangering the personnel involved.

The problem is the scope of the operations is changing. Special forces are now being used to conduct sustained combat missions as well as quick, one-off operations. In June 2016, around the time UK special forces were photographed in Syria, they were reported to be frequently crossing the border to aid Syrian rebels on the frontline, and they also appear to have established a base in Al-Tanf from which to conduct sustained operations. Reports also suggest UK special forces are present in Libya on a sustained mission to advise, train, and assist Libyan allies. Thanks to a leaked memo from a briefing given to US lawmakers by the King of Jordan, we know they have been deployed there since January 2016, and they were also reported to have attacked Islamic State targets outside Misrata in May of the same year.

The numbers of special operations forces have also been increasing[i1]  with the emergence of dedicated support units such as the Special Reconnaissance Regiment in 2005 and the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) in 2006, adding upwards of 500 and 800 personnel respectively and helping to take the total number of special operations forces up to around 3,000. The SFSG incorporates regular military forces, notably from the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines, and when I recently tabled a parliamentary question asking if these regular units within the SFSG would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in the normal way, the answer that came back was a clear no.

There is also a concern that the same is true of drones and other aircraft when they’re involved in special forces operations. When Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee questioned Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood on UK special forces activity in Libya last year, he said ‘I am not able to provide any comment whatever on any questions involving the role of special forces.’  However, when asked whether the RAF had flown over Libya in 2016, he stated ‘It has flown over Libya, yes.’ When the committee later sought details about the flights they were told the government does not comment on special forces, suggesting even RAF flights are being included under the non-disclosure umbrella.

This has dangerous implications for our democracy. The government could in theory assemble a quite substantial military force, comprising special forces soldiers, regular troops, support personnel, drones, and manned aircraft, and bring them all under the blanket of ‘no comment’. Instead of following the now well-established convention that parliament should authorise the use of military force, and risking a no vote as with the proposal for military intervention in Syria in 2013, the government can simply push military interventions under the radar by re-classifying them as special forces operations.

A Ministry of Defence document leaked in 2013 suggested that one way to continue conducting military operations despite the scepticism of the British public was “investing in greater numbers of SF [Special Forces].” And this is exactly what the government has done. In the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the government pledged to more than double investment in special forces equipment.

And this isn’t the only loophole the government could exploit. Operating outside of UK command structures, embedded British troops can fight alongside their host nation’s forces in wars the UK is not officially a party to. I also recently asked a parliamentary question asking for up to date information on the deployment of British military personnel within the armed forces of other states. As of March 2016, there were 176 UK personnel ‘embedded’ with other nations’ armies. For example, in July 2015 it was revealed that UK personnel embedded with allied forces operating in Syria were involved in carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State, without prior authorisation of parliament…

The truth is, the government knows the public are rightly sceptical of military intervention after the terrible legacy of failure in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, in a 2013 poll, about 60 per cent of respondents said recent military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya made them less likely to back future military interventions. In another poll in the same year, 69 per cent of respondents said the role of the UK military should be to defend British territory and provide humanitarian assistance in emergencies. Instead of exploiting loopholes to make military intervention more secretive, the government should think about listening to the public who they’re accountable to.

The answer, for me, is clear. If British troops – any kind of British troops, whether special forces, regular, or embedded – are committed to comprehensive, long term combat operations, there should be open disclosure and a debate and vote in parliament. There should also be parliamentary committee oversight of special forces (no committee of parliament currently has the formal power to scrutinise them) so that they’re accountable for secret operations. The government must come clean about its secret wars. Only then can the public have confidence that our military is being used as they would want it to be

US and UK Supplied Chemical Weapons to Terrorists in Syria

US and UK Supplied Chemical Weapons to Terrorists in Syria

By Stephen Lendman,

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Numerous accusations by Washington and its rogue allies about Syria using chemical weapons were fabricated.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia was caught red-handed supplying terrorists in Syria with Chemical Weapons (CWs). So was Turkey, discovered shipping toxic sarin gas cross-border. Perhaps Jordan and Israel supplied CWs. Both countries support ISIS and other terrorist groups.

Syrian forces never used them at any time throughout years of war. No credible evidence suggests it. Claims made were phony.

On August 6, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said US and UK-made CWs were found in liberated Syrian areas, noting:

“The consequences of the war that has been raging in Syria for many years are now being analyzed and material evidence has started to emerge. It has been mentioned many times at various levels.”

“The fact is that the western states and regional countries have directly or indirectly supplied banned poisonous substances to militants, terrorists and extremists active in Syria” – along with Western weapons and other material support.

Clear evidence shows ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups were aided by nations:

“claim(ing) their commitment to democratic principles and international law, but in fact, they supply militants with things necessary to continue military activities on the territory of an independent state.”

Information was “handed over to the United Nations and even made public during bilateral talks, particularly between Russia and the United States,” Zakharova explained.

Separately on Facebook, she said

“(h)ere you can see all their commitment to international law and the triumph of democracy. Supplying chemical agents to terrorists and using photos of killed children as a pretext is beyond one’s comprehension.”

On Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad accused Washington and Britain of supplying terrorists in Syria with CWs, explaining evidence was found in liberated areas by government forces.

Munitions filled with toxic agents were discovered – produced by the US Federal Laboratories and NonLethal Technologies, as well as Britain’s Cherming Defence.

Russian lower house State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky responded to the evidence, saying:

“Syria now has all the reasons and the right to address the United Nations over western-produced chemical weapons found on the territories liberated from terrorists.”

“The information released by the Syrian Foreign Ministry once more demonstrates in full the hypocrisy of the members of the western US-led coalition, and proves that the entire goal of the entire operation is to remove the regime of President Bashar Assad.”

They support the terrorist scourge they claim to oppose, what’s been well known all along, something I stress repeatedly in my articles on Syria.

Washington, NATO, Israel and their rogue allies want endless war and regime change, not peace and stability, notions anathema to their diabolical agenda

Theresa May suppresses report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamist extremism in the UK

May Rejects Appeal From 9/11 Survivors to Release Saudi Terror Report

Theresa May has rejected an appeal from survivors of the 9/11 attacks to make public a suppressed report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamist extremism in the UK.

Earlier this summer, the British government announced it had decided not to publish the information, citing national security reasons and the “vast amount of personal information” it contained.

Among those calling for Ms May to make public the report, which was commissioned by her predecessor, David Cameron, was a US group of survivors of the 9/11 attacks and relatives of some of the almost 3,000 people who were killed.

May denies suppressing report into Saudi Arabia’s funding of extremism to protect arms deals

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” said the letter, signed by 15 people.

But the British government has rejected their request in a letter that the group has described as “shameful”.

“[The] response did not convey that much would change in the future for one simple reason: the US and the UK continue to protect Saudi Arabia, allowing them to operate freely, with impunity, even supplying them with lethal weapons, as they go about their usual business of inspiring intolerance, committing genocide and human rights violations,” said Sharon Premoli, who was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first Al-Qaeda plane hit. 

Brett Eagleson, whose son John perished on the 17th floor of the South Tower, said the British government was withholding potentially crucial information.

ground-zero.jpg

Ground Zero in New York City (Rex)

“When the UK government had the opportunity to shed light on the funding of terrorism and had the opportunity to make real inroads on the global fight against terror, they have chosen to take the path of least resistance by putting the cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia before the safety of its owns citizens,” he said. “It’s a shameful day for democracy.”

Ellen Sarancini, the widow of a pilot on United Airlines Flight 175 which was hijacked after taking off from Boston and flown into the South Tower, said the UK response was the latest in a series of rejections.

“For 15 years, we have been blocked by our own government who, along with the UK, continue to protect Saudi Arabia at the expense of their citizens,” she said. “The UK report has the potential for ending terrorism by outing those at the centre of its funding but refuses to do so.”

Although 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked New York and Washington were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the authorities in Riyadh have long denied having any official role in the attack. They have also rejected legal actions seeking compensations.

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