Left unites in France: JS0 and National Trust unite in UK: Brazilian women defend abortion rights: BBC to censor pro-Gaza voices at Glastonbury.

Julian Assange agrees plea deal

In what looks to be a plea deal Julian Assange is seen boarding a plane for Saipan, a US commonwealth island in the Western Pacific yesterday morning. He is expected to appear in court tomorrow morning where he will plead guilty to one felony. After this he will be free to return to Australia who have been lobbying for his release. In these 1984 times warmonger-in-chief to the Blair government Alistair Campbell was doing the media rounds claiming that the Wikileaks founder had released information which put agents at risk. This is totally untrue and Campbell, a person who prepared a document to take the UK into an illegal war, knows it is untrue. The names of agents were not released by Wikileaks but by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding in the book they wrote before the Guardian abandoned Assange to his fate. It is not a perfect result as Caitlin Vogus of the Freedom of the Press Foundation told ITV News: “The fact that for the very first time we are going to see a publisher plead guilty under the Espionage Act should be concerning for anybody who cares about press freedom.” (DM)

Oh, Genocide Starmer!

There could be a new chant at Glastonbury this year as artists who have taken a strong stand on Palestine take the stage. Dua Lipa has accused the IDF of genocide in Gaza. Charlotte Church sang “From the River to the Sea” at a Sing For Palestine concert and is ready to sing it again. Kneecap are a Belfast rap trio who appeared on Irish TV wearing keffiyehs to highlight the genocide. Lambrini Girls have boycotted festivals whose sponsors had links to Israel.

This has got the BBC, who live stream the whole event, worried in case “Gaza activists hijack the event to turn it into a ‘free Palestine’ rally.” They are especially concerned that it may breach their impartiality guidelines during the run up to the general election. And plans are being made to blur out displays of Palestinian flags and placards accusing Israel of genocide, apartheid and occupation, and to edit political speeches from performers.

This on the day that Save The Children issued a report on the plight of missing children in Gaza. In addition to the 14,000 children who are known to have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces since 7th October, they estimate that 20,000 children are lost, disappeared, detained, buried under rubble or in mass graves. What is there to be impartial about?

If the BBC believes that this is an election issue why not have an election special featuring politicians who are for and against genocide? They could start with Starmer and Feinstein in Holborn and St Pancras. Instead the BBC is choosing to protect the genocidaires by censoring the young people who protest against this crime against humanity. (MS)

Activists rally against the fascist threat

Faced with a resurgent right in France, Emmanuel Macron did what any good centrist would do: he tried to destroy the left. The plan has backfired, as Jeremy Wilcox, activist in l’Union Populaire, told me. “I have been involved in France with the campaign of the new popular front in my home circonscription where a Parti Socialist candidate is standing with the support of all the left political associations and the intersyndicale which includes my own groups Union Populaire/France Insoumise, CGT, POI and my friends and comrades from Force Ouvrier and Parti Communist Française.” Faced with the very real possibility of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) gaining power the left did what the left rarely do and put their differences to one side and united against the right-wing threat. Whether the alliance can hold is causing speculation in the media. According to Jeremy, “It will hold, it was built solidly on what the parties and associations agree on. There is so much that unites the supporters of the popular front, and little that divides them. The programme is excellent and although the conservatives and fascists attack it as extreme, it is not really so radical. One thing that unites the left is that, if they win, then the pension reforms Macron pushed through using the article 49,3 of the constitution will be immediately cancelled.” With the friendly face of the extreme right in the UK now looking likely to take up to 20% of the vote, it may be that we will be called upon to form a united front of our own. Let’s hope we can learn from the French. (DM)

The National Trust is on the march

“We’ve heard enough warm words and seen too many broken political promises while our beautiful natural world has continued to be destroyed. It’s now time for the next government to take green action and not leave nature in the red.” These were the words of Chris Packham, shortly before he spoke at the Restore Nature Now rally in London last Saturday. The march was supported by a diverse range of more than 350 environmental groups, which included direct action organisations, Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion and the much more conservative charities, the National Trust and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). A Just Stop Oil spokesperson emphasised the need for united action: “Why are Just Stop Oil taking part? This kind of non-disruptive march isn’t really our thing is it? It’s a very important show of solidarity – we may disagree about tactics, but there is unity on the need for urgent, radical action.” Tens of thousands joined the protest, marching from Park Lane to Parliament. We often question whether protesting at Parliament is likely to yield results, but it is one of the many means at our disposal where we can make our disgust and outrage known and put pressure on the politicians. 

The National Trust has 5.7 million members who, between them, support the full range of political parties and are found all over the UK. The i newspaper has mounted a campaign “to prevent our rivers being used as open sewers” and with a plan for them to be restored for nature and people to enjoy. And now the National Trust is on board and has signed up to the i manifesto. I think we should applaud quite radical behaviour from a rather cautious organisation. (JB)

Brazilian Women protest in their thousands against proposed draconian bill on abortion.

Thousands of women of all ages marched in Brazil on Saturday against a bill that would remove a woman’s right to an abortion after 22 weeks in cases of rape. If the bill, backed by evangelical lawmakers, becomes law, abortions by rape victims would be considered homicide and they could be sentenced to between six and 20 years in prison. This would be a harsher penalty than that given to rapists in Brazil.

First Lady, Rosangela da Silva criticised the bill and said on social media: “Congress should be working to guarantee access to legal and safe abortions through the national health system SUS.” Brazil’s already restrictive abortion laws mean many Brazilian women seeking to end pregnancies resort to unsafe illegal abortions. (MT)

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