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Libya has opened the way to diplomatic sanctions against Syria

One of the first actions of the Libyan Transitional National Council has posed a challenge for European countries.
Rupert Read
27 October 2011

In a move that has not yet been widely enough noticed, the Libyan Transitional National Council a few days ago shut the Syrian embassy and recognised the Syrian National Council (which has recently unified virtually all the non-violent anti-Assad Syrian Opposition behind its banner) as the government-in-waiting of Syria.

This is an exciting development, and a move that ought to be followed up by Britain and by other European countries (and by the EU itself).

One of the things that the Syrian protesters now most want (they of course mostly do not want foreign military intervention) is precisely this: serious diplomatic sanctions against Syria, to delegitimise the Assad regime in the eyes of the world.

As was the principle with the anti-apartheid struggle, the prima facie weight should always be put on what the righteous indigenous want. This should be the default position of what those in solidarity with democracy protesters call for. In South Africa, back then, this was: economic sanctions. In Libya earlier this year, this was: a NoFlyZone. In Syria, now, it is: diplomatic (and some economic) sanctions.

Let's close the Syrian embassy in Britain (unless it is prepared to declare 'UDI' from its capital, as some Libyan embassies did during the uprising there), and make the bold move of recognising the SNC as the only legitimate government of Syria. The facts on the ground are that Assad doesn't govern Syria any more. He merely tries (and mostly, due to the extraordinary bravery of the bulk of the people, fails) to terrorise it.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

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The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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