IDLIB – Open Letter to UN Syria Envoy Staffen de Mistura re proposal about “safe corridors” that would put civilians at risk of arrest, torture and death


Dear Mr de Mistura

I was shocked and frankly appalled that you could seriously propose sending hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians in Idlib, many extremely vulnerable families with over one million children, back to the government controlled areas from where they fled through allegedly “safe corridors”. Worse still you cannot but be aware that such a suggestion gives encouragement to the Assad regime, Russia and Iran to launch an attack on a region that has become if anything one of the world’s largest de facto refugee camps, albeit for internally displaced people  Indeed, so many there have already been forced to flee multiple times already to escape slaughter by the regime and its allies before reaching Idlib. But you know all that! Therefore, how could you even make such a suggestion when you also know about the warcrimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime and its allies against civilians, and documented by various UN agencies? 

Your job is to help to protect civilians and in making your “safe corridors” suggestions you give the impression you are feigning ignorance of what happened in Syria over the last seven years? Indeed, reflecting on the recent statements by Assad’s Air Force Intelligence chief Jamil al-Hassan, you will be well aware that the Syrian regime has already begun building an even more repressive state. Speaking to a group of 33 senior officers he reportedly said: “A Syria with 10 million trustworthy people obedient to the leadership is better than a Syria with 30 million vandals. … After eight years, Syria will not accept the presence of cancerous cells and they will be removed completely.”  He also said that there are three million Syrians on his wanted lists and that judicial cases have been prepared against them, and that anyone deemed a ‘hindrance’ to the regime’s consolidation of power would be labeled a ‘terrorist’ and dealt with accordingly.  In Syria, as you know, a “wanted list” is usually a “death list.”

Germany has issued an international arrest warrant for Jamil al-Hassan, a welcome move by the European country that has welcomed the largest number of Syrian refugees. Indeed, al-Hassan’s comments about refugees were especially disturbing (and even more chilling from the perspective of civilians in Idlib) describing those planning to return as ‘sheep’ saying the corrupted ones would be filtered out and the ‘good ones’ would be used. But what does that mean? A recent investigation by the Irish Times showed that returning Syrian refugees faced threats, arrests and even death. For example, of four who were killed, three died in regime custody between two and four months after returning.

Surely people forced to flee multiple times in Syria have suffered enough at the hands of the regime and its allies  because the latter have chosen to fight their “war” primarily against civilians using scorched earth/ethnic cleansing which explains why Idlib now has a population of up to four million people. Those who made it to Idlib have lost everything. Meanwhile, tens of thousands remain ‘forcibly disappeared’ by the regime; over five hundred thousand are probably dead; more than half the population of Syria have been forced to flee their homes; millions are wounded physically and mentally including a majority of the country’s children, and 92% of civilians casualties are blamed on Assad and his allies.

If your “peace making efforts” in Syria are based on sacrificing potentially millions of civilians you should resign because you have apparently chosen not to confront all of those responsible for warcrimes and crimes against humanity?

Yours sincerely

Ronan Tynan


‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’

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Paul Conroy To Introduce Premiere ‘Syria-The Impossible Revolution’ – Hong Kong Theatre, LSE Wed. Next 6.30pm


Paul Conroy wounded when his colleague the late Marie Colvin, Sunday Times war correspondent was killed in Baba Amr by Assad regime artillery.

RONAN TYNAN – Producer/Director – ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ 

Could not think of a better person than photographer Paul Conroy to launch our documentary ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ because he was wounded in a brutal attack on the press centre he was working from in Baba Amr, Homs in 2012. A targeted artillery barrage in which his colleagues Sunday Times’ war correspondent Marie Colvin and French Photographer Remi Ochlik were killed because the Assad regime, as documents that have come to light show, wanted journalists covering indiscriminate civilian slaughter stopped. The regime succeeded beyond its wildest dreams because after these murders the major networks effectively withdrew and the phrase “could not be independently verified” or similar words became common discounting the incredible courage of local Syrian media workers risking their lives to report on what often appears like a brutal war against civilians.

Paul Conroy was seriously wounded in an attack designed not just to intimate the media, but to erase Western media coverage from the frontline in a conflict in which civilians have paid, and continue to pay a terrible price.

But why does there appear to be such little outrage at the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, an apparent lack of interest and concern even as the numbers now dead exceed more than 500,000 by some estimates. Worse still against a background where half the population have fled their homes and five million are now refugees outside the country?

ISIS or Daesh certainly helped Assad to cover up his relentless repression as they sought publicity for their crimes against journalists, and anyone deemed an “apostate”,  distracting from his regime’s industrial scale repression.  All of which only serves to underline that Syrians who risked their lives in 2011 taking to the streets to peacefully protest and demand an end to brutal dictatorship and some form of democracy ultimately still find themselves often caught between fascists with beards and fascists in suits?  In that context, I am constantly haunted by Amnesty’s description of the regime’s Saydnaya prison as ‘a human slaughterhouse’ where thousands have disappeared and many tortured to death.

‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ 

Three years in the making this feature length documentary offers unique insights into the roots of the Syrian Revolution and how what began as a peaceful uprising turned into a very brutal conflict as the Assad regime cracked down.

‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution,’ a film by Anne daly and Ronan Tynan, seeks to unravel the roots and ‘complexities’ of the bloodiest conflict in the Middle East as well as the politics of the Western response. It also examines why some elements on the Left are on the same page as the extreme Right defending the Assad regime against “US imperialism” apparently oblivious to the role of Iran and especially Russia and her indiscriminate bombing of civilians as well as hospitals which many charge are warcrimes?

The film traces the roots of the Syrian revolution through the regime of Assad’s father up to the fall of Aleppo. Using extensive archive and interviews with a wide range of people directly involved as well as experts on the region, the documentary seeks to offer some understanding about a conflict that has plumbed new depths in terms of the toll it has extracted on civilians. Some suggest more than five hundred thousand are already dead, half the population have fled their homes and five millions are now refugees in Europe and neighbouring countries with little prospect of returning any time soon.

‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ was made by Esperanza Productions co founded by award winning filmmakers Anne Daly and Ronan L Tynan.



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The Power of Art & ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ – How Drawings Allow Us To Confront Horror & Not Turn Away?

Syria-The Impossible Revolution – TRAILER from Esperanza Productions on Vimeo.

The world turning away from Syria as if people do not want to know – my abiding impression after three years working on the documentary ‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’. Why such indifference to egregious violence and horrific suffering inflicted on civilians including children? Normally the world starts to pay attention when the death toll mounts but over five hundred thousand have already been killed in Syria and it does not seem to make any difference? Indeed, in the seventh year since the Assad regime brutally crushed a mass peaceful uprising in 2011 the regime and its allies are still bombing hospitals in Idlib. Not only are these warcrimes being ignored they are not even making news anymore!

Making a film of any kind about the conflict in Syria means showing egregious violence against civilians. But how do you do that without making it impossible to watch even by hardened veteran? Marc Nelson the artist solved that problem for us when I approached him after seeing how powerful his drawing are on Twitter. Of course we had to plough through hours of archive video, including footage of so many extremely violent atrocities of all kinds making this documentary. However, Marc’s drawings convey the horror and the crimes, but in not forcing the viewer to turn away he also leaves room for outrage!

Many have already commented very positively to us about the drawings we used are in the trailer. Obviously in a feature length documentary that focuses on the Syrian Revolution and the conflict that developed in Syria when the peaceful uprising was brutally crushed must use considerable video archive. But in telling that story when people are already turning away we wanted to make it possible for anyone to watch without switching off. “The power of art” may have been turned into a cliche in some quarters but as some have already told us the drawings helped draw them into the story where graphic violent video footage might have turned them away!

Thanks Marc!

Ronan L Tynan
Director and Co-Producer
‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’

A feature length documentary made by Esperanza Productions ‘Syria-The Impossible Revolution’ will premiere in London on October 18 in the Hong Koing Theatre at 6.30pm in the London School of Economics. The film with be formally launched by photographer Paul Conroy who was wounded when his colleague war correspondent Marie Colvin was killed when the Assad regime targeted their press centre in Homs, Syria in 2012.


Syria – The Impossible Revolution’

Three years in the making this feature length documentary offers unique insights into the roots of the Syrian Revolution and how what began as a peaceful uprising turned into a very brutal conflict as the Assad regime cracked down.

‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution,’ a film by Anne daly and Ronan Tynan, seeks to unravel the roots and ‘complexities’ of the bloodiest conflict in the Middle East as well as the politics of the Western response. It also examines why some elements on the Left are on the same page as the extreme Right defending the Assad regime against “US imperialism” apparently oblivious to the role of Iran and especially Russia and her indiscriminate bombing of civilians as well as hospitals which many charge are warcrimes?

The film traces the roots of the Syrian revolution through the regime of Assad’s father up to the fall of Aleppo. Using extensive archive and interviews with a wide range of people directly involved as well as experts on the region, the documentary seeks to offer some understanding about a conflict that has plumbed new depths in terms of the toll it has extracted on civilians. Some suggest more than five hundred thousand are already dead, half the population have fled their homes and five millions are now refugees in Europe and neighbouring countries with little prospect of returning any time soon.

‘Syria – The Impossible Revolution’ was made by Esperanza Productions co founded by award winning filmmakers Anne Daly and Ronan L Tynan.


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Will A US-UK Trade Agreement Threaten Public Services in Britain and Reduce Food Standards Based on American High-Intensity, High-Chemical, Low-Animal Welfare Farming?


Growth hormones in beef and GMOs as standard in the British food chain only part of the high cost of a US-UK Trade Agreement


Ronan L Tynan

The reality of what a trade agreement with #Trump’s ‘America First’ might look like came painfully into focus for many in the United Kingdom this week. First, full competition in the realm of public services is a given as far as the Americans are concerned. This no doubt will alarm many after the reassurances from brexit campaigners that leaving the EU would allow Britain to protect the NHS. Worse still the UK will have a very weak bargaining position. Indeed, desperation weighing on the British side will tempt the Americans to extract the toughest imaginable deal. That is the nature of trade negotiations.

But it is not only the NHS that will be at risk in any trade agreement with Trump’s America. Food standards will also come under enormous pressure. This means beef and pork produced using growth hormones, chicken washed in chlorine, fruit and vegetables treated with endocrine-disrupting pesticides and genetically engineered and modified foods will all have to become legal in the UK in the interests of “fairness” to giant American food corporations. In fact it is important to emphasise that Trump’s negotiators would be seen as negligent if they do not absolutely insist on that. Never mind that such dangerous methods of foods production pose a threat to human health – which US corporations pay large amounts in campaign contributions to get through Congress – but also could spell the end for much of British agriculture.

Perhaps that is why in spite of her renowned euroscepticism Margaret Thatcher was such a big fan of the Single Market because as one of the Big Three with France and Germany inside the EU, the UK could never be pushed around. Not so as we see now? Outside the EU the British market is very small in global terms and the UK’s ability to negotiate will correspondingly be drastically reduced.

EU regulations ban American style food production in Europe protecting not only European farmers but also the health of consumers. Indeed, the EU has easily resisted immense pressure by the US to accept its high-intensity, high-chemical, low-animal welfare farming. But outside the Single Market, May and her government will not have that leverage to resist American style food regulations.

Public services, agriculture and food productions are only some areas that will be affected by a US-UK trade deal. Again it is important to constantly remember these are hard fought negotiations but outside the EU, and under pressure to secure a trade agreement, acceptance of US labour and environmental standards must inevitably be demanded of the UK to ensure a “level playing field” for American corporations as well.

Many in Britain who criticised the so called “burden of EU regulations” in advocating brexit are in for a very painful shock when they realise the role they play in protecting consumers and businesses. In the United States on the other hand business seems to have the upper hand – in terms of influencing regulations – and this will be reflected in the trade agreement that the UK will be forced to accept if it wants an agreement?



Ronan L Tynan is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the award winning Esperanza Productions.

Twitter: @RonanLTynan

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‘The Singer of The Revolution’

I was reminded on Twitter yesterday of Syria’s ‘Singer of The Revolution’ Ibrahim Kashoush – a compelling  symbol of the 2011 peaceful Revolution which demanded an end to the Assad dictatorship and its replacement by democracy. Kashoush’s inspirational voice leading the chorus of the song that became synonymous with his name – Bashar, Leave From Here’ – can be seen in this video recorded at a mass demonstration against regime violence on the main square in Hama in late June, 2011.  That very inspiring performance – a seminal moment in early months of the Revolution – is believed to have cost him his life as immediately afterwards he was murdered by Assad’s Shabiha with his vocal chords out.

Assad’s propaganda machine including well paid PR companies in the West and his army of social media trolls have sought to bury the peaceful mass uprising for democracy dismissing those courageous Syrians who took to the streets as terrorists as he brutally sought to put down the Revolution. Indeed, many Syria specialists expressed amazement at the time that so many turned out to demand democracy because of the very brutal nature of the dictatorship – they thought the people would be too afraid!

Hama where the ‘Singer of the Revolution’ became famous was the location of a chilling massacre by Assad’s father when he put down an uprising there in 1982 which cost anything up to 40,000 lives. There remains much speculation about how many were killed in Hama in ’82 but one thing is certain, an enduring hunger for freedom and democracy is palpable, and was very evident on the main square that fateful night in late June 2011 when Ibrahim Kashoush sang his heart out.

Bashar, depart from here
You lost all your legitimacy
Depart depart, Bashar
Bashar, you are not one of us
Take Mahir (Basher’s brother) and depart from here
Depart depart, Bashar
Bashar, you are lying
You had bad speech
Freedom is very near
Depart depart, Bashar

Since the murder of singer Ibrahim Kashoush more than half a million Syrians have been killed mostly by Assad and his allies Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, as he showed he was and is prepared to literally wade through the blood of his fellow citizens to stay in power. Meanwhile, half the population of the country have been forced to flee their homes creating the biggest humanitarian crisis of the 21st Century.

Ronan L Tynan

Ronan L Tynan is currently producing a film documentary about the Syrian Revolution with Anne Daly. He is co-founder of the award winning Esperanza Productions.


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Israel Edges Towards the Abyss, Narges Mohammadi – HR defender, Syria’s Holocaust Within a Holocaust, Yemen – Saudi Arabia Turning Weddings Into Funerals


Ronan L Tynan:

22 May, 2016:

Israel Drifts Even Further Towards The Abyss

There was a watershed moment in Israeli politics this week when Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, whom I regard as a very right politician, was replaced by someone who is very dangerously further to the right. Indeed, many are worried about his replacement given the extreme racist and downright Fascist rhetoric he has used against the Palestinians in the past. In other words, what Ya’alon said about his replacement Avigador Liberman cannot be ignored – “extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement and are destabilising our home and threatening to harm its inhabitants. Which means it is fair to suggest Israel is on the edge of the abyss? And in case you think I am engaging in hyperbole former Prime Minister Ehud Barack said, also speaking about Liberman’s appointment, Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism”.

This is not just an internal political matter in Israel. Lieberman with tensions rising and another conflict a real possibility with the Palestinians will almost certainly present himself as a “War Minister.” At a time when Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing everything, including expanding illegal settlements, to make the Two State Solution impossible, and ensure even the possibility of talks is out of the question, it is truly frightening he would even think of making some one like Liberman defence minister.

Given the warcrimes committed against the Palestinians in Gaza in 2014, especially against unarmed civilians including women and children, the risks of further atrocities are now at an all time high with Liberman as defence minister.

Next week – Why is the world ignoring this very dangerous threat to peace – the degeneration of Israeli society under a leadership moving from the extreme right to the militaristically neo-Fascist in trying to make its apartheid occupation permanent?


Narges Mohammadi – Extraordinary Human Rights Defender – Iran (See photo)

Without any doubt the person that most impressed me this week was Narges Mohammadi. Her courage seems beyond human. However, just reading about her it is very clear she is all too human which is why her defence of human rights in Iran is all the more extraordinary. Not least because she is in very bad health. Already serving a six years sentence for her human rights work in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, she has just been sentenced to a further shocking sixteen years mainly for her courageous work opposing the death penalty.

Next week – Why is the world ignoring and not demanding the immediate release of this wholly innocent and very courageous Human Rights Defender?


Yemen – SaudiArabia Turning Weddings Into Funerals

This week I was utterly devastated by a video of an extended family, uninvolved in politics literally massacred during a wedding celebration by a SaudiArabian airstrike literally out the blue. The family was used to fighter jets flying over on their way to bomb elsewhere and because they had no involvement in the conflict assumed wrongly they were safe. They went public out of a deep sense of injustice.

“Why us?”

“We did nothing wrong.”

However, what was even more terrifying about that video is that it highlighted only one of several examples of similar bomb attacks on families in Yemen – innocent families just trying to get on with their lives.

Link to video documentary – ‘Weddings Into Funerals’ here: – Produced by Mwatana 

The US and the UK firmly back SaudiArabia’s campaign in Yemen making us complicit. President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron being the most important and intimately involved supporters of this Saudi campaign and therefore have a case to answer. Indeed, that is no idle or mischievous allegation. If you supply weapons in any conflict, and they are used to commit warcrimes – you are complicit!

As war continues in Yemen – the poorest country in the Middle East – all the indications are it will turn into a potentially genocidal famine?

Next week – Why is the world ignoring this video and the considerable evidence of egregious warcrimes Saudi Arabia is implicated, and which the US and the UK appear to be complicit through massive arms supplies, logistic, intelligence support and targeting?


Syria – The Torture Prisons – ‘Holocaust’ within a ‘Holocaust’

Syria and the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians especially by the Assad regime with Russian air support is probably the world’s hell on earth at the moment. But there is one area of indiscriminate and brutal slaughter that in spite of its large-scale and systematic nature is simply not getting attention. This is the use of his prisons by Assad as virtual death camps. Many groups including Amnesty and the UN have reported on this aspect of his forgotten reign of terror. Indeed, as thousands have been tortured to death in those prisons the UN has used the word “extermination”.

Next week – Why is the world ignoring this ‘holocaust’ within a ‘holocaust’?



This week I nailed my colours to the mast on twitter but I don’t think anyone really noticed. I tweeted that if we all became human rights defenders, activists or advocates we would literally have peace and justice in our time. Idealistic? Definitely not – just common sense! Tyranny triumphs as the saying goes when good people remain silent. Unfortunately silence is the default position for too many of us? So to help break the silence or at least give myself a weekly agenda to make even a small impact against that silence, that makes us complicit, I will write up a Review/Agenda once a week – hopefully every week! But would appreciate reaction and support for those featured.

Many thanks



Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan

Ronan L Tynan is an award winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Esperanza Productions –



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What does the defeat of the “Euro Sausage” by the “Great British Sausage” say about Brexit?


Ronan L Tynan

When Jim Hacker the feather light-weight minister needed some kind of public policy victory to underline his suitability to become British Prime Minister, in the final episode of ‘Yes Minister’, what better way to achieve that than by appearing to defeat the dreaded European bureaucrats? And what better issue upon which to prove his credentials as a defender of British sovereignty than by standing up for the integrity of the “Great British Sausage”?  Pandering to a deeply ingrained perception in the UK that the European Union is constantly coming up with daft ideas that cost and or irritate the British public the plot was based on an attempt by EU Commissioner Maurice to create a standard “Euro Sausage”. However, the problem of course was easily solved by negotiations with Commissioner Maurice that secured the survival of the unique British Sausage. But rather than announce that Hacker pretended to have a show down with the Commissioner, appearing like Wellington at Waterloo trouncing an unlikely Napoleon, and in securing victory milked its PR value to burnish his standing for the top job.

I was reminded of that final episode of Yes Minister listening to Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling MP when he said nothing would or need change if the UK left the EU. Of course Grayling is wrong and the battle over the “Great British Sausage” shows why in a compelling way. This is because in all of the debates about Brexit the real reason the UK could face very real economic damage if the British people vote to leave the EU is because of what are euphemistically called non-tariff barriers. More specifically leaving would mean no influence or real ability to resist regulatory changes that could seriously damage UK businesses and producers. At present, as Minister and ultimately Prime Minister Hacker showed the UK knows how to get its way on trade matters with Brussels. But a much better example to show how Britain knows how to use EU regulatory machinery to protect British jobs was provided when the Commission published a plan to set the maximum decibel level for lawnmowers.

This caused outrage in the UK. How dare the EU tell Britain what noise level her lawn mowers should emit. Ministers initially even called for an enquiry when door stepped by a notoriously eurosceptic media. Then the news broke – shock, horror and indeed dismay! Not only had the then Sir Humphrey and his fellow top mandarins in Whitehall agreed to that EU Directive, they had actually drafted it and carefully steered it through the Commission bureaucracy.

But why? How could they even think up such a regulatory idea? Whitehall mandarins doing to the British public what only evil, power grabbing Eurocrats are supposed to spend their every waking moment doing?

To protect British jobs of course!

Germany decided to virtually ban sound coming out of her lawnmowers to ensure the peace of German gardeners, a policy that would have put UK manufacturers out of business. Sir Humphrey et al easily beat the Germans hands down by simply getting the EU to set the decibel for European lawnmowers at a level that would ensure UK lawnmower makers continue to prosper protecting jobs.

But the key point of that story is what Germany actually did was create a non-tariff barrier. However, the UK was inside the EU tent as one of the big three and almost effortlessly dealt with that problem.

So when a member of the UK government like the Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling says nothing will change if Britain leaves the EU he is not just utterly wrong, but appears to give the impression he is detached from the reality of the way trade machinery actually works?

Even if the UK could get a status quo deal with the EU like Norway – paying the same contribution as now and accepting EU migrants – but without access to influence trade regulations it is very easy to see how quickly British businesses and jobs would be put at risk. Trade is dynamic. The regulatory processes are changing all the time. Worse still those regulatory regimes are often highly complex and if you are not around the table you simply cannot remain competitive in terms of meeting standards if you have no power to help set them.

So influencing regulations if the UK leaves the EU will be very problematic. But imagine what it will be like in negotiations with the US and China – both economies far larger than Britain and better able to dictate terms. Remember the EU as the richest and biggest market in the world gets very advantageous trade deals because if has so much to offer especially 500 million consumers. In other words, acting alone the UK will be in an almost frightening position with no bargaining leverage compared to the EU – hence Obama’s “bottom of the queue” remark which was not meant to be insulting but a statement of fact! When you consider that the UK does three and a half times more trade with the EU than the United States, and ten times more with the EU than China British businesses are essentially stuck (and many happily so) with the EU as their largest market. No surprise really as it is the biggest and richest in the world.

So Jim Hacker’s bid for Prime Minister in defeating EU attempts to regulate the “Great British Sausage” offers a sobering reminder just how powerless the UK would be to protect British businesses and jobs outside the European Union…….?

Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan

Ronan L Tynan is an award winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Esperanza Productions –

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“Will I be next?” Hong Kongers ask as China shows no sign of halting abductions and releasing publishers


Ronan L Tynan

Many Hong Kongers must be asking themselves – “will I be next?”- after five workers in a local publishing house Mighty Current were systematically kidnapped over the last three months beginning with one of the joint owners Gui Minhai, a Swedish passport holder, who was abducted at his holiday home in Thailand. Three workers followed including general manager Lui Bo and two colleagues Cheung Jiping and Lam Wing-ke kidnapped at different times when they went to visit family on the mainland. Then Paul Lee or Lee Bo, a British passport holder, and the other joint owner of the firm was abducted in Hong Kong and bundled across the border. This means two EU citizens are amongst the five kidnapped by Xi Jinping’s security police, and with no sign they will be released soon the European Union must threaten sanctions against China?

These abductions must be urgently addressed because if the EU allows Xi Jinping to normalise China’s version of “extraordinary rendition” anyone who dares to criticise Xi Jinping and his CCP is at risk, and not only Chinese citizens?  Especially as two of the five are Swedish and UK passport holders!

These kidnappings also illustrate why we know very little about the  fundamentals of the Chinese economy when it is so clearly under stress, with no one taking GDP figures seriously and general acceptance that almost all statistics are massaged to make the Chinese Communist Party or CCP look good. Meanwhile, governments around the world are trying to work out how to cope if there is a major China crash without access to reliable information. Therefore censorship in China not only poses a threat to the Chinese people it also poses a risk to our freedom of expression, and even our prosperity…?

When I first read about the kidnapping of 5 people at Hong Kong’s Mighty Current publishing house by Chinese security agents I thought of Ai Weiwei who in spite of his considerable fame outside China was made to ‘disappear’ and it took sometime before the authorities even owned up to having abducted him. Being made to ‘disappear’ is becoming ever more common as Xi Jinping’s ruthless crack down on dissent continues. However, under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement under which Hong Kong formally became part of China again in 1997 when the UK relinquished control, abductions and disappearances are not supposed to happen. In fact, Hong Kongers enjoy  political rights and freedom of expression unimaginable on mainland China. So is Xi reasserting sovereignty in complete contravention of the “one country, two systems” agreement?

After the “new relationship” inaugurated by Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor Osbourne with President Xi in London recently the idea that a British citizen could be snatched off the streets of Hong Kong and bundled off to the mainland was thought inconceivable? However, it seems that Cameron and Osbourne in not raising human rights with their Chinese guest we must ask did they effectively normalise Xi’s brutal crackdown and set the scene for the abductions in Hong Kong?

While attempts last week in Beijing by UK Foreign Secretary Hammond to raise Lee Bo’s abduction are welcome, it is clear that his representations are not taken seriously because even at his joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi the latter appeared to confirm Bo is being held by China while officially refusing to confirm that is the case. Wang said: “… based on the basic law of Hong Kong and China’s nationality law, the person in question is first and foremost a Chinese citizen.
“It is not necessary for anyone to make groundless speculations.”

In other words, mind your own business?

The only problem is that of the five two hold foreign passports – Lee Bo as noted is a UK passport holder, and Gui Minhai, holds a Swedish passport and was kidnapped in Thailand in October – the first to go missing. This means it is harder for Xi Jinxing’s government to cover up these abductions because like it or not governments must make representations to seek to protect their citizens.

The Chinese Communist Party’s record on human rights was brought sharply into focus in London also during Xi’s state visit when Shao Jiang, a student leader during the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, protested in front of his limousine at gross human rights abuses. His personal demonstration was a reminder of what happened in 1989 when so many thousands all across China were murdered – and not only on Tiananmen Square – when the CCP brutally crushed that peaceful uprising.

Cameron and Osbourne also had no excuse in not raising rights abuses with Xi as he has been running that ruthless crack down for some time with many human rights lawyers and journalists ‘disappeared’ or in prison, with the most publicised cases that of journalist Gao Yu 71 and human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang. Both are now free having served time in prison simply for doing their jobs, but it is worth noting that Gao became very ill in custody denied proper health care, and was at risk of dying, and Pu is no longer allowed to practise as a lawyer and is still under a form of almost supervised house arrest. Therefore as Xi Jinping continues his ruthless crack down against journalists and lawyers, and indeed anyone not towing the Party line on the mainland is it any surprise the abductions have caused real alarm in HongKong? Especially as it appears the “One Country, Two Systems” policy which is supposed to guarantee their human rights and freedom of expression is in the process of being repudiated in a very disturbing manner?

Respect for human rights in China is important to everyone, and not only the Chinese people, because she has become such a powerful country. The failure of Cameron and Osbourne to even raise human rights abuses effectively normalises brutality and abuse of power. Other dictatorships and authoritarian regimes take comfort in China’s ability to apparently get away with ease with these gross abuses. However, these abductions in Hong Kong are a new and very dangerous precedent and represent a kind of “extraordinary rendition with Chinese characteristics”. The US was embarrassed into dropping rendition as policy, unless we manage to make China do the same the world will indeed become an even more dangerous place for anyone who does not adhere to the Party line.

Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan




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How Roseanne Barr’s salvo on Twitter shows how blind faith in Netanyahu creating ‘Apartheid State of Israel’

Ronan L Tynan

Unprovoked salvo I received from Roseanne Barr……


My reply – polite and to the point? – and Roseanne blocked me………


And my reflection on our brief exchange:

“Look it up toad” – you could imagine the well known comedian Roseanne Barr screaming  in a sitcom. But when she directed such fire at me on Twitter for simply praising the remarkable courage of a young Palestinian girl in seeking to overcome loosing her legs in Netanyahu’s murderous assault on Gaza it was not so funny!

Mind you it did bring forcefully home to me she is a member of that misinformed community in the United States who believe Israel can do no wrong. However, it is equally clear that people like Ms. Barr in defending Netanyahu’s warcrimes are boltering an increasingly racist political culture that is turning Israel relentlessly into an apartheid state. A case made in the Guardian in very convincing terms by none other than two of Israel’s most distinguished former diplomats Alon Liel and Ilan Baruch (September 9, 2015).

Indeed, the article was alarming because it was written by two distinguished Israelis who have spent their whole lives defending Israel. So when they write that the advocates of peace, equality and democracy “have been horribly dispirited of late” every so called friend of Israel should take notice? And it is worth quoting at length the source of some of that depression – what they describe as “a period of real bleakness:”

“Forced evictions of Palestinian farmers from their land in the Jordan Valley and from the Hebron district – to make room for more settlements – clashes between settlers and soldiers, the burning of a church, the stabbing of a 16-year-old girl at the Jerusalem gay pride parade, and the murder of 18-month-old Ali Dawabshe, along with his father and mother, as a result of a deliberate arson attack by extremist settlers in the Palestinian village of Duma”

The article was written prior to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to London, and presumably to press Prime Minister Cameron to impress on Netanyahu the urgency of reviving peace talks and moving swiftly towards the only formula that guarantees Israel’s future – the Two State Solution. In particular, they urged Cameron to formally – and swiftly – recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. Cameron of course did no such thing. Like Roseanne Barr he offered what looked like blind support, which Liel and Baruch clearly indicate is the reason we are now “racing towards a single Israeli-Palestinian state that will end up as the apartheid state of Israel.”

Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan

The full text can be found here:

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Netanyahu crying wolf helped push the US into Iraq war – will he be allowed do the same over the Iran Nuclear Deal?


People everywhere, especially in the United States, have a right to be reminded just how irresponsible Prime Minister Netanyahu has been in crying wolf for the last three decades about Iran, especially when he attacks the historic agreement just negotiated with the Iranians to eliminate even the possibility they could build their own nuclear weapons.  Close examination of Netanyahu’s record literally vaporises his credibility. Raviv Drucker writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on March 8, 2015 reviewed that record which is a must read for anyone vulnerable to Netanyahu’s rhetoric about the Iran Deal.

1992: Netanyahu said with doom laden hyperbole Iran would have a nuclear bomb within three to five years. That is 23 years ago and they still don’t have the bomb!

1993: Netanyahu once again made another of his doom laden predictions extending by a years the date by which the Iranians would finally acquire a nuclear bomb to 1999. That prediction appeared in Yedioth Ahronoth the Hebrew language daily as an opinion piece, and like all of his other predictions it was very embarrassingly wide of the mark.

1996: July to be precise and freshly installed as Israel’s new prime minister addressing a joint session of the US Congress, Netanyahu said Iran was busy building an atomic bomb with “worrisome speed.”

2002: As a “worried citizen” Netanyahu appeared before the US Congress and played a starring role in unleashing the dogs of war on Iraq, delivering what amounted to a knife in the chest to the American people offering “evidence” of Iraqi weapons programs that was not just wrong, but outrageously false! He claimed that there was “no doubt” Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program and was so advanced he said that Hussein had centrifuges the size of “washing machines.” Worse still he was even more creative in claiming knowledge of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons – which as we now know they did not have! Finally, in arguing the case for war with Iraq he claimed it would have a positive effect on the entire region and lead to the fall of Iran….!  As we now know it destabilised the entire region and led to the rise of ISIS.

2013: Netanyahu said the Interim Agreement with Iran was the ‘deal of the century’ and predicted the sanctions regime would quickly fall – which it did not, a fact Drucker pointed out even Israel now concedes. He also said Iran would not keep to the agreement which it did.

Against that background, US Senators and Members of the House of Representatives relying on Netanyahu as a primary witness against the Iran deal are not just betraying the American people, they are also letting people down everywhere who care about world peace.

Ronan L Tynan

Twitter: @RonanLTynan


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