Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news…

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1.Exclusive: US climate deniers pump millions into Tory-linked think tanks-openDemocracy

Influential right-wing think tanks closely linked to the Conservative Party and who have close links to ministers, have received ‘millions in ‘dark money’ donations from the US’, openDemocracy reports.

The site reveals: “The TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Policy Exchange, the Adam Smith Institute and the Legatum Institute have raised $9m from American donors since 2012. Of this, at least $6m has been channelled to the UK, according to tax returns filed with US authorities – representing 11% of the think tanks’ total UK receipts, with the figure reaching 23% for the Adam Smith Institute.

Between them, the five think tanks have secured more than 100 meetings with ministers.

A worrying story for anyone worried about the flow of dark money in British politics and how it affects our democracy.

2. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a fundamental barrier to peace-LabourList

LabourList features an opinion piece from Shadow Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Bambos Charalambous, who after returning from a week’s visit organised by Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for Arab and British Understanding, says that I ‘have never been clearer in my mind that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a fundamental obstacle to achieving this vision’.

Bambos writes: “One example, however, sums up the brutal reality of occupation. In Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, early on the first morning, our delegation was shown into a high dependency neonatal unit containing nine cots. In each, a premature baby lay under glowing heaters, fragile and tiny. All these vulnerable babies were alone. None of them had their mother or another family member with them.

“Why were these babies alone? Firstly, the occupied territories are unable to provide the hospitals to treat complex births or premature children – hence the need for some mothers to give birth in Makassed hospital. Secondly, under the rules of the occupation, mothers are allowed a three-day permit to give birth and recover. When the permit runs out the mothers must return to the West Bank or Gaza. If their newborns are too tiny or not well enough to go too, mothers must leave them at the hospital.

“Worse still, doctors told us how mothers cannot get permits to visit babies after they have been forced to leave them in the hospital.”

3. No Sanctions Applied to 11 UK Firms with Links to Sanctioned Russians-Byline Times

Eleven UK companies with directorship links to individuals who are targets of Government sanctions due to their proximity to the Kremlin have not themselves been sanctioned, Byline Times has found.

The findings come despite repeated claims by the government that it would impose an unprecedented package of sanctions on Russia following Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

The paper reports: “Byline Times has searched the 1,267 individuals and 151 entities on the Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK and has found 11 companies which, despite their link to designated persons, have not been sanctioned.”

You can find a list of some of the individuals and entities listed here.

4. Supermarkets Urged to End Russian Diesel Sales and Stop ‘Pumping for Putin’-DeSmog

DeSmog features a piece on how British supermarkets are continuing to sell Russian diesel at their petrol stations almost four months after the invasion of Ukraine began.

Campaigners have plastered at least 4,000 “Pumping for Putin” stickers on petrol pumps to raise awareness and urge the retailers to end their trade in Russian oil, according to organisers.

Elena Polisano, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK, told DeSmog: “Supermarkets were quick to remove Russian vodka from shelves and rename their chicken Kievs as chicken Kyivs.

“Customers will be outraged if supermarkets are asking them to donate to Ukraine at the till, but passing their money to Putin at the pump.

“If Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons truly want to stand by Ukraine, they should make sure they’re not filling their pumps with Putin’s diesel that is directly funding his bloody war. At the very least, they should demand that the government implement an immediate ban on imports of Russian fossil fuels,” she said.

5. Apple workers in US vote in favour of unionisation

Apple workers at a US store have become the first employees of the tech giant to unionise in the country after a vote in Maryland on Saturday, the Morning Star reports.

Staff at the Towson shop voted 65 per cent in favour of trade union recognition with 33 per cent against as they demand a say on wages, working hours and health and safety.

Union organising has gained momentum in recent months and years in the US after decades of decline, with workers organising at Amazon, Starbucks, as well as at outdoors retailer REI.

“I applaud the courage displayed by Core members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” said IAM international president Robert Martinez Jr in a statement.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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