How Britain stole $45 trillion from India

By Jason Hickel
Source

3a4683d7f99349baa4791de15b662965_18.jpgLord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten, ride in the state carriage towards the Viceregal lodge in New Delhi, on March 22, 1947 [File: AP]

There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India – as horrible as it may have been – was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long – the story goes – was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.

New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik – just published by Columbia University Press – deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

It’s a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today.

How did this come about?

It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way – mostly with silver – as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.

Here’s how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.

It was a scam – theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain’s industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they “bought” them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.

After the British Raj took over in 1858, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company’s monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London.

How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills – a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were “paid” in rupees out of tax revenues – money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.

Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.

This corrupt system meant that even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world – a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century – it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India’s exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain.

Some point to this fictional “deficit” as evidence that India was a liability to Britain. But exactly the opposite is true. Britain intercepted enormous quantities of income that rightly belonged to Indian producers. India was the goose that laid the golden egg. Meanwhile, the “deficit” meant that India had no option but to borrow from Britain to finance its imports. So the entire Indian population was forced into completely unnecessary debt to their colonial overlords, further cementing British control.

Britain used the windfall from this fraudulent system to fuel the engines of imperial violence – funding the invasion of China in the 1840s and the suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. And this was on top of what the Crown took directly from Indian taxpayers to pay for its wars. As Patnaik points out, “the cost of all Britain’s wars of conquest outside Indian borders were charged always wholly or mainly to Indian revenues.”

And that’s not all. Britain used this flow of tribute from India to finance the expansion of capitalism in Europe and regions of European settlement, like Canada and Australia. So not only the industrialisation of Britain but also the industrialisation of much of the Western world was facilitated by extraction from the colonies.

Patnaik identifies four distinct economic periods in colonial India from 1765 to 1938, calculates the extraction for each, and then compounds at a modest rate of interest (about 5 percent, which is lower than the market rate) from the middle of each period to the present. Adding it all up, she finds that the total drain amounts to $44.6 trillion. This figure is conservative, she says, and does not include the debts that Britain imposed on India during the Raj.

These are eye-watering sums. But the true costs of this drain cannot be calculated. If India had been able to invest its own tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings in development – as Japan did – there’s no telling how history might have turned out differently. India could very well have become an economic powerhouse. Centuries of poverty and suffering could have been prevented.

All of this is a sobering antidote to the rosy narrative promoted by certain powerful voices in Britain. The conservative historian Niall Ferguson has claimed that British rule helped “develop” India. While he was prime minister, David Cameron asserted that British rule was a net help to India.

This narrative has found considerable traction in the popular imagination: according to a 2014 YouGov poll, 50 percent of people in Britain believe that colonialism was beneficial to the colonies.

Yet during the entire 200-year history of British rule in India, there was almost no increase in per capita income. In fact, during the last half of the 19th century – the heyday of British intervention – income in India collapsed by half. The average life expectancy of Indians dropped by a fifth from 1870 to 1920. Tens of millions died needlessly of policy-induced famine.

Britain didn’t develop India. Quite the contrary – as Patnaik’s work makes clear – India developed Britain.

What does this require of Britain today? An apology? Absolutely. Reparations? Perhaps – although there is not enough money in all of Britain to cover the sums that Patnaik identifies. In the meantime, we can start by setting the story straight. We need to recognise that Britain retained control of India not out of benevolence but for the sake of plunder and that Britain’s industrial rise didn’t emerge sui generis from the steam engine and strong institutions, as our schoolbooks would have it, but depended on violent theft from other lands and other peoples.

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Try to Figure Out Where Labour Ends and Likud Starts

likud caa.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

A few days before Christmas, Labour Cllr Richard Watts and the Islington Council, acting at the request of the UK Likud Herut Director, chose to stop me from playing with the Blockheads. The impoverished Council, in an odd interpretation of working for its citizens, hired two partners from one of London’s most expensive law firms to help them in their crusade against my saxophone.

Their action prompted hundreds of complaints and a petition of protest from  almost 7000. Despite the backlash, another Labour councillor has stepped in to try to ruin my musical career.  Rachel Eden has in the past attempted to interfere with my literature event at Reading Literary Festival, organised a protest against me without knowing who I was and what I stood for, and is on the Zionist We Believe in Israel list of 2016 General Election candidates who pledge their support for Israel.

Dear xxxx,

Hope you’re well and enjoying the run up to Christmas…
Sorry to email you about something controversial but I suspect that you’d rather I let you know.  (the comments in brackets are my own GA)

I just wanted to alert you that I am sure inadvertantly (sic) Progress has taken a booking from Gilead (sic) Atzmon.  He’s not a household name but he is very well known by the Jewish community as an anti-semite, last time he came to Reading he claimed that Jerusalem-ites doing mitzvot caused the Grenfell Tower tragedy:
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/atzmon-blames-grenfell-tower-tragedy-on-jerusalemites-following-mitzvot-1.447012 (GA: If Mrs. Eden had actually bothered to read the JC article, she would have noticed that I emphasise that Jerusalem vs. Athens is not a Jew vs Gentile binary. I pointed out that tragedies like the Grenfell tower come about because in Jerusalem people are trained to follow patterns and regulations: as opposed to thinking authentically and ethically as in Athens.)

As you’ll see from this story he was protested by a mix of Jewish and LGBT residents, he is also a holocaust ‘skeptic’ and Labour councillors including me. (GA: I am not a Holocaust ‘skeptic’ as I am not an historian, however, I support the idea that every event in the past must be subject to  historical analysis and revision!)

If you want to know a bit more about him the Jewish Chronicle keeps an eye on him:
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/antisemite-gilad-atzmon-banned-from-performing-islington-council-1.474094  (GA: now there’s an unbiased source)

He recently lost a libel lawsuit in which was sued by the campaign against anti-semetism:(sic) (GA: I settled a libel suit with CAA’s Gideon Falter, and the issue was not relevant to antisemitism.) https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/gilad-atzmon-forced-to-ask-supporters-for-funds-after-campaign-against-antisemitism-libel-lawsuit-1.473179
Hope not hate have a bit about him here:
https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2017/10/20/gilad-atzmon-heads-reading/

(GA: Hope not Hate is a notorious Zionist operation and has been exposed as such many times in the past.)

All in all I am guessing you and the committee probably didn’t know any of this as he is trying to portray himself as “just” a jazz musician, but I would assume he’s not the sort of person you want associated with Progress Theatre.

Rachel

The promoters of the concert replied to Cllr Eden as follows: “Our focus is on – and our interest is in – the music, nothing else. We do not aim to provide a platform for people to express their personal views on any non-musical subject. We have not received complaints of offence being caused at any of our concerts in the fourteen years we have been promoting jazz, despite programming a wide variety of acts and individuals. In the case of Gilad Atzmon, we understand that he has never even been questioned by any law enforcement authority about the allegations to which you refer, let alone convicted.”

It would be a blessing for the kingdom if our politicians had the clarity of thinking, ethical stand and respect for free speech displayed by our musical promoters and venues. Apparently, despite Eden’s persistent  harassment of the venue, the promoters held fast against her onslaught.

As expected, when it became clear that Cllr. Eden would not be able to stop my concert, the notorious ultra Zionist Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in accord with its stated goal to ruin anyone it deems a threat to Zion, openly re-joined the effort to rid Britain of my saxophone.

Apparently, numerous promoters around the country have received threatening letters from Stephen Silverman, a ‘music teacher’ as well as The CAA’s ‘Director of Investigation and Enforcement.’ A charity is defined as “an organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.” I wonder what it is that qualifies an organisation as charitable when instead of helping others it operates to investigate and ‘enforce’ rules of its own making.

Enforcement commissar Silverman’s email is a rehash of their usual list of misleading, misquoted and badly sourced accusations and ends with, what for them is an unusually polite declaration:  “It would, of course, be inappropriate for us to attempt to dictate who appears at your venue, and that is not my intention. The purpose of this letter is merely to provide you and your venue with information of which you may be unaware.”

Naturally, Silverman does not actually mean his deferential words. Once a venue replies that it does not intend to accede to the demands of Silverman and his klan, Silverman sends a second letter accusing the venue of “taking side” with haters, in “dereliction of duty” to side with Jews. The email ends with a clear threatening note:

From: stephen.silverman@antixxxxx.uk

Sent: 18 January 2019 17:11
To: XXXX
Cc: ‘Anthony Orkin’ anthony.orkin@antixxxxx.uk
Subject: RE: Gilad Atzmon

Thank you for your reply. On the basis of your response it is clear that, by failing to stand up to antisemitism, you have chosen to side with those who seek to stir up hatred towards this country’s Jewish communityYour willingness to turn a blind eye to the activities of this leading antisemite shames you, your board and your arts centre, and is nothing less than a dereliction of duty. 

There is a vast amount of documented evidence, accumulated over many years, that bears witness to the extent of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism. He attempts to shield himself from the consequences of this with a bogus philosophy of his own devising that purports to be critical of ‘Jewishness’, Jewish politics and Jewish culture rather than of Jews. It is a paper-thin facade that crumbles under even the most cursory scrutiny.

This is someone who publicly told a Jewish man that he detested the Jew in hone (GA: actually, this was in reply to a tweet that “as a Jew” I should want to kill Arabs. The tweet was from vile hateful character @onepound1 who was subsequently banned from twitter for hate speech. I didn’t know that @onepound1 is indeed Jewish, perhaps Mr. Silverman is more familiar with this anonymous twitter user and his murderous intent?) stated that burning synagogues could be considered a rational act (GA: indeed, as are many violent actions in a war. They are rational not ethical and not desirable. The Guardian published my letter in that regard)  and invited the Jewish people to apologise for being so hateful that the world has been forced to persecute them (GA: here’s the quote in context:  “Instead of constantly blaming the Goyim for inflicting pain on Jews, it is time for Jews to look in the mirror and try to identify what it is in Jews and their culture that evokes so much fury. It may even be possible that some Jews would take this opportunity to apologise to the Gentiles around them for evoking all this anger.”). He repeats some of the same discredited antisemitic views about Jewish power that were employed by the Nazi regime to pave the way for the Holocaust, and he uses his blogs, videos and public talks to encourage others to share his hatred. (GA: noticeably Silverman doesn’t present a single hateful comment by me.) In 2012, he was disavowed by a group of prominent Palestinian writers and activists who refused to have anything further to do with his antisemitism. (GA: here he is telling you that a group of 20 Palestinian activists are more sensitive to accusations of antisemitism then they are in furthering their cause.)

We will endeavour to ensure that your actions, positive or negative, receive the attention that they deserve.

Kind regards

Stephen Silverman

Director of Investigations and Enforcement

Direct: 0330 822 XXXX extn 203

– –

As I point out above, Silverman’s accusations are misleading. However, threatening emails from this specific Jewish charity raise some serious concerns. In August, 2017, after the CAA and Silverman sent similar threatening notes to an Oxford bookshop that refused to acquiesce to their demands, a member of the audience was the victim of a  vicious physical attack that left him with a severe eye injury. After the attack, audience members, some of whom were Jewish, responded with angry letters to the CAA, but the British ‘charitable’ organisation refused to take any responsibility for the attack.

Friday night’s concert at the Progress Theatre was a sold out success, in spite of Cllr Eden’s campaign and CAA’s threatening messages. Last night we performed at the Ropetackle Arts Centre which has received similar threatening emails from Silverman and one Simon Butler, a NYC ‘CAA’s volunteer.’

The Ropetackle Arts Centre responded to the threats as follows:

“The letter from Mr Silverman has been passed to me in my capacity as chairman of the charity which runs the Ropetackle Arts Centre.

We recently received a similar request from Simon Butler. After very careful consideration, we informed him that we were intending to go ahead with the concert. This remains our decision which we do not feel appropriate to explain or justify other than to point out that Gilad Atzmon has performed at our Centre on numerous previous occasion without any complaint.”

If the CAA wants to fight antisemitism for real they should consider ceasing their operation tomorrow morning.  Their mean spirited attempt to ruin people financially reflects disastrously on them and anyone who is associated with their campaign. The more their operation and its methodology become known, the more likely the public is to believe that their bullying is supported by Jews in general. Such thoughts could lead to a real backlash which is a result antithetical to the goals of those of us who oppose all racism and violence.

 


My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

ATB

Gilad 

The beauty and the beast – Gilad Atzmon vs. Rachel Riley

January 16, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

In recent weeks Rachel Riley, a British TV celebrity, has tossed the Antisemitic slur in the direction of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, Aaron Bastani, yours truly and others. In her first extended Ch 4 interview it became clear that Riley isn’t exactly an astute political philosopher. You can watch the entire Ch 4 interview here.

My battle for truth and freedom involves  some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

ATB

Gilad

Fake Labour accounts fueling “anti-Semitism crisis”

Fake Labour accounts fueling “anti-Semitism crisis”

Some of the troll network’s multiple fake personalities and stolen photos.

From the start, reporting of the “anti-Semitism crisis” in the UK’s Labour Party has been characterized by dishonesty, exaggeration and outright fabrication.

The real target of this manufactured crisis is not genuine anti-Semites, but Jeremy Corbyn and the wider Palestine solidarity movement.

But now additional evidence has come to light of a disturbing trend which has been fueling the fire lit since Corbyn’s first leadership victory in September 2015.

An investigation by The Electronic Intifada has documented 10 fake Twitter profiles posing as Corbyn supporters who have been posting virulent anti-Semitism.

The accounts share sufficient similarities to indicate that the same person – or group – is running them.

Without police involvement or a court case, it’s impossible to know for sure who is behind this troll network.

But whoever it is, they are clearly attempting to smear Labour as an anti-Semitic party.

Culprits?

It is well established that Israel has been running both covert and overt efforts against Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader.

Anti-Palestinian groups working in coordination with Israel are running covert social media campaigns.

A recent example was revealed in the suppressed undercover Al Jazeera investigation, The Lobby – USA.

As that film showed, The Israel Project is running a campaign to infiltrate pro-Israel narratives into popular, and otherwise innocuous, Facebook pages.

“There are also things that we do that are completely off the radar,” the lobby group’s managing director told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter.

Last month, another covert operation was revealed after its documents leaked – this one run by the British state.

The so-called Integrity Initiative was launched in 2015 and is directed by British military intelligence officials.

Its documents suggest it is involved in what it calls “infowar techniques.”

The UK government conceded after the leak that the initiative is being funded by both its foreign and defense ministries – over $3 million to date.

Among the shadowy group’s targets has been Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Deception

The network of Twitter accounts investigated by The Electronic Intifada uses a series of fake names and profile photos.

Their followers lists also include many dubious looking accounts, strongly suggestive of bought fake followers.

All 10 accounts have engaged in a pattern of deception, presenting as Labour activists while engaging in anti-Semitism.

Most have also posted violent incitement and death threats, often against Jews.

All 10 posted their most violent and anti-Semitic content as replies to other tweets.

This means that many times, a cursory look at the accounts’ profile pages is unlikely to reveal anything immediately objectionable.

Most of the accounts’ more public-facing tweets are legitimate Labour Party or other political material. Two of the accounts have also posted legitimate Palestine material.

Some of the legitimate Palestine solidarity material posted or retweeted by two of the accounts.

Because they are posted as replies, the anti-Semitic tweets would usually only be seen by those mentioned in them – or by enemies actively looking at those replies for evidence of “Labour anti-Semitism.”

The targets of the troll network have often been high-profile Israeli, pro-Israel or Labour accounts. They have included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right-wing Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Fake Labour

All 10 accounts present themselves as belonging to Labour Party supporters, activists or even staffers.

Reverse Google Image searches confirm that seven of the 10 profile images are stolen photos – the other three are likely screen grabs from videos.

Six of the 10 profiles present as ostensibly Muslim – it is these profiles that have posted some of the most disturbing anti-Semitism, including direct calls for violence against Jews.

These accounts have Arabic names including “Abu Hussein” and “Abu Omar” while using stolen photos, some of actual or alleged Islamists or Islamic extremists.

One such photo is of Muhammad Qutb, the late brother of influential Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb.

Surviving Twitter evidence shows the troll network dates back to at least November 2015.

The network

The 10 fake Labour accounts posting anti-Semitism analyzed by The Electronic Intifada are:

Three of the 10 were first exposed by Labour news site The Skwawkbox in 2017 and 2018.

Click here for full image.

The troll network’s tweets appear intended to provoke an outraged response at “Labour anti-Semitism,” thus fueling the crisis.

There have been several reported instances of just such outraged responses, from right-wing Labour lawmakers, and even in one case an Israeli government spokesperson.

An example of how the troll network helped drive the crisis took place on the final day of Labour’s 2016 annual conference. At the time, there was a media uproar about supposed Labour anti-Semitism.

This resulted in Black Jewish anti-Zionist activist Jackie Walker being suspended by Labour after she disagreed with Israel’s preferred definition of anti-Semitism at a supposedly private training session.

In this febrile atmosphere, the @dgrintz1 account tweeted that “A good Zionist is a dead one” at Tal Ofer – a British-Israeli member of the pro-Israel Jewish Labour Movement, a group that has driven the “Labour anti-Semitism” narrative from early on.

This reply-tweet was subsequently retweeted by Jeremy Newmark – then the JLM’s chairperson, though he was later forced to resign in disgrace.

The JLM has intimate ties with the Israeli embassy.

Violent anti-Semitism

Another typical example occurred in March 2018, during a renewed media frenzy over the supposed crisis.

A new account, “Abu Hussein,” began retweeting Corbyn, his senior Labour ally John McDonnell and other popular Labour accounts.

But a closer look at @AbuHusseinLab’s profile revealed a disturbing picture.

Some of the worst violent threats by “Abu Hussein.” (@derekrootboy/Twitter)

In a reply targeting Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s official Twitter accounts, “Abu Hussein” threatened “Jihad” against “Jews,” alongside a bloody graphic of a knife.

But the account had stolen its profile photo from a dating site.

“Abu Hussein” was reported to Twitter for violent racism by this writer and other Twitter users.

But the troll network simply opened more accounts – at least four of its supposedly Muslim accounts began tweeting in April 2018.

That same month the crisis over alleged anti-Semitism continued to rage in the party.

And Israel’s ostensibly opposition Labor Party openly drove it, generating headlines by suspending relations with Corbyn’s office over his “hatred of the policies of the government of the state of Israel” and alleged anti-Semitism.

In October 2018, a new fake Labour account began tweeting: @DeanBrownLab.

“Dean Brown” claimed to be a “former Labour party staffer” and a member of Momentum – a group which emerged from the campaign to elect Corbyn as Labour leader.

On 27 October, the day of the Pittsburgh massacre in the US, the account tweeted to Israel’s prime minister: “YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES.”

Neo-Nazi Robert Bowers has since been charged with the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue that day. He reportedly told police he wanted “all Jews to die.”

The account promptly disappeared. The goal of smearing Labour activists as anti-Semites had been achieved.

But as The Skwawkbox soon revealed, Labour sources emphasized that no Dean Brown has ever worked for Jeremy Corbyn. Momentum also confirmed it had no membership record of any Dean Brown.

The profile photo the account used was of someone totally innocent and was stolen from a local press report.

Fabricated

This troll network shows how easy it is for an individual or small group of people to convey a false impression on social media.

Despite there being no evidence that “Wesley Brown,” “Abu Hussein” or any of the rest even existed – let alone that they were Labour members – the troll network fooled several high-profile politicians.

This was easy to do, since the fake profiles fit into a preconceived narrative that anti-Semitism is rife within Labour, especially in the pro-Corbyn left.

Those who created the fake accounts also exploited Islamophobic prejudice that anti-Semitism is endemic among Muslims, including activists within Labour.

When the dominant media narrative is so often based on fabricated evidence, a serious reappraisal and extreme caution about future claims are overdue.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.

 

 

The Farewell Visit, Hours before the Execution…

Zeinab Daher

A few hours before the execution of three Bahraini activists, Ali al-Singace, Abbas al-Sami’ and Sami Mushaima, the Bahraini prison’s administration summoned the families of the martyrs in an unexpected call to visit their sons.

The regime in Manama carried out the death verdicts on Sunday [January 15, 2017], triggering angry demonstrations across the kingdom mainly in the villages of Diraz, Bani Jamra and Sanabis.

The youngest among them is Martyr Ali al-Singace who was under the legal age, only 15, when he was first arrested before the Bahraini revolution. He was allegedly accused of attacking an officer, and was later released after the breakout of the Bahraini revolution.

Ali was later kidnapped at the age of 16 and was threatened with being killed unless he operates as a secret agent for armed militias. The young martyr, who was still a student back then, was soon after sentenced to 5 years in prison for the case of February 14, for which he remained on the run, away from his family.

Finally, on the day of the alleged murder of Emirati officer Tariq al-Shihi and two policemen in al-Daih blast [March, 2014], Bahraini authorities stormed Ali’s house. He was detained about a year later and was sentenced to death, along with martyrs Abbas al-Sami’ and Sami Mushaima, for fabricated accusations.

However, it is worth mentioning that Ali, his family and all evidences confirm he had not been interrogated regarding the case of al-Shihi’s death.

So how could he be sentenced to death in a case he wasn’t even investigated for?

Speaking to al-Ahed News website, mother of 22 year-old Martyr Ali al-Singace described the procedure they went through one day ahead of the crime against the Bahraini activists: “The day before the execution, on Saturday, we were informed that we are allowed to visit our sons.”

They asked the martyrs on Saturday morning to give them the numbers of their families, the mother noted. “They wanted to give us their personal stuff, their clothes, food, shampoo, toothpaste… they wanted them to hand in all their personal stuff.”

The prison’s administration called Ali’s father, they informed him that at 16:00 they have to visit their son.

The family was suspicious of the news since no visits are allowed on Saturdays: “We called the family of martyr Abbas al-Sami’, they also said they have a visit at 14:30, then I called the family of martyr Sami Mushaima, they still hadn’t received any phone call at the time. But they were later informed that their visit is scheduled to be at 13:00,” the mother added.

“Our sons didn’t know that we will visit them. They learned about the visit half an hour before the first meeting of the Mushaima family. Each one of them was in solitary confinement, yet they could hear each other’s voices. All of them learned at 12:30 that they will be visited by their families.”

According to the bereaved mom, the martyrs themselves were cautious about the news: “Everybody knows that there are no visits on Saturdays. This, itself, represented an execution.”

“The visit wasn’t like any other… we underwent very careful inspection. Before we entered the prison, we were inspected in an outside cabin, then we were inspected again before we entered a car accompanied with 4 policewomen and 2 policemen,” the mother explained. She further noted that “after we got out of the vehicle, we were inspected again. The moment we entered the place, we saw many police officers on both sides. Between 50 or 60 police personnel, males and females, were deployed in the place.”

“Some four or five policewomen were standing next to us. They kept wearing their sunglasses, observing us during the one-hour visit.”

Martyr Ali al-Singace’s mother told us that the same strict inspection was applied on them as they exited the place… “We were surprised, we were only thinking of the entire procedure we went through.”

The mother explained the treatment they went through as “brutal inspection.”

“I told myself that the moment was a goodbye moment. I told my son to expect that this is the final visit… I told him this might be the last time we see each other although we didn’t know before. I had that feeling… I felt it is the time to say goodbye…”

On the next day, Ali’s father received a call at 09:00 in the morning informing him to come take his son’s corpse from a very far area, not in the region where they live.

“We wanted to bury him an al-Sanabis but they didn’t accept. We feared that they would bury them some place without knowing anything regarding their whereabouts,” the mom said.

Although our sons were executed, people here in Bahrain won’t be silenced and won’t stop their protests.

Ali, just like many other ‘opinion detainees’ in Bahrain, received his judgement in absentia. Also like many other innocent detainees, he was subjected to electric shocks, torture and insults to confess committing ‘crimes’ he actually didn’t.

Ever since the peaceful popular protests started in early 2011, Manama has provided a heavy-handed security response. The clampdown has cost scores of lives.

Later during the popular uprising, the regime called in Saudi and Emirati reinforcements to help it muffle dissent.

1,300 Bahrainis have been arrested and those still in detention have been tortured and denied access to medical care. Hospitals have been militarized as doctors and nurses are harassed for treating victims of the protests. Thousands of workers have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs for taking part in the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, as the international community – particularly in the West – has been quite vocal in condemning atrocities committed against protesters in some Middle Eastern countries, things in Bahrain go the other way. When it comes to the injustice practiced against people there, calls from the West for an end to the authorities’ human rights abuses have been rather muted.

People who demand freedom would definitely offer big sacrifices, and so is the case of the families of Bahraini martyrs. They well accept the martyrdom of their loved ones. They believe that their sons are in heaven, and that justice would spread some day, when the tyrant would receive his due punishment.

Al-Ahed News

“We’re All Palestinians Now” (video)

January 13, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

I toured California last week. Following is my talk at the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. I elaborated on my ‘most controversial ideas’: The J-Word, the Post political, the meaning of history and Athens vs. Jerusalem. The talk was introduced by Barbara Honegger. It was followed by a Q&A session.

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

January 12, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by GA: Many of us have, in the past, been open to leftist ideas. Ethically oriented thinkers are still excited by the idea of equality, freedom and opposition to racism. Sadly, these ideals are not reflected in New Left politics. While the Old Left taught us to transcend gender, race, sexual preference etc., the New Left builds walls dividing us along those same lines. As much as the Old Left was inspired to openness by Orwell’s criticism of the tyrannical, the New Left has slipped into that authoritarian dystopia. In a Kafkaesque manner that defies any reasonable rationale, the New Left is consumed with interfering with freedom of expression, meaning expression that does not comply with its strict newspeak protocol. The New Left bureaucracy is oblivious to the intent of the law and uses the form of the law to impose its will.

The Islington Council, a ‘Labour’ run operation, exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with New Left ideology, politics and practice. It operates bureaucratically masking its authoritarian positions,  following forms of procedure that are without substance so that the Council effectively insulates itself from its constituents and the rest of society.

We have to ask why, why is the New Left removed from traditional Labour values? Why is it detached from the people? Why would the New Left want to act as an obvious  Zionist tool? Why is it determined to bring Jeremy Corbyn down?

The answer is simple. The ideological and spiritual roots of the traditional Left came from working class politics. Traditionally, Labour and Left leaders both came from the working people and unions. They were proletarians who were inherently connected with the their class, its needs and its values. This ended when the evaporation of manufacturing made the working class workless. The unions have collapsed and the orientation of Labour politics has shifted radically. Instead of aspiring to be working class and union heroes, young Labour politicians are most often a dysfunctional herd of spoiled middle class former university activists who mature into party commissars. These New Left politicians may never have had to work and are in any case totally removed from the working people and their values as well as the values of the Old Left.

In the following article Eve Mykytyn dissects Islington Council’s institutional duplicity, the council’s formulaic pretences and most disappointingly, its removal from the Labour values of freedom and work.  While many of us are sympathetic to Corbyn and his politics, Britain may want to think twice before it gives his party greater access  to government. Labour politics seems to mean – end to free Britain as we know it. We shouldn’t let this happen. We better make sure that the Labour Party fix itself first.

 

Oh, The Services of Islington Council

 By  Eve Mykytyn

How does Islington Council respond to complaints about its decision to ban Atzmon?

The Islington Council issued a ‘detailed’ ‘stage one’ response to a complaint from a ticket holder(TH). The initial complaint, dated 19/12/18, expressed ‘disgust’ at the decision to ban Atzmon and a desire to see a music concert “that has no antisemitism in its show. ” In her first response, Lucinda Brown, venue business manager, had on 21/12/18 (the date of the concert) directed TH  to the Council’s (non) statement on its site.

As of  11/2/19 Ms Brown claims she “had the opportunity to investigate the details” of the complaint  and her “findings were as follows:” Contact the promoter and “raise a complaint.”  Ms. Brown then finds that the complaint has been duly  investigated at “stage one of Islington’s Complaint procedure and not upheld.” TH was given 30 days to reply.

The Council claims to be a service organisation. What service did TH get? What might Ms. Brown have ‘investigated’? Did she herself check with the promoters to see if refunds were available?  Since the Council itself had prevented Atzmon from playing, a simple “I’m sorry” might have been more satisfying than the insulting pretence that a refund would be forthcoming if TH were simply to “raise a complaint.”  Why did Ms. Brown send this answer at all?  Does sending a nonsensical jargon filled note help to feign service?

London Councils, the parent organisation of Islington Council provides for a three step complaint procedure in which the complainant is entitled at each successive phase to have his appeal reexamined by an employee higher up the council ladder. Mr. Atzmon’s appeals were handled first by Martin Bevis, the assistant director of Financial Operations & Customer Service and then by Ian Adams, the director of Financial Operations and Customer Service . Mr. Atzmon was not informed of or offered the third level of review to the Corporate Complaints Officer of the London Council. The Council’s policy provides that  a complaint will only be reviewed at Stage 3 if “at the discretion…there is a clear reason for dissatisfaction….or that any remedy proposed is insufficient.” Atzmon was never given the chance to make a case for a third appeal. There is even a fourth step available, if appeals one-three fail to satisfy the complainant, he may bring the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman at the London Councils.

Why was Atzmon not fully informed of his rights of review?

Atzmon would seem to be included in the Council’s mission statement, which reads as follows: “We’re determined to make Islington fairer. To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.” Did they add, ‘if we agree with their opinions?’

The Council made its decision weighing two competing interests. First, the rights of Mr Atzmon under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 “to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.” Article 10 restricts this right as follows: “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law…”

Article 10 makes clear that the right to free speech is not subject to a balancing test unless the speech violates a law. Atzmon, having crossed no legal limits in his speech, was not subject to speech restrictions. Indeed, the ban had to do with prior speech, no one alleged that Atzmon would speak while playing the saxophone at a rock concert.

The council referred to and quickly dismissed Atzmon’s rights under Article 10, citing article 10 rights to earn a living (which is not a provision of Article 10) and deciding that Article 10 rights are subservient to the Council’s duty under S 149 of the Equality Act of 2010. Are individual liberties properly curtailed by a council acting under a general non discrimination mandate? What if the Council thought it could make Islington safer for a protected group by bursting into homes instead of banning employment, would this be a legitimate override of personal freedom?

The Council claimed that its ban was necessitated by the law it found controlling, “the legal duty placed on the Council by s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.” But does the equality act even mandate the Council’s actions?

S 149 part 1 states the general purpose of the rule:  that a public authority must perform its duties with due regard to three factors; a. to eliminate discrimination, b to provide for equal opportunity and, c to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Section (5) of 149 explains how to ‘foster good relations’ as required by section 1(c). “Having due regard to the need to foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a)tackle prejudice, (b)promote understanding.”

Mr Bevis and Mr. Adams ‘found’ that Atzmon’s views are well known and disliked in the Jewish community. But both men went beyond this. Acting not as lawyers, judges (or may I assume scholars of Jewish identity politics) they pronounced Atzmon’s comments  “to be, [regarded as] at the lowest, provocative and distasteful, and, at the highest, anti-Semitic and racist by many, particularly those in the Jewish community.”

Based on their personal (and not legal) reading of materials provided by opponents of Atzmon, the Council concluded that good relations with the Jewish community would be harmed by Atzmon’s appearance. Tickets to the concert cost money and the musicians were known. Were many Jews likely to find offence also likely to pay to attend a rock Christmas concert with Gilad Atzmon?

Further, while some may have cheered the Council’s choice to disregard Atzmon’s Section 10 rights, how did his banning help to foster good relations between Jews and others? What about the ‘others’ who merely wanted to go to the concert? What groups did the Council integrate with the Jews to foster good relations?

Or does ‘fostering good relations’ mean banning any speech any protected group objects to?


If you are a British citizen, you can file a Freedom of Information request asking for records relating to Gilad Atzmon’s ban, the standards relied upon for that purpose and the process and assistance used by Bevis and Adams in their decision making.

You can do this by using Islington Council’s complaints form here, by writing to Islington Council at 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR, or by fax to 020 7527 5001.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

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