The British Establishment is Putting Our Lives at Risk

By Mark Curtis

Our State’s Key Ally Is a Major Public Threat

May 25, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The country is in shock after the worst terrorist attack in 12 years. The deranged extremist who detonated the bomb bears sole responsibility for the outrage and is not a soldier – for Islam or whoever – but a murderer. The Manchester suicide bombing is an act of barbarism inflicted on entirely innocent people.

This wave of terrorism driven by Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, derives from a complex infrastructure of forces, working over time. But it springs ultimately from the ideology promoted by the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, who were at least until recently funding and backing IS: they have done so to support their goal of overthrowing Assad in Syria and championing Sunni Islam in the face of rivalry with Iran. These are Britain’s allies. Whitehall has a deep, long-standing special relationship with the extremist Saudis: it is arming them, backing them, apologising for them, and supporting their regional policies. At the same time, the Saudis have been helping to create the monster that now threatens the British public. So, too, have the policies of the British government.

This is terrible, in the true sense of the term: the British establishment is putting our lives at risk in its obsessive obsequiousness in backing the Saudi state. We have to recognise that we are caught between two extremisms – that of IS and that of our own state’s priorities.

The British elite is perfectly aware of the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in fomenting terrorism. In October 2014, General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Telegraph that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires IS terrorists. He said:

“This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education, Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.”

He noted that UK/US bombing of IS would not “stop the support of people in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for this kind of activity” because:

“It’s not addressing the fundamental problem of Wahhabi Salafism as a culture and a creed, which has got out of control and is still the ideological basis of Isil – and which will continue to exist even if we stop their advance in Iraq.”

Shaw added:

“My systemic worry is that we’re repeating the mistakes that we made in Afghanistan and Iraq: putting the military far too up front and centre in our response to the threat without addressing the fundamental political question and the causes. The danger is that yet again we’re taking a symptomatic treatment not a causal one.”[1]

Last December Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in off-the-cuff remarks, accused Saudi Arabia of ‘puppeteering and playing proxy wars’ in the Middle East by ‘abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives’.[2]  Johnson was correct and it was a rare public admission of British awareness of the Saudi role, in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, which, as he and other officials must know full well, has had terrible consequences.

Saudi support for extremism

The Saudi role in exporting Wahhabism is surely well-known by now. In the past few decades, the Saudi regime has spent billions spreading its extremist interpretation of Islam worldwide, funding mosques and free madrassas – religious schools – supplying them with imams and textbooks. In 2013, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a private speech (leaked in 2016) that “the Saudis have exported more extreme ideology than any other place on earth over the course of the last 30 years.”[3]

This Saudi funding has included support for terrorism. EU intelligence experts estimate that 15 to 20 per cent of Saudi funding for its Wahhabist causes has been diverted to al-Qaeda and other violent jihadists.[4]A June 2013 report by the European Parliament deemed Wahhabism the main source of global terrorism. A classified 2009 cable signed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (also released by WikiLeaks) acknowledged: “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”[5] A State Department cable of 2009 released under Clinton’s name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan].”[6]

The Saudis have been funding terrorism for decades while Whitehall (and Washington) has been supporting them. In May 1974, for example, the US State Department warned Britain not to go ahead with its reported offer to sell Blowpipe surface-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia, for fear of “seepage of this type of weapon into the hands of terrorists”.[7] The US ambassador to Saudi Arabia told his British equivalent that the US had refused to sell similar equipment, the Redeye, for fear of their ending up in the hands of terrorists and being “used against civil aircraft or similar targets”.[8]

Islamic State

IS, which is believed to have been formed in 2006, has grown out of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and the terrorist infrastructure built up with Saudi money and Western covert action seeking to oust Assad of Syria. IS is certainly not a creation of the UK, US and its allies, but the latters’ policies have contributed to its growth.

Donors in the Gulf, including Saudis, have funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars to rebel groups in Syria in recent years, including to IS.[9] A secret memo written by Hillary Clinton in August 2014 (which appeared on the WikiLeaks website in 2016) noted that the Saudi and Qatari governments “are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [IS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region”.[10]Following IS’s capture of Mosul in northern Iraq in June 2014, former Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told US secretary of state John Kerry that “Daesh is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa,” the Shia Islamist party the US installed in power in Iraq.[11]

Saudi Arabia’s neighbour Qatar, the world’s only other predominantly Wahhabi state with whom Theresa May’s government has recently signed large commercial deals, may have been the biggest funder of the Syrian rebels, with some estimates suggesting the amount may be as much as $3bn.[12] In 2012, the New York Times reported, based on military sources, that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster”.[13]

This was of course all well-known to officials in London and Washington as they pretended to their publics to be supporting only ‘moderate’ rebel groups. In October 2014, Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden harshly criticised Saudi Arabia and Turkey in a talk at Harvard University. He noted that “they were so determined to take down” Assad that they:

“poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra, and al-Qaida, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.”

He added, “We could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.”[14]

As Nafeez Ahmed has argued, Western governments have deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Assad. A 2012 Defence Intelligence Agency document notes that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” and that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition”. The document stated that al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to IS, “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.” But the document also forecast the probable declaration of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.” Nevertheless, “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces”. Further the document noted that:

“there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

As Ahmed comments, the document provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting IS had previously welcomed the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad, and block off the strategic expansion of Iran.[15]

US journalist Rania Khalek has written[16] that it was not until 2014, when IS started beheading westerners on video, that the group became a major concern for the West. Prior to that, Western covert operations in Syria were so focused on weakening Assad, they acquiesced as Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded and armed IS, following which IS brutally swept across swathes of Syria and Iraq.[17] The US then put heavy pressure on Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop their support to IS and other radical groups in Syria, which is believed to have happened. However, Saudi Arabia still supports anti-Assad groups in Syria, which has been reported as including the Islamist Jaysh al-Islam.[18] Now, the Saudi regime is pledging support, including military operations, for the fight against IS in Syria. But the point is: the genie has long been out of the bottle.[19]

Britain’s covert role in Syria has served to prolong the war and, in alliance with the US and Saudi Arabia, de facto helped strengthen the hard-line groups who are now our enemies. There is some evidence that Britain had planned covert action in Syria to oust Assad as early as 2009, even before the uprising began in 2011.[20] But Britain is reported to have begun training Syrian rebel forces from bases in Jordan in 2012.[21] Although focussed on ‘moderate’ rebels, the ever-changing nature of the opposition forces and inter-operability between them has blurred any useful distinctions between ‘moderate’ and ‘hardline’. In 2015, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told parliament that “the vast majority of [Syrian] opposition groups are Islamist”.[22] Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay said in 2017 that the situation among the opposition groups in Syria “can indeed be fluid” and that “there can be splintering of those groups and some which appeared in the past to be moderate then change their view and join up with those with whom this country will have no truck”.[23] There is some evidence that some Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels receiving elite training from British and French forces went straight into IS, with one IS commander quoted as saying: “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.”[24]

Support for Saudi Arabia

All the while the Saudis have been exporting Wahhabism and backing Islamist groups and terrorists, they have enjoyed a special relationship with London and Washington. The history is so long and deep it is hard to summarise: basically the relationship is characterised by extreme sycophancy, total military support, constant apologias and carefully-controlled media lines that serve to keep the public in the dark about the true extent of relations and the nature of the Saudi regime. It is hard to pinpoint whether Saudi Arabia is a client of the UK or the other way round: probably both, since both set of elites have been happily joined at the hip.

The terrible bombing of Yemen by Saudi aircraft supplied by Britain, armed by Britain and conducted by British-trained pilots is but the latest episode in extreme UK support for Saudi foreign policy. The blood covers the hands of the entire British establishment. As Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has pointed out, the Royal Family, successive governments, parliamentarians, a good number of institutions and people with clout collectively suck up to the Saudi ruling clan.[25]

The result of all this is catastrophic. The ‘war on terror’ is a joke when your leading ally is the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism. Independent journalist Patrick Cockburn has written that in the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Pakistan over the elimination of terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, Isis and the Taliban.[26]

That is completely correct, and this is not just turning a blind eye. As I try to show in my book, Secret Affairs[27], the backing of Saudi Arabia is part of a broader story: that British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have, in pursuing the so-called ‘national interest’ abroad, colluded for decades not only with the arch-sponsor of radical Islamism in Riyadh but sometimes with radical groups themselves, including terrorist organisations. They have connived with them, and often trained and financed them, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. Governments have done so in often desperate attempts to maintain Britain’s global power in the face of increasing weakness in key regions of the world, being unable to unilaterally impose their will and lacking other local allies. Thus the story is intimately related to that of Britain’s imperial decline and the attempt to maintain influence in the world.

Theresa May’s government, as previous governments, have endangered the British public by the relationship they choose to have with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. In recent months, May has signed up Britain to a new generation of special relationships with these states, based on selling more arms and providing more training of their militaries and security forces to keep the ruling families in power. All this has been done on the quiet, with scant government or media reporting. We are set for another generation of domestic tyranny in Gulf and foreign Islamist adventures, all now helped by raising the enemy of ‘Iran’ – a foreign policy agenda being set by Riyadh and recently helped by President Trump’s preposterous invocation of Iran as the major sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.

We are in serious trouble unless this all changes. Our leaders’ policies are endangering us, and are among our major threats. The terrorism that we, ordinary people, face, derives from an ideology and infrastructure to which our leaders, claiming to protect us, have contributed. We desperately need another foreign policy entirely, one based on support for those promoting democracy and human rights – rather on than those with contempt for them.

 Mark Curtis is an author and consultant. He is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde and Visiting Research Fellow at the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales, Paris and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Auswartige Politik, Bonn. http://markcurtis.info

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11140860/Qatar-and-Saudi-Arabia-have-ignited-time-bomb-by-funding-global-spread-of-radical-Islam.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/07/boris-johnson-accuses-saudi-arabia-of-twisting-and-abusing-islam

[3] http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hacked-clinton-said-saudis-responsible-for-exporting-extreme-ideology/article/2604049

[4] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/isis-having-spent-billions-the-wahhabists-of-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-find-they-have-created-a-monster-30533853.html

[5] http://www.salon.com/2016/10/11/leaked-hillary-clinton-emails-show-u-s-allies-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-supported-isis/

[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-email-isis-saudi-arabia-qatar-us-allies-funding-barack-obama-knew-all-a7362071.html

[7] US State Department to US embassy, Jedda, 4 May 1974, National Archives, FCO8/2344

[8] A.Rothnie to Ministry of Defence, undated [March 1974], National Archives, FCO8/2343

[9] http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/saudi-funding-of-isis

[10] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/hillary-clinton-emails-leak-wikileaks-saudi-arabia-qatar-isis-podesta-latest-a7355466.html

[11] https://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/us-support-syrian-rebels-drove-refugee-crisis

[12] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/isis-having-spent-billions-the-wahhabists-of-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-find-they-have-created-a-monster-30533853.html

[13] http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state/

[14] http://www.salon.com/2016/10/11/leaked-hillary-clinton-emails-show-u-s-allies-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-supported-isis/

[15] https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-west-saw-isis-as-strategic-asset-b99ad7a29092

[16] https://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/us-support-syrian-rebels-drove-refugee-crisis

[17] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/isis-having-spent-billions-the-wahhabists-of-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-find-they-have-created-a-monster-30533853.html

[18] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/21/saudi-arabia-isis-riyadh-terror-threat

[19] http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/isis-having-spent-billions-the-wahhabists-of-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-find-they-have-created-a-monster-30533853.html

[20] http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state/

[21] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/08/west-training-syrian-rebels-jordan

[22] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-10-19/12468/

[23] https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2017-03-20/debates/7B7DBFFE-DEC4-471E-BD2A-5709AB4B7289/Syria

[24] http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state/

[25] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-evil-empire-of-saudi-arabia-is-the-west-s-real-enemy-a6669531.html

[26] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/confused-about-the-us-response-to-isis-in-syria-look-to-the-cias-relationship-with-saudi-arabia-a7087791.html

[27] http://markcurtis.info/2010/07/20/secret-affairs-britains-collusion-with-radical-islam/

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

See also –

Theresa May Knew of Manchester Bomber’s Terrorist Family: Col. Gadaffi had expelled the Manchester bomber’s father from Libya!

‘Sorted’ by MI5: How UK government sent British-Libyans to fight Gaddafi; Fighters say government operated ‘open door’ policy allowing them to join rebels, as authorities investigate background of Manchester bomber

‘Forgive me’: Manchester bomber final words to his nuclear scientist mother: Tabbal told interrogators her son left Libya for England only four days before the bombing and called her on the same day of the attack.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

Two crazy people, Donald Trump and Theresa May – Partners in Planning Armageddon?

Donald Trump and Theresa May – Partners in Planning Armageddon?

By Felicity Arbuthnot

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking. Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955.) 

The cynic might wonder if, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May spent so much time clutching Donald Trump’s hand on her January visit to the White House, she contracted a virulent strain of Trumpitis, an apparently incurable and uncontainable desire to erase swathes of fellow human beings from the planet, if not all life on earth. 

Trump, various Generals with incomprehensible psychedelic bits of cloth adorning their clothing and varying spokespeople, terrifyingly, will not “rule out” a nuclear strike on North Korea (population just 25.16 million v US population 321.4 million, incidentally) which could ignite a nuclear war. 

Five times draft evader Donald Trump seemingly lacks even a miniscule concept of the apocalypse even “conventional” weapons unleash. When he launched – arguably illegally – forty nine Cruise missiles which rained down on Syria (Thursday 6th April) whilst having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he remembered he was eating “a beautiful piece of chocolate cake”, but forgot the country he was attacking, muddling Syria with Iraq, so lightly was the unthinkable undertaken. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross was quoted as calling the strike “after dinner entertainment.” 

If Trump read and was thoughtful (the first apparently absent from his activities and the second seemingly fatally flawed) he might have reflected on North Korea’s genuine fears. Near erased from the earth by the US (1950-1953) constantly threatened over subsequent decades, Trump might have recalled the words of Joseph Rotblat, co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with the Pugwash Conferences, for:

“their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international affairs and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms.” 

Rotblat observed that: 

“If the militarily most powerful and least threatened states need nuclear weapons for their security, how can one deny such security to countries that are truly insecure? The present nuclear policy is a recipe for proliferation. It is a policy for disaster.” 

Another aspect of Theresa May’s Trump-like affliction is her equal lack of reflection. Determined apparently that she can play the world annihilation game with Trump led her Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, to announce that she would fire the UK’s nuclear weapons as a “first strike”, if necessary. (1) 

“In the most extreme circumstances, we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike”, he told the BBC’s Radio 4. 

Image result for Senator Frants Klintsevich

The reaction of Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich, Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee, was to call Fallon’s comments “disgusting”, saying they deserved a ”tough response.” He gave it in no uncertain terms pointing out that: “Britain, not having the biggest territory”, would “literally be erased from the face of the earth”, were it to launch a preemptive strike. He asked pointedly:

“Against whom is Great Britain going to preemptively use nuclear weapons?” 

In context, there is no proof whatsoever that North Korea has an integrated nuclear weapons programme (ie the weapons with the system to fire them.) It certainly has a nuclear bluster programme developed out of fear resulting from near seven decades of threats, with a vast US arsenal just across it’s border with nearing 30,000 US military personnel, twelve US bases, one provocatively named “Red Cloud” – and since 2006 further isolation in the form of sanctions. Now of course, there are also Donald Trump’s threats and declared “armada” of war ships, bristling with more nation erasing armaments. 

Senator Klintsevich added witheringly that if Britain intended to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state:

“then probably English people desperately want to share the laurels of the USA who threw nuclear bombs at defenceless Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (in 1945.)

“But those times have gone for good, as has the era of the greatness of the British Empire.” (2) 

However, undeterred by Russia’s warning, in a speech at London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) the following day, Fallon again confirmed:

“ … we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.” 

The authoritative political on line publication The Canary, asked in what circumstances impending Armageddon would be triggered, he replied:

“They are better not specified or described, which would only give comfort to our enemies and make the deterrent less credible.”

The Canary’s article (3) is in stark contrast to the casual talk in Washington and London of unleashing the unthinkable, it is headed:

 “The Conservative government just signed the UK’s death warrant. Quite literally.” 

It opens: 

“It’s already clear that part of the Conservative government’s general election strategy is to peg itself as ‘militarily tough’. And to prove that, Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon has made an astonishing claim. One that essentially signs the UK’s death warrant. 

“The UK will, he asserts, not hesitate to fire nuclear weapons in a first strike. That means the Tories won’t wait until the UK is under attack in some way to start a global nuclear war. It will just start firing at will. This is a complete break from the UK’s historical stance. And it’s one that, considering the UK’s size, could conclude with the country lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. 

“The UK’s nuclear arsenal (Trident) is up for renewal, which will potentially cost taxpayers over £200bn. Its renewal is in violation of the UK’s commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). But a number of politicians and their backers profit from Trident’s existence. So, unsurprisingly, it’s quite popular in parliament. (Emphasis added.) 

“The largely US-owned Trident system puts two hundred and fifteen nuclear warheads at the UK’s disposal, according to the Arms Control Association (ACA).” 

Image result for uk nuclear weaponThe Canary article also throws up the further unthinkable and leads to wondering if the threats to North Korea are either a red herring or a proposed practice run in this new, legally unconstrained, morally and reason-free political zone: 

“… in terms of defence, there has been one country firmly at the forefront of UK ministers’ minds over the last few years: Russia. It was the hot topic at a Commons Defence Committee meeting in December 2016. A session where Fallon asserted we’d be ready for war with Russia by 2018/19. In 2015, meanwhile, the country received a listing as a top-tier threat in the UK’s National Security Strategy (NSS). And, of course, NATO has stationed troops (including ones from the UK) directly on Russia’s borders.” 

However, Mrs. May-hem and Defence Secretary Fallon have apparently forgotten that:

“Russia … has seven thousand nuclear warheads (with) four thousand five hundred either deployed or stockpiled … around thirty three times more warheads than the UK has.” 

Further, for example, Russia’s Satan 2: “can allegedly carry up to a dozen warheads and level an area the size of the UK in one hit.” The UK’s population (2015) is 65.14 million. (Emphasis added.) 

Prime Minister May’s endlessly repeated mantra “Brexit means Brexit” (ie., Britain leaving the European Union) takes on a whole new meaning: she is prepared to trigger the UK departing the planet.

This week she announced that her government is to install psychiatric care workers in schools across the country. It would seem they are more urgently needed in the Cabinet, the Defence and Foreign Office Ministries and most essentially in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Notes

1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-nuclear-weapons-first-strike-michael-fallon-general-election-jeremy-corbyn-trident-a7698621.html

2. http://www.forces.net/news/britain-would-be-erased-earth-if-it-dropped-nuke-warns-russian-mp

3. https://www.thecanary.co/2017/04/27/conservative-government-just-signed-uks-death-warrant-quite-literally-image/

Brexit: Proof That Britain’s EU Referendum Was Rigged

Source

By Graham Vanbergen,

“This is Britain in 2017. A Britain that increasingly looks like a “managed” democracy. Paid for by a US billionaire. Using military-style technology. Delivered by Facebook. And enabled by us. If we let the EU referendum result stand, we are giving it our implicit consent. This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.”

This was the last paragraph of a near on 6,000 word piece written by Carole Cadwalladre entitled “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked” – and it was by far the most important article The Guardian has printed for some time. I’ve spoken to several friends who I shared the link with and not one got to read this paragraph. The article was too long and too technical. They struggled to comprehend the implications of what was written and this is understandable given the complexity of the detail. It was really three articles mixed into one. They gave up about half way through and were little the wiser. But its importance cannot be understated.

Image result for Carole Cadwalladr

Cadwalladre starts her disturbing piece describing how “a shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum.” I did a piece that laid out a similar scenario a month earlier entitled “The Link Between Brexit And The US Election, MI6, Fake News And Dark Money” but it didn’t delve as deeply into this shadowy operation in quite the same way – but my instinct for all this skullduggery was spot on. This might already seem difficult to absorb, but bear with me, it’s only a five minute read from here.

Cambridge Analytica (CA) are at the heart of this operation. Its parent company was SCL (Strategic Communication Laboratories) Group, a private British behavioral research and strategic communication company. They use psychological warfare strategies to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules. A secretive hedge-fund billionaire owns CA. Another character involved in this sordid tale is the billionaire co-founder of eBay and PayPal.

The article demonstrates that an authoritarian surveillance state is being constructed in the US and how democracy in Britain was overturned and corrupted by US billionaire’s. There are references to a right-wing ‘propaganda machine’ and the link with Donald Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon – a former media executive and film producer and Goldman Sachs banker with very right-wing attitudes.

Then we have accusations of improper use of funds, illegal use of data and that the activities of CA went far beyond the jurisdiction of UK laws. Illegal coordinated campaigns between rival political parties to secure Brexit are mentioned as are huge sums of money poured into database collections and even military strategies that may have been used in British and US elections. Financial caps and regulations enshrined into British law to protect democracy were disregarded.

SCL/Cambridge Analytica is part of the British defence establishment. And now it appears, the American defence establishment.

Cadwalladre makes the point that a military contractor is using military strategies on a civilian population to sway a national result, in this case, Britain’s EU referendum. Cadwalladre is supported by a UK based professor of sociology who says it is “an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy” where psychology, propaganda and technology are fused together.

Image result for Facebook insightsAnd who facilitated this huge data bundle that usurped Britain’s democracy – another American transnational corporation called – ‘Facebook.’ As the article points out

Facebook was the source of the psychological insights that enabled Cambridge Analytica to target individuals. It was also the mechanism that enabled them to be delivered on a large scale.”

In last week’s Panorama documentary, Facebook were accused of not being just a social media platform but an important political player who was decisive in the US presidential campaign from which it earned $250 million. Similar accusations are made with regard to British elections and especially the EU referendum.

Other campaigns used negative systems such as voter disengagement and suppression tactics – used to persuade some voters to say at home.

“This is military-funded technology that has been harnessed by a global plutocracy and is being used to sway elections in ways that people can’t even see” – says another expert.

The general consensus is that we (the people) are in an information war with the billionaires who end up controlling government and that we are in very ‘worrying times’ and that all this is ‘profoundly unsettling’.

But what it’s all about is that so much data is in the hands of a bunch of international plutocrats to do with it what they will, is absolutely chilling.

And this strategy is quite clearly working. The company that helped Trump achieve power in the first place has now been awarded contracts in the Pentagon and the US state department. Its former vice-president now sits in the White House.

Related image

The article continues with the big media players, who have used disinformation campaigns. More than a billion adverts reached ‘persuadable’ voters in the last days before the referendum. There is the hint that Britain and America’s spy agencies, GCHQ and the NSA have some involvement, that senior members of political parties like UKIP and activist organisations such as VoteLeave and Leave.EU were intimately involved in CA and others that intentionally swayed the result using subversive strategies intent on getting around laws.

In the end, as the article points out,

“Brexit came down to “about 600,000 people – just over 1% of registered voters”. It’s not a stretch to believe that a member of the global 1% found a way to influence this crucial 1% of British voters.”

You would think the electorate and its representatives in parliament would be ‘up in arms’ to think that a small clique of American billionaires had changed the course of history in Britain. That a new referendum might be considered, inquiries demanded, that individuals warrants would be issued to those deliberately usurping British democracy and its future prospects. But nothing will happen. We now have a government that has just called a snap election specifically to shore up its power base. It has only just been conveniently let off the hook by 29 police forces for financial irregularities with regards to the 2015 election. And as Cadwalladre says it’s about an election

designed to set us into permanent alignment with Trump’s America.”

In short, Cadwalladre has echoed what I said a month earlier – America has just highjacked Britain. Even if you voted for Britain to leave the EU, you should feel outraged that in the end, this was not a clean fight. You should feel outraged that Britain, already a lapdog to the awful ideology that now America represents, is now under the jackboot of Donald Trump’s fascism?

For all of the mainstream media’s constant whining of Russian influence on both sides of the pond, it turns out our so-called closest ally – just shot us in the back.

You now know it the EU referendum was rigged in a very special and technical way. I would rather stay in the EU and influence it than be faced with what is coming down the line next. America, not satisfied with destroying its own country is coming for what is left of ours and this current government is going to facilitate it along with a few billionaire media barons.

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon so screwed up. Claims Saudi is just defending itself by committing genocide in Yemen

Saudi Arabia is just ‘defending itself’ when it bombs Yemen, claims UK defense secretary

Source: rt

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has claimed Saudi Arabia is just defending itself by bombing famine-threatened Yemen, arguing the Gulf state is entitled to ask its allies for help.

Fallon had been asked if the Conservatives would consider suspending arms sales to the Saudis, given the serious concerns raised by international observers about the war in Yemen.

UK military personnel have been providing Saudi forces with airstrike and artillery training and Britain has sold billions of pounds’ worth of arms to the Gulf theocracy.

With Yemen’s main port blockaded there are fears the impoverished state could slide into famine unless the war is halted.

Saudi Arabia is being attacked by Houthi rebels across its southern border with Yemen. It’s had its towns and villages shelled by the Houthis,” Fallon told the BBC.

Saudi Arabia is fully entitled to defend itself and it’s fully entitled to call on its friends in so doing.

Fallon said the UK gains from a close relationship with Riyadh, calling it “an enormously important trading partner, a commercial partner, but also a defense partner.

We share intelligence with Saudi Arabia about terrorism. We gain from that relationship. Every arms export application is very carefully looked at and judged by our criteria — some of the toughest in the world. But Saudi Arabia, equally, is entitled to defend itself.

Fallon’s comment came a day after the head of UK arms giant BAE Systems told peace activists the firm’s staff are working in Saudi Arabia but would not say precisely what they were doing.

We supply equipment and we maintain equipment, but we are not involved in any military action,” CEO Roger Carr told activists from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

However, he admitted that BAE workers are “looking after the aircraft to make sure they can perform to the specification.

We are not arbiters, we are suppliers of equipment under a contract,” Carr said.

The war, which was declared by Saudi Arabia in 2015, is estimated to have cost 17,000 lives up to January 2017. The UN estimates around 2.5 million people have been displaced.

Speaking to RT on Thursday, Catherine Shakdam of the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies said that given the Saudi regime attacked first it was clear that the bombing is not an act of self-defense.

You can’t turn around then, when the resistance movement, in fact, defends its own borders and own sovereignty … and then argue against self-defense,” Shakdam said.

Boris “the clown” Johnson at his very best

Boris Johnson Lying His Ass Off, On Just About Everything, In Shameful LBC Interview.

Brexit Britain on the Brink

Brexit Britain on the Brink. Collapse of the Pound Sterling. “Theresa May, the Wrong Leader for this Perilous Moment”

By Matthew Jamison,

With the formal beginning of the UK General Election with the dissolution of Parliament, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street and started milking the nationalistic fervour of Brexit for all it was worth. Mrs. May declared that Brussels was attempting to “interfere” with the British General Election. The day before she crudely stated the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker would soon find out what a “bloody difficult woman” she was, taking that label first pinned to her by her fellow Tory colleague the wonderful Ken Clarke (who would make a fantastic Prime Minister).

According to an account of a working dinner recently held in Downing Street between Mrs. May and President Juncker the food was awful and Mrs. May was living in another “galaxy”. At the close of the dinner President Juncker said he was “10 times more skeptical” about the chances of a successful deal than he was before. As his brilliant Chief of Staff Martin Selmayr reflected Brexit cannot and will not be a success, it is a “sad and sorry event” that must be at best managed and contained. It would seem reality still has not sunk in with Mrs. May, her party, their followers and at least half the population in Britain.

The first piece of reality to bite was when the President of the European Council Donald Tusk ruled out striking a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement within the two year divorce proceedings. Mr. Tusk, backed up by the European Council, European Commission and all 27 loyal members of the European Union made it quite clear before any talks could even begin on the subject of a future UK-EU Free Trade Agreement the issues of “people, money and Ireland” would have to be sorted out. The divorce bill for Britain to leave the EU and honour it’s budgetary and contractual obligations has risen sharply and now Brussels is calculating it could be anywhere between 80-100 billion Euros.

I think this will be the sticking point at which no deal is reached given the slippery nature of the British State in honouring its financial commitments. Amazingly, back in October Bloomberg News released a report which showed the pound sterling became the world’s worst performing currency in October 2016 against the dollar, even below the Romanian and Colombian currencies and it has not much improved since then. One wonders by the time Brexit takes effect if there will be a pound sterling left? The cliff that the pound has fallen off is already putting severe pressure on prices back in the UK.

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President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker

The UK is already one of the most extortionate places in the developed Western world for prices. The cost of living in the United States, once one strips out the cost of university and healthcare, is actually much cheaper than Britain. This is due to the United States having a moderate sales tax of 9%. In Britain, it is an eye watering, unbelievable 20%. It could go even higher if the Tories are returned.

Mrs. May has pledged not to increase it before 2022 but her word is meaningless. She was for Remain and now is for a Hard Brexit. She was against holding an early General Election but broke that pledge too. May and her ghastly Chancellor Hammond attempted to raise National Insurance contributions for the self-employed only a few weeks ago even though the Tories manifesto at the last General Election promised not to do so. A pattern is developing which is you simply cannot trust a word the Tory Party and Mrs. May say.

One of the immediate effects of Brexit and the collapse of the pound is that prices have already risen sharply. There was the infamous Unilever spat with Tescos back in the autumn and that was just a taste of things to come. Whether it be food, energy, transport, water rates, rents, services etc. the cost of living in the UK is through the roof while the quality of the goods and services one gets is not equal to the price one pays and customer service is appalling. The UK is one of the most places in the developed, Western World for value for money and good customer service.

The UK supermarket Morrisons has had to hike the price of marmite by a staggering 12.5%. Meanwhile the National Institute for Economic and Social Research warned correctly that inflation in the UK would start rising fast in 2017. Indeed it jumped from 1.8% in January to 2.3% in February, quite an increase between one month and could go as high as 4% or more with the increase of import costs inevitably feeding through to the high street. As I said, the UK is already an egregiously and peculiarly overpriced place to live in, whether it is prices in the supermarket or on the high street, or the overinflated housing market and out of control rental sector. If prices are this expensive with an inflation rate currently at some where just over 2%, it will not be fun to see what prices stand at this time next year with an inflation rate of 4%.

Here I think about hard working and hard pressed people like a taxi driver in Cambridge I spoke with recently. He told me he works all the hours God sends him, seven days a week. And he still is only making ends meet and has no money left over at the end of the month to put aside for saving for a mortgage. Yet, according to Mrs. May Britain is such a great country to live in. So great, it has to spell it out by inserting the Great into its formal title. If someone has to tell you how great they are, you can bet your bottom dollar, they aren’t.

Then there is the issue of the Single Market. Britain’s main export market is the European Union. Indeed, the UK does more trade with Ireland than with China. As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on the morning of the referendum result:

“The British people have made it clear. They do not want to be part of the European Union. They do not want to be part of its Single Market”.

Mrs. May confirmed this with her dreadful, contradictory and incoherent “Global Britain” speech back in January. So, with no prospects of a quick and easy UK-EU trade agreement the years ahead for the UK, quite possibly crashing out of the EU and it’s Single Market on to World Trade Organisation tariffs will be very painful for British businesses and customers. This is why the reassurances that the British Government have given Nissan regarding tariff free access for the UK motor industry and its pronouncements that there will be no change in the border arrangement between Northern and Southern Ireland are worthless. It is not going to be up to the UK Government whether or not the motor industry will be free from EU tariffs or whether or not the island of Ireland is going to be subjected to an EU border.

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Brussels holds all the cards on these matters and it will be down to Brussels to decide if the UK motor industry is not subject to EU tariffs and whether border controls and customs checks should be introduced between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Britain perhaps has some leverage on these matters but it does not have the final control over them. Ultimately, the UK will have to dependent upon the good will and good graces of the EU with regards to the final outcome on these matters.

This is why Mrs. May is playing a very dangerous and counter-productive game now with stirring up even more anti-European xenophobia for short-term, petty political gain as if the monstrous UK Referendum was not bad enough with the current British Foreign Secretary coming out with statements likening the project of the European Union to Hitler’s vision for Europe. By being so hostile and aggressive with comments such as her “bloody difficult woman” statement and her vulgar declaration on the steps of Downing Street that Brussels was scheming and plotting to undermine British democracy, she is not building the bridges of good will and constructive relationships Britain will need to get a good deal from the European Union.

Last weekend the 27 EU leaders – Theresa May was not present – approved within a minute or so the guidelines for the EU’s negotiation of Brexit first issued on 31 March by President of the European Council Donald Tusk. EU officials said leaders burst into applause as the negotiating stance was waved through. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said:

“We are ready… we are together”.

As outgoing French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be

“a price and a cost for the UK – it’s the choice that was made”.

This is after all, what the British people voted for, so let them have it. I suspect there will be no deal at the end of the two year talks due to my belief that I can not envisage the UK honouring its financial contractual commitments. Thus, the UK will come crashing out without any deal.

If the EU chooses to subject the UK motor industry to tariffs and decides to institute an EU border between Northern and Southern Ireland, there will be nothing the UK can do to stop it. If the EU decides to make life difficult for the millions of British people who holiday on the glorious European continent each year to escape the miserable British weather and sour, passive-aggressive behaviour of their countrymen, there is nothing the UK will be able to do to stop it. There could be huge queues of cars at Dover and a plethora of customs checks. This is why the Leave campaign was such a fantasy, telling people that the UK could vote to leave the EU and still enjoy access to the Single Market.

This was one of the biggest lies told by Leave, just as big as their pledge to spend the extra money saved from EU budget contributions on the NHS. That pledge has quickly evaporated because it was based on lies and I doubt very much once the UK finally exits the EU in 2019 there will be any new money available to spend on the NHS. Indeed, it will be interesting to see what happens to the NHS which is staffed heavily with EU nationals and internationals because of the UK’s inability to train and retain home grown talent. As Matthew Norman writing in The Independent recently said:

“Those who disdain free movement of workers from inside and outside the EU (until they find themselves in hospital, or the washing machine breaks down)”.

Of all the EU Heads of Government, it has been the German Chancellor who has been the most moderate in her pronouncements on the consequences for Britain of leaving the EU. Now however even Angela Merkel’s patience with the foot dragging and flights of fantasy of the British Government is wearing thin. The Chancellor recently spoke of the “illusions” that some in the British Government still harboured regarding how difficult Brexit and it’s negotiations were going to be. Previously the Chancellor had said that:

“It is going to be rough going I think. It will not be that easy”.

This goes to nub of the predicament that the UK has placed itself in.

When it comes to Brexit it is the EU which holds all the cards. That is why perhaps it would have been wiser and in the national interest not to have appointed the “three Brexiters” of Johnson, Fox and Davis to the key posts that will oversee the massive amount of work involved over the coming years in disentangling the UK from the EU. Those appointments hardly sent a conciliatory and emollient message to EU capitals. In fact, it raised the hackles of many in Paris, Berlin et al and Mrs. May bangs on and on like a robot about how she is the only leader in Britain best placed to handle the Brexit negotiations. I think from her performance so far and that of her Government Ministers who brought about this crisis for Britain, it is clear she is the last person well suited to the task ahead.

It is not just an economic and financial storm which is on the horizon for the UK, but a constitutional crisis which could see the breakup of the United Kingdom itself. While the country as a whole voted by 52% to 48% to leave, a more complex and nuanced picture emerges when one examines the breakdown of the regional voting. Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain. As did Northern Ireland. The Scottish Nationalist First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been quite right to demand another Scottish Independence Referendum. The Scottish Referendum was held when the UK was still a part of the EU and Scotland was voting to remain part of a UK inside the EU. It would have made more sense to have held the Scottish Referendum after the EU Referendum, not the other way around.

But then, this is Britain after all where there is such poor planning and design with very little though and rigour ever put into anything whether it be the management and running of public services or the design and layout of public buildings. If it gets to such a vote, Scotland could well opt for independence this time as a means to re-enter the EU and gain access to the Single Market, a market place far bigger and far more important for Scotland than remaining in a union with England.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, the decision to leave the EU could very well achieve what thirty plus years of the bombs and bullets of the Provisional IRA failed to do – force a British Exit – with the North reunified with the South within the European Union. For the first time ever in the recent local Northern Ireland Assembly elections the unionists lost their majority for the first time ever and Sinn Fein is now only one seat behind the largest of the unionist parties.

As General de Gaulle said in his statement when he vetoed the UK’s first application for EEC membership in 1962: “England is insular”. It is not just England. Many parts of the UK are insular and brutally provincial, totally un-cosmopolitan and un-globalised. Many British people barely know the correct facts about the composition of their own country, let alone about the rest of Europe and the world.

No one in England (outside of the political, media, diplomatic and business elites) rarely calls the country by its formal title – the United Kingdom or even Britain – it is simply England for many people and most describe themselves as English rather than British. So one side effect of Brexit will probably be the end of the artificial construct known to only a few as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain is well and truly on the Brink and .

UK Peers “UK should not back “unpredictable” Trump’s US Middle-East policy”

UK should not back US Middle-East policy, say peers – BBC News

Donald Trump

The unpredictability of Donald Trump’s approach to the Middle East means the UK should no longer support US foreign policy in the region, peers have said.

A House of Lords committee concluded the UK could no longer assume the US would “set the tone” for the West’s relationship with the Middle East.

The International Relations Committee spent six months working on its report.

Ministers said the UK would continue to work with international partners to achieve security and prosperity.

Nuclear deal

The report said the Trump administration had “the potential to destabilise further the region”.

“The mercurial and unpredictable nature of policy-making by President Trump has made it challenging for the UK government to influence US foreign policy so far, a challenge that is not likely to ease,” it said.

The peers point particularly to the US president’s hostility to the deal curbing Iran’s nuclear programme and his ambivalence to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The peers said the UK must distance itself from the US and fundamentally reshape its policy.

They said the UK should do more to support the Iran nuclear deal and consider recognising Palestine as a state, to show Britain’s continued attachment to the two-state solution.

The committee, led by Conservative former Foreign Office minister Lord Howell of Guildford, said British “confusion and disarray” over Syria reflected contradictions in international policy on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“The objective of displacing Assad, as a prerequisite of any settlement, with the current means and policy, has proved unachievable,” they said.

“Despite the chemical attack and the recent escalation of military conflict Assad, with Russian support, remains in power.

“There are no good options available in Syria but the recent chemical attack, the urgency of the humanitarian crisis, with the potential to destabilise the EU and countries of the Middle East with refugees, requires the UK, and international community, to redouble its efforts to achieve a negotiated solution.”

Arms sales

The committee also called for the government to take a tougher line with Saudi Arabia over its actions in Yemen, including the possibility of suspending some arms exports as a last resort.

“We recognise the importance of arms sales to the UK economy and the Gulf. Arms sales, however, must take place with regard for international obligations,” the report said.

“The government must demonstrate that its private diplomacy is working. If not, it should speak out clearly at the UN, within the Human Rights Council, condemning violations, intentional or not, in clear terms.”

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale described the committee’s report as uncompromising.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK would be unable to say “no” if the US asked for military support in an airstrike on Syrian government targets

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