American interference in the Brexit referendum

Hedge-fund mogul Robert Mercer helped Brexit campaign: Report

Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)
Robert Mercer in New York in 2014 (file photo)

An American hedge-fund mogul who contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign played a crucial role in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, according to a report.

Billionaire Robert Mercer, an owner of the right-wing Breitbart News Network as well as data-analytics companies, is a close friend of Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader and leading Brexit campaigner.

In the lead-up to the June 23 referendum on the EU membership, Mercer directed his data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, to provide expert advice to Farage associates on how to target undecided voters on Facebook, The Observer has learned.

The services were kept from the electoral commission.

Cambridge Analytica, which has 25 years of experience in military disinformation campaigns, claims to use state-of-the-art technology to build psychometric profiles of voters in an attempt to target their “emotional triggers” in elections.

“They were happy to help. Because Nigel is a good friend of the Mercers. And Mercer introduced them to us,” Andy Wigmore, communications director of Leave.eu, told The Observer.


British politician Nigel Farage speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by AFP)

“What they were trying to do in the US and what we were trying to do had massive parallels. We shared a lot of information,” he added.

The Trump campaign also reportedly paid millions of dollars to the company to persuade swing voters to cast their ballot for the real estate tycoon.

The strategy involved harvesting personal data from people’s social media profiles and using the information, combined with artificial intelligence, to decide who to target with individualized ads.

Farage dined with the US president and his advisers in Trump International Hotel in Washington this week, praising them as being part of a “global revolution” that began with Brexit.

As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of israel’s Spies in London Exposed

As Netanyahu and May Chat, a Large Nest of Israeli Spies in London Exposed

 

The Israeli Embassy has seventeen Israeli “technical and administrative staff” granted visas by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The normal number for an Embassy that size would be about two. I spoke to two similar size non-EU Embassies this morning, one has two and one zero. I recall I dealt with an angry Foreign Minister during my own FCO career incensed his much larger High Commission had been refused by the FCO an increase from three to four technical and administrative staff.

Shai Masot, the Israeli “diplomat” who had been subverting Britain’s internal democracy with large sums of cash and plans to concoct scandal against a pro-Palestinian British minister, did not appear in the official diplomatic list.

I queried this with the FCO, and was asked to put my request in writing. A full three weeks later and after dozens of phone calls, they reluctantly revealed that Masot was on the “technical and administrative staff” of the Israeli Embassy.

This is plainly a nonsense. Masot, as an ex-Major in the Israeli Navy and senior officer in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is plainly senior to many who are on the Diplomatic List, which includes typists and personal assistants. There are six attaches – support staff – already on the List.

Masot was plainly not carrying out technical and administrative duties. The term is a formal one from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and it is plain from the convention that technical and administrative staff are in official status lower than the diplomatic staff. The majority of support activities are carried out in all Embassies by locally engaged staff already resident in the host country, but a very small number of technical and administrative staff may be allowed visas for work in particularly secure areas. They may be an IT and communications technician, possibly a cleaner in the most sensitive physical areas, and perhaps property management.

These staff do not interact with politicians of the host state or attend high level meetings beside the Ambassador. The level at which Shai Masot was operating was appropriate to a Counsellor or First Secretary in an Embassy. Masot’s formal rank as an officer in his cover job in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs would entitle him to that rank in the Embassy if this were a normal appointment.

The Al Jazeera documentaries plainly revealed that Masot was working as an intelligence officer, acquiring and financing “agents of influence”. It is simply impossible that the FCO would normally grant seventeen technical and administrative visas to support sixteen diplomats, when six of the sixteen are already support staff. The only possible explanation, confirmed absolutely by Masot’s behaviour, is that the FCO has knowingly connived at settling a large nest of Israeli spies in London. I fairly put this to the FCO and they refused to comment.

I asked my questions on 10 January. On 12 January the FCO asked me to put them in writing. On 2 February they finally replied to the first three questions, but refused to comment on questions 4 or 5 about involvement of the intelligence services in Masot’s appointment.

On 2 February I sent these follow-up questions to the FCO by email:

FCO Media Department have replied that they refuse to give me any further information on the subject, and that I should proceed through a Freedom of Information request so the FCO can assess properly whether the release of any further information is in the national interest.

What is it they are always saying to us: if you have got nothing to fear, you have got nothing to hide?

I am confident I know what they are hiding, and that is FCO complicity in a large nest of Israeli spies seeking to influence policy and opinion in the UK in a pro-Israeli direction. That is why the government reaction to one of those spies being caught on camera plotting a scandal against an FCO minister, and giving £1 million to anti-Corbyn MPs, was so astonishingly muted. It is also worth noting that while the media could not completely ignore the fantastic al Jazeera documentaries that exposed the scandal, it was a matter of a brief article and no follow up digging.

This was not just a curiosity, it reveals a deep-seated problem for our democracy. I intend to continue picking at it.

 

Does israel call the shots in British politics?

Does Israel call the shots in British politics?

By Linda S. Heard | Intrepid Report | January 27, 2017

Russia’s alleged attempt to sway the results of the US presidential election pales by comparison to Israel’s proven infiltration of Britain’s political sphere. However, whereas the US political establishment is up in arms, threatening a new round of anti-Russian sanctions, the British government has done its utmost to sweep the explosive findings of an Al Jazeera undercover reporter under the rug.

This is, of course, unsurprising. Israel is a special case, uniquely permitted to get away with anything from snubbing international law and UN resolutions to inserting spies and working against unsympathetic politicians in the US Congress and UK Parliament.

Much has been written about the power of the Israeli lobby in the US, and its ability to destroy the careers of out-of-step lawmakers. One of the most controversial exposés was “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, that smashed taboos and brought down an avalanche of criticism on the writers’ heads.

However, the extent to which Israel’s emissaries have succeeded in manipulating British Conservative and Labour MPs, as well as student bodies and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, had evaded the spotlight until now; a spotlight that quickly dimmed due to the government’s conciliatory responses.

Indeed, its reaction to hard evidence of a plot—discussed by a senior Israeli political officer based in Israel’s London Embassy, and the Conservative Party’s deputy chairman’s chief of staff—to take down two influential politicians, Sir Alan Duncan and Crispin Blunt, was not only muted but bordering on the apologetic.

The Israeli propagandist conceded that Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was solid on Israel, but referred to him as “an idiot.” If Johnson was offended, he did not show it. An apology from Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev was all it took for him to announce he was closing the book. The offending political officer later resigned, but when the dust settles he will probably resume his duties elsewhere in the world.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May was also keen to put a lid on the matter and screw it down tightly. A spokesman confirmed the UK-Israel relationship remained strong. May’s personal affiliations are no secret. Her rapping of former US Secretary of State John Kerry on the knuckles for his branding of the Israeli government as “the most right-wing in history,” which it certainly is, spoke volumes.

At a Conservative Friends of Israel lunch in December, attended by 200 MPs, she praised Balfour’s historic letter as demonstrating Britain’s vital role in creating a Jewish homeland, and displayed her rose-colored spectacles with the words: “It is only when you walk through Jerusalem or Tel Aviv that you see a country where people of all religions and sexualities are free and equal in the eyes of the law.” In any other forum, that statement would have been met with derision.

May rejected a call by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—an unabashed pro-Palestinian politician who features large in the lobby’s sights—to open an investigation into Israel’s reach and methods to sway the country’s democratic process.

An unnamed minister in former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet, who is afraid to reveal his identity for fear of “a relentless barrage of abuse and character assassination,” asserted in the Daily Mail: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.” He condemned successive governments for allowing “Israel influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”

To imagine Israel’s apology was genuine would take a leap of credulity. Mossad’s former motto was “by way of deception thou shall do war,” and that secret war is ongoing. As usual, Israel’s government has gone on the offensive, out to shoot the messenger, in this case Al Jazeera.

Organizations affiliated with Israel have asked the UK’s communications watchdog OFCOM to probe the televised expose for its alleged lack of impartiality and anti-Semitic content.

If the Palestinians are hoping that the US or UK will ever emerge as unbiased intermediaries in their struggle for a state, they should think again. Many years ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column “Does Israel rule the world?” The answer is not yet, but due to indoctrinated, fear-ridden, bribed or religiously/ideologically committed politicians, it is quietly shackling the power centers in Western capitals while conniving to silence the voices of the brave.

Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

Mainstream British Press Propaganda Ramps Up Dangerous War Rhetoric against Russia

Mainstream British Press Propaganda Ramps Up Dangerous War Rhetoric against Russia

By Graham Vanbergen,

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The British press are in full hysteria propaganda mode when it comes to demonising our new greatest threat on planet earth; not climate change, a global pandemic, international terrorism, or America’s new foe in the South China Sea – but Russia.

The Telegraph 31/12/16: “Systemic, relentless, predatory’ Russian cyber threat to US power grid exposed as malware found on major electricity company computer.”

The Independent 13/12/16: “Highly probable Russian interfered with Brexit referendum.”

The Express 15/01/17: “Russians forcing RAF to abort missions in Syria by ‘hacking into’ their systems”

The Guardian 14/01/17: “Senior British politicians ‘targeted by Kremlin’ for smear campaigns”

In all of these newspaper reports, and there are plenty more of them, not a single scrap of actual evidence other than hearsay is published. In the case of the Express story, it’s allegations are backed up with the statement “It is entirely feasible that Russia has targeted Tornadoes and Typhoons in this way,” said air defence expert Justin Bronk, of the Royal United Services Institute think-tank.” This is not evidence.

In the case of the Telegraph, this fairy-tail has been 100% debunked as pure propaganda and the original report from the Washington Post ended with a full-on apology by its editor. The Telegraph has printed no such amendment or apology for its totally fictitious article.

The Guardian’s headline is pure misinformation as it’s sole point of evidence is an MP (Chris Bryant), explaining that incumbent Foreign Office ministers could not speak out on the (Russian hacking) issue because of security connotations, and said:  “Any minister who goes into the Foreign Office and has responsibility for Russia, they [Moscow] will be, in any shape or form, trying to put together information about them.” As if to strengthen the ‘evidence’, Bryant says he is “absolutely certain that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Alan Duncan who has the Russia brief, and [Brexit secretary] David Davis will have been absolutely looked at.” This is not evidence.

The funny thing is this; the story may be true and quite probably is, but so what.

In October 2015, Britain’s own spy agency confirmed it was spying on Britain’s MP’s and at the time was given court immunity when challenged. It determined that MPs’ communications were not protected from surveillance by intelligence agencies. This case came about because Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Baroness Jenny Jones and former MP George Galloway, that revelations from Edward Snowden, showed MPs’ communications were being spied on by GCHQ despite laws protecting them.

Around the same time we learn that a well known paedophile ran a lodge set up by GCHQ for its spies to monitor important political ‘targets’ ie our own MP’s and other public figures.

Back in 1983 Margaret Thatcher used Britain’s latest and most advanced surveillance system named ‘Echelon’ (Read: ECHELON – The Start of Britain’s Modern Day Spying Operations) to Spy on Government Ministers’. It was an American design and the first major state surveillance system using satellite and IT systems to spy worldwide. Indeed Echelon was originally created in the 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies throughout the Cold War by Britain and America. All of this data being shared with America – and whichever way you look at it, is a foreign government.

America’s NSA monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders in another Snowden leak three years ago. Germany’s Spiegel reported in 2014 that “Documents show Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.” So distrustful of the British that Chancellor Merkel announced a counter-espionage offensive designed to curb mass surveillance conducted by the US NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ.  Today it is reported by IntelNews that the “discord between British and German intelligence services, which began at the same time in 2014, allegedly persists and now constitutes the “biggest rift between the secret services” of the two countries “since World War II”.

Just six months ago we found out that “GCHQ and NSA routinely spy on UK politicians’ e-mails” that included privileged correspondence between parliamentarians and their constituents and before that, internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents reveal routine interception of legally privileged communications. The information obtained was exploited unlawfully to be used by the agencies in the fighting of court cases in which they themselves were involved.

Amazingly, we recently find out just last week that Israeli embassy staff, quite likely Mossad operatives – “are working with senior political activists and politicians in the Conservative and Labour parties to subvert their own parties from within, and skew British foreign policy so that it benefits Israeli, rather than British interests.” And yet, there has been little comment in the British press about foreign infiltration of government minsters by Israel.

If Russia were not spying on our MP’s, they would be the only ones not at it. No-one trusts anyone. Spying is old news and fully expected. We are ALL being spied on nowadays.

The British press are complicit in their reckless rhetoric designed to instil fear into the population with dangerous propaganda that could easily lead to tensions becoming so dangerous that a real ‘hot war’ starts. Whilst America is shielded by continental Europe and the Atlantic ocean, Britain could be used as a pawn to be sacrificed on the international chess-game of winner-takes-all. We have no ‘special-relationship’, there never has been one, and an irresponsible press being a mouthpiece that ramps up the stress between the US/NATO and Russia is absolutely against the interests and national security of Britain.

As Laurence Krauss’s (chair of the board of sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is on the board of the Federation of American Scientists) article last October alarmingly points out – “Trump has said he would consider using nuclear weapons against ISIS and suggested that it would be good for the world if Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia acquired them.” Trump could be one seriously dangerous individual for world peace – who knows!

So much for Trump but as Krauss goes on to say that “In general, during the Obama presidency, we have only deepened our dangerous embrace of nuclear weapons. At the moment, around a thousand nuclear weapons are still on a hair-trigger alert; as they were during the Cold War, they are ready to be launched in minutes in response to a warning of imminent attack.” 

Who in their right mind would support this lunacy?

Theresa May may not frighten Europe but the UK’s prime minister frightens me

Back to 1971: she may not frighten Europe but the UK’s prime minister frightens me

Theresa May sets out her view of what kind of country she wants Britain to be.

Theresa May’s speech – image, number 10.

Theresa May’s historic speech at Lancaster House will go down as one of the last manifestoes of English imperialism and perhaps its final call. The latter depends on the response of the other European powers as well as Scotland and whether they have the will and capacity to call her bluff. 

The ostensible purpose the speech was to set out the U.K.’s Brexit strategy. But May stated at the start, “That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be”. Her answer, “I want us to be a truly Global Britain”.

She mentioned “Global Britain” eleven times. The phrase was branded on the lectern as well as the wall behind her. If it strikes you as more than accidental that “global” alliterates with “great” you would be right. For the phrase Global Britain is capitalised in the official text of the speech on the Downing Street website. Global is not used as a regular adjective, it has become part of the country’s proper name. It is no longer credible to boast of ourselves as Great Britain. But rather than lose the imperial brand, we can replace it with Global. Greatness modernised!

There was another twist to the imperial subtext when she addressed herself directly to “our friends across Europe”. She wanted to explain to them – the audience was made up of ambassadors from EU countries – the reason for the referendum’s outcome is that the country wants “to restore, as we see it… national self-determination…”. Coming from the mouth of Downing Street, which has had to grant national self-determination to many a colony, usually under duress, this a provocative dig at the imperial pretentions of the EU. It is an endorsement of Brexit as a liberation from an occupying power. And it plays that familiar gambit of bullies everywhere, it makes out that Britain is a victim.

At the start of her description of the kind of country she wants us to self-determine, May said, “we will put the preservation of our precious Union at the heart of everything we do. Because it is only by coming together as one great union of nations and people that we can make the most of the opportunities ahead”. And, “A stronger Britain demands that we do something else – strengthen the precious union between the 4 nations of the United Kingdom”. She mentions three of the nations by name, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There was no mention of the fourth. Yet at the end of this section she spoke in a commanding, possessive tone, saying the government was determined that there will be no new barriers “within our own union”.

Then she added, and, “as we do this, I should equally be clear that no decisions currently taken by the devolved administrations will be removed from them”. This looks like a gesture of respect if not generosity. In fact it is an outrageous claim. It presumes she has the unilateral power to reduce the authority of the “devolved administrations”, should she so wish. Who is occupying whom in this case? It is not just up to her as to whether decision making will be “taken” from the Scots and the Welsh, or without the agreement of Dublin from the Northern Irish. Nor are they simply “devolved administrations”, these are governments authorised by their own parliaments. This is not an acknowledgment of other governments within the Kingdom but of “devolved governance”, as if to recall the phrase of Enoch Powell’s “power devolved is power retained”.

What we are witnessing in Theresa May is an English voice, full of its own conceit, presuming itself to be in sole charge of its  “precious union”, so as to bend Britain to its will. Doing so, she told the Europeans, because:

Our political traditions are different. Unlike other European countries, we have no written constitution, but the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the basis of our unwritten constitutional settlement. We have only a recent history of devolved governance – though it has rapidly embedded itself – and we have little history of coalition government.

This sets her face against any constitutional reform at this moment of profound change. We are not going to update the UK or become a modern country with a written, democratic constitution. We will stay as we are. The reference to coalition is a signal to her own party that we don’t want any more of that if we can help it – and there will be no change to the voting system. It is also an aggressive push back against Scotland too.

But Scotland today enjoys a government based on popular not parliamentary sovereignty. Its constitution is not yet written down in an independent document, however, its powers are codified, its legal tradition is rooted in Europe’s codified one, and its parliament is permanent. As Adam Ramsay set out in an openDemocracy article widely read in the approach to Scotland’s independence referendum of 2014, it is not Scotland that’s different it is Britain that’s bizarre.

The prime minister called for both sides in the coming negotiations between the UK and the EU to show “imagination”. If Europe’s leaders were to show some real imagination and stop pushing Scotland out of the EU against its wishes, they would offer it generous economic terms to ensure it remains. If they did, Theresa May’s proclamation of continuity would be just words.

She is aware of this vulnerability. Hence the extraordinary threat that she made, behind her smiling pitch for a free trade agreement. Agree, or it will prove to be “an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe”. Because if the EU does not do as she wishes, it “would jeopardise [its] investments” in Britain as well as its trade with “one of the biggest economies in the world”. So there! 

She backed up her menacing talk by claiming, “if we were excluded from accessing the single market – we would be free to change the basis of Britain’s economic model”. As Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform notes, this is a hollow threat. If she tries to turn the UK into a low-regulation Singapore undercutting the EU, the prime minister will upturn the one set of positive changes she pledges for Britain after Brexit: robust workers’ rights and – perish the word – a European industrial strategy.

The more significant incoherence is institutional. Whatever the tensions in negotiation with the EU, Global Britain, she says, will be unified at home, “Because after all the division and discord, the country is coming together”.  In May’s view, “The referendum was divisive at times. And those divisions have taken time to heal. But one of the reasons that Britain’s democracy has been such a success for so many years is the strength of our identity as one nation…”.

Hold on, “one nation”? This is the same person who in the same speech refers to “the 4 nations of the United Kingdom” and our “union of nations” has collapsed them into one? Some cognitive dissonance.

One nation style unity is on the way because, “the importance we attach to our institutions means that when a vote has been held we all respect the result. The victors have the responsibility to act magnanimously. The losers have the responsibility to respect the legitimacy of the outcome. And the country comes together”.

This is a very striking claim. May supported Remain but she speaks here as if she is a victor. But where is the magnanimity? the word implies not simply telling the losers to accept the outcome, but stretching out to them with some concessions to meet their concerns. Yet she makes not the slightest concession to anyone this side of UKIP. This is not a formula for coming together or unity. After May made her first speech about Brexit in October last year, I showed how the Daily Mail had taken power. When they are magnanimous, she will be. Until then, if you are not with her, you are an enemy of the people.

Which brings me to the NHS. The word ‘England’ may have been missing in her utterly English presumption about the country’s sovereignty, but its absence is an old trick. What is more surprising is the absence of any reference to the NHS. The campaign for Brexit was notoriously tattooed with a pledge to pump money into it. If there is one institution everyone, whether Remain or Leave, attaches importance to it is the Health Service. About this, and its desperate need for funds there is silence. Under Blair, New Labour pledged to bring UK expenditure of the NHS up to European levels, of over 10 per cent of GDP. Current projections seem to suggest it will sink back to below 7 per cent by 2020. Is this a preparation for the prime minister’s threat to alter the country’s “economic model”? Inflicting calamitous harm on the institution that most unites the country, in “one of the biggest economies in the world”. It does not make sense – unless the Daily Mail has taken over your brain.

The media understandably focused their response to the speech on the big story of what Theresa May is saying about Brexit. But her setting out “what kind of country we want to be” is as important. At the start she heralded a “great moment of national change”. Yet she is not proposing that Britain changes the way it is governed one bit. Instead of offering the Scots a federal settlement, giving the English who drove Brexit a voice (see Nicholas Boyle’s recent philippic), proposing an inventive solution for Northern Ireland, and acknowledging that London, a world city with its own directly elected mayor, voted to remain by 60:40, she insists we can make our greatness global and appears to want to take the country back to 1971, if without its then troublesome trade unions. Her Daily Mail approach has led the prime minister to place too much emphasis on firmness. What works for a headline does not good policy make. Every holder of her office is now haunted by the way Margaret Thatcher reshaped the country. But Thatcher’s conviction was harnessed to a formidable programme of genuine domestic transformation and a new culture of government, whether you liked it or not. There is no such depth to May’s announcement of her beliefs.

Anthony Barnett is writing THE LURE OF GREATNESS: England’s Brexit & America’s Trump

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit’

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit’

UK’s Delusional Threats to Europe over ‘Hard Brexit'

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivered her much-anticipated speech on Brexit this week, and it was suffused with delusions of grandeur. When are British leaders going to realize that their days of imperial greatness are long gone? Listening to May, however, one would think that the world’s map was still splattered in red, white and blue colors of the Union Jack – otherwise known by former colonial subjects as the Butcher’s Apron.

The Conservative prime minister gave a bravado speech that heralded a blissful, prosperous future for «global Britain». May said that Britain was now open for free trade with the rest of the world, after having voted in a referendum last June to quit the European Union, after 43 years of membership.

Finally, after seven months of dithering and confusion on the matter, May declared that Britain would henceforth be seeking a «hard Brexit», whereby the United Kingdom would no longer seek to be part of the EU’s single market. It would therefore be free from obligations concerning migration and free movement of European citizens. That is, Britain would gain full control of its borders. A «soft Brexit» option would have involved a compromise between retaining single-market membership and accepting a degree of open borders.

No way. Theresa May was at last supposedly giving clarity on Britain’s position, saying there would be «no half measures, no half in, half out… Brexit means Brexit». The Financial Times approved of her upbeat message with the headline: «No more Theresa Maybe».

Listening to May’s prognosis of glowing prospects for «global Britain» – trading with the US, Canada, China, India and the Persian Gulf among others as bilateral partners – makes one wonder why Britain ever bothered joining the EU’s single market back in 1988, as her predecessor Margaret Thatcher had zealously committed to (15 years after its original accession to the European Economic Community, the precursor of the EU.)

Perhaps it has something do with the fact that nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s exports go to EU markets – free from any trade barriers. How Britain’s exports will fair in a global marketplace of cut-throat trade tariffs is a moot question.

According to the British government it’s all going to be rosy. That, by the way, wasn’t May’s position prior to the referendum. She campaigned for remaining in the EU and in doing so she had predicted that leaving the bloc would spell economic disaster for Britain. All that doom seems to have dramatically disappeared now in May’s apparently revised upbeat world outlook, without providing an explanation for her U-turn.

Here’s the thing: Downing Street’s supposed announcement of clarity on the Brexit this week raises, on the contrary, even more befuddling questions. May is aiming to conclude Brexit negotiations in two years with the European Commission based in Brussels. But that timescale is impossibly optimistic. Only a few weeks ago, her top diplomat charged with negotiating the Brexit was forced to resign because he dared to warn that a separation deal would take up to 10 years to finalize. And that longer-term view is probably a realistic assessment. For instance, it took Canada seven years to recently conclude a free-trade pact with the EU. For Britain, with many more legal entanglements to resolve, any less timeframe seems in the realm of «daydreams» – as some EU politicians caustically remarked following May’s speech this week.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Boris Johnson can crow all he likes that «the world is queuing up to do business with Britain». One of those potentially new trade partners is Britain’s old colony, the United States of America. Following President Donald Trump’s welcoming remarks for a «quick trade deal» with Britain earlier this week, there was much excitement from Johnson and other Brexiteers that a new lucrative horizon was indeed dawning.

The harsh reality is that Britain will be technically and legally a member of the EU until it concludes departure negotiations that could several years. Under those circumstances, as several EU politicians have pointed out, Britain will not be free to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with the US or any other nation. That means that Britain will not be able to gallop off into supposed new trade deals with the US, China or anyone else, until it finishes its no doubt protracted divorce proceedings with the EU.

The Brexit process is going to be a rude awakening for British leaders who seem to harbor delusions about Britain’s stature in the world.

This delusional thinking was revealed when Theresa May issued a barely veiled warning to the EU that Britain would not accept a «punitive» Brexit deal.

Despite her speech opening with charming talk of Britain being the best of friends with Europe, May drew a dagger towards the end.

«I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path. That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend,» said the British premier.

With a foreboding tone, she added: «Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.»

It was a glinting threat from May, akin to flashing a knife at the EU.

Earlier, May said in contradictory fashion that while Britain was leaving the single market, at the same time it was demanding «full access to markets as an associate member to make trading as frictionless as possible».

So, only in a rhetorical sense is the British government declaring a «hard Brexit» by purportedly «leaving the single market». For all intents and purposes, however, the British still want «full access» to the market, as May stipulated in her speech. And this privilege is to be had at the same time that Britain takes full control of its borders over EU migration.

That sounds like Britain wanting to have its cake and eating it. Supposedly being out of the market, but still in it for all practical purposes, while pulling up the draw bridge on the rest of Europe. Moreover, the British prime minister is declaring that if Britain does not get «full access» it will be perceived as «punitive» – and then in that case her country will «walk away» from negotiations.

Her haughty attitude sparked outrage across the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s point man on Brexit, reportedly fumed that Britain’s «days of cherrypicking and a la carte Europe are over».

Tomas Prouza, the Czech’s EU minister, noted sardonically of the British position: «Trade as free as possible, full control of immigration… where’s the give for all the take?»

What May was alluding to in her threat of walking away was that Britain would undercut the EU by slashing corporation tax, thereby luring foreign companies away from continental Europe to set up shop in Britain. That is, turning Britain into a tax haven to cheat the rest of Europe.

May also hinted that Britain’s military forces in NATO might be pulled out of Poland and the Baltic states, which would have the effect of destabilizing these EU members, given their congenital paranoia over alleged Russian aggression.

The British government’s threats to the EU stems from a misplaced arrogant attitude of a has-been world power, which somehow still thinks that it can pontificate to other, perceived lesser nations.

With a ballooning trade deficit with Europe and an all-but extinct industrial base, the only asset that the UK can claim is its City of London global financial center – which accounts for 80 per cent of its national economy. Despite Theresa May’s supercilious tone, Britain will find that it needs Europe a lot more than Europe needs Britain. And if cut loose harshly, the former Great Britain is in no industrial shape to ply the global markets as it once did with the backing of its colonial armies of occupation.

Britain’s «hard Brexit» is all «hard talk» belying typical British subterfuge to wheedle self-serving concessions. Such conceited British attitude will only stiffen EU resolve to make minimal trade concessions in the final separation. If the British are seen to get a «cherry-picked» deal of access to the single market, yet be able to spurn any immigration, that would be tantamount to giving an exit license for other members of the EU to do likewise. And given the level of Euro-skepticism rising across Europe, Brussels and other pro-EU governments must, of their own necessity, act sternly towards Britain in its divorce arrangement.

Britain can indeed expect a «hard Brexit». On much harder terms from the EU than delusional British politicians are arrogantly demanding. Less Rule Britannia; more like Fool Britannia.

Traitors In Britain’s Leadership

Traitors In Britain’s Leadership

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 18.01.2017

Traitors In Britain’s Leadership

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity

When a UK Prime Minister, such as the Conservative David Cameron, does the work of a foreign power, working for that foreign power and against UK’s democratic ideals, and also against the interests and values (such as equal-rights, and UK’s sovereign independence) which are held by the UK public, then that UK Prime Minister is perpetrating treason, whatever else it might also be called. This has happened, and yet no one pays attention to it: no one is even pointing out that it is treason. (Whether it is, in every sense of the word, we’ll get to, after the story here has been told, but that story must come first; only afterward can it be discussed.)

Following are highlights from the shocking and uncontested (though confusingly written) original Al Jazeera investigative news report published on January 8th, which had mentioned this treachery only in passing (but without calling it that). These excerpts will make clear the severity of what has actually been happening here — and of what is continuing to happen.

I shall add [in brackets] clarificatory adjectives etc., so as to help make instantly clear who is who, in this confusingly written story, and thus speed and ease a reader’s comprehension of the stunning narrative that’s being told here:

8 January 2017, Al Jazeera Investigative Unit

Israel apology after plot against UK politicians

Al Jazeera reveals discussions of Israeli diplomat and UK civil servant to ‘take down’ anti-settlement politicians.

The Israeli embassy has apologised to UK deputy foreign secretary [Conservative] Sir Alan Duncan for comments made by one of its staff members [Mr. Shai Masot] on plans “to take [him [Duncan]] down” due to his [Duncan’s] criticism of Israel’s settlement activity in the occupied [Palestinian] West Bank.

The comments, made by a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy [Mr.] Shai Masot, were secretly captured on film during a six-month undercover operation by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, which reveals plots by the Israeli diplomat [Masot] and a British civil servant [Duncan] to destroy the careers of senior politicians [whom Israel wanted to be downed].

In a conversation with Maria Strizzolo, who was then chief of staff to MP [Member of Parliament] Robert Halfon, the deputy chairman of the ruling Conservative Party, [Israel’s Mr.] Masot asked her [the Conservative Strizzolo] if he [Masot] could give her some names of MPs [whom] he [Masot] would suggest she “take down” [on behalf of Israel].

[See it at 2:14 in this video, where his actual phrase was “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you take down?”]

Masot named [recommended to Strizzolo] Duncan, who in 2014 said that while he fully supports Israel’s right to exist, he believes [Jewish] settlements on occupied Palestinian land represent an “ever-deepening stain on the face of the globe”. He [Duncan] also likened the situation in Hebron in the occupied West Bank to apartheid…

Strizzolo… revealed that she had a strategy of manipulation to ensure Israel remains at the top of the UK’s foreign policy agenda.

“If at least you can get a small group of MPs that you know you can always rely on, when there is something coming to parliament and you know you brief them, you say: ‘You don’t have to do anything, we are going to give you the speech, we are going to give you all the information, we [the office of MP Robert Halfon] are going to do everything for you’,” she said.

She also advised trying to infiltrate Prime Minister’s Questions, a weekly session in which the leader of the country answers questions from MPs. The debate is televised live.

“If they already have the question to table for PMQs [Prime Minister’s Questions], it’s harder to say: ‘No, no, no, I won’t do it’,” she said.

Strizzolo then boasted how her own efforts once made an immediate effect on the national debate. …

In 2014, she [had] persuaded MP Halfon to question the prime minister in public over three missing teenagers believed to have been kidnapped and murdered “to get a response from the government”, Strizzolo said.

Halfon took the request and called on former prime minister David Cameron to support the Israeli government. …

In response, Cameron promised that Britain would “stand by Israel”.

Cameron there was a pushover for Halfon, who clearly was an agent for Israel. But was this treason only by Halfon, and not also by his boss and fellow-Conservative, Cameron?

To say that Cameron, as the principal decision-maker, who was a pushover for a foreign power’s stooge — the traitor who was acting on behalf of a foreign power — wasn’t himself acting treasonously here, would be to say that, for example, there is no such thing as criminal negligence, which is a criminal liability for failure to have done due diligence in carrying out one’s duties to the public as the nation’s chief of state.

Cameron, not Halfon, was the actual decision-maker here, the responsible party in the matter: as Harry Truman had said of the U.S. Presidency, “The buck stops here.”

This is comparable to the Inspector General of the TARP bailout of the megabanks, Christy Goldsmith Romero, recommending (and the U.S. government ignoring):

A PROPOSAL TO BRING ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE “INSULATED CEO”

I propose that Congress remove the insulation around Wall Street CEOs and other high-level officials by requiring the CEO, CFO and certain other senior executives to sign an annual certification that they have conducted due diligence within their organization and can certify that that there is no criminal conduct or civil fraud in their organization.

But, in the case of a head-of-state — a nation’s CEO — the obligation to do due diligence and to take full responsibility, for everything that one does and says that actually affects the public, and responsibility for the nation’s relationships with other nations: this due-diligence obligation for a head-of-state, is even more severe than it is for a private CEO.

A country that tolerates such negligence or worse (evil intent) from its rulers, cannot be a democracy, because that country’s international relations are being manipulated by a foreign power — placing another nation’s leadership above one’s own. That’s subversion, of the given nation. It is treason, for any public official.

In the United States, the aristocracy are trying to fool the public into believing that the incoming President Donald Trump is such a traitor (‘Russian agent’) (and no evidence has been presented to the public for that, except ‘evidence’ concocted by a former British spy); but in this case involving Israel and the Prime Minister of UK, there is even video of the Israeli agent Masot communicating to Strizzolo, who then communicates to MP Halfon, and who brags that she had formerly communicated to Halfon who then communicated to the Prime Minister, who then acted in accord with the Israeli government’s back-channel instruction. Was it really an “instruction,” though — or was it instead some type of international deal, a trading-of-favors between allied countries? Precisely what favors are being performed by Israel, to UK? Really? And would that secret international agreement — without any democratic approval by the domestic public — be something that a democracy would allow?

In any case, even if there was some secret deal that induced Cameron to fulfill upon Israel’s instruction, that secret treaty (the deal) had not been entered into by the Constitutionally authorized process. This alone would be violation of oath-of-office — on behalf of a foreign power. It would be treason.

Secret deals, unauthorized treaties (in effect), ended up producing World War I. They are exceedingly dangerous. Doing international relations this way is inconsistent with democracy.

But that’s what happened here in UK’s Party on the ‘right’, the Conservatives. However, Israeli attempts at subversion of the UK government happen also in UK’s Party of the ‘left’, Labour; and, the video that was linked-to is devoted primarily to that — to the Labour Party.

Like happens in the United States, the main Party on the ‘left’ is being torn between viewing things mainly in terms of tribal conflicts (‘Palestinians’ versus ‘Jews’), or else viewing things mainly in terms of conflicts between the government and the public — the rulers versus the ruled (irrespective of their ‘tribe’). In Israel, the rulers are, essentially, only the Jews who hold power; and the ruled include many people (the “Palestinians”) who are excluded from many rights that all “Jews” in Israel enjoy. The current leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corben, rejects the Jewish state’s tribal values; and, consequently, he is being called ‘anti-Semitic’ by his opponents, both within and outside his Party. In today’s Israel, to oppose racism is to be ‘anti-Semitic’. A certain type of racism is policy in today’s Israel. Adolf Hitler, a supreme European tribalist, is thus now retrospectively a paragon of Israeli values: tribalism (racism). The current Israeli government is in Hitler’s image, only less consistently, and choosing a different tribe to reward, and a different tribe to punish (and, of course, far less certain than he was of the ultimate morality of their cause, and thus also far less intense about their application of the resulting punishment than he was, in his blinding hatred; but, after all, he was the paragon of bigotry) — differing with him, on those things. The current Israeli government equates nazism (the ideology, not Germany’s particular nazi party) with good, and equality with bad: they say that to be opposed to the current state of Israel is to be an ‘anti-Semite’. And this type of value-system is being worked secretly upon the UK’s government, in Britain’s back rooms, with alien (in particular, Israeli) lobbyists.

That video, which I linked to at its 2:14, continues on for a full 26 minutes, and mainly presents there the conflict within UK’s Labour Party, over these two mutually incompatible views of Israel and the Palestinians: one view, championed by the anti-Tony-Blair and anti-Iraq-War, progressive, new leader of the Labour Party, Corben, is a view which refuses to take sides with Israel against its Palestinians; and the other view, the one which is championed by Israel’s apartheid government, identifies that equalitarian position with “anti-Zionism,” and then promptly identifies ‘anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism’, meaning that every Jew (or at least ones who aren’t themselves ‘anti-Semitic’) endorses the current apartheid Israeli government. This ridiculous lie, equating equalitarianism with ‘anti-Semitism’, assumes that any Israeli who rejects Israel’s current, apartheid, government, hates Jews, instead of hates racists. It’s “Big Brother” thinking: a conviction that bad is good, white is black, up is down, peace is war, etc.

Israel works secretly in America’s back rooms, too. Some people worry that President Trump will be a Russian agent. Some people worry more realistically that he will be an Israeli agent. And some people worry that he will be a Saudi agent (because the royal Saud family hate Iran, and Trump seems to believe that the Saudi royal family, who are Saudi Arabia’s government, are allies not enemies of America, and that Iran is America’s eternal enemy). Others worry whether Trump will be intelligent enough, or even honorable enough, to avoid being any foreign agent at all. But whereas there is strong reason to consider Britain’s David Cameron to have been an Israeli agent, there is no reason, yet, to think that Trump is any foreign agent at all. Only time will tell.

In UK, time already has told the reality on this; and another and much briefer al-Jazeera video, which was posted on January 7th by UK’s Guardian, presents a conversation between Masot and Strizollo, in which Masot tells Strizollo that the Israeli government isn’t satisfied with the extent to which UK’s Conservative Party has silenced the Conservative Foreign Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence upon a “two-state solution”: his insistence upon a situation in which Palestinians will be freed from domination by Israel’s ‘Jews’ — freed from the aristocrats (many of whom live in America, actually) who, in reality, control and determine Israel’s apartheid government.

Yet another brief al-Jazeera video shows that Strizzolo’s immediate response when Masot asked her “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you take down?” might have been to think of that assertion — the question he posed — as being an attractive invitation by Israel to, perhaps, help her boss by blackmailing some of his opponents: she said, “Well, I know that if you look hard enough, I’m sure that there is something that they’re trying to hide.” But, whether she was thinking there, of that question as representing Israel’s Mossad, intelligence agency, and what help it might be able to offer to the Conservative cause, isn’t entirely clear. However, this video opened with Masot’s telling Strizzolo that his career-aspiration “is to be the head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Intelligence Department in Israel — I’m not a career diplomat.” So, maybe it’s in the context of his being an aspiring spy, that she was considering the ways in which she might be able to be of help to both her boss, and also the young and rising Israeli agent who was, perhaps, propositioning her.

Such statecraft, in the seedy real world, was repeatedly condemned by the people who wrote America’s Constitution. They thought of it as being the type of international relations that the nation they were starting should avoid, at all costs. They could hardly imagine that “it comes with the territory” (as the vernacular might phrase the matter).

It’s dangerous to democracy in any country.

countercurrents.org

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