10 things you can do to resist hard Brexit

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0 things you can do to resist hard Brexit

Adam Ramsay 28 March 2017

As Article 50 is triggered, here’s what you can do to stop Britain’s slide to the hard right. Add your own suggestions in the comments.

Whichever way you voted in the referendum, hard Brexit is not about fulfilling a democratic mandate to leave the European Union. It’s about Theresa May’s government using the process of leaving the EU to force through its hard-right Daily Mail agenda – at a high cost to the majority of people living in the United(ish) Kingdom. Here are ten ways you can resist, and we’d love to hear more from you in in the comments below.

1)    Join a migrant solidarity group

Jimmy Mubenga, Wikimedia

What Brexit will mean for those who moved to the UK from other European countries is still up in the air. But let’s remember that there are already huge numbers on the rough end of Britain’s increasingly brutal anti-migrant rhetoric. And as Brexit fails to transform Britain into the Land of Hope and Glory that Boris Johnson and UKIP’s Nigel Farage promised, we can be pretty sure about who will get the brunt of the blame from the prime minister who, as Home Secretary, brought us the infamous racist van.

Long before Brexit, there was the tale of Jimmy Mubenga, a 46 year old father of five, who was suffocated to death by the G4S security guards on his deportation flight. Right now, there’s people like Manchester’s Abbey Kyuyene, who faces being deported to Uganda, where he can expect to be imprisoned for the rest of his life because he’s gay. There’s the child locked up for five months alongside a convicted child abuser simply because he came here from somewhere else. And there’s the hundreds of people we imprison indefinitely just because they want to live here.

There are the families Britain breaks apart because Theresa May believes they aren’t rich enough for love. There’s the horrific conditions we expect many of those seeking asylum in the UK to live in and there’s the people freezing in refugee camps just across the Channel. There are the workers who suffer exploitation rather than risk their paperless status being exposed and there are the families still dying in the Mediterranean as they attempt to make it to European soils.

All of these situations were bad before Brexit. All of them risk becoming worse as the government and its cheerleaders in the press cast around for someone to blame for the fact that Brexit will fail to give people any more sense of control over their lives.

All across the country, there are migrant solidarity groups organising to stop their neighbours being deported, demanding the closure of detention centres and providing a range of kinds of practical solidarity. As hard-right Brexit accelerates, they will need more people, more help and more support. Powerful people like to scapegoat migrants because they believe they can be divided from their communities most easily. Organising those communities to fight back is the best way to scare them off.

There’s Glasgow’s Unity Centre, Liverpool and Manchester migrant solidarity, No Borders, Calais Migrant Solidarity, the campaign to close Yarls’ Wood, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Stop Funding Hate, Student Action for Refugees, the People & Planet Undoing Borders campaign… and many, many more people organising to support migrants here in the UK. Work out what’s going on near you, ask how you can help, and get involved – whether you speak another language, have research or legal skills, or can phone an airline to help stop a deportation, there are lots of thing we could all be doing to help our neighbours.

2)    Stop the trade deal shock doctrine

Protests against the EU/US trade deal, “TTIP”. Image: stop-ttip.org

One of the most terrifying potential ramifications of Brexit is a Trump-May UK/US Trade deal. And a UK/China trade deal… and… I could go on. While the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has vast problems, American agribusiness will be very keen to ensure that what replaces it is nothing like the careful environmental protections that eco-Brexiters like Paul Kingsnorth will have been hoping for. With vast corporations desperate to prise open British markets after decades of EU subsidy and protection, one of the most predictable consequences of Brexit is Britain’s countryside becoming the latest item shed in Westminster’s accelerating asset striptease.

One of the most predictable consequences of Brexit is Britain’s countryside becoming the latest item shed in Westminster’s accelerating asset striptease.

And the fire-sale of the English countryside will only be one item in such a negotiation. Expect US health insurance companies, with their famous lobbying heft, to try desperately to bury both mandibles into what’s left of the NHS. Expect all of the worst bits of the EU/US Trade Deal to be regurgitated back onto the table. Expect the return of some version of the ‘Investor State Dispute Mechanism’ corporate courts, which have been used to ban regulations designed to protect us from cancer or workplace accidents because they damage company profits.

And expect people to organise against them. Global Justice Now and War on Want have so far led the fight in the UK, working with partners across the world and winning astounding victories along the way. Of them, the former is probably easier to get involved with, as it has groups across the country. You can join here.

3) Stand with Scotland

Forth Bridge, George Gastin, Wikimedia Commons.

The Conservative party made very clear before the referendum that they expected to keep the UK as a whole in the single market. As such, May doesn’t really have any mandate for her hard Brexit. But the situation north of the Tweed is worse: Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the EU, and yet people here face being dragged out against their will. May hasn’t even been willing to consider any of the potential ‘special deal’ options proposed by the SNP, Labour and Lib Dems in recent months, along lines I once called a ‘Reverse Greenland’. The only democratic way to resolve the constitutional conflict between the result of the 2014 independence vote, the 2016 result, and the situation Theresa May insists on dragging Scotland into is another independence referendum.

Last night, a majority of members of the Scottish parliament voted to hold such a referendum. For Westminster to block it would be a democratic outrage. And yet that is what Theresa May seems to be proposing to do. Pressure from outside Scotland will be key if Scots are to be allowed to vote on their constitutional future once more.

Write to your MP and demand that they allow they people of Scotland to vote on their constitutional future. (But make sure you read the next point first.)

4) …and with Northern Ireland

The Peace Bridge, Derry, Northern Ireland. Discovernorthernireland.com

If Scotland faces a democratic deficit, the North of Ireland faces disaster. Like Scotland, people in Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the EU. Unlike Scotland, there are significant reasons why Brexit will be a particular problem for people there. The imposition of passport and customs controls along the border between the North and the Republic will cause real economic harm. It will provide another opportunity to return to the old days of sectarian discrimination. The chances that border posts will become a target for violence, which could then escalate, are not trivial.

The chances that border posts will become a target for violence, which could then escalate, are not trivial.

And it’s not just the border. The EU and its human rights laws provide the framework for the Good Friday Agreement which has brought two decades of relative peace, and gave a constitutional framework in which people could be either Irish or British in both identity and citizenship, and live side by side without violence.

So far, the British establishment has got away with treating Northern Ireland with disdainful disinterest. In the run up to the European referendum, their unique case was largely ignored by politicians and the media. In the run up to their recent election, no one paid any attention. It’s only with the death of Martin McGuinness and the collapse of negotiations this week that the media has started to take note.

What should happen in Northern Ireland? It’s too easy for those not from there to propose simple solutions: a united Ireland is certainly tempting, and may be the solution, but that’s as contentious a question as ever. Certainly, we need to make sure that the British government realises that there are people outside of Ireland who care about it. And so, again, a simple place to start may be writing to your MP and demanding at the very least that they do all they can to prevent a hard border. You might even want to include points about both Scotland and Northern Ireland together.

5) Take part in a Reclaim the Power action

Leaving the EU means leaving behind inter-state collaboration on one of the defining issues of our time: climate change. And that means grassroots action will be more important than ever. Fortunately, the good folks at Reclaim the Power (whose name long predates the similar sounding Brexit slogan ‘take back control’) are organising a wave of direct action against the fossil fuel industry, and offer you the chance to get your hands dirty in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. They tell you how to get involved here.

6) Confront racism where you see it

Image: http://blacklivesmatteruk.org/

For people of colour, racism is a lived experience and, well, you don’t need some white guy telling you what to do about that. But for those of us who aren’t from racialised groups, we’re going to have to up our game. There has already been a surge in reports of hate speech and worse since Brexit, and we all need to play our part in stopping it. Check out groups like Black Lives Matter UK and see what you can do to help, and stand up to the racism which surrounds us all, whether that’s a quiet conversation with an uncle or confronting fascists in the street.

7) Read up on what the British empire was really like

Caricature of Cecil John Rhodes,Punch Magazine, public domain.

It often feels like a lot of this couldn’t have happened if Britain had ever come to terms with its colonial history. British imperialists really weren’t the cheerful engineers, kindly building railways for people in far off lands that our culture keeps trying to tell us about. It was all a lot more blood and torture-filled than that. And there is a whole lot more that most of us could be doing to learn about what really went on, and how it is Britain really got rich in the first place.

Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, find a few books or articles about what the British empire was really about – ideally written by people from the places we colonised – and begin to sample a flavour of the carnage and plunder that the UK unleashed on the world for centuries. One thing you might want to do is start with one war from the list below, find a book or article on it by someone from the colonised group, and take it from there:

The Opium wars; The Carnatic wars; The Anglo-Cherokee war; Pontiac’s rebellion; The Anglo Mysore wars; The Anglo Maratha wars; The American Revolutionary war; The Irish Rebellion; The Kandyan wars; The Anglo-Turkish war; The Xhosa wars; The Ga-Fante war; The war of 1812; The Anglo-Ashanti wars; The Anglo-Burmese wars; Canada’s Rebellions of 1837; The first, second and third Afghan wars; The Anglo Sikh wars; The Flagstaff war in New Zealand – and in fact the New Zealand wars in general; The Anglo-Persian war; The Black war; The Indian Rebellion; The First Taranaki war; The invasion of Waikato; The Bhutan war; The Klang war; Titokowaru’s War; The 1868 ‘Expedition’ to Abyssinia; The Red River Rebellion; The Anglo-Zulu War; The Sikkim Expedition; The Anglo-Zanzibar War; The Boer Wars; The Anglo-Aro War; The British expedition to Tibet; The Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War; the Irish War of Independence; The 1920 conflict between British forces and the Dervish State; the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine; The British–Zionist conflict; the Korean War; the Mau Mau Uprising; the Cyprus emergency; the Suez Crisis; the Border Campaign against the IRA; the Falklands War. (Just a few, then.)

8) Join a trade union

 

photo: Timm Sonnenschein, TUC.

Brexit is also likely to mean a significant attack on rights at work. But, while the EU certainly helped drag Britain forward, it’s not international treaties which created the real pressure for workers’ rights in the first place: it was workers themselves organising for basic safety standards, weekends, paid holidays, sick pay and decent wages. Without the EU, we’re going to have to get good at that. Check out the TUC website and work out which one is for you. If, like millions of people, you’re already a member but aren’t involved, then get in touch with your union and find out what you could be doing.

9) Start paying for your media

Fewer and fewer people are paying for the news they read, watch and listen to. This means that journalism is more and more dependent on ‘native’ advertising and the patronage of vested interests, blurring the lines between editorial decisions and business or political ones. We can’t fix our politics without mending our media. And that means paying for it. You can set up a regular subscription to openDemocracy here – but whatever media you read and value, support it.

10) Come to the Convention on Brexit

openDemocracy is proud to be a media partner for a major national convention on Brexit, where we will have the conversations that have been largely absent from parliament and the media. It’s happening on 12 and 13 May in central London and will be the first large-scale event to offer organisations and individuals the chance to take part in crucial debates about the United Kingdom’s future, the wider changes that are sweeping western democracies and to debate and strategise together about what to do next.

Be there.

 

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UK: Desperation tactics to shut down discussion of the israeli regime’s mega-crimes reach new heights of absurdity

Who had the Impudence to Change our Values Regarding Free Speech?

Desperation tactics to shut down discussion of the Israeli regime’s mega-crimes reach new heights of absurdity

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | March 9, 2017

A fake anti-semitism campaign masterminded by the usual Zio suspects, their Israel lobby colleagues and their stooges in the corridors of power, continues to sweep across UK universities… and our political parties, especially shambolic and rudderless Labour.

The University of Central Lancashire cancelled an event due to be held last month entitled “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine and the Importance of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” organised by the University’s Friends of Palestine Society. The University said it would contravene the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s new definition of what constitutes anti-semitism and would therefore be unlawful. The event went ahead, off campus, at the premises of a local voluntary organisation.

Exeter University banned students from staging a re-enactment called Mock Checkpoint, in which some dressed up as Israeli occupation soldiers while others acted the part of Palestinians trying to go about their daily lives. The event was approved by the students’ guild but banned for “safety and security reasons” less than 48 hours before it was due to take place. An appeal was rejected.

At Leeds former British ambassador Craig Murray was asked by the trustees of the University Union to provide details of what he was going to say in his talk “Palestine/Israel: A Unitary Secular State or a Bantustan Solution” just 24 hours before he was due to speak. Craig reluctantly gave them an outline to allow the lecture to go ahead. He writes in his blog: “I have just been told by Leeds University Union I will not be allowed to speak unless I submit what I am going to say for pre-vetting.

I am truly appalled that such a gross restriction on freedom of speech should be imposed anywhere, let alone in a university where intellectual debate is meant to be an essential part of the learning experience. I really do not recognise today’s United Kingdom as the same society I grew up in. The common understanding that the values of a liberal democracy are the foundation of society appears to have evaporated.

Also at Leeds the student Palestine Solidarity Group was refused permission to mount a visual demonstration outside the Leeds Student Union Building or to have a stall inside.

At Liverpool Professor Michael Lavalette was contacted the day before he was due to speak with a demand that he sign the University’s ‘risk assessment’ for the event. This included reading the controversial IHRA definition of anti-semitism and agreeing with it.  He emailed his response in which he carefully avoided mention of the dodgy definition and the meeting went ahead.

The University of Manchester allowed a series of talks marking Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) to go ahead, but only after several meetings and imposing strict conditions which the organisers called “unheard of…. other societies and groups do not face the same problems.” University authorities, however, vetoed the students’ choice of academic to chair an IAW event on BDS over concerns about her “neutrality”, and other speakers had to acknowledge the British government-endorsed definition of anti-semitism.

Meanwhile some reports say that a conference with the title “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism” to be held at University College Cork at the end of this month has been cancelled thanks to pressure from Zionist groups. StandWithUs Israel, in cahoots with Irish4Israel, claim the University has been persuaded to impose added security stipulations and other limitations that “amount to a de-facto cancelling of this hateful event”. But these are desperation tactics. Checking with the organisers I’m told the event is “100% going ahead”. The Irish, it seems, are not as easily pushed around as the English. The conference, if you remember, was chased away from Southampton University two years ago by a similar campaign against free speech. The ‘official’ reason, as usual, was security concerns.

Now comes the scandal of the 26 year-old Exeter student, noted for her work on anti-racism, being smeared by the Zionist Inquisition for her Pro-Palestinian activism.

She is accused of having tweeted two years ago: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist”. So what? As everyone and his dog knows, or ought to know, the Palestinians are perfectly entitled, under international law, to take up arms and resist a brutal illegal occupier. As Malaka Mohammed herself says:

It may appear as a radical statement that could raise serious concerns at both the University of Exeter and its Students’ Guild. However, it is my honest belief, and as I will attempt to explain, these kind of statements by Palestinians in general, and me in this instance, are most commonly in response to efforts by Israel advocacy groups and the Israeli government to demonize and dehumanize Palestinians. This is done by using the emotive dog whistle by Israeli descriptors of ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ whenever referring to the ‘Arab’ population. Palestinians who throw stones in response to Israeli soldiers invading their villages are labelled violent thugs, rioters and terrorists. Palestinians who non-violently protest the illegal occupation are portrayed as violent individuals who terrorize Israeli Jews. Practically any Palestinian who resists the Israeli occupation and its plethora of human rights violations, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law is stigmatized in this way.

After reading that, I dropped the Vice-Chancellor a line:

Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor University of Exeter

Dear Sir Steve,

I’m writing as a graduate of Exeter University with fond memories of the place, and because I’m shocked to see its good name besmirched by ludicrous accusations linking Palestinian PhD student Malaka Mohammed (aka Shwaikh) to anti-semitism and supporting terrorism.

As an acknowledged international relations specialist you will know the score regarding Israel’s decades-long illegal occupation of the Palestinians’ homeland and its brutal subjugation and merciless dispossession of the Palestinian people. You will also, I imagine, understand who the true terrorists and anti-semites are.

Lest we forget, the US defines terrorism as an activity that

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and

(ii) appears to be intended

– to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

– to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

– to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

And the US has used this definition to terrorise and degrade individuals, groups and countries it doesn’t happen to like.

Ironically it’s a definition that fits the US administration itself – and the thuggish Israeli regime – like a glove.

I sincerely hope that amidst the flurry of investigations going on you will take steps to ensure that plucky Ms Mohammed/Schwaikh ceases to be victimised by tiresome Zionist Inquisitors and is allowed to get on with her studies, and from now on free speech prevails across the beautiful Exeter campus.

Sir Steve is said to earn £400,000 a year according to this report. Perhaps he and many other university bosses need rousing from their plumptious comfort zone.

I’m with Craig Murray on this. I too don’t recognise our society today as the same one I grew up in. Who had the impudence to change our values regarding free speech?

Gaddafi warned about influx of refugees & Islamist attacks on Europe

 

Flashback 1. Colonel Gaddafi: Immigrants will invade Europe

Padraic Flanagan — Daily Express March 8, 2011

Gaddafi with his spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi (left). Click to enlarge

Gaddafi with his spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi (left). Click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He spoke after more than 1,000 refugees landed on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa in just 12 hours.

Gaddafi stormed: “Thousands of people from Libya will invade Europe. There will be no one to stop them any more.”

His rant came as he attempted to regain lost territory with air strikes against the rebels.

The United Nations has launched a £100million emergency appeal to set up camps for the million foreign workers trapped in the war-torn country.

Meanwhile, rebel fighters faced increasingly tough resistance from Gaddafi loyalists as they battled to move westwards from their stronghold in Benghazi.

Residents fled fighting at Ras Lanuf. The oil-producing town had its port closed after Gaddafi’s pilots launched a series of air strikes, including one on a car carrying a fleeing family.

“The inside of the car and parts of the outside are splattered with blood and children’s shoes are scattered inside,” reported eyewitness Mohammed Abbas.

There was also heavy fighting in the western town of Misrata, where rebels have resisted onslaughts despite heavy losses.

Gaddafi’s forces were reported to have regained control in Bin Jawwad, 110 miles east of his birthplace of Sirte.

Fighting was also under way in Zawiya, 30 miles from the capital Tripoli, as rebels struggled to repel Gaddafi forces.

British and French diplomats at the United Nations were last night drawing up a resolution on a no-fly zone, despite hints that Russia would resist any intervention.

Source

Flashback 2. Gaddafi warned Blair of Islamist attacks on Europe

Robert Mendick — Telegraph.co.uk Jan 7, 2016

Tony Blair and Libya's Colonel Gaddafi in 2009. Click to enlarge

Tony Blair and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi in 2009.

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi issued a ‘prophetic’ warning to Tony Blair that jihadists would attack Europe if his regime was allowed to collapse, phone conversations reveal.

Gaddafi’s dire prediction was made in two desperate telephone calls with Mr Blair on February 25, 2011 – as civil war was engulfing Libya.

In the first call at 11.15am, Gaddafi said: “They [jihadists] want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe.”

Excerpt from Col Gaddafi's 2011 phone conversations with Tony Blair. Click to enlarge

Excerpt from Col Gaddafi’s 2011 phone conversations with Tony Blair. Click to enlarge

In the call, lasting half an hour, Gaddafi insisted he was trying to defend Libya from al-Qaeda fighters. The presence of al-Qaedas would later be superceded by the rise of the so-called Islamic State.

“We are not fighting them, they are attacking us, ” he said, “I want to tell you the truth. It is not a difficult situation at all. The story is simply this: an organisation has laid down sleeping cells in North Africa. Called the Al-Qaeda Organisation in North Africa… The sleeping cells in Libya are similar to dormant cells in America before 9/11.

“They have managed to get arms and terrify people. people can’t leave their homes… It’s a jihad situation. They have arms and are terrorising people in the street.”

In a second call made a little over four hours later, Gaddafi told Mr Blair: “I will have to arm the people and get ready for a fight. Libyan people will die, damage will be on the Med, Europe and the whole world. These armed groups are using the situation [in Libya] as a justification – and we shall fight them.”

Col Gaddafi warns of attacks on Europe in phone conversations with Tony Blair. Click to enlarge

Col Gaddafi warns of attacks on Europe in phone conversations with Tony Blair. Click to enlarge

Mr Blair had made two calls to Gaddafi to try to negotiate the dictator’s departure from Tripoli as civil war engulfed the nation. Three weeks later, a Nato-led coaltion that included Britain, began bombing raids that led to the overthrow of Gaddafi. The dictator was finally deposed in August and murdered by a mob in October.

Mr Blair had a developed a friendship with Gaddafi and had visted the Libyan leader at least six times after leaving Downing Street in 2007.

He cleared the phone calls with both David Cameron and Hillary Clinton, the then US Secretary of State, in an attempt to persuade Gaddafi to leave Libya with safe passage and to avoid further conflict.

The existence of the phone calls emerged last year and Mr Blair passed the transcripts to the Foreign Affairs Committee which is investigating Libya’s collapse. The committee of MPs published the transcripts on Thursday.

In the calls Mr Blair told Gaddafi: “If you have a safe place to go you should go there because this will not end peacefully and there has to be a process of change, that process of change can be managed and we have to find a way of managing it.

“The US and the EU are in a tough position right now and I need to take something back to them which ensures this ends peacefully.”

Mr Blair ended the call by saying: “i would like to offer a way out that is peaceful… keep the lines open.”

Gaddafi’s warnings appear to have been born out. Libya has collapsed following his overthrow. The country remains in the grip of civil war and much of it is in the control of Islamist extremists linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Terrorists sent by Isil to France were responsible for the attacks on Paris in November amid growing concern jihadists are crossing into Europe from north Africa and the Middle East.

.

Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The transcripts supplied by Mr Blair provide a new insight into the private views of Colonel Gaddafi as his dictatorship began to crumble around him.

“The failure to follow Mr Blair’s calls to ‘keep the lines open’ and for these early conversations to initiate any peaceful compromise continue to reverberate.

“The Committee will want to consider whether Gaddafi’s prophetic warning of the rise of extremist militant groups following the collapse of the regime was wrongly ignored because of Gaddafi’s otherwise delusional take on international affairs.

“The evidence that the Committee has taken so far in this inquiry suggests that western policy makers were rather less perceptive than Gaddafi about the risks of intervention for both the Libyan people and the western interests.”

Source

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.

Obituary: Gerald Kaufman

Obituary: Gerald Kaufman

Gerald Kaufman rose from a working-class background to become one of the longest-serving MPs of his generation.

He gained a reputation as a persistent, often waspish, interrogator whose withering putdowns became a feature of his time in Parliament.

A practising Jew, he was best known for his fierce opposition to the policies of the Israeli government and its treatment of the Palestinians.

Possessed of a sardonic wit, he was a prolific writer and columnist who also wrote satirical sketches for the BBC, an organisation that he later frequently criticised.

Gerald Bernard Kaufman was born in Leeds on 21 June 1930, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants.

A scholarship took him to the fee-paying Leeds Grammar School, and he won an Exhibition to Queens College, Oxford, from where he graduated with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.

While at Oxford he immersed himself in politics and, as the secretary of the University Labour Club, he was instrumental in preventing a student named Rupert Murdoch from standing for office, after the Australian was found to be breaking the rules by canvassing for the position.

Gerald Kaufman appearing on Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life
Image caption Kaufman (3rd right) appearing on Not so Much a Programme, More a Way of Life

On leaving university he set out to find a parliamentary seat. After a brief spell as assistant secretary of the Fabian Society, he was selected to fight Bromley in the 1955 general election. He was roundly defeated by the Conservative candidate, the future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

Four years later he failed at Gillingham, another safe Conservative seat where the Labour vote actually fell.

He had secured a job on the Daily Mirror, where he often wrote leaders. In 1964 he moved to the New Statesman for a short time before working for the Labour Party as a press officer, in which post he became a member of one of Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s so-called “kitchen cabinet”.

It was while visiting his mother in Leeds in November 1962 that he saw the first episode of the BBC’s satirical programme That Was the Week That Was. Back in his Daily Mirror office, he phoned the producer, Ned Sherrin, and told him he had an idea for a sketch.

Disappeared

“He had no idea who I was,” Kaufman later recalled, “but he said, ‘Write it and I’ll send a taxi in the morning to pick it up.'”

It led to Kaufman becoming a regular contributor to the show, best known for his Silent Men of Westminster, a satire on MPs who never spoke in the House.

Labour lost the 1970 general election, but Kaufman finally got into Parliament as the member for Manchester Ardwick. When Labour returned to power in 1974 he held junior ministerial posts in the Department of the Environment and the Department of Industry.

Mr Marcel Cavaille (C) French Secretary of State for Transport and Mr Gerald Kaufman (R), Minister of State, Department of Industry and Stanley Clinton Davis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for TradeImage copyright PA
Image caption Kaufman (r) was a junior minister in the 1970s

He became shadow environment secretary in 1980 and, three years later when his Ardwick seat disappeared in boundary changes, he moved to Manchester Gorton, becoming shadow home secretary after Margaret Thatcher won the 1983 election.

Kaufman was scathing about Labour’s move to the left. He accused Tony Benn of nearly destroying the party when he stood as deputy leader in 1981. He later said he would have quit Parliament had Benn been successful.

He was equally critical of Michael Foot’s leadership and famously described Labour’s 1983 manifesto, which advocated, among other things, unilateral nuclear disarmament and renationalisation of recently privatised industries, as “the longest suicide note in history”.

After a term as shadow foreign secretary, he returned to the back benches in 1992 and became chairman of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

Castigated

There he was able to indulge in a series of attacks on what he called cultural elitism. His savaging of Mary Allen, then chief executive of the Royal Opera House, over her failure to account for spiralling costs, saw her resign her position.

The satirical TV puppet show, Spitting Image, lampooned Kaufman as the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, from The Silence of the Lambs.

He became notable for harsh criticism of BBC management and called for the BBC to be privatised, claiming that the corporation could be funded by big business.

Neil Kinnock's Shadow Cabinet in 1988Image copyright PA
Image caption He served as shadow foreign secretary under Neil Kinnock

He also castigated the BBC over its apology for the obscene calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the actor Andrew Sachs, saying that it was “not enough”.

Kaufman’s most vocal attacks were reserved for Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians. A member of the Jewish Labour Movement, he called for economic sanctions against Israel and a ban on sales of arms.

In 2002 he broke a longstanding pledge never to visit Israel when he went there to make a BBC documentary called The End of An Affair, which charted his early infatuation with the Jewish state as a young student and how he later became disillusioned.

He launched a bitter attack on the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon. “It is time to remind Sharon,” he said, “that the Star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive government.”

Prolific author

He often compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with South African apartheid and, described Israel’s use of white phosphorus flares in the 2009 offensive in Gaza as “war crimes”.

“I long ago gave up hope for the Israelis participating in a negotiated solution,” he said in 2014.

Kaufman himself came under fire when the Daily Telegraph published its investigation into MPs’ expenses in 2009. It emerged he had claimed more than £115,000 for work on his London flat and spent £8,000 on a large-screen TV and another £1,500 on a luxury rug.

Gerald Kaufman (3rd L), the head of a European Parliament delegation, meets with residents of JabaliaImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption He led a delegation to Gaza in 2010 to express solidarity with the Palestinians

Following the general election of May 2015, he became Father of the House, a title bestowed on the sitting MP who is not a minister who has the longest unbroken period of service in the House of Commons.

A prolific author, he wrote a number of books on the art and practice of politics.

Kaufman was not a clubbable man and not one to suffer fools either gladly or quietly, something that did not endear him to many of his parliamentary colleagues.

That, along with Labour’s almost two decades of opposition, may well explain why a politician with undoubted intellect, and one of the pioneers of the New Labour project, never served in the cabinet of a Labour government.

Gerald Kaufman was knighted in 2004.

Let’s hope so, Tony Blair Could Be Hauled Before the Courts Over the Iraq War

Tony Blair Could Be Hauled Before the Courts Over the Iraq War

Tony Blair could be hauled before the courts over the Iraq War ‘after lawyers working for British troops claim Chilcot Report shows he misled Parliament to justify 2003 invasion’

  • Chilcot report into 2003 Iraq War criticised Tony Blair for taking Britain into war
  • It was based on ‘flawed’ intelligence and war was ‘not the last resort’ at the time
  • Bereaved families of 179 war dead have called him ‘the world’s worst terrorist’ 
  • They want to pursue him through the courts and raised £150,000 in two weeks
Message: Last year Tony Blair was emotional as he expressed his sorrow to  the families of the 179 British Iraq War dead - but bereaved relatives believe there is evidence that the ex-Prime Minister committed 'misfeasance in public office'

&amp;amp;lt;img id=”i-1a04ae5c48ebd8fc” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/02/13/13/0371E208000003E8-4219712-image-m-15_1486991941127.jpg&#8221; height=”424″ width=”306″ alt=”Message: Last year Tony Blair was emotional as he expressed his sorrow to the families of the 179 British Iraq War dead – but bereaved relatives&amp;nbsp;believe there is evidence that the ex-Prime Minister committed ‘misfeasance in public office'” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;amp;gt;

Message: Last year Tony Blair was emotional as he expressed his sorrow to the families of the 179 British Iraq War dead – but bereaved relatives believe there is evidence that the ex-Prime Minister committed ‘misfeasance in public office’

 

&amp;amp;lt;img id=”i-1a04ae5c48ebd8fc” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/02/13/13/0371E208000003E8-4219712-image-m-15_1486991941127.jpg&#8221; height=”424″ width=”306″ alt=”Message: Last year Tony Blair was emotional as he expressed his sorrow to the families of the 179 British Iraq War dead – but bereaved relatives&amp;nbsp;believe there is evidence that the ex-Prime Minister committed ‘misfeasance in public office'” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;amp;gt;

Tony Blair could be hauled before the courts over the Iraq War, the Mail can reveal today.

Top barristers working for bereaved relatives of British troops killed in the conflict believe there is evidence that the ex-Prime Minister committed ‘misfeasance in public office’.

The legal team has gone through the 2.6million-word, 12-volume Chilcot Report into the controversial conflict with a fine-tooth comb for the past six months.

They now conclude that there is a strong case Mr Blair misled Parliament to justify the disastrous 2003 invasion, which cost the lives of 179 UK servicemen and women.

The families’ legal team is seeking to build a civil case against him and other Whitehall officials.

It was funded with the help of generous Daily Mail readers who raised £150,000 in just two weeks in a bid to bring them to justice. More than 5,000 members of the public dipped into their pockets to help the cause

 

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

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