Fake Labour accounts fueling “anti-Semitism crisis”

Fake Labour accounts fueling “anti-Semitism crisis”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Culprits?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deception

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fake Labour

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

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

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

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

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

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

The network

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

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

Click here for full image.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The JLM has intimate ties with the Israeli embassy.

Violent anti-Semitism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fabricated

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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One-Third of UK Arms Sales Go to States on Human Rights Watchlist

Source

Written by Karen McVeigh

Figures show that since 2008 Britain has sold weaponry worth £12bn to countries about which government has serious concerns

UKKilling

“Some campaigners expressed concern over the doubling of licence approvals to countries with human rights abuses since the Brexit referendum in 2016.”


Nearly a third of arms exports authorised by Britain over the past decade were to nations identified by the government as among the worst for human rights, new figures reveal.

Military arms deals worth an estimated £39bn were approved between 2008 and 2017, £12bn of which went to states included on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights “priority countries” list, according to analysis by Action on Armed Violence.

Over that period, the only country on the 30-strong watchlist to which Britain did not approve arms export deals was North Korea.

The analysis of the figures, collated by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade using export control data from the Department for International Trade, shows a clear upward trend in arms sales approved to watchlist countries, although individual years vary. The values are likely to be a “conservative estimate”, CAAT said, due to an opaque system of “open” licences that allow an unlimited number of consignments over a fixed period.

The DIT confirmed open licences are included among export licence figures, but has denied they are subject to less scrutiny.

The data shows a record number of arms export licences to nations on the watchlist in 2017, almost double the previous year. While 2018 was not included in the study, the British deal to supply 48 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia, reported earlier this year, is worth £5bn alone, a value that dwarfs previous agreements.

In 2017, there were 855 military licence approvals for Saudi, worth £1.3bn, compared with 331, worth £680m, the previous year.

In total, 5,782 export licences for military items in countries of concern were approved last year, worth £1.5bn, up from 2,477, worth £820m, in 2016.

Some campaigners expressed concern over the doubling of licence approvals to countries with human rights abuses since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

In July, MPs from the committee on arms export control called on the government to adopt a default position of blocking arms sales to countries accused of abuses.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Colombia, all countries on the FCO watchlist, were among the DTI’s “core markets” for defence and security opportunities for 2017-18.

Britain is Saudi Arabia’s second largest arms dealer after the US, providing military exports worth £10.3bn over the past decade despite continued condemnation of the kingdom’s use of British weaponry in its bombing of Yemen. UN agencies allege that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has violated international humanitarian standards, including widespread and systematic attacks on civilian targets.

International pressure to halt arms to Riyadh has intensified following the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Last month, Denmark and Finland joined Germany in halting future arms sales to the kingdom, although their arms exports are relatively small.

British arms exports were also approved to many countries with weapon sales restrictions imposed by the UN, the EU or both. These include China, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Russia.

The DIT said it respects both EU and UN arms embargoes, but that it may send items not defined as weaponry to peacekeepers in such countries.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a member of the Commons committee on arms exports control and the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “Approving sales of powerful surveillance equipment to regimes that hunt and kill journalists, or planes and bombs to dictators who use them on schools and hospitals, is a clear-cut violation of UK arms export control law. The government contempt for the law has inevitably resulted in UK arms exports enabling human rights abuses worldwide.”

Iain Overton, of Action on Armed Violence, said: “There needs to be more attention focused on analysis of human rights reports before we sell arms to these countries. Even if there was now to be an arms embargo for Saudi Arabia, we have funded Saudi arsenals. There is no notion of pre-planning or forewarning.”

Andrew Smith, of CAAT, called on the prime minister to put human rights ahead of arms sales. There is “little control of how these weapons will be used or who they will be used against. Right now, UK arms are playing a central role in the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen. The arms sales that are being promoted today could be used to fuel atrocities for years to come.

“The policy of arming dictatorships and pouring weapons into warzones has been pursued by governments of all political colours. It is time for Theresa May and her colleagues to end the hypocrisy and finally put human rights ahead of arms sales.”

A DIT spokesman said:“The UK operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our export licensing assessment, which also takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law.”

Source: The Guardian

That’s all we need: British think-tanks call for “US leadership” in Europe

British think-tanks call for “US leadership” in Europe

“Rebuilding US leading role is the key for European security” say British experts, but the new political realities inspire doubts

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Drawing by Konstantin Maler. (source).

January 4, Anonymous hackers released the new batch of documents from the Integrity Initiative – a government-funded program run by the London based Institute for Statecraft. The Institute for Statecraft describes itself as “an independent body dedicated to refreshing the practice of statecraft, to improving governance and to enhancing national security”. The Integrity Initiative: Defending Democracy against Disinformation is one of the Institute’s projects aimed at countering Russian propaganda as well as all kinds of “attempts to influence the policies and undermine the societies of the West”.

The released batch inter alia contains the files on the Integrity Initiative efforts in the USA. These documents worth being examined more carefully because they show a questionable approach to European security shared by some British think tankers. The experts believe a reassertion of the US political and military domination in Europe is the only way for the West to counter Russia, China and Daesh/IS.

“The West is badly in need of a reassertion of US leadership. The EU has been unable to generate any strategic thinking or to exercise convincing leadership. Russia (& China) are successfully driving wedges between EU Member States and between Allies within NATO. Brexit has added to the confusion.

The US also needs to rebuild its understanding of Russia and how to deal with it, so as to (a) improve its own governance at a time of transition, and (b) rebuild its leading role in Europe via NATO and via encouragement to the EU, to enable them to deal more effectively with the new challenge to our democratic structures and processes posed by Russia (and China, and Daesh/IS) today,” the documents recently leaked by the Anonymous state.

In other words British security experts welcome American military bases on European soil and supremacy of American national interests over the interests of European nations. They believe that American military power will save the Europeans from “Russian hybrid warfare”, Chinese expansion and jihadists. This approach looks more than flimsy.

The problem of IS sleeping agents in Europe has no military solution at all. China shows no intention to annex Europe; it sees the Old Continent as an attractive market but not as the battlefield.

The problem of “the Russian threat” is more complex. Today it more looks like a mirage widely used by mass media to fuel anti-Russian hysteria necessary to justify increase in defense spending. By February, it could turn into a Cold War-style standoff between Russia and the West as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, that the US had given Russia 60 days to comply with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty or it would no longer abide by the agreement and could produce, test and deploy new missiles in NATO member states. There is now doubt Moscow will respond in kind by deploying missiles in its Western regions.

The new political realities show imprudence of the approach to European security developed by the think-tankers from the Institute for Statecraft. American military facilities are the last things necessary for the Europeans to feel safe. What the Europeans really need to do is to stay away from the up-coming missile duel between Trump and Putin

Fall of Empires: London, Washington & Paris on brink of collapse

George Galloway
George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.
Fall of Empires: London, Washington & Paris on brink of collapse (by George Galloway)
Despite the thrashing around of the NATO disinformation apparat, the imperial heartland has entered 2019 in a state of complete chaos.

Washington, London, and Paris – the three capitals of the Empire – are today effectively ungoverned, shutdown, tottering on the brink of collapse or under siege by their own people.

Their self-chosen Nemeses – Moscow and Beijing – meanwhile toast the New Year in a state of considerable optimism and self-confidence. These are the facts, this is the news.

We should start at the top of the Empire. The United States government has closed down amid stasis and a barrage of inter-governmental howitzers.

The defense secretary, ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, has resigned as have other uniformed subalterns angry at the president’s re-found determination to withdraw from costly and losing foreign wars. The actual “mad dog” – John Bolton – openly defies President Trump over Syria, Mueller closes in, and the new Democratic majority in the House gears up to “impeach the mother***er.”

Nobody knows if President Trump will be around for much longer, and the merest glance at the views of his putative successor – Vice President Mike Pence – recalls the famous picture of President Nixon with his vice president, Spiro Agnew, standing behind him. The satirical speech bubble had Nixon pointing over his shoulder and saying “nobody is going to shoot me with this guy next in line.”

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May is a dead woman walking; Britain’s exit from the European Union is still a matter of total uncertainty, yet a mere 80 days away. Violence outside the Parliament has begun to erupt, no faction can command a majority, an election cannot be held because its most likely result would be the election of veteran anti-imperialist Jeremy Corbyn whom the ‘deep state’ would sooner see under arrest (alongside this writer, according to the coup-apparatus Integrity Initiative).

A no-deal Brexit will see the south of England grind to a halt given the lack of preparation for it, as trucks headed to and from the continent turn Kent, the ‘Garden of England’, into a car-park.

A Brexit in name only – otherwise known as Theresa May’s deal – cannot pass in the House of Commons next week given Labour’s opposition together with at least 50 of the government’s own MPs and the 10 members of the coalition partners, the DUP.

A third option, a new referendum, runs the risk of the same scenario being played out (but almost entirely unreported here) on the streets of Paris and other French cities. Defying the result of the first referendum, cheating 17.4 million people of that which they voted for, risks social peace in England. Millions of Brexit voters are among those in Britain with nothing left to lose.

In France, the Elysee has become Macron’s Bastille and it is not at all inconceivable that it will be stormed.

Last weekend his own spokesman had to be smuggled out of a back-door after a truck hijacked by protestors smashed through the door of his government building. The very conditions Macron strove so very hard to bring about in Damascus and that France DID help bring about in Kiev are now rocking the very foundations of the French Republic.

No amount of turning the ‘Nelson’s Eye’ (when famously England’s Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar was told that the French Navy were advancing on him, he put his telescope to the black patch covering his missing eye and said “I see no ships” – will alter the fact that for eight weeks and counting, hundreds of thousands of French people of all political stripes have been – increasingly violently – on the streets of cities throughout the country demanding that their president resign. And that Macron showering Euros down the Champs Elysees in concessions – in absolute defiance of the EU’s fiscal rules – has merely encouraged ‘les autres’ to keep on demonstrating.

This week, the EU (and NATO) government of Italy joined the side of the ‘Gilets-Jaunes’, with Italy’s Salvini personally denouncing the French president as being “against his own people.”

This Saturday, a mammoth demonstration will take place in London,leveling the same raft of anti-austerity demands on the British government as the Yellow Vests are making of Macron. The center cannot hold.

The old order is dying; the new one cannot be born. If we are not careful we will soon be alive in the time of monsters.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Not So Special US-UK Relationship

The Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ has been known to exist as a close alliance between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since the days of FDR and Churchill forged during the Second World War. It is called special because of the unique historical and cultural bonds of kinship that unite the American and British peoples through a perceived shared heritage, common political/social/economic values and language. Together over the course of 72 years it has been the White House with the support of 10 Downing Street as its principal strategic leading ally in Europe.The so-called ‘Special Relationship’ is an unprecedented coming together and sharing of two nation states intelligence and national security infrastructures and spy-intelligence organisations. The US-UK relationship is highly integrated at an intelligence, defence, foreign policy and security level. As well as being two highly developed, mature, sophisticated economies that do a tremendous amount of trade and investment with each other there are cultural affinities with a shared language and common ancestry.

At a political level the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is an institution of the Anglo-American special relationship and the poster child of it. When it has been good and based on mutual admiration and mutual chemistry with a strong bond of friendship such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair with Bill Clinton and George W Bush, John F Kennedy and Harold Macmillan and FDR together with in war time arms Churchill it has served to create an aura of confidence and glamour as well as excitement in the conduct of Western global leadership under the American order. Low points included the evident cold body language and distaste Edward Heath had for Richard Nixon.

Also Harold Wilson fell out with President Johnson regarding not having British involvement in the Vietnam War. British Conservative Prime Minister John Major did not get on well with American liberal ‘New’ Democrat President Bill Clinton regarding differing positions on the Irish peace process and Northern Ireland as well as Major helping Republican George Bush during the 1992 Presidential Election.

Now, quite possibly the US-UK “special relationship” has suffered serious damage and could be at its lowest ebb ever, which will have tremendous consequences for the UK’s position in the world going forward outside of the European Union. The relationship and alliance has always meant far more to London than to Washington DC. But in so heavily involving the British intelligence services in interfering in the 2016 US Presidential election directly working against the Republican candidate Donald Trump and in favour of the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, the British State may just have crossed a red line to far in the mind of President Donald Trump.

There has been much banging on about Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election. This of course is never spoken of in the context that various American and British Governments have not only covertly interfered and intervened directly in other countries internal democratic elections and political systems such as the case with the British Conservative Government of John Major attempting to help the Republican Bush 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, but also overtly, such as was the case with Iran after WWII. However, the more one learns of the extent of the British intelligence state’s involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election working in favour of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the more one begins to see that an argument can be mounted that the level of British State intervention in the 2016 US Presidential election to help tip the balance in favour of one candidate against the other is unprecedented.

Such is the case of one British political ‘activist’ by the name of Simon Bracey-Lane who mysteriously worked as an activist for the Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential campaign and a very strange organisation called The Institute of Statecraft which runs something spuriously called the ‘Integrity Initiative’. The Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative is a front for the British Government’s intelligence services. It is funded largely by the British Foreign Office and NATO Governments. It came into being in 2015 long before Donald Trump was ever perceived to be a serious candidate for the White House and its sole purpose is to continue in that most ridiculous and backwards ‘Cold War’ mentality of smearing all things Russian and smearing anyone who takes a positive interest and positive perspective on Russia and the great Russian people.

It would seem Bracey-Lane was an agent of the British Government on a mission to collect up data on Bernie Sanders, the chief rival for the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton back in 2016 and then in all likelihood pass such data to the 2016 Clinton Campaign. The British Government at the time at made it known it wanted Hillary Clinton elected President. Senator Sanders was of course a left wing firebrand, the closest American politics gets to having a socialist, who was lukewarm towards Israel and intent on revolutionising American domestic and international policy to take it in a more progressive and liberal internationalist direction. Sanders wanted to reform the bloated US defence budget and military-industrial complex and attempt to tone down aggressive impulses in American foreign policy. With a little extra push in a few primaries and caucus he might well have secured the Democratic Party nomination.

This involvement by the British State in the internal political affairs of the United States is disconcerting. Not only did the British State intervene extensively in the 2016 US Presidential election to tip the balance towards the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, it has at the same time being displaying a deeply ingrained prejudice and bigotry against all things Russian. Indeed, over the last few years the level of anti-Russian hysteria in England alongside the level of anti-EU hysteria has been an appalling and irrational spectacle to behold. Even in English police stations they now have posters up about how to look out for ‘Russian gangs’ etc. which is absolute rubbish, but then the English police are themselves utterly rubbish, as the world has witnessed recently with the disgraceful bungling of the Gatwick Airport drone fiasco. The English really need to calm down and focus on their own internal affairs such as the mess they have created for themselves with this thing of theirs called Brexit.

This British Government front called the Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ was launched in 2015 by the British Government as a secret operation to propagate anti-Russia propaganda into the western media stream and create generally an aggressively hostile anti-Russian media narrative, for what purpose and to what end only the British Government and those who hold such severe and obsessive anti-Russian opinions can answer.

The Institute for Statecraft and its ‘Integrity Initiative’ programs where designed to smear anyone who does not follow the anti-Russia line. The Steele dossier which has been of such great help to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel Investigation was also a largely a British Government operation but seems to have actually emanated from this Institute for Statecraft mission. The ‘Integrity Initiative’ builds ‘cluster’ or contact groups of trusted journalists, military personal, academics and lobbyists within foreign countries. These people get alerts via social media to take anti-Russian action when the British State perceives a need.

It would seem there are some at the very highest levels of the British State who would like nothing more than to start an all out war against Russia, which would be the gravest strategic and human mistake probably made since the last monster thought he could achieve such a diabolical scheme circa 1941. And perhaps there are some at the top of the EU who have never forgiven nor gotten over that it was Russia that was the main liberator of the European continent against the German Nazi Third Reich and it was Russia who was the principle and superior opponent against the Wehrmacht.

Yet the fact of the matter is as per usual when the English are involved they generally end up causing more damage than good. All these anti-Russian efforts by the British State and involvement in the internal affairs of American politics such as infiltrating the Bernie Sanders campaign and gathering up a dossier on Donald Trump has ironically and paradoxically served to actually weaken to its worst level the US-UK ‘special relationship’. Quite possibly US-UK relations are at their lowest point. The management of the President of the United States’ visit to the UK was a public relations disaster for the British Government of Theresa May and Mr. Trump has made it quite clear he has little time for the British Prime Minister, openly attacking her handling of the Brexit negotiations, openly pining for Boris Johnson to replace her and openly stating that a US-UK Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit is not a certainty. Also President Trump has little time for Britain’s defence establishment and its pathetic and ridiculous Henry Jackson Society so-called Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. President Trump cannot stand pip squeaks like Gavin Williamson and that is why Trump kept the entire British Government in the dark about his troop pull outs in Syria and Afghanistan.

Fiasco In Islington :Gilad Atzmon

Fiasco In Islington

By Richard Hugus | December 21, 2018

Jazz saxophonist and writer Gilad Atzmon was recently banned from playing at an assembly hall in Islington, a borough of London, by order of the Islington Town Council. This came about as a result of an e-mail from one person — Martin Rankoff  — saying nothing more than that if Atzmon was going to be at the venue on December 21 he would give a ticket that was given to him to someone else. Rankoff wrote, “Mr Atzmon’s news and beliefs I personally find repulsive and do not wish to be in the same place as him, let alone listen to his music.” Rankoff included links to ADL and Israeli news outlets accusing Atzmon of antisemitism. Incredibly, on the basis of this letter alone, the Islington Council went way out of its way and contacted the show’s promoter to get Atzmon banned — something Rankoff didn’t even ask for.

Imagine the situation in reverse: Gilad Atzmon writes a letter to the Council saying he is uncomfortable with Martin Rankoff appearing in the audience at Islington assembly hall. He refers to Mr. Rankoff’s pro-Israel Twitter page where Rankoff calls Jeremy Corbyn “A F***ing Antisemite and Racist” and where Corbyn is pictured on a bike with a comment suggesting Corbyn should be rammed by a car. Atzmon says that he doesn’t feel safe with Rankoff in the audience. He finds Mr. Rankoff’s support for Israel repulsive because Israel was founded on genocide against the people of Palestine. As proof he provides links to news reports on the slaughter of unarmed protestors in Gaza since  March 30, 2018, and a story on the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.

This imaginary second complaint would have been scorned as an abridgement of Rankoff’s rights. Indeed, since the Islington Council has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, in which criticism of Israel is deemed antisemitic, the Council would probably feel obliged to forward the letter to the authorities as evidence of hate speech.

The Council provided a statement on the banning in which it says: “under the Equality Act 2010, the Council must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to foster good relations between different races and religions within the borough. The Council took account of the fact that Mr Atzmon’s presence at the Hall, and knowledge of his presence among residents of the borough, might harm such relationships, as well as the Council’s duty to tackle prejudice and promote understanding within the borough.”

This begs the question — in what way would either the “presence” of Gilad Atzmon or “knowledge of his presence among residents” harm the relationship between different races and religions in the borough? Atzmon was to appear at the venue as a saxophone player in a jazz group. It’s hard to imagine a more severe inversion of the concept of discrimination. On the basis of the feelings of one complainant, the right of a musician to work or even be present in Islington is taken away.

What lies behind this is a familiar tactic. Zionists have no argument to counter critics of Israel, so they try to shut them up by attacking their character and robbing them of their livelihood. Now AIPAC and other lobbies are working to make it illegal to criticize Israel, as we see in the recent case of a Texas speech therapist whose yearly contract was denied because she refused to sign a pledge not to support a boycott of Israel. One might ask, what does a teaching position in Pflugerville, Texas have to do with one’s opinions about a country seven thousand miles away? And why does that country have the right to compel anyone in the US to sign a loyalty oath?

If the BDS movement doesn’t do it, zealotry and fanatacism will be the undoing of the Zionist project. People don’t like being told what they are allowed to think and say. When our words and thoughts are policed, it makes us question all the more. What were once decent leftist positions against racism and discrimination have been twisted into a new kind of totalitarianism, one in which it is racist to question the racist, and discriminatory to question discrimination; one in which we are told to think something doesn’t exist when we can see with our own eyes that it does. The self-righteous members of the Islington Town Council have set a very dangerous precedent, and have been used as fools on top of it.

How can #Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

How can Brexit be about democracy after this?

By Graham Vanbergen: I have written endlessly about the involvement of dark money and right-wing free-market fundamentalists agitating for Brexit who secured positions in high office and the very corridors of power. In my recent book, ‘Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat’ – I highlighted how they established, built and nurtured authoritative organisations to ensure that Brexit was not a wasted opportunity to push forward the next stage of the global reign of free markets

But don’t take my word for it. Some of our media partners at TruePublica have uncovered just as much democracy wrecking shenanigans going on in the background.

Take openDemocracy. They put an investigations team on following the money and found a link between foreign billionaires and Brexit just as I did. They found illicit secretive sources of political funding and exposed Arron Banks, the self-proclaimed ‘Bad boy of Brexit’ and the ongoing scandal of his huge donations. They even worked with accountants to show his insurance businesses were verging on bankruptcy at the time of the referendum and yet he brought £8 million to the Leave campaign. This donation is now under investigation.

Like me, they found the link with Steve Bannon, Trump, Cambridge Analytica and the now infamous Facebook data scandal. That wasn’t that hard but confirming the use of advanced social engineering systems that were used in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan designed originally to ‘change hearts and minds,’ was. But sadly, that too is a fact of the farce that Brexit has become.

Then there are our partners at Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace. Their undercover investigation, published in the Guardian, raised concerns about the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) work on Brexit that may have broken charity rules by campaigning for a specific policy outcome. It’s all about a hard Brexit and a US-UK free trade deal.

The IEA is registered as an educational charity. It has been under investigation by the Charity Commission since July as a result.

I go into some detail about the IEA and others and also highlight one American organisation in my book with over 450 business relationships and links to hard-right free-market think tanks, themselves linked to the hard right-wing Tea Party and other profit-driven fundamentalists. These powerful American outfits are also pushing for a hard Brexit and nothing less.

Carol Cadwalladr’s epic award-winning investigations published in The Guardian and The Observer highlighted the secrets of dark money and the foreign billionaires behind Brexit. Again, she was following the money and made the connections between big business interests and Brexit. The list of scandals uncovered by Cadwalladr continues to grow.

Then there’s Theresa May. She has been accused of holding secret weekly Brexit meetings with Cabinet ministers and civil servants of which no record has been made. This is unheard of outside of a wartime government. Of the clandestine gatherings, one insider told the London Evening Standard: “In terms of democracy this feels like a scandal.” It is.

This government is defined by its secretiveness and a desire to avoid any scrutiny whatsoever. Theresa May and her cabinet are now avoiding parliament on anything serious. The problem is, as I have said time and time again over the years even before she became the PM – Theresa May is an authoritarian leader, not a collaborative one who believes in democracy. She has decided what is best for the country and no parliamentary participation is allowed if it does not agree with her position. One only has to look at the scale of democracy denying instruments (such as trashing privacy and constructing the West’s biggest surveillance state) she brought to the country in her time at the Home Office.

The ‘Meaningful Vote’ was cancelled – but only because she was facing democratic defeat. A second vote was then forced upon May – a confidence vote leaving her badly wounded. But no second referendum is allowed. As far as the PM is concerned only she has the right to interpret the view of the country. Let’s not forget May pretty much lost a general election campaign in which she demanded a personal mandate. May disappears into secretive meetings precisely because she can’t communicate with anyone at all – not the electorate, or the Tory party or that of parliament. In the meantime, the government have just been accused of wasting £100,000 on a social media campaign to get support for her Brexit deal at the vote she just cancelled. It is not that May is in a difficult position – it’s that she is clueless as are her woeful advisors.

All these reports, investigations and scandals that have emerged since Britain’s EU referendum must surely lead everyone to conclude that the EU referendum result was, in fact, more the outcome of a paid-for propaganda exercise facilitated by ultra right-wing radicals in the Tory party than democracy in action. It is leading Britain into chaos.

Democracy was denied to Britain when we found out that foreign-born billionaires and corporations had massively overspent official campaigning budgets set in law. Democracy was denied when Theresa May came to power and it will continue to be denied as she constantly changes the goalposts to best suit her game.

There is only one thing we can be sure of. The ‘investors,‘ especially the vulture funds, hedge funds and special interest groups exposed by all these scandals are looking to profit from the very chaos that Brexit causes – and it is unbelievable how been successful that plan has turned out to be!

 

Graham Vanbergen is the contributing editor of TruePublica, a columnist at the European Financial Review and author of Brexit – A corporate coup d’etat.

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