The City of London – Capital of an Invisible Empire

NOVANEWS

In July 2017 director Michael Oswald’s latest film, The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire was premiered at the Frontline Club in London. It has since had several screenings in London and public screenings can be organised from November onwards.  This fascinating interview just published in Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten explores what inspired co-producers Michael Oswald and John Christensen to make a film documentary about London’s role as the world’s pre-eminent tax haven.  Oswald and Christensen also talk about how London might develop once Brexit kicks in, exploring the possibility of deepening the City’s tax haven role through further tax cuts for the rich and more rolling back of financial market regulation and other social protections.

The key inspiration, according to Michael Oswald, was Nicholas Shaxson’s best-selling Treasure Islands, which explained the way in which the formal British Empire morphed into a spider’s web of tax havens gathering financial wealth from across the world and funnelling it through to the City. As Oswald explains, this helped to re-establish London as the financial capital of Capital:

At the time of the British Empire, Britain structured its economy not around manufacturing and productive sectors, but around finance. City of London banks provided the financing for the Empire and the colonies would pay interest to the City.

As Britain’s Empire declined, City of London institutions were increasingly confronted by circumstances that limited their ability to function and make a profit. It was out of this need that various financial interests sought to fashion for themselves spaces in which they could continue to operate and profit. In order to create these spaces they used the expertise developed during empire and the territorial remnants of the Empire, such as Britain’s dependent territories, financial expertise and networks established during Empire and the knowledge of how to establish, run and benefit from an international financial system.”

Much of the expertise built up during the final decades of the formal empire was focused on ways to avoid paying taxes both in the colonies and in Britain itself.  In the 1920s and 30s offshore companies and trusts were increasingly used to avoid and evade paying taxes.  In the 1950s, with the emergence of the London-based Eurodollar market, international banks found themselves able to operate in a virtually unregulated financial market which the authorities – in this case the Bank of England – treated in a totally laissez-faire fashion.

As Christensen says in the interview, successive British governments have not only turned a blind eye to the British spider’s web of tax havens, they have actively supported its growth by blocking international attempts to tackle it:

“Britain has consistently voted against creating a globally representative inter-governmental body to shape a framework of rules to strengthen international cooperation on tax matters. Britain has successfully resisted international pressure to take effective action against its tax havens in the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and other British dependencies.

I have observed British officials blocking attempts to strengthen international cooperation on tax information exchange by keeping discussion on offshore trusts off the agenda. This happened as recently as 2015 when Prime Minister David Cameron pushed to have trusts excluded from information exchange processes. This is a pivotal issue since offshore trusts are key to the British tax haven secrecy model. Britain has also spent years blocking EU attempts to make progress towards a common approach to taxing multinational companies (the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base).”

Fast forward to the present and it seems clear, especially post-financial crisis, that Britain’s reliance on the City as the engine of growth in the UK economy is a risky development strategy. Christensen again:

“The British economy is heavily reliant on external trade in services which is dominated by financial services. Any shock to the financial services sector, for example arising from being denied access to the EU Single Market, would be highly damaging to the economy.”

Which raises the inevitable question about where the British spider’s web might go post-Brexit.  Many of the services previously provided from London cannot be provided without the Single Market, which will require London-based banks and law firms to establish permanent establishment with the EU-27.  The British tax havens see new market possibilities in China, India, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, but this will probably involve laundering ever larger amounts of dirty money and enabling ever more tax avoidance.  The problem, as Christensen sees it, is that Britain has failed to plan for industrial diversification for decades and now faces limited development options:

Prime Minister May and her finance minister have already indicated that deepening Britain’s tax haven role is an option. This is a sign of weakness since a race-to-the-bottom on regulation, secrecy and corporate taxation would probably expose Britain to risks relating to financial stability and fiscal sustainability.”

Is this a viable development strategy?  Unquestionably there will be winners: oligarchs, kleptocrats and the multifarious aristocrats, bankers, lawyers, spooks and retired politicians who benefit from Britain’s tax haven empire.  For the vast majority of people in Britain, however, hosting the world’s largest tax haven has no benefits whatsoever and offers only the prospect of further relative decline and social division.  As Oswald comments in the interview:

This is something we explore in the documentary, in the case of the US and the UK, services do not make up for the reduction in industrial capacity. Michael Hudsonexplains that it is through attracting international capital whose origins may very well be criminal that this has become a possibility in the US and the UK.”

Read the full interview here.

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Majority of Brits think UK should recognise Palestine as a state

NOVANEWS

MEMO 

A majority of the British public believe the UK should recognise Palestine as a state, according to the results of a new YouGov poll published Monday.

53 percent of respondents said they agree with such a step, as opposed to just 14 percent who disagreed (33 percent said they were ‘neutral’).

Responding to the poll, Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said public opinion has been shifting. “I have been here for 11 years and have noticed dramatic changes in the British public’s views on Palestine”, he said.

“That only 14 percent say they wouldn’t want the Palestinian state to receive recognition is an indication of the Palestinian cause worldwide being accepted”, he added.

The poll also addressed views amongst the British public towards the Balfour Declaration, whose centenary will be marked in November.

According to the poll, opinion is deeply divided over the Balfour Declaration: 32 percent of Brits think it is something to be proud of, while 27 percent consider it “something to be regretted” (and 41 percent selected ‘Neither’).

The poll also revealed a partisan divide, with a striking plurality (32 percent) of those who voted Labour in the last election viewing the Balfour Declaration as something to be regretted. Among Conservative voters, on the other hand, 40 percent view the historical document with pride, and only 21 percent with regret.

The poll also asked whether, “given Britain’s historic role”, the country has “a particular responsibility to help sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict now”, to which 55 percent responded ‘No’, and 45 percent answered ‘Yes’.

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Zionist puppet Ab-A$$ Rebuke to Zionist May over Palestine

NOVANEWS

Zionist Theresa May ‘Shoah’

President Abbas’ Rebuke to Theresa May over Palestine
By Craig Murray 

President Abbas of Palestine delivered a stunning rebuke to Theresa May in his speech to the UN General Assembly, which differed from his prepared and released script. What Abbas actually said was this:

My message to you, Mrs May, as Prime Minister of this country, if I may be so bold, is this: when David Lloyd George, your predecessor in the role, issued the Balfour Declaration on 2nd November 1917, he was committing a heinous crime against ninety-seven per cent of the population of Palestine. The evil consequences of that crime reverberate down to our present day. As an educated woman, especially one in such a high position, you know all that, I am sure.

Which is why I am astounded by your cold reluctance, your seeming inability, to be moved by the 100 years of misery, injustice, destruction and atrocities inflicted on the Palestinians by their oppressors, first the British, then the Israelis. You appear equally impervious to the cries of anger and frustration from thousands of people in this country, of all faiths and none, faced with HMG’s refusal to make good on the promise in the second part of the Balfour Declaration. A simple gesture of sympathy with non-Jewish Palestinians, the descendants of the indigenous Christians and Muslims of historical Palestine in 1917, would be a start. How can it not occur to you what an enormous benefit that would have for peace and security in the Middle East and wider afield?

The iconic suffering of the Palestinian people is a sore that needs to be healed. Only Britain has the ability to administer the healing balm. How long will they, and the world, have to wait, Prime Minister, for the healing to begin? When will you make a start?

The ignored part of the Balfour Convention to which Abbas referred is of course: “It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

Israel not only continues its aggressive programme of illegal settlement building, it also continues to demolish Palestinian structures in the territories it occupies, including schools and medical facilities built by the European Union and its member states. I do urge you to read this truly shocking report from CNN. There are many other examples.

The Daily Mail published an article promoting the frankly ludicrous argument that the EU is acting contrary to international law by building schools and clinics in the occupied territories. The article is highly tendentious because the Mail fails to state that the legal “authority” it quotes, Alan Baker, is himself an illegal settler.

The author is Jake Wallis Simons. He is given to omitting essential information from his reports on Israel and its supporters. On 28 April 2017 Wallis Simons published an account in the Mail of a Palestinian support meeting in Parliament, from which pro-Israel supporters were removed by police after they were disruptive. The article is tendentious in saying that the Zionist disrupters were removed by police with machine guns. Armed police were present, due to recent terrorist incidents around parliament, but in fact they called in non-armed support to remove the noisy protestors, and there was over a five minute delay for the unarmed officers to arrive.

But where Wallis Simons is particularly tendentious is in featuring prominently and quoting pro-Israeli activist Mandy Blumenthal in the article, with a glamorous photograph of her. Wallis Simons again fails to give the reader essential information – in this case that Ms Blumenthal is the partner of Mark Lewis, Mr Wallis Simons’ lawyer who is acting for Mr Wallis Simons to sue me for libel in the High Court. A reader of the Daily Mail article may have wanted to know of the author’s close relationship with the subject’s partner.

Mr Wallis Simons is Associate Editor of the Mail Online and thus, even though the byline is Rory Tingle, it is probably not unreasonable to associate him with the Mail Online’s even more sensational article about Mandy Blumenthal last month:

Ms Blumenthal is searching for property in Israel, and plans to leave within the next ‘few years’, but would emigrate within weeks if Mr Corbyn became Prime Minister.

This article is accompanied by an astonishing four photos of Ms Blumenthal, all copyright Ms Blumenthal herself, and three photos of her father. It is part an extraordinary puff piece for Ms Blumenthal – complete with posed cleavage shot I am not reproducing – and part a rehash of the Mail’s repeated attempts to associate Jeremy Corbyn with anti-Semitism. The article has no real basis at all – a threat by a little known person to leave the UK “in a few years”. Interestingly, though it tells us much about her late father, it does not mention her rather better known partner, Mark Lewis.

It is legitimate to ask how on earth the Mail Online, Associate Editor Jake Wallis Simons, came to be publishing this extraordinary promotional piece for Mark Lewis’ partner at all.

Finally, here is a video clip of Ms Blumenthal in action again this month, this time with her brother, double glazing salesman and UKIP candidate (I did not make those up} Alan Blumenthal. Yet again they were deliberately disrupting a pro-Palestinian meeting, this time featuring a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset as speaker. Mr Blumenthal is the balding man with spectacles and you can judge his behaviour for yourself.

Precisely why the Blumenthals feel the need to attend pro-Palestinian meetings and disrupt them, is an interesting question. One can easily imagine the outrage of the Daily Mail if I or others turned up to pro-Israeli meetings and behaved in this way. I might add I would not dream of doing so.

Jake Wallis Simons, Mandy Blumenthal and Mark Lewis form a nexus whose methods and motivations could not be more plain. Nevertheless that does not mean I cannot be in real trouble in having to make a libel defence against Wallis Simons, under England’s repressive libel system.

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

UK: Terrified Shoppers Flee London Mall After Teens Go on Acid Attack Rampage

NOVANEWS

Emergency services at Stratford Centre in east London, following a suspected noxious substance attack where six people have been reported injured, Saturday Sept. 23, 2017

Saturday shopping in a busy London mall took a terrifying turn after groups of youths flung a “noxious substance,” police said.

Six people were injured in an acid attack at Westfield Shopping Center in Stratford, east London, on Saturday.

Panicked victims were heard screaming in pain and shouting, “I can’t see,” after the attack, eyewitnesses said.

Staff at a nearby Burger King said that one victim ran into the restaurant for help to wash the substance off his face.

“There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them,” the restaurant’s assistant manager Hossen said.

The London ambulance service treated six males at the scene for their injuries and took three of them to a nearby hospital.A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a group had attacked people with a “noxious substance,” but clarified that this was not a random attack.

“I would like to be very clear concerning this incident,” Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan, Newham borough commander, said.

“What initially may have been perceived as a number of random attacks has, on closer inspection, been found to be one incident involving two groups of males.”

Emergency services arriving at the scene

​The attack comes amid an alarming rise in the number of incidents involving acid in London, where more than 460 attacks involving corrosive substances took place in 2016.

In the first four months of 2017, London’s Metropolitan Police recorded more than 100 attacks, many in East London.

​The spate of attacks has been linked to a crackdown on other kinds of weapons such as knives and guns. A report sent to the Home Office last year by Conservative MP James Berry suggested preventative measures that would make it harder to obtain corrosive substances.

The report suggested restricting their sale to credit-card only purchases, or forcing manufacturers to reduce the corrosive content of household substances such as bleach.

Related:

London Police Detain 15-Year Old in Wake of Recent Acid Attack After 6 Injured
No Riders: Uber Stripped of London License Over Security Concerns
Last Ride? London Authorities Bereave Uber of License Amid ‘Safety Reasons’
Ahmed Hassan, 18, Charged With Attempted Murder in Wake of London Tube Attack

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Brexiting Hard: Boris Johnson Goes to War

NOVANEWS
  

The Times was none too pleased, riled and concerned. Contributors to The Spectator were wondering whether an imminent implosion was about to take place.  Who would profit from this act of suicide, this ritual of Tory party cannibalism? The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, naturally. The Tories, Britain’s drivers of Brexit, have gone from trouble to potential disaster.

It all came down the antics of Buffoonish Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary who rendered himself a talismanic figure during the Brexit referendum campaign, the figure whom Prime Minister Theresa May felt best secure from in sending him to far-flung places. Over time, the talisman has become an un-improvised explosion device, poorly assembled but nonetheless devastating. At any moment, he might just blow up, leaving a crippling residue.    

Rumours had begun circulating this week that Johnson was set for the cabinet chop. In a lengthy note in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson was returning to soil long tilled over by the Leave debate. Even grounds now considered inaccurate if not plainly misleading by those who participated in the campaign to leave the EU, were revisited with unremitting enthusiasm.

It was this very meditation that had peeved establishment Tories.

“I don’t know where this is coming from, honestly. It feels to me like an attempt to keep the great snoreathon story about my article running.”[1]

Tory grandee Ken Clarke was in little doubt what the foreign secretary was up to: soiling the prime minister’s stable.

“Sounding off personally in this way is totally unhelpful and he shouldn’t exploit the fact that [Theresa May] hasn’t got a majority in parliament.”

Had May received a stonking majority in what turned out to be a withering election, he would have been surely sacked for such conduct.

Interest centred on Johnson’s cavalier approach to the claim, made before and most recently in the Daily Telegraph, that £350 million a week was being paid in dues to the European Union, and that it was an amount that would be duly clawed back once Britannia had made her brave, disentangling escape. 

“Once we have settled out accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350m a week.” 

It was a figure he has defended with iconoclastic conviction and a degree of enthusiasm verging on mania. Never mind the inconsistencies and the balanced losses, the EU subsidies and services supplied in return for dues. Britain, bold, hamstrung Britain, had to out, to fight this imposition.

Once freed from these clutches, Britain would be able to relocate the funding to, for instance, the National Health Service (NHS), the very system Tories was sworn to eliminate at various stages since its inception. (The NHS already suffers at the hands of the privatisation ideologues.)

“It would be fine thing,” suggested Johnson, “as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make most of the new technology.”

The core of his argument was his own pitch for a Hard Brexit. Rather than fearing the behaviour of EU apparatchiks, it was important for Britain not to pay anything to the EU for access post-Brexit. To remain within, even if only financially, would constitute a betrayal. As would a transitional period after 2019 that would involve the government softening its exit with ongoing EU payments for market benefits. Prime Minister May had been warned.

Statistics Chief Sir David Norgrove deemed Johnson’s play with figures a “clear misuse of official statistics”.[2]  It was a classic statement of British understatement.

“I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to repeat the £350m per week, in connection with the amount that might be available for extra public spending when we leave the European Union.” 

It conveyed a fundamental confusion, refusing to admit to the difference between gross contributions and net.  Johnson’s response was to accuse Norgrove, in turn, of a “willful distortion of the text of my article”.

This has been an ongoing problem of Johnson and his Leave comrades, a certain injudicious use of statistics. In April 2016, Norgrove’s predecessor as chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Andrew Dilnot, noted that the figure cited by those in the Leave campaign appeared “to relate to the UK’s gross contributions to the EU, before the applications of the UK’s rebate.”[3] As he concluded in a letter to Norman Lamb, MP,

“Without further explanation I consider these statements to be potentially misleading.”

As, indeed, it proved to be.

That was not all – Johnson was keen to insist that the aggrieved young, those who felt that Britain had profited from being involved in the union, were suffering a case of split loyalties. The zealous Europeanist Guy Verhofstadt could be counted on picking up on this criticism.

“Some British politicians – not to name Boris Johnson – criticise their countrymen and women for wanting to keep their European identity.” This sort of approach smacked of the archaic, claimed Verhofstadt, a case of “binary, old-fashioned and reductionist understanding”.[4]

For Johnson, these points hardly matter.  After being kept on the cooler, and isolated as a dangerous, rebarbative maverick, he has signaled his wish to be counted again, to make the case that will resonate with those who voted to leave in 2016. Time, it seems, to either turn or spurn the prime minister.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMITUniversity, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Notes

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Zionist Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

NOVANEWS
Israel’s Chief Stooge at Westminster Shames Us Again

PM Theresa May holds a reception at Downing Street to celebrate the upcoming Jewish New Year. Image credit: Number 10/ flickr
By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune 

“As Prime Minister, I am proud to say that I support Israel. And it is absolutely right that we should mark the vital role that Britain played a century ago in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people.”

Thus spoke Theresa May the other day as she welcomed members of the Jewish community to 10 Downing Street. But by focusing on creating a homeland for the Jewish people she’s also celebrating the hell that Balfour’s Declaration created for the gentle Palestinians and for the rest of the region. “Born of that letter, the pen of Balfour, and of the efforts of so many people, is a remarkable country,” said May, apparently blind to the reality.

Right now we’re on the run-up to the centenary of what is arguably the biggest foreign policy blunder in British history: the Balfour Declaration. In 1917 Arthur Balfour, foreign secretary, bowed to Zionist demands for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and gave an undertaking that set the world on course for long-term turmoil and, for the native Palestinians, unspeakable misery, dispossession and displacement. It was a criminal conspiracy. And Balfour was an A-list idiot who bragged that he wasn’t even going to consult the local Arab population about this theft of their homes and lands.

Yet he remains a hero of the Conservative Party which, led by Theresa May, plans to celebrate this hundred-year “running sore” — as Lord Sydenham called it — in great style, inviting Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu to the festivities. That’s if the mad-dog warmonger isn’t under arrest by then on imminent charges of corruption back home.

“I will always do whatever it takes to keep our Jewish community safe,” May added. “Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews. We will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.”

She was referring to the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

BDS “unsucessful”? Really?

One of May’s Cabinet minsiters, Sajid Javid, told the World Jewish Congress that the UK would celebrate the upcoming anniversary with pride. “Someone said we should apologise for the Declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen.” To apologise, he said, would be to apologise for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.

Instead, he emphasised the UK government’s intolerance towards any kind of boycott of Israel. “I’ll be 100 per cent clear. I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success….  As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel.” The UK, he said, has maintained close diplomatic, trade and security ties with Israel since its inception, and is counted upon by Israel to vote in its favour at the UN and other international institutions.

As Noam Chomsky has aptly observed: “People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.”

Israel lobby stooges like May and Javid continue trying to ram their pro-Zionist nonsense down our throats despite the fact that last time they attacked the successful BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”, they came spectacularly unstuck. 200 legal scholars and practising lawyers from all over Europe put May in her place by pointing out that BDS is a lawful exercise of freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention. Her efforts to repress it amounted to support for Israel’s violations of international law and failure to honour the solemn pledge by States to ‘strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations’.

May needs a crash course in human rights

Top legal experts were recently asked for their views by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their verdict was that those in public life cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”.

What’s more, there is an obligation to allow all concerned in public debate “to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”. Article 10 says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression including “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says the same sort of thing, subject of course to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the anti-Semitism definition touted by May. Firstly, it isn’t a legally binding definition so doesn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it cannot be considered a legal definition as it lacks clarity. Therefore any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

He says it was “most unsatisfactory for the Government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness” and suggests the Government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy — a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. But no public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or should be criticised for refusing to. He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights mentioned above.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

According to Tomlinson, then, the IHRA definition doesn’t mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or urging BDS against Israel, can properly be characterized as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition in order to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully.”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley, has weighed in bycriticising the IHRA definition for lack of legal force. “It is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.” He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

Sedley felt the IHRA definition was open to manipulation. “What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted.”

As for Javid’s crack about not having to apologise for Israel’s existence, he must have forgotten that in the wake of the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which granted the Jews territory within defined borders, they declared statehood in 1948 without borders, grabbing as much extra land as they could by armed terror and ethnic cleansing.  The new state of Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly Resolutions 181 and 194. It has failed to do so and to this day repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the Charter.

When the UK Conservative Government makes pronouncements on foreign affairs it pays to consider that 80 percent of its MPs are claimed to be signed-up members of Friends of Israel and this is a stepping-stone to higher office. Conservative Friends of Israel, according to their website, are active at every level of the party.

It is sad that so many of our politicians are so spineless and so insecure that they feel the need to herd together under the flag of what the UN has called a racist state.

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“The More You Watch, The Less You Know”. Preferred Conclusions – The BBC, Syria and Venezuela

NOVANEWS
 

As the late media activist Danny Schechter wrote, when it comes to the corporate broadcast media: ‘The more you watch, the less you know.’

Schechter’s observation only fails in one key respect: ‘mainstream’ output does tell us a lot about which foreign governments are being lined up for regime change.

In 2013, it was remarkable to see the BBC reporting claims from Syria on a daily basis in a way that almost always blamed the Syrian government, and President Assad personally, for horrendous war crimes. But as the New York Times reported last month, the picture was rather less black and white. The US was embroiled in a dirty war that was ‘one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A’, running to ‘more than $1 billion over the life of the program’. Its aim was to support a vast ‘rebel’ army created and armed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to overthrow the Syrian government.

The BBC’s relentless headline stories were mostly supplied by ‘activists’ and ‘rebels’ who, in fact, were militants attempting to overthrow Assad, and whose claims could not be verified. Veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn described the problem afflicting virtually all ‘mainstream’ reporting on Syria:

‘All wars always produce phony atrocity stories – along with real atrocities. But in the Syrian case fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War… The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organisations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side.’

There was a simple reason why ‘rebel’ claims were uncontested: they originated from ‘areas controlled by people so dangerous no foreign journalist dare set foot among them’. The additional point being that ‘it has never been plausible that unaffiliated local citizens would be allowed to report freely’.

This was obvious to everyone, doubtless including the BBC, which nevertheless produced a tsunami of ‘rebel’-sourced propaganda. Crucially, these stories were not balanced attempts to explore the various claims; they sought to establish a version of events justifying regime change: ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ were ‘good’, Assad was ‘bad’ and had to go. Journalist Robert Parry explains:

‘The job of the media is not to provide as much meaningful information as possible to the people so they can exercise their free judgment; it is to package certain information in a way to guide the people to a preferred conclusion.’

The BBC campaign was clearly inspired – whether consciously or otherwise – by a high-level decision to engineer regime change in Syria.

The key moment arrived in August 2013 when the US came very close to launching a major attack against Syrian government forces, supposedly in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, Damascus. Only the UK parliament’s rejection of the case for war and warnings from US generals on doubts about the claims, and likely fallout from regime change, prevented Obama from attacking.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Particularly disturbing was the fact that, as the possibility of a direct US regime change effort faded, so too did the steady flow of BBC atrocity claims. It was as if, with the goal temporarily unattainable, the propaganda tap was simply closed. It was later re-opened ahead of an anticipated, pro-war Clinton presidency, and then as part of an attempt to push president-elect Trump to intensify the Syrian war.

‘Well, Shock, Shock, It’s The Oil!’

This year, we have witnessed a comparable BBC propaganda blitz on Venezuela centred around opposition claims that President Maduro has ‘eroded Venezuela’s democratic institutions and mismanaged its economy’.

The BBC campaign has again been characterised by daily reports from Venezuela presenting a black and white picture of the crisis: Maduro ‘bad’, opposition ‘good’. The BBC has again promoted the sense of an escalating crisis that will inevitably and justifiably result in regime change. It is no surprise, then, to learn from the Independent:

‘The head of the CIA has suggested the agency is working to change the elected government of Venezuela and is collaborating with two countries in the region to do so.’

CIA director Mike Pompeo said he was ‘hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there’.

No eyebrows were raised in a US political culture obsessed with unproven claims of Russian interference in last year’s US presidential elections. Last month, Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, commented on Venezuela:

‘We don’t talk about it but a military option, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.’

Pompeo’s and Trump’s statements indicate a continuation of US policy that supported a 2002 coup that temporarily overthrew (then) President Chavez and which ‘was closely tied to senior officials in the US government’.

Political analyst Ricardo Vaz notes the ironic fact that ‘many of the opposition leaders’ denouncing Maduro’s alleged attacks on democracy, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, ‘were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt’.

US interest in Venezuela was explained with admirable candour in a classified US government document from December 12, 1978:

‘OUR FUNDAMENTAL INTERESTS IN VENEZUELA ARE:1. THAT VENEZUELA CONTINUE TO SUPPLY A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF OUR PETROLEUM IMPORTS AND CONTINUE TO FOLLOW A MODERATE AND RESPONSIBLE OIL PRICE POSITION IN OPEC…’

According to the respected BP ‘Statistical review of world energy’ (June 28, 2015), proven oil reserves in Venezuela are the largest in the world, totalling 297 billion barrels.

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, naturally shares Trump’s and Pompeo’s view of the country, commenting:

‘We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution.’ (Our emphasis)

The fact that Tillerson was chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, from 2006-2016, having joined the company in 1975, might give cause for pause in considering the ‘change of conditions’ he has in mind. In 2007, the Evening Standard reported:

‘BP and the other majors are taking a hard line with Chavez, demanding conditions and compensation for [Venezuelan policy changes]… Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson said that unless the negotiations produce a profitable proposal, “we won’t be staying”.’ (‘Oil giants face reserves blow in Venezuela grab,’ Evening Standard, April 30, 2007)

And of course Trump has left us in no doubt about who is the rightful owner of the world’s oil:

‘I wasn’t a fan of Iraq, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you – when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that: “Keep the oil!”… So we shoulda kept the oil. But okay, maybe we’ll have another chance… But the fact is: we shoulda kept the oil.’

Our search of the Lexis database (August 30, 2017) for UK national press articles mentioning ‘Tillerson’, ‘Exxon’ and ‘Venezuela’ over the seven months since Tillerson was made Secretary of State generated precisely three hits. None of these discussed oil as a possible motive driving US policy – a taboo subject.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast describes why and when Venezuela became an Official Enemy of the West:

‘Well, shock, shock, it’s the oil! Chavez, back in 2000, 2001, decided that he wasn’t going to give it away anymore… Big US oil companies were paying a royalty for Venezuela’s super-heavy oil of about 1 per cent – 1 per cent! – okay. And for the regular oil, the heavy oil, it was 16 per cent. So the oil companies were keeping 84 per cent, and Chavez said: “You’re going to have to pay 30 per cent, you can only keep 70 per cent of our oil… You gotta split off a bit for the people of Venezuela.” And, of course, that made him enemy number one – not to Americans, but to America’s landlords, the oil companies.’

Regional specialist Mark Weisbrot commented recently on the Venezuelan opposition’s US allies:

‘These right-wing U.S. politicians – with much cooperation from all of the U.S. administrations of the past 15 years – have consistently fought to overthrow the Venezuelan government. This is all they can think about, regardless of the consequences of escalating violence, increased suffering, or even civil war.’

Weisbrot’s overly-optimistic conclusion:

‘The U.S. strategy of “regime change” has contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of people — mostly civilians — in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. It has also had a hideous history in the Americas. Hopefully something has been learned from these crimes and tragedies.’

The BBC’s Propaganda Blitz

In numerous ‘reports’, the BBC has presented damning criticism of the Venezuelan government, often with no or nominal balance. We will sample below from a large number of similar offerings with a few related examples from other corporate media.

On May 6, the BBC published a piece titled: ‘Venezuela protests: Women march against Maduro’. The article reported:

‘The US has also expressed concern about what UN ambassador Nikki Haley called a “violent crackdown”.’At least 36 people have died and hundreds have been injured in weeks of protests.’

This gave the impression that a government ‘crackdown’ was responsible for the deaths. But the truth was more mixed. In July, Venezuela Analysis reported that since violent anti-government protests began on April 4, there had been 14 deaths caused by the authorities and 23 direct victims of opposition political violence, with 61 deaths disputed or unaccounted for.

Like so many BBC articles, this one focused on claims that Venezuela is a ‘dictatorship’:

‘”The dictatorship is living its last days and Maduro knows it,” former MP Maria Corina Machado told AFP news agency at the women’s march.’

The BBC even included a comment presumably intended to remind readers of the infamous toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad (in fact orchestrated by US forces):

‘Meanwhile video posted on social media purportedly showed the pulling down of a small statue of Hugo Chavez in the western town of Rosario de Perija.’

In similar vein, a May 9 BBC piece included the comment:

‘The secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS) likened the country to a dictatorship.’

While recognising that the Maduro government certainly merits criticism for mishandling the current situation, ‘both economically and politically’, political analyst Greg Wilpert noted that

‘none of the arguments against the democratic legitimacy of the Maduro government hold much water’. Moreover, ‘polls repeatedly indicate that even though Maduro is fairly unpopular, a majority of Venezuelans want him to finish his term in office, which expires in January 2019’.

Western media devoted intense coverage to Maduro’s decision to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly in July. In response, the Trump administration extended sanctions. Mark Weisbrot commented:

‘The pretext for the sanctions is that the new Constitutional Assembly will essentially carry out a coup d’etat, abolishing the National Assembly – which the opposition won by a wide margin in December 2015 – and allowing President Nicolas Maduro to cancel presidential elections, which are due next year.’

But as Weisbrot noted, such a cancellation ‘will not happen automatically’ as a result of the Constituent Assembly election, and so ‘it does not make sense that the sanctions should be triggered by the election itself’.

On May 11, the BBC published ‘Inside Venezuela’s anti-government protests’. The first comment relayed by the BBC:

‘There’s no freedom of expression here in Venezuela. There’s no freedom of any kind.’

Media analyst Joe Emersberger describes the reality:

‘The biggest lie told over the past fifteen years about Venezuela is that its media is cowed by the government and that it has rendered the opposition voiceless.’

He adds:

‘In fact the protests and the leading opposition leaders’ take on the protests are being extensively covered on the largest private networks: Venevision, Televen, Globovision. If people abroad sampled Venezuela’s TV media directly, as opposed to judging it by what is said about it by the international media and some big NGOs, they’d be shocked to find the opposition constantly denouncing the government and even making very thinly veiled appeals to the military to oust Maduro.’

The BBC’s second quoted opinion:

‘We’re here to put an end to the dictatorship in Venezuela, so that our children can grow up in a free Venezuela.’

There was no balance and there have been no similar compilations looking ‘inside’ Venezuela’s pro-government protests. One would hardly guess that Maduro was elected president on April 14, 2013 in a democratic election.

In a May 12 report, ‘Venezuela protests: a week in pictures’, the BBC included two successive photo captions, which read:

‘People angry with the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been taking to the streets almost daily since the beginning of April.’

And:

‘Many have been injured, and there have been close to 40 protest-related deaths.’

 

This again suggested that people ‘angry with the government’ had been killed. Opposition violence has included bomb attacks on police, grenades thrown at the supreme court building from a helicopter, a government supporter burned alive, shootings, attempted lynchings, and so on. This violence was not mentioned by Paul Mason when he condemned ‘Maduro’s crackdown’ in the Guardian. A New York Times op-ed under the title, ‘Venezuela Needs International Intervention. Now.,’ commented in similar vein:

‘President Nicolás Maduro has responded with an iron fist. More than 50 people have been killed, 1,000 injured, and 2,700 arrested…’

The bomb attack on Venezuelan National Guard soldiers shown in this video, severely injuring several of the soldiers and cheered by people watching, would of course have been described by all US-UK media as a ‘terror attack’, if it had happened in the West.

The Guardian published a similar photo gallery of anti-government protestors, but not of pro-government protestors. The compilation came with remarkable captions of this kind:

‘Drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s 2013-14 revolt, young protesters in Venezuela carry Viking-like shields as they battle government security forces during protests against President Nicolás Maduro’

One photo caption read:

‘”Miraflores on fire” is written on the front of this shield. Miraflores Palace is the president’s official workplace’

Another:

‘The opposition says President Maduro has created a dictatorship. The last parliamentary vote held in 2015 gave the opposition a majority but the government has repeatedly blocked any attempts to oust Maduro’

The BBC’s May 16 piece was titled, ‘Venezuela: Teenager killed as mass protests rage’. A May 18 BBC piece maintained the sense of developing crisis: ‘Venezuela: Soldiers sent to quell looting amid protests’. On May 22, a BBC report opened with these words:

‘”Venezuela is now a dictatorship,” says Luis Ugalde, a Spanish-born Jesuit priest who during his 60 years living in Venezuela has become one of the South American nation’s most well-known political scientists.’

The BBC later offered another ‘inside’ look at anti-government protestors: ‘Apathy to activism: Venezuelan students on why they protest.’ Mario Bonucci, rector of the University of the Andes, was quoted:

‘This is an institution where you can speak your mind freely without fear of repercussion and that’s uncomfortable for this government.’

A remark that again ignored the fact that widespread criticism of Maduro’s government is published and broadcast by many Venezuelan media. The BBC offered no balancing comment.

The 2002 Coup – Telling Omissions

On July 9, the BBC wrote of opposition leader Leopoldo López:

‘Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has praised the decision to release from prison one of the country’s main opposition leaders, Leopoldo López…’Mr López was serving a 14-year sentence for inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014, a charge he has always denied. The Supreme Court said he was released on health grounds.’

Leopoldo López

There is rather more to be said about Lopez. Venezuela Analysis commented:

‘Lopez is also well known in Venezuela for his active participation in the April 2002 coup against the democratically elected president Hugo Chávez. During the coup, using his authority as Mayor of Chacao, he led the illegal arrest of Minister of Justice Ramón Rodríguez Chacín.’

The report continued:

‘In a joint appeal with Maria Corina Machado, López called on citizens to join his “La Salida” campaign (“The Way Out”), described the government as a “dictatorship” and called on Venezuelans to “rise up” emulating the example of January 23, 1958 (when a popular uprising overthrew the Perez Jimenez dictatorship). The message was clear: Venezuela was a dictatorship, the government had to be overthrown by force.’

The Guardian also reported on Lopez:

‘Security agents have since seized two opposition leaders from their homes after they called for protests against the vote.’

Joe Emersberger pointed out some telling omissions:

‘Umm no. Leopoldo Lopez – while already under house arrest – made a video in which he called for a military coup. Don’t try this while under house arrest in the UK, where you can get put away for Facebook posts advocating a riot (even if you are not under house arrest at the time).’

Writing for OffGuardian, Ricardo Vaz asked of corporate media performance:

‘Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.’

Numerous journalists have attempted to use the Venezuelan crisis to also attack Jeremy Corbyn as part of the relentless smear campaign against him. In The Times, David Aaronovitch wrote of the Venezuelan revolution:

‘I believe we need to know why you [Jeremy Corbyn] think it’s failed.’

This from the columnist who has tirelessly backed wars of ‘liberation’ generating mass death and utter disaster in IraqLibya and Syria.

Conclusion – Enforcing ‘The Truth’

The goal of a mass media propaganda campaign is to create the impression that ‘everybody knows’ that Saddam is a ‘threat’, Gaddafi is ‘about to commit mass murder’, Assad ‘has to go’, Corbyn is ‘destroying the Labour party’, and so on. The picture of the world presented must be clear-cut. The public must be made to feel certain that the ‘good guys’ are basically benevolent, and the ‘bad guys’ are absolutely appalling and must be removed.

This is achieved by relentless repetition of the theme over days, weeks, months and even years. Numerous individuals and organisations are used to give the impression of an informed consensus – there is no doubt! Once this ‘truth’ has been established, anyone contradicting or even questioning it is typically portrayed as a shameful ‘apologist’ in order to deter further dissent and enforce conformity.

A key to countering this propaganda is to ask some simple questions: Why are US-UK governments and corporate media much more concerned about suffering in Venezuela than the far worse horrors afflicting war-torn, famine-stricken Yemen? Why do UK MPs rail against Maduro while rejecting a parliamentary motion to suspend UK arms supplies to their Saudi Arabian allies attacking Yemen? Why is the imperfect state of democracy in Venezuela a source of far greater outrage than outright tyranny in Saudi Arabia? The answers could hardly be more obvious.

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“The Muslim Problem” and Racism in UK Media

NOVANEWS

“The Muslim Problem” and Racism in UK Media: Thousands Call on Press Regulator to Hold Inquiry

Almost five thousand people have emailed IPSO, the press regulator calling for an inquiry into racism in the UK media, in the wake of a column in the Sun which referred to ‘The Muslim Problem.’

The demand for an inquiry was originally made by the National Union of Journalists with Chris Frost, the NUJ ethics council chair saying that,

“IPSO should launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press. IPSO claim to be set apart from their predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, because they can run investigations and do monitoring – now is the time to prove it.”

Campaign group Global Justice Now has encouraged people to email IPSO , saying that

“We support the National Union of Journalists in their call for Ipso to launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press.”

The email also calls for the Sun journalist Trevor Kavanagh who wrote the controversial column to stand down from the board of the press regulator, as it seems inappropriate that the subject of so many complaints should play an integral role in the regulatory body.

Kahra Wayland-Larty, a campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“There seems to be a real sense of impunity in certain sections of the UK press, that they can print the most horrendous slurs and dehumanising stories about Muslims, migrants and refugees and get away with it. This serves to normalise racism, and put hate-filled content right into the mainstream, which is fuelling the hostile environment on the streets of the UK and subsequently resulting in the spike of often violent hate crimes we’re seeing against these communities. The press regulator can’t just sit idly by while much of the media descends into a frenzy of racist and Islamophobic  hatemongering against whole sections of UK society.”

Jewish and Muslim groups in the UK also came together to issue a formal complaint to IPSO about the Sun column, which they likened to Nazi Propaganda.

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Bomb Attack on London Underground Sets Stage for Further State Repression

NOVANEWS
 

The explosion of a suspected homemade bomb on a packed Underground commuter train in southwest London Friday morning has become the occasion for a massive police and intelligence operation.

Before anything about the origins of the attack aboard a train at Parsons Green station had officially been made public, the government called a meeting of its COBRA emergency committee. The meeting was convened in the afternoon amid speculation that the UK’s terrorism threat level could be raised from “severe” to “critical”—the highest level. Late Friday evening, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May announced in a televised statement that the threat level was being raised to critical for an undefined period.

She stated,

“For this period, military personnel will replace police officers on guard duties at certain protected sites that are not accessible to the public,” adding, “The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets…”

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said this would free up 1,000 armed police officers for use on the streets.

Earlier, May seized the opportunity to push for more surveillance powers, declaring,

“[W]e are looking very carefully at the powers that our police and security service have to make sure they have the powers they need,” while “working with the Internet companies.”

She also announced a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron “to talk about what more we can be doing to ensure that we deal with the terrorist propaganda, with the extremist propaganda, with the hatred that is put out across the Internet.”

During the evening, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via its news agency.

The rush hour attack appears to have been deliberate and indiscriminate. Passengers close by reported hearing a loud bang and seeing a “wall of flame” coming down the train. A number of people suffered burns, while others were injured in the panicked rush that followed the explosion, as commuters scrambled to exit the station.

The London Ambulance Service reported that 29 people were taken to hospital, mostly with flash burns. As of early Friday evening, 21 were still receiving treatment at Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, and St George’s hospitals.

One passenger spoke of a seeing a burning “white builder’s bucket” in a supermarket bag, with “a lot of wires hanging out of it.” Images and videos circulating on social media appeared to confirm this.

The Daily Mail and other sources said the wires appeared to be fairy lights, which have been used in homemade explosive devices in the past. It appears that the “bucket bomb” device did not explode as intended. Later reports stated the device had a timer of some sort, and a circuit board was recovered from the scene.

Another eyewitness heard a “large bang on the other side of the tube train,” then a “really hot, intense fireball” flew above his head, singeing his hair. He saw people with facial burns.

Another told the Guardian:

“Suddenly there was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming.” He continued, “I saw crying women, there was lots of shouting and screaming, there was a bit of a crush on the stairs going down to the streets. Some people got pushed over and trampled on.”

A woman, Emma Stevie, who was on the train when the explosion happened, described being caught in a “human stampede” as people tried to escape from the train.

“I wedged myself in next to a railing, I put myself in the fetal position. There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her. I saw a poor little boy with a smashed-in head and other injuries. It was horrible.”

Transport services were badly disrupted. Train service on the District Line, which crosses the entire width of London, was suspended between Wimbledon and Edgware Road stations. The entire line was subsequently shut down. Roads around Parsons Green station were closed, and bus routes terminated.

Police immediately launched a major operation with a huge manhunt. The incident, initially handled by the British Transport Police, was handed over to the Metropolitan Police’s SO15 anti-terror unit and declared to be terrorist-related. Police, including heavily armed and protected Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers, were deployed on the streets, a cordon was thrown up around the area, and houses and flats near the station were evacuated by the police. Helicopters circled overhead.

Shortly before midday, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley announced that “hundreds of detectives” were “involved looking at CCTV, forensics work and speaking to witnesses.” Rowley reported that the security service MI5 and the GCHQ spy network were “bringing their intelligence expertise to bear on the case.”

The Guardian reported Friday evening that the police have obtained CCTV images that capture the bomber as he boarded the train with the bomb.

As with all such outrages, there is no reason to assume that the attack comes as a surprise to the British intelligence agencies.

An indication that the security services know more about whoever carried out the attack than they are letting on came in the form of a tweet put out by US President Donald Trump, who called the perpetrators “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

Asked about Trump’s tweet, Prime Minister May rebuked the US president, saying,

“I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

The Metropolitan Police described Trump’s comment as “pure speculation.”

The truth is that over the past decade, most terror attacks in Britain and Europe have been carried out by individuals, often radicalised Islamists, who were known to the state, had been monitored for years, and whose associations were of direct use to the major powers in their neo-colonial wars in Africa and the Middle East.

Similar statements were made by May and the British police after the May 22 Manchester Arena suicide bombing attack in which 22 people died. This was in response to US intelligences sources revealing, within hours, the identity of the bomber, Salman Abedi, and the fact that he was well known to British intelligence.

It is now established fact that that Abedi did not act alone, but was part of wider network that had been monitored and allowed to operate by British intelligence for years.

Similarly, the June 3 attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, which killed eight people and injured 48, was perpetrated by three individuals all of whom were well known to the intelligence services and police.

This is the fourth time that the threat level has been placed at “critical” in the past 11 years. The last occasion was following Manchester attack, amid official warnings that another assault was “imminent.” Nearly 1,000 armed troops were mobilised and put onto the streets, mainly in London, to reinforce counterterrorism officers.

The June deployment was in line with Operation Temperer, a covert plan devised by David Cameron’s Conservative government, when May was home secretary.

Temperer followed a series of terror attacks in France by known intelligence assets and informers in 2015. These were seized on by the French state to implement Operation Sentinelle, which deployed 10,000 troops and imposed emergency powers allowing indiscriminate searches and arrests without judicial consent and increased surveillance. Presented as anti-terror measures, the emergency powers are still in effect two years later, to be used against social opposition in the working class.

Temperer was “accidentally” made public when minutes associated with it were uploaded to the National Police Chiefs’ Council website earlier this year. The minutes revealed plans for up to 5,100 troops to be placed on the streets to “augment armed police officers engaged in protective security duties.”

The Daily Mail noted that Temperer could be triggered by the COBRA committee following terrorist attacks, and that the military top brass recognised that the “Army played an important part in national resilience and supported the work going forward.”

“National resilience” could mean almost anything, and makes clear that Temperer is in place to back up the police with the army as and when required. Temperer was kept secret at the time because, according to the Daily Telegraph, then-Prime Minister David Cameron was concerned that comparisons would be made with British Army operations in Northern Ireland during the “Troubles,” the decades-long dirty war against Irish republicans.

Featured image is from India TV.

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Meet the Conservative Monday Club – Racist Roots and Extremism

NOVANEWS

The Conservative Monday Club (usually known as the Monday Club) is a British political pressure group, aligned with the Conservative Party, though no longer endorsed by it, but it does have an interesting background worthy of note as it somewhat highlights the DNA of the Conservative party.

 

The origins of the group are closely connected to Le Cercle, a right-wing organisation whose activities include political subversion – and the clandestine arrangement of business transactions, especially arms deals and fraud. (Read Meet Le Cercle – Making Bilderberg Look Like Amateurs).

Its original founder was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, member of the House of Lords and the 7th Marquess of Salisbury and member of a number of Eurosceptic and Neoconservative connected organisations such as Open Europe.

European chair of Le Cercle, Julian Amery, was a member and later patron of The Conservative Monday Club. John Biggs-Davison, another Cercle member, was also an active member.

Founded in 1961, in the belief that the Macmillan government had taken the party too far to the left, the club became embroiled in the decolonisation and immigration debate for which it is most famous for. By highlighting the controversial issue of race, which dominated its image ever since, at its height in 1971 the club had 35 MPs, six of them ministers, and 35 peers, with membership (including branches) totalling about 10,000.

In 1982, the constitution of the Monday Club was re-written, with more emphasis on support for the Conservative Party, but subsequent in-fighting over the club’s ‘hard right’ agenda led to many resignations.

In 2001, the Conservatives formally severed relations with the club due to its continued extreme right-wing views.

Originally, it believed that the principles needing to be reasserted included the preservation of the constitution and existing institutions, the freedom of the individual, the private ownership of property, and the need for Britain to play a leading part in world affairs. It disliked what it regarded as the expediency, cynicism and materialism which motivated Harold Macmillan‘s government.

In addition it was concerned that during this period “the left wing of the Party had gained a predominant influence over policy” and that as a result the Conservative Party had shifted to the left, so that “the floating voter could not detect, as he/she should, major differences between it and the Socialists” and, furthermore, “loyal Conservatives had become disillusioned and dispirited.”

The group brought together supporters of White Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa; the main impetus for the group’s formation was the Conservatives’ new decolonisation policies. The club opposed what it described as the “premature” independence of Kenya, and the breakup of the Central African Federation, which was the subject of its first major public meeting in September 1961

The club is notable for having promoted a policy of voluntary, or assisted, repatriation for non-white immigrants.

In 1969 the Monday Club launched a “Powell For Premier” campaign to make anti-immigration MP Enoch Powell Tory leader. However, despite complaints that it was trying to set up a separate organisation or even establish a separate party, it remained powerful on the right wing of the Conservative Party.

Oxford political scholar Roger Griffin referred to the club as practising an anti-socialist and elitist form of conservatism. In the 1970 Conservative Party election victory, six MPs who were club members were given government positions.

In September 1972, the club held a “Halt Immigration Now!” public meeting in Westminster Central Hall, opposite Parliament, at which the speakers, Ronald Bell, QC, MP, John Biggs-Davison, MP,Harold Soref, MP, and John Heydon Stokes, MP, (all club members) called on the government to halt all immigration, repeal the Race Relations Act (1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act), and start a full repatriation scheme. A resolution was drafted, approved by the meeting, and delivered to the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, who replied that

“the government had no intention of repealing the Race Relations Act”.

The playwright David Edgar described the Monday Club in an academic essay as “proselytising the ancient and venerable conservative traditions of paternalism, imperialism and racism.”

In the early 1970s it faced entryism from the National Front and other extremist organisations, while remaining the mainstream face of anti-immigration sentiment. In the 1970s and 1980s it campaigned heavily against immigration from the “New Commonwealth” (i.e. the non-white bits of the former British Empire) and protested the new wave of legislation protecting black immigrants from discrimination.

Its 1982 policy document called for the abolition of the Commission for Racial Equality, repeal of all race relations laws, an end to immigration from non-white commonwealth countries.

Various scandals has dogged the Monday Club over the years, such as Harvey Procter who had taken part in sexual relationships with males aged between 17 and 21, in his London flat. The age of consent for same-sex sexual relationships was still 21 in 1986. 

During the period that Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Party, the Monday Club were prolific publishers of booklets, pamphlets, policy papers, an occasional newspaper, Right Ahead, and a magazine Monday World .

The club was anti-communist and had an active Defence Committee chaired for over 15 years bySir Patrick Wall, MP, MC, and produced much literature on the perceived threat posed by Soviets and communists everywhere.

When it appeared that communism was failing in the Eastern Bloc, the club’s Foreign Affairs Committee called upon Members of Parliament to be ready and to argue for the German borders to be restored to the position they stood at on 1 January 1938, saying there must be no gains for communism.

The club continued its support for white minority rule in South Africa, and were actively against the release of Nelson Mandela. Right-wing MP Teddy Taylor even advocated the shooting of the Mandela.

By 1989 the club adopted a firm anti-European Union (EU) position.

After its 2001 General Election defeat, the Conservative Party made efforts to appear less of a racist, anti-gay, anti-poor, “Nasty Party”, and moved in a more centrist direction. Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and chairman David Davis took steps to break the Monday Club’s links with the Conservative party.

John Bercow, now speaker of the House of Commons, formerly secretary of the Immigration and Repatriation Committee of the Monday Club, was a supporter of Enoch Powell. Despite being Jewish himself, Bercow was accused of racism by the Essex University Jewish Society in the 1980s over his links to the Monday Club and other far-right groups.

Derek Laud, a British lobbyist, businessman, political adviser, speechwriter, and journalist had known Bercow well over a 20 year period and although being former member himself eventually described it as an ‘absurdly nasty fringe group of lunatics’.

Watching John in action could sometimes be stomach-turning. He was on the ‘edge’ and, with fellow ‘Thatcherite guerrillas’ Marc-Henri Glendening, Doug Smith and Mark MacGregor, made speeches about supporting the UNITA movement in Angola, in tune with the American Right-wing, despite the fact it had plunged that country into civil war.

Tory big beasts Norman Tebbit, Peter Bottomly, Neil Hamilton and Alan Clark were all members as were many others. Former prime minister Alec Douglas Home and Enoch Powell were supportive or spoke at its events.

From 2001, a number of notable Tory MP’s were ordered to resign from the Monday Club as the Conservative party wanted to make it more attractive to people from ethnic minorities.

In 2013 The Telegraph ran a story about Jacob Rees-Mogg attending a dinner hosted by a man who advocates the repatriation of “non-indigenous” Britons, despite being warned of the group’s far-Right links.

Mr Rees-Mogg was told by anti-racism campaigners that the Traditional Britain Group, a discussion group for “disillusioned patriots”, has links to the far-Right. But he was assured the claims were “smears”, and attended as guest of honour at the group’s annual black tie dinner at London’s East India Club. The group is run by Gregory Lauder-Frost, a former leading light of the Conservative Monday Club and a well-known figure within the British far-Right. He previously ran the Western Goals Institute, which had links to European neo-fascist parties.

He calls for the “assisted repatriation” of ethnic minority people whose families have moved to Britain since the Second World War, as advocated in the 1970 Conservative Party manifesto. He singled out Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence”. Lauder-Frost, 62, told the Daily Telegraph: “I feel this woman has done the British nation no favours whatsoever. If these people don’t like us and want to keep attacking us they should go back to their natural homelands.”

The group describes Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, as “a Nigerian” and calls for the repeal of race relations laws. Its president is Lord Sudely, a former president of the Monday Club, who has praised Hitler. Previous after-dinner speakers include Frank Ellis, the university lecturer who was suspended for claiming black people have lower IQs than white people.”

In 2015, the aforementioned Derek Laud, who was also Baroness Thatcher’s ex speech-writer and David Cameron’s friend branded the party ‘ultimate racists’ for its 2013 anti immigration campaign saying further that – “They like keeping black people in one place – or in their place.

The Monday Club website states on its home page

We are the home of those members and supporters of the Conservative and Unionist Parties who represent traditional conservative values.” 

Their values include policing with a zero-tolerance stance, including even minor crime such as shop-lifting, are strongly anti-European and immigration and continue to demand the Human Rights Act to be scrapped.

Since its inception dozens Conservative MP’s and members of the House of Lords have been active members of the Monday Club.

As the Conservative party has moved politically further to the right in recent years, there are rumours that the Monday Club has hopes to fully re-establish links with the Conservatives severed by Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis.

Posted in UKComments Off on Meet the Conservative Monday Club – Racist Roots and Extremism

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