Jewish Labour Movement backs Owen Smith as next Labour leader

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The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) votes almost unanimously for Owen Smith over Jeremy Corbyn to become the next leader of the party.

In an overwhelming victory for Smith, 92 percent of the JLM voted in favor of Smith, compared to just 4 percent backing Corbyn.

According to its website, the JLM is a “formal affiliate of the Labour Party in the UK since 1920,” which “campaigns within the party and the wider community to support Labour values within the UK, Israel and internationally.” It also works closely with “the Zionist Federation of the UK.”

Corbyn has been rocked by several accusations of anti-Semitism in the party since taking over as leader in September of 2015. The row gained mass media coverage and led to the party suspending a number of its key figures for condemning Israeli crimes.

Reacting to the uproar, Corbyn launched an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. Even former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended by Corbyn in April for denouncing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and arguing that Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany, was a supporter of Zionism.

Writing an article for the Mail over the weekend, a Jewish Labour donor compared Corbyn’s inner circle to “Nazi stormtroopers”. Michael Foster, who gave Labour £400,000 at the last election, wrote of his hatred for Corbyn and penned his support for Smith.

Smith, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, announced his decision to run in the Labour leadership election last month. Smith had resigned earlier this year from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet before challenging for the leadership.

Corbyn’s opponents challenged his leadership for what they call inadequate efforts to keep the UK in the European Union.

Corbyn has until September 21 to appeal to voters and defeat Smith. The results will be announced in a Liverpool conference three days later.

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Worst Human Being Alive: Tony Blair?

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By

I realize that, living here in the United States, the nation doing the most in the world to create wars, proliferate nukes, and destroy the habitability of the earth’s climate, I really have a duty to pick someone in the United States as the worst individual human being alive.

Movie Poster
Movie Poster
(image by davidswanson.org)

But the United States operates by incestuous swarm. We have another Cheney running for Congress and another Clinton running for president. We have Trump’s campaign manager in trouble for taking money from Russians, much of which he funneled to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair’s brother. Meanwhile, Trump’s daughter has been hauled before a virtual Un-American Activities Committee for vacationing with the supposed girlfriend of Vladimir Putin who may or may not have cheated on Rupert Murdoch with Tony Blair — Yes, the same Rupert Murdoch who raises funds for Hillary Clinton, and yes, that Tony Blair — the one whose corrupt deal with Murdoch put him in power in the first place.

These characters, including Blair, are at least honorary Americans. But Blair is something even worse than the worst of the worst of them. Blair did to the Labour Party what Bill Clinton did to the Democratic Party — what Jeremy Corbin is trying to undo and Hillary Clinton trying to permanently entomb. Blair did to Kosovo and Afghanistan and Iraq what Clinton, Bush, and Obama did to those places. But while Bush went home to paint pictures of himself in the bathtub, Blair went on a Clintonite mission to get rich and evangelize for war and corruption.

I don’t know if it’s fair to hold this against him, but Blair took into wars on Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, a nation with far greater resistance to such lawless mass killing than the United States had. That is, he had people telling him openly that his actions would be criminal and reprehensible. He may now be the least popular person in Britain. He can’t go outside without being protested. George W. Bush, like his daddy, in contrast, is just another respectable old retired emperor.

I do think, however, that it is perfectly fair to hold against Blair the fact that he shifted from mass killing straight into mass money making while promoting more death and destruction. Money grubbing British prime ministers from now on will know that they can become stinking rich upon retirement if they do the bidding of their corporate and foreign overlords while in office.

If you think I’m exaggerating, go watch George Galloway’s new film, The Killing$ Of Tony Blair. This film tells the story of Blair’s whole career, and it’s ugly. He cuts a deal with Murdoch to allow media monopolies in exchange for press support. He takes money from a car racing plutocrat in exchange for allowing tobacco ads at car races. He sells out to corporations left and right. He peddles BAE jets to Indonesia for killing people in East Timor. He sells BAE air traffic control systems to Tanzania which has no air force. He simply shuts down a prosecutorial investigation of BAE’s Saudi corruption in the deal that saw Bandar Bush pocket $2 billion. He privatizes schools and hospitals, anything that can make a buck for anybody who knows how to kick some back.

Blair joins with Clinton the First and then Obama in the killing in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and then shifts into former-prime-minister-now-“consultant” mode, taking millions from JP Morgan Chase, Petro Saudi, and other companies for providing his connections to other corrupt people around the world. He takes obscene speaking fees. He hires himself out to dictators in Kazakhstan, Egypt, Kuwait, and Libya. The film juxtaposes their atrocities with Blair’s purchased praise of their many merits. Blair persuaded Bush to protect Gadaffi from lawsuits by alleged victims, but apparently forgot to tell Hillary not to bomb Gadaffi or get him killed.

What really wins Blair the prize of worst person on earth, though, is his acceptance of an appointment as Middle East Peace Envoy to Israel and Palestine, a job he apparently held right up until enough people realized it wasn’t a fake report meant to be funny but an actual no-kidding job that he was actually engaged in.

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Another of Israel’s pimps to become Labour’s saviour?

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David Miliband

Those in the UK who hoped and prayed they’d seen the last of David Miliband may be in for a nasty shock
By Stuart Littlewood

Unbelievably, Labour Party chiefs are trying to persuade David Miliband to come back from New York, parachute into a safe seat and snatch the Labour Party leadership from Jeremy Corbyn, according to newspaper reports.

Presumably, these are the same chiefs who continue to crucify Corbyn for his links to so-called “terrorist” groups Hamas and Hezbollah. The plotters, it seems, are much more tolerant of friends and admirers of the Israeli terror regime.

Curse of the Milibands

Ralph Miliband arrived in the UK fleeing Nazi persecution. The cocky Miliband brood were soon telling the British nation what to do and how to do it. Ralph’s sons, David and Ed, lost no time taking a hand in misgoverning our country. Both sat in the Cabinet simultaneously.

Ed was Minister for the Cabinet Office, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and, lately, Labour’s failed leader. David was Environment Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Under his watch two US rendition flights put down at Diego Garcia, which he initially denied.

Peter Oborne, writing in The Telegraph at the time of David Miliband’s exit from UK politics, said of him:

After Labour’s 1997 election victory he was the poster boy of a new ruling elite which seized control of the commanding heights of British politics. Anti-democratic, financially greedy and morally corrupt, this new political class has done the most enormous damage. Since David Miliband was its standard-bearer, his political career explains a great deal about what has gone wrong with British public life, about why politicians are no longer liked or trusted, and about how political parties have come to be viewed with contempt.

Oborne made the point that Miliband set the pattern so many others, including his brother Ed, followed:

Obsessed by politics at university, he has never had even the faintest connection with the real world. From life in think tanks he became a Labour Party researcher and special adviser, before being parachuted into the north-eastern constituency of South Shields as an MP.

David Miliband wrote Labour’s vacuous 1997 and 2001 election manifestos and was at the heart of the Labour machine when it generated the notorious falsehoods over Iraq. Oborne also noted the irony of Miliband’s new job in the US heading up a humanitarian organisation “when the government of which he was such a loyal member created so many of the world’s disasters”.

Being British became an embarrassment

To those who despair of the endless cruelty and slaughter in the Holy Land, David Miliband will be forever remembered as the shameless British foreign secretary who apologised to Israel’s gangsters for the risk they ran of being arrested if they set foot in London.

Back in 2009 the gruesome trio, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog, cancelled engagements in London for fear of “having their collar felt”. Israel complained bitterly and Miliband responded by promising the odious Avigdor Lieberman that UK laws relating to “universal jurisdiction” would be changed. He asked the prime minister, Gordon Brown, and the justice minister, Jack Straw for urgent action.

Thankfully, a general election intervened and ousted Miliband from the Foreign Office, but his grovelling promise was eagerly taken up by his replacement, William Hague, another fanatical friend of Israel. Hague declared that a situation where foreign politicians like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest in the UK was “completely unacceptable… We will put it right through legislation… and I phoned Mrs Livni among others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals.”

Impunity for Israeli criminals

Never mind that the arrest warrants in question were issued to answer well-founded criminal charges. Never mind that all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. And never mind that there must be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Private arrest warrants were necessary because the government was in the habit of shirking its duty under the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and dragging its feet until the birds had flown. Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence, said Lord Wilberforce, is “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority”. Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”. And the beauty of the private warrant was that it could be issued speedily.

While David Miliband headed up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. And Labour’s clowns want to bring him back?

Miliband’s move to scupper this was even more deplorable when it is remembered that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, had been largely responsible for the terror that brought death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead. Showing no remorse, and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of it. Speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”

Any British government minister who brings this degree of obsequiousness to his job and is prepared to undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her, deserves banishment to outer darkness – permanently.

Miliband is also remembered for not having the guts to visit Gaza, or even Iran, while in office. Yet he managed to reach Gaza in 2011 with Save the Children. “I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons,” he said in an article in The Guardian. What nonsense. The only danger would have been from an air-strike by his psychopathic friends in Tel Aviv. Risks go with the job. You can’t be an effective foreign secretary wrapped in cotton wool.

While David Miliband headed up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. And Labour’s clowns want to bring him back?

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UK police under fire for training Bahraini forces

NOVANEWS

A British parliamentary committee has criticized UK police for training Bahraini forces who are accused of ruthlessly suppressing public protests and dissent.

Under a confidential agreement in 2015 obtained by the Observer, the UK’s College of Policing agreed to train forces of Bahrain’s Zio-Wahhabi Interior Ministry.

The deal, however, does not mention human rights issues.

The UK parliament’s home affairs select committee has slammed the college’s agreements with Zionist puppet regimes that have poor human rights records. The committee also blasted UK’s Foreign Office for refusing to disclose such contracts.

The committee said “opaque” agreements with foreign governments, which have been criticized for human rights abuses, “threaten the integrity of the very brand of British policing that the college is trying to promote”.

A law firm representing a tortured Bahraini activist has written a letter to the Foreign Office, saying the agreement with Bahrain raises concerns about the UK’s commitment to protecting human rights.

“We know the college provides a wide range of training programmes domestically that are of potential concern, such as the use of communications data obtained by telecoms operators, the use of interception material, surveillance and undercover policing, and the scope of its courses to overseas customers is not limited in any accountable way,” said Daniel Carey, of DPG Law.

He also argued that the college must have acquired the parliament’s approval for its profit-making activities. “The College of Policing is doing something unusual for government in selling services overseas.”

Anti-regime protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis since February 14, 2011, calling on the Zionist puppet Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power.

Troops from Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime and the United Arab Emirates — themselves repressive Arab regimes — were deployed to the country in March that year to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful and pro-democracy rallies.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama’s crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

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Zionism Is The ‘Enemy Of Peace’ & IDF Should Be Tried As Terrorists, Say Labour MPs

New claims of anti-Semitism in Britain’s Labour Party have emerged as Shadow Cabinet ministers and friends of leader Jeremy Corbyn are said to have made comments comparing Israel to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

According to the Daily Mail, the party’s communities spokesman, Grahame Morris, wants British Jews who serve in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to be treated as suspected terrorists.

It has also been claimed that justice spokesman Richard Burgon has called Zionism an “enemy of peace.”

Morris, the chairman of Labour Friends of Palestine, has also previously posted a picture of Israeli flags online with the caption:“Nazis in my village, do you see the flag they fly.”

Although he later apologized, he has also come under fire again for agreeing to host an event chaired by Sameh Habeeb, who published an article by a Holocaust denier on Holocaust Memorial Day.

It also emerged on Monday that Corbyn was offered £10,000 from a Palestinian group that has praised Hamas, which is considered to be a terrorist group by many authorities.

Corbyn’s campaign told the Observer the donation had not been declared, as its bank rejected the check because it had been made out to the wrong person.

The allegations of anti-Semitism come after a controversial investigation conducted by human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti, who produced a report released in June saying the party was not“overrun by anti-Semitism.”

The internal report on the validity of allegations against the Labour party found that there was only an “occasionally toxic atmosphere,”while condemning “ignorant attitudes” within its ranks.

Corbyn raised eyebrows when the report was published by saying:“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu Government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic States or organizations.”

Some took the comment as drawing an analogy between IS and Israel.

According to the Jewish newspaper Algemeiner, the head of the Zionist Federation UK Paul Charney claimed that a formerly marginalized anti-Semitic fringe in the Labour Party has been emboldened by Corbyn.

“Part of the problem is that while we recognize the classical version of anti-Jewish prejudice from the far-right, collectively we are struggling to come to terms with its variant on the hard left,”Charney said.

“This new anti-Semitism, often dressed up as anti-Zionism, unfortunately seems to be part and parcel of the totemic obsession with the Palestinian cause.”

He added: “The more stories like this emerge, and the greater the suspicion that the current Labour leadership is unwilling or unable to tackle or even recognize what contemporary anti-Semitism looks like, the greater the perception will  become that, as it stands, the party is a toxic environment for Jews.”

Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communications at the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said in a statement that Labour’s “constant stream of controversy and scandal… further erodes the trust of all reasonable Britons in the party itself.”

“Weak cover stories, half excuses, support from and for extremists, power and honor being handed to those covering up anti-Semitism, and now money being donated by terrorist sympathizers and supporters; there can be no question that this is being misread or spun by a specific interest group,” Sacerdoti said.

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Labour Appeal: Fury as High Court Judge Philip Sales’ intimate links to Tony Blair revealed

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Tony Blair Justice Philip Sales

In what is a consolation victory for the Labour Party’s establishment in the Court of Appeal, it has been revealed by WikiLeaks that there may be more to the decision than meets the eye.

After Sir Philip Sales QC overruled the previous High Court decision to allow the 130,000 disenfranchised Labour Party members to vote in the up and coming leadership election – notorious whistle-blower Wikileaks revealed that Sales had been a Blair insider for years, having been recruited as Junior Counsel to the Crown in 1997.

The literature cited by WikiLeaks confirms that immediately after Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election, Sales was recruited by Tony Blair. Interestingly, it also reveals that Sales used to be a practising barrister at law firm 11KBW, of which Tony Blair was a founder member. At the time of the appointment, there was uproar over Sales’ appointment and plunged Blair into a cronyism row.

According to The Guardian’s coverage of the sexual discrimination case brought against Sales’ appointment, a source close to the case referred to 11KBW as a ‘network of old boys and cronies’, and that there was ‘no coincidence that the appointment came from Lord Irvine’s and Tony Blair’s old chambers’.

Since his appointment in 1997, Sir Philip Sales managed to rack up a hefty bill to the taxpayer as the highest earning lawyer in the entire government. Moreover, as a key part of Blair’s legal team, he also defended the Government’s decision against holding a public inquiry into the Iraq War in the High Court in 2005.

Clearly, there is no evidence of wrongdoing, only that of a conflict of interest. Sales’ deep involvement in the Labour Party during the Blair years will raise questions about the legitimacy of his shock ruling in favour of the National Executive Committee, especially as there was an evident breach of contract.

Despite these 130,000 members being told in black and white that they were eligible to vote in upcoming leadership elections upon registration, today they have been officially cast aside by their own party in an attempt to skew a result that is already a foregone conclusion. The biggest kick in the teeth, however, is that the permission to do so was granted by a former key lawyer of Tony Blair’s Labour government.

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A liberal post-Brexit perspective on regionalism in Africa

Costanza Milano for BoF

Brexit appears to reveal a growing dissatisfaction with globalization. But, on the basis of debates leading to and in the aftermath of the referendum, it seems that Britain’s decision to quit the EU is a mere hiccup in regional integration processes. Regionalism as a product of globalization is unstoppable, including in Africa.

Introduction

The referendum on whether the Britain should stay or leave the European Union is over. That is unless the ongoing campaign, which has seen the collection of over 2.5 million signatures by those seeking for a second opinion on the referendum, succeeds. The proponents of an independent Britain, outside the 28-member EU regional bloc, carried the day with over 52% of the votes cast, while those who supported Britain’s remaining within the European Union garnered 48% of votes. Nevertheless, the aftershocks of the referendum and its implications continue to reverberate not only at the epicentre, which is Britain and Europe, but across the globe as well.

The interplay of realism versus liberalism in the Brexit debate

Although in the run up to the referendum the main discourse skirted around the economy, immigration and sovereignty, underneath these issues the debate was obviously influenced by two broad age-old subterranean ideological forces, realism and liberalism. These two general theories have for centuries influenced and shaped our perceptions of international relations. While liberalism school of thought has mainly been in favour of globalization and to an extent regional integration processes across the globe, idealism has often been more inclined towards a more traditional international political system, based on state centricism, and modeled along the Westphalia peace agreement.

In the case of Britain’s decision to quit the EU, realism, at least superficially, seems to have had an upper hand in explaining the outcome of the referendum. The voting pattern, slightly skewed in favour of Brexit, can be perceived as a growing dissatisfaction with globalization. Nevertheless, on the basis of debates leading to and in the aftermath of the referendum it seems that Britain’s decision to quit the EU is a mere hiccup in the regional integration processes. Regionalism as a product of globalization, hinged on liberal ideology, is on a cruise across the globe and seems unstoppable.

Regionalism as a panacea for Africa’s socio-economic and political challenges

This is especially the case in Africa, where regional integration efforts, as outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063, have continued to be actively pursued at regional and sub-regional levels, more so as a panacea for economic, peace and security, as well as social challenges. In addition to economic benefits of regional integration, regional blocs such as the East African Community – in the case of Burundi crisis – and the Economic Community of West African States – in the wake of Burkina Faso political debacle – have been at the forefront of peaceful resolution and prevention of conflicts within member states. This meaningfulness of regional integration in providing solutions to socio-economic and political challenges makes it an attractive initiative across the continent.

In this regard the two significant parameters that are likely to continue pushing forward regionalism across the continent, within the context of Britain’s referendum and its relations with the EU, are urbanisation and the youth. In the case of urbanisation, the voting pattern in the concluded British referendum was skewed with regard to rural versus urban populations. The majority of voters in rural areas reportedly overwhelmingly voted for an exit, as opposed to most voters within large cosmopolitan centres across Britain. For instance in London, over 62% of voters backed closer ties with EU. This a voting pattern is an indication that more people within urban centres have a positive outlook of globalization and regionalism, as compared to rural folks.

Therefore based on the urban versus rural voting trends in Britain’s referendum, and statistics that indicate an upward trend on rural-urban migration across Africa, the continent is more likely to embrace regionalism going into the future. Within the last two decades, at 3.5% per year, Africa has had the highest urban population growth. With this urban growth expected to rise, and projections pointing that between 2010 and 2025, Africans living in cities will account for at least 85% of the total population; most Africans are likely to pick up the urban global culture. This will lead to majority of Africans defining themselves less on the basis of national identities, and more as global citizens. Thus like in the Britain’s context there is likely to be more support for regional integration processes as urbanization takes root across most parts of the continent.

The second parameter that indicates continued support for regionalism across Africa is the age factor. In Britain’s EU referendum, majority of young voters, up to 75%, between the ages of 18 and 34, mainly voted for the UK to remain within the EU. However, older UK citizens voted to quit the union. It’s highly likely that these young people, who are the future policy makers, and in favour of globalization are likely to pursue policies and constitutional procedures that favour regional integration. In the case of Africa, with a huge population of young people, over a half aged below twenty years, and still rapidly growing, the continent’s majority constituents are more likely to favourably view regional integration efforts. This is likely to be buttressed by the shared common global identities and culture.

Lessons for regionalism in Africa from Brexit

Nevertheless, despite the deepening and widening of regional integration across the Africa, there is need to develop policy framework, in addition to legislations that endear ordinary African citizens to the integration processes. This is especially important, coming within the backdrop of UK’s referendum that reflected increased feelings of disenfranchisement by ordinary EU citizens. The disconnect between political elites, who formulate policies, and ordinary citizens, who are heavily impacted by these policies, should be narrowed. To attain this, the policies formulated with the involvement of constituents of a regional government, should be transformed into pragmatic policies that add value to the welfare of common citizens. This will cure the elitist tag that is associated with regional blocs and ensure the cultivation of common regional identities.

The other lesson that can consolidate the future of regionalism across Africa is how to manage the transition from nationalism to regionalism. Based on Britain’s referendum it’s obvious that even after decades of deepened regional integration, a strong sense of attachment to sovereignty by individual nation-states is difficult to forego. This rising spectre of ultra-nationalism has not only been witnessed by the recent decision of Britain to pull out of the EU, but has also popped up across significant member states of the EU. In France, Netherlands and Germany right wing conservative parties, bolstered by Britain voters’ decision to ditch the EU, are already beating the drums of nationalism and calling for exit from the EU. Therefore, for Africa, as it embraces regional integration as a means of ensuring an economically, politically, and socially integrated continent, it should gradually develop policies that are in harmony with national and regional interests of member states. This will ensure effective, efficient, and progressive integration processes.

Brexit was defined by identity politics

In conclusion, it’s important to note that the decision of UK to leave the EU, although on the surface can be explained on the basis of realism theory, is not an outright threat to globalisation and extension regionalism. This is true especially within an economic and cultural standpoint. On the contrary, the voting trends in the UK referendum thus seem to have mostly been informed by identity politics, and less by the realities of regional political economy of Britain vis a vis those of the EU.

The role of urbanisation and youths in globalization, in addition to the interconnected nature of the global financial system, will enhance regionalism and other facets of globalization, more so across Africa, giving more credence and relevance to liberalism as a school of thought in the study of international relations.

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Britain, its colonies and WWII

Public Domain

Britain was heavily dependent on colonial wo/man-power, raw materials and even financial contributions. Black people conscripted by Empire suffered racial discrimination throughout a war which was supposedly fought against Hitler’s race theories and in the name of freedom and democracy. These contributions are hardly acknowledged.

To win a war, not only troops are needed, but also clothing for them; food for the troops as well as civilians; money for salaries and wages, as well as to purchase whatever is not available ‘at home’; perhaps more importantly, the raw materials to manufacture weapons and ships, airplanes, tanks and vehicles. All these contributions from the colonies have to be acknowledged, but this has been omitted from most histories. But could Britain have won the war without the array of contributions from the colonies?

This is just an outline of contributions from  Britain’s African colonies, except South Africa. The other colonies  of course also contributed. White troops from the colonies are not noted here.

War is declared

The Colonial Empire was not consulted about entry into World War II: colonial governors and the Viceroy of India simply followed Britain’s orders and declared war on Germany. One absolute necessity that Britain faced was ensuring the loyalty of the colonies, so a massive pro-‘Mother Country’ propaganda campaign was instituted.

The armed forces

Out of a total population of approximately 31 million in Britain’s African colonies, historians estimate that about half a million were recruited from the East, West and Southern African colonies. There were 323,483 recruits from East Africa, of whom 7,301, including the c. 900 on the transport ship taking them from Mombasa to Ceylon, are reported as having died. (Parsons, p.35) About 166,000 men from all the British colonies fought in the Burma campaign against the Japanese; 47,500 served in North Africa and the Middle East and an untold number in North and East Africa. A large proportion of the men served in the Royal Pioneer (labour) Corps. Literally a handful of qualified men were recruited for the RAF as aircrew; when the construction of the new airfields and barracks in the Gold Coast was finished in 1944, about 5,000 men were enlisted as  ground-crew in the West African Air Corps. There was also a West African Hospital Section of some hundreds of men, who served in southern Europe.

There were about 206,000 in the Home Commands in Africa protecting Britain’s colonies against the Vichy French forces surrounding them, and fought against them in Madagascar. The Home Commands included local naval fleets. For example, some 3,500 Nigerians served in the Nigerian coastal naval force of mine sweepers, and escort and patrol boats.

Exactly how men in Africa were recruited and what proportion served in ‘Pioneer’, ie labour corps, remains hidden history. Historian Ashley Jackson (pp.175, 180) states that 200,000 were recruited by West Africa Command and that a total of half a million served during the war. Many historians state that in most areas the Chiefs were ‘persuaded’ to obtain ‘volunteers’ for the military.

According to historian David Killingray, about ‘15,000 soldiers were killed by enemy action’. (2001, p.439) 5,549 were wounded and 256 were reported as ‘missing in action’. (These are probably unreported deaths.)  Whether the ‘deaths’ includes the 600 who died when the ship carrying them from Egypt to Tripoli was sunk, or the 670 on the ship sunk by the Japanese on its way to Bombay from East Africa, is not recorded. And it is quite possible that ‘non-combat fatalities were under-reported… A great many East African servicemen died from accidents and disease’. (Parsons, p.35)

Military awards

I have not been able to discover how many Africans were awarded military medals for exemplary conduct.

Thirty-one Indians and one Fijian were awarded the Victoria Cross; colonials won a total of 35 Distinguished Service Orders, 180 Military Crosses, 56 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 300 Military Medals; an African soldier in Burma was awarded the British Empire Medal. (Hansard, 17/10/1945, vol.414, col. 1137) Indians were awarded about 4,000 awards for gallantry.

Racism in the military

On 19 October 1939 it was announced in Parliament that non-Europeans would be accepted in all three services and would even be eligible for emergency commissions. It was only manpower shortage and the need not to alienate the Empire that led to some relaxation of this attitude:  but as far as is known, the Royal Navy continued to exclude Blacks except in   segregated ‘RN Establishments’ on shore, staffed by non-Europeans in the Gold Coast and in Kenya.  Africans continued to serve within African, not British, regiments.  Literally a handful of appropriately qualified men were accepted by the RAF and trained as aircrew.

The granting of emergency commissions was very rare and the few that were awarded were to medical and dental officers.  Only two were trained as army officers for the African armies: Gold Coasters Seth Anthony in 1941 and T.K. Imbraim, in 1945.

There was no equality of pay or treatment. East African soldiers were apparently the lowest paid, receiving only about a third of the pay of West African soldiers. An unmarried White British soldier’s pay was 30 pence per day and a Gold Coast private’s was 12 pence. However, when it became necessary to attract skilled/educated Africans, the East African Command increased pay. All the Brits’ pay was increased in 1944, but not that of Africans.

Though flogging had been abandoned as official punishment in the British Army some years previously, it continued to be administered to African troops. Unofficial beatings, both while being trained and while serving, were common.

Other forms of discrimination were being forced to do manual work when recruited as combatants, and to work as personal servants to the White officers. Not surprisingly, desertions were so common that, for example, in the Gold Coast men recruited in the Northern Territories were handcuffed on the march to the military camps in Tamale to ensure arrival. (Killingray, 2010,  p.124) Strikes/mutinies were not uncommon, instigated by lack of leave; unacceptable food, clothing and accommodation; being forced to labour or work as servants when recruited as soldiers. For example, on being told that having freed Ethiopia from the Italians they would now be shipped to Ceylon, the 25 Brigade of the King’s African Rifles (East Africans) revolted, as they had been promised that they would only be fighting in Africa, and hadn’t had any leave for 2 years. ‘Many of these soldiers were surreptitiously court-martialled after the majority of the Brigade received leave, and at least one man was flogged’, reports historian Timothy Parson. (p.205 – full report on pp.203-216)

Raw materials

As Britain was heavily dependent on her empire for raw materials, men and women in India, Africa, the Caribbean and the rest of the colonial empire had to work to support Britain. While the increase in production provided paid labour for some, others were coerced: though forced labour had been condemned by the International Labour Organisation, it was practised in Britain’s African colonies. For example, in Kenya in November 1944 there were 18,053 forced labourers and in Tanganyika there were 23,000 in July of the same year; in the period September 1942 to the end of 1944 about 52,400 Nigerians were forced labourers in the Jos coal mines. (The total numbers recruited as forced labour has not been published. It must be emphasised that the government coerced labour for work for private, profit-making companies, not under any form of government control, as well as for government projects such as road building. The workers had no trade union or other rights and if paid, received a pittance.)

The raw materials from Africa were, for example, tin, coal, rubber, cocoa, vegetable and palm oils and groundnuts from Nigeria; bauxite, diamonds, manganese and rubber from the Gold Coast; iron ore and diamonds from Sierra Leone; cattle and diamonds from Tanganyika and wheat, pyrethrum, tea and sodium from Kenya; copper and tobacco from Northern Rhodesia (Zambia); tea, cotton and tobacco from Nyasaland (Malawi);  sisal from all East Africa.  The Compulsory Native Labour Act of 1942 ensured that Rhodesia’s white mine and plantation owners had enough cheap labour to supply Britain with gold, tobacco, asbestos, coal and chrome. Even insufficient research indicates that a considerable proportion of their labour force was ‘conscripted’.

With permission from the Belgian government-in-exile, Britain imported uranium, copper, cobalt, diamonds and uranium from the Congo.

East Africa and Nigeria became the major food suppliers for the military forces in Africa and the Middle East.

An unknown number of Africans served – and died – on the merchant ships transporting these materials. West African Review reported in January 1946 that 30,189 merchant seamen had died, 1,402 had been wounded, 5,264 were ‘missing’ and 8,115 were prisoners. What proportion were Africans is not known.

Financial contributions

West Africans contributed well over £1.5 million to various war-time funds. When seen in relation to wages of one to two shillings (£1 = 20 shillings) per day, this was a vast sum. The West African colonial governments gave Britain almost £1 million in interest-free loans, while a similar sum came from the Caribbean governments. By the end of 1943 the colonial empire had given Britain £23.3 million in gifts; £10.7 million in interest-free loans and £14 million in loans that were low interest-bearing. (Hansard, 21/10/1943)

Approximately £100 million of British Africa’s £223 million in sterling balances was spent on the military. At the end of the war, the colonies’ sterling balances in Britain totalled £454 million – these were monies owed by Britain to the colonies for colonial produce.

The home front

Many thousands were employed to build military installations, airfields and naval bases, and improve or construct roads and railways to take bauxite and other minerals more quickly to the ports for shipment to Britain.  For example, about 10,000 men were employed to build air-bases for the US air-ferry service.  Many more thousands laboured to extend the port facilities in Freetown when the West African Royal Naval Command was moved there; and then to keep the vessels moving on the convoy route to the East once the Mediterranean became unavailable to British vessels. How many of these workers were willing recruits, and how many were ‘forced labour’ remains unclear.

In West Africa, the cost of living rose between 50% and 220% during the war, without a corresponding increase in wages. Labourers received 9 pence to one shilling (12 pence) a day.

The British government took over the control of the export of all major products, paying farmers less than they would have received on the open market. Africans were not consulted about anything – could not be, as there was no representative government.

News, publications and all means of communications were censored, the media was heavily controlled and those labelled ‘seditious’ were jailed – for example, I.T.A. Wallace Johnson, founder of the West African Youth League, spent the war years in jail.  Protests and strikes were suppressed: to give just one example, 558 were arrested and 20 killed and an unknown number wounded in a strike in Uganda in January 1945.

As very few people owned radios, loudspeakers and then cinema screens were erected by the Ministry of Information in towns and villages  to ensure all could hear/watch British propaganda.

Africans established new organisations, such as the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons. All demanded at least ‘internal self-government’ and then independence. To ‘keep the peace’ and ensure loyalty, the governors had to respond: ‘unofficial appointments’ of Africans to the Executive Councils of Nigeria and the Gold Coast was approved.

Conclusion

This brief and selective summary should make it clear that Britain was heavily dependent on colonial wo/man-power, raw materials and even financial contributions. It should be equally clear that ‘Black’ peoples suffered racial discrimination throughout a war which was supposedly fought against Hitler’s race theories and in the name of freedom and democracy. These contributions are seldom acknowledged now and were not acknowledged then: for example, though some colonial troops were invited to participate in the Victory Parade in London at the end of the war, the distributed film of the Parade omitted them; remonstrations pouring into the Colonial Office forced a hasty restoration. Fifty years later a campaign had to be mounted to force the government to invite colonial representatives to the commemorations at the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

There is much for historians to explore, for example, about racism in and out of the military, about recruitment for the military and the Pioneer (Labour) Corps; about training and treatment within these forces; about forced labour to produce raw materials; about the persistence of racism. About pensions to widows and disability benefits to the wounded.  Hopefully some will do the necessary research, even if the findings might not be flattering to the ‘Mother Country’.

Bibliography

Irving W. André & Gabriel J. Christina, For King and Country, Post Casse Press, 2009

Peter B. Clarke, West Africans at War 1914-18, 1939- 45, London: Ethnographica, 1986

Heinz Deutschland, Trailblazers: Struggles and Organizations  of African Workers before 1945, Berlin: Trade Union Publishing House, 1970

Cameron Duodo, ‘Britain should give credit where credit is due’, New African, June 2008

‘Obituary: Major Seth Anthony’, Modern Africa, 13 January 2009 & The Independent, 19 March 2009;

Meyer Fortes, ‘The Impact of the war on British West Africa’, International Affairs, 2, April 1945

B.W. Hodder, Tin Mining on the Jos Plateau of Nigeria, Economic Geography, 35/2, 1959, pp.109-122

Wendell P. Holbrook, ‘British Propaganda and the Mobilization of the Gold Coast War Effort 1939-1945’, Jnl. of African History, 26/4, 1985, pp.347-361.

Adrienne M. Israel, ‘Measuring the War Experience: Ghanaian Soldiers in World War II’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 25/1, 1982, pp.159-168

Warahiu Itote (General China), ‘Mau Mau’ General, Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1967

Ashley Jackson, The British Empire and the Second World War, London: Hambledon Continuum, 2006

Bildad Kaggia, Roots of Freedom 1921 – 1963: The Autobiography of Bildad Kaggia, Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1975

David Killingray, ‘Labour Mobilization in British Colonial Africa for the War Effort, 1939-46’, in David Killingray & Richard Rathbone (eds), Africa and the Second World War, London: Macmillan, 1986.

– ‘African voices from two world wars’, Historical Research, 74/186, 2001, pp.425-443

– Fighting for Britain: African soldiers in the Second World War, Woodbridge: James Currey, 2010

Timothy Parsons, The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902-1964, Oxford: James Currey, 1999

Marika Sherwood, Many Struggles, London\\\: Karia Press, 1985

– ‘The Colonies and World War II’, Black Cultural Archives Newsletter, # 2, July 1995

– (with Martin Spafford), Whose Freedom were Africans, Caribbeans and Indians fighting for in World War II?’, Savannah Press/BASA, 1999

–  ‘Coloured Medical Men’, BASA Newsletter, #32, 2002; #34, 2002; #36, 2003

World War II: Colonies &Colonials, Kent: Savannah Press, 2013

O.J.E. Shiroya, Kenya and World War II: African Soldiers in the European War, Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau, 1985

Christopher Somerville, Our War: How the British Commonwealth Fought the Second World War, London: Cassell, 1998

Statistical Abstracts of the British Commonwealth, London, 1947

Dudley Thompson, From Kingston to Kenya: The Making of a Pan-Africanist Lawyer, Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1993.

Posted in Africa, UK0 Comments

The absurd reaction to actor’s Palestine flag badge reflects a wider taboo in Britain

NOVANEWS
Image result for Palestine flag
MEMO 

British actor John Altman was invited to appear on TV show “Loose Women” recently to discuss the release of his new book and his battle with alcoholism. Moments into his appearance on-screen, people took to social media to express outrage at what he was wearing in his lapel; a pin badge of the Palestinian flag.

The British tabloid Daily Express was quick to feature an article about this, documenting the “disgust” of some viewers at Altman’s so-called “political statement” and the support he received from others. The polarised reactions to the badge appeared to be driven by viewers’ opinions on the Israel-Palestine conflict; that’s understandable. What is arguably more worrying is the fact that there were people insisting that the production company should have not let him appear on the programme wearing the badge in the first place.

The fact that such anti-Palestine sentiments were expressed almost immediately takes the issue further than Altman’s decision to wear the badge; he is, by the way, a long-term, outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights. The aggressive reaction is further evidence that support for Palestine in British society is becoming increasingly controversial, and pushes the idea that neutrality is in fact the most moral approach in this conflict.

This is even more obvious in a political climate that is becoming more and more unforgiving about showing support for Palestine. Indeed, Palestinian activism is under scrutiny not only in Britain but also other parts of the world. The non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been denounced as “terrorism” in Israel. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is vehement in his opposition to BDS, insisting that it has “no place on Canadian campuses.” In the UK, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described it as “completely crazy” and described BDS supporters as “corduroy-jacketed, snuggle-toothed, lefty academics.”

More recently, a 15 year old British-Palestinian girl won a regional final of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge for delivering a speech on the occupation of Palestine and Israeli brutality against Palestinian civilians. However, she was then expelled from the national contest on the grounds that “a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others.”

It is clear that complicity in Israel’s occupation of Palestine is becoming normalised in the mainstream British narrative on the conflict; speaking out about the rights of Palestinians is becoming a controversial move. The reaction to John Altman’s badge should not, therefore, be a surprise. Nevertheless, it signifies a serious threat to Britain’s much-vaunted free-speech and the dynamics of press freedom.

It brings to mind the words of English philosopher John Stuart Mill who wrote in his book On Liberty in 1859, that, “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.” Whether this opinion is built upon fact, or not, censorship is unhealthy and could begin to nullify the “entire courage of human kind.”

When it comes to the issue of Palestine, though, it is more than intellectual freedom and the value of speech at stake. Wearing a Palestine badge, for example, not only represents the wearer’s moral standpoint, but also displays respect for international law. It must not be forgotten that UN Security Council Resolution 194, adopted in 1948, states explicitly the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their land; it has never been allowed by Israel. The UN General Assembly voted near-unanimously for resolution A/67/L.28 to recognise Palestine as a state; though it is not binding, Israel’s colonial-settlements built on occupied land beyond the 1967 borders and intended to be the territory of that state clearly violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also important to note that in 2014, British MPs voted to recognise Palestine as a state, so the controversy created around showing support for Palestine in public contradicts international norms and official British policy.

Such undermining of free speech when it comes to support for Palestine signifies a degree of complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. It is also destructive to the social fabric of this country, because taboos and censorship, especially in terms of who is and is not worthy of benefiting from humanitarian law and human rights, create additional unnecessary divisions and polarisation within society.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, UK0 Comments

Files linking Britain to Zio-Nazi nuclear weapons go missing from National Archive

NOVANEWS

Official documents on Britain’s relationship with Israel, including papers on “military and nuclear collaboration” in the 1970s, have disappeared from the National Archives in the last four years.

More than 400 records have gone missing from the repository in Kew, southwest London, including a 1947 letter from Winston Churchill and a Home Office document on the 1910 Suffragettes “disturbances.”

The Archives reassured the public it is following a “robust” plan to find the lost files.

The loss of the documents was uncovered following a BBC freedom of information (FoI) request, which found the last recorded knowledge of the 402 historical dossiers was January 2012.

Among them is a Foreign Office file titled ‘Military and nuclear collaboration with Israel: Israeli nuclear armament,’ in which the British government notes Israel’s intention to purchase nuclear weapons.

The document is thought to be linked to a United Nations resolution from 1978 listing the “increasing evidence” of the Middle Eastern country’s attempts at acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

This is not the only National Archives paper to report on Anglo-Israeli nuclear agreements. A 1958 document, made public by the BBC a decade ago, showed how Britain sold 20 tons of heavy water – one of the ingredients needed to generate plutonium – to Israel, to be used in the country’s top secret Dimona nuclear reactor.

The lost file is believed to have been part of a portfolio of official 1970s documents on arms control and nuclear disarmament.

Israel neither admits nor denies its possession of nuclear weapons and has never publicly tested one. It is universally believed to have them, however, but its official secrecy means it is unclear exactly how many.

It is thought that the files may have simply been misplaced and will soon be found. National Archives officials highlighted that less than 0.01 percent of the library’s 11 million public records disappear, accounting for around 100 files each year.

“We are a working archive with a robust, ongoing program dedicated to locating misplaced documents and many are subsequently found again after a thorough search,” a spokesperson for the Archives said.

Around 1,600 documents were reported missing between 2005 and 2011.

“The challenge is to ensure that you’ve got the systems to prevent that, because with every loss of a potential piece of archive you’re losing some history and understanding,” said Labour MP and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History vice-chair Tristram Hunt.

“You’re losing a sense of connection and you’re losing the fabric of the past.”

Posted in UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

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