Libya

Counter-terrorism: new UK strategy must learn obvious lessons

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/02/2018 - 7:23am in

Since 2001, Britain has compromised its passion for the
rights of people in the name of counter-terrorism, thereby undermining its
national security and winning enemies faster than they are eliminated.

lead lead Yemeni man walks by painting of US drone on the wall in Sanaa, Yemen,shortly after 25 civilians were killed in latest US counter-terror raid, January, 2017. Xinhua/Press Association. All rights reserved.

Five terror attacks in the UK made 2017 an annus horribilis for those defending the
nation against terror. The UK government is about to publish an update to its
counter-terror strategy, CONTEST.

At the recent Westminster counter-terrorism conference, a top
security official affirmed that the heightened terror threat in the UK is strongly
connected to conflicts overseas – especially the situation in Syria and Iraq
and those inspired by Islamic State (ISIS). 

The new strategy needs to ensure coherent UK support for
peace overseas if it is to reduce the threat at home. The 2011
version of CONTEST
, however,
placed no emphasis on bringing conflicts overseas to a lasting end. The new
strategy must instead strongly promote effective UK engagement in peacebuilding,
and break with policies that have been proving highly counter-productive.

One job well done
isn’t enough

It isn’t possible to defend against all threats, and terror tactics
are evolving to make defence harder. Despite the 2017 attacks, the UK security
establishment leads the world in detecting terror plots, and taking down the
individuals and networks planning them. It gets insufficient credit for a job
well done. 

Perhaps because domestic counter-terror structures are so
strong, the country hasn't yet elaborated a very strategic approach to the
international dimensions of the terror problem.

Yet the global picture is not pretty: from 2000 to 2016, global
casualties from terror attacks
increased seven-fold. The ranks of violent
Islamist movements are thought to have more than tripled
from 2000 to 2013. Britain’s role in the international war on terror during
this period, and the evidence from very sobering British experiences in Afghanistan,
Iraq,
Libya,
Somalia,
Syria,
Yemen
and elsewhere, should be shaping the UK's outlook.

Two tendencies have prevented the UK from improving its
international approach. The first is the way the UK domestic debate revolves around
the idea that ‘there can be no excuse for terrorism.’ This vein of thinking
appears to make the very idea that better foreign policy could reduce the
threat to the UK a treasonable offence. Witness the contortions
Boris Johnson recently had to muster to make the simple observation that
dictators are making the terror problem worse.

Yet it is surely obvious to the British public, as to most
experts, that the threat in the UK is
deeply connected to conflicts overseas and the grievances that underpin them.
Terror attacks overwhelmingly
occur in conflict zones and repressive environments, and the threat faced by
the UK is increasingly connected to what is happening in these places.

Whether we like it or not, the Palace of Westminster,
Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Parsons Green attackers – and indeed the
July 7 bombers – were either connected to or inspired by groups fighting in
wars in which Britain has played an important role overseas –people who
probably believed their actions were either part of or vengeance for these
struggles.

Improving our
response strategy

No one is claiming that the violent acts of such people can
be excused. Policymakers must, however, remain open to improving their response
strategy. Part of this has to be understanding conflicts that are connected to the
terror threat in the UK, and working with the international community to
address what drives them in a logical and principled way that actively learns
from past experience.

The second tendency is that pressure to avert domestic
attacks pushes policymakers into taking short-term actions that add up to
long-term failure. This underpins both attempts to eliminate violent groups
without a coherent strategy for preventing their rebirth, and backing for
problematic ‘allies’ to curb violent groups and stop them crossing borders.

When the UK supports other states to build stability and
fight terrorists, it often strengthens the hand of abusive, corrupt and
repressive ‘allies’ whose behaviour is at the heart of the problem – and who often
misuse assistance for their own ends. If they make the problem worse, they may
well gain yet more assistance.

Lessons in Vietnam,
Afghanistan, Somalia

As the US
tragically learnt in Vietnam, a local ally that lacks the will and integrity to
get the public on board will struggle to win public support and overcome its
opponents. The failure of the US, UK et al in Afghanistan rests substantially
on the failure to learn this lesson. A recent New York Times article
reported that: ‘On 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016, the United States
military reported accusations of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan
military, including many examples of child sexual abuse. If true, American law
required military aid to be cut off to the offending unit.’ Yet, on no occasion
did that happen.

Although for years it has been clear that the Afghan public
is deeply concerned by the corruption and abuse of the post-Taliban order,
foreign assistance has continued to flow into government coffers at a rate that
the Afghan state could never hope to sustain in future years. It is perhaps too
late to speculate on what could have been achieved with a policy of tougher
love: less resources might have flowed to the state; foreign powers might have
been more willing to challenge and withdraw support for abusive, corrupt
individuals; civil society and communities might have been offered a greater
role in challenging and shaping the post-Taliban state. But it is not too late
for the UK to learn from Afghanistan.

After years of stabilisation and counter-terror assistance,
Somalia’s 2017 elections were described
by analysts, investigators and some western diplomats as ‘a milestone of
corruption, one of the most fraudulent political events in Somalia’s history’.
This was some feat, in that Somalia is ranked by Transparency International as
the world’s most corrupt country. ‘This election has been awesome for the
Shabab’, as one Somali anti-corruption campaigner explained.
After the US-backed Ethiopian invasion to prevent Somalia becoming a hot bed
for terrorists in 2007, the Somali government was put together and propped up
with external backing. To this day, shaped with only limited public input,
beset with corruption and delivering little to Somalia’s long suffering people,
it ‘has no authority, no popular support’.

Resting on such a shaky political foundation, Somalia’s
security forces have again and again proved a fragile repository for the
equipment and capacity support lavished on them. A senior official familiar
with the matter told me recently that Somali security forces trained by the African
Union have been deserting in large numbers with their weapons. Many of them had
probably joined armed groups fighting the government and foreign forces, such
as al-Shabaab. 

What is staggering is that this pattern occurred in both
of the previous decades
, putting thousands of weapons and other equipment
into the hands of Somalia’s armed groups. In addition, abuses against civilians
committed by Somali security forces trained and armed by the west with little
accountability continue to provide a fertile recruitment ground for al-Shabaab.

Dousing a fire with
paraffin

Western backing for abusive, corrupt and exclusive
counter-terror partners attracts the ire of those they marginalise and oppress.
The Egyptian
state continues to enjoy military and political support from the UK to counter
terrorism. Egypt has branded any and all opposition to the regime – in
particular supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of deposed but
democratically elected president Morsi – as terrorists, incarcerating and
torturing thousands of Egyptians. Civil society organisations have borne the
brunt of a massive crackdown. As violence predictably spirals in reaction to
the ever-more-inhuman cruelty of the Sisi regime, the blanket support offered
by the UK government is irresponsible and counter-productive. 

The UK witnessed the unpredictable results of ‘capacity
building’ for abusive foreign security forces when its initiative to train
Libyan armed forces in Cambridgeshire closed
following a string of sexual assaults
and reportedly caused almost £0.5
million of damage to the training barracks
.  

In fact, security ‘train-and-equip’ programmes that play
into the wrong hands are far from the exception. In the 275 military coups
between 1970 and 2009, the US trained the armed forces the year before in 165
of them.

Despite huge US and UK support for the Iraqi army, it
readily capitulated to Isis, who promptly gained huge volumes of western-supplied
weapons. In Yemen, where the UK played a key role in convening ‘Friends of
Yemen’ to offer the country stabilisation and counter-terror assistance,
then-President Saleh’s regime misused such assistance for years to suppress
domestic opponents. After its cruel, corrupt rule collapsed under the weight of
popular discontent, many of the state's foreign-supplied weapons ended up in
the arsenals of violent rebels and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Funneling money, arms, training and political legitimacy to
governments at the front lines of the war on terror has proven akin to dousing
a fire
with paraffin
. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen
– all war on terror battlegrounds – are far from over. This is partly because
the transformation in political conditions – the social contract – that people
in these contexts need and deserve has never been achieved. Corruption, abuse
and exclusion has enabled those who oppose state authority to maintain a
considerable social base, and UK assistance has done too little to turn this
picture around. 

How to avoid blowback

What is, then, the right strategy? Well, it is
obviously vital to detect and disrupt violent groups plotting transnational
attacks, prosecuting and sentencing offenders in human rights compliant
ways. 

There may always be violent individuals opposed to liberal
democratic societies like the UK. However, it seems plausible that the UK would
be much better inoculated against the general enmity of hundreds of millions of
people living in repressive contexts if it lives up to its best ideals abroad.

It may be necessary to use force judiciously at times to
protect human life and prevent vicious, repressive movements taking control
over people's lives. But because violence
always brings blowback
– especially if used indiscriminately – violence has
to be the very last resort, and only ever used discriminately and
accountably.  And because past efforts to
eliminate dangerous groups without addressing the conditions that gave rise to
them have failed, it should become UK policy only to deploy force in the
context of a coherent wider strategy that is focused on achieving peace. 

Indeed, achieving peace in conflict environments needs to be
reasserted as the highest strategic aim of UK foreign policy. Guided by
this recalibration of priorities, the UK and its allies must develop a new
discipline: extending greater support and cooperation towards partners that respect
human rights, that are tackling corruption, security force behaviour and
political inclusion; and refusing to ally with governments whose
behaviour is the best possible recruiting sergeant for violent groups
.

And in all contexts the UK must work with society to press
for peaceful conflict resolution and improved governance.

The proudest moment in British history, that has come to
define its self-identity, remains its dogged opposition to the abuses of Nazism
and communism. If Britain fights ISIS hand in hand with regimes that behead
dissidents, and tear the fingernails from their journalists, and if it destroys
whole cities while failing to provide for refugees and reconstruction in the
process, then the justice of Britain’s cause is diminished, and it can expect
the enmity of those who suffer the consequences of what will readily be seen as
a reckless and unprincipled approach. 

Since 2001, Britain has compromised its passion for the
rights of people in conflict environments in the name of counter-terrorism, and
this has undermined its national security – winning enemies faster than they
are eliminated. It is time to resurrect Britain’s identity as a nation that
stands against repression, and for just peace for conflict-affected people.

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Broken politics: from 9/11 to the present

ISIS and Tunisia-Iran: a deeper link

The next war: ISIS plus expertise

Britain's global role: fantasy vs reality

How Labour can make Britain secure

The wrongs of counter-violence

After Raqqa: what will it take to get to peace in Syria?

Country or region: 

UK

Libya

Afghanistan

Somalia

Syria

Yemen

Egypt

Iraq

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Counter-terrorism: new UK strategy must learn obvious lessons

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/02/2018 - 7:23am in

Since 2001, Britain has compromised its passion for the
rights of people in the name of counter-terrorism, thereby undermining its
national security and winning enemies faster than they are eliminated.

lead lead Yemeni man walks by painting of US drone on the wall in Sanaa, Yemen,shortly after 25 civilians were killed in latest US counter-terror raid, January, 2017. Xinhua/Press Association. All rights reserved.

Five terror attacks in the UK made 2017 an annus horribilis for those defending the
nation against terror. The UK government is about to publish an update to its
counter-terror strategy, CONTEST.

At the recent Westminster counter-terrorism conference, a top
security official affirmed that the heightened terror threat in the UK is strongly
connected to conflicts overseas – especially the situation in Syria and Iraq
and those inspired by Islamic State (ISIS). 

The new strategy needs to ensure coherent UK support for
peace overseas if it is to reduce the threat at home. The 2011
version of CONTEST
, however,
placed no emphasis on bringing conflicts overseas to a lasting end. The new
strategy must instead strongly promote effective UK engagement in peacebuilding,
and break with policies that have been proving highly counter-productive.

One job well done
isn’t enough

It isn’t possible to defend against all threats, and terror tactics
are evolving to make defence harder. Despite the 2017 attacks, the UK security
establishment leads the world in detecting terror plots, and taking down the
individuals and networks planning them. It gets insufficient credit for a job
well done. 

Perhaps because domestic counter-terror structures are so
strong, the country hasn't yet elaborated a very strategic approach to the
international dimensions of the terror problem.

Yet the global picture is not pretty: from 2000 to 2016, global
casualties from terror attacks
increased seven-fold. The ranks of violent
Islamist movements are thought to have more than tripled
from 2000 to 2013. Britain’s role in the international war on terror during
this period, and the evidence from very sobering British experiences in Afghanistan,
Iraq,
Libya,
Somalia,
Syria,
Yemen
and elsewhere, should be shaping the UK's outlook.

Two tendencies have prevented the UK from improving its
international approach. The first is the way the UK domestic debate revolves around
the idea that ‘there can be no excuse for terrorism.’ This vein of thinking
appears to make the very idea that better foreign policy could reduce the
threat to the UK a treasonable offence. Witness the contortions
Boris Johnson recently had to muster to make the simple observation that
dictators are making the terror problem worse.

Yet it is surely obvious to the British public, as to most
experts, that the threat in the UK is
deeply connected to conflicts overseas and the grievances that underpin them.
Terror attacks overwhelmingly
occur in conflict zones and repressive environments, and the threat faced by
the UK is increasingly connected to what is happening in these places.

Whether we like it or not, the Palace of Westminster,
Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Parsons Green attackers – and indeed the
July 7 bombers – were either connected to or inspired by groups fighting in
wars in which Britain has played an important role overseas –people who
probably believed their actions were either part of or vengeance for these
struggles.

Improving our
response strategy

No one is claiming that the violent acts of such people can
be excused. Policymakers must, however, remain open to improving their response
strategy. Part of this has to be understanding conflicts that are connected to the
terror threat in the UK, and working with the international community to
address what drives them in a logical and principled way that actively learns
from past experience.

The second tendency is that pressure to avert domestic
attacks pushes policymakers into taking short-term actions that add up to
long-term failure. This underpins both attempts to eliminate violent groups
without a coherent strategy for preventing their rebirth, and backing for
problematic ‘allies’ to curb violent groups and stop them crossing borders.

When the UK supports other states to build stability and
fight terrorists, it often strengthens the hand of abusive, corrupt and
repressive ‘allies’ whose behaviour is at the heart of the problem – and who often
misuse assistance for their own ends. If they make the problem worse, they may
well gain yet more assistance.

Lessons in Vietnam,
Afghanistan, Somalia

As the US
tragically learnt in Vietnam, a local ally that lacks the will and integrity to
get the public on board will struggle to win public support and overcome its
opponents. The failure of the US, UK et al in Afghanistan rests substantially
on the failure to learn this lesson. A recent New York Times article
reported that: ‘On 5,753 occasions from 2010 to 2016, the United States
military reported accusations of “gross human rights abuses” by the Afghan
military, including many examples of child sexual abuse. If true, American law
required military aid to be cut off to the offending unit.’ Yet, on no occasion
did that happen.

Although for years it has been clear that the Afghan public
is deeply concerned by the corruption and abuse of the post-Taliban order,
foreign assistance has continued to flow into government coffers at a rate that
the Afghan state could never hope to sustain in future years. It is perhaps too
late to speculate on what could have been achieved with a policy of tougher
love: less resources might have flowed to the state; foreign powers might have
been more willing to challenge and withdraw support for abusive, corrupt
individuals; civil society and communities might have been offered a greater
role in challenging and shaping the post-Taliban state. But it is not too late
for the UK to learn from Afghanistan.

After years of stabilisation and counter-terror assistance,
Somalia’s 2017 elections were described
by analysts, investigators and some western diplomats as ‘a milestone of
corruption, one of the most fraudulent political events in Somalia’s history’.
This was some feat, in that Somalia is ranked by Transparency International as
the world’s most corrupt country. ‘This election has been awesome for the
Shabab’, as one Somali anti-corruption campaigner explained.
After the US-backed Ethiopian invasion to prevent Somalia becoming a hot bed
for terrorists in 2007, the Somali government was put together and propped up
with external backing. To this day, shaped with only limited public input,
beset with corruption and delivering little to Somalia’s long suffering people,
it ‘has no authority, no popular support’.

Resting on such a shaky political foundation, Somalia’s
security forces have again and again proved a fragile repository for the
equipment and capacity support lavished on them. A senior official familiar
with the matter told me recently that Somali security forces trained by the African
Union have been deserting in large numbers with their weapons. Many of them had
probably joined armed groups fighting the government and foreign forces, such
as al-Shabaab. 

What is staggering is that this pattern occurred in both
of the previous decades
, putting thousands of weapons and other equipment
into the hands of Somalia’s armed groups. In addition, abuses against civilians
committed by Somali security forces trained and armed by the west with little
accountability continue to provide a fertile recruitment ground for al-Shabaab.

Dousing a fire with
paraffin

Western backing for abusive, corrupt and exclusive
counter-terror partners attracts the ire of those they marginalise and oppress.
The Egyptian
state continues to enjoy military and political support from the UK to counter
terrorism. Egypt has branded any and all opposition to the regime – in
particular supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of deposed but
democratically elected president Morsi – as terrorists, incarcerating and
torturing thousands of Egyptians. Civil society organisations have borne the
brunt of a massive crackdown. As violence predictably spirals in reaction to
the ever-more-inhuman cruelty of the Sisi regime, the blanket support offered
by the UK government is irresponsible and counter-productive. 

The UK witnessed the unpredictable results of ‘capacity
building’ for abusive foreign security forces when its initiative to train
Libyan armed forces in Cambridgeshire closed
following a string of sexual assaults
and reportedly caused almost £0.5
million of damage to the training barracks
.  

In fact, security ‘train-and-equip’ programmes that play
into the wrong hands are far from the exception. In the 275 military coups
between 1970 and 2009, the US trained the armed forces the year before in 165
of them.

Despite huge US and UK support for the Iraqi army, it
readily capitulated to Isis, who promptly gained huge volumes of western-supplied
weapons. In Yemen, where the UK played a key role in convening ‘Friends of
Yemen’ to offer the country stabilisation and counter-terror assistance,
then-President Saleh’s regime misused such assistance for years to suppress
domestic opponents. After its cruel, corrupt rule collapsed under the weight of
popular discontent, many of the state's foreign-supplied weapons ended up in
the arsenals of violent rebels and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Funneling money, arms, training and political legitimacy to
governments at the front lines of the war on terror has proven akin to dousing
a fire
with paraffin
. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen
– all war on terror battlegrounds – are far from over. This is partly because
the transformation in political conditions – the social contract – that people
in these contexts need and deserve has never been achieved. Corruption, abuse
and exclusion has enabled those who oppose state authority to maintain a
considerable social base, and UK assistance has done too little to turn this
picture around. 

How to avoid blowback

What is, then, the right strategy? Well, it is
obviously vital to detect and disrupt violent groups plotting transnational
attacks, prosecuting and sentencing offenders in human rights compliant
ways. 

There may always be violent individuals opposed to liberal
democratic societies like the UK. However, it seems plausible that the UK would
be much better inoculated against the general enmity of hundreds of millions of
people living in repressive contexts if it lives up to its best ideals abroad.

It may be necessary to use force judiciously at times to
protect human life and prevent vicious, repressive movements taking control
over people's lives. But because violence
always brings blowback
– especially if used indiscriminately – violence has
to be the very last resort, and only ever used discriminately and
accountably.  And because past efforts to
eliminate dangerous groups without addressing the conditions that gave rise to
them have failed, it should become UK policy only to deploy force in the
context of a coherent wider strategy that is focused on achieving peace. 

Indeed, achieving peace in conflict environments needs to be
reasserted as the highest strategic aim of UK foreign policy. Guided by
this recalibration of priorities, the UK and its allies must develop a new
discipline: extending greater support and cooperation towards partners that respect
human rights, that are tackling corruption, security force behaviour and
political inclusion; and refusing to ally with governments whose
behaviour is the best possible recruiting sergeant for violent groups
.

And in all contexts the UK must work with society to press
for peaceful conflict resolution and improved governance.

The proudest moment in British history, that has come to
define its self-identity, remains its dogged opposition to the abuses of Nazism
and communism. If Britain fights ISIS hand in hand with regimes that behead
dissidents, and tear the fingernails from their journalists, and if it destroys
whole cities while failing to provide for refugees and reconstruction in the
process, then the justice of Britain’s cause is diminished, and it can expect
the enmity of those who suffer the consequences of what will readily be seen as
a reckless and unprincipled approach. 

Since 2001, Britain has compromised its passion for the
rights of people in conflict environments in the name of counter-terrorism, and
this has undermined its national security – winning enemies faster than they
are eliminated. It is time to resurrect Britain’s identity as a nation that
stands against repression, and for just peace for conflict-affected people.

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Broken politics: from 9/11 to the present

ISIS and Tunisia-Iran: a deeper link

The next war: ISIS plus expertise

Britain's global role: fantasy vs reality

How Labour can make Britain secure

The wrongs of counter-violence

After Raqqa: what will it take to get to peace in Syria?

Country or region: 

UK

Libya

Afghanistan

Somalia

Syria

Yemen

Egypt

Iraq

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

You've kept your power, Arab rulers, but at what cost?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:55pm in

Let us never forget that those who make peaceful uprisings impossible will eventually make violent revolution irresistible. 

AA/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved. Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, June 15, 2012. AA/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.Seven years after the Arab
uprisings, the political and socio-economic conditions in many Arab countries
remain dire, if not more disastrous.

In Tunisia, the cradle of
that popular revolt, impoverished youth, facing tremendous austerity measures,
issue desperate calls like “Employ us or kill us”.

Close by on the
Mediterranean, hundreds of marginalized young Moroccans have been jailed for
rising up against corruption, severe unemployment, and poor social welfare
infrastructure. 

Egypt has reverted to a
vicious military rule. Syria is mired in an endless bloody war. Libya is a
political disaster. Yemen is in the grip of a savage war between rebels and a
hawkish Saudi Arabia, and Gulf dictatorships are blissfully the same. 

Wherever you look, the
light is dim.  

This is undoubtedly a
damning portrait of a region with rich human and natural resources but where
hardship is a way of life. 

There are 105 million Arabs
between the age of 15-29 but they face
an abysmal 35 percent unemployment rate, 20-40 percent illiteracy in some
countries, increasing armed conflicts accounting for 17 percent of all
conflicts in the world, a heightened likelihood of forced displacement, and
poverty levels reaching 30 percent in some cases. 

This is the land where a
crown prince can go on a $1.5
billion-spending spree
to buy a yacht, a Da Vinci painting, and a French
castle in a few days while scores of poor Arabs self-immolate in public to
protest their utter precarity, their dispensability, their social death.

Between the horrid
extravagance of the prince and the piercing despair of the self-immolator, life
with dignity is extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

As we pause this month to
reflect on the legacy of these historic uprisings, we must remember not to
simply idolize the heroic acts of the Bouazizis of the revolution with clichéd
slogans and vapid ceremonies.

We must re-center their
ultimate sacrifice and demand accountability from leaders who govern by brutal
decrees and paralyzing fear. 

suicide by self-immolation in Tunisia alone has tripled since 2010

An honest celebration of
the Arab Spring means eliminating the very edifice that produces citizen
suicide in the first place.

Since Bouazizi torched
himself on that fateful day in December 2010, hundreds across the Arab world
have committed similar acts in public for the same reasons. According to a
recent study,
suicide by self-immolation in Tunisia alone has tripled since 2010 and affects
most frequently young unemployed men.  

Seven years after the
uprisings, much of the social energy of the average Arab is spent trying to
cope with this dehumanization in the face of police states, lack of freedom,
and poor economic prospects exacerbated by a neoliberal order that favors
shopping malls to public schools and fancy resorts to hospitals. 

Besides the monstrous
despotism in all Arab countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank demand
tighter fiscal austerity which means further wiping out the scarce social
welfare benefits the poor depend on for survival.

In Egypt, ironically, the
minister of solidarity recently announced
deep cuts in vital government subsidies on fuel and food to secure a
$12-billion loan from the IMF. The same heartless calculus of global capitalism
that forced millions of Arabs into city squares in 2011 is returning as a
farce under the garb of “helpful” austerity measures.  

Meanwhile and with no
economic or political alternative in sight, more Arabs brave the treacherous
seas for a chance of salvation. According to a Carnegie study,
17 million Arabs have left their homes. And half of the refugees in the world
are Arab because 143 million people in the region live under war or
occupation.  

The gains of the Arab
Spring are unfortunately dwarfed by the haunting memories they left behind. The
chilling picture
of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy whose lifeless body washed out on the shores of
the Mediterranean in 2015 should haunt our existence as we ponder the futility
of our indignation.

The video of five-year-old
Bouthania al-Rimi, a beautiful Yemeni girl who lost her mother, father, and six
siblings in a Saudi overnight air strike on her residential building just a few
months ago should shake us out from the idleness of our Twitter outrage. Her
eyes were so bruised from the attack she couldn’t even open them to see her
rescuers.

Three entire families
perished that night and the world barely noticed. More Arab kids are
traumatized that a Syrian neuropsychologist recently coined
a new condition to capture their boundless pain: “Human Devastation Syndrome”.

a Syrian neuropsychologist recently coined a new condition: “Human Devastation Syndrome”

This is how cheap Arab life
has become. This is the deplorable situation of the wretched of the Arab world.
How much more can the human spirit tolerate in the midst of this degradation
and humiliation?

Cameroonian philosopher
Achille Mbembe talks about
a new form of sovereignty he calls necropower, the capacity of a minority to
decide who deserves to live and who can be left to die, who matters and who
does not, who is disposable and superfluous and who is not.

Today, rogue leaders and
vile economic logics have that power to castigate people to zones of non-being,
non-living. Arab life now exists mainly in bursts of pain, atrophy, and
perpetual anger. Death itself is now both the manifestation of this form of
domination and a desperate tool of resistance. This is
unsustainable.  

The Arab Spring was a
beautiful display of a downtrodden people peacefully rising up against this
kind of cruel power. Let us not sully their legacy with silence or tamed
commemoration, lest we consign them to the bins of fleeting history. And let us
never forget that those who make peaceful uprisings impossible will eventually
make violent revolution irresistible. 

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Alain Badiou on the Egyptian revolution: questions of the movement and its vision [video]

The Tunisian revolution seven years on

Egypt: character assassination as a weapon

Sisi’s neoliberal assault: context and prospects

The revolutionary arena: a battle of minds

From the end of one revolutionary wave to preparing for another

Where are you, Arab intellectuals?

Egypt and the Arab uprisings

Country or region: 

Tunisia

Egypt

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Yemen

Bahrain

Libya

Morocco

Topics: 

Conflict

Democracy and government

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

In Libya, locals push back against human smuggling

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/01/2018 - 11:41pm in

Tags 

Libya

While many Amazigh were marginalized and discriminated against during the
Gaddafi era, they are now the vanguard in promoting minority rights.


-->

lead lead Something to fight for? Atmosphere during Amazigh festival at the Green Square or Martyrs Square in Tripoli, Libya on September 27, 2011 – the first time the Libyan Amazigh could celebrate their identity and culture this way. Abd Rabbo Ammar / Press Association. All rights reserved.Libya is the launchpad for human smuggling into Europe. Even before its
disintegration following the NATO intervention, the country served as a gateway
for migrants seeking sanctuary in Europe. And while many profit from the
trafficking in people, there is also active resistance in some communities to
this practice. In the small coastal city of Zuwarah(120 KMs west of Tripoli),
Amazigh communities (Natives of North Africa) are on the front line, leading
the fight against profiteers trafficking in men, women and children. 

Anti-smuggling operations have sprung up across the region. Many of them
are led by youth, intent on protecting their communities and salvaging the
reputation of their families. While still small scale, the impacts are
far-reaching. The so-called Zuwarah-Lampedusa route, once the principle conduit
for traffickers between Libya and Italy, was recently
shut down. With little help from outsiders, local communities have taken matters into
their own hands. While accused by some of applying rough justice, newly
empowered residents are recovering their
pride.

Zuwarah is fighting hard against smugglers

In Zuwarah, as elsewhere, geography is destiny. Local residents there
started to mobilize against traffickers in 2015 after a ship sunk off the
city’s coastline, taking 650 migrants to a watery grave. Horrified by the
disaster, Zuwaran leaders rose up against the traffickers, claiming that “Zuwarah should
not be in the hands of bloodsuckers”. This represented a break from the past.
After all, Zuwarans, like so many other communities in Libya, were long
dependent on illegal rents, including people smuggling. 

Zuwarah is still more the exception than the rule. Libya is no more than a
patchwork state, with its many fractious tribal groupings stitched
together along trafficking routes. In many parts of the country,
militia groups and rebels as well as organized criminals fill the governance
void and survive on illicit economies. To some extent, smuggling and trafficking
are a business in which competing groups find common cause. Yet rather than
building a security apparatus to profit from the black market, Zuwarans built
one to shut illicit economies down. 

Starting in 2015, a Zuwarah Counter Crime Unit was formed without official authorization. It is made-up of young Zuwaran volunteers
and fishermen serving as a de facto city police against smugglers. The Unit
has started carrying out regular raids, arresting dozens of human trafficking
brokers. While offering a modicum of public order, the Unit has also come
under criticism for perpetrating extra-judicial operations,
conducting arbitrary arrests and committing human rights abuses.

The great role of civil society

The Zuwarah Counter Crime Unit is just one example of a local response
to human trafficking. Yet, that is not the entire story. From the tragedy that
unfolded off the shores of Zuwarah has emerged a vibrant civil society movement
seeking to end human smuggling and trafficking. It includes cultural
associations, political movements and religious groups that have found common
cause in tackling organized crime while demanding an end to the normalization
of smuggling. Acting together, they are disrupting criminal networks by
building community-based resistance.

One of the more prominent civil society groups is Azref. The grassroots association operates civic
workshops to educate young people on the basic rights of migrants.  Their
work has been so effective that the municipality of
Zuwarah has joined forces to scale-up public awareness campaigns. Another
organization, At-Wellol, also conducts
workshops, seeking to promote the rights of minorities and help salvage the
reputation of the city. While many Amazigh were marginalized and discriminated
against during the Gaddafi era, they are now the vanguard of promoting minority
rights.

Imams are also calling for resistance against the lure of criminal
economies. They argue that human smuggling is contrary to the core tenets of
Islam, and that it instead sows death and hatred. Local Imams are also actively
defending the rights of victims and the need for more assistance to be
allocated to vulnerable migrants. Led by the Zuwarah Reform
Movement, locals have mobilized on the streets of Zuwarah demanding that local
authorities step up their efforts to fight human trafficking. 

The war against human smuggling is far from being won. Faced with
resistance in Zuwarah, smugglers are shifting their operations to nearby
Sabratha which is now the human smuggling hub of Western Libya. The tide of migration
is still relentless. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) registered more
than 121,916 migrant sea arrivals to Italy. At least 2,992 migrants
have died in transit in 2017. Yet the efforts undertaken by Zuwarans
offer an alternative path. 

The fact is that exclusive usage of militarized approaches is not
working. The bolstering of law enforcement along borders and sea routes is not stemming
the tide. The EU Operation Sophia which aims to neutralize smugglers
in the Mediterranean has proven to be of little success. The new AU-EU-UN migration task force in Libya is still a vague project.
Ultimately, the response has to be anchored in local action, including efforts
underway in municipalities like Zuwarah. If foreign powers are going to get
serious about addressing human smuggling, they could do worse than strengthen
community-led approaches seeking to bolster strategies to weed out
traffickers.

Country or region: 

Libya

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

In Libya, locals push back against human smuggling

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/01/2018 - 11:41pm in

Tags 

Libya

While many Amazigh were marginalized and discriminated against during the
Gaddafi era, they are now the vanguard in promoting minority rights.


-->

lead lead Something to fight for? Atmosphere during Amazigh festival at the Green Square or Martyrs Square in Tripoli, Libya on September 27, 2011 – the first time the Libyan Amazigh could celebrate their identity and culture this way. Abd Rabbo Ammar / Press Association. All rights reserved.Libya is the launchpad for human smuggling into Europe. Even before its
disintegration following the NATO intervention, the country served as a gateway
for migrants seeking sanctuary in Europe. And while many profit from the
trafficking in people, there is also active resistance in some communities to
this practice. In the small coastal city of Zuwarah(120 KMs west of Tripoli),
Amazigh communities (Natives of North Africa) are on the front line, leading
the fight against profiteers trafficking in men, women and children. 

Anti-smuggling operations have sprung up across the region. Many of them
are led by youth, intent on protecting their communities and salvaging the
reputation of their families. While still small scale, the impacts are
far-reaching. The so-called Zuwarah-Lampedusa route, once the principle conduit
for traffickers between Libya and Italy, was recently
shut down. With little help from outsiders, local communities have taken matters into
their own hands. While accused by some of applying rough justice, newly
empowered residents are recovering their
pride.

Zuwarah is fighting hard against smugglers

In Zuwarah, as elsewhere, geography is destiny. Local residents there
started to mobilize against traffickers in 2015 after a ship sunk off the
city’s coastline, taking 650 migrants to a watery grave. Horrified by the
disaster, Zuwaran leaders rose up against the traffickers, claiming that “Zuwarah should
not be in the hands of bloodsuckers”. This represented a break from the past.
After all, Zuwarans, like so many other communities in Libya, were long
dependent on illegal rents, including people smuggling. 

Zuwarah is still more the exception than the rule. Libya is no more than a
patchwork state, with its many fractious tribal groupings stitched
together along trafficking routes. In many parts of the country,
militia groups and rebels as well as organized criminals fill the governance
void and survive on illicit economies. To some extent, smuggling and trafficking
are a business in which competing groups find common cause. Yet rather than
building a security apparatus to profit from the black market, Zuwarans built
one to shut illicit economies down. 

Starting in 2015, a Zuwarah Counter Crime Unit was formed without official authorization. It is made-up of young Zuwaran volunteers
and fishermen serving as a de facto city police against smugglers. The Unit
has started carrying out regular raids, arresting dozens of human trafficking
brokers. While offering a modicum of public order, the Unit has also come
under criticism for perpetrating extra-judicial operations,
conducting arbitrary arrests and committing human rights abuses.

The great role of civil society

The Zuwarah Counter Crime Unit is just one example of a local response
to human trafficking. Yet, that is not the entire story. From the tragedy that
unfolded off the shores of Zuwarah has emerged a vibrant civil society movement
seeking to end human smuggling and trafficking. It includes cultural
associations, political movements and religious groups that have found common
cause in tackling organized crime while demanding an end to the normalization
of smuggling. Acting together, they are disrupting criminal networks by
building community-based resistance.

One of the more prominent civil society groups is Azref. The grassroots association operates civic
workshops to educate young people on the basic rights of migrants.  Their
work has been so effective that the municipality of
Zuwarah has joined forces to scale-up public awareness campaigns. Another
organization, At-Wellol, also conducts
workshops, seeking to promote the rights of minorities and help salvage the
reputation of the city. While many Amazigh were marginalized and discriminated
against during the Gaddafi era, they are now the vanguard of promoting minority
rights.

Imams are also calling for resistance against the lure of criminal
economies. They argue that human smuggling is contrary to the core tenets of
Islam, and that it instead sows death and hatred. Local Imams are also actively
defending the rights of victims and the need for more assistance to be
allocated to vulnerable migrants. Led by the Zuwarah Reform
Movement, locals have mobilized on the streets of Zuwarah demanding that local
authorities step up their efforts to fight human trafficking. 

The war against human smuggling is far from being won. Faced with
resistance in Zuwarah, smugglers are shifting their operations to nearby
Sabratha which is now the human smuggling hub of Western Libya. The tide of migration
is still relentless. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) registered more
than 121,916 migrant sea arrivals to Italy. At least 2,992 migrants
have died in transit in 2017. Yet the efforts undertaken by Zuwarans
offer an alternative path. 

The fact is that exclusive usage of militarized approaches is not
working. The bolstering of law enforcement along borders and sea routes is not stemming
the tide. The EU Operation Sophia which aims to neutralize smugglers
in the Mediterranean has proven to be of little success. The new AU-EU-UN migration task force in Libya is still a vague project.
Ultimately, the response has to be anchored in local action, including efforts
underway in municipalities like Zuwarah. If foreign powers are going to get
serious about addressing human smuggling, they could do worse than strengthen
community-led approaches seeking to bolster strategies to weed out
traffickers.

Country or region: 

Libya

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Iran: the seventh country on the alleged US list for regime change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 1:42am in

Just a reminder of Wes Clark’s claim the US planned back in 2002 to “take out 7 countries in 5 years”. Six of those countries – Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon & Syria – have now had “revolutions” or “civil wars” or conflict. – Iran is the seventh. Filed under: empire watch, featured, Iran, Iraq, latest, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria

Vox Political on Boris Johnson’s Clownish Incompetence over Russia

Mike yesterday, 23rd December 2017, posted a piece criticising Boris Johnson for his completely inept handling of the talks in Moscow to improve relations with Russia. Boris has already proved to be massively and embarrassingly stupid in the way he has handled Myanmar, Libya and Iran.

Later on in the article, Mike discusses how Boris’ absolutely ignorant statement about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Anglo-Iranian lady, who was imprisoned in Iran for allegedly teaching journalism. She was guilty of no such activity, but had simply gone there to visit relatives for a holiday. As so many Brits of Iranian descent do. Nevertheless, Boris opened his trap, confirmed the lies put out by the Iranian government, who then decided to increase her sentence. Well done, Boris! In fact, the Iranians have decided to cut the sentence back to six months, but this is the decision of their independent judiciary, and nothing to do with the government.

In his meeting with Sergei Lavrov, Johnson’s opposite number in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Johnson got it into his thick, old-Etonian head to make matters worse by criticising Russia for the war in Ukraine, the annexation of the Crimea, hacking and electoral interference over here, and Syria. All while ostensibly deploring the depths to which Anglo-Russian relations had fallen, and claiming to be a ‘Russophile’. I put up a piece the other day about an interview Ken Livingstone did on RT’s ‘Going Underground’ with Afshin Rattansi. Livingstone said that he knows Boris very well, having fought against him in four elections, and doesn’t trust a word he says. He makes the point that Boris doesn’t want to be a politician, but a celebrity, and stated that he doesn’t always read the briefing documents his aides have prepared for him. All of which strikes me as very true. As for being a Russophile, Livingstone said that Johnson would probably immediately start mouthing off about them once more the moment he set foot back in London.

Mike warns that instead of decreasing tension, Johnson’s tactless comments will have served to increase it, possibly leading to armed conflict. Well, it’s what some in NATO seem to want. Think of the way Killary was ramping up military tensions with Russia and China, and the former NATO general, who published a book in 2016 arguing that by May this year 2017, we and the Russians would be at war.

Mike concludes

I would say the UK will need to be prepared for an escalation of hostilities – at least on a covert level.

But Mr Johnson’s public outburst makes it seem abundantly clear that, when it comes to our defence, his government has nothing.

We had better hope that I am mistaken.

As for Mr Johnson himself: He has critically compromised the UK’s relationship with a major foreign power.

When he arrives back in the UK, Mrs May should give him the same treatment she offered Priti Patel – another Cabinet minister who thought she could do whatever she pleased without consequence.

But we all know Theresa May is far, far too weak for that. It’s why she needs to offer her resignation as well.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/12/23/theresa-may-sent-a-clown-to-do-her-diplomacy-an-international-incident-was-inevitable/

I’ve heard from many people with expertise in foreign relations that despite the Fall of Communism, Russia still needs very careful handling. This was known as far back as the 1990s. I’m starting to wonder if Johnson really ever intended to smooth things over with our Russian friends. I don’t think he did, and that this has all been for show. Britain is tied to American foreign policy through the Special Relationship, which means we ride on the American’s coat-tails trying to maintain our status as a world power. In return for this, we do whatever they want. Which our leaders, like Tony Blair, do extremely enthusiastically. Hence Blair’s very willing participation in the bloody and illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Americans seem to want some kind of confrontation with Russia. This is partly about Killary trying to distract attention away from how massively unpopular and corrupt she was by falsely claiming that she would have won the election, if it weren’t for those pesky Russky hackers. It also seems to be about the fury of American multinational industry over their failure to control the Russian economy since the accession of Putin, after so much was sold to them at a knock-down price by another walking alcoholic disaster area, Boris Yeltsin. To whom the Americans corruptly funnelled hundreds of millions into his election campaign. And, according to Red Ken, Obama and the Democrats hate Russia, because they wouldn’t join their anti-Chinese alliance to stop China becoming the world’s greatest economy, instead of America.

So I think that Boris’ mission to Russia was deliberately doomed from the start. It was for show only, so that people would think the Tories sincerely cared about peace and security, while they manifestly don’t. Well, the grunts and squaddies, who are going to die in the frontline will be mostly working class anyway, so from their toff viewpoint, who cares?

So if there are any Russian readers of this blog, I have this to say in my very limited, schoolboy Russian.

Boris Johnson durak. On ne dorozhili k Britanskuyu ludei, kotoraya khotet mir i druzhbu mezhdu Britannuyu i Rossii.

Which I hope means ‘Boris Johnson is a fool. He is not valued highly by the British people, who want peace and friendship between Britain and Russia’.

And very best season’s greetings to all our readers, in whatever country they live, and whatever religious or philosophical beliefs they hold. My you all enjoy a peaceful and prosperous holiday season and New Year.

Update on Planned Book on Western Support for Fascist Dictators

Okay, a few months ago, Florence, one of the many great commenters on this blog, suggested I should write a book detailing the West’s support for the Fascist dictators that have plagued this planet and its people since the Cold War, as part of the campaign against the Soviet Union and Communism. She felt this was important, as many people on the left came to their political consciousness through campaign against such monsters as General Pinochet, and the institutionalised racist oppression of apartheid in South Africa. That has vanished, but class apartheid still remains, as explained by John Pilger in a recent interview on RT, and is still very much alive and used against the Palestinians in Israel. Florence wrote

In the early 70s I volunteered to help type up translation transcriptions of reports from torture victims of the “Shit” of Iran, as Private eye called him. (It was as evidence for Amnesty.) Its not something you can ever forget. When the revolution happened, it was simply new bosses at the same slaughter houses. This is another lesson learned; the violence required by a state to terrorise its own people seeps into the culture, and remains for generations (maybe longer, its too early to tell in most of the cases you cover in this interesting and evocative piece). The violence of the state becomes symmetrical in the revolution in many countries, Iran, Iraq, etc. that follows such repression.

(For this reason I also worry that, for example, the almost visceral hatred of the disabled (and other poor) in the UK bred by the eugenics of neoliberalism for decades will not be so easily dislodged with a change in government. )
I see that the experience of having lived through those times is no longer part of the wider political education of the younger members of the left. In Labour the excesses of the neoliberals all but wiped out that generation and the links. I talk sometimes to our younger members in the Labour party and they are fascinated – but totally clueless. I do try to point them at this blog for this very reason. They are oblivious to who Pinochet was, why it mattered to us then and now, the refuge given to that butcher by Thatcher, the entire history of the Chicago school etc. The traditional passing in of this history, personal history too, through social groups in the Labour party has all but broken down.

As a suggestion, perhaps you could edit your blogs into a book we could use in discussion groups? You would help us be that collective memory board for the newer (not just younger) activists. It would help tease out the older members stories of their personal part in the struggles at home and abroad, but more than that your pieces on the collision of religious and political also show the rich complexities of life.

I’ve started work on the book, and collected a number of the posts together in a series of chapters. These will be on:

Introduction and Florence’s request

General US/Western Interference

Pinochet Coup in Chile

Real Reasons for Iraq War

Russia and Ukraine

Gaddafi and Libya

Syria

British Recruitment Nazis, Exploitation of Guyana, planned internment of radicals.

Fake News and Domestic Propaganda, HIGNFY, Andrew Neil

I’ve still got to put them in some kind of narrative order, to they make a kind of progressive sense to the reader, rather than being simply jumbled up higgledy-piggledy. Once that’s done, I shall see about putting a cover to it, and sending it to Lulu, if anyone’s interested. Incidentally, my book Privatisation: Killing the NHS, should still be available from them, if anyone’s interested. I don’t know how many copies of this book I’ll sale, but I hope it helps do something to bring down this horrific, murderous wave of neoliberalism imperialism released by George Dubya and Blair, and extended by their successors.

President of the Ghanaian House of Chiefs Condemns Libyan Slave Trade

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 3:39am in

This is a report from the Ghanaian Broadcasting Corporation reporting a speech by the Abogbomefia of Asogli, and president of the House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede, condemning the Islamist syndicates selling African migrants as slaves in Libya. The blurb for the video runs

The Agbogbomefia of Asogli State and President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede has condemned the human-trafficking syndicate selling African migrants into slavery in Libya. He attributed the development partly to the failure of African leaders and traditional rulers to improve the welfare of their people.

The report states that he has charged African leaders and his country’s chiefs with creating a conducive socio-economic framework that will provide for their people and encourage them to remain in their own countries.

The report also covers the suspension of two of the paramount chiefs from the House for their inability to prevent disorders in their territories.

I’m reblogging this as it gives a Black, African perspective on the Libyan slave trade, and shows how some Black African leaders are responding to this scandal.

Ghana was one of the great centres of indigenous African civilisation in West Africa. As the Gold Coast it was the first British colony in Africa that allowed Africans to participate in the government of their country in its colonial council.

RT on the Media Silence over Corbyn Receiving Peace Prize in Geneva

RT put up this video yesterday, reporting that the Friday before, Jeremy Corbyn and Noam Chomsky had been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by an international committee, the International Peace Bureau in Geneva. The committee had been impressed by the Labour leader’s ‘sustained and powerful work for disarmament and peace’. But they also note that this has not been widely reported in the British press.

Mike also covered the story from the NHS Skwawkbox. They reported that the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base also received the award along with Corbyn and Chomsky. The Bureau was impressed by Corbyn’s work as an ordinary member, then vice-chair and now vice-president of CND, as a past chair of the Stop the War Coalition, as well as his work over 34 years as an MP. They were impressed by his statement that he could not press the button for retaliation in a nuclear attack, and arguing that military spending should be cut and the money spent instead on health, education and welfare.

The award ceremony itself was held on November 24th in Geneva, but Corbyn had to wait until this weekend to collect it.

Mike also noted at the very start of his piece about Corbyn receiving the prise that the British media was silent about it. He wrote:

<strong>Where are the celebrations from the mainstream TV and newspaper media in the UK? The leader of the Labour Party has won a major international peace prize and I can’t find any headlines about it at all, apart from in Skwawkbox!*</strong>

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/12/09/jeremy-corbyn-collects-sean-macbride-peace-prize-2017/

There’s no need to look very hard to find reasons why the Beeb, ITV, Channel 4 and the British press weren’t keen to report this honour for the Labour leader: they cordially hate him as a threat to the Thatcherite corporatist agenda that is ruining the country and forcing millions of Brits into mass poverty. And his fellow recipients are also enough to give any right-winger a touch of the vapours. Noam Chomsky is a veteran critic of American imperialism. I think in his personal political beliefs he’s an Anarchist/ anarcho-syndicalist. Which means he believes the best form of society would be one where there was no state, and everything was run by the workers through trade unions. The All Okinawa Council against Henoko New Base sounds like one of the local organisations set up on the Japanese island of Okinawa to oppose the presence of the American military base. The Japanese are increasingly resentful of American bases on their territory, and see it very much as military occupation, especially after the Fall of Communism and the removal of the Soviet Union as a threat to Japan.

But America now is a warfare state. It has expanded the war on terror to include military strikes and campaigns in seven countries, and its economy is heavily tied in to government spending on the arms industries. And where you have arms manufacturers with a powerful voice in government, you also find wars. And Britain is being dragged into them through the ‘special relationship’. Not that in Blair’s and Cameron’s case the Americans needed to do much dragging. I got the impression that Blair was enthusiastic for the Iraq invasion, and Blissex, one of the very highly informed commenters on this blog, stated that, according to the Americans, it was Cameron and Sarkozy in France, who pushed for the airstrikes to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya.

Throughout his period as head of the Labour party, the British media has been bitterly biased against Corbyn. When the plotters in the Chicken Coup staged their mass resignations the other year, it began with the collusion of one of the plotters to do it on Andrew Neil’s show. Now that Corbyn has made a genuinely positive achievement, which they can’t very well sneer at, or spin so it reflects badly on him, the media have no choice but to remain silent.

Apart from the issue of defence and western militarism, there are other reasons why the corporate media hate Corbyn: he wants to strengthen the welfare state, and embark on a campaign of renationalisation – renationalising the NHS and also the utilities industries and railways. This frightens the multimillionaire businessmen, who control the papers.

And so in the I yesterday, in the column where it quotes the opinions of the other papers, you had a quote from Simon Heffer in the Torygraph ranting about how ‘Stalinist’ Momentum were trying to deselect the ‘thoroughly decent’ moderates in the Labour party. And another quote from Karren Brady of the Apprentice declaring that Corbyn was a ‘Communist’, who supported nationalisation for his own peculiar reasons. She also reminded us that the nationalised industries had been failures, citing British Gas particularly.

Well, Heffer has always been a Tory spokesman, and the Telegraph has been particularly vocal in its hatred of the Labour leader. Not only is Heffer a dyed in the wool Tory, he was also a contributor to a book celebrating Enoch Powell that came out a few years ago, entitled Enoch at 100. Not only was Powell responsible for inflaming racism in Britain with his ‘rivers of blood’ speech, he was also a Monetarist, which became Thatcher’s favourite economic doctrine. Monetarism was regarded at the time by the majority of economists as stupid and ridiculous, and was effectively abandoned by Thatcher herself later in her tenure of No. 10.

And the ‘moderates’ in the Labour party are no such thing, nor are they ‘decent people’. They are liars and intriguers to a man and woman. They did everything they could to unseat Corbyn, and silence or throw out his supporters. But now that the likes of ‘Bomber’ Benn – so-called because of his enthusiasm for airstrikes on Syria – have failed, the Torygraph has to lament how they’re being ‘persecuted’ by Corbyn’s supporters.

As for Brady’s comments about the nationalised industries, yes, I do remember how there were problems with them. British Gas was notorious, and became notoriously worse after privatisation. But private ownership has very definitely not brought more investment nor improved the performance of the utilities companies. Quite the reverse – the rail network is actually performing worse now than it was in the last years of British Rail. It now consumes a higher government subsidy and charges more for worse services, all to keep its board on their expensive salaries and bonuses and bloated dividends to its shareholders.

But Brady really doesn’t want you to know that. She’s a businesswoman, who clearly stands four-square for the companies seeking to make vast profits from the former state sector. So she very definitely isn’t going to admit that there’s a problem with them.

Brady herself also likes to project herself as some kind of feminist heroine, thrusting through the corporate glass ceiling and inspiring other women and girls to take up the fight to make it in business. As Private Eye mischievously pointed out, this would be more convincing if she hadn’t begun her business career working in the offices of one of the porn companies.

The business elite are frightened of Corbyn, because he’s set to renationalise industry and empower British working people. And so if they can’t vilify him, as they couldn’t with the award of the Sean McBride Peace Prize, they have to keep silent.

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