the press

Steve Bell Cartoon in Guardian Spiked for Supposed ‘Anti-Semitism’

More fake accusations of anti-Semitism by the Israel lobby to censor criticism of their barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. Yesterday Mike put up a piece reporting that Guardian editor Kath Viner had spiked a Cartoon by Steve Bell commenting on the shooting of the Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar. This showed May and Netanyahu having a cosy chat around the fireplace, in which al-Najjar is burning. The cartoon was intended to show the complete indifference to al-Najjar’s murder by the IDF. But Kath Viner decided it was anti-Semitic, because she thought it compared the actions of modern Jews to those of the Nazis in the Holocaust. Bell himself strongly rejects any such comparison, and wrote to her in an email, saying

“I cannot for the life of me begin to understand criticism of the cartoon that begins by dragging in ‘wood-burning stoves’, ‘ovens’, ‘holocaust’, or any other nazi-related nonsense.

“That was the last thing on my mind when I drew it, I had no intention of conflating the issues of the mass murder of European Jews and Gaza.

“It’s a fireplace, in front of which VIP visitors to Downing Street are always pictured… and the figure of Razan al-Najjar is burning in the grate. It’s a widely known photograph of her, becoming iconic across the Arab world and the burning is of course symbolic. She’s dead, she was shot and killed by the IDF while doing her job as a medic.”

He said he suspected “the reason that you did not get in touch was because you did not really have an argument. The cartoon is sensitive, not tasteless, not disrespectful, and certainly contains no anti-Semitic tropes.”

Mike makes the point here that the people making the accusation of anti-Semitism see what they want to see. They expect to see anti-Semitism, and so they see anti-Semitism. And so they ignore issues of authorial intent, context and commonsense.

Mike makes the point that it is not anti-Semitic to point out that an unarmed medic was murdered by an Israeli soldier, nor anti-Semitic to point out that Britain’s own response to the murder has been lukewarm. He goes on to say it is not anti-Semitic to question whether this lack of an appropriately strong response is due to the immense amount of trade Britain does with Israel, or whether the arms we sold them were used in her killing. He goes on to conclude that if the author’s intent is ignored in the interpretation of the image, then it’s the wrong interpretation.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/06/07/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-accused-of-anti-semitism-over-razan-al-najjar-image/

I’m not surprised that Bell has been censored because of this cartoon. The Israel lobby regularly responds to criticism of the barbarism it metes out the Palestinians with accusations of anti-Semitism, including cartoons. A few years ago, Mark Regev, the noxious, lying Israeli ambassador, sent an angry letter to the I attacking a cartoon by Gerald Scarfe about the construction of the anti-Palestinian wall as ‘anti-Semitic’. Why? The cartoon showed Netanyahu building the wall using the blood of murdered Palestinians as mortar. He decided that this was anti-Semitic because it referred to the ‘Blood Libel’, the vile anti-Semitic myth that Jews murder Christians and use their blood to make the matzo bread eaten at Passover. The cartoon did nothing of the sort, but nevertheless, the I caved and issued an apology.

And last week a German cartoonist was accused of anti-Semitism and sacked for the alleged anti-Semitism of his caricature of Netanyahu. Klein, the minister or civil servant responsible for rooting out anti-Semitism, decided that this was anti-Semitic because it exaggerated Netanyahu’s nose and lips, just like the caricatures of the Jews produced by the Nazis and other anti-Semites. It’s a highly debatable point. caricaturists work by exaggerating features, including, and often particularly, the nose and lips. Germany has been very pro-Israel since the end of the Second World War, partly out of guilt for the Holocaust, and Jews are actually treated very well there. So much so that it’s a favoured destination for young Israelis to go on holiday. a few weeks ago I found an article published in Counterpunch by a radical, anti-racist German journo, which followed the Israeli embassy in Germany in equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Which is what the real issue is here: suppressing criticism of Israel.

As for Bell’s cartoon, he is certainly not alone in depicting political figures holding their talks around the fireside. in the 1980s, the games comic Diceman ran one game story in which the reader played Ronald Reagan, desperate to save the world from nuclear war. One scene showed him and Gorbachev holding talks around a blazing fire. As Reagan droned on, Gorby dozed, and the artist, Hunt Emerson, had great fun drawing all kinds of figures in the fire. At one point the flames made little KKK figures, who joined hands and danced. I’m afraid I can’t put my hands on the issue at the moment, otherwise I’d put up the image, but it’s around here somewhere. There is nothing as strong as that in Bell’s cartoon.

And the Guardian has always, like other newspapers, been under pressure to spike any reports of Israeli atrocities. Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian, described in the Channel 4 Despatches documentary on the power of the Israel lobby, how after accurately reporting them, he would be visited by someone from the Israel lobby or the Board of Deputies of British Jews, complete with their pet lawyer, who would rant and rave about how such reports were anti-Semitic. After his reporting of the Gaza bombardment, the two visitors claimed that the newspaper’s accounts were anti-Semitic, because they would encourage people to attack Jews in the street. Which didn’t happen.

Since then, the newspaper has been the conduit for the Israel lobby’s propaganda. For example, they once ran an article by Steve Pollard of the libel organisation the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which claimed that the far-right, anti-immigrant president of Poland couldn’t be anti-Semitic, because ‘he was a good friend of Israel’. Well, the Israelis have all kinds of ‘good friends’ who are Fascists and anti-Semites. They’ve welcomed Alt-Right leader Steve Bannon to one of their military jamborees, and had Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt-Right, on their television. Why? Spencer describes himself as a ‘White Zionist’, who admires Israel as the kind of racially pure ethnostate he’d like America to become, but for Whites only. Tony Greenstein was so angered by the Groan’s switch from objective reporting to servile pro-Israel commentary, that he wrote Viner or her subordinates a letter of complaint.

This isn’t about real anti-Semitism in the press. This is about censoring criticism of Israel, using the horrific suffering of Jews in the Holocaust as a pretext. It’s a disgusting desecration of their memory as well as a gross libel on the cartoonists. Viner, Klein and Regev should be ashamed.

Gove Thinks Poor People Eat Junk Food to Get ‘Solace’ in their ‘Difficult Lives’

Mike today has put up a piece commenting on articl3e in Mirror Online attacking Michael Gove for yet another utterance showing how completely out of touch he is. The Minister for the Environment, in charge of Britain’s food, has declared that the reason poor people eat unhealthy junk food, is not because healthy food is too expensive. No, it’s because eating unhealthy food makes them feel better. Gove said

“If you have got a difficult life and you have less money, then one of the things that can be a source of comfort, solace and pleasure will be buying and eating and consuming food that is not always going to be best for you in the long term.”

The Mirror article goes to state that critics have been lining up to point out to him the reality of the situation. And Mike comments, after pointing out that this is the man Some Tories want to take over from Tweezer after she’s forced out of Downing Street,

Michael Gove’s comments are typical of the privileged, entitled, out-of-touch toffs who currently hold the UK in a vicelike death-grip.

His words deny a simple fact of life for poorer people – that healthier food is more expensive and they simply cannot afford it, because Tory ‘reforms’ of benefits and wages have put it out of their price range.

He goes further, and says that if Gove really does believe this, then he must be a sad, squalid, blinkered little creep, and ends his article with the statement

This is certainly not the kind of man who could be hailed as a future leader of this – or any – country.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/06/07/hopelessly-out-of-touch-michael-gove-claims-poor-people-eat-junk-food-to-find-solace-in-their-difficult-lives/

Mike’s exactly right about this, and the way it reflects the received wisdom in the Tory party. And this goes back decades. Way back in the 1990s I used to listen to Joe Queenan’s Postcard from Gotham on Radio 4. This was a programme talking about current events in America, hosted by the American comedian, Joe Queenan, and his guests. On one edition they were discussing the obesity epidemic then beginning to hit America. One of the other voices on the programme was a journo from the Torygraph, who said pretty much exactly what Gove has said: that poor people eat fatty, junk food, like chips, burgers and pizza, to make themselves feel better. This was about 20+ years ago, so it shows how long that attitude has been around in Tory circles.

There’s an element of truth there, in that people do ‘comfort’ eat when they’re low or under stress. But as Mike points out, it isn’t really an explanation for the poor having a bad diet. Low ages and the greater expensive of healthier food is. And there are other factors as well. A few years ago, Jamie Oliver rocked up in Manchester or one of the other northern towns to teach the local people how to cook healthy food. He criticised one mum, who had joined the scheme, for not including many vegetables. This upset her, because she had no choice: there wasn’t a greengrocer near her, and she had only been able to buy from the shops she could reach, which didn’t stock much in the way of greens. And I’m sure this woman isn’t alone. We have seen the decline of local shops since the growth of the big supermarkets. When I was at school the local shops on our estate included a greengrocers and butchers. Now there are very few independent butchers around, and the greengrocers, at least in my neck of Bristol, seem to be similarly disappearing. There was one over on the rank of shops on the neighbouring estate, but they closed last year. If you want vegetables, you have to go to the local supermarket. And this might be difficult for some people.

Another reason why those on low incomes may be more inclined to eat junk food is because they’re quick and convenient. Not only have wages been held down, but working hours, for many people, are very long. Not everyone may have the time to cook a proper meal. And so for the temptation is buy a takeaway instead.

And there are also probably other reasons why Gove doesn’t want to go too far in trying to understand for himself why the poor, or some of them, eat unhealthily. And those reasons may be to do with corporate political funding and the power of the fast food companies. The Tories get much of their money from donations from big business. It’s why they ignore the wishes of their grass roots, to the point where many constituency Tory parties have either closed or are moribund, and concentrate instead on doing what their donors want. And you can tell just how powerful the fast food industry is by some of the adverts that appear on television and on hoardings. If you look at the adverts on TV, amongst the various car and perfume adverts are those for pizzas, KFC and McDonald’s. This advertising costs, though I don’t doubt that if someone suggested it should be banned, as happened with alcohol, the fast food industry would immediately respond with specially commissioned research claiming that they have no effect on how people eat at all. Way back in the 1990s Private Eye revealed in one of its issues just how many Tory MPs were connected to the drinks industry. There were calls to regulate alcohol advertising then. This has succeeded, but it’s only recently that some parts of Britain, like Scotland, have put the price of booze up in order to discourage binge drinking. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if a large number of Tory MPs were either on the boards, or getting donations from companies like McDonald’s.

But Gove isn’t about to criticise them, despite the fact that one of McDonald’s salads was actually found to have more fat in it than their burgers. The Tories believe in unregulated capitalism, consumer choice, as repeated ad nauseam by Maggie Thatcher, and that whatever happens to you in the name of free enterprise is your own fault. And so they aren’t going to admit that the reason the poor may not eat as well as they could is because of low wages and long working hours. Indeed, I’m amazed that Gove even admitted that they have ‘difficult’ lives, considering how the poor have been demonised as feckless, ignorant, lazy chavs by both the Tories and New Labour, and particularly by the Daily Heil. They also aren’t going to criticise the supermarkets, which have killed off many community small businesses, because of the way Sainsbury’s and the rest have contributed very handsomely to party coffers. And the last thing they want to do is stop all those valuable donations coming in from the fast food merchants themselves.

So instead of placing the blame on poor working conditions and practices, and changes in retail capitalism, Gove did what the Tories always do: blame the poor. Just as they’ve blamed them for eating badly for decades.

This shows not just how unfit Gove is to succeed May, but how the entire Tory party – and corporate New Labour, when it comes to it – are for government. They don’t have any solutions to the real causes of poverty and obesity, only cod psychology. Get them out. Now.

Evening Standard Set to Sell Editorial Independence to Big Business

This is a very sobering video from Novara Media, which shows precisely how degraded the mainstream media is becoming, and implicitly, why independent news outlets like Novara and the other news sites and shows I repost here are so necessary.

Aaron Bastani reports and comments on an article put up by Open Democracy last Wednesday that the Evening Standard is due to sell its editorial independence to big business tomorrow, 5th July 2018. This move, led by editor George Osborne, who not at all coincidentally used to be Dave Cameron’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, will see the paper sell positive coverage to firms like Google and Uber for £3 million. Bastani states that this is important, as it breaks down the divide between journalism and paid-for advertising content. But, he continues, it’s nothing new.

He then talks about how the Evening Standard is owned by a collection of shady Russian oligarchs, and reflects their business interests. He goes on to describe how the media is increasingly dominated by Tory politicians. The first person to interview Donald Trump when he became president was Michael Gove in the Times. Danny Finkelstein is a Tory lord, and the Standard’s Associate Editor. Robbie Gibb, who is the brother of a Tory MP, and was Theresa May’s head of communications, edited the Beeb’s Daily and Sunday Politics. Boris Johnson has a column at the Torygraph, even though he’s Foreign Secretary.

Bastani concludes that the revolving door between politics, industry and the media has vanished, and those hitherto separate areas have become fused. He makes the point that while quality journalism is a public good, if it’s left to Osborne, Johnson, Gove and Lebedev we will have ‘a profoundly broken society’.

Bastani’s right, but this is just the latest development in a process that has been going on for a very long time. Editorial independence in many papers declined in the 1980s, when newspapers like the Observer were bought up by magnates with interests in multiple industries. Tiny Rowland, who owned the Observer, owned mining concerns in Zimbabwe, and so spiked stories that paper wanted to run exposing human rights abuses there. I also remember how, in the 1990s, Private Eye also ran articles every so often revealing how the Observer had published yet another glowing article about a country or corporation, without revealing that it was a puff piece paid for by the nation or company featured.

It’s also been the case that politicians very often have had their own columns in the papers, or written the odd article about a particular issue. Sometimes this happened after they left office. For example, David Blunkett was given a column in the Sun by Rupert Murdoch. As for Robbie Gibb at the Beeb, Mike’s put up a number of articles about the way the news department at the Beeb is dominated by members of the Tory party, including Nick Robinson and Laura Kuenssberg. And it seems every couple of months someone else leaves the Beeb to work for the Tories. But the Corporation still keeps on pompously denying that it’s biased, despite its vicious attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party.

But Bastani’s piece does show how far this process has gone, and is set to go, with the Evening Standard providing puff pieces for global corporations as news, while being packed, like the rest of the right-wing media, with Tory MPs. It’s almost a case of life imitating art. Or rather satire. Remember a few years ago, when people started satirising the corporate media with comments like ‘And now for our corporate approved content’, and slogans like ‘Remember: Corporate loves you.’ It now looks almost like Osborne saw the satire, but thought it was a good idea.

Until the mainstream media reforms itself, it has shown that it absolutely cannot be trusted. And people are far better off taking their news from the alternative media instead.

Rees Mogg Senior’s Support of Pinochet’s Fascist Coup in Chile

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the rising Tory star and archaic ‘minister for the 18th century’, as he’s been dubbed, last week seemed to show very clearly the extent of his ambitions. He bought a townhouse overlooking Downing Street. Despite his denials that this showed his intention of occupying No. 10, everyone else took it as a clear sign that he very definitely does have his sights on becoming Prime Minister.

Rees-Mogg is a true-blue Tory aristo, who began his career by campaigning to keep the unreformed, and unelected House of Lords. He has consistently voted to increase spending, tax cuts and other privileges for the rich, and to cut and deny state aid, welfare benefits and spending on the poor, the unemployed and the disabled. He has a vast income provided by his investment firms. And he’s also the son of William Rees-Mogg, the former editor of the Times and later columnist for the Independent.

I found this passage quoting and commenting on a piece Rees-Mogg senior wrote at the time, welcoming the Fascist coup by General Pinochet which overthrew Salvador Allende, in Colin Sparks’ article, ‘The Media and the State’ in James Curran, Jake Ecclestone, Giles Oakley and Alan Richardson, eds., Bending Reality: The State of the Media (London: Pluto Press 1986). Allende was a democratically elected Marxist, who enraged his country’s ruling elite by wishing to expropriate land from their estates to give to the peasants. He was also a danger to the American-led global campaign against Communism, simply because his regime had taken power through popular elections. It contradicted the view that Communism could only gain power through very undemocratic means, like revolutions and coups. And so the CIA backed Pinochet’s coup against Allende, which plunged the country into a brutal Fascist dictatorship that lasted from c. 1974 to the early 1990s.

Before quoting Rees-Mogg senior, Sparks also describes how the elite will try to bring down any government genuinely trying to create a more democratic, equal society, and eliminate poverty using ideological as well as other weapons, one of which will be the establishment press. He writes

Any government which seeks to get rid of poverty and inequality will come up against the opposition of those whose life has been built upon the fruits of poverty and inequality. Any government which seeks to establish democracy as the common norm for the conduct of human affairs will come up against the opposition of those whose whole life has been built upon the exercise of irresponsible and unaccountable power. The people who run the state, the media, industry and the banks will not just let us get on with changing the world because a temporary majority in the House of Commons tells them to. They will fight us with ideas and with weapons. It was, after all, that organ of ruling class opinion, the Times, then edited by the shameless Rees Mogg, that welcomed the bloody overthrow of Salvador Allende and the Chilean government with the words:

The failure of the Presidency of Allende was also a tragedy for Chile herself, not because the coup put an end to a government which never had a majority either in the country or in congress, but because it marks the end of a long period during which Chile’s peaceful and democratic political traditions were the envy of her neighbours. To apportion blame for this is no easy matter. Many Chileans will argue that the Unidad Popular government had itself made the coup inevitable by its hopeless mismanagement of the economy leading to a breakdown in public order, and at the same time had provided justification for it by its own unconstitutional acts. On the whole this would be our judgement; there is a limit to the ruin a country can be expected to tolerate…
At this state what a foreign commentator can say is that, whether or not the armed forces were right to do what they have done, the circumstances were such that a reasonable man could in good faith have thought it his constitutional duty to intervene.

No doubt Rees Mogg had discussed just such ‘circumstances’ with ‘reasonable military men’ at Pirbright and Aldershot. (Pp. 94-5).

The last sentence presumably refers to the attempts various members of the elite, including the Times and the then editor of the Mirror, to organise a coup in Britain against Harold Wilson’s minority Labour government in 1975. If this had gone ahead, the result would have been the mass internment, not just of MPs, but also of other political activists and journalists. The proposed location for their imprisonment was either in the Shetland Isles or the Hebrides. Ken Livingstone discusses this in his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour, as does Francis Wheen in his book about 70’s paranoia, Strange Days. As for Pinochet’s coup, this resulted in the mass imprisonment, rape, torture and execution of 40,000-60,000 people. Parents imprisoned and murdered by the Fascists had their children taken away, to be raised instead by members of Pinochet’s Fascists, who were childless.

And Sparks is absolutely right when he states that those, whose power and social position is built on poverty and inequality will try to bring down those governments trying to end it. The Conservatives’ entire economic strategy, and that of the ruling elites they represent, is based on increasing poverty through austerity, welfare cuts, the privatisation of the NHS, and the creation of insecure, low paid work with little, if anything, in the way of workers’ rights like pensions or sick pay. And he’s also right about the way the same elite uses the press in this. We’ve seen the way the British press and media has consistently vilified Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as everything from Trotskyites and misogynists to anti-Semites, in order to prevent a genuinely reforming Labour government coming to power.

And the quotation from Rees-Mogg senior also shows how Jacob Rees-Mogg turned out the way he is. He’s the child of privilege, whose family owed its position to inherited wealth and inequality, and whose father dutifully supported the same establishment elite with his ideas and editorship of the Times. And Rees-Mogg senior’s approving comments about Pinochet’s coup also shows how easily other parts of the Tory party supported other Fascist thugs in Latin America. Like the Libertarian group, of which one Paul Staines, now Guido Fawkes, was a member, which invited the leader of one Central American death squad to be their guest of honour at their annual dinner.

26 of Alex Jones’ Lies Debunked

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/06/2018 - 3:36am in

Alex Jones is the head of Infowars, and has been pushing bonkers conspiracy theories about one-world government takeovers, and Satanists, aliens, the Illuminati or whoever, all secretly running things behind in the scenes in collusion with big business and the Democrat Party. In this video from AlexJonesClips on YouTube, 26 of Jones’ lies are presented, both in audio from the man himself, and written on the screen with the real truth about what he’s claiming.

The video is under 9 minutes long, and most of the lies come from 2009. There are too many of them to discuss here, but they’re about big business like Walmart, Google and other companies being connected with the NSA and FEMA camps. The government is coming to seize your children and forcibly inoculate them. The UN wants to destroy industrial society, then take people’s children away to raise them in state dormitories. The NSA uses satellites to track people going to gun shows from orbit, so they can seize their guns. Bankers at Goldman Sachs are arming themselves against the people. The cops are thugs who beat up old ladies, and want a war with the public. Time magazine is pushing euthanasia week after week, and people being electrocuted with Tasers is now ubiquitous in comedy. Oh yes, and there’s the classic piece of right-wing paranoia about the 666 separator codes inserted into barcodes, which he somehow connects with sun god worship in Ancient Egypt.

These are the real conspiracy theories that need to be attacked, and it’s good that someone has gone to the trouble of cataloguing and refuting some of them.

Mo Shafiq on the Systematic Islamophobia in the Tory Party

This is another great clip from RT. In it, Polly Boiko talks to Mo Shafiq, the Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation about the calls from the Muslim Council for an inquiry into the endemic racism within the Tory party. Shafiq states that it isn’t just the everyday racism, but that it also comes from the very top. Like Zac Goldsmith’s islamophobic campaign when he was running for mayor of London, when he tried to connect Sadiq Khan with terrorism; or with the islamophobic remarks from David Cameron and the Tory leadership. Such as Cameron’s comment that if Muslim women didn’t learn English, this would leave them more open to terrorist propaganda.

Boiko asks him if this isn’t actually rather political. The Labour party has been attacked for anti-Semitism, and now the Tories are being accused of islamophobia. Shafiq states that it’s quite right to attack anti-Semitism, as it has no place in our society. Neither should Islamophobia. But there as been a continuous stream of attacks on Muslims, stating that Islam is alien to Britain, and that it’s now got to the point where people are scared to go to the mosque or wear headscarves in public.

Boiko then asks him if the calls for an investigation into the Tories’ Islamophobia won’t actually make people more scared and fearful. Shafiq replies that there isn’t just a problem with the Tories, but also with wider society. However, he doesn’t agree that the problem is as large as the polls suggest. He then goes to talk about the way Muslims have been presented negatively in the press since 9/11, and talks about the way it has become fashionable to attack Muslims in the media and on-line. He mentions Melania Phillips, the Times journalist, who rages about anti-Semitism, but is also constantly attacking Muslims. He goes on to claim that now, if you want to get hits, all you have to do is write pieces attacking Muslims and put a hashtag on it #HateMuslims.

Shafiq is absolutely right to welcome the Muslim council’s demand into the Tories’ Islamophobia. Zach Goldsmith’s Islamophobic campaign and Cameron’s comments about Muslim women, who can’t speak English being more vulnerable to terrorist propaganda were remarked on and condemned at the time. But nothing has been done, and Baroness Warsi complained the other week that Islamophobic incidents now occur at least once a week within the party.

As for Melanie ‘Mad Mel’ Phillips, what can you say? She used to write for the Daily Heil, and her columns were full of vitriol about Muslims then. She’s also the author of a book, Londonistan, about how London became a haven for Muslim terrorists. Unfortunately, London and Britain did give sanctuary for Muslim terrorists. This was under Maggie Thatcher, he gave some of the truly vile butchers from the Taliban in Afghanistan asylum in Britain, because they were anti-Communist and so ‘one of us’. And many Muslims were shocked at the way these creatures were free to preach hatred and violence from their mosques. There were numerous complaints against them, but these were systematically ignored.

The Tories are not only riddled with Islamophobia, but they have actively aided the immigration to Britain of the murderers, who inspire it. They are absolute hypocrites on this issue.

Vox Political: Leaked Labour Plan on Anti-Semitism Cases Reveals Corruption of Present System

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/06/2018 - 7:52pm in

On Thursday, 31st May 2018 Mike put up a piece about the Labour party’s plans for dealing with alleged anti-Semitism cases, that had been leaked to the Huffington Post. He states that he had planned to write a glowing report of it, but instead the plans revealed just how staggeringly corrupt the existing system. Especially as applied to him.

He goes through the plan point by point, and shows how in each case these were violated when it came to the way he was investigated. Or rather, he wasn’t. The party simply rushed to suspend him, just like they have done to so many other, thoroughly decent people.

Before we deal with Mike’s case, let’s look at the ideal, and the way the document states such cases should be investigated.

It states that each case should be assigned an investigating officer, who looks at the evidence against the accused, and applies a set of tests to determine whether there is a prima facie case against them.

In almost all cases where the evidence is documentary, such as from social media or email, the plan continues, the accused person will be provided with a copy of the evidence and a list a questions within 14 days.

The plan then states that this will usually provide enough evidence to decide the issue, whether it needs further investigation, or if it should go to the next quarterly meeting of the NCC panel.

In rare cases where further information is needed, the accused may, in the words of the document, be called to be interrogated at an interview, or, more likely, simply answer a set of questions.

The NEC Disputes Panel then consider a report at their next meeting, which may be as long as 17 weeks away. If there is a case to answer, it is referred to the National Constitution Committee, who decide the case under their rules, and may judge that a hearing is needed.

The Investigating Officer then formulates the final charges, as well as the NEC’s opening submission to the hearing and the bundle of evidence and other material supplies to the NEC.

Mike states that the Investigating Officer clearly did not review the evidence against him properly. This was the smear piece run by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, published to prevent him standing in the Powys county council elections. The smear piece had links to Mike’s original article, which had they been followed by the Investigating Officer would have shown that the CAA’s piece was a smear that twisted and grossly distorted Mike’s words. But that was not done. Instead the party rushed to suspend him.

Mike makes the point that this was done for political reasons. His opponents knew that he belonged to the left of the party, and concludes on this point

and it seems that right-wingers in the party’s administrative echelons thought they could use the false allegation of anti-Semitism to get rid of me.

The next point, that he should be given a set of questions, was also not followed. Instead, they simply suspended him and kept him in the dark for five months. He goes on to make the point that the disputes panel simply weren’t interested in hearing his side of the story, and as they didn’t have any evidence they couldn’t end the investigation, although there was enough material to stop it there and then. He concludes on this point

What was going on? All I can suggest is that the process was delayed in order to keep me suspended for as long as possible.

Mike also remarks on the strange choice of the word ‘interrogation’ to refer to the interviews to which the accused may be called. He states that he was never given a list of questions to answer, and was simply called to attend a meeting in Cardiff in October last year (2017). He went with a friend, who acted as a silent witness, and spoke for 100 minutes, answering questions that were simply presented to him blind. He states that he was not told how they were related to the allegations against him. He comments further

I was never told exactly how they related to the allegations against me. At one point I asked the IO whether he had read my articles and he replied that he had not; he had merely been told to highlight passages in particular articles of mine and to ask me about them. I noticed also that he was not taking many notes. In hindsight, it seems he had been instructed to listen for particular answers and to note whether he received them or not. My guilt, I think, had been decided in advance of the evidence and he was just there to confirm it.

Mike then states that the NEC then considered his case just ten or eleven weeks late in January 2018. It was not in the main body of matters to be considered, but under any other business. This meant that they didn’t look at any of the material Mike himself had supplied, and simply relied on what they investigating officer told them. And he simply referred to the CAA’s smear piece, and described Mike’s answers as the ‘vague’. Which as, he points out, he is anything but. He comments

In those circumstances, though, it is no wonder that NEC members came to the wrong decision. As I suggested, it seems the intention was to find me guilty, no matter what evidence was put up in my defence.

Mike also states that the formulation of the final charges and the presentation of other material to the NEC also simply did not occur in his case. The NEC simply decided that he was guilty, and decided that they would lift his suspension only if he attended a training day with the Jewish Labour Movement – who Mike describes as ‘highly questionable’. Mike turned them down, and comments here

I wonder whether there was an intention to put me in a situation I could not tolerate, as an incentive for me to leave the Party of my own free will. Not likely! It would have appeared to be an admission of guilt and, as you may have noticed, I’m determined to establish my innocence.

As for the recommendations, these are

That the NCC should make greater use of provisions that allow them to decide a case without going to a hearing and simply using the supplied written information. Mike makes the obvious objection that those accused should be allowed greater opportunities to represent themselves, not less. In Mike’s case, he was given. As he remarks, that’s not justice, that’s a stitch-up.

It goes on to attack respondents for resorting to litigation and solicitors, and blames this for creating delays in judging cases. It therefore recommends that they should be made aware of their right to bring other representation to these hearings, like their trade unions representatives. Again, Mike comments that this is one-sided, as the party is lawyering-up, and it seems to be a device to place the accused at a disadvantage. If one side has lawyers, and the other doesn’t, then it’s an offence against natural justice, comments Mike.

The report also recommends that the accused in these cases should be anonymised, like those in sexual harassment cases, because of the perception that these cases are influence by political forces. Mike states that this recommendation is the best of a bad bunch. He comments on the way the Disputes Panel’s report to the NEC was skewed against him, and he wasn’t allowed to attend. Then afterwards their decision was leaked to a newspaper reporter, who then libelled Mike. He states

This was obviously not an accident. Somebody on the NEC made a conscious decision to use the findings of the NEC’s kangaroo court against me in the press. That doesn’t happen without malicious intent.

The document concludes with a stroppy comment about how some of the accused seek publicity for their cases, which the document then patronisingly claims causes further problems for themselves and Labour party members campaigning on their behalf. It goes on to state that

All parties should be reminded that public conduct may adversely impact progress of an ongoing investigation. Such conduct may appear to be grossly detrimental to the Party.

Mike’s reply to this is suitably curt:

I’ll accept no lectures from anybody in the Labour Party about public conduct.

He then goes to recall how he only found out about his suspension when a newspaper report rang him, because the Labour party had just emailed it to him. They had also just emailed it to Mike, and he had not had time to digest it. Mike rhetorically asks whether this was good public policy.

He then notes that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism took great glee in reporting Mike’s suspension, despite knowing that their accusation is entirely false. That recommendation appears to suggest that Mike should not do anything to defend himself against a corrupt process which flouts the facts.

The Labour party then passed the defamatory information smearing Mike onto a third party – which is libel – who then passed it on to the Sunday Times and other newspapers, who then libelled Mike as a Holocaust Denier.

He also notes that there is an implicit threat in the recommendation that those, who try to publicise their cases risk causing problems for themselves and their supporters in the party. Mike asks why? Does this mean that the party’s officers will take note and then move on to persecute them. As for the comments about ‘bringing the party into disrepute’, this is a clear threat of expulsion.

Mike then concludes his article with these paragraphs

But giving newspaper reporters prior notice of a member’s suspension is grossly detrimental to the Party. What punishment was given to the officer who did that? Libelling a party member in the press is grossly detrimental to the Party. What punishment was given to the member(s) who did that? In fact, the whole manufactured anti-Semitism row is grossly detrimental to the Party but I see none of those responsible taking any punishment for it at all.

The whole case against me has been a corrupt farce from start to – well, the present day; there’s no end in sight, thanks to the current system.

It seems to me that I will be well within my rights to contact general secretary Jennie Formby, point out the huge injustices that have been done to me, and direct her to end my suspension and publish a full and frank public apology for the harm that the Party has done to me.

After that, I would want to see positive steps taken to identify those responsible and expose them to some proper justice.

That should not be too much to ask. But I’m prepared to bet it is.

See Mike’s article at:

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/05/31/leaked-labour-plan-on-anti-semitism-reveals-the-corruption-in-its-current-system-and-potential-future-pitfalls/

In fact, as I’ve pointed out over and again, it isn’t just Mike that’s suffered these terrible injustices. If you go over to Tony Greenstein’s blog, you can find innumerable cases like Mike’s, including Greenstein himself. He was finally told about his own hearing when he was in hospital recovering from illness, and was given a very limited time to prepare despite having reams of notes dumped on him. Greenstein himself is Jewish, as are very many of the other people, who have been smeared as anti-Semites, Holocaust Deniers and other Nazi filth. These have included the children, of parents who managed to survive the horrors of the Shoah. Quite apart from the fact that I think very many British Jews have lost family and relatives in the Holocaust. It is grossly offensive, as well as a violation against natural justice, to accuse these people of being anti-Semites. And this is quite apart from the gentiles, who have fought all their lives against racism and anti-Semitism, like Marc Wadsworth.

As for ‘political forces’ affecting these decisions – it’s plainly evident that they are. One lad was suspended because – dear me, how shocking! he wrote a poem satirising Tony Blair. As for trade union representation, I’m afraid that can’t be relied on. In another recent case Tony’s discussed, a man cannot use his Unison representative, because this man is the right-wing Labour council candidate, who had him suspended.

The Labour party’s process for tackling anti-Semitism is a gross farce. The procedures are ignored and circumvented at will by highly placed individuals keen to smear and libel their political opponents. These people should be brought to the light and named. This will probably sound vindictive, but this should include the person on the NEC panel, who leaked the libels against Mike to the press, the Investigating Officers, who didn’t do his job in Mike’s case, and who don’t do their jobs in so many others like him. And whoever told the IO that he wasn’t to read all of Mike’s own defence, just the bits that had been highlighted.

Only when false accusations have consequences for the accusers and libellers with there be at last a guarantee of proper justice in these cases.

In the ‘I’ Today: Columnist Deborah Orr Catches Up with Mike’s Posts about DUP and Decline of Democracy in Ulster

Mike over at Vox Political has several times commented on stories in the mainstream media, which suspiciously repeat some of the points he’s made in his articles. Now it’s the turn of the I’s columnist, Deborah Orr, to catch up with some of the points Mike’s been making about the grossly disproportionate influence the DUP now has, thanks to the Tories’ dependence on them for support in the Commons. And the way this has meant that effective devolved government won’t be coming back to Ulster any time soon.

The power sharing agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP collapsed last year, and since then Ulster’s been governed from Westminster. After Eire voted by a two-thirds majority to legalise abortion, feminists – not necessarily female – have been calling for a similar referendum in the Six Counties, where abortion is also illegal. But the DUP and Arlene Foster are very firmly against abortion, and don’t want to give the people of Ulster the choice of whether it should be legal or not. And because May needs their support, she really isn’t going to risk alienating them by giving them the referendum many are calling for. Nor is she going to risk losing them by handing power back to Stormont. And so, thanks to Foster and her far right hordes, Ulsterwomen don’t get to vote on what can be a matter of life and death – not just for unborn children, but also for the mothers – and Ulster’s people are denied their right to self-government.

Mike made these points in his posts a few days ago. See for example, this article by Mike yester, which actually comments on a story in the Mirror:
https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/05/30/vox-political-proved-correct-as-dup-threatens-tories-over-ni-abortion-law-reform/

Orr is also one of the columnists, who’ve repeated the anti-Semitism smears against the Labour party and Ken Livingstone. Last week in her column she claimed that Leninspart had said that Hitler was a Zionist, and called him ‘a fool’. In fact, the depraved Marxist newt-fancier had said no such thing. He had said that Hitler briefly supported Zionism ‘before he went mad and killed the Jews’. This is actually solid, established fact. Under the Ha’avara Agreement, the Nazis did support sending German Jews to Israel with the Zionist organisations. As Mike’s pointed out over and again, you can find this on the website of the International Holocaust Museum in Israel.

Livingstone’s comment that Hitler killed the Jews in the Holocaust only after he went mad is wrong. Historians of the Third Reich have argued that the implications of Hitler’s anti-Semitism were clear from the outset, even if he only started murdering the Jews en masse from 1942 onwards. The Nazis made absolutely no secret of their murderous hatred of the Jews. Joachim C. Fest in his biography of Hitler records how the Nazis in Berlin even sang about having ‘the Jew lies bleeding at our feet’. This is quite apart from their real attacks on Jews, and their brutal persecution in Germany and Austria before the Final Solution.

However, Leninspart hasn’t been smeared as an anti-Semite because of his belief that Hitler hadn’t planned the Jews extermination from the start. He was smeared because he raised an awkward fact of history that the Israel lobby, and its enabler in the mainstream press and the political parties, can’t tolerate: that Hitler briefly allied with the Zionists, without being a Zionist himself.

And Orr couldn’t tolerate that fact herself. Or perhaps she was just too lazy and complacent to research the historical fact behind Livingstone’s statement. Either way, she was happy to repeat the Israel lobby’s contemptible lie.

Either way, her article shows that if you really want to know what’s going on, check Mike’s blog, and those of the other great left-wing bloggers and vloggers he follows and cites.

RT: Muslim Council Demand Inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory Party

Here’s a political development that the Tories really won’t welcome. They’ve been trying to present themselves as a new, anti-racist party, ever since David Cameron made a great show of cutting links with the Monday Club, and throwing out members connected with the BNP and the rest of the Fascists. They’re now trying to present themselves as completely untouched by racial or religious prejudice, unlike the terrible Labour party, which is infested with anti-Semites.

In fact, the Labour party is not infested with anti-Semites. The incidence of anti-Semitism under Corbyn in the party has gone down, whatever spurious poison Gideon Falter and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, Frankie Boyle, David Baddiel, John Mann, Ian MacNichol and the rest may utter to the contrary. And very many of those accused of it, as I’m heartily tired of saying, are anything but. They’re decent people, who’ve fought against, and often suffered genuine anti-Semitic abuse and assault. Their real crime is that they despise the Israeli government and its persecution of the Palestinians. Or have made the point, as Jackie Walker did, that other nations and ethnicities have also endured genocides comparable to the Holocaust under the Nazis, and these should also be commemorated. The Tories and their allies in the press and in the Blairite right in the Labour party are weaponising such accusations in order to unseat Corbyn. Whom they fear and despise as someone, who genuinely wants to do something for the poor, rather than wreck this country and its great people with more neoliberalism.

And the Tories are as nasty as ever. There’s the same racism there. In fact, the levels of it in the Tories are much higher than in Labour. And Mike put up a post the other day, reporting on the suspension of a number of Tory candidates in the run up to the council elections for racism. Many of those were suspended for Islamophobia.

Now the Muslim Council has stepped in, and demanded that the Tories launch an investigation into it. In this video from RT, the terrible Russian propaganda outfit reports that they have a called for an independent inquiry due to Islamophobic incidents within the party now occurring weekly. Their letter to the Tories lists three council candidates, who were suspended. They are:

Mark Payne, suspended for Islamophobic tweets on social media.
Alexander van Terheyden, for the same.
And Darren Harrison, who had links with Generation Identity, which RT describe as an anti-Islamic organisation.

The report shows some of their posts, as well as comments from people determined that the Islamophobia in the Tory party has gone on far too long: Simon Maginn, Crumpets and Tea and Rachel Swindon. The latter’s name seems familiar. I think she may well be one of the people Mike follows on Twitter.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Tories respond to this. It was one of the Muslim Tories, who said in an interview a week or so ago that Islamophobic incidents occurred weekly in the Tories. Simon Maginn in the post RT shows in their video states that there have been demands for an investigation by the Muslim Council for two years now. The Tories have obviously ignored it, and will most likely do their best to sweep it under the carpet. While their more than willing to exaggerate the incident of racism in Labour, when it comes to them they make a great show of punishing the person responsible, quite often trivially, and then briskly declaring that the issue is over and the problem dealt with.

It isn’t. Not by a long chalk.

The Tories are a deeply racist party, and Islamophobia is only part of the problem. We’ve seen just how racist they are in their treatment of the Windrush Children, the victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire, and the rest of Tweezer’s despicable ‘hostile environment’ policy. The Muslim Council’s call for an investigation into Tory Islamophobia is to be welcomed. But this is just the tip of a very nasty iceberg.

And while we’re at it, please can we have an investigation into anti-Semitism in the Tory midst. Despite their claims that they don’t have it, and it’s only in the Labour party, Anti-Semitism does exist in the Tories. And if the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism is to be believed (they’re not, but let it go for the sake of argument) and anti-Semitism is rampant in British society, then it needs to be examined and combated in the Tories.

Except that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, won’t want to do that. They’re true-blue Tories, whose interest in anti-Semitism seems simply to be to use against Jeremy Corbyn and critics of Israel. And as Tories, they definitely don’t want anti-Semitism investigated in the Tory party.

In which case, they are letting their political bias allow the real anti-Semites and Nazis to go unpunished. And perhaps, if they are unwilling to defend Jews from real, vicious persecution, they should resign. Or submit to another, genuinely impartial inquiry, to see if they are doing their job.

Frightened Davidson Tells May to Concentrate on Funding NHS

A day or so ago I put up a post arguing that Corbyn’s promise to renationalise the NHS had Tweezer and the Tories rattled, as there had been a story in the I that May had held the promise of repealing some of Andrew Lansley’s vile Health and Social Care Act. This is a long, convoluted act which basically absolves the Health Minister of the requirement to provide universal healthcare free at the point of delivery to everyone in Britain. It’s one of the major landmarks on the long campaign of the Thatcherite right – both Tory and New Labour – to privatise the NHS. May was also talking about increasing taxes to mend the funding deficit in the NHS. This was, however, spoilt by May acting true to form as a Tory. She immediately declared that everyone would have to pay this tax, which could be as high as £2,000. Mike’s posted a piece on his blog about how this was worked out, and pointed out that not everyone should have to pay the same amount. We have progressive taxation in this country, which means that the rich pay higher rates of tax than the poor, who can’t afford it. The Tories, however, hate progressive taxation, because they’re solidly on the side of the rich and despise the poor. And so Thatcher, Major, Cameron and now May have done their best to shift the tax burden onto the poor, in order to lower the tax rates on their rich friends. And Thatcher came unstuck in 1990/1 when she tried to promote the poll tax.

Like May’s proposed tax increase for the NHS, this was supposed to be a uniform rate charged on rich and poor alike. It was expected to replace the rates, which were charged on the value of your property. So a rich Tory donor living in a mansion was going to be charged the same amount of money as someone on unemployment benefit living in a simple terraced house. Never mind: Thatcher and her cabinet of grotesques claimed this was ‘democratic, because we all pay the same’. The British public didn’t agree, and there were massed protests and riots against it. I also know of a number of magistrates, who resigned because of it. As Justices of the Peace, they would be required to enforce this piece of legislation, which they personally felt was terribly unjust. And rather than find people guilty in support of a law, with which they profoundly disagreed, they obeyed the calls of their consciences and resigned. And I have every respect to these people for doing so. Thatcher was then outed in a coup, Major installed as her replacement, and unfortunately the Tories carried on in power until Blair’s victory in 1997.

It struck me at the time, as I said in my previous article, that May was probably trying to scare people with the £2,000 figure, which many poorer people wouldn’t be able to afford, so she could claim that the NHS is unaffordable as it stands. Cue more privatisation. Despite the fact that we could easily afford it if we took a leaf out of the European’s book and spent more on the NHS, and increased the tax rates for the rich instead.

But the fact that May is holding out the prospect of undoing her predecessor’s legislation, and raising taxes for the NHS, shows that Corbyn’s got her rattled.

And not just May. It also seems to have worried ‘Rape Clause’ Ruth Davidson north of the Border. The I ran a story on Tuesday reporting that Davidson had warned may to concentrate on increasing funding for the NHS, and ditch plans for more tax cuts. If she didn’t, she risked relegating the Tories to history.

This shows just how far the panic is spreading in the Tory party. Quite apart from Davidson and Gove forming a think tank – surely an oxymoron in their cases – to reinvigorate the Tory party with new ideas. Because, they warn, if they don’t have them, the Tories may be out of power for a whole generation.

Well, I’d just love to see this vile party and its horrendous politicians thrust out of power, and not just for a generation. That’s too short a time.

As for the gurning, smirking leader of the Tories in Scotland, today’s I carried pieces from a couple of newspapers predicting that Davidson is too young, ambitious and talented to be content to remain head of the Tories in Scotland. According to them, she will most probably try to head down south to forge a political career in Britain and Wales. What a terrible prospect! Davidson is responsible for trying to implement the government’s wretched austerity campaign in Scotland, including its demand that women, who’ve had more than two children due to rape, should have to prove this is the case when claiming child benefit. Hence her soubriquet of ‘Rape Clause’. It’s a nasty piece of vindictive legislation which punishes already vulnerable women, who have been traumatised by their sexual assault. But this is the Tories, who have absolute contempt for the poor, the weak and the underprivileged. Davidson is supposed to be a ‘liberal’ Tory, but there’s no evidence of that except her sexuality. And despite May’s attempts to position herself as a feminist, this is a thoroughly misogynist piece of legislation. The last thing the rest of Britain needs is for her to come down south to spread even more misery down here.

Actually, reading between the line, it’s possible that Davidson may not have a choice. For all that she’s supposed to have masterminded the revival of the Tories in Scotland, she didn’t actually increase their vote. Instead, the SNP’s vote decreased and Labour’s revived, which split the opposition and allowed the Tories to emerge as the largest single party, even though most
Scots voted against them. Which is another argument in favour of proportional representation. Given the parlous situation of the Tories in Scotland, it’s possible that the Scots may vote them out. This would result in the party looking around for a new leader, and Davidson given her marching orders. In which case, if she wanted to continue her career, she’d have to go south.

I don’t want her coming to England and Wales, but I look forward to the Scots voting out the Tories and their thoroughly grotesque and objectionable leader.

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