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Crashed Egyptair Flight 75

I have had occasion before to praise Sam Kiley, Sky News security correspondent, who often seems to be fighting a one man battle against rampant Islamophobia and alarmism in the media. He has just given an extremely sensible analysis. He counselled against rushing to brand the crash as terrorism without evidence, discussing both mechanical failure and pilot suicide. He added that even if it was terrorism it was not necessarily Islamic terrorism. He quoted Anders Breivik and the fact that early reporting speculated that massacre was Islamic terrorism. Kiley even went so far as to state it was a possibility that, if it were terrorism, it could be carried out by a fascist group attempting falsely to implicate Islamic groups and stoke Islamophobia. Kiley also outlined the possibilities for various Islamic groups to be involved.

His summary was as balanced and sensible as it could be possible to make. Indeed Eamonn Holmes felt it necessary to ramp up the terrorist narrative by stating there have only ever been 68 mechanical failures on Airbus 320 aircraft. That is true, but it is a very much larger number than the number of terrorist incidents on A 320 aircraft.

I do not know what happened. I do know that it is remarkable that anybody as balanced as Sam Kiley – who four years ago stated on Sky News that Israel was perceived as “moving towards an apartheid state” – continues to be employed by the mainstream media. I frequently criticise corporate media journalists for doing a bad job. When one is doing a particularly good job I should in fairness note it.

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The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud 255

It is hard to think of bigger news than that the Electoral Commission is taking the governing party to court over alleged fraud in its election accounts, with possible disqualifications that could cost the government its majority. Yet the issue has received remarkably little coverage apart from the very dogged work of Channel 4 News. Why is that?

There are a number of reasons. The first is that the media has a major pro-Tory bias and minimises bad news for the Tories as a matter of course. The most remarkable example of this is the continual playing down of divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, which run to extreme levels of personal hatred and abuse. But you do not see that hatred and abuse reflected, whereas divisions within the Labour Party are reported daily in extreme detail.

If you doubt what I say, consider the fact that it is quite openly acknowledged that, under pressure from No.10, the media are organising the televised debates for the EU referendum so that Conservatives are never seen to be debating each other. That is the most extraordinary piece of media connivance, and even entails the media excluding the official Leave campaign from at least one national debate. What is deeply worrying is that the UK has become a country where nobody is surprised or concerned at this kind of blatant state propaganda manipulation.

Which leads me to the second reason for lack of mainstream prominence for the Tory electoral fraud. The entire political class realise that they are now floating atop a sea of massive popular resentment. There is a wariness of further laying bare the corruption of the system, and darkening the public mood still more. The Establishment wants the EU referendum to go through as smoothly as possible, with people voting how their betters instruct them; it is no time for Establishment dirty linen to be laundered in public. So they pretend that absolutely nothing is happening:

The Guardian briefly ran a story on the front page of their website – it was there only a few hours – explaining that legal restrictions made it impossible for them to publish. This is untrue, particularly when so much has been published by Channel 4. The Guardian also connived to make it appear that the only expenses in question were the costs of a bus. It is very much more than that.

The Ramsgate angle caught my eye because I used to live there, not far from the Royal Harbour Hotel which the Conservatives rented out for £14,000 to house activists bussed in to support their local candidate. You leave the money for your drinks in the Royal Harbour on the counter, it has an honesty bar – evidently as a door policy. The Conservatives did not declare this spending, which would have put their candidate far over his constituency spending limit. Having been rumbled, they claim it was a part of national spending.

I stood as an independent anti-war candidate against Jack Straw in Blackburn in 2005. One of the very many ways the system is fixed against independent candidates, is that while I had to keep spending within very tight limits, all the major commercial billboards in the city were plastered with massive “Vote Labour” posters. This did not count against Straw’s expenses because it was part of a national poster campaign, and his name did not appear on those huge billboards.

But there is a very definite difference between that, and the cost of bringing in workers who were actively canvassing and leafleting for a named candidate in the constituency. This must be constituency spending or the term is meaningless. There is no doubt that at least 14 Tory MPs whose campaigns ran this massive overspending (and that one undeclared hotel bill alone made the total overshoot the limit by 50%) ought to be disqualified.

But they will not be. The other reason that this has not been more of a story, is that everyone in the metropolitan political and media bubble knows that nobody will be disqualified. Because we only live in the illusion of a democracy, and threats to the Establishment are gently put to sleep.

When I stood against Jack Straw, he held specifically targeted “Muslims for Labour” rallies during the election campaign at which all the voters who came were given free food and drink. That is a specific criminal offence known as “Treating”. Jack Straw was foreign secretary at the time, and not only were the police aware of the treating, they were actually both inside the hall and guarding it from protestors outside.

In an effort to have the law of the land enforced, I gathered a number of sworn affidavits from voters who had been present, and gave them to the Police with my own sworn complaint. Here is one example of the affidavits:

“I,,,,, OF ,,,,,,, BLACKBURN DO HEREBY AFFIRM AS FOLLOWS:
THAT
1, I attended an event in Audley yesterday on Sunday 25 April 2010 at Jan’s Conference Centre in Blackburn.
2. I heard that Mohammad Sarwar MP and the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Sultan Mahmood were going to be present.
3. I can confirm that the people on the stage were Mohammed Sarwar MP, Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Jack Straw MP, the ex Mayor Salas Kiyani, Lord Adam Patel and others.
4. They all gave speeches to support and ask us to vote for Jack Straw in the MP elections.
5. We were given free food consisting of roti, meat curry, sweet rice and coke.
I CONFIRM THAT THE CONTENTS OF THIS AFFADAVIT ARE TRUE AND TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF
Affirmed this 26th day of April 2010
By the within named …… at
BLACKBURN in the County of Lancashire
Before me
M Wrendall,
Solicitor and Commissioner for Oaths”

This is the provision of the 1983 Representation of the People Act

114.-(1) A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he .
is guilty of treating.
(2) A person shall be guilty of treating if he corruptly, by
himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an
election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly
or in part the expense of giving or providing, any meat, drink,
entertainment or provision to or for any person-
(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or
any other person to vote or refrain from voting ; or
(b) on account of that person or any other person having
voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote
or refrain from voting.
(3) Every elector or his proxy who corruptly accepts or takes
any such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be
guilty of treating.

Blackburn police were obliged to investigate my complaint, and after interviewing witnesses a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. I was told by Blackburn Police that the CPS had decided not to prosecute because it was an “old law”. While it is true that, like murder, it is an old offence, the crime had been included in the 1983 Representation of the People Act. I have no doubt whatsoever that Jack Straw was guilty of treating, ought to have been convicted, and was corruptly protected by the Crown Prosecution Service. Needless to say, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time is now in the House of Lords. That folks is how the UK works.

The truth is that in this country, electoral law is not enforced against those in power. That is why there is not much publicity around the Tory electoral fraud in at least 14 of their constituencies. It will be made quietly to go away.

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Extraordinary Stitch-Up at Nevada Democratic Convention 112

I had heard much about the way that Hillary was able to use control of the Democratic Party machine to suppress the challenge of Bernie Sanders. I had not fully understood it until I saw this truly shocking video of the Nevada Democratic Convention, a stage in the awarding of that state’s delegates to Hillary or Bernie. After the announcement of a narrow win for Hillary, which to many seemed improbable, the chairwoman of the Convention, Roberta Lange, a member of the National Democratic Committee, absolutely refused demands for a recount. She then closed the Convention after calling for a voice vote, again uncounted, on a rules change to allow her to do that.

Twice as many Sanders delegates to the Convention were disqualified by the Committee,for “administrative reasons”, as the supposed majority for Clinton, which even after those disqualifications did not appear to reflect the apparent balance of delegates present.

I think watching the video will tell you more than anything I can say. When adverts appear keep watching past them as it seems to be in several parts.

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I Apologise Yet Again, and Another Request 54

I am just getting to the end of the copy-edit for Sikunder Burnes, which has involved reducing the text still further and been both hard work and painful, so apologies for disappearing for a few days. I am also acutely aware I have not replied individually to the 130 offers of assistance I received with the cartography for the book. I am very sorry, I have been a bit overwhelmed and in fact what is happening about maps is still not sorted with the publishers. And while I am apologising, I might as well fess up to what is now approaching 2,000 unanswered emails. I genuinely do feel both guilty and depressed about this, but I am simply not able to keep up with the volume of correspondence, though so much of it is so very positive and welcome. If your email needs a practical response, please do not feel shy to resend.

A hostile message I received from a fierce advocate of Israel, interested me because when I checked him out I noted he spent much time attacking Bernie Sanders. This led me to wonder what correlation there is between those individuals currently accused of anti-Semitism, and particularly those suspended from the Labour Party, and support of Bernie Sanders.

It occurs to me equally that many of those most ardently throwing around the accusations of anti-Semitism, particularly mainstream journalists and MPs, are those most hostile to Sanders or supportive of Clinton.

If I am right, the irony that the alleged “anti-Semites” support the excellent Jewish candidate for POTUS, and the witch-hunters oppose him, would be obvious.

If anyone has time while I am occupied, hunt around on the web for evidence that addresses this hypothesis either way. Post what you find in comments below. Remember even a single piece of evidence contributes to the picture. I shall pull it all together in a few days time.

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Laura Kuenssberg Meet Barbra Streisand 728

Over 30,000 people within two days had signed an old languishing petition against the Tory bias of Laura Kuenssberg. They were motivated by outrage at the undisguised bias of her election night coverage, though that bias had already been evident daily.

For 35,000 people to be outraged enough to seek out and sign an online petition, millions must have felt that outrage. But the real furore started after 38 Degrees cancelled the petition due to “sexist abuse”. Unfortunately for them, they were forced to admit there was virtually no sexist abuse from the 35,000 people who had signed the petition. They next claimed the sexist abuse was on unrelated social media, but refused point blank to present any evidence of it. Then an extraordinary group started to coalesce in defence of Kuenssberg – Laura Bates, Yvette Cooper, Jess Phillips etc – all of them denouncing this widespread sexist abuse. Not one of these people produced a single shred of evidence of the existence of this sexist abuse.

Probably some abuse is there. I am a much, much less well known figure than Kuenssberg, but since I started writing on this topic I have been the subject of numerous extremely unpleasant tweets and facebook messages. Please note the same epithet applied to Kuenssberg would undoubtedly be claimed as misogynist abuse:

Screenshot (30)

I have cropped this to protect the identity of the sender, but I assure you it is perfectly real and not at all unusual. (This is actually sexist on my part as if it were a man I would not have cropped it. I can only ask you to forgive me, I am old). I am sure Kuenssberg, being vastly more famous, gets more abuse than I do. But the fact either of us receives abuse does not mean we are above criticism. The young woman tweeting above being unpleasant is not evidence I am right about anything. Still less does it mean criticism of me should be suppressed.

To say that abusers “hijacked” the petition criticising Kuenssberg for her terrible biased journalism, is like saying your car is hijacked by an insect landing on it.

But the extremely cheerful news is that the furore caused by 38 Degrees removing the petition has meant that tens of millions more people have heard of the petition, than if it had gone ahead. David Cameron standing up in the House of Commons saying Kuenssberg is not biased in itself will have made a million people realise that she is. Laura Kuenssberg, meet Barbra Streisand. The “Streisand Effect”, named after the actress’ attempt to suppress photos of her mansion, is the internet phenomenon whereby attempts to suppress information lead to far more people knowing it.

In this case, that is really important. Because what has struck me the last few days is the number of people who are saying “Wow, I thought she was pretty biased, but I thought it was just me.” No, it wasn’t just you. She really is the most appalling Tory shill. And now tens of millions more people are alert to it.

The Establishment, by its attempt to invent a “Misogynist campaign” and link it to Jeremy Corbyn, has just shot itself squarely in the foot.

You might enjoy this interesting word analysis of the comments of the 38 Degrees petition. The comments themselves can still be found from here. It should be understood that 35,000 people signed, but the large majority only sign and do not leave comments.

count [607052]

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Proof Positive that David Cameron, the BBC, Guardian, New Statesman and Entire Establishment are Peddling Blatant Untruths in the Kuenssberg Affair 228

Here are all the comments on the scrapped Kuenssberg petition. You know, the petition David Cameron condemned in the House of Commons today because it was accompanied by a storm of sexist abuse? Well, here are the comments in their entirety and out of 35,000 people who signed, there is virtually nobody whose comment can be seen as remotely sexist. See for yourselves. Can you spot the one sexist comment I found?

The comments show the petition was overwhelmingly signed by decent, concerned people who were sometimes quite eloquent. Also that the petition supporters are gender balanced and several specifically identify as feminists, and as supporters of the BBC. But neither Cameron, the Guardian and mainstream media nor 38 Degrees itself has any qualm about writing off all these decent citizens as a misogynist rabble.

The data link was left by a commenter on this site – I strongly suspect a mole within 38 Degrees has got it out. It is absolute proof that the politicians and mainstream media journalists have been pushing a plain lie about the nature of the campaign, and that 38 Degrees have colluded.

David Babbs of 38 Degrees appears to be setting new standards for lying. Now that the comments are public, he has changed his story and told Media Lens the abuse was not on the petition, it was on connected social media. I have repeatedly asked 38 Degrees for the evidence of abuse, but they absolutely refuse to show it. We have had five people searching all day. So far we have one single tweet, which was nasty – it called Laura K by a expletive reserved for women. And it did refer to the petition. But it was sent by a young man, 90% of whose comments referred to football and 100% of whose tweets used similar expletives. I unreservedly condemn what he did, but he was hardly a supporter of Corbyn or member of Momentum, as all the media are telling us. So far that is it – one young idiot – we have found nothing else.

But even if there are more nasty examples of abuse, that is not the fault of the 35,000 good people who signed the petition. And there is a disconnect between two establishment narratives, both unproven. One is that Kuenssberg has been a victim of terrible misogynist abuse since appointment. The other is that the abuse was caused by the petition. I utterly condemn any such abuse, but it does not negate the genuine concerns of the petitioners. Regular readers know I myself receive constant abuse, somethimes death threats. It does not mean I am not frequently in the wrong!

Now the lies have been thoroughly exploded. Of course the fact Cameron has been involved in peddling the lie may now be leading to some creative design, backdating and history creation in assorted Government establishments.

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38 Degrees Refuse to Release Evidence of “Sexist Abuse” of Laura Kuenssberg 197

This is the transcript of my conversation with the 38 Degrees Press Spokesman today about the scrapping of the Laura Kuenssberg petition, for which 38 Degrees were praised by David Cameron in the Commons today.

Hello Craig

Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?

It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?

I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?

I don’t really have the time for this

But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.

There were abusive tweets and comments

Can you send them to me?

You can search for them yourself online

I have done so. But you must have the evidence?

Look yourself online

This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?

You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments

I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read

So you did see misogynistic comments

One.

Search yourself online. There were tweets.

So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?

There were misogynistic comments and tweets

More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?

There was misogynistic abuse

How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?

If you are going to start shouting at me

More than two? Simple question, yes or no?

I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.

How much evidence did you see?

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.

We had seen sufficient evidence.

Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?

You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.

Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?

I could…I have got to go I have things to do here

Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?

Hangs up.

I do not claim the 38 Degrees do not have any evidence to show to “justify” removing this petition. But if they do, I find their attitude absolutely astonishing. It seems to me most probable they did so under establishment pressure with no serious consideration of evidence, and zero concern for the 35,000 people – about half of them female – they have now stigmatised as misogynists.

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Member of BBC Election Night Team Writes Crude Anti-Sturgeon Slogan 89

“Professor” Rob Ford of the University of Manchester was a member of Professor John Curtice’s election night results team at the BBC. But he is also a very active anti-Corbyn and anti-SNP propagandist.

Indeed just the day before the election, which he was covering for the BBC as a “neutral and independent psephological expert”, Ford posted this nasty attack on Nicola Sturgeon. Please note that this is not a retweet – the slogan “All Hail Supreme Dear Leader, Daughter of Great Helmsman Sal-Mon” is all Ford’s own brilliant witticism.

Screenshot (29)

It is of course a free country, and if this puerile behaviour makes Ford happy it is his business. If the BBC want to interview him as a right wing Labour man that is also their business. But for the BBC to employ him as an “independent expert”, to interpret the electoral results for us, is beyond a joke. Many of us already do not trust Curtice. That the right hand man on his BBC team is this anti-SNP and anti-Corbyn bigot is an outrage.

I had never heard of Ford until he foolishly decided to attack me on twitter over my coverage of the fake Nuneaton research designed to rubbish Corbyn. Ford had lovingly tweeted the details of this fake research, and retweeted uber-Blairite John Rentoul’s vicious article based on it. Ford suggested I criticised it because I am a conspiracy theorist who believes in lizard people and the Illuminati. (He has since asked me to clarify that this was a “joke”. He must be great company).

Ford rejected angrily the argument that the Nuneaton “research” was orchestrated anti-Corbyn spin prepared by the Blairites. It was legitimate and ethical focus group research, he said, rather heatedly. His refutation of accusation of disingenuous PR spin was, I felt, perhaps slightly undermined by the fact that he chose as his own twitter profile photo a picture of himself with Peter Mandelson! I think that probably says all you need to know about him.

Except that by attacking me on twitter he inadvertently caused me to notice something else extremely important. I had published that the Nuneaton “research” that made front page news, stating that voters found Corbyn “scruffy and old-fashioned”, was based on interviews with just 16 people. Those people were all Tory voters. There were no gays, no unemployed, no retired people, no tenants, nobody under thirty, no singles and no ethnic minorities. None of the media coverage – including the New Statesman article by the report authors – made those parameters clear. What is more they distorted the views of the respondents and did not make plain that 2 of the 16 said they will vote Labour next time.

The simultaneous publication in the Blairite outlets of this fake Nuneaton research – Guardian, New Statesman, and John Rentoul in the Independent – was plainly coordinated by the Blairite lobby in anticipation of Labour losing Nuneaton. (In the event to the bitter disappointment of the Blairites, Labour held the council). And here is the new information – looking through Ford’s twitter stream, I found tweets by BBC political correspondent Norman Smith. On results day, out of scores of councils contested, Smith had tweeted about only one single council – Nuneaton. And what he tweeted was specifically “Corbyn critics flagging up swing in key Middle England seat of Nuneaton.” So the day before the co-ordinated publication of this fake “academic research” in Blairite media, “Corbyn critics” were pointing out Nuneaton and only Nuneaton to the BBC.

It stinks to high heaven. What stinks still more is the refusal to state who paid the extremely expensive Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the research. And why.

Oh, and the BBC employing Ford as a neutral expert. If they had any political credibility left, that would destroy it.

UPDATE This excellent comment was posted below. I thought it worth highlighting.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner doesn’t just do research. It helps you spin it:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Greenberg_Quinlan_Rosner_Research

On its website, it says:

For over three decades, we have used sophisticated polling and opinion research to help leading candidates, parties, government leaders, corporations, and advocacy groups across the United States and around the world. Whether you want to win your election, govern your country, raise your profitability, or change the world, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has the research and strategies to help you succeed.

IOW, if I were looking for independent neutral research, I’d go somewhere else. For the dirt on my opponentst, I’d go to GQR.

Who paid for this?

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The Establishment Rallies Around Kuenssberg 242

The petition to sack Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg from her role as BBC Political Editor has been scrapped by 38 Degrees after it gained over 35,000 signatures. The reason given is sexist comments and tweets.

Having both signed and endorsed the petition myself, I was taken aback by this. I had personally read through every single one of the comments on the 38 Degrees site, when 26,000 people had signed the petition. I was intending to publish a selection of comments on this blog, as many of them were really quite elegant, and some moving in expressing the loss some people felt in their disillusion with the BBC.

Of the many scores, possibly hundreds (there is no counter) of comments I read through, only one was sexist. That one was very unpleasant, but totally unrepresentative. I can see no reason why they could not just delete any such stupid comments. Everywhere on the internet gets them, including this blog.

It seems to me astonishing that a tiny and unrepresentative number of people can get a petition scrapped which had been signed by many thousands of genuine people. I therefore today phoned 38 Degrees to uncover both the policy and the sequence of events.

What happened first was an article in the Guardian alleging the petition was linked to sexist abuse. Needless to say, the Guardian referred to alleged sexist abuse, by Jeremy Corbyn supporters, of Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips (in the case of Stella Creasy this was proven to be almost complete fabrication. I have not looked into the Phillips case). I have both phoned and emailed the Guardian to ask them on what evidence their story of sexist abuse of Kuenssberg was based, but they have not responded.

I asked the 38 Degrees spokesman whether they had personally seen the evidence of this sexist abuse. Their spokesman Adam said that they had seen it. I asked whether they would send me the evidence so I could check it. He said they would consider this. They have not done so. I asked him how many sexist comments there were? 2, 3, 10, 100? He said they had not looked through everything and would not give even a ballpark figure. I asked what impact their junking of the petition would have on the tens of thousands of non sexist people who had signed it, and why they felt able to slander those people as sexist. He replied this was not intended and they were still thinking about it. I asked why people opposed to a petition could not get anything taken down by adding a few nasty comments pretending to support. He said this had occurred to them as a problem too.

38 Degrees said that the petition originator had agreed to it being taken down, but I clarified they had contacted him to ask for his agreement. Whether he was shown the “evidence” or browbeaten I do not know.

So there we are. The petition has been binned and the people who supported it have all been libelled in the media as sexists. It is not apparently concern about a rampantly biased political editor, it is obvious sexism. Yet the only people who claim to have the actual evidence of this sexism – 38 Degrees and the Guardian – have not produced the evidence and refuse to produce the evidence when I ask.

Laura Kuenssberg is I think the most openly biased journalist I have ever seen on the BBC, particularly in her very obvious vindictive hatred of Jeremy Corbyn and of Scottish Independence. She does not in the least pretend impartiality. But she is by no means alone. Of course by targeting her we are only drawing attention to a particularly egregious symptom of the terrible disease of a rampantly right wing corporate and state media. Nobody believes that removing her would solve the problem. Nobody seriously believes the BBC actually would remove her even if the petition reached a million. It is purely a campaigning tool to highlight the injustice of media control, access and bias.

The fact we are denied even this tool of protest is deeply troubling. The continued process of stigmatisation of decent dissidents as “anti-Semitic” or “misogynist” is characteristic of a society in which deviating from the political line is rewarded with social stigma and exclusion. This poisonous climate should be seen as a reaction to the challenge the elite is currently facing to its neo-liberal certainties.

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David Cameron Is Absolutely Right! 64

Cameron spoke the truth – Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt.” They are indeed the “two most corrupt countries in the World”.

The bit he omitted was that both are so as a direct result of British military and imperial occupation of their country.

Of course when the Tories describe somewhere as “fantastically corrupt”, they mean “brilliant personal enrichment opportunity for me.” And not just the Tories. Tony Blair will be in there like a shot.

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How to Fabricate Front Page News – Just Put 16 Selected Right Wing Bigots in a Room 313

This is the story of some squalid little men (and women), but it is a vital insight into the nexus of the political and corporate media elite. The Guardian, New Statesman and Huffington Post today all run major stories around a “focus group” study in Nuneaton which revealed that voters think Corbyn is “scruffy” and “old-fashioned”. This is deemed front page news.

The publicity was obviously supposed to coincide with Labour losing Nuneaton council, its most marginal council surrounded by Tory territory, in the council elections on Thursday. However Labour held Nuneaton. That did not stop the New Statesman article, by “research” authors James Morris and Ian Warren, from going ahead with the immortal phrase “While today’s Labour party has no hope of representing Nuneaton”. Err, it is still in control of the Council.

The publication is also timed to coincide with a revolt by Labour MPs at this afternoon’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The idea is that the “research” would prove that election losses were Corbyn’s fault. That is toned down now after they beat the Tories outside Scotland, but I am told that Progress MPs are still briefed to flourish the Guardian and raise this “research” today. That is meant to get this “research” onto the evening news.

But when you look at the research very closely, you realise that it is absolute rubbish. James Morris and Ian Warren are total charlatans.

Firstly, the whole sample is 16 people. That is right, 16 people. They are supposed all to be ex-Labour, though there is little evidence of that in the transcripts. What is not in dispute is that they are all Tory voters.

So you have 16 Tory voters, in two groups male and female. But out of 16 people there is not one retired person. Not one young voter. Not one person unemployed. And every single one is in a nuclear heterosexual relationship with children. Every single one is a homeowner.

Furthermore their sources of information are (by order most mentioned) the Daily Mail, Sky, the BBC and the Sun. Only one out of 16 mentions the internet as a source of political information.

People who voted Tory constitute already just 24% of the general population. Exclude retired, tenants, single, childless, gay, young and internet savvy people as well, and you get down to a deliberately chosen 5% of the population from which to choose your sample. You then get these 16 carefully chosen, blinkered right wing bigots into a room. Nevertheless something still goes wrong for your research. Two of the 16 (in the female group) state a firm intention to vote Labour next time (while a larger number state they would consider it).

So what do you do if you are a charlatan like James Morris or Ian Warren? You leave that in the transcript, which no journalist will ever read, but you exclude the fact that 2 of the 16 will vote Labour next time from your findings! And you studiously lead the conversation with the group round to the idea that others who are considering voting Labour next time might be more likely to do so with a change of leader.

The idea that locking two carefully selected groups of totally unrepresentative right wingers into a room to self-reinforce their bigoted opinions, in any way constitutes real research, is utterly laughable. The only conclusion is that having carefully selected the people in all of the UK the most likely to dislike Jeremy Corbyn, they dislike Jeremy Corbyn. Next week, a group of young unemployed people from the Easter Road will give their views on David Cameron.

Needless to say the so called journalists who have published this nonsense did no investigation whatsoever of the farcical nature of the “research”. They just published the press release, as witnessed by the fact they all use exactly the same quotes from scores of pages of transcript.

An important question is who paid for this. Obviously it is a Blairite production, but where did the money come from? Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research are credited, and they are extremely expensive. I asked Ian Warren who funded it. First he replied “I did”, then when I asked him who funded Greenberg Quinlan Rosner he stated there was “something sinister” about the question. I asked again twice, but answer came there none. Astonishingly, “who paid for this” did not occur to the mainstream journalists who uncritically published Morris and Warren’s nonsense.

This is a deeply sinister story. Right wing Labour figures hope desperately their own party will lose in Nuneaton. So they commission (and presumably pay for) ludicrously skewed research to show Jeremy Corbyn caused the loss. This absolute non-news item, that a tiny selected group of completely unrepresentative right wingers do not like Jeremy Corbyn, is then plastered on front pages by their Blairite media contacts to coincide with a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting today, in order to further the slow motion coup against Corbyn.

It is actually quite sickening. All of those involved – including the Guardian and New Statesman editors – are very low people indeed.

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Cheer Up! The Glass is Full for Independence.

I find some social media comment unduly pessimistic on the prospects for Independence, which have never been brighter. We have almost all Scottish Westminster MPs. We have a pro-Independence majority in Holyrood (the other Green MSPs are much better than Patrick Harvie) for another four years. The SNP is back for a historic third term, having polled more than twice the votes of anybody else. We can neutralise a Scottish Lib Dem as Presiding Officer – they will do anything for a title and a cushy job. It is not a question of whether the glass is half full. It is full. The head on the beer may be a wee bit deeper than we wanted, but the glass is full.

The percentage supporting Independence has risen fairly consistently and it is now around 50/50, as reflected in this election result. Support will continue to grow.

But the most helpful development of all is that it is now absolutely plain to everybody that the choice is between Independence and the Conservative Party. The falling in of the unionists behind the Tories is the greatest boost we could have – the media promotion of the Gordon Brown social compact lie is now finished for good. In a straight choice between Independence and Tories, Scots would only go one way. Only one in nine of eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory. If that is the unionist base, good. You will also find that the age profile of that 1 in 9 is going to be highly problematic to the unionists.

It is perfectly legitimate for Independence voters to have different tactical views in the election, but now we have to come together again. I am willing to put myself at the disposal full time of the SNP’s pro-Independence campaign this summer. They have expressed an intent that this will not be a purely Party campaign. As we all gear up for it, please remember me as a potential speaker in your area.

I have no doubt something will crop up to justify a new Indyref within the next four years. Brexit. Another illegal war by Westminster. A firm opinion poll lead for Indy. Some nutty right wing Tory policy proposal. Do not worry. It will come.

A brief note on Labour. A quietly spoken truth is that I do not know any Scottish nationalist who would not like to see Jeremy Corbyn in power in England (with all due respect to Caroline Lucas, for whom I have great respect). The Labour Party has no role to play in Scotland before Independence. It is just getting in the way, and humiliating itself. Post Independence, I suspect quite a lot of Nationalists would join a genuine Scottish Labour Party. In the meantime, the unionists should just off and join the Tories.

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An Honest Man at the BBC @KKeaneBBC 22

I have identified the remarkably brave BBC correspondent who followed the massive Tory propaganda of the Sarah Smith BBC Scotland election night package by “let us not forget the SNP won a historic victory” as Kevin Keane. I also see that he has yesterday changed his twitter photo to one with a strapline underneath reading “SNP won a clear and emphatic mandate.”

Yorkshireman Mr Keane’s salary is approximately £170,000 pa less than that of Laura Keunssberg and significantly less than that of Sarah Smith. I am afraid his unfortunate addiction to truth telling is not going to have a positive effect on reducing that disparity. Indeed I fear for his continued employment. But we will ensure he is always welcome in Scotland.

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BBC Lies and Statistics #SackKuenssberg 58

Here are the basic facts from Thursday’s plethora of UK elections, limited to those affecting the relative Labour and Conservative Vote

English Council Elections
Labour 1,291 councillors Conservative 828 Councillors

London Mayoral Election First Preferences
Labour 45.2% Conservative 35.0%

Labour also won the three other mayoral elections in Bristol, Liverpool and Salford

Scottish Parliament elections constituencies
Labour 22.6% Conservative 22.0%

Welsh Assembly Election Votes
Labour 34.7% Conservative 21.1%

And yet the BBC ran a claim all day that the “projected” national vote share was Labour 31%, Conservative 30%.

This simply cannot be true. Labour won the London mayoral election by over 200,000 votes. They were 130,000 ahead in Wales. Taking all the elections except the English local council seat elections, Labour were 360,000 votes and approximately 6% ahead of the Tories. To balance this plus the majorities of the 1,291 Labour English councillors elected, each of just 828 Conservative English councillors elected would have to have an average majority of approximately 1,000. Random sampling shows this is absolutely not the case.

My own calculations, based on knowing all the other results and extrapolations from samples of the English local council results, is that the national vote count was Labour 34% Conservative 29%. It might not be precisely correct, but is not far out.

But I can say for certain is that the BBC 31/30 figure is a despicable and quite deliberate lie. The BBC has become a caricature of a state propaganda machine.

UPDATE It has been pointed out that in the Scottish regional list vote the Tories beat Labour by 520,000 to 431,000, a huge disparity with the aggregate constituency vote which Labour narrowly won. But if you use the regional rather than the constituency total in the UK wide calculation, the extra 89,000 Tory lead only marginally affects the overall calculation.

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BBC Spread the Hatred

UPDATE Sign this Sack Laura Keunssberg petition. It put on 16,000 signatures in the last twelve hours after gaining just 25 in its first three months!

No matter how terrible the BBC is, it constantly manages to get worse. The BBC News this evening appears like an especially rabid Tory Party broadcast. Sarah Smith was just breathtaking, while I thought Laura Kuenssberg must be the Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Sarah Smith’s report from Holyrood was so astonishingly biased that a rather bemused BBC correspondent named Keane followed it with “But after Sarah Smith’s report let’s not forget that the SNP have won an historic third election”. Sarah Smith’s contribution was a voiceover of a photo montage of Ruth Davidson. Smith told us the election was all about Independence and the “stunning” Tory result was evidence that voters were firmly rejecting the idea of any second referendum. Cut to Ruth Davidson saying the Tories were firmly rejecting any second referendum.

Let us for a moment accept Sarah Smith’s contention that the Tories attracted those voters who do not want a second referendum. The truth of the matter is that just 1 in 9 of eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory. 21% of those who voted. So the proper conclusion should be that the Tories came a distant second and most people rather fancy a second referendum. Sarah Smith’s anti-independence tirade was gobsmacking, but then it was topped by some BBC pundit comparing Ruth Davidson’s Tories to Leicester City.

A foreign visitor would have had to be watching very carefully indeed to realise that the Tories had not won, and indeed got half the votes of the SNP. So the Tories are not Leicester, they are Newcastle. Yet the Tories in Scotland got four times the coverage of the SNP on the BBC news.

And so to the rest of the UK. Laura Kuenssberg seems to have a depth of hatred for Jeremy Corbyn which is more generally reserved for Fred and Rose West. She appears to be sponsored to say “anti-Semitism” as often as possible. She opened her report by saying that the results called Corbyn’s leadership into question.

The strange thing is that the results are near identical to Ed Miliband’s 2012 result at precisely the same Council elections. The net loss of Labour councillors is 12 out of over 2000, as I write. Miliband’s result was unanimously hailed in the media at the time as a triumph. Exactly the same result for Corbyn – including winning many councils in Tory Westminster constituencies in Southern and Midlands England – is a disaster.

An opposition party should make gains in council elections. But when that opposition party makes truly spectacular gains, but is still the opposition when they cycle comes round again, you can’t expect it to make further gains exponentially. Keunssberg stated directly that Labour has to be “piling on hundreds and hundreds of net gains” to have any chance. That is simply untrue. 2012 was Miliband’s high water mark. It was all downhill from there. Corbyn is exactly matching Miliband’s best ever performance, and doing so despite being tendentiously branded a mad anti-Jewish racist by the bitter Blairites in his own party. Plus under Corbyn, unlike Brown and Miliband, the London mayor is now Labour again

Miliband went downhill from 2012 precisely because, after his 2012 successes, the BBC and corporate media threw their entire firepower at Miliband. Corbyn has already weathered an even greater media barrage than Miliband ever suffered. It is by no means plain he will follow Miliband’s downhill trajectory from here. In England next year’s local election results – in a tranche of seats last contested when Miliband was already slipping back – will tell us a great deal more.

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All Independence Supporters Must Read This

To try to say this before yesterday was like standing in front of a runaway juggernaut. It had to be demonstrated by actual experience. We came extremely close to the absolute disaster of a unionist majority in Holyrood. Entirely because of this. I know many of you will not like reading this, but you have to.

Regional List Vote

North East Scotland 137,086 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 137,086 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Central Scotland 129,082 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 129,082 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Lothian 118,546 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 118,546 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Mid Scotland and Fife 120,128 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 120,128 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
West Scotland 135,827 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 135,827 pro-independence list votes totally wasted
Glasgow 111,101 SNP list votes 0 SNP list MSPs elected 111,101 pro-independence list votes totally wasted

That is over 750,000 SNP pro-independence list votes completely wasted, electing nobody at all on the list.

By contrast in these regions the Tories got 376,000 – almost precisely 50% of the list votes the SNP received there – and got 19 MSPs for them!

If the SNP list vote which was completely, utterly and entirely predictably useless in these regions had been given to other pro-independence candidates, the number of Tory MSPs in parliament would have been drastically reduced.
We would not have the BBC crowing over “Tory victory” as the result of the election. Despite the fact that only one in 9 eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory, a fact the BBC will not tell you.

With tactical voting a dozen more committed pro-Indy MPs could have been put into parliament.

The Tories have done disproportionately well because of the “both votes SNP” campaign. This campaign was, undoubtedly, extremely successful in securing both votes SNP. Sadly it was – entirely predictably – totally counter-productive in maximising the number of pro-Independence MSPs.

I published yesterday during the voting: “But in the entire central belt and in NE Scotland, I am prepared to state boldly – and twelve hours will prove the case – that a list vote for the SNP in those regions is almost certainly wasted, and could rather have helped elect a different pro-Independence MSP.”

I was 100% right.

It was blindingly obvious in which regions SNP supporters should give the party their list vote, and in which they should vote tactically.

The question is, why did people I generally admire and, in fact, find quite brilliant like James Kelly and Stuart Campbell, get it so wrong and fail to see the obvious? I fear that the answer is one which raises wider concerns. The SNP has managed to achieve near complete identity with the independence movement, so that any questioning of total obedience to the SNP is taken as disloyalty to the nation. Those like me who want independence rather than the success of a political party find ourselves marginalised and despised. Even when we are demonstrably and undeniably correct. Perhaps especially when we are demonstrably and undeniably correct.

We need the second referendum soon. We are now dependent on the goodwill of the Greens to get it. I stated yesterday I do not trust Patrick Harvie’s commitment to independence. That annoyed some people and I am genuinely interested to see comments as to whether others pick up the same vibe from him. I do hope that the Green influence will lead the SNP to be more radical on Land Reform. That would be a great advantage to dig out of an unexpected situation.

Finally, it is not a bad thing that the Unionists are now firmly identified as the Tories. Many of them were Red Tories anyway, and all that has happened is that their allegiance has become plain. The stark choice between Independence and the Tories is now visible. It was always there, but at the referendum many did not see it. Having the Tories leading the unionist opposition simply brings the day of Independence closer. There is only one winner in that battle.

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Support Diego Garcia Football

If you hate the corruption of FIFA and the commercialisation of football, hate the US air base on Diego Garcia, and are ashamed of the British forced deportation of the entire Chagos Islands population to make way for the base, you have an ideal opportunity to do a little good in the world by supporting the appeal to finance the Chagos football team to participate in the Conifa World Cup.

chagos team

This blog makes a point of never asking for money or taking advertising, yet has asked for donations for good causes twice in a fortnight. I apologise but I love this idea, both for the spirit of football and to support the islanders in affirming their right to be considered a nation and to return to their homeland. I have carefully checked it out and this football team – based in Croydon – really does consist of the Chagos community, and it is important to them in helping the young people preserve their identity.

Donate via this page using the “Sport Fund” option. Alternatively you can donate to the UK Chagos Support Group here.

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On the Dangers of Travelling, and on Elections

I have been travelling on business all week, hence the silence. The dangers of travel were brought home to me on Wednesday when, at the White Hart hotel in Lincoln, I inadvertently found myself sitting next to Nigel Farage at breakfast.

I find myself unable to get back home to Edinburgh today and cast my vote, which is frustrating. In Scotland, I do urge everyone who has not yet done so to get out and vote for Independence. I have been slightly downhearted by the tenor of some of the discussion as to whether it is safe to give the list vote to parties other than the SNP. Certainly for any supporter of Independence to give their constituency vote other than to the SNP is Quixotic. But in the entire central belt and in NE Scotland, I am prepared to state boldly – and twelve hours will prove the case – that a list vote for the SNP in those regions is almost certainly wasted, and could rather have helped elect a different pro-Independence MSP.

But I have no argument with the SNP, with Rise, with Solidarity or with anybody else supporting Independence. Differences on how to cast the list vote are largely over calculations of the best tactic, and for that reason some of the hard words and intolerant attitudes I have seen on social media – including on my favourite sites Wings over Scotland and Scot Goes Pop – are not appropriate. We should save our hard words for our enemies, not those fighting for the same cause who may have a different tactical preference. And we should look in future to change the horrible voting system to STV to give voters real choice.

On the Scottish Greens, I should say it very much differs from person to person but I am unconvinced of the strength of their collective commitment to Independence. I am afraid to say I have always found it hard to believe their leader is committed to anything but his own personal advancement. I confess it is not entirely rational, but sometimes I judge people by the feeling I get about them, and in Patrick Harvie’s case it’s “self-serving weasel”.

In England, for the first time in my entire life I find myself wishing well to the Labour Party. This is because the Blairites are self-evidently hoping their own party crashes and burns so they can launch a coup. I hope Labour does well in England because the media campaign against Corbyn has been absolutely disgusting – and because I hate the blue Tories. But even in England, I could never actually vote Labour myself until they expel all the Blairite and Brownite war criminals.

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Fighting Back for the Right to Support Palestine 542

Last week, Israel bulldozed twelve Palestinian homes in Area C of the illegally occupied West Bank to make way for new illegal settlement building, while two Palestinian minors were killed by the Israeli Defence Forces.

This makes it a totally unexceptional week for the Palestinians. It has not however been an unexceptional week for Palestinian supporters in the UK, who have suffered the most vicious coordinated media witch hunt in memory. Two things are happening. The Blairites are trying to engineer a coup against Corbyn by sabotaging Labour in forthcoming elections, while the Israeli lobby seek to discredit all supporters of the Palestinians as anti-semites, including people like me who have no connection to the Labour Party.

The Daily Mail’s Jake Wallis Simons has been at the forefront of this campaign. He implied I am an anti-semite on television. Two years ago in Israel he gave an interview to Haaretz newspaper of which this is a snippet

Screenshot (22)

Now consider if we apply this transposition. It makes plain just how astonishing Wallis Simons’ admission is:

“He and his classmates at his Islamic school would debate which side they would support if Britain and Syria went to war. The consensus, he recalls, was that they would throw their lot in with Syria.”

There is no doubt at all that a Muslim who published this would instantly be arrested and taken for police questioning, to see if their extremist religious indoctrination at school and their fantasies of fighting against Britain meant that they remained a threat. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Islamic school in question would be subject to intense investigation – no matter how long ago the incident was. Almost certainly the Governors would be suspended in the interim and the inquiry extended to similar schools. There is no doubt whatsoever that Mr Wallis Simons’ own Daily Mail would be proclaiming in lurid banner headlines about this Islamic danger.

If the Prevent programme were not in fact purely Islamophobic in both construction and content, action would have been taken against such schools which inculcate anti-British feelings and philosophies. Wallis Simons would have been questioned. But no, it appears some religious extremism is OK, and only some is frowned upon. A Muslim could not publish what Wallis Simons publishes, let alone occupy well paid roles in the UK corporate media.

In the Haaretz article, the Daily Mail’s Wallis Simons expresses regret at having published his anti-British views. But note the grounds on which he regrets. Because it is “too personal” and because people “keep digging it up” when he writes on the Middle East. It “undermines everything”: in other words it reduces his influence in the UK.

He does not say in Haaretz that he no longer holds the same views. Rather he shows concern that, because people can discover that view, the value and influence of his pro-Israeli propaganda is diminished in the UK. It is also interesting that in this article Simons refers to the West Bank as Samaria – the term is only used by those Zionists who claim that all of the West Bank is an integral part of Israel.

At this stage I should very much like, in all fairness, to read the Guardian article referenced by Haaretz to see if in that article he says he has changed his mind and, as someone who was born a Londoner and has lived all his life in Britain, his allegiance is firmly to Britain and not to Israel. I can perhaps understand he would not say that to Haaretz while promoting his book sales in Israel. But I cannot find the Guardian article anywhere online.

JAKE WALLIS SIMONS’ INCREDIBLE VANISHING ALLEGIANCE

The article incriminating Wallis Simons appears shortly after his Haaretz interview to have vanished from the internet, even from the Wayback machine and archive.org. Given that it must have been very controversial, it has left astonishingly little trace. You can find the odd tantalising reference here or there, but the link never works, and not only to the Guardian. Here is but one example of am entry we found:

Jake Wallis Simons (biographical details)
cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/authors.php?auid=59236
This is a biographical profile of Jake Wallis Simons. … When British author and journalist Jake Wallis … they would support if Britain and Israel went to war.

But when you try that link, you cannot get the page, and the same is true of everything else online that looks like it is going to reveal Wallis Simons’ once public declaration.

Wallis Simons complained to Haaretz that “whenever I write about the Middle East, people dig it up”. And yet we have found it impossible to dig up. In fact is appears that very substantial effort must have been put in to expunging from the internet all trace that Wallis Simons ever wrote it. That is really hard to do, and requires a great deal of resources, and probably the collusion of The Guardian.

Obviously to preserve Wallis Simons’ effectiveness as an Israeli propagandist, it was considered worth those resources.

I do hope that by now you have been angry with me for not putting a link to the Haaretz article and only giving you highly selective quotations. I have done this deliberately, just to make plain how entirely unfair it is as a technique. Simons used this technique on me on Sky News by selectively quoting one phrase – not even the whole sentence – out of context to show I was an anti-Semite who sneered at the “tribe” of Israel. Out of context this part sentence was so outrageous I did not recognise it, and I called Mr Simons a liar, in which I was wrong. He then went on twitter to tweet around a tiny snippet of what I had written, causing the expected stream of abusive tweets to come my way.

Screenshot (27)

My response was to republish the entire post, acknowledging that Mr Simons did not lie but putting the phrase in its context. Mr Simons has nevertheless said that he will sue me, and I look forward to that. But unlike Mr Simons – who has still never given a link to my full article from which he took the phrase out of context to misrepresent me – I do not cheat and distort in argument, so his full Haaretz interview is here.

Indeed, could I find anywhere that Mr Simons had said that he retracts his view and that he would not fight for Israel against the UK, I would very definitely publish that too in the interests of fairness. But I simply cannot find it.

PERPETUATING THE DIVIDED LOYALTIES TROPE

What is particularly infuriating about Simons is that “divided loyalties” is indeed a trope that has been used against Jews – and against Catholics and immigrant groups – by racists over the years. By his stupid point about once wanting to fight Britain for Israel, Simons reinforces and perpetuates this trope. This is infuriating to those of us campaigning for a peaceful multicultural Britain, just as infuriating as it is when our efforts against Islamophobia are undermined by the occasional Islamic extremist doing something stupid.

In this context, my article from which Simons extracted one phrase is extremely revealing in its subject matter. He chose an article in which I attacked a statement by Israeli economics minister Naftali Bennett. Responding to criticism of Netanyahu by Obama’s White House, Bennett said:

“The prime minister [Netanyahu] is not a private person but the leader of the Jewish state and the whole Jewish world. Such severe insults towards the prime minister of Israel are hurtful to millions of Israeli citizens and Jews all over the world.”

This statement is completely unacceptable. Benjamin Netanyahu is not the leader of British Jews, and Israel does not lead “the whole Jewish world”. All of the British Jews I know would utterly repudiate, and be horrified by, the idea that Benjamin Netanyahu is their leader. Jewish British people are British, just like Black, Asian or other British people. They are British not Israeli. For an Israeli minister to claim leadership of all Jews in the world absolutely cannot be admitted. But – and this is the important point – it is exactly the same argument as the contention by Jake Wallis Simons that he, a British Jew, would have fought for Israel against the land of his birth.

It is exactly the same argument that Israeli and Jew are synonymous, and therefore to attack Israel is anti-Semitism. It is exactly the same argument that Jew equals Israel so anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. It is exactly the same argument the entire corporate and mainstream media have been drumming into our heads 24 hours a day. And the object is to outlaw any criticism of Israel or active support for the Palestinians. The object is to make Zionism compulsory, at the very least as political correctness, and there are rumblings that anti-Zionism should be made illegal.

It only appears surprising that those of us who have fought all racism – including anti-Semitism – our entire lives, now come under attack. It is not surprising when you look in to the motives of those who lead the attack; they are supporting a racist, apartheid state. We should stop being defensive and shout this from the rooftops. In an appalling article in the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff listed use of #apartheidIsrael as an indicator of anti-Semitism. Even more astonishing, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the same newspaper that we are hypocrites for attacking Israel, which is only doing what Australia, Canada and the USA did to their indigenous populations. He did not acknowledge that these were appalling crimes, subject of recent historic apologies and the source of much shame. Nor that the world is supposed to have moved on from Imperialism.

The media onslaught against Palestine is as unrelenting as it is intellectually bankrupt.

To finish with Jake Wallis Simons, he is a major figure in the anti-Palestine barrage. Wallis Simons was the author of the highly tendentious Daily Mail article of 7 August 2015 headlined “Jeremy Corbyn’s “longstanding links” with notorious Holocaust denier and his “anti-Semitic” organisation revealed.” The inverted commas are in the original headline and they are sure signs that the Mail’s lawyers have pointed out something is completely untrue – so they indicate the Mail is only “reporting an accusation”. This article was the origin of the joint Israel/Blairite campaign which has been gathering momentum ever since, up until the current explosion of orchestrated media hatred against Palestine supporters.

Precisely what is happening became much more obvious this week with the revelation that Alex Chalmers, the Oxford student who had made the entirely unsubstantiated claims of anti-Semitism at Oxford University, had previously been an intern at BICOM, the oligarch funded Israeli propaganda outfit (officially the British Israel research and Communications Centre). Possibly the best-funded lobby group in UK politics, BICOM has contributed funding and trips to Israel to many of the Blarities involved in the present propaganda blitz.

160428-chalmers-bicom

Chalmers’ claims have been central to all published accounts of “Labour anti-semitism” and were used by Cameron to attack Corbyn in the Commons. University authorities have found no evidence to back Chalmers’ claims and his main complaint was that there had been an Israeli Apartheid week held by students. In fact his claim depends entirely on the notion that to criticise Israel is anti-Semitism. A theme is emerging here. BICOM is also the organisation which funded Adam Werrity to accompany Liam Fox to Israel, and to which Hillary Benn said shortly before his Syria War speech “we must seek to take on those who seek to delegitimise the state of Israel”

Which gives us yet another pointer. The cheerleaders of the current “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt have a 99% correlation with the supporters and cheerleaders of the Iraq war, and their targets are, I believe without any exception, opponents of the Iraq War. This is in part a kind of twisted revenge for having been shown, not least in the last couple of days, to have been hopelessly wrong about Iraq. The wound of being labelled with that monstrous policy failure has fatally undermined the Blairites. Now they delude themselves that they have unanimous mainstream media “vindication”, because all their opponents were just racists all along!

I make not one penny from expressing my views to the public for the purpose of debate. This blog does not even have adverts. I have no official position. There is nothing from which I can be expelled. I am not scared of courts. We face an attempt to make it compulsory to support Zionism. To make it impossible to stand up for the rights of the Palestinians. Yet that campaign is led by a totally self-centred and isolated metropolitan elite, who cannot understand that on Palestine as on so much else they do not represent us. I shall not be intimidated into abandoning my campaigning against apartheid Israel, and nor will many others. The battle for truth is a hard one at the moment, but we will prevail.

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The Pregnant Woman: An Everyday Story from Palestine

Our corporate and state media deliberately fails to report what is happening daily in Palestine. This account from Reuters three days ago was not used in any British mainstream media:

JERUSALEM // Israeli police shot and killed a pregnant Palestinian woman and her teenage brother yesterday at a checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, police and witnesses said.

Israeli police claimed the pair approached the vehicles-only lane at the Qalandiya military checkpoint and tried to carry out an attack. They said the woman was holding a knife and both she and the man walked rapidly towards police and security guards in a vehicles-only lane at the Qalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem.

Alaa Soboh, a Palestinian bus driver who said he witnessed the incident, said the pair had appeared to be unfamiliar with crossing procedures and were swiftly challenged at the checkpoint.

“As soon as the two crossed, [Israeli forces] started screaming ‘Go back, go back’, and then they began shooting,” he said.

“The first one they shot was the girl, the boy tried to go backward, when they fired seven bullets at him.”

A witness told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli forces fired more than 15 rounds into the woman’s body.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces denied Palestinian paramedics access tothe woman for medical treatment, the agency reported.

The pair were identified as 24-year-old mother of two Maram Abu Ismail, and her 16-year-old brother Ibrahim Taha. The siblings were from the West Bank town of Qatuna.

The victims’ family, interviewed by Palestinian media, said that Maram was five months pregnant at the time of her death.

No Israelis were injured in the incident.

The military checkpoint where the two were killed is a main ­access point for Palestinians to cross from the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem and has been the site of a number of alleged, actual, and attempted attacks since October.

In the past six months, Israeli forces have killed at least 193 Palestinians, 130 of whom Israel said were assailants.

Many others were shot dead in clashes and protests.

* Reuters

Frankly I do not believe that the pregnant woman was walking towards the heavily armed soldiers openly wielding a knife from a distance. If she were attempting to stab a soldier, she would have concealed any knife, and not called attention by walking in the vehicle lane. Even if the account were true, I do not accept that a group of soldiers could not defend themselves against a heavily pregnant woman with a knife, spotted at a distance and approaching on foot, in any other way than by putting fifteen bullets into her, even if her sixteen year old brother was with her – and witnesses say he was backing away when he was himself shot.

The truth is that Palestinian lives simply do not matter. They did not matter to the Israeli soldiers who callously shot them dead rather than try to discover what was actually happening, and they do not matter to the British media who do not report this, yet find massive room for ludicrous accusations against British supporters of Palestine. Reuters tells us that 193 Palestinians have been killed in six months. These two will be added to the 130 whom Israel claim were assailants, a very large number of whom were in reality not. But even the Israeli figure admits Israel has killed 63 Palestinians who were not assailants, and many thousands more have had their homes destroyed to make way for yet more illegal Israeli settlers.

An everyday story for Palestinians. A terrible personal tragedy for the murdered woman, her murdered little brother, her unborn child and her surviving small children.

And here is the secret. The British media are frightened that you will care. That is why they do not tell you.

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