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In a Novara Media Article entitled, “Lawfare is an Attack on Free Speech and a Threat to Democracy,” they report that, “Journalist John Ware has declared he is suing the former leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, along with several ‘alt-left sites and individuals who lie’. Ware himself admits that in launching these libel cases he has broken an ‘unwritten code’ that says journalists, who ‘hold free speech sacrosanct’, shouldn’t sue over criticism. To me, it looks like the most egregious attack on free speech and democratic norms we’ve seen in recent times.” They point to the rapid response in Legal defence funds raised as a clear indication that, “tens of thousands of others feel the same way.” I certainly hope that having chosen this deceitful path to wealth through infamy he will be rendered unemployable, persona non grata for life with the BBC and in wider professional Journalistic circles.
Novara Media say, “The announcement in the Jewish Chronicle, which Ware co-owns, followed a decision by the current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, to settle previous libel claims from Ware and a group of former Labour staffers in relation to the controversial 2019 Panorama documentary ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ Ware seems to have been provoked by a statement from Corbyn in which the Islington MP publicly disagreed with Starmer’s decision, arguing that it was politically motivated and contradicted advice from Labour’s lawyers, who had suggested the party could win the case. In the same article, Ware also threatened libel action against undisclosed ‘alternative media outlets and individuals’ which he claims defamed him.” They report that, “It is understood that Ware and his solicitor Mark Lewis are already taking legal action against Paddy French, a former ITV journalist who runs the Press Gang website, seeking £50,000 in damages. And he is suing Jewish Voice for Labour and two of the organisation’s officers.”
On the Fundraising Page for Ware v French it says, “We’re raising £100,000 to defend a libel action brought by BBC Panorama reporter John Ware. THE BBC reporter John Ware has issued a claim for libel against Press Gang editor Paddy French. Ware seeks £50,000 in damages over a Press Gang pamphlet criticising the Panorama anti-Semitism programme in July 2019. Press Gang is contesting the action. On July 22 Labour settled a libel action brought by Ware. Labour apologised in open court and agreed to pay damages. The action does not affect Ware v French which is a different case about a different publication. Ware v French will now go to court for the first stage this autumn. This appeal is to help pay the substantial costs of instructing solicitors and counsel to fight the proceedings.
Ware’s action concerns the Press Gang pamphlet ‘Is The BBC Anti-Labour? — Panorama’s Biased Anti-Semitism Reporting: A Case To Answer’ published last December. This was a critical analysis of last year’s Panorama programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ The Press Gang pamphlet weighed up the evidence and took a critical view of the programme. Press Gang has instructed the London solicitors Bindmans. We hope you’ll be able to support this appeal. We’ll keep you updated on this site — but you can also follow events on the website, press-gang.org — and on Twitter (@pguk10). Many thanks. Paddy French NB If you back this project, please note there’s no need to make a contribution to Justgiving: it already takes a small fee from your pledge.”
Ware’s actions have ominous implications for freedom of the press in the UK where it is already one of the easiest places in the world to bring a defamation case valid on not. That is unless you are a student attempting to clear your name after retaliatory sabotage of your career when ‘Absolute Privilege’ grants the University unlimited right to blatantly lie under oath in the High Court: something I discovered the hard way. Well, true as it is, that is another sorry tale, but it is also the prime reason I feel so aggrieved and incensed by Starmer’s payment to the ‘Poison Dartblowers.’ In a recent tweet JVL say that, “JVL and 2 of its officers are being sued for libel by John Ware for comments made re the Panorama programme Is Labour Antisemitic? We are defending the action but our lawyers advise us not to comment about the issues Including not reposting articles that might bear on the case.”
Novara Media contend that, “Although Ware’s actions are among the most extreme, they fit into a pattern of attacks on the left stretching back to Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election in 2015. In the last week alone we’ve seen calls for both Corbyn’s expulsion from the Labour party and the ‘rooting out’ of his supporters. At times it’s felt like there’s a unified attempt to delegitimize the left and push it out of public life completely.” They say, “The left must fight back but it needs to do so carefully. The continuation, indeed, acceleration of the right’s, and indeed the Labour right’s, offensive is pernicious not just for the way it affects the general public’s view of the left, but also for how it affects the left’s view of itself and the task before it. The danger is that we start to adopt the right’s framing of Corbyn’s defeat.” I would robustly insist that the very best place to start is by robustly countering the Tory lie about “borrowed votes,” to explain their miraculous fake ‘landslide victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election!
Novara Media still feel compelled to endorse this Tory lie as a functional reality by trying to make various excuses to legitimize the patently illogical result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election when what we really need to do is challenge that result. There is nothing to lose in challenging the result because we already have copious evidence that our Electoral System is “wide open to Industrial scale fraud:” top QCs have said as much for the past decade! The only way to force change is to challenge an Election because those who cheated have no intention of changing the system that favours their corrupt practices and the Tories will not relinquish their power unless forced to do so. The Electoral Commission is totally powerless to enforce the most minimal level of scrutiny because they cannot monitor a private company like Idox when ‘Management’ of our postal votes is outsourced. “A Watchdog that cannot Watch is just a dog!” We need to “Rescue our Watchdog,” so if you have not Signed my Petition already please consider doing so now.
As stated in my previous post and worth repeating here: “Totally aside from the issue of stolen postal votes there is another truly legitimate reason why this Tory Government should be forced out of office. That is the Tory Government’s documented use of public funds to pay the Institute of Statecraft to task their so called ‘Integrity Initiative’ with creating defamatory anti-Corbyn propaganda to demonize and destroy the Labour Party. Christopher Steele, a discredited former British MI6 Intelligence Officer, created this subversive operation that has no right to function as it does while posing as a ‘registered charity’ and accepting state funds.” I have elaborated on the conduct of this disreputable operation in the past as it remains a front for interfering in the legitimate Electoral process of foreign Governments as well as deliberately sabotaging UK Democracy. There are calls for this so called ‘charity’ to be investigated, stripped of its charitable status and potentially prosecuted for illegal conduct.
How many countries have criticized Venezuela at the UN claiming their election was rigged because the US didn’t get the puppet Government they wanted in place? Despite the highly credible assertions of former US President Jimmy Carter, that their elections are among the safest, most well monitored elections in the world, there’s been an ongoing rant about rigged elections to justify crippling sanctions. I must emphasize that, “This highly illegal action has not gained public attention, but it could be brought in as a component of the evidence in both the Corbyn case and Williamson’s case against the EHRC. This is valid evidence of very serious state sanctioned corruption in support of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; it should have already justified the PM and Tory Ministers removal from our Parliament in handcuffs! This would be an egregious enough scandal that the UK would openly condemn any other nation for not pursuing exactly such criminal proceedings to correct the injustice. Could the UK face sanctions if the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was exposed and the Tories tried to cling to power?
Novara Media claim that, “The most revealing moment in Ware’s libel announcement is his mention of ‘identity politics’ as one of the reasons why the old rules of free speech no longer apply. This linguistic tick locates Ware’s actions within a particular ideology in which the notions of ‘free speech’ and ‘cancel culture’ are key weapons in an ongoing culture war. The key argument in this ideological framing proposes that the left is so uniquely censorious that the only way free speech can be maintained is to remove free speech from the left.” They admit, “This may seem a curious claim as the left doesn’t hold state power in the UK, nor does it in most of the rest of the world. In addition, the UK left despite reflecting the views of around 30% of the UK population has virtually no representation in the media.”
Novara Media say that, “The clear contradiction between the claim of the left’s unique censoriousness and its apparent lack of ability to censor anyone is resolved by a transformation in the definition of free speech so it no longer refers to preventing someone from speaking but becomes enshrined as the right to speak without fear of criticism.” They correctly point out that, “Speech is free if you can afford it.” This was never more obvious than watching Johnny Depp air his dirty laundry at a leisurely pace in our High Court. All that fuss over a marital spat printed in a tabloid sewer rag that would in my youth have been wrapping fish and chips within a day! Despite what was probably just an obscene PR stunt for Depp making headline news as he sought to clear his name, a far more important vindication could prove harder to gain more than a fleeting glance of press attention for Corbyn when he goes to Court. We have to make the Court case a very loud, colourful and outlandish protest spectacle to grab BBC and Media attention.
Novara Media contend that, “The right’s hegemony is articulated through an individualised and privatised conception of freedom in which ever more areas of life are removed from the sphere of public deliberation and into the sphere of private morality. It is for this reason that criticism of the opinions and actions of others comes to seem like an attempt to impose one person’s private morality on to another. On a wider scale, any attempt to use democratic deliberation to change the values animating society also falls into the same category, and so ‘social justice warriors’ become defined as authoritarian hypocrites. The libel law courts, accessible only to the rich or those with the patronage of the rich, are the perfect example of the emptiness of formal freedoms when you lack the resources to exercise them.”
In contrast Novara Media say that, ”The left, on the other hand, is developing a quite different conception of freedom. One that is collective and solidaristic and sees freedom as meaningful only if it can be exercised by all. It’s an idea of freedom intimately linked to the ultimate task of the left, the radical democratisation of society, which involves overcoming the huge inequalities that currently exist. If the UK left can regain this perspective, and so escape the constrained horizon of the Labour right, then recent events look very different. Current attempts to silence the left can be positioned within a wider, global trend to roll back democracy. On the other hand, much of what gets called ‘identity politics’, and which so mobilises the right, can be understood as imperfect, stumbling attempts to construct a democracy accessible.”
What I do not see in the Novara Media article is a sense of urgency or a recognition that we are careening towards a brick wall that could extinguish all hope of democracy in the UK by the end of this year, “defend democracy, extend democracy” will no longer be an option beyond that point! This Tory Government pledged in their Manifesto to remove Judicial Review to insure that they could become even more immune from scrutiny or any level of accountability for their disastrous blunders in policy making. The PM also intends to make top Judges political appointees, or rather Tory appointees, in the near future and abandon the International Court of Human Rights for a more nuanced version of watered down Human Rights after crash-out Brexit. We have a legal system that is already heavily stacked against those who lack private funding, especially since access to Legal Aid has virtually evaporated under Tory rule. Our one saving grace is through supporting Crowdfunding and as they remark: “in this task, Ware’s libel threats are very useful.” DO NOT MOVE ON!