Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

The dangerous authoritarian trajectory of this Tory Government warrants justified extreme alarm; they placate the public with ‘take back control’ rhetoric, only to solidify a chokehold on democracy to establish a Dictatorship. In a Guardian Article entitled, “Boris Johnson is using the Covid crisis as a pretext for a power grab” activist Gina Miller warns us that, “Under cover of the pandemic, his inner circle is sidelining elected MPs and pushing through laws with no scrutiny.” She says, “The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a cover for Boris Johnson’s government to seize powers that are without precedent during peacetime. I am becoming more convinced over time that some in his government and advisers saw the virus early on not only as a health crisis, but also an opportunity to push ahead with their plans to diminish parliament’s sovereignty, row back on the rule of law, and hollow out our hard-won rights. Ultimately, the aim is to solidify more power in the hands of the prime minister and a select few of his inner circle.”

Referring to our current Tory Government, Miller claims that, “Their direction of travel was obvious before the pandemic hit, a year ago Johnson tried to shut down parliament, but under cover of Covid-19, it is now bold and blatant. As one of only three countries with an unwritten constitution – New Zealand and Israel being the others – the UK has always been vulnerable to a group of unscrupulous individuals coming into power who would not fear stretching the rules, protocols and parliamentary instruments to their limits, and seek to establish an authoritarian state. They have now arrived, and with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the house, dusting off ancient Henry VIII powers, statutory instruments, as well as carving out new powers contained in the EU Withdrawal Act and Coronavirus Act, he is systematically going about the task of disenfranchising our elected MPs.”

Miller reports that, “Events have always been a problem for prime ministers – as Harold Macmillan attested – but they have played into Johnson and his advisers’ hands. Public unease about his response to the coronavirus is now palpable – instead of showing strong leadership and competence, he still appears to be in campaigning mode, more concerned about being seen to take action regardless of the merits.” She says, “with MPs muzzled, his coterie are able to bypass requests to publish data, modelling and the scientific evidence behind their pandemic strategies – or any studies into the impact of a no-deal Brexit. Some MPs are finally beginning to recognise that in this new political world they are surplus to requirements, and as a result we have seen a few attempts at rebellion over the past few weeks.”

According to Miller, “There had been anxieties for years about the use and limited scrutiny of secondary legislation (laws created by ministers without parliamentary votes), but this is now the government’s modus operandi. Since 28 January, 256 of these statutory instruments related to coronavirus have been laid before parliament, an astonishing 122 of which breach the 21-day rule giving MPs time to scrutinise them. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the virtual Conservative party conference at the weekend that Brexit is about taking back control of our laws and our sovereignty. Whether the UK gets a deal or not (I believe a deal will be achieved due to fears over further damaging a coronavirus-impacted economy), the transition period ends on 31 December – which means that, between now and then, the government could lay another 250-300 statutory instruments, without parliament having to pass any act.” I don’t share Miller’s optimism over a deal as I believe a no-deal crash-out was always part of the plan!

Miller sounds the alarm, saying, “What they could sneak into these terrifies me because, however politically sensitive and controversial they are, MPs will be unable to debate, scrutinise and vote on them. I knew only too well, long before the pandemic, the lengths our government would go to put itself above our domestic law. But to trash Britain’s international reputation for law and order – by inserting sections into the internal market bill that attempt to put the country above international law, and outside the scrutiny of parliament or UK courts – has ramifications that should worry us all, no matter what our political allegiance. Raab also said that ‘the days of being held over a barrel by Brussels … are long gone’, but, with MPs voting to extend ministers’ executive powers for another six months under the Coronavirus Act, what about the barrel our own government is now holding us over?”

Gina Miller is a businesswoman and transparency activist, she led the legal action that prevented Boris Johnson from proroguing parliament and she has been keeping tabs on the situation ever since. She says, “In the years that followed the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, I was often invited to look ahead to what life would be like when the UK had to go it alone; but never, in my worst nightmares, could I have imagined the dystopian state of affairs we find ourselves in now. Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, issued an unprecedented rebuke to the government for treating the House of Commons with ‘contempt’. I only wish he had gone further and asked Rees-Mogg why MPs are being denied the opportunity to participate in debates, and why online speeches are banned. Added to that, a freedom of information request I submitted confirms that a successful voting app, which was used in early May, has been sneakily discontinued – so we now have a dysfunctional, disfranchised House of Commons.”

Miller warns, “I also have my suspicions about the true motives underlying the government’s review into the appointment of judges and access to judicial review. On Twitter, Geoffrey Cox, the former attorney general who acted for Boris Johnson in my court case against his prorogation of parliament, posted a scene from the film ‘A Man For All Seasons’ which tells of Thomas More’s stand during another period of tyranny in British history. More was urged to bend the law to his own ends but declined. In the clip More uttered these words: ‘This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast and if you cut them down do you think you could really stand upright in the winds that would blow then?’ Cox and I have little in common, but we can both see only too well that the direction we are heading is a profoundly dangerous one.” A while ago I wrote a post comparing our current situation in the UK with the Nazis rise to power in Germany; I was shocked to discover that Johnson now faces fewer obstacles to Dictatorship than Hitler!

Previous I wrote regarding a comment I made to Craig Murray’s post where I read about another alarming facet of our fast eroding freedoms. ‘Bayleaf’ reported that, “Re. the plundering of personal data, the UK government has quietly used the Coronavirus Act 2020 to authorise the ‘Retention of Fingerprints and DNA Profiles in the Interests of National Security’.” This too was done using a Statutory Instrument, so bypassing any parliamentary scrutiny. What other mission creep towards a harsh totalitarian agenda has whistled by us unnoticed as the public was wilfully distracted by the compliant BBC and Mainstream Media offering bucket-loads of ‘Handyfloss’ on safe bets for holiday getaways no one can afford? The Handyfloss on the minutia of Jonny Depp’s dirty dobie was sickeningly copious during weeks of tawdry hearings, but Assange extradition determining the ultimate demise of press freedom globally and the criminalization of investigative journalism to obscure atrocities committed by an all powerful state goes unreported.

The US are seeking to set a new president for increasing their global overreach, intimidation and control with the Assange trial. In his grotesquely biased Kangaroo Court Hearing at the Old Bailey the US claim that as a non-US Citizen Assange does not have the US first Amendment right to free speech and the Americans have already violated his Attorney Client Privilege spying on him during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy. There is no question that Assange is most definitely a political, one of many reasons why his case should be thrown out, but we cannot trust Home Secretary Priti Patel to block his extradition if this Court rules against him. The US are now trying to strong arm the International Court of Human Rights to evade charges of war crimes, but the UK is equally guilty of trying to sideline justice regarding accountability for extraordinary rendition, torture and past war crimes. A strong alliance with the US while they continue to function as a rogue state is not a healthy trajectory for the future if any free country.

In another alarming Guardian Article entitled, “The UK government is attempting to bend the rules on torture” Nicholas Mercer elaborates on, “The overseas operations bill promises to end ‘vexatious’ prosecutions of soldiers,” but he warns that, “it is far more sinister than that!” The Guardian describe, Lt Col Nicholas Mercer as a, “senior military legal adviser to the 1st Armoured Division during the Iraq war of 2003” so he can certainly speak with authority on this issue. Mercer says that, “It is ironic timing that the overseas operations bill returns to parliament next week, not long after questions of international law dominated the political agenda. This government has already, brazenly, admitted that it is prepared to violate international law with the internal market bill. It is now proposing more of the same with an issue that has received less attention.”

Mercer says that, “The way in which the egregious overseas operations bill violates international law isn’t complex or arcane. It seeks to introduce what has been termed a ‘triple lock’ against the prosecution of British soldiers acting overseas. This triple lock includes a presumption against prosecution, a five-year statute of limitations and the requirement of consent from the attorney general before any prosecution can be brought. It undermines international humanitarian law while shielding the government against what may be wholly deserving claims. The so-called triple lock will effectively introduce a statute of limitations for the offence of torture. Torture has been absolutely prohibited under international law since 1948 and is enshrined in legal instruments such as the UN convention against torture, and the Geneva conventions of 1949. Despite this prohibition, the government now seems prepared to try to amend those terms with the overseas operations bill.”

Mercer reports that, “The former chief of the defence staff, field marshal Lord Guthrie, has co-signed, along with Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Dominic Grieve, a letter to Downing Street making their views on the legislation clear: ‘We find it disturbing that the government’s approach … creates a presumption against prosecution of torture and other grave crimes (with only rape and sexual violence excepted) after five years. We believe that the effective application of existing protocols removes the risk of vexatious prosecution. To create de facto impunity for such crimes would be a damaging signal for Britain to send to the world.’ The absolute prohibition on torture is designed to prevent states trying to bend the rules. However, the overseas operations bill does just that. This could not be clearer and has already been pointed out to the government by the UN Rapporteur on torture. As such, I do not believe that any current or former defence chief could support it and clearly Lord Guthrie is the first to say so publicly.”

According to Mercer, “There is, however, another potentially more sinister explanation for the proposed statute of limitations and that is the potential culpability of not individual soldiers, but the British government itself. When the overseas operations bill was being drafted, the offence of torture was, quite properly, excluded from the provisions. Somehow it found its way back in, but it is not clear who took this decision or why. As we now know from various public inquiries, the British army used unlawful interrogation techniques in Iraq and Afghanistan, which breached the UN convention on torture. If this bill passes into law, the government will have effectively legislated to protect itself from those allegations. Most gravely, this includes the offence of rendition which, as well as being a form of torture, is also a grave breach of the Geneva conventions.”

Mercer warns that, “While the government seeks to shield itself from blame, however, soldiers may well find themselves in the international criminal court, whose jurisdiction will be triggered if the British government chooses to avoid prosecuting them. At the inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist beaten to death by British soldiers in Iraq, Sir William Gage blamed the ‘corporate failings’ of the Ministry of Defence for the death and said that that the British army should ‘uphold the highest standards’ under international law. Rather than take heed of those comments, Britain has decided to water them down. Our soldiers are rightly expected to live up to those standards, even as it seems those who govern do not.” The Guardian report that although, Lt Col Nicholas Mercer “was senior military legal adviser to the 1st Armoured Division during the Iraq war of 2003,” they say, “He is now an Anglican priest.”

So where does the Captain of Capitulation Tory enabler, Keir Starmer and his new Labour Opposition team stand on this issue? In a Canary Article that I highlighted in a previous post they report that, “it seems Starmer could tell his MPs to vote against the 10pm rule.” This pertains to the futile pub closure regulations, they say “this is particularly damning given the bills he’s asked MPs to abstain on. What a shame he couldn’t do the same over, say, the potential torture and murder of people by UK government actors? The covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) bill has hit the news this week. LabourList said it: aims to give legal protection for a previously secret power, ‘the third direction,’ allowing MI5, police forces and other specified public bodies to authorise agents and informants to commit criminal offences.”

The Canary report that, “Amnesty UK has warned that ‘this bill could end up providing informers and agents with a licence to kill’ and stressed that it ‘does not explicitly prohibit MI5 and other agencies from authorising crimes like torture and killing’. Essentially, as the Guardian reported, the: bill confirm[s] MI5’s right to let informants commit crimes in pursuit of intelligence material. Or, as the Morning Star summed up: Even the equivalent legislation in the United States rules out torture and murder, yet nothing is ruled out in this Bill. We are assured only that law-breaking will be limited to specific, internally approved cases.”

The Canary describe abstaining as “the centrist way” saying that, “On Monday 5 October, there was a vote on the bill in parliament. Starmer, though, had told his MP’s to abstain. But 20 MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, voted against the bill.” Repeatedly, with so many of the controversial issues Parliament has debated and voted on in the past, Jeremy Corbyn has always been on the right side of history. They say, “Starmer’s decision caused outrage: But Labour abstaining on massive issues is nothing new. Starmer previously sacked Nadia Whittome from the front bench for not abstaining (and voting against) another bill. Centrist leaders have a track record of forcing MPs to abstain. Not least during repeated votes on welfare issues. The CHIS bill has still got more stages to pass through. The Canary will be publishing more analysis on the implications of the bill. But Starmer’s whipping on it sums up his leadership entirely: devoid of principle and pandering to right-wing rhetoric.” We desperately need a credible opposition.”

When I wrote about Boris Johnson’s rambling Tory Party Conference speech, I was struck by his concept of “Global Britain” as if he expected accolades for his lies, failures and perversions of the law. To imagine that a respected “outward-looking country” can be proudly independent while in defiance of internationally recognized Laws, globally accepted conventions and treaties is frankly delusional. This Tory Government’s decisions, to ignore the UN Rapporteur’s report on abuse of the disabled, continue in violation of an International Court decision on Diego Garcia and more recently their treatment of Julian Assange, has already damaged our reputation for diplomacy. But Johnson is prepared to violate an agreement he signed with the EU that will compromise the Good Friday accord and he now wants to give the green light to torture and Human Rights violations committed by our troupes overseas. Under the corrupt Leadership of Johnson/Cummings the UK is fast becoming a hard-Right Dictatorship and a rogue Fascist state!

Risking being thrown out of Court, Assange indulged in one highly impactful outburst, yelling from his glass box, “I will not permit the testimony of a torture victim to be censored by this Court!” He knew that if the Judge ordered him removed from the Court it would create an ‘incident,’ a stark punctuation within the proceedings, that would at least be noted by the appallingly apathetic press. Julian picked his battle wisely realizing that the sidelining of testimony from a torture victim epitomized the cruellest injustice secretly perpetrated by the US and the most vital mission of WikiLeaks to expose the horrific truth. Despite the massive price Assange might well be forced to pay for his Journalistic courage he was not prepared to ignore the evidence of US extraordinary rendition, torture and casual slaughter of innocent civilians go unreported, atrocities in which our own Government is complicit.

I am compelled to repeat myself yet again here: as strongly as we all feel about the Assange case, it remains just one of a growing number of collective injustices perpetrated by a thoroughly corrupt Tory Government that seized power in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. It is our duty to ‘megaphone’ the truth of these grotesque injustices and demand a full Investigation into the stolen vote. We desperately need a professional Investigative Journalist chasing down leads and a dedicated WikiLeaks style drop-box in the hope of encouraging a Whistleblower to come forward and expose the truth regarding the stolen Covert 2019 Rigged Election and the continual ongoing misappropriation and plundering of public funds by Tory Ministers to buy the loyalty of cronies. Public funds used by this Tory Government to pay Integrity Initiative to destroy electoral integrity by creating damaging propaganda targeting the opposition would, in any viable democracy, have the perpetrators jailed on corruption charges: thet must be removed from office ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!