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“Jeremy Corbyn is perfectly right to relate this week’s Manchester terrorist atrocity to British foreign policy in the Middle East.”

A Moseley reader draws attention to the thoughts of Simon Jenkins in the Guardian today. A summary:

Jenkins asserted that Jeremy Corbyn is perfectly right to relate this week’s Manchester terrorist atrocity to British foreign policy in the Middle East.

He reminded all that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron clearly stated that they were spending soldiers’ lives toppling regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya at enormous expense in order to “to prevent terrorism in the streets of Britain”.

In the Andrew Neil programme this evening Corbyn added that Boris Johnson, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee – and MI5 had also expressed these views ‘on record’!

Their aim was to suppress militant Islam but Jenkins points out that when their intervention clearly led to an increase in Islamist terrorism, we are entitled to agree with Corbyn that it has “simply failed”.

We committed armed aggression against sovereign peoples who had not attacked us

Regimes were indeed toppled. Tens of thousands died, many of them civilians every bit as innocent as Manchester’s victims. Terrorism has not stopped.

Militant Islamists are indeed seeking to subvert the west’s sense of security and its liberal values. But the west used the language of “shock and awe” in bombing Baghdad in 2003, giving the current era of Islamist terrorism a cause, a reason, an excuse, however perverted.

Jenkins ends: “Islamist terrorism is related to foreign policy. However hateful it may seem to us, it is a means to a political end. Sometimes it is as well to call a spade a spade”.

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Read his article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/26/jeremy-corbyn-manchester-british-foreign-policy

 

 

 

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Mr Corbyn beware: apologies and compromise are the ammo feverishly sought by the establishment media

jeremy corbynThe established corporate-political order is seething with anger at the huge support given to a plain-living, simply dressed man of principle and integrity, rather than the political norm of bombast, ‘spin’ and conspicuous consumption.

The pliant cash-strapped advertisement-dependent media and the government-threatened BBC are relentlessly attacking Jeremy Corbyn – openly or insidiously – fearful that the ever-increasing momentum of support for his ideas will eventually lead to his election as prime minister.

That would – of course – be anathema to partyfunding arms traders and manufacturers and those politicians who crave the additional income from their cash and non-executive directorships.

Few are working harder than Jim Pickard in the formerly objective Financial Times, accompanied this week by George Parker, its Political Editor. As the former says, the new leader’s principles have generated negative headlines in the British press all week. His statement:

“The more (Corbyn) softens his views, the more the risk that he disappoints the radical leftwingers who propelled him into office”.

The hope is that their relentless and unjust bombardment will eventually make inroads into his widespread popular support. The language is carefully chosen to influence the weak-minded:

  • the ‘bearded 66-year-old’, an ‘outsider, inside’.
  • The serial rebel . . . barely scraping enough support from fellow MPs to get on to the ballot sheet.
  • his old-fashioned brand of radical socialism
  • an inveterate protester, sometimes in dubious company
  • an isolated figure within the parliamentary Labour party

Pickard concedes that his first appearance at PMQs was #a relative success’ and adds that Corbyn can expect some tactical victories in the coming months: senior Tories are worried about a backlash next April as welfare cuts — opposed by Mr Corbyn — kick in. he adds that Corbyn’s ‘rhetoric’ on helping Syrian refugees may also have chimed temporarily with the public.

George Parker, Political Editor has a similar approach, but more subtle and less verbose – a few gems:

  • Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership ended a dizzying week of policy shifts
  • Mr Corbyn’s team was showing signs of quietly shelving some of the new leader’s most radical ideas.
  • Mr Corbyn has also bowed to pressure from moderate colleagues.

Speculation and surmise followed by untruths. Two of many:

Though insistence on genuine and widespread consultation has been a consistent feature of the Corbyn approach, Mr Parker says “Attempts by the new leader to impose his will on party policy will be gruelling” and others follow this line.

Though Jeremy Corbyn said, from the earliest days of the campaign that he was ready – like David Cameron – to press for beneficial changes to the EU, it is implied that he said he wants to leave and has reneged on this policy, so: “He has also been forced by colleagues to change his stance on the looming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Quoting a Walsall blogger, we ask: How far will the “monstering currently being aimed at the newly elected Leader of the UK Labour Party by MI5, the CIA, the IMF, senior civil servants and members of the armed forces and a particularly unpleasant newspaper mogul” go?

Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the spotlight

Senior judge says there is no guarantee that tribunal procedures satisfy common law requirements home office                                    Home Office photo supplied by Geograph 

A Moseley reader brings to our attention the report that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which claims to be completely independent of the British government, is secretly operating from a base within the Home Office, by which it is funded. Its staff is said to include at least one person believed to be a Home Office official previously engaged in intelligence-related work.

Ian Cobain and Leila Haddou  explain that this tribunal was created in October 2000 by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and given the power to investigate any complaints against GCHQ, MI5 or MI6, as well as complaints about surveillance operations mounted by the police or any other public bodies. Cobain and Haddou add that its location in the Home Office, “strengthen concerns that the IPT is too close to the very agencies which it is meant to be overseeing.”

The IPT has investigated about 1,500 complaints, and upheld only 10; five of these concerned members of one family who had lodged complaints about surveillance by their local council.

Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, ruled against Scotland Yard’s claim that the IPT should hear a case brought by women who said they were duped into sexual relationships with undercover police. He decided that part of the claim should be heard by the tribunal and that part should continue at the high court.

“There is no guarantee,” he said, “that the procedures adopted by the IPT in any particular case will satisfy the common law requirements of natural justice.”

The Guardian article noted that:

  • there is no legal aid for individuals complaining to the IPT;
  • their lawyers will not be permitted to attend IPT’s closed hearings;
  • not only are complainants and their lawyers prevented from being present at the court: until now they have not been permitted to know where the court is located.
  • there is no right of appeal;
  • no complaint against any of the intelligence agencies has ever been upheld.

A day later Henry Porter ends another Guardian article:

When courts and tribunals close their doors and won’t tell lawyers and complainants what is going on, you know that an essential part of a free society is in the process of being degraded . . .

Let’s have the law and the courts out in the open so that everyone understands what the hell is going on. Our free society depends on it.

Secret State – 11: MI5 surveillance

MI5 logoMany readers will remember that MI5 held files on MPs and members of the public  (‘60s-80s), opening correspondence and tapping phones – in some cases without going through the correct channels.

A book called – ironically? – The Defence of the Realm, by Christopher Andrew, covers this defence of the realm coversubject, referring to MI5’s description of Bruce Kent, one-time CND chairman, as a “possible anarchist”.  He records that Labour party leaders passed MI5 a list of MPs they suspected of being influenced by Moscow, so the Security Service could check up on them. Two Quaker groups told the writer that they routinely received opened parcels.

Andrew’s book also refers to the surveillance of (now MP) Joan Ruddock, later chair of CND, because she met Mikhail Bogdanov, who – unknown to her – was a KGB agent, the surveillance of Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, and former cabinet colleague Patricia Hewitt, when they were officers of the National Council of Civil Liberties.

greenham common camp fenceMI5 also opened a permanent file on the Greenham Common women’s peace camp on the grounds that it was “subject to penetration by subversive groups”.  The writer, who visited Greenham once, placing a photo of her baby son on the fence (left) and went on several CND marches, found her foreign mail and any packages were opened and the phone was tapped.  An extension upstairs would ring about ten times before the main phone downstairs.

A complaint to the postman about their opened and unsealed post was met with dismay, “They should have sealed them up” but also understanding: “Ah yes, I know what that will be. Just leave it to me and you’ll have no more trouble. And that was correct, the phones worked properly from that day and no more correspondence was damaged . . . until this year.

Round 2 – the new targets, the old tactics?

Andrew continues: “MI5 virtually gave up these activities in the mid-1980s, after the miners’ strike, to concentrate first on Northern Ireland and, later, on countering Islamist-inspired terrorism”.

However, once more the writer’s airletters from Mumbai are being opened – but this time at least correctly placed in a plastic envelope with an apology.

Opened airletter -1Opened airletter -3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were slit open into jigsaw pieces ad several lines cut through making it either difficult or impossible to understand part of the family news contained therein.

We also read in March that the GMB union discovered that a blacklist, kept by the Consulting Association, used by employers to flag up workers involved in union or political activity or whistleblowers who raised health and safety issues, also included about 240 environmental activists.

This time the postman who was consulted said that he was unable to put matters right – but gave the correct address after some prompting.

A complaint will be made to Royal Mail. Other readers who are facing this problem could do this – with a copy to their MP.