Category Archives: United Kingdom

Jeremy Corbyn’s Surge

The pollsters only got it partly wrong this time, though the most spectacular prediction cock-up was that on what would happen to British Labour prior to the exit polls.  Scotland crept up with a Tory surge, netting 12 seats, and there were scattering and skirmishing victories over the Scottish National Party, which suffered a considerable bruising.

But what mattered here was a return to the two-tiered showdown, the battlefront which saw Labour mount a challenge that recovered electoral ground almost to the tune of 10 percent from the last vote in 2015.  At the end of this bloody carnival, the only one left tall and standing was Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn’s gains, constituting the greatest vote share for Labour since Attlee in 1945, stimulated a movement to harry what must be regarded as a crippled Tory government in need of friends.  While the Conservatives were the ultimate victors, it was so utterly Pyrrhic as to warrant reconsideration of their leadership choices.

After all, such electoral bloodshed had been entirely unnecessary for Theresa May, who ran what has been termed, even by some conservatives, the worst election campaign in living memory.  “The decision to call an election,” wrote a smug Rod Liddle, who had been on the money from the start, “was arrogant and complacent – and so was the subsequent campaign.”

Having fallen short of a majority by eight seats, May has had to court the Democratic Unionist Party with their 10 seats. Overnight, they have become power brokers, the buttressing element of a fragile union. This presents its own problems for May, given the position taken by its leader, Arlene Foster, against a “hard Brexit”.

This particular pertains to the border with the Republic of Ireland. “No one wants to see a hard border, Sinn Fein [the opposition party in Northern Ireland] talk about it a lot, but nobody wants a hard border.”

There were the fuming figures who still found deep troubles with the Corbyn surge.  Extreme views about JC being a friend to Islamic extremism and sympathetic to anti-Semitism did their rounds from the poison pen of such publications as the Tower Magazine. Count him, claimed Toby Young in the Spectator, to “side with Britain’s enemies, never allowing his judgment to be clouded by jingoism.”

But Corbyn’s greatest satisfaction will be had against those who thought his insistence on principle too much of a handicap.  “We are a Labour government in waiting not a protest movement,” charged Owen Smith, who failed in an effort to overthrow Corbyn.

Only a flint-styled pragmatism, went the Labour apparatchiks jaded by the New Labour days, would win over the British voter.  “He has stuck doggedly,” Young remarked in bile-dripping gest, “to his brand of hard-left politics for more than 50 years.”

Writers such a J.K. Rowling, taking time off from writing fiction, decided to pillory Corbyn as a person who would “lead Labour to electoral oblivion.  Of that there is no doubt.”  Figures known for their trashier brand of journalism, not to mention inventiveness on sources (Piers Morgan stand up!), predicted majorities for the Conservatives of between 90 to 100 seats.

Zaid Jilani at The Intercept also took note about predictions on Corbyn’s election performance in the US, many of which were not much better.  An ill-considered David Axelrod, deemed the master strategist behind President Barack Obama’s victories, suggested that British Labour had suffered a mad lapse into “Corbynization”. The party had “sort of disintegrated in the face of their defeat [in 2015] and moved so far left that it’s, you know, in a very- in a very frail state.”

Labour, having been tossed out off traditional lands in Scotland in the last election, did edge forward, but another surprise on the night, and one that poured cold water on the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, was the Tory surge in the north.  Much of that could be put down to the feet of the charismatic (they do not come often) Ruth Davidson, whose presence outshone that of May’s dull steel approach.  Brexit’s disorienting effects have been considerable.

A stunning figure, and one that must be heartening to those permanently engaged in the task of encouraging those to enroll and vote, was the youth vote.  Even the Tories benefited from their participation, though in the main, Corbyn was their man.

May has been wounded, and in a political sense, mortally.  This, despite actually obtaining a greater share of the vote for the Conservatives from 2015.  She has made herself weak before Europe in imminent Brexit negotiations, and has arguably damaged the prospect of a credible Brexit taking place at all. She has made herself a sitting rich target within the Tories, who had to scramble on election night to restrain opinion and criticism of their leader. (Witness the warnings of Iain Duncan Smith in that regard.)

Her bungling was occasioned by pure hubris, and few, including many in the Labour party, believed that the nemesis would come in the form of Corbyn.  But there he is, having not only survived, but emboldened his progressive cause.  While across the Atlantic, Trump storms as a violent, nativist option, Corbyn supplies the alternative, an antidote from a progressive core.

Nostalgia and British Politics

Three days before the British election, The Independent’s headline title read: “Majority of British voters agree with Corbyn’s claim UK foreign policy increases the risk of terrorism”

So, seventy-five per cent of Brits realise that it is those immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya that have contributed to the terror that now haunts their country.

But ‘interventionist wars’ is just a politically correct term for Israeli-driven global conflicts promoted by the worldwide Zionist lobby: AIPAC in the USA, CRIF in France and the LFI/CFI in Britain. So the next question is unavoidable. How many of these Brits, who obviously know the truth about Britain’s ‘interventionist wars’, also grasp who it is that triggers these genocidal conflicts?

Today’s British election results provides us with a clear answer.

Theresa May has been made a fool by the British voter while Jeremy Corbyn, who was subject to constant smearing by the same lobby that pushed us into Iraq, Libya, Syria and even Iran, came out as the big winner.

The conclusion is inevitable: the more the Jewish and Zionist  institutions (BODJCJewish Labour Movement, LFI etc.) rubbished Corbyn, the more the Brits loved him. The more the Daily Telegraph pointed at Corbyn’s ties with so-called ‘Holocaust deniers’ the more the Brits saw him as a genuine human being and an entirely suitable Prime Ministerial candidate.

This should not surprise us. Exactly the same dynamic led to the election of Donald Trump in the USA last November. The more the Jewish institutions and media castigated Trump ‘anti-Semite,’ the more Americans saw him as a their liberator.

The truth of the matter is that Trump is far from being an antisemite. On the contrary, he is, as some Jewish journalists pointed out, probably the ‘first Jewish president.’ The same applies to Corbyn. He is certainly no ‘racist’ nor an ‘antisemite.’ No, his crime is all-too-obvious: He thinks  Jews are ordinary, people like all other people. He refuses to buy into the ‘chosen people’ mantra.

I have been anticipating Corbyn’s imminent success for more than two weeks now, but how did I know? Simple, the Jewish Chronicle and the Guardian of Judea changed their tone. They began to accept the possibility that Corbyn may well take up residence in 10 Downing Street for a while.  Pretty much, out of the blue, somehow, they decided to make friends.

Corbyn performed very well in this election. But he could have won it just by pointing at the lobby and the people behind the institutional smear campaign against him. He could have done what Trump did and performed what the Jewish press refer to as ‘dog whistling.’ He could have chastisedthe Israeli Sayanim within his party – after all, the evidence was fully documented.  He could  have taken a stand and stood for his party comrades who were victims of the Jewish Labour purge. But he didn’t. Corbyn isn’t Trump.  Being an overwhelmingly nice person, he turned the other cheek – something I myself find frustrating, probably due to my own Jerusalemite origin.

In my new book Being in Time – a Post Political Manifesto I point out that for working people, utopia is but nostalgia. It was Trump’s promise to ‘make America great again’ that secured his election.  Similarly, the surge in popularity of Jeremy Corbyn, an old-style Lefty who speaks about a unity that goes beyond sectarianism and identity politics is due to the nostalgic impact of his message, that yes, once upon a time, we were united by the Left.

Is it really a coincidence that, in Britain, it is Labour that is gaining power by marketing nostalgia while Theresa ‘conservative’ May is punished for her attempt to frog-march Britain ‘forward’ into the brutal and merciless hands of murky City mammonites and New World Order merchants?

The Facts proving Corbyn’s Election Triumph

Watching the BBC’s coverage of the election, you could be excused for taking away two main impressions of last night’s results. First, that Theresa May had a terrible, self-sabotaging campaign; and second that, while Jeremy Corbyn may be celebrating, he decisively lost the election.

Those are the conclusions we would expect a pundit class to draw that has spent two years slandering Corbyn, calling him “unelectable”, warning that he appealed to little more than a niche group of radical leftists, and claiming that Labour was about to face the worst electoral defeat in living memory – if not ever. Corbyn’s social justice message was supposedly alienating the heartlands of the UK.

So let’s stand back, look at the voting figures and see how a Corbyn-led Labour party actually did.

Corbyn received 41 per cent of the vote, against May’s 44 per cent. Given the UK’s inherently flawed, first-past-the-post electoral system, he won some 50 fewer seats than the Conservatives, but that was still a big improvement on Labour’s share of seats in the last election, under Ed Miliband. There is now a hung parliament, and to survive May will need to depend on the MPs of a small group of Northern Irish extremist Loyalists, creating a deeply unstable government.

But how did Corbyn do in terms of the Labour vote compared to his recent predecessors? He won many more votes than Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Neil Kinnock, who were among those that, sometimes noisily, opposed his leadership of the party.

They lost their elections. But what about Corbyn’s share of the vote compared to Tony Blair, his most high-profile critic, whose many allies in the parliamentary Labour party sought relentlessly to subvert Corbyn’s leadership over the past two years and tried to bring him down, including by staging a leadership challenge last year?

Here are the figures for Blair’s three wins. He got a 36 per cent share of the vote in 2005 – much less than Corbyn. He received a 41 per cent of the vote – about the same as Corbyn – in 2001. And Blair’s landslide victory in 1997 was secured on 43 per cent of the vote, just two percentage points ahead of Corbyn last night.

In short, Corbyn has proved himself the most popular Labour leader with the electorate in more than 40 years, apart from Blair’s landslide victory in 1997. But let’s recall the price Blair paid for that very small margin of improvement over Corbyn’s vote. Behind the scenes, he sold Labour’s soul to the City, the corporations and their lobbyists. That Faustian pact secured Blair the backing of most of the media, including Rupert Murdoch’s stable of papers and TV channel. The corporations mobilised their entire propaganda machine to get Blair into power. And yet he managed it with only 2 percentage points more than Corbyn, who had that same propaganda machine railing against him.

Also, unlike Corbyn, Blair did not have to endure a large section of his own party trying to destroy him from within.

That is the true mark of Corbyn’s achievement.

Another point. Blair’s 1997 landslide was the peak of his success. As Labour members realised what he had done to achieve victory, support ebbed away relentlessly until he was forced to step down and hand over a profoundly damaged party to Gordon Brown.

With Corbyn, the election campaign proved that there is a huge appetite for his honesty, his passion, his commitment to social justice – at least when audiences got a chance to hear from him directly, rather than having his policies and personality mediated and distorted by a biased and self-serving corporate media. Unlike Blair, who destroyed Labour to turn it into a Thatcher-lite party, Corbyn is rebuilding Labour into a social movement for progressive politics.

Here is a graph that offers another measure of the extent of Corbyn’s achievement last night.

It shows that he has just won the largest increase in the share of the Labour vote over the party’s previous general election performance since Clement Attlee in 1945. In short, he’s turned around the electoral fortunes of the Labour party more than any other party leader in 70 years.

And unlike Blair, he’s done it without making back-room deals with big business to eviscerate his party’s economic and social programmes.

UPDATE:

A reader has made an excellent additional point. Blair was able to rely on a strong Scottish vote for Labour that no longer existed by the time Corbyn became leader. Most of that vote now goes to the Scottish National Party (SNP) over the issue of independence for Scotland. If one factors that in too, one can see quite how much more popular Corbyn is with voters than decades of his triangulating, neoliberal-friendly predecessors.

Britain Ponders (Again) the Benefits of Concentration Camps

So in the Libyan fable, it is told,
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,
“With our own feathers, not by others’ hands,
Are we now smitten.”1

Sometimes it’s quite breathtaking to see just how far to the right British political opinion has been led. We really are just inches away from becoming a totalitarian fascist state – a situation that millions of our parents and grandparents fought and died trying to prevent in World War Two. And here we are, on the brink of sleepwalking into it.

A recent report revealed that senior figures in both the police and army are pressing to have internment camps built in Britain where thousands of people could be locked-up indefinitely without charge or trial. In addition to losing their freedom indefinitely, inmates “would be made to go through a deradicalisation programme”.

We already have the most draconian secrecy, censorship and libel laws in Europe, where so-called “D notices” can prevent the media reporting anything the state wants to keep secret. We already have secret courts, where people can be tried behind closed doors, and where they and their lawyers can be refused access to information about the alleged crimes they allegedly committed. Even Winston Churchill, who no one could rightfully accuse of harbouring left-wing sympathies, wrote that:

The power of the executive to cast a man into prison, without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government.2

Mass internment camps would just about complete the creeping conversion into totalitarian government.

The given reason for this institutionalised paranoia is, of course, “national security”, an excuse the 99% are far too quick to buy. Like the now routine destruction of distant countries, supposedly to save those countries, we are now supposed to meekly relinquish our right to liberty – habeas corpus – so that we may be free. It’s very easy to cite appalling terrorist incidents as justification for whittling away yet more of the freedoms that our forefathers and foremothers shed blood trying to win. But those appalling incidents are sometimes not what they appear to be, because all too often in the past the terrorists concerned have been agents for the state.

I used to wonder why the IRA would often claim responsibility for carrying out some particular act of terror. I mean, why would anyone freely admit to being a terrorist? I still don’t know the answer to that, but I wonder if it’s because the IRA knew that Britain’s so-called “special forces” were sometimes causing the terrorist acts the IRA were accused of perpetrating. So if you quickly claim responsibility for the crimes you do commit, does it leave open the question of liability for the ones you don’t admit to? For example, the bombing of two pubs in Birmingham in 1974 was, at the time, the worst terrorist outrage on British soil since the war. Although the IRA was widely accused of the crime, and six innocent men were later imprisoned for it, the Provisional IRA never officially claimed any responsibility.

The time gap between some terrorist outrages in the past, and the passage of new draconian laws – laws whose passage through parliament might otherwise be strongly resisted – is often amazingly short. The far-reaching Prevention of Terrorism Act, for example, was passed a mere six days after the Birmingham bombings, on 27th November 1974.

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their excellent study British intelligence and Covert Action also record that:

Despite public embarrassment of their security authorities, the British government achieved its main objective: the passage of strong anti-terrorist legislation through the Dail. Two conveniently timed car bombs, which exploded in Dublin the night before the vote, produced an overnight switch of policy in the opposition Fine Gael and labour Parties, whose votes in favour carried the measures through the Dail.3

And the gruesome “Patriot Act” raced into US law a mere 6 weeks following the destruction of the World Trade Centre – an event whose full details are still deeply opaque.

Now Prime Minister May has said, as part of her election campaign and in response to the recent terror events in Britain, “she will change human rights law” which would “restrict the freedom and movements” of those that present a threat. The fact that such laws already exist, where people can be imprisoned in their own homes, suggests that she thinks the concentration camps proposed by police and army chiefs are a great idea.

Plausible deniability

Evidence of cynical evil being carried out by our own trusted rulers, experts in the principle of “plausible deniability”, is obviously difficult to come by. But every now and then a brief flash of light is shone into this dark and murky world – when heroic whistle-blowers such as Manning, Snowden, and Assange, for example, provide the 99% with irrefutable proof – only to be rewarded not with honours, praise and glory, but with persecution, exile, imprisonment and death threats.

Not only have previous British governments already used concentration camps – in South Africa, and Northern Ireland – the Brits have also specialised in false flag operations for centuries. The very expression comes from the days when the Royal Navy’s battleships would sometimes sail under the national flags of other countries in order to trick unsuspecting foreign vessels to allow the Brits to get close enough to attack them and capture them as “prizes”, or sink them: legitimised piracy, in other words. Today the expression “false flag” is used for incidents where terrorist outrages are carried out by one group of terrorists pretending to be another group of terrorists. In the 1970s, when Irish terrorism was at its peak, a unit of Britain’s so-called “special forces” was assembled under the name of the Military Reconnaissance Force. Their purpose was to pretend to be IRA terrorists and cruise the streets of Belfast murdering people.

Such gems of proof of the cynicism of the British state are obviously rare, but because the proof is rare does not mean the practices are similarly uncommon. Far from it. Bloch and Fitzgerald, for example, recall the words of Kim Philby, the MI6 spy, who revealed the existence of:

A ‘Special Political Action’ section set up in the mid-fifties with the various tasks of organising coups, secret radio stations and propaganda campaigns, wrecking international conferences and influencing elections.4

And Stephen Dorril, in his superb history of Britain’s MI6, writes about:

The ‘false flag’ ploy, a favourite of MI6.5

Anyone who has ever had first-hand experience of the work of “special forces”, anywhere in the world, knows about false flag operations. For these people they’re almost routine. Yet for the 99% the concept is too far-fetched, and horrifying, to believe, and conveniently dismissed as “conspiracy theory”. But those who serve in the so-called “special forces” know the truth – as the rare Panorama programme about the MRF showed.

There seems to be a slowly-growing awareness that our very own governments, no matter their apparent political ideology – Labour or Tory, Republican or Democrat – are directly linked to the massive rise in global terrorism. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has been outspoken in his demand for radical reform of Britain’s foreign policy. He knows, as many of us do, that there is a direct link between Islamic terrorism and British support for illegal wars in the Islamic world. The connection is obvious to anyone with a properly functioning brain: if you deliberately hurt innocent people for no good reason or, even worse, to somehow profit from doing so, you will create a lot of anger, anger which, in the absence of justice, will demand revenge instead. British foreign policy has for many years been hurting innocent people for no good reason other than generating corporate profits.

British governments have been warned many times about the likelihood that their foreign policy decisions would invite retribution, and warned by people who should know what they’re talking about. Eliza Manningham-Buller, for example, ex-chief of MI5, said that Blair’s illegal war in Iraq “increased the terrorist threat”; and Stella Rimmington, another ex-chief of MI5, talking about suicide bombers generally, said “to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading.”

But misleading is what our trusted leaders do exceptionally well. Reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s perfectly rational call for major changes to British foreign policy was met with a storm of self-righteous indignation from both the Tories, in the shape of Foreign Secretary Amber Rudd and leader of the LibDems Tim Farron, both of whom affected to be “outraged” that Corbyn could suggest such a thing.

This appearance of shocked, wounded innocence to voices-in-the-wilderness such as Corbyn’s pointing out the blindingly obvious is, of course, the standard response of nearly all of those in positions of power, from government ministers to bemedalled generals and admirals to arguably the most cynical power-brokers of them all, the mainstream media.

It doesn’t have to be like this

Public opinion, which is real political power, is shaped by two main forces. Firstly, the education system, which is primarily responsible for training us how and what to think. Secondly, the mainstream media, which supplies endless information to the 99% about how our world appears to be working. These two powerful forces, increasingly controlled by the corporate business world, carefully shape and maintain public opinion so that it never strays too far from acceptable norms. A tiny fringe of outspoken criticism is tolerated, indeed even sometimes encouraged, to create the illusion of impartiality, free expression and “balance”; but such voices are rare and quickly and crushingly dismissed by the far more powerful faces of established respectability.

The truly infuriating thing to understand is not only that none of the mayhem that’s unleashed around the world is necessary, but also that it could be easily remedied. The ceaseless and deliberate destruction of millions of lives, together with the catastrophic ruin of our life-sustaining planet – which right now is enduring the biggest mass extinction of species since the meteor strike at Chicxulub – is not only wholly unnecessary.  It could all be so easily stopped, and good, responsible administration of our planet quickly arranged – for the first time in history. That could be so easy to do.

The biggest obstacle is now, and always has been, the people we mistakenly allow to lead us. Perfectly symbolised by the Occupy Movement as the 1%, they comprise a tiny fragment of society who wield almost absolute control over 99% of the rest of us. Edward Dowling once observed that,

The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.

This chronic terror among the 1% is ever-present, and grows as their greed grows and increases the oppression of the 99%. The report that outriders of British power, senior police and army officials, want to build concentration camps is consistent with this fear. Such camps have never increased the safety and security of the general population, and they never will. They do, however, help to consolidate the grip of the super-rich over societies that they are systematically looting.

The role of the education system and the mainstream media in maintaining this situation needs to be recognised and clearly understood. A better world is not only possible, it could be created with astonishing ease and rapidity – given that 99% of us would love to live in a better world. The problem lies not in visualising alternative and better models of society, it lies in breaking free from the vice-like grip the 1% have around the throats of the 99%. For the 1% the world could not be much better than it already is. For the 99% it couldn’t be much worse, and the desire of our trusted leaders to lock us up in concentration camps is dazzling confirmation of those facts.

The fact that Theresa May can suggest, as a vote-winning campaigning proposal, law changes that could lead to building concentration camps in Britain shows the extent of the brainwashing of the 99%. With Muslims being murdered in their own homes in industrial quantities by Zionists, the US and Britain, Islamic rage is easy to understand; why British people continue to vote for the perpetrators of western terror is not. Muslims don’t need re-programming nearly as much as Tory voters do.

  1. Aeschylus Frag. 135
  2. Essential Chomsky, Anthony Arnove, p. 89
  3. British Intelligence and Covert Action, Johnathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald, p. 222.
  4. British Intelligence and Covert Action, Johnathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald, p. 39
  5. MI6, Stephen Dorril, p. 281

Terror as Opportunity: Exploiting the London Attacks

The hallmark of any administration worth its corruptly curing salt is making hay while the sun shines its searing rays.  Not long after the slashing and running down was taking place in London, moving from London Bridge to Borough Market, the tweets of blame and fire were already coming through.

That nasty sovereign known as social media was already agitating. One of the biggest themes: the rollback on human rights protections, and the marketing of pure fear.  Across the Atlantic, President Donald Trump was adding his little rough side to the debate.  “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”

A spokesman for Sadiq Khan was hoping to deflect the Trump tweet as misdirected spittle, preferring to focus on the job at hand: “The mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city.”

In short, Khan had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police – including armed officers – on the streets.”

Alarm, however, can be quarried and built upon. The attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market has enabled Prime Minister Theresa May to revive the inner Home Secretary in her, one replete with suspicions and hostility towards free agents and choice in society.

With only hours to go to the polls, May has been promising flintier measures against extremists, notably in terms of controls using risk as a key indicator.  Even in the absence of concrete evidence for prosecution, the prime minister fancies making the lot of the state easier in how to control suspects and limit liberties.

More had to be done to “restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough to show they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.” If that nuisance known as human rights laws were “to stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”  Chillingly, this language would sit rather easily with the next fundamentalist reformer keen to ignore human rights in favour of undeviating scripture and the pure society.

Her words read like a laundry list of security promises and heavy-handedness, much of it pointed in the direction of the Human Rights Act, never a beloved instrument of those keen on trimming civil liberties: “I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences.  I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.”

Tory lawmakers are also pondering the prospect of curbing communications and access to devices, curfews and restrictions on associating between claimed extremists. May is also open to extending the period for which a terrorist suspect can be held without trial.  (The current number is 14 days.)

Many of May’s promises are marked by contradiction.  The spirit of austerity still haunts the Tory drive to perform its protective duties for Britannia.  It wants a fully functioning and efficient security apparatus, but prefers to keep it cash strapped and hobbled.

Khan has reminded the prime minister that talk of robust security is all dandy, until you realise that cuts of up to 10 to 40 per cent in police numbers have been implemented, much of this presided over by May herself when she held the post of Home Secretary.

Steve Hilton, former prime minister David Cameron’s strategy chief, decided to also weigh in on that point, suggesting that May throw in the towel for her sloppiness.  It was the prime minister, he charged, who had to be held “responsible for [the] security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge.”  Terror suspects had eluded the counter-terror web; radicalisation fears had been ignored.

May’s proposed legal measures will be subjected to judicial scrutiny when the time comes.  Labour, when in office, found the issue of control orders a problem, despite their championing by such figures as former home secretary David Blunkett.  Blunkett, a sort of amateur fascist, even insisted that May consider restoring such orders in the wake of the suicide bombing in Iraq by British ex-inmate of Guantánamo, Jamal al-Harith.

What is being proposed is a milder variant of permanent surveillance and indefinite control over someone not accused of any crimes, but highlighted as a threat.  This is actuarial risk assessment at its worst.  Coupled with the badgering of telecommunications companies to do their bit in undermining privacy, and hectoring companies to downgrade their encryption standards, and the world looks ever bleaker.  All this will keep human rights lawyers in clover for sometime.

London Bridge Attack: Hypocrisy, Double Standards and Double Dealing

Nothing justifies killing of innocent people.
— Tony Blair, CNN, 15th January 2015

Perhaps the attack which killed seven and injured forty-eight, twenty-one critically, on a balmy Saturday evening on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market, a popular area of cafes, bars and restaurants, could be described in one word: “blowback.”

The lesson could not be starker. In December last year, after the Berlin Christmas lorry attack, a contributor on an ISIS forum called for more attacks with the comment: “Muslim countries will not be the only ones that are sad.”

After the attack on a concert in Manchester two weeks before London Bridge, killing twenty-three, injuring one hundred and nineteen, twenty-three critically, Islamic State responded that it was a response to Britain’s: “transgressions against the lands of the Muslims” and a victory against “the Crusaders.”

Bush and Blair, please note.

As US and British bombs drop and allied soldiers slaughter, year after year, decade after decade, in majority Muslim countries, it is, as in London, Manchester, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Nice, the innocent going about daily business, enjoying an evening meal, celebration or sports event who pay the ultimate, heartbreaking price. In Iraq and other countries under “allied” assault it is also those called “insurgents” who are, in fact, simply nationals who want their country, illegally invaded or attacked, back.

“2017 will be the year of the massacre” was written on another forum.

Also in December, Europol, the law enforcement arm of the EU, issued a stark, lengthy Report with warnings of attacks “both by lone actors and groups” are “likely to take place in the near future … ”

The UK belongs to the “Global Coalition”, a sixty-eight country partnership across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas “committed to defeating IS”, seemingly regardless of human cost and reducing countries to rubble.

The UK parliament backed British participation in air strikes against IS in Iraq back in September 2014 … Just over a year later in 2015, MPs authorised air strikes against IS in Syria. (Thus operating entirely illegally in Syrian airspace.)

The UK has conducted more than 1,200 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since it became involved – more than any other coalition country bar the United States.

In 2016 the US dropped 12,192 bombs in Syria and 12,095 in Iraq, according to the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations.

In all, the U.S. bombed Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia in 2016, raining down an average of seventy two bombs a day, the equivalent of three an hour. 1,337 were dropped on Afghanistan, up from 947 in 2015, three on ally Pakistan, fourteen on Somalia and thirty-four on Yemen.

However, … estimates were “undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single strike, according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions.”

Of course, all countries in the Global Coalition will be regarded by their victims and those emphasizing with them, as equally culpable, since in a “coalition”, all bear responsibility for the actions of another, with British Ministers ever trumpeting the “special relationship” with the US.

In the UK, Prime Minister May seems either not to make the connection, or chooses to ignore it. Moreover, the Manchester suicide bomber was twenty two year old Salman Abedi, British born, of Libyan parents who were part of the murderous opposition to Muammar Gaddafi’s government (which had given its citizens the highest standard of living in Africa.)

When she spoke after Manchester’s tragedy:

May’s speech did not address allegations that in 2011, while she was Home Secretary, Libyan Islamists previously under surveillance in Britain were given back their passports and helped by the government to fly to Libya to fight Muammar Gaddafi’s administration. Nor did she say why the government is refusing to publish a report on jihadist funding – allegedly because it fingers Saudi Arabia, Britain’s arms industry’s biggest customer.

Further, Abedi junior, although “known to the authorities” had returned to the UK from Libya and possibly Syria, reportedly, just days before his lethal attack.

In context, regarding Saudi Arabia, as The Intercept points out:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has made the U.K.’s uneasy alliance with the Saudis an election issue, with voters going to the polls on June 8th. The Tories’ ties to Saudi Arabia, Labour leaders charge, have resulted in record weapons sales – Conservative governments have licensed £3.3 billion ($4.2 billion) in arms sales to the Saudi military since the onset of the Yemen campaign. They are also noticeably reluctant to criticize Saudi’s appalling human rights abuses.

While Tory politicians have defended the arms sales to Saudis as a move to shore up Britain’s allies in the region, Tory members of Parliament have collected £99,396 ($128,035) in gifts, travel expenses, and consulting fees from the government of Saudi Arabia since the Yemen war began.

The unpublished Report referred to above was to be published in Spring 2016. Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron have charged that the reason for its suppression is that it involves lucrative State customers including Saudi and other Gulf States “funding and fuelling extremist ideology.”

This reluctance may well have roots firmly back in Baghdad Butcher Tony Blair’s government. This, from The Guardian, 15th February 2008 is worth a few paragraphs’ quote:

Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced ‘another 7/7’ and the loss of ‘British lives on British streets’ if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi National Security Council, and son of the Crown Prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

He was accused in yesterday’s High Court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.

The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered an international outcry, with allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.

Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have ‘rolled over’ after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was ‘just as if a gun had been held to the head’ of the government.

Apart from accusations of double standards on human rights and terrorism, there is another towering double standard. As always, rightly, when there is a tragedy in the West, world leaders send messages of sympathy and outrage, the Eifel Tower or Brandenburg Gate go dark or display the victim country’s colours.

Heartwarming messages poured in to London from leaders across Europe and the world offering prayers, solidarity, hearts and minds. The exception was Donald Trump who can ever elevate tastelessness to new heights who used the grief of others to push his travel ban and to insult the (Muslim) Mayor of London.

The three dead alleged attackers have now been named by the police as east London-based, Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, 27 and Rachid Redouane, 30, who police said had claimed to be Morrocan-Libyan and had until recently been living in Ireland. He was identified by his Irish residence identity documents issued by Ireland’s Department of Immigration. The last to be named is Youssef Zaghba, 22, with Italian mother and Moroccan father, formerly brought up in and living in Italy. Perhaps Trump will rain 59 Cruise missiles down on Ireland and Italy.

Back to double standards, in just two examples out of Iraq’s daily horrors, in July last year in vibrant Karrada, central Baghdad, two hundred and ninety two people were killed and over two hundred injured in a terrorist attack.

On 30th May this year, as people were breaking their Ramadan fast at a popular ice cream shop in Karrada at least fifteen were killed and thirty injured by another attack, both were, as London, said to be ISIS acts.

In between those two carnages have been near daily others across the country since 2003’s invasion, as in Afghanistan since 2001, Syria and Libya from 2011, Palestine approaching seventy years devastations. How many Western world leaders have sent prayers, thoughts, solidarity, hearts and minds to them?

Or do they just settle for Trump’s travel ban?

“The BBC Has Betrayed Its Own Rules Of Impartiality”: Yemen, Saudi Arabia And The General Election

A key function of BBC propaganda is to present the perspective of ‘the West’ on the wars and conflicts of the world. Thus, in a recent online report, BBC News once again gave prominence to the Pentagon propaganda version of yet more US killings in Yemen. The headline stated:

US forces kill seven al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, says Pentagon

Seven ‘militants’ killed is the stark message. A veneer of ‘impartiality’ is provided by the weasel words, ‘says Pentagon’. BBC News then notes blandly, and without quotation marks:

The primary objective of the operation was to gather intelligence.

Nowhere in the short article was there any attempt to provide an alternative view of who had been killed and why. Were they really all ‘militants’? How is a ‘militant’ distinguished from a ‘civilian’, or from a soldier defending his country against foreign invaders? There was not even a cautious statement to the effect that the Pentagon’s claims could not be verified, as one might expect of responsible journalism.

Instead, we have to turn to Reprieve, an international human rights organisation founded in 1999 by the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. The group reports that five of the ‘militants’ were civilians, including a partially blind 70-year-old man who was shot when he tried to greet the US Navy Seals, mistaking them for guests arriving in his village.

But their civilians are mere ‘collateral damage’ in war. Since January 2017, the US has launched 90 or more drone strikes in Yemen, killing around 100 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This death toll includes 25 civilians, among whom were 10 children, killed in the village of al Ghayil in the Yemeni highlands during a US raid that was described by President Trump as ‘highly successful’.

Mentions of such atrocities were notable by their absence in ‘mainstream’ media coverage of Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia where he signed trade deals worth around $350 billion. This included an arms deal of $110 billion which the White House described as ‘the single biggest in US history.’ It would not do for the corporate media, including BBC News, to dwell on the implications for Yemen where at least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in 2015. 14 million Yemenis, more than half the population, are facing hunger with the Saudis deliberately targeting food production.

The World Health Organisation recently warned of the rising numbers of deaths in Yemen due to cholera, saying that it was ‘unprecedented’. Save the Children says that at the current rate, more than 65,000 cases of cholera are expected by the end of June. The cholera outbreak could well become ‘a full blown-epidemic’. Moreover:

The upsurge comes as the health system, sanitation facilities and civil infrastructure have reached breaking point because of the ongoing war.

As US investigative journalist Gareth Porter observes via Twitter:

World leaders are silent as #Yemen faces horrible cholera epidemic linked to #Saudi War & famine. Politics as usual.

Iona Craig, formerly a Yemen-based correspondent for The Times, notes that ‘more than 58 hospitals now have been bombed by the coalition airstrikes, and people just do not have access to medical care in a way that they did before the war.’ As if the bombing was not already brutal, Saudi Arabia has imposed a cruel blockade on Yemen that is delaying, or even preventing, vital commodities from getting into the country. Grant Pritchard, interim country director for Save the Children in Yemen, says:

These delays are killing children. Our teams are dealing with outbreaks of cholera, and children suffering from diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition.

With the right medicines these are all completely treatable — but the Saudi-led coalition is stopping them getting in. They are turning aid and commercial supplies into weapons of war.

As one doctor at the Republic teaching hospital in Sanaa commented:

We are unable to get medical supplies. Anaesthetics. Medicines for kidneys. There are babies dying in incubators because we can’t get supplies to treat them.

The doctor estimated that 25 people were dying every day at the hospital because of the blockade. He continued:

They call it natural death. But it’s not. If we had the medicines they wouldn’t be dead.

I consider them killed as if they were killed by an air strike, because if we had the medicines they would still be alive.

None of this grim reality was deemed relevant to Trump’s signing of the massive new arms deal with Saudi Arabia. BBC News focused instead on inanities such as Trump ‘to soften his rhetoric’, ‘joins Saudi sword dance’ and ‘no scarf for Melania’. But then, it is standard practice for the BBC to absolve the West of any blame for the Yemen war and humanitarian disaster.

British historian Mark Curtis poses a vital question that journalists fear to raise, not least those at the BBC: is there, in effect, collusion between the BBC and UK arms manufacturer BAE Systems not to report on UK support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen, and not to make it an election issue? Curtis also notes that the BBC has not published any online article about UK arms being sold to the Saudis for use in Yemen since as far back as January. This, he says, is ‘misinforming the public, a disgrace’. He also rightly points out that the BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr, was also Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust until April 2017 (when the Trust was wound up at the end of its 10-year tenure). The BBC Trust’s role was to ensure the BBC lived up to its statutory obligations to the public, including news ‘balance’ and ‘impartiality’. How could Sir Roger’s dual role not suggest a major potential conflict of interest?

On the wider issue of ‘mainstream’ media coverage of foreign policy, the political journalist Peter Oborne notes that:

Needless to say, the British media (and in particular the BBC, which has a constitutional duty to ensure fair play during general elections) has practically ignored Corbyn’s foreign policy manifesto.

Oborne writes that the manifesto:

is radical and morally courageous.

He explains that, pre-Corbyn:

Foreign policy on both sides was literally identical. The leadership of both Labour and the Conservatives backed the wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, the alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states in the Gulf.

London did what it was told by Washington. […] This cross-party consensus has been smashed, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour leader. Whatever one thinks of Corbyn’s political views (and I disagree with many of them), British democracy owes him a colossal debt of gratitude for restoring genuine political debate to Britain.

And of course his extremely brave and radical decision to break with the foreign policy analysis of Blair and his successors explains why he is viewed with such hatred and contempt across so much of the media and within the Westminster political establishment.

But, as Oborne notes, this important change has not been fairly represented in media coverage. In particular, on Yemen and Saudi Arabia:

It is deeply upsetting that the BBC has betrayed its own rules of impartiality and ignored Corbyn’s brave stand on this issue.

We challenged Andrew Roy, the BBC News Foreign Editor, to respond to Oborne’s observations. He ignored us (here and here). Roy’s silence is especially noteworthy given that he had once promised:

If there is a considered detailed complaint to something we’ve done, I will always respond to it personally.

Perhaps Oborne’s challenge to the BBC was not deemed sufficiently ‘considered’ or ‘detailed’ by the senior BBC News editor. Likewise, our own challenges over many years in numerous media alerts addressing BBC foreign coverage have been ignored or, at best, brushed away.

It was noteworthy that Corbyn’s considered response to the most recent terrorist attack in London was selectively reported, arguably censored, by BBC News. Corbyn said:

We need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.

It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of terrorist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis here and in the Middle East.

Sky News broadcast Corbyn’s comments, but they do not appear to have been covered by BBC News. Certainly, as far as we can see, there is no mention of them in their ‘Live’ blog on the London attack or in Laura Kuenssberg’s analysis, ‘Election 2017: Impact of London terror attack on campaign’. And nothing about the Saudi link with terrorism appears in the BBC’s online report on Corbyn’s speech, focusing instead on the issue of May’s cuts to police numbers while Home Secretary. Even this issue alone, if properly and fully addressed by the media, should be a resigning matter for May as Prime Minister. Responding to the London attacks, Peter Kirkham, a former Senior Investigating Officer with the Metropolitan police, accused the government of lying over police numbers on UK streets. And a serving firearms officer says that:

The Government is wrong to claim police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks.

Despite her denials, Theresa May’s cuts to police numbers have made attacks like London and Manchester much more likely.

Kuenssberg’s piece included passing mention of ‘the Tories’ record on squeezing money for the police’. But she gave no figures showing a reduction in the number of armed police; crucial statistics which she could have easily found from the Home Office.

Mark Curtis gives a damning assessment of BBC reporting on foreign affairs, particularly during the general election campaign. Noting first that:

One aspect of a free and fair election is “nonpartisan” coverage by state media.

He continues:

Yet BBC reporting on Britain’s foreign policy is simply amplifying state priorities and burying its complicity in human rights abuses. The BBC is unable to report even that Britain is at war – in Yemen, where the UK is arming the Saudis to conduct mass bombing, having supplied them with aircraft and £1 billion worth of bombs, while training their pilots.

Curtis then provides some telling statistics:

From 4 April to 15 May, the BBC website carried only 10 articles on Yemen but 97 on Syria: focusing on the crimes of an official enemy rather than our own. Almost no BBC articles on Yemen mention British arms exports. Theresa May’s government is complicit in mass civilian deaths in Yemen and pushing millions of people to the brink of starvation; that this is not an election issue is a stupendous propaganda achievement.

Indeed, our newspaper database searches reveal that, since the election was called on April 18, there has been no significant journalistic scrutiny of May’s support of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen. The subject was even deemed radioactive during a public meeting in Rye, Sussex, when Amber Rudd, standing for re-election, appeared to shut down discussion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Electoral candidate Nicholas Wilson explains what happened:

At a hustings in Rye on 3 June, where I am standing as an independent anti-corruption parliamentary candidate, a question was asked about law & order. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in answering it referred to the Manchester terrorist attack. I took up the theme and referred to UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia & HSBC business there. She spoke to and handed a note to the chairman who removed the mic from me.

The footage of this shameful censorship deserves to be widely seen. If a similar event had happened in Russia or North Korea, it would have received intensive media scrutiny here. Once again, we note the arms connection with the BBC through BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr. Wilson has also pointed out a potential conflict of interest between HSBC and the BBC through Rona Fairhead who was a non-executive director of HSBC while serving as Chair of the BBC Trust.

These links, and Theresa May’s support for the Saudi regime, have gone essentially unexamined by the BBC. And yet, when BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg responded to Corbyn’s manifesto launch, her subtle use of insidious language betrayed an inherent bias against Corbyn and his policies on foreign affairs. She wrote: ‘rather than scramble to cover up his past views for fear they would be unpopular’, he would ‘double down…proudly’. Kuenssberg’s use of pejorative language – ‘scramble’, ‘cover up’, ‘unpopular’ – delivered a powerful negative spin against Corbyn policies that, in fact, as Oborne argues, are hugely to his credit.

When has Kuenssberg ever pressed May over her appalling voting record on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen? In fact, there is no need for May to ‘scramble’ to ‘cover up’ her past views. Why not? Because the ‘mainstream’ media rarely, if ever, seriously challenge her about being consistently and disastrously wrong in her foreign policy choices; not least, on decisions to go to war.

The Saudi Hand in British Foreign Policy

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia always knows when it’s onto a good thing. That particular “thing”, in the few days left before the UK elections, is the May government. That same government that has done so much to make a distinction between policy and values, notably when it comes to dealing with Riyadh.

The United Kingdom has been a firm, even obsequious backer of Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen.  In the traditional spoiling nature of British foreign policy, what is good for the UK wallet can also be good in keeping Middle Eastern politics brutal and divided. The obscurantist despots of the House of Saud have profited as a result.

The Saudi bribery machine tends to function all hours, a measure of its gratitude and its tenacity.  According to the register of financial interests disclosed by the UK Parliament, conservative members of the government received almost £100 thousand pounds in terms of travel expenses, gifts, and consulting fees since the Yemen conflict began.

The Saudi sponsors certainly know which side their bread is buttered on.  Those involved in debates on Middle Eastern policy have been the specific targets of such largesse.  Tory MP Charlotte Leslie was one, and received a food basket totalling £500.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is another keen target of the Kingdom’s deep pockets, having shown a willingness to defend mass executions in the past. “Let us be clear, first of all,” he insisted after consuming the Kingdom’s gruel on why 47 people were executed in January 2016, “that these people are convicted terrorists.”  Four of them, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, were political protesters as well, but terrorists come in all shades.

Hammond, instead of going red on the issue, found another Islamic regime of comparable worth to point the finger at. Iran, for instance, “executes far more people than Saudi Arabia”. Best, then, to drop the matter and do such things as accept a watch from the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the value of £1,950.

Such a sweetly disposed attitude stands in the annals of the British approach, a matter not so much of sentiment and institution.  The Blair government of New Labour fluff was similarly keen to smooth the pathway for the British arms market, while making sure that Riyadh, whatever its policies, was courted.

Attempts to shine a strong, searing spotlight on corrupt practices, notably those linked to BAE, have been scotched, blocked or stalled.  One such example, a chilling one given the recent spate of attacks on civilians in the UK, involved a disgruntled Prince Bandar, head of Saudi Arabia’s national security council, threaten Prime Minister Tony Blair with “another 7/7” should a fraud investigation into BAE-Riyadh transactions continue.

High Court documents in February 2008 hearings insisted that the Prince had flown to London in December 2006 to give Blair a personal savaging laced with ominous promise: stop the Serious Fraud Office investigation, or expect London to witness a terrorist inflicted bloodbath.

Blair complied, leaving Robert Wardle, the SFO’s director, stunned.  “The idea of discontinuing the investigation went against my every instinct as a prosecutor. I wanted to see where the evidence led.” Not, however, obliging Tony and the happy executioners in Riyadh.

In yet another interesting turn ahead of the June 8 election, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has decided to bring the Saudi role behind that policy into full view.  Corbyn’s rebranded Labour approach is more hardnosed on the issue of UK arms sales to the Kingdom.  Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry wished for a return (was there ever one?) to an “ethical foreign policy”, one fashioned on the approach taken by former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

Cook’s ethical thrust, if it could be termed that, came to view in 2003 when he resigned over the Iraq War.  “Labour does not accept that political values can be left behind when we check in our passports.”

Not so, according to Blair, whose sense of ethics was always muddled by a contaminating mix of evangelism and fakery. But times are different from Corbyn’s perspective.  This is Labour rebooted on Cook’s original objectives: “We will strive,” promised Thornberry, “to reduce not increase global tensions, and give new momentum to talks on non-proliferation and disarmament.”

Thornberry’s words would have sent a true tingling through the Saudi security establishment. In line with the Labour party manifesto, the shadow foreign secretary promised to pursue an independent UN investigation into alleged war crimes in Yemen.  Arms sales to the Saudi coalition engaged in that conflict would be suspended.

The picture is not a pretty one when shoved into the electoral process. But then again, the May wobble and turn may well justify such a relationship on terms that Saudi security and power is preferable to other authoritarian regimes. These big bad Sunnis are the good Muslims of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Such splitting of hairs doesn’t tend to fly well from the stump and the Tories might well attempt to keep things as quiet as possible. The Saudis, on the other hand, will be wishing for business as usual, praying that the threat of a Corbyn government passes into the shadows of back slapping Realpolitik.

Why the London Terror Attack Occurred Now

One has to ask why terrorists like those who struck last night in London, and earlier in Manchester, launched their attacks now. It is difficult not to infer that their violence was timed to influence the UK election on Thursday. Those behind the attack – whether those carrying it out or those dispatching the terrorists – want to have an effect. Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence for political ends. It has a logic, even if it is one we mostly do not care to understand.

So what do these terrorists hope to achieve?

Based on prior experience, they will assume that by striking now they can increase fear and anger among the British population – intensifying anti-Muslim rhetoric, justifying harsher “security” responses from the British state and shifting political support towards the right. That is good for their cause because it radicalises other disillusioned Muslim youth. In short, it brings recruits.

Islam is not exceptional in this regard. This is not a problem specifically of religion. As experts have repeatedly pointed out, disillusioned, frustrated, angry (and mainly male) youth adopt existing ideologies relevant to them and then search for the parts that can be twisted to justify their violence. The violent impulse exists and they seek an ideology to rationalise it.

Once Christianity – the religion of turning the other cheek – was used to justify pogroms and inquisitions. In the US, white supremacists – in the Ku Klux Klan, for example – used the Bible to justify spreading terror among the black population of the Deep South. White supremacists continue sporadically to use terror in the US, most notably Timothy McVeigh, who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Terrorists can exploit secular ideologies too, on either the far-right or far-left. Just think of the Baader Meinhof Gang and the Symbionese Liberation Army, back in the 1970s. The latter famously made a convert of Patty Hearst, granddaughter of publishing empire magnate William Randolph Hearst (aka Citizen Kane). After she was taken hostage, she quickly adopted the group’s thinking and its violence as her own.

The Islamic terrorists of our time believe in a violent, zero-sum clash of civilisations. That should not be surprising, as their ideology mirrors the dominant ideology – neo-conservatism – of western foreign policy establishments. Both sides are locked in a terrifying dance of death. Both believe that two “civilisations” exist and are incompatible, that they are in a fight to the death, and that any measures are justified to achieve victory because the struggle is existential. We use drones and “humanitarian intervention” to destabilise their societies; they use cars, guns, knives and bombs to destabilise ours.

The dance chiefly takes place because both sides continue it. And it will not be easy to break free of it. Our meddling in the Middle East dates back more than a century – and especially since the region became a giant oil spigot for us. The tentacles of western interference did not emerge in 2003, whatever we may choose to believe. Conversely, a globalised world inevitably entails one where a century-long colonial battlefield can easily come back to haunt us on our doorsteps.

The solution, complex as it will need to be, certainly cannot include the use by us of similarly indiscriminate violence, more “intervention” in the Middle East, or more scapegoating of Muslims. It will require taking a step back and considering how and why we too are addicted to this dance of death.

Guardian Staff come out of the Closet for Corbyn

Dear Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett,

Congratulations on coming out of the Guardian closet and admitting that you have been a secret Jeremy Corbyn admirer all along. Your column, “I used to be a shy Corbynite but I’m over that now”, was excellent.

Interestingly, I noticed Jonathan Freedland, the paper’s senior commentator and its Corbyn-denigrator-in-chief (he has some competition!) – and your boss, I suppose – wrote an oped a couple of days ago admitting he may have misjudged Corbyn. Maybe that was the moment you finally sparked up the courage to come clean about liking Corbyn.

I was very interested in what you had to say about why you remained silent for so long.

I had become so used to political commentators popping up every time I expressed admiration for Corbyn’s principles to call me naive or a narcissist or an Islington-dwelling champagne socialist or a loony lefty, as though we were in some pompous game of whack-a-mole, that I began to sort of believe it.

Are you talking about Freedland? But I suppose there were lots of other ideological bouncers out there in liberal-media pundit land. It must have been hard. As you say, “Stop treating us like fools!”

But I never did stop believing in the same things Corbyn does – in equality, social justice, social mobility and peace. Nor did I ever doubt that families such as my own would be much better off under a Labour government than a Tory one. Which is why I’m going to vote for him again.

Great, Rhiannon! Shame it took so long for you to pluck up the courage to speak out.

Why should anyone feel embarrassed to back an anti-austerity politician in this context? Why should anyone who cares passionately about the NHS remaining safe from being transferred into private ownership feel ashamed to support a politician who is committed to it? Why should any young person – most of whom seem to be voting for Corbyn – cringe at voting for a party that has committed itself to tackling generational injustice?

Good question. Why should anyone feel embarrassed, especially a well-paid, career-minded young journalist like yourself?

Here’s a guess. Maybe because your own paper worked relentlessly to make even leftists feel stupid for supporting Corbyn. The group-think got so bad, even at the Guardian, that Owen Jones, a friend of Corbyn’s, was too embarrassed to come out with anything more than grudging support for him in the paper’s pages. He spent his columns instead agonising over what to do about Corbyn.

Even George Monbiot, your in-house radical, sounded almost apologetic telling us recently that he supported Corbyn. No wonder you were too afraid to tell your bosses how you felt, or to pitch to them a pro-Corbyn commentary over the past two years. Safer to keep that information to yourself.

I worked at the Guardian myself for many years. I know the atmosphere in the newsroom only too well. I can imagine it was hard to contradict all those older, “wiser” heads further up the Guardian hierarchy. I wonder how many of the other young staff felt equally frightened to speak up over the past two years.

The narrative has shifted so much in the Tories’ favour, to the point where to announce you’re voting Labour feels subversive and threatening. … The frame has moved, but we still have the same brains, the same hearts, and the same guts. And my brain, my heart, and my gut are telling me that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t back Labour at this crucial time.

Yes, the narrative has shifted so much in the Tories’ favour. I suppose that was because there were no left-liberal journalists there to challenge it. If only we had a left-liberal newspaper that could support a social democratic candidate like Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister. Oh, but wait – isn’t your newspaper supposed to be left-liberal?

Anyway, well done, Rhiannon. I am glad you wrote this piece. Let’s hope, there are more like it to come. Maybe now it looks like Corbyn is in the running, and the Guardian editors have realised that they have egg on their face and that they have alienated large swaths of their readership, they will be more open to letting young journalists tell us about how they have been secretly longing to confess their passion for Corbyn and his politics.

Best wishes,

Jonathan Cook