Murdoch rag The Sunday Times led with an absurd story yesterday that claimed automated social media accounts (bots) based in Russia had posted thousands of messages in support of Labour ahead of the 2017 general election. The ridiculous claims induced mirth and snorts of derision. There are so many reasons why the story is clearly bunkum:
The Russian government prefers a Tory government not Labour
Russian criminal oligarchs, associated with Putin, have made many large donations to the Tory party and to individual Tory MPs
When Tory mayor of London, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assisted the sales of property to Russian criminals and their laundered cash
In the story, the ratio of alleged bots to alleged automated messages suggests each “bot” sent only one or two messages in total
The Sunday Times is owned by News International which is aggressively opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics
The Sunday Times is owned by News International which is notoriously dishonest and unashamedly inventive
The two most obvious motivations for The Sunday Times’ steaming pile of horse manure are another attempt at smearing Labour ahead of the May 3rd council elections alongside an attack on social media activism. Social media has been used very well by left-wing activists, including supporters of the Labour leadership, and this worries the Tories and their associates. Depicting online activists as automated accounts from another country is a standard tactic to distract and denigrate.
Collusion with vulture capitalists Staff at The Sunday Times colluded with two members of staff from the University of Swansea, Professor Oleksandr Talavera and Tho Pham. Talavera is a co-creator of VoxUkraine, a team of analytical economists who aid those who seek the imposition of elite-focussed extreme free-market capitalism in Ukraine: “We decided to increase the level of education and economic debate in Ukraine.”
VoxUkraine claimed that it “is not related to any Ukrainian political party or movement. Businessmen, government officials, or politicians have no impact on our work,” but it is blatantly promoting a political outlook and a system of economic fiscal management:
“Our mission is to improve the level of the economic debate in Ukraine. We believe this will improve the quality of economic decisions in Ukraine and have a positive impact on the welfare of millions of our compatriots. We will achieve this through a quality economic debate, economic policy analysis, independent evaluation of economic reforms, and Ukraine’s integration into the global network of economists and political leaders.”
When financial vultures use the word “reform” they always mean theft of public services and theft of publicly owned infrastructure. For example, Reforming a Country in War is Difficult, but There Is No Other Way by Rostyslav Averchuk, published by VoxUkraine last October, sought to ram home the need for such “reform,” particularly “land reform.” Land reform, of course, means the handing over of publicly owned land to vultures and thieves.
Ukraine, embroiled in a civil war and with an unstable corrupt government peopled with far-right rabble-rousers, has a struggling fiscal economy that makes the country’s public services into prime targets for vulture capitalists. The aim of VoxUkraine is to prepare the groundwork for such vultures to operate successfully. VoxUkraine’s analysis and advice is concentrated on forcing the Ukrainian government to acquiesce to the demands of privateers.
Clearly, the focussed political stance of VoxUkraine is opposed to the left-wing politics of Jeremy Corbyn. Professor Talavera would have no qualms about inventing analysis to assist a Murdoch rag to smear Labour a few days before the council elections. However, VoxUkraine receives considerable funding from the National Endowement For Democracy (NED). The NED’s aims – “dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world” – suggest that it should not fund an organisation that has wilfully tried to interfere in an election in Britain.
The Progress mob are happy today because they have expelled veteran anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth from the Labour party. Their campaign of lies, slander and libel, topped off by a march to the hearing, has succeeded.
Throughout the long process of expulsion, stretching over two years, there have been frequent repeated defamatory false accusations of anti-Semitism against him. He had never been charged with anti-Semitism and Progress MP Ruth Smeeth had been forced to remove libellous comments wherein she had claimed he had been anti-Semitic. Over the two years, the Progress MPs continued to state or imply that anti-Semitism was a factor when they knew it wasn’t.
Unbiased observers know that Wadsworth did nothing wrong. The prosecution “evidence,” a video clip, showed a party activist speaking at a meeting. Nothing about what he said or his tone was problematic.
Motivations for the charge and expulsion Progress was created as a right-wing think-tank to try to ensure Labour remained an ineffectual Tory-lite party that would not challenge the underlying causes of inequality and exploitation. Everything they do is focussed on attempting to damage the current Labour leadership.
Marc Wadsworth is an active supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and is unafraid to criticise those within the party that he sees are working against the leadership. By attacking Mr. Wadsworth, Progress MPs were seeking to remove a strong ally of the leader and also to fuel the claims of anti-Semitism against the Labour leadership. The false accusations and invented charges against the veteran anti-racism campaigner were part of the Progress aim to try to disrupt Labour’ssuccess in moving leftward.
The racism of the Tories, particularly Theresa May, has been exposed via the brutal and deliberate tactics employed against British citizens who have lived in the UK for decades and are now being denied access to work, denied benefits, denied healthcare and being deported. The Windrush scandal is a symptom of ingrained racism. Some Labour MPs gave their full support to May’s actions when she was Home Secretary. The same MPs marched against veteran anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth to the hearing and are now revelling in his expulsion.
Council elections If the expulsion of veteran anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth is perceived to be racist in intent then that will damage Labour’s vote in the council elections on May 3rd. The Progress mob would not be unhappy about that. Their £70k MPs’ salaries will be unaffected.
Below is a clickable list of Tory troll accounts on Twitter. The list is updated daily. It is not exhaustive nor scientifically generated.
The list includes new accounts created as deliberate troll accounts as part of Tory chairman Brandon Lewis’ big social media army plan, some re-activated accounts that had been dormant for a few years and some long-running troll accounts.
One indicator that there is an election looming is that the Progress mob move up a few gears with the frequency and loudness of their attacks on Corbyn and his colleagues. Two weeks before council elections on May 3rd the enemies of socialism have been falling over themselves to launch wave after wave of half-assed nonsense. Of course, their precious £70k p.a. seats are not in danger in council elections.
Rent-a-yob John ‘the sneer’ Mann offered a new variant on the well-known Monty Python sketch. Mr. Mann claimed that Mrs. Mann, his wife, received a dead bird – not resting – in the post, sent by Momentum. A few holes grew rapidly in Mr. Mann’s story when it was revealed that the dead bird had been received by Mrs. Mann in 2012 when Momentum did not exist and Jeremy Corbyn was not the Labour leader. But, why let facts get in the way of a smear?
Wes ‘I’ve-knocked-on-more-doors-than-you’ Streeting has been very busy. Streeting chose to be angry that Marc Wadsworth, a veteran campaigner against racism, has dared to appeal against his suspension from the Labour party that had followed deliberately false accusations made against him by another Progress MP Ruth Smeeth. Streeting is so angry at Mr. Wadsworth that he is trying to get a posse together to march from parliament to the venue of a hearing where Mr. Wadsworth is due to defend himself against the accusations. The clear intent of turning up mob-handed is to intimidate the attendees and decision makers at the hearing, with the bonus of media coverage designed to belittle the Labour leadership. Marc Wadsworth responded to Streeting’s behaviour with the following statement.
“It’s ironic that in this week of media attention on the Tories’ abuse of the Windrush generation, I find Wes trying to organise a parliamentary protest against me, in spite of the evidence. My dad came to this country from Jamaica at his own expense during World War Two to join the RAF to fight against the nazis. He went back in 1946 but then came back to the UK on the Windrush in 1948 – I’m a Windrush child. Given his two or three tweets this week condemning the government’s treatment of the Windrush generation, I’d have hoped Wes would be supporting a Windrush descendant who’s fighting for the representation of black and Asian people in the Labour Party, but it seems that’s not going to happen. It represents a worrying pattern of behaviour and Wes has questions to answer.”
Streeting displayed some hypocrisy in his reaction to a story on a left-wing news site about him.
That is, in a tweet as part of an exchange that includes Streeting’s threat of legal action for “libel” he claims a friend (i.e. Ruth Smeeth) was “abused” (by, according to Smeeth, Marc Wadsworth). But, the hearing is where the validity of Smeeth’s accusations against Wadsworth will be determined. Is Streeting libelling Wadsworth ahead of that hearing? A couple of weeks ago Smeeth had to remove some libellous comments she wrote about Marc Wadsworth that had formed part of her accusations against him.
Update 25/04: Streeting libelled the supporters of Mr. Wadsworth (see screenshot of tweet below) by claiming Smeeth had to “walk through a protest” and that the presence of a gang of MPs and peers was “necessary to accompany her.” It wasn’t a protest, it was support for Mr. Wadsworth against false accusations. The presence of MPs and peers was not a necessity; they were there as a media-hungry stunt and to try to intimidate the decision-makers at the hearing. Streeting’s language is designed to create a negative impression of people who are supporting a veteran anti-racism campaigner.
Chris Leslie and John ‘BAE’ Woodcock chose to use a parliamentary debate about the war in Syria as an opportunity to attack the Labour leader. Woodcock pretended to adopt a moral stance on the tactics of the Syrian government.
“As scores lies dead in the city of Douma, the UK should be part of a united front which makes clear that the use of these evil weapons will always attract severe consequences. If the Government can rediscover the will to protect civilians against this growing threat, I am confident many Labour MPs will want to play their part and rise above the excuses and diversions which emanate from the shadow front bench whenever there is a crisis.”
Those words were spoken by an alleged member of Labour, the main opposition party in the House of Commons. If he disagreed with the Labour leadership’s view then that could have been expressed without fawning over Theresa May and without gleeful acceptance of Tory cheers. Woodcock claimed the Tory government has “rediscovered the will to protect civilians.” That is the same Tory government that has recently brokered arms deals with Turkey (whose military have invaded northern Syria this year with the objective of wiping out the Kurdish population) and Saudi Arabia (whose air force is carpet-bombing civilians and infrastructure in Yemen every day). Coincidentally, Woodcock has only just returned from a jolly to Riyadh. He has refused to reveal who paid for the trip.
Angela Smith decided that a couple of weeks before the council elections was the right time to write an article (for Murdoch’s Times) that disagreed with Labour’s plan to nationalise the supply of water. Nationalising water supply is easy because it just means re-directing raised revenue toward improvements in supply and toward reductions to bills rather than the money disappearing into offshore accounts of various shady made-up water companies. It would also be a financially painless transition because the said fictitious companies don’t own anything. Smith’s article was garbled, contradictory waffle; it had no intent to offer an alternative plan for water supply “ownership.” Coincidentally, Angela Smith has received freebies from Whitehouse Construction, a member of an industry group led by private water firms called Future Water Association, and she delivered a speech, based on the Times article, at a conference organised by the private water supply industry.
1) Esther McVey and the rape clause At a Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee hearing Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey responded to a question about the rape clause in an application form for benefit by claiming that
“this [forced discussion of rape] could give them [benefit applicants] an opportunity to talk about, maybe, something that has happened that they never had before. So it is potentially double support there. Them getting the money they need and maybe an outlet which they might possibly need.”
Untrained benefit staff, who are under extreme pressure from the DWP to deny benefits, will not be able to “support” anyone. McVey’s comment about “double support” was flippant, dishonest and derisory. It was a deliberate statement of contempt from her to women who have been raped.
2) Windrush In parliament Labour MP David Lammy highlighted the racism that informed the Tories’ decision to question the legal residence of people who had moved to the UK as British citizens from various countries in the West Indies decades ago.
In 2014 the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, used the Immigration Act as a means to quietly remove a clause from a previous act of parliament that had helped to protect the legal status of people who had moved to Britain from commonwealth countries. The removal was done sneakily with no consultation and no debate. As a result of its removal, the people to whom it applies have been asked to provide decades-old documentation they no longer had in order to have access to pensions, benefits and healthcare, and their right to remain in the UK has been denied. The consequences have included deportations, denial of state pensions and denial of life-saving healthcare.
The decision to remove the clause was unnecessary and bound to lead to problems. May’s motivation to remove it was informed by the crusade she was on (and still is on) to use racism as a tool ahead of the 2015 general election when the Tories were concerned about losing votes to UKIP.
Even with the aforementioned clause removed from law, all of the people to whom it applied still had the right to live and work in Britain permanently, to claim pensions and benefits and to receive healthcare from the NHS, but the racist xenophobic attitudes that the Tories had encouraged to become ingrained in the Home Office, Border Agency and Immigration Service persuaded those agencies to find spurious reasons to deny many people their legal rights to live in the UK as British citizens.
The reaction by Theresa May to demands to address the illegal deportations and denial of access to public services was her usual tactic of stoic refusal to say or do anything, embellished by cowardice: She declined to be present in parliament when the Windrush issue was discussed yesterday and, initially, refused requests to speak to politicians from commonwealth countries in the Caribbean. The current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, claimed she did not know how many people had been deported. The Home Office then adopted the tactic of blaming immigration staff for any wrongdoing. Shiftiness, laziness, passing the buck and shrugs were all that the relevant ministers offered.
As David Lammy made very clear, the cause of the problem is wholly informed by seven years of promotion of racism by the Tories.
3) Syria After dodging the Windrush debate, the prime minister managed to attend a posthumous debate on the air strikes on evacuated buildings near Damascus, Syria. Two and a half days after the air strikes had taken place, and after ithad been shown that the buildings destroyed had had no chemical weapons in them nor any manufacturing equipment, the purpose of the debate from the government’s perspective was to laugh their Tory heads off at Labour and SNP complaints and to utter prepared mockgasps at truths aimed at them, particularly the excellent comments from Labour’s Laura Smith.
The prime minister’s contribution to the debate contained no details and no proof. The mob behaviour of the Tory Bratboys was their normal display of petulance that is contemptuous of parliament. The Tories’ intent at the debate was not to answer questions, it was not to give details, it was not to explain actions; their intent was to mock and jeer, with the pre-arranged assistance of Progress MPs like Chris Leslie. For the Tories, military action is just another farce and they treat it with the same frivolity that they throw at everything else. An abject lack of emotional and intellectual maturity is always evident on one side of the House of Commons, and they have nothing else.
In media interviews both May and defence secretary Gavin Williamson used the phrase “highly successful” to describe the air strikes. Clearly, destroying a few cheaply built buildings that had no military significance is neither successful or unsuccessful; it’s just nothing.
Monday April 16th was a typical Tory day of stupidity, dishonesty, distraction, childishness, evasion, obfuscation and uselessness. The day provided a summary of the Tories’ acute ineptitude and their complete detachment. It emphasised that they are an obstacle to government.
The air strikes on Syria were over swiftly after the air forces of Britain, France and (mostly) the USA bombed a few evacuated buildings and some fields. One of the evacuated buildings was a cancer research centre.
The motivation for the illegal attack was claimed to be an attempt to damage the Syrian military’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks, but if the bombs and missiles had hit chemical weapons storage then the consequences would have been catastrophic for the surrounding area; such a catastrophe didn’t happen.
The air strikes were a day before an international inspection team arrived in Syria to look for evidence of chemical weapons manufacture. Conveniently for the perpetrators of the air strikes, some of the locations that these inspectors may have wanted to investigate are now piles of rubble and, so, no evidence can be acquired to either prove chemical weapons manufacture or to disprove it.
The main motivations for the air strikes were consequences of Trump’s various predicaments. The racist orange buffoon is always keen on distractions from his impending impeachment and his impending arrest for a variety of crimes. Also, he must prove to the arms industry and its investors that he is fully supportive of maximising their profits; the best way to do that is to show how thrilled he is to use up the bombs and missiles that have already been bought.
The air strikes early on Saturday morning will have had no positive effect on what is happening in the conflict in Syria. The most notable result is that the Russian military was able to test (successfully) its defence systems against incoming missile attacks.
May and her cabinet colleagues are utterly inept. They have nothing to offer the public. Their deliberate underfunding of NHS, police, fire service, education and councils cannot be obscured by their army of liars led by party chairman Brandon Lewis. Brexit looms and the Tories are in disarray with no plan for it. So, surrounded by their own mess, they cling to the coat-tails of criminals. Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman are the Tories’ favourite international gangsters and they will do whatever they are told to do by them. Tories are the gofers for the bullies, scurrying around running errands in the (probably vain) hope that some crumbs will fall their way.
The British people, ahead of local elections on May 3rd, have noted the pointlessness of the air strikes, they have noted the timing of the attacks early Saturday morning to avoid immediate parliamentary examination, they have noted that the air strikes were the day before a due inspection of possible sites for chemical weapons manufacture – sites that were destroyed by the air strikes making inspection fruitless, they have noted that the announcement of Britain’s involvement in the attack was made by the president of the USA not by the prime minister, they have noted that the Tory statement of ‘legality’ of the air strikes is a made-up deceptive piece of trash, and they have noted that the Tories chose not to have a parliamentary vote on air strikes because they feared they would lose such a vote.
As the Tories’ creative account of the Salisbury incident continues to unravel, their desperation continues to increase. All they have left is their new spanking social media policy of lying relentlessly and shamelessly.
Early this morning (Saturday) the Tory government instructed the RAF to take part in a bombing campaign in Syria led by the US air force.
There are no legitimate reasons for the bombing campaign, it has no military objective, there are civilian casualties and its effect will be to escalate conflict not to decrease it.
The only reasons for the bombing campaign are
To assist the profits of arms manufacturers by using up armaments that then will be replaced
To distract the American people from Trumps’ impending impeachment
The obedience to Trump of Theresa May and her gang of venal scum is sickening. They have displayed utter contempt for parliament and for the British people. They chose the early hours of Saturday morning in order to dodge parliamentary scrutiny. The British people were informed of the decision to go to war in a live televised broadcast of a speech by the orange buffoon; Theresa May merely released a deceptive hollow statement later.
The Tories are being led by a reckless corrupt idiot in the White House who relies on the relentless lies and misinformation from Murdoch’s Fox News for his analysis and knowledge. May and her cabinet’s willingness to agree to Trump’s demands is an abject abdication of responsibility as a government of Britain. The prime minister, her defence secretary Gavin Williamson and all of that cabal of corrupt, spineless filth in the British government are COWARDS.
Director of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming spoke at the CyberUK18 convention yesterday. All italicised quotes below are Fleming’s words from the speech.
“I’m going to talk about the way in which the threats we face are developing and how we’re approaching this challenge. I’ll talk about what we’re doing to take the terrorism fight online, how our adversaries are becoming more tech savvy, and how we in GCHQ are responding, operationally, technologically, and culturally, to keep up.”
His speech was very political, very supportive of the Tory government and displayed a view of the world with a rigid division between us and them.
“Hostile states, terrorists and criminals are emboldened and assisted by technology.”
The persuasive phrase “hostile state” revealed that Fleming thinks Britain is in a permanent state of war with someone somewhere. He doesn’t view the world as full of people but as divided between good and evil collections of people.
He warned that, for these “hostile states,”
“you only have to examine the investment some States are making in the development and use of cyber tools to disrupt, steal, and intimidate.”
That claim, that he made no attempt to verify or quantify, is set against Fleming’s celebration of British cyber activity:
“For well over a decade, starting in the conflict in Afghanistan, GCHQ has pioneered the development and use of offensive cyber techniques. And by that I mean taking action online that has direct real world impact. In recent years, we’ve worked closely with the Ministry of Defence and key allies to grow these capabilities at pace. Much of this is too sensitive to talk about, but I can tell you that GCHQ, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, has conducted a major offensive cyber campaign. We may look to deny service, disrupt a specific on-line activity, deter an individual or a group, or perhaps even destroy equipment and networks.”
Thus, Fleming thinks there is good hacking and evil hacking.
He tried to put British cyber attacks into perspective regarding the law:
“We know that these capabilities [cyber attacks] are very powerful. The international doctrine governing their use is still evolving. And as with all of our work we only use them in line with domestic and international law, when our tests of necessity and proportionality have been satisfied, and with all the usual oversight in place. Speculation to the contrary fails to understand the true values of my organisation, our military, and this country.”
His assertion that there is an “evolving” nature of “international doctrine” on cyber attacks is very convenient for GCHQ. The uncertainty about the location of the legal boundary allows GCHQ to break the law and then blame a lack of clarity.
The third sentence in the quote above was designed to confuse and obfuscate. Fleming said GCHQ cyber attacks are “in line with” the law; is that the same as being legal? He said GCHQ apply their “necessity and proportionality” tests; are these tests additional to the law or in opposition to it? He was deliberately vague about which it is. What is “all the usual oversight?” It appeared to be just another purposefully vague phrase.
The final sentence was disturbing. He preempted criticism and immediately tried to cancel it. GCHQ should always be available for scrutiny, but Fleming’s haughty attitude to likely criticism is indicative of a stance that fears inspection, that intends to obstruct scrutiny and that will denigrate any critics.
He had more to say on those “hostile” states:
“Hostile nation-states are rapidly building and enhancing their cyber tools to stay ahead in the global race. Whether it’s stealing another government’s secrets or the IP from a defence contractor, some states are willing (and very able) to do it. The Russian Government is widely using its cyber capability. Whether that’s NotPetya against the Ukraine’s financial, energy and government sectors, which eventually spread across the world. Or the use of industrial scale disinformation to sway public opinion. They’re not playing to the same rules, they’re blurring the boundaries between criminal and state activity. And they’re not alone. We’ve seen state-sponsored hackers conducting cyber-attacks to avoid sanctions – the release of WannaCry by North Korean cyber actors last year is a great example of that. Some of their malware tools are highly complex, using extensive infrastructure and advanced tradecraft. And we track these nation-states evolving quickly to respond to new defences.”
The “global race” of cyber warfare evoked the tone of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove; the UK would not want a cyberwar gap to appear. Fleming’s division of humanity into groups separated by state boundaries was on display again via his worries about “hostile” states “stealing another government’s secrets.” What are a “government’s secrets?” Governments are supposed to be administrative bodies who work for the people who elect them. Does Fleming, who has a long history in military intelligence, have any concept of what government is and what should be its relationship with the public?
In the quote above, Fleming accused Russia of “industrial scale disinformation to sway public opinion.” “They’re [Russia] not playing to the same rules [as us].” But, Russia is following the same path of disinformation as any other country. Has Fleming not heard of Strategic Communication Laboratories and Cambridge Analytica? Has he never read Daily Mail, The Sun, Express, Telegraph, Times or Evening Standard? Has he never looked at the social media comments of Tory chairman Brandon Lewis and deputy chairman James Cleverly or the official Tory twitter account? Has he never listened to a Theresa May speech and compared it to reality? Has he never heard of Lynton Crosby? The Russian government is certainly guilty of promoting disinformation, as is the UK government, USA, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Ukraine, China, North Korea, South Korea, Israel, Spain, Saudi Arabia, etc. In Britain, the current government, previous governments and their respective advisers have been keen disinformation deliverers, various UK police forces have knowingly declared falsehoods to be facts and, surprise surprise, GCHQ and MI5 (Fleming’s previous employer) have been happy to impart untrue information; disinformation has been a key component of MI5’s work.
Fleming repeatedly expressed his concern about the cyber warfare gap. “It’s only a matter of time” and “I want to demonstrate how cyber has created a new threat landscape” emphasised his fears. He assured listeners to his speech that there exist plans “to stay ahead.” It wasn’t clear if the “threat landscape” is on the map on the big board in the war room. “Cyber has become an indispensable part of modern national security statecraft.” As General Buck Turgidson said “we’re still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.”
The key point in Fleming’s speech: Authoritarian laws Fleming exalted the talents of the staff at GCHQ and the technical capabilities of the organisation. He depicted GCHQ as an almost magical place, but
“to do the extraordinary things we do, to be able to exercise the formidable powers at the Government’s disposal, requires strong laws.”
“Strong laws” means strongly in favour of what GCHQ desires. GCHQ does not always need strong laws to allow it to do what it wants to do but their existence gives it greater licence to avoid being hampered by the inconvenience of magistrates’ decisions or lawyers and judges who may try to obstruct GCHQ from monitoring innocent people.
The strength of law (in GCHQ’s favour) “was enhanced last year with the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act.”
The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA) legalised the previously illegal (but normal) practices of GCHQ, police and military intelligence related to monitoring the online activity of any member of the public, and it added extra legalisations of extreme intrusive behaviour. All independent liberal observers described the IPA as a collection of gross intrusions into private lives of any member of the public and wholly incompatible with any country that calls itself a democracy. No other country with a democratic system of government has laws that compare in severity of intrusion as the IPA. The activities that the IPA enables are not necessary for (or even connected to) a fight against organised crime or terrorism. The intent of the IPA is to make easier the inspection of the behaviour of political opponents to the government and, consequently, to reduce the activities of political opposition. (Fuller assessment of IPA here: Open Democracy article on IPA)
Fleming’s excitement about the IPA is personally damning. More than two decades in the mire of MI5 negated any concept he may have had of true democracy, of freedom and of personal privacy.
The speech concluded with careful repetition of GCHQ’s claim of a commitment to transparency and openness.
“I’m convinced there is a supporting responsibility on us, on me, to be as transparent as possible, to explain as much as we can to the wider public without jeopardising our core mission.” “For me, in all that I have said, today is about continuing that openness, and of giving you a flavour of the world we operate in.” “It’s transparent and open when it can be.”
The ‘open and transparent’ GCHQ indulges in mass secret surveillance of anybody with no warrants, no accountability and no explanation. (In the 1980s the ‘open and transparent’ GCHQ refused to allow trades’ union membership and it sacked employees who were members of unions.)
“GCHQ always acts lawfully,” concluded Fleming. He said that after describing earlier how GCHQ has persistently acted unlawfully and how it will continue to act unlawfully whenever it feels like.
Summary of Fleming’s vision for GCHQ
Fleming’s military intelligence training eradicated any perception of privacy for the individual. It induced a professional outlook that separates government from the public and perceives anyone outside the government as a potential wrongdoer and a potential enemy.
Fleming views the world as disconnected states that are in conflict with each other. His professional stance is acute xenophobia.
Fleming sees the law as optional and pliable. His intent is that GCHQ should obey the law if it suits GCHQ.
Postscript During his praise for the staff at GCHQ Fleming said they
“understand the heavy responsibility of keeping the country safe, of protecting our liberal democracy.”
So, is it correct to assume that if the UK did not have a “liberal democracy” then Fleming would not guarantee his organisation’s cooperation with the government?
If, for example, the British electorate voted for a socialist government, would Fleming declare civil war?
Far-right anti-Semitic party Fidesz, led by Viktor Orban (above), won the Hungarian election this week (April 2018) with a large majority. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was quick to express his glee at the success of a far-right anti-Semitic politician.
The success of far-right parties in elections in Europe has several causes. Two of the reasons for their success are
Abject failure of capitalist parties to do anything or stand for anything
Constant attacks on left-wing politics by the hapless centrists
All the capitalist (non-)options are fraudulent offerings to the voters. They may call themselves a variety of meaningless terms – “centre,” “centre-left,” “centre-right,” “liberal,” “conservative,” “progressive,” etc. – but all are variants on a narrow theme; all are subservient to the wealth terrorists of financial exploitation. They have been found out as con artists and charlatans.
The uselessness of standard capitalist parties throughout the world has created a huge hole that should be filled with revolutionary socialist politics that will go to war with the wealth terrorists. There is never a shortage of potential revolutionaries but, obviously, a socialist government is the absolute opposite of what financial gangsters want. Thus, any left-leaning party that threatens to be popular in a democratic country is always subjected to a constant, aggressive multi-layered attack. But, it isn’t just the right-wing that displays its fear of socialism. The self-declared liberal centre is always as vicious and as relentless as the right in attacking left-wing politicians or parties that appear to have the potential to succeed. These mealy-mouthed liberals don’t want a far-right government but they fear a left-wing government much more.
Dunt do it Columnist and TV talking head Ian Dunt’s favourite job is to be a voice of Remain; if the EU referendum had had an opposite result then he would be redundant. His second favourite job is joining in with the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.
Dunt wrote an article about Orban’s election victory. He started well in Dunt on Orban and Corbyn with good strong critical analysis of the rise of the far-right in various European countries. Dunt highlighted the disgusting anti-Semitism and xenophobia of Orban and of many of his supporters. The tone of the article seemed to be a call to arms among liberals to fight against the filth of far-right politics, but, sadly, that tone was a creation, an illusion, a lie…..a con. The real purpose of Dunt’s article began with
“Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is a million miles removed from Orban’s proto-fascist nationalist lunacy. But events within it carry echoes of those in Hungary.”
He tried, clumsily, to justify that second sentence. He failed. Putting one of the strongest opponents of bigotry and racism to have sat in the House of Commons in the last thirty years alongside an extreme anti-Semitic like Orban was a disgusting comparison by Dunt. His decision to do that was sickening. It revealed his abject dishonesty and destroyed any claim he could make to possess integrity.
The insult to Jeremy Corbyn is appalling, but there was another factor to Dunt’s behaviour which is worse. The intent of the article was to attack Corbyn and, so, the preamble about Orban was not sincere. Dunt’s (correct) criticism of Orban’s awful politics was just there as an introductory tool before he arrived at the point where he libelled Corbyn, which was the real purpose of his article.
For Dunt and all of the professional liberals and centrists, no matter how much they may abhor the far-right their fear of any leftward tendencyis greater. An extremely anti-Semitic politician and party has been elected in Hungary but Dunt doesn’t care about that; for him, it is just another spurious opportunity to attack left-wing politics in the UK.
Guardian’s Michael Savage regurgitated a story last week about a new centrist party that exists inside the mind of former DVD door-to-door salesman Simon Franks. Franks, who sold his DVD “business” to multi-billion pound tax dodgers Amazon, chose to re-invent his public image as: Philanthropist. He has traveled the world visiting countries whose inhabitants endure poor housing, non-existent public services, desperately low wages and poor education facilities due to tax-dodging international companies exploiting the people in those countries. Franks has managed to get himself appointed to various quangos around the world to feed his egotistical need for self-publicity. He is a keen believer that charity should replace fiscal funding so that characters like him can engorge themselves on spurious popularity and enjoy control over millions of lives.
Last year, Franks created a company called Project One Movementthat might be a future accessory to a new “centrist” politicalparty, or it might not. In Savage on Franks the facelessness and namelessness of Savage’s account casts doubt on whether the plan for the party is real.
“The movement, spearheaded by a former Labour benefactor [no name. Franks?], is understood [translation: understood = cannot be proven yet] to have been drawn up by a group [no names] frustrated by the tribal nature of politics, the polarisation caused by Brexit and the standard of political leadership on all sides. It appears [translation: appears = cannot be proven yet] to have a centrist policy platform that borrows ideas from both left and right. Senior figures [no names] from the worlds of business and charity are understood [see translation above] to be involved, as well as former supporters [no names] of the main parties, including a number of former Tory donors. Sources [no names] say the project, led by the multi-millionaire philanthropist and founder of LoveFilm, Simon Franks, has had full-time staff members for as long as a year. Initial discussions are said to have begun [said by whom] at the end of 2016. Franks has set up a company, Project One Movement for the UK, which is likely [translation: likely = cannot be proven yet] to be the vehicle for the enterprise. Some of those [who?] involved have apparently [translation: apparently = cannot be proven yet] been keen for the project to concentrate on funding community activism, rather than becoming a formal political party. A final decision has not yet been taken, but there is said to be [by whom?] a consensus that the movement will run candidates at the next election, due in 2022, should the current parties be deemed to be failing. Some form of political movement [very vague] could be launched later this year.”
Savage’s keenness for no information and oodles of suggestion made his article seem parodic. Was he mocking the vague plans of Franks, was he having fun with perceptions of a typical Guardian article or was he serious?
Despite the lack of any details or surety about Franks’ plans, the spectre of a new centrist party is always worth decapitating.
The problem with Westminster politics has been the similarity of the main parties’ respective intents. Worshippers at the altar of the money markets – Blair, Brown, Clegg, Cable, Cameron, Osborne, Hammond and May – are the problem. What is needed is a genuine challenge to a status quo full of willing gimps of financial gangsters. There must be a clear dividing line and a large gap between the venal mob and their opponents. Combative, diametrically opposed politics is a necessity.
The new potential centrist parties offer precisely the opposite of combative politics. They offer a drab conformity to a lifeless hodge-podge of nothingness. Savage said Franks’ party would
“be aimed mainly at a liberal, centre-left audience. Potential policy proposals include asking the rich to pay a fairer share of tax, better funding for the NHS and improved social mobility. However, it also backs centre-right ideas on wealth creation and entrepreneurship, and is keen to explore tighter immigration controls. A source said some Brexit supporters are involved.”
That is just a random selection of unconnectable policy proposals most of which are also meaningless on their own. It reads exactly as a parody of what an utterly pointless centrist party would be.
One of Savage’s unnamed sources said
“they [the new party] care about this country and they want to challenge the way things are currently done by our current crop of professional politicians. They want to break the mould of Westminster politics.”
The quote above encapsulates the intrinsic con at the heart of such a new political party: It offers nothing, but it claims to be new and radical. It is fraud. Savage mentioned Emmanuel Macron and his En Marche party as a possible comparison. Yes, Macron conned the French voters into believing he was offering something different but, unsurprisingly, as president he has enacted bog standard conservative policies attacking workers’ rights and promoting xenophobia.
Franks’ plans may or may not be real but the vague account of what his party might offer revealed the emptiness of such a party. Franks has used undeserved wealth to bolster undeserved self-importance and now he wants to use it to create a political party that intends to kill politics. The intent is to stifle oppositional politics and replace it with soulless compromise anti-politics with the stench of decomposition and then, just like Macron, it will be another conservative party. It stinks.