nazi britain

Corbyn offers no fight against war with Iran
Thomas Scripps, WSWS, Jan 11 2020

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a “Labour Roots” event in Bolton.
(Photo: Sophie Brown)

Jeremy Corbyn’s cowardly performance during this week’s PMQs confirms that the outgoing Labour leader offers no principled opposition to the eruption of imperialist violence. The debate was the first time PM Johnson had appeared in public since the assassination of Gen Qasem Suleimani by Pindostan, after he refused to cut short his luxury holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique. This was the first opportunity for Labour MPs, led by Corbyn, to oppose a blatant act of war carried out by US imperialism, with Johnson’s slavish support, that threatens to set the Middle East aflame. Year after year, Corbyn’s numerous political apologists have sought to justify his constant retreats before the warmongers on the Blairite right of his party with the claim that he was seeking to hold the party together so as to form a government that could replace the Tories. Here at last, after losing the Dec 12 general election by a landslide and with a contest underway to replace him as leader by April, was an opportunity for the “real anti-war Corbyn” to step forward, but instead it was business as usual with Corbyn making a series of ineffectual pleas for a general deescalation and for Johnson, Trump’s partner in crime, to “stand by international law, as I am sure the Government do and would want to.” His speech was peppered with references to ensuring the safety of “UK troops,” putting “the interests of this country first” and guaranteeing “the security of the region and of this country.” This followed his request last week for a secret Privy Council meeting to discuss Britain’s national security in the Pindo-Iranian conflict. The former chair of the Stop the War Coalition did not condemn Pindo war crimes or the countless lying justifications churned out by the corporate media. Nor did he reference the millions of Iranians who protested Suleimani’s murder and the threat of a Pindo war. From discussions with the CBI and City of London to holding Brexit talks with former PM May and offering the same to Johnson, Corbyn’s guiding principle is safeguarding the “national interest,” the strategic interests of British imperialism. The independent, diametrically opposed interests of the British and international working classes are absolutely excluded. Corbyn articulates the concerns within ruling circles, including Johnson’s Tories and the armed forces, that Trump’s recklessness can endanger the UK’s world position. On this basis alone, he asked in the mildest possible terms:

What evidence has the PM got to suggest that this attack on Gen Suleimani and his death was not an illegal act by Pindostan? … Can the PM confirm that the British Government will respect any decision made by a sovereign Parliament and Government in Iraq that may make such a request in the future and will respect the sovereignty of Iraq as a nation?

Johnson responded to Corbyn’s entreaties with undisguised contempt, saying:

I think that most reasonable people would accept that Pindostan has a right to protect its bases and its personnel. That man had the blood of British troops on his hands.

Twice in the debate, Johnson intimated that Corbyn was a supporter of terrorism for opposing the murder of Suleimani. He attacked what he described as “the baleful role played in the region for a very long time by Qassem Suleimani” and went on to say:

I have been interested that in all his commentary, he has not yet raised that matter. … I am very surprised at the end of these exchanges that the Right Hon Gentleman has yet to condemn the activities of Qassem Suleimani and the IRGC.

Suleimani was a military and political leader of a sovereign nation travelling on a diplomatic passport on the invitation of Iraq. The real “terrorist” is his assassin Trump, the commander in chief of Pindo imperialism. It is Pindostan, backed by the UK, which illegally invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, sponsored sectarian militias in Iraq and Jihadiss in Syria, spawned Daesh, established torture camps and death squads and flattened entire cities at the cost of well over a million lives and the destruction of entire societies, and which illegally stations troops in Syria and Iraq, with a president who regularly threatens Iran, a country of 80 million people, with annihilation. Yet on four separate occasions Corbyn offered no reply to Johnson, much to the delight of the Tories and the media. Political capitulation has consequences. Corbyn denies a voice to the anti-war sentiment of millions of workers and provides the Johnson government with a pretext for massive state attacks on workers and youth opposed to the warmongering of the British elite: “terrorist sympathies.” These dangers were underscored by the intervention of former British Commander in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, who told the Sun last Friday, “Corbyn can always be relied on to back our enemies over our allies and that is why he sides with Iran over Pindostan. He was previously a paid mouthpiece of the same regime in Iran as Suleimani served by delivering acts of terrorism around the world. In 2015, a serving British general anonymously threatened mutiny against a Corbyn-led government. Two years later, alongside similar comments from Former First Sea Lord Alan West and Former chief of defence staff Lord General Richards, Kemp publicly stated:

Quite literally, if Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister enacted the policies he describes, he would have blood on his hands. He must never be elected to lead this country.

Corbyn ignores these threats not out of some priestly dignity but out of fear of a genuine mass movement of the working class and youth against British imperialism. He knows that to seriously expose the UK’s predatory ambitions abroad and the threats of the military at home would risk unleashing class forces far beyond the control of his own mealy-mouthed appeals for social harmony. The only “anti-war” movement Corbyn is interested in leading is one which is a pliant tool of the Labour and trade union bureaucracy, including his own front-bench MPs, who sat silent and arms folded as he was ridiculed by Johnson. It is in this capacity that Corbyn is attending a STWC demonstration in London today. The STWC claimed the mantle of leadership of the anti-war movement in 2003, when it found itself at the head of a million-strong protest against the Iraq war. Intensely hostile to the class struggle, its leaders systematically demobilised that movement with useless appeals to Parliament and capitalist politicians for restraint. Since then it has championed an anti-Pindo rather than anti-imperialist perspective, functioning as an adjunct to that faction of the ruling class favouring a more “independent” foreign policy for British capitalism. Corbyn echoed this geostrategic line in Parliament on Wednesday, saying:

Is not the truth that this prime minister is unable to stand up to President Trump because he has hitched his wagon to a trade deal with the United States, and that takes priority over everything else that he ought to be considering?

Corbyn will mount today’s STWC platform as “CND vice-president,” not Leader of the Labour Party. He is happy to fall back into his long-time role as an in-house critic of elements of UK foreign policy, so long as this does not threaten Labour’s century-old position as a trusted prop of British imperialism. Under the leadership of Corbyn, the former head of the STWC, and now deputy leader of CND, Labour MPs were allowed a free vote to wave through the bombing of Syria in 2015. War criminal Tony Blair remains a Labour member. The party went into the Dec 2019 election on a manifesto committed to membership of NATO, at least 2% of GDP spending on the military and maintaining the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons arsenal. The threat of war in Iran poses with renewed urgency the need to build an international anti-imperialist movement against war that is worthy of the name. This can only be done through the fight for socialism in the working class and youth, the only force on the planet capable of overthrowing the capitalist profit system that gives rise to war.

We “slaughtered” Jeremy Corbyn, says Israel lobbyist
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, Jan 10 2020

A prominent Israel lobbyist in the UK has claimed credit for last month’s electoral defeat of the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. “The beast is slain,” Joe Glasman delighted, Corbyn has been “slaughtered.” He rejoiced that “we defeated him” in the election. “They tried to kill us,” he ranted, but “we won.”Glasman leads the “political investigations team” at the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, an influential anti-Palestinian lobby group. He made his comments in a bizarre video rant addressed to his team of supporters that he posted online during the holiday break. The video was soon set to private. But left-wing Labour activists managed to download a copy and posted it on the Barnet Momentum Facebook page. In the video Glasman claimed he and his supporters beat Corbyn through a coordinated campaign using methods including “our spies and intel. But they’re not secret Mossad spies, they’re just ordinary people.” The video swiftly became an embarrassment. Other copies posted online have been taken down following copyright claims by Glasman. The Electronic Intifada is reposting the full video to our YouTube channel for news reporting purposes. After he was subjected to a four-year witch hunt targeting the left and Palestine solidarity activists over alleged “Labour anti-Semitism,” Corbyn lost last month’s general election. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism was founded in 2014 during Israel’s war against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, to counter rising criticism of Israel. It did so primarily by smearing critics as anti-Semitic. It has been one of the most active right-wing Zionist groups promoting the false notion that Labour became an anti-Semitic party after Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership in 2015. But as anti-Zionist Palestine solidarity campaigner Tony Greenstein argued on his blog:

The one thing that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism doesn’t do is to campaign against anti-Semitism. In fact, anti-Semitism of the traditional kind is all but ignored by it, but ‘anti-Semitism’ of the anti-Zionist or pro-Palestinian variety is very much its concern.

Despite being a registered charity, and thus supposedly non-partisan, the CAA openly campaigned against Labour and against Corbyn. It organized demonstrations against Labour, including one days before last month’s general election. Greenstein has complained to the Charity Commission, calling for the regulator to remove the group’s tax-exempt status. The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism habitually smears Palestinians and their supporters. In 2017, it attacked Malaka Shwaikh, a Palestinian from Gaza then running in student elections in Exeter. The attacks sparked a barrage of threats and harassment against her. Now a lecturer at the University of Leeds, Shwaikh told EI at the time:

The right of free speech on campus has been threatened.

UK police fire stun guns 2,500 times as deployment of weapon escalates
Dennis Moore, WSWS, Jan 11 2020

Figures released by the Home Office show that the use of stun guns is on the increase in the UK. For the year to Mar 2019, stun guns were deployed in 23,000 incidents and fired on 2,500 occasions. These figures underscore that the use of these life-threatening weapons is now routine, with their use up by more than a third on the year to Mar 2018 and double the 2016 total. The use of stun guns has sparked controversy since their introduction, following the growing numbers of deaths they have caused when deployed. According to Amnesty International, 18 people in Britain have died after a stun gun was discharged on them by police since their introduction in 2003 and rollout to all forces in 2013. Jordan Begley from Manchester died following the use of a Taser while being arrested in Jul 2013. A jury at the inquest into his death in 2015 delivered a narrative verdict concluding he died partly as a result of being “inappropriately and unreasonably” tasered. There is also evidence that the use presence of a stun gun can potentially escalate a situation, rather than protect anyone from being assaulted. A study carried out by Cambridge University and City of London Police found that the presence of electroshock devices in a given situation leads to greater hostility in police-public interactions, with researchers describing this as the “weapons effect.” Dr Barak Ariel, lead researcher from Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, said:

We found that officers are more likely to be assaulted when carrying electroshock weaponry, and more likely to apply force.

The study took place between Jun 2016- Jun 2017 and researchers randomly allocated 400 front-line shifts between a Taser-carrying officer and an equivalent number of non-Taser-carrying officers. A total of 5,981 incidents took place over the study. It showed that those officers carrying stun guns were involved in the use of force 48% more than those officers not carrying them. The use of force by officers who were unarmed but accompanying armed officers on shifts also increased by 19% compared to the control study using unarmed officers. Ariel said:

For many, a weapon is a deterrence. However, some individuals interpret the sight of a weapon as an aggressive cue, a threat that creates a hostile environment. This can lead to a fight or flight dilemma, with potentially heightened aggressive behaviour and assault.

Under the Conservative government, there have been calls from the Home Office for all police officers to be trained in the use of Tasers. A survey carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales found that 94% of police officers think Tasers should be issued to more front-line staff. At present it has been left to the discretion of each police force to decide if they use stun guns or not. To date, both Northamptonshire and Durham Constabularies issue them to all front-line police officers. In her keynote speech to the ruling Conservatives conference last year, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that up to 60% of police officers in England will be able to carry Tasers whilst on duty. An additional £10m is being allocated to fund this. This allows an additional 10,000 front-line police officers to be able to carry a Taser. Police forces estimate that this will mean every officer who wants to carry one will be able to do so.

The most high-profile death at the hands of a police Taser was that of former Premier League football player Dalian Atkinson. Both police officers involved in the arrest that led to the death of Atkinson on Aug 15 2016, following the use of a Taser will now stand trial in September later this year. One of them is charged with murder. In November last year, a court order was lifted by the CPS that had been used to provide anonymity to both officers. The decision to lift the ban came after lawyers acting for six news organisations, including the Guardian, argued that the order was an “unjustified” and serious interference with the principle of open justice. It is usual practice to name suspects charged by the CPS. The lawyers representing the police officers accepted that their anonymity could not be justified, but asked that the addresses of both defendants not be disclosed. PC Benjamin Monk, from the West Mercia police, was charged with murder that could lead to a sentence of life in prison. His colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, was charged that she assaulted Atkinson occasioning actual bodily harm, to which she entered a not guilty plea. Following a pretrial hearing at Birmingham Crown court in December, both officers will stand trial in Sep 14. This decision comes just over one year after the case had been referred to the CPS, by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which had been conducting a criminal investigation into the case for over 16 months.

At the time of Atkinson’s death, there were concerns raised as to the overwhelming use of force by the police officers involved. Atkinson had been visiting his 85-year-old father Ernest at his home in Telford, Shropshire. It was alleged that he may have been arguing with his father prior to the police arriving on the scene. Following the deployment of the Taser, Atkinson’s health rapidly deteriorated and despite attempts by ambulance and medical staff to save him, he later died at the Princess Royal Hospital following a cardiac arrest. Paula Quinn, a neighbour living in a first floor flat near the Atkinson property, was one of the witnesses. She described seeing Atkinson being stunned with the Taser several times by police, and then being kicked as he stumbled towards police officers. She told the BBC:

They were shouting and kicking so much, all I could hear were the boots hitting him.

Monk is being charged with his murder, but no police officer has been found guilty of murder or manslaughter since civil liberties organisation INQUEST began monitoring cases in 1990. INQUEST director Deborah Coles said:

The hope of many bereaved families, that police officers involved in a death are held to account to a criminal standard, is too often denied. As such the decision from the CPS, though long awaited, is welcome.

In 2017, an independent review into deaths in police custody carried out by Dame Elish Angiolini QC highlighted the problem with delays in investigations and prosecutions. Angiolini recommended that cases be dealt with in timescales equivalent to civilian homicide cases. The report raised concerns about procedural issues following a serious incident that could potentially compromise an investigation. Police officers who may have been witness to an incident by one of their colleagues are allowed to confer with each other prior to any formal investigation by the IOPC. Police Federation members who spoke to the review claimed that only matters of fact would be discussed at such meetings, yet the report points out that even if there was no deliberate intent on the part of the officers involved, it can result in contamination of accounts which is harmful to the integrity of the evidence. The report recommended that officers do not confer or speak to each other following an incident, prior to producing their initial accounts, other than for pressing operational reasons. Other concerns were raised by families, campaigners, lawyers and even police officers who spoke to the review about the independence of the IOPC when investigating deaths in custody. Many of those investigating incidents were themselves former police officers. In the light of evidence as to the dangers to life involved in carrying and using stun guns, the government insistence on rolling out the weapons must be seen as part of the strengthening of the state that is underway in anticipation of a major escalation in the class struggle post-Brexit.

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