Daily Archives: May 17, 2019

Are supporters of Mike’s libel accusers invading his privacy to threaten him?

Here’s a strange thing. I’ve started receiving emails from someone claiming to have infected my computer with a virus.

That’s all I know as I found them in my junk mailbox and didn’t open them. I deleted them instead.

Presumably there’s a threat to do some kind of harm to my system, or to publish secrets that I don’t want people to know, if I don’t cough up some cash. There’s always a threat of some kind involved in these things.

As I say, I deleted the messages so I don’t know what it was. It’s my policy, for reasons that should be obvious.

But then I thought: “Why now?”

We know that supporters of the two TV personalities who are alleging libel against me are skilled in tracking down people they want to target.

Those people, their relatives and friends, employers, and the heads of academic institutions where some are studying have been contacted with malicious messages. That fact is one aspect of my case.

I heard tonight that one person lost their job because of the lies these people peddle.

That revelation made me question whether the emails I had received might have been sent by supporters of my opponents, with the intention – at the very least – of knocking me off-balance; re-directing my concentration away from the case.

I wonder if those responsible will take this any further.

I wonder, also, if right-thinking people are prepared to accept that supporters of my opponents are invading the privacy of strangers in order to harm them.

Are you?

If not, I’ve got a remedy: Support my crowdfunding appeal so I can defend myself against the false claims levelled against me.

I cannot win this case on my own and the amount raised so far – while impressive – isn’t enough to see a court case through to its conclusion.

Think of it this way: If you say something these people don’t like, you could be next on their list.

And that is not a welcome thought!

If you have already contributed, please don’t feel pressured into doing so again unless you genuinely have the spare cash to justify it. If you haven’t – and you can – please do.

And please share information about the appeal, along with this message.

You can do this several ways:

  1. Email five friends who may be sympathetic, and encourage them to donate.
  2. Share the campaign on Facebook: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/
  3. Tweet the campaign link to your followers.

Too few people know about this! We need to make the world aware of what’s happening here.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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My mistake: Carers facing DWP crackdown don’t just save billions. They save more than £100 BILLION

Remember a few weeks ago, when I reported that the DWP is planning to impoverish carers in a crackdown intended to bring £150 million back to the Treasury?

I stated that this was an attack on people who save the Treasury more than £14 billion in the cost of providing professional care services.

It seems my calculations were a little off.

Here’s Carers UK:

“The 6.8 million people who provide unpaid care for a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in the UK save the state £132 billion a year – close to the cost of a second NHS.

“[There has been] a staggering increase in the value of carers’ support since 2001, almost doubling from £68 billion to £132 billion. Researchers attribute this rise to a dramatic increase in the number of hours people are caring for, combined with an increase in the cost of replacement care.

“Carers UK’s Chief Executive Heléna Herklots has warned: ‘If even a small percentage of people were unable to continue caring, the economic impact would be catastrophic. Worryingly, we are edging towards this possibility, as the pressure on families to provide more care with less support is intensifying’.”

£132 billion a year is the cost of a second National Health Service.

The DWP crackdown on carers is intended to make people unable to continue caring.

It is intended to cause a catastrophic economic impact.

So we need to ask:

What are these Tories playing it, trying to undermine the UK’s economy for the sake of a few farthings?

Source: Unpaid carers save the UK £132 billion a year – the cost of a second NHS – Carers UK

Labour-Tory Brexit talks have failed. Now for the recriminations

Labour has announced that attempts to find an acceptable compromise that will allow Parliament to deliver Brexit have failed, and This Writer is relieved.

Any government trying to act on the result of the EU referendum – as designed by David Cameron – can only fail to satisfy the voting public.

Remainers will be alienated by attempts to decouple from the EU on the basis of a plebiscite that could only – legally – be advisory. Leavers are so divided over the manner of the UK’s departure that a majority of them will be unhappy about any plan put to Parliament.

As the political party that forced the issue (concerns about the EU were a low priority among the UK’s electorate prior to 2015), the Conservatives appear to have sown the seeds of their own doom – in my opinion.

So I saw the offer of cross-party talks as an attempt to spread – or indeed transfer – the blame: Get a deal with Labour and then blame Labour for all its unpopular parts.

But now Labour has terminated the talks. Jeremy Corbyn explained his reasons in a letter to Theresa May, published on LabourList:

“It has become clear that, while there are some areas where compromise has been possible, we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us,” he wrote.

“Even more crucially, the increasing weakness and instability of your government means there cannot be confidence in securing whatever might be agreed between us.

“As you have been setting out your decision to stand down and Cabinet ministers are competing to succeed you, the position of the government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded. Not infrequently, proposals by your negotiating team have been publicly contradicted by statements from other members of the Cabinet.

“In recent days we have heard senior Cabinet ministers reject any form of customs union, regardless of proposals made by government negotiators. And despite assurances we have been given on protection of environmental, food and animal welfare standards, the International Trade Secretary has confirmed that importing chlorinated chicken as part of a US trade deal remains on the table.

“After six weeks of talks, it is only right that the Government now wishes again to test the will of Parliament, and we will carefully consider any proposals the Government wishes to bring forward to break the Brexit deadlock.

“However, I should reiterate that, without significant changes, we will continue to oppose the Government’s deal as we do not believe it safeguards jobs, living standards and manufacturing industry in Britain.”

I made my own feelings on the matter clear, on Twitter:

 

After the talks, the recriminations. Despite Mr Corbyn’s assertion (once again) that the talks were carried out in good faith, already accusations are being made that he was doing nothing more than “shadow-boxing”. He has refuted those claims on BBC news:

And the Evening Standard has published a claim that Mr Corbyn discussed a plan to leave the EU on July 31, denying the opportunity of a second – confirmatory – referendum to those who want it. The implied accusation against Mr Corbyn is nonsense, for reasons I’ll detail below – but you should see the claim first:

“The plan involves:

  • Free votes for MPs in which they would rank in order of preference five different forms of customs arrangements with the EU, ranging from a full permanent trade pact to a looser or temporary arrangement. The aim is to force the Commons, which has rejected every option shown so far, to a decision.
  • A free vote on making any deal subject to a second referendum, which appears designed to block the campaign backed by 150 Labour MPs for a confirmatory ballot attached to any deal.
  • Whipped votes on other areas where the two sides appear to have reached agreement, including to keep European worker rights and green standards.

“The leaked memo, shown to the Evening Standard, was sent to Labour on Wednesday.

“However, a senior Labour source insisted that the document was not approved by Mr Corbyn and no decision had been made by Labour on the form of votes to be staged.”

It is ludicrous for anyone to claim that this shows Mr Corbyn colluding in a plan to shut the electorate out of having a say on the final form of Brexit.

In fact, it is entirely possible that this is the proposal that caused him to give up on the talks.

Think about it: he resumed negotiations on Tuesday, the proposal was put to Labour on Wednesday and now, on Friday, he has pulled out.

That indicates opposition rather than collusion, and we should question very closely the behaviour of anyone suggesting otherwise. Shouldn’t we, Labour MP Alex Sobel?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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MPs demand answers on DWP/newspaper propaganda – while disability activists plan direct action

The Department for Work and Pensions’ attempt to hoodwink the public with a covert propaganda campaign to whitewash Universal Credit is falling apart.

You can read about the DWP’s half-baked idea in this article, published on This Site earlier.

Unfortunately for the Department, when information like this gets into the public domain, people react.

So now the chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, Frank Field, has written to Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, demanding access to all relevant internal DWP documents.

He wants to know the full cost of the campaign (we understand the wraparound advertorials on Metro will be £250,000 a go but that’s not the full cost), whether Rudd personally approved the plans, and what guarantees the department can give as to the accuracy of the advertorial.

He called for guarantees from the DWP that the unbranded advertorials would not confuse claimants or potential claimants, and he asked for evidence that the department had assessed the risk that the PR campaign could prompt people to sign up to universal credit when they did not need to.

That‘s according to The Guardian, which reported that Mr Field is also concerned about reports that some jobcentre staff wrongly advise benefit claimants to switch from legacy benefits to universal credit even when in some cases they will be left hundreds of pounds worse off as a result.

So you can see there is genuine cause for concern about the DWP’s behaviour towards people to whom it has a duty of care.

Mr Field also wants to know about the DWP’s collaboration with the BBC on a documentary series about UC.

For balance, you should know that the Department has denied any impropriety and claimed that all advertisements comply with Advertising Standards Authority regulations.

Meanwhile, Disabled People Against Cuts is advocating direct action against the DWP’s campaign to whitewash Universal Credit, in line with This Site’s previous report:

DPAC has now called on its supporters to visit locations where the free paper is given away – such as train and tube stations – and “remove or otherwise prevent as many as possible” from being read from 31 May.

DPAC is also preparing a dossier of evidence about the DWP-Metro deal to pass to the advertising watchdog, and pledges to “make sure the Metro never want another DWP advert again”.

Source: Direct action pledge after DWP pays tabloid to air-brush universal credit

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Anti-NHS think tank that funds the Tories – hugely – is itself funded by ‘Big Tobacco’

Kate Andrews: This woman – and the IEA think tank she represents – is bad for your health.

Think about the British Medical Journal‘s findings: Tobacco and food firms whose products are harmful to health have been secretly funding the Conservative Party, through the think tank known as the Institute for Economic Affairs.

So next time the odious Kate Andrews appears on Question Time, or Politics Live, or The Andrew Marr Show saying the NHS should be scrapped, bear in mind she’s speaking for British American Tobacco…

And she’s giving the Conservative government instructions.

A secretive think tank which called for the NHS to be scrapped while its heads pour millions into the Conservative Party – and its MPs’ – coffers is being funded by big tobacco, an investigation has found.

British American Tobacco is one of the groups funding the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank which is notoriously close-lipped about its donors.

The IEA has been an outspoken critic of public health measures for tackling smoking, obesity and harmful drinking, and past funders include organisations affiliated with gambling, alcohol, sugar and soft drinks industries.

Health experts said the findings, in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), raise the prospect of a future Conservative leader aligning with big business at the expense of the public’s health.

Source: Big tobacco secretly bankrolling anti-NHS think tank whose bosses donate thousands to Tory leadership contenders, an investigation reveals | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Israeli company banned from Facebook after interfering with elections around the world

Now why on Earth would Israel want to interfere with elections in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

The fact that it has – according to Facebook – raises questions about interference in the UK. Have Israeli organisations been trying to influence our elections.

What about other countries? We hear a great deal about Russia, for example.

But then, can we trust Facebook? This is an organisation that hosts targeted “dark advertising”, which cannot be seen by anybody other than the intended recipient, meaning it is hard to follow and, if it is funded by a political party, it is difficult to track that party’s spending for electoral purposes.

Globalisation is a keystone of the neoliberal ideology pushed by organisations like the Conservative Party in the UK.

I wonder if they realised it meant letting foreign powers try to dictate who would win elections right here.

Facebook has banned an Israeli company for interfering with elections around the world by creating fake accounts and pages to spread propaganda and manipulate voters.

Tel Aviv-based Archimedes Group coordinated campaigns across Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to an internal investigation by Facebook into inauthentic behaviour on its platform.

The social network removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages, groups and events that were deemed to be fake or used to disseminate deliberately manipulative content.

Around 2.8 million Facebook accounts followed one or more of these pages, with various events organised by the pages’ creators.

Source: Facebook busts Israeli company’s campaign to disrupt international elections | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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What’s the real point of the Brexit Party? Preventing a Labour government, perhaps?

If you want to know the quality of a man, consider who his friends are: Here’s Nigel Farage with Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Brexit Party can’t win any elections. So what is it for?

Nigel Farage’s new outfit is fielding candidates for UK constituencies in the European Parliament elections, but it is impossible for any single party, based in any single country, to win a majority in that legislature.

People who think the Brexit Party, in the European Parliament, will actually bring about Brexit are sadly deluded.

What else can it do, though?

Well, it could indicate UK constituencies where support for other main parties – particularly Labour – is weak.

There is a general election in the offing, and right-wingers such as the Brexit Party and its supporters may find that information useful.

A new general election will be about Brexit, far more than the EU election. With leave-supporting Labour areas identified in this month’s poll, though, it tells this minority party where to concentrate its resources to take seats away from the left-wing party.

Result: Labour is deprived of a Parliamentary majority and the UK ends up with a coalition of far-right Tories and the Brexit Party… and without a National Health Service:

Think about it.

Is this a plot to shortchange us out of the decent government we desperately need, yet again?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Homicidal DWP launches covert campaigns to spread Universal Credit propaganda. FRUSTRATE IT

Wow. You have to admire the sheer arrogance of bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions.

I suppose it arises from the fact that they have been able to “nudge” so many thousands of people off benefits and into the grave – without the slightest fear of punishment.

What else can explain the fact that, according to a memo circulated by DWP bigwigs themselves, the department is launching a campaign to counter “negativity and scaremongering” about Universal Credit – but is hiding the fact that it is involved, in the hope that nobody will notice the publicity is nothing more than thinly-veiled propaganda.

According to Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian, the campaign currently has two spearheads: A wraparound cover, supported by a four-page advertorial feature in the Metro newspaper, and a documentary on UC to be aired on that bastion of impartiality (ha ha), BBC2.

Mr Chakrabortty writes: “I can only assume that the DWP’s overlords are creating their own distortion of reality, because I cannot think of a single bigger policy failure this decade than universal credit.

“Amber Rudd, the DWP secretary, now admits Universal Credit’s introduction has left people so short of cash that they have resorted to food banks.

“What Iain Duncan Smith hailed in 2011 as a transformation of welfare has turned into something grotesque, with massive delays and huge flaws both of administration and design, repeatedly damned by MP select committees.

“The independent National Audit Office judges that universal credit has neither saved public money nor helped people into work. But it has left thousands of vulnerable claimants penniless, while others starve and even lose their homes.

“In a House of Commons debate last summer the London Labour MP Catherine West recounted how one of her constituents had ‘fallen off benefits’ and ended up ‘sleeping in a tent in a bin chamber’ on a housing estate.

“Such are the horrors whose very documentation by journalists the DWP letter dismisses as ‘unfair’. Rather than halt universal credit, as demanded by so many groups, the department’s managers now say they will respond ‘in a different way … very different to anything we’ve done before’.”

Put in a nutshell, they’re going to lie through their teeth.

Apparently the Metro inserts will “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC… The features won’t look or feel like DWP or UC – you won’t see our branding … We want to grab the readers’ attention and make them wonder who has done this ‘UC uncovered’ investigation.”

This is against the law and the Advertising Standards Authority will (one hopes) take a great interest. This is an advertorial – a marketing communication – and as such there is a legal requirement for it to be labelled as such. Nobody should have any caused to wonder who has done this investigation because they should be able to read in black and white that it isn’t one – it’s an advert.

And a costly advert at that: £250,000 of our money that could be better-used in trying to solve the faults that make Universal Credit a burden on the poor and vulnerable. That’s every week for nine weeks, making a total of £2.25 million.

Mr Chakrabortty describes it as an “elaborate media strategy to manufacture a Whitehall fantasy, one in which the benefits system is running like a dream while a Conservative government generously helps people on the escalator to prosperity”.

The newspaper initiative includes press junkets to Job Centres, for reporters to “see the great work we do”. I doubt anyone will be invited to the JCP at Ashton under Lyne, somehow. Mr Chakrabortty writes: “Doubtless, the Jobcentres will be carefully chosen and everything will be arranged so that when the dignitaries descend, all will be as precisely ordered as the innards of a Swiss watch.”

The other part of the spearhead is a three-part BBC2 documentary series in which reporters have been offered access to three Job Centres. The DWP memo states: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us – we’ve been involved in the process from the outset, and we continue working closely with the BBC to ensure a balanced and insightful piece of television.” For “balanced” read “slanted”, for “insightful” read “propaganda”.

Mr Chakrabortty again: “When the civil servants’ trade union, the PCS, found out about the filming, it asked if staff could talk frankly to the crew, only to be told no: they would still be subject to the civil service code, which demands complete impartiality. Perhaps this explains an internal PCS note on the BBC series I have seen, which remarks that staff are unhappy about being identified on screen. At one of the nominated jobcentres, in Toxteth in Liverpool, ‘It is our understanding that there have been no volunteers to take part in the filming.’ The risk is that any staff who do participate toe the management line, making the film an advert for universal credit.

“The PCS briefing also reports a senior universal credit manager telling union reps that ‘the DWP would have access to the film before transmission’.” That is a red flag for any reputable reporter. It is simply unacceptable for the subject of a report to have any input into the way it is presented. But: “The BBC confirms that is the case, although it says it has ‘editorial control’.”

The first Metro propaganda ad will appear on the front of that paper at the end of the month and already people are planning a campaign to stop it polluting the opinions of impressionable members of the public.

Although Metro is read by 2.5 million people, it is a free newspaper and that means there’s nothing anybody can do about it if public-spirited watchdogs get to outlets first, scoop out every copy bearing the offensive advertorial, and recycle them before they can do any harm.

I don’t think binning them would be particularly useful, and I doubt burning them would be environmentally-friendly.

As for the BBC2 documentary, the best thing to do is simply not watch it. Boycott the channel while the documentary is being aired and encourage everybody you know to do the same.

And share this article so everybody knows the depths to which the Conservative government will sink. As a campaigner for Sheffield Stop and Scrap Universal Credit stated in the Chakrabortty article: “They could be spending that money on us, but they’re spending it to con us.”

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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