An organisation claiming to campaign against fake news – but actually targeting left-wing political websites – was set up by Labour Party employees, research has revealed.
It seems the ownership of the Campaign for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and Stop Funding Fake News (SFFN) were well-hidden but detective work by John McEvoy at The Canary (one of the organisation’s victims) has teased out the facts.
This is a clear attack on the freedom of press: The neoliberal right-wing of the Labour Party created a bogus campaign called "Stop Funding Fake News" to try to censor and shut down independent left-wing media outlets like @TheCanaryUK
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) December 1, 2020
And it seems the facts show that the CCDH was launched by none other than Labour leader Keir Starmer’s chief of staff, one Morgan McSweeney.
CCDH is a not-for-profit NGO which was initially registered on Companies House as Brixton Endeavours Limited. At the time of incorporation, 19 October 2018, the organisation’s only director was Morgan McSweeney – Labour leader Keir Starmer’s chief of staff. McSweeney was also the campaign manager for Liz Kendall’s leadership bid.
Brixton Endeavours Limited was officially renamed the Center for Countering Digital Hate on 30 August 2019, and McSweeney did not resign his directorship until 6 April 2020. The resignation was listed on Companies House on 4 May 2020, the day CCDH and SFFN’s relationship was formally acknowledged.
Although CCDH was first named on Companies House in August 2019, it has been in unofficial operation since December 2017.
SFFN was originally set up separately from CCDH, but it seems the founding chief executive of both was the same man – Imran Ahmed, who has also worked closely with Labour figures previously involved in the campaign to remove Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
Ahmed has worked as special advisor to Hilary Benn, reported to have encouraged a vote of “no confidence” against Corbyn in 2016, and as head of communications for Angela Eagle, who launched a leadership challenge the same year. Both Benn and Eagle “consistently voted” for the Iraq War.
SFFN and CCDH’s websites were also registered on the same server, on 28 January 2019 and 24 April 2019, respectively.
CCDH also shares its address with “Blue Labour” campaign group Labour Together, formerly directed by McSweeney, and now co-directed by Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy.
So we see that CCDH and SFFN are closely connected to Labour Together, to right-wing MPs Hilary Benn and Angela Eagle, and to the Labour leader Keir Starmer.
And what has it done?
Firstly it should be made clear that not everything done by these organisations has been bad. They have successfully campaigned for the removal of some genuinely poisonous individuals from the social media and raised the alarm over online misinformation about Covid-19.
But its most vicious campaigning has concentrated on the Left, it seems:
While posing as a neutral body concerned with “the rapid rise in Fake News”, operated by people who are supposedly “pro-truth, pro-balance and pro-responsible news”, SFFN in fact appears to be a highly politicised pressure group, and part of the wider onslaught against the British left.
A statistical analysis of SFFN’s lobbying efforts supports this assessment. Between its founding and the 2019 general election, SFFN targeted The Canary – which the campaign acknowledged was its largest target – more than any other website, with 176 individual posts on Twitter. The operation has been scaled down since the election, with 42 individual posts targeting The Canary in a greater amount of time.
Canary editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza is currently suffering her second Twitter ban within a week in what seems clearly a co-ordinated campaign of harassment against her.
Apparently CCDH and SFFN have only one patron:
CCDH lists Countdown figure Rachel Riley as its only patron, adding that it receives additional funds from “philanthropic trusts and members of the public”.
It is not known whether Riley has also funded SFFN since 2019, at which time she celebrated The Canary being “on its last legs” due to SFFN lobbying. Riley did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Hmm. I won’t comment too heavily onthis as This Writer is currently being sued for libel (on very tenuous grounds) by Riley. Suffice it to say that she has been fighting her own crusade against Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing politics for several years now.
There is strong evidence to show that CCDH and SFFN are fronts for an anti-left-wing propaganda campaign run by people within the very organisation that should be supporting lefty news endeavours.
Perhaps it is time these people were put on the spot and, rather than accepting their accusations without question, we put their own credentials to the test.
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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