Tag Archives: communications

Police refuse to investigate House of Commons racist who targeted sports commentator

Dan O’Hagan: he was targeted with a racist email, sent from the House of Commons.

It seems racists in the House of Commons know they are above the law and are happy to rub the fact in our faces.

Otherwise, you might expect racists in high places to keep their prejudice to themselves at the moment. Clearly that is not the case on the Westminster estate.

Here’s sports commentator Dan O’Hagan, who has worked for the BBC, Eurosport and ESPN:

“You cannot be allowed to belittle, mock and intimidate working class white men, whilst peddling your bourgeoisie [sic], privileged leftism in your highly paid career.

“Football is not for white elites like you. It belongs to working class men of all colours.” [Spot the sexism that’s slipped in there too!]

“Send me your address now and we can discuss this further in person.”

It was signed “David” – although This Writer has a doubt about whether that’s the person’s real name.

What had Mr O’Hagan said to provoke this malicious communication (of which more shortly)? See for yourself:

Information that came with the email showed that it was sent from the House of Commons, hence Mr O’Hagan’s request for the authorities there to locate the person responsible. Here’s the response:

He also contacted the police…

But – how normal – they recoiled from investigating anybody at the House of Commons:

It says – as This Writer pointed out very recently – that people working in our corridors of power are above the laws they make.

Now take a look at the image on the right, in the tweet directly above. Here it is in full:

It is illegal in England and Wales to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”, and this also applies to electronic communications.

That’s unless you work in the House of Commons – as a high-ranking politician or someone working for them, of course.

Even Mr O’Hagan has admitted he doubts the identity of the culprit will ever be revealed:

Sadly I’m sure we won’t get a name. The last few months judging the Government record, I have no faith of anything coming from this.

“It might get put on to the most junior person they can blame for it, that’s what might happen. But if there is a name, a big name, I doubt they will admit this I’m afraid.”

The same article quotes the police:

“Officers received a report yesterday (Tuesday 9 June) after a man in his 40s had allegedly received a threatening email.

“Enquiries into the incident found that no criminal offences had been committed and the investigation has therefore been closed.

Apparently they’ve never heard of the Malicious Communications Act, then. 

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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Now Johnson risks contempt of Parliament by refusing to release prorogation communications

Boris Johnson: If we had to judge a man by his gestures, this would give us an accurate understanding of his opinion of us.

Boris Johnson’s government is refusing to publish details of communications between Boris Johnson’s aides about the suspension of Parliament.

MPs voted for their release earlier this week, amid concerns that Mr Johnson misled the Queen to induce her to prorogue Parliament, and that the decision to call for prorogation was made earlier than he had claimed.

We already heard earlier today (September 11) that the prorogation was unlawful – although the Tory government is to challenge that ruling in the Supreme Court next week.

I mentioned reasons this was important in tweets earlier today (September 11):

This information came from Scottish solicitor Clive Wismayer, before you start thinking I’ve developed a rudimentary form of intelligence.

According to the BBC:

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the information sought by MPs was “unreasonable and disproportionate”.

It would breach the rights of the nine advisers concerned, including Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings.

To do so, he added, would “contravene the law” and “offend against basic principles of fairness”.

But does it?

You see, when there’s a possibility that these people have been involved in a huge offence against democracy, one has to wonder whether these people are the ones trying to “contravene the law” and “offend against basic principles of fairness”.

In such circumstances, I’m not particularly bothered about breaching the rights of the nine advisers concerned, and I think it should be up to the courts to decide if the information sought was “unreasonable and disproportionate” – in the light of the information that their documents divulge.

The refusal to provide the information, in the face of Parliament’s expressed demand, seems the most suspicious act possible.

And as it is a direct refusal to honour the wishes of Parliament, it seems Boris Johnson is content to add contempt of Parliament to the six defeats heaped on him between the moment Parliament re-convened on September 3 and the moment it was unlawfully (as matters stand at the time of writing) prorogued.

He – and all his advisers – could be in serious trouble here.

Source: Parliament suspension: Government refuses to publish No 10 communications – BBC News

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If Theresa May’s ‘fake news’ unit is a fake, will it only deal with ‘fake fake news’?

Grin and bear it: The revelation that her ‘fake news’ task force doesn’t know what to do can only be more humiliation for Theresa May [Image: REUTERS].

If so – once it’s got its act together – we’re all in trouble.

That’s because ‘fake’ fake news is real news.

Yes, it’s a lot of fun laughing at the fact that the Tories can’t get anything right, but they have announced a unit dedicated to tackling and silencing anything calling itself ‘news’ that they don’t like.

The operative line in the statement from Theresa May’s spokesman is: “It will more systematically deter our adversaries.” “Our” adversaries, not “the UK’s” or “the nation’s”.

He meant, very clearly, opponents of the Conservative Party. That is who the members of the National Security Communications Unit will target.

And, sooner or later, they’ll get their act together.

Theresa May’s ‘fake news unit’ was itself branded fake news today, after the government was unable to provide even basic details of how it will work.

Downing Street last week announced the creation of a specialised Government team dedicated to tackling fake news and disinformation.

The new National Security Communications Unit, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, would be tasked with: “combating disinformation by state actors and others. It will more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities.”

The announcement followed claims the Russian government had made attempts to meddle in British democracy – including the Brexit referendum by spreading fake news and disinformation online.

But despite announcing the creation of the unit to the press, the government has been unable to reveal even the most basic details of how it will work.

Source: Theresa May’s ‘fake news unit’ announcement has itself been branded ‘fake news’ – Mirror Online


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Labour MP who made anti-Semitism accusations against Corbyn was funded by Israel lobby

Ruth Smeeth (second from right) meeting Israeli politician Isaac Herzog (third from left) as part of a Labour Friends of Israel delegation [Image: LFI/Twitter].

Ruth Smeeth (second from right) meeting Israeli politician Isaac Herzog (third from left) as part of a Labour Friends of Israel delegation [Image: LFI/Twitter].

For information. As you can see, it seems Labour has more worrying organisations infiltrating the party than Tom Watson’s ‘Trotskyites’:

[A member of] the UK’s Labour Party who played a key role in this year’s manufactured anti-Semitism crisis maintained ties to the Israel lobby once she entered Parliament.

Official records show that Ruth Smeeth was funded by two ultra-wealthy figures from the same pro-Israel organization she once worked for. But these relationships have been overlooked by the British press, which have extensively reported on her allegations of anti-Semitic abuse at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

The register for legislators’ financial interests shows that Smeeth declared a donation of £5,000 ($6,200) from Poju Zabludowicz’s company Tamares Real Estates in June last year. She declared a donation worth £2,500 ($3,100) from Trevor Chinn, former chair of the Kwit-Fit chain of motor garages, at the same time.

Zabludowicz is the billionaire property speculator who was once reported to own 40 percent of downtown Las Vegas. He used his wealth, inherited from his Israeli arms dealer father, to establish BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Chinn, who sits on BICOM’s executive committee, has long been a Labour donor, and has funded leadership rivals to left-wing, pro-Palestinian Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Smeeth was BICOM’s director of public affairs and campaigns between late 2005 and mid 2007.

Before she ran for office in May 2010, she joined the Community Security Trust, an anti-Semitism watchdog charity known to have links to Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Smeeth made headlines in June this year when she walked out of the launch of a report into alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, claiming she had been the victim of bigotry at the event.

The allegations have been exaggerated and weaponized by Corbyn’s political enemies – and in some cases outright fabricated.

In the most high-profile case of fabrication, former BICOM intern Alex Chalmers claimed in February that there was anti-Semitism coming from “a large proportion” of his student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally.”

Source: UK Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was funded by Israel lobby | The Electronic Intifada

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Are we really stupid enough to believe Israel is spending £7.8bn on CRYPTOGRAPHY?

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

After yesterday’s article on Gaza was written, Yr Obdt Srvt opened the new edition of Private Eye and read the following on page 29:

“Downing Street’s promise on Monday to review all the UK’s arms export licences to Israel will come as no surprise to anyone who has perused a recent report from MPs… The report revealed the continuing mystery of licences for £7.8bn worth of equipment, mainly ‘cryptographic equipment, software and technology’.”

Really?

But page 5 of the same magazine states: “Many of the countries the UK supplies are flagged up by the Foreign Office as being ‘countries of human rights concern’. They account for £11.9bn of UK arms sales and include China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, who have been sold ‘cryptography’ equipment – essentially kit to disguise communications, infiltrate external websites and protect their own from surveillance.”

Really.

That costs £7.8 billion in Israel but only £3.1 billion to all these other countries, does it? And it’s before taking out sales of any shoot-bang-kill weapons, too.

Arms exports to Saudi Arabia total more than £1.5 billion, and to China another £600 million or so. That leaves £1 billion between Yemen, Iran (!) and anyone else not mentioned in the article.

It’s not believable. Even if the software licence was the most expensive ever, it beggars belief that Israel would be willing to pay 16 times as much as – for example – Iran, for the same equipment.

Meanwhile, an article in today’s Guardian clarifies how this kit will be used. The country’s right-wing government is intent on suppressing dissent against its military operations in Palestinian areas and has worked hard to ensure that around 95 per cent of the public support it.

This leaves five per cent of the population, who are afraid to voice their opinion openly for fear of being attacked in the street. Left-wing commentator Gideon Levy, who has written in opposition to the assaults, has suffered epistolary attacks from (among others) Eldad Yaniv, former political adviser to ex-prime minister Ehud Barack. Yaniv wrote on his Facebook page: “The late Gideon Levy. Get used to it.”

It does not seem far from the realms of possibility that a government that has generated this kind of support would buy surveillance equipment to snoop on its detractors in search of any evidence that could bring them down.

“What is different this time is the anti-democratic spirit,” Levy states in the Guardian article. “Zero tolerance of any kind of criticism, opposition to any kind of sympathy with the Palestinians,” says Levy. “You shouldn’t be surprised that the 95 per cent [are in favour of the war], you should be surprised at the 5 per cent. This is almost a miracle. The media has an enormous role. Given the decades of demonisation of the Palestinians, the incitement and hatred, don’t be surprised the Israeli people are where they are.”

Is this not exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews in Germany, back in the 1930s? Isn’t it exactly what Roger Waters was protesting against, as mentioned in yesterday’s VP article? And did the Nazis not use surveillance techniques via their secret police, the Gestapo, to ensure dissent was suppressed and propaganda in support of their policies held sway over public opinion?

(It should be noted that none of this should be used to suggest that the Palestinian organisation Hamas was right to launch attacks on Israel. The plight of the people of Gaza is real but must be settled by peaceful means; violence can only ever make matters worse in the long run.)

Now come back to the UK, where we have a right-wing government that has worked extremely hard to ensure that the mass media put forward only stories supporting its policies and point of view. Is it not possible that a government in possession of the kind of surveillance equipment it is exporting to ‘countries of human rights concern’ – a government that is known to have extremely unsound beliefs about human rights – might turn that equipment on its own people?

These are dangerous times for all of us.

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Liars exposed! Why has nobody been sacked yet?

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament's inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament’s inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

This blog asked yesterday whether Downing Street communications chief Craig Oliver was a liar, an incompetent, or both after he denied that government officers threatened the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

It turns out he was both.

The Telegraph has now published a recording of the conversation between reporter Holly Watt and Miller’s advisor Joanna Hindley, on which its allegations are based. There can be no doubt that the reporter did indeed have Leveson held over her (corruptly); there can be little doubt that this was done at the request of Miller; and there can be no doubt at all that Mr Oliver knew about it.

So – a liar. And incompetent, because he had obviously discounted the possibility that the Telegraph reporter might have recorded the exchange.

It appears that Mr Oliver still has his job, despite having become the second person to disgrace it out of only two appointed by David Cameron. We cannot comment on Joanna Hindley.

The bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster Maria Miller – who also persecuted thousands of disabled people while she was minister for equalities, also remains part of the government.

This speaks volumes about the lack of judgement displayed by ‘comedy’ Prime Minister David Cameron.

The longer he delays removing his rotten minister, her rotten advisor and his rotten media chief, the more rotten he and his government will become – in the opinion of the public.

And for this Prime Minister, public opinion is everything.

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The Telegraph must stand firm against Downing Street bullies

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Is Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver a liar, or incompetent? Or is he an incompetent liar?

These are the questions we should ask after he denied threatening the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published details of its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

The Telegraph reported that Miller’s parents were living in her taxpayer-funded south London second home, implying that she had fraudulently claimed expenses for it, in December 2012 – and immediately followed its report with another, alleging that government advisers tried to bully the paper out of running the story.

The Telegraph claimed that Miller’s special advisor, Joanna Hindley, told a reporter that the Editor of the Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson, and that the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.

The report continued: “Miss Hindley immediately contacted the Telegraph’s head of public affairs to raise concerns about the story. The news group decided to delay publication in order to ensure the facts were correct.

“Having carried out further checks, the newspaper concluded that the story was accurate and decided to publish the article at the first opportunity, meaning it appeared on the day same-sex marriage was debated in the Commons.” The government then suggested that the Telegraph was using the story to “overshadow” the announcement.

“Miss Hindley also accused the Telegraph of harassing Mrs Miller’s father, John Lewis,” the story continued

“In fact, reporters had a brief conversation with Mr Lewis in order to establish how long he had lived with Mrs Miller. Over the course of the conversation, Mr Lewis said he enjoyed reading the Telegraph.”

These claims are clearly damaging to Miss Hindley’s reputation as she is shown to be threatening, on Miller’s behalf, to use government powers to clamp down on reports in the Telegraph, which would be an abuse of the system.

Today’s report on the BBC News website has former Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher claiming that Mr Oliver contacted him to “lean” on the newspaper and “prevent it going about its legitimate business”.

He said: “She has done the free press a great favour,” he said.

“Maria Miller provides a cast-iron example of why politicians should have no power over the press.”

Mr Oliver denied the claim that the Telegraph was threatened. But the question remains: If this is true, why did he not take appropriate action sooner?

If he is right in his claim, then the government could have sued the Telegraph for libelling not only Miss Hindley, but also Mr Oliver andMiller herself. Why didn’t he?

The Telegraph provided its own version of events immediately after they took place, but Mr Oliver has waited 16 months to offer us his side of the story. It’s too late now.

We can only conclude that he is either lying about what happened, incompetent in not having taken the appropriate action at the appropriate time, or an incompetent liar because – given then evidence available to us – it was those acting for the government who misbehaved.

And the bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster is still in her job. Why?

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Bad apples?

Meet the new boss: Richard Caseby - no connection with any 'bad apples' at News UK or the DWP. Let's hope it stays that way.

Meet the new boss: Richard Caseby – no connection with any ‘bad apples’ at News UK or the government. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The highly confrontational former managing editor of both The Sunday Times and The Sun has been named as the new director of communications at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Richard Caseby takes over after former comms boss John Shield was hired by the BBC last September.

Gosh, what an incestuous world we live in! The BBC, now confirmed as little more than a mouthpiece for the Conservative Party in its political news content, hires the former press officer for the Tory-run DWP. The DWP then hires an executive from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, previous home of – oh, yes – former Number 10 press supremo Andy Coulson, currently on trial for criminal offences allegedly committed while he was employed by the same firm!

Murdoch, the government, the BBC – these people like to stick together, and they like to put their people in positions of influence.

There is no evidence – to my knowledge – that could link Mr Caseby to any criminal behaviour at News UK. It is to be hoped that any ‘bad apples’ who worked there did not manage to spoil the whole bunch. It would be wrong to consider him guilty of any wrongdoing merely by association with his previous employer.

And we should not automatically consider him to have been elevated to this position – in which, as a government employee, he should be impartial and not partisan – because he may be ideologically aligned with the Conservatives.

That being said, I shall certainly be watching this character like a hawk.

It seems he has gained a reputation for being “outspoken” and “forthright” – Roy Greenslade in The Guardian recounts an occasion when a columnist for that paper had mistakenly reported that The Sun had doorstepped a Leveson Inquiry lawyer, writing that such activities were equal to “casually defecating on his lordship’s desk while doing a thumbs-up sign”.

In response, Mr Caseby sent a toilet roll to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger along with a note saying: “I hear Marina Hyde’s turd landed on your desk.”

Of his new roll – sorry, role – at the DWP, Mr Caseby said: “Welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit represent the biggest transformation programme in the UK. It is fundamentally about changing culture and behaviour to make sure there is always an incentive to work.

“This is a huge and inspiring communications challenge and I’m delighted to be joining the DWP team to help in the task.”

Clearly he is already getting the hang of the lingo: “tranformation”, “changing culture and behaviour”, and “always an incentive to work” are all DWP catchphrases – probably because they don’t mean anything.

A “transformation” programme can turn a good system into the substance he mentioned in his Guardian note.

“Changing culture and behaviour” does not mean improving standards of living – in fact the evidence shows the exact opposite.

And the idea that DWP cuts mean there is “always an incentive to work” has been disproved to the point of ridicule. Iain Duncan Smith’s changes have hit low-paid workers more than anybody else and wages have been dropping continuously since the Secretary-in-a-State slithered into the job back in 2010.

Universal Credit has been the subject of so many expensive write-offs and relaunches that a campaign was launched earlier this week, called ‘Rip It Up And Start Again’, seeking an end to the fiasco.

This is the arena into which Mr Caseby has stepped.

He’d better tread carefully.

If he puts just one foot wrong, he might just get his head bitten off.