Tag Archives: criminal

‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:

 

Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:

Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

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Starmer’s whip cracks and his MPs start walking away from legalisation of crimes like rape by government agents

Bungler: perhaps Keir Starmer thought his decision to support a law that allows government agents to murder, torture and rape people with no fear of prosecution was a show of power. All it will do is turn more people away from the hollow shell he has made of the Labour Party.

Keir Starmer has gone too far and Labour MPs know it.

That’s how This Writer reads the groundbreaking resignation from the party’s frontbench team of rising star Dan Carden.

The now-former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has only just distinguished himself in Parliament with this speech attacking Tory corruption and cronyism, taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to award themselves and their businesses huge wodges of public money in return for – well, nothing:

Now, after being told that Starmer is whipping Labour to abstain on the heinous Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, he has announced that he will vote with his conscience – and resigned his post as a shadow minister.

He is quite right to do so. Starmer has lied repeatedly about this – or he has been wildly mistaken about what he could achieve.

First he told Labour MPs to abstain on the second reading of the Bill – allowing it to progress through Parliament when a concerted effort by all Labour MPs could have stopped it on the spot.

He told his MPs that there would be a chance to change the Bill, tightening up controls on the kind of crimes that could be committed and the circumstances in which they would be allowed. That has not happened.

And he told his MPs that they would be able to vote against the Bill if attempts to amend it failed. We see now that he is not going to allow this after all.

So Mr Carden did the honourable thing:

Take note of the words in his letter. He states that Starmer has “settled” on his position on “legislation that sets dangerous new precedents on the rule of law and civil liberties in this country”.

He’s saying that, in effect, Starmer is supporting a law that will harm our freedom.

The letter also states that in supporting the harm that will be done to us, Starmer’s position is at odds with the vast majority of his party: “I share the deep concerns about this legislation from across the Labour Movement, human rights organisations, and so many who have suffered the abuse of state power, from blacklisted workers to the Hillsborough families and survivors.”

Mention of the Hillsborough tragedy is particularly telling: in supporting this Bill, then, Starmer is setting himself against the Hillsborough families and survivors – and everybody who supports them and their struggle for justice.

That is not a good look for a lawyer!

The Third Reading vote on the CHIS Bill is this evening (October 15).

Labour-voting members of the public will judge their MPs by whether they support Starmer, or if they choose to support justice instead.

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If Starmer hadn’t whipped Labour to abstain on #spycops bill, this support for murder, torture & sex crimes would have been defeated

Keir Starmer: he probably thought he was being smart but all he really did was get it wrong again.

Well, isn’t this interesting?

The tweet isn’t quite correct; only 20 MPs voted against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill that would authorise people from the Financial Conduct Authority (for example) to commit crimes up to and including murder, rape and torture in the course of an investigation – and they were all from the Labour Party.

But only 182 Tories voted for it.

If Keir Starmer had not whipped Labour MPs to abstain – and take note that exactly 182 of them did – then this endorsement of crime by a criminal government would have been stopped in its tracks.

Defenders of the Bill have claimed it isn’t as bad as some of us are saying – that spies working for the various government agencies would need approval to commit crimes before carrying out the acts for which the planned law would grant them immunity.

But the safeguards against abuse are said to be “very vague and very broad” and, as I mentioned in a previous article, there is the issue of “mission creep”: agents will end up committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment, creating precedents to stretch what is permissible until it covers anything at all.

Take note: Starmer used to be a human rights lawyer.

But he just gave an insult to human rights a free pass to the next stage of becoming law.

And his supporters are trying to flood the social media with claims that he is a good thing. #StarmerOutstanding, they say.

He is outstanding. He is an outstanding threat to the well-being of you, me and everybody we know.

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The UK’s criminal government is authorising undercover cops to commit sex crimes – and Starmer is supporting it

Keir Starmer: in abstaining on the Bill to give government agents carte blanche to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape, he is supporting the commission of those crimes. The perpetrators will be protected from prosecution by the law.

In one sense, it was only to be expected: a criminal government authorises its enforcers to commit criminal acts.

So the Johnson government – an international criminal due to the Internal Market Bill that is currently going through the House of Lords like a dose of salts – is authorising its spies to commit crimes as part of their duties.

These crimes include murder, torture, and sexual offences:

According to the BBC,

the legislation would explicitly authorise MI5, the police, the National Crime Agency and other agencies that use informants or undercover agents to commit a specific crime as part of an operation.

Security officials will not say which crimes are authorised, on grounds that this may give away the identities of undercover agents to terrorists and other serious criminals.

So the sky is the limit and the legislation offers the UK’s secret police a licence to do anything they like, to anybody.

Yes, the legislation does require MI5 officers and others to show the crime is “necessary and proportionate”, but what happens when they encounter what’s known as “mission creep”?

The definition of “necessary and proportionate” will stretch over time to encompass anything, laying it open to corruption – and agents may find themselves committing ever-more-extreme crimes because they are told to do so on the spur of a moment.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said the legislation would “help keep our country safe”, but he did not elaborate on whose country he meant, or who it would be kept safe from.

Both Labour and Conservative MPs have expressed opposition to the Bill as it currently stands, saying the safeguards were “very vague and very broad” and must be strengthened.

But Labour’s leadership said it would not oppose the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill at its second reading on October 5.

This has led to further claims that current Labour leader Keir Starmer is nothing more than a closet Conservative, forcing party members to accept acts that are directly opposed to their principles as he supports the Johnson government time and time again – and his MPs support him.

Only 20 Labour MPs defied his order to abstain on the Bill’s second reading, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and others including Ian Lavery, who tweeted this:

Note the hashtag #spycops – others include #LabStainers and #NoOpposition, with #StarmerOut being the most popular (although it is also infested with supporters of ‘Sir Keith’ who are trying to stifle the views of the majority).

Here are a few examples of the #StarmerOut tweets, to show the strength of feeling about this:

Supporters of Starmer say he is acting strategically in order to demonstrate that Johnson and his ministers have nobody to blame for their mistakes but themselves. This is a trap for Labour.

Having abstained from voting on this Bill, Starmer and his followers in the Labour Party have said they accept the necessity of agents of the Financial Conduct Authority committing rape (to put forward an extreme example).

Are their supporters seriously trying to tell us this won’t come back and bite them?

There is only one reasonable response to legislation that authorises government agents to commit crimes – especially extreme crimes such as those contemplated here, and that is opposition.

But opposition is not in Keir Starmer’s vocabulary.

Let’s have a leadership challenge. He has to go.

And if he isn’t ousted this time, let’s have another challenge, and another, until he is. He has turned Labour into a travesty.

Source: MPs back bill to authorise MI5 and police crimes – BBC News

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Man arrested for vandalising eight ambulances: this is deliberate danger to life

The vandal put eight ambulances out of action when they are needed to handle coronavirus cases.

Take note: selfish idiots are still trying to harm our chances of surviving the coronavirus.

At a time like this, criminal damage to ambulances – putting them out of action – is nothing short of a deliberate attempt to endanger human lives.

The charges against the arrested man should reflect that – as should the penalty if he is convicted.

A man has been arrested after eight ambulances were damaged in Kent, forcing them out of service as medics across the UK contend with the spread of coronavirus.

The 47-year-old from Ramsgate, Thanet, was detained on Wednesday morning on suspicion of causing criminal damage on two dates last month.

Kent Police had launched an appeal after holes were drilled into nine tyres on six ambulances at a depot overnight on Saturday 21 March.

Source: Man arrested after eight ambulances vandalised and forced out of service during coronavirus crisis | The Independent

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Jamaica deportation: 25 saved from flight – but 17 are aboard, despite court ruling

Boris Johnson: He’s a foreign-born UK resident who plotted a crime in the UK – why hasn’t he been deported?

This is a win – if only a partial one.

A ruling by the Court of Appeal that people who have not had access to legal advice should not be on the Home Office’s deportation plane to Jamaica has led to a reprieve for 25 of them.

But they do not know what the Conservatives will do to them next, and 17 people were forced to take the plane.

Campaigners have said that the decision to deport people who have been in the UK since they were as young as two years old, meaning they are being removed from their families and the country they consider their home, is racist.

The Tories are saying that it is right to deport people who were born in foreign countries and committed crimes in the UK.

So far they have refused to address the fault in their argument – that their own prime minister, Boris Johnson, plotted an assault and battery offence against a UK journalist.

Why is he not on a plane to the United States, which is where he was born, with no hope of return?

Source: Jamaica deportation: Home Office flight leaves UK despite court ruling – BBC News

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Tory post-Brexit residence scheme for EU citizens shows they’ve learned NOTHING from Windrush

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it was still in service, the Tories would be trying to use it to deport EU citizens.

Those racists in the Conservative government think we all have really short memories, don’t they?

Their colleagues and cronies at the Home Office have unveiled a new “EU Settlement Scheme” for citizens of the European Union who want to continue living and/or working in the UK after Brexit – and it looks startlingly – shockingly – Windrushy. I hope you understand what I mean by that.

Applicants under the scheme will have to provide proof of their own identity, proof that they live in the UK, and proof that they do not have a criminal record.

And it will cost them up to £65 to provide this information to a government that should have it all already.

Perhaps the Home Office destroyed it, along with the documents that would have saved thousands of the Windrush generation from deportation.

Here’s the Home Office’s tweet on the subject:

It seems clear these Tory racists have learned nothing from the Windrush scandal.

They see Brexit as an opportunity to humiliate Johnny (and Jane) Foreigner – make them leap through hoops for the dubious benefit of staying in a country that is about to fall off an economic cliff, thanks to the result of a referendum designed to end discord in their own bigoted, minority-interest party and their own ineptitude at any kind of negotiations (including Theresa May’s failure to negotiate her way out of a car door at one point) thereafter.

And they see it as an opportunity to deport anybody who fails to provide this information and/or cough up the cash.

Charming.

The social media have reacted appropriately. Here‘s Liisa Smith: “How disgraceful. I’ve been living here for nearly 18 years as a tax-paying resident and this is how the UK government treats people. It makes me sick.”

John Clarke tweeted for many when he wrote: “The Tories shame us all.”

As Rachael Swindon elaborated, the scheme is “horrific, cynical, threatening and unnecessary. They promised to learn the lessons of the hostile environment policy, and lied once again.”

Labour MP David Lammy added: “Shame. What a way to treat our neighbours, friends, family and partners from Europe. King Herod would be proud Theresa May. Screw this shit.” Strong words for an MP, but appropriate, perhaps.

But what do EU-born residents make of it all? The answer is: Not a lot.

Peter Stefanovic stated: “As the son of an immigrant and part of a European family I can honestly say this breaks my heart.”

And Stewart Wood told us: “Just told my 83-year old German mum, who has lived here since 1964, that she’ll have to go through (& pay for) this process – to prove to the Home Office who she is, & that she’s not a criminal. I tried hard, but couldn’t really explain why. It’s an awful stain on our country.”

That it is – by which I mean, obviously, the Conservative government is an awful stain on our country.

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Why is the BBC trying to prejudice the inquiry into Arron Banks and Leave.EU?

Arron Banks.

Has the BBC taken its claim to impartially serve up both sides of news stories a few steps too far?

That’s how it seems in the case of Arron Banks, who is apparently being investigated by the National Crime Agency after the Electoral Commission found that his campaign group in the EU referendum – Leave.EU – had broken electoral law.

After it was announced that the NCA is investigating, the BBC decided to invite him onto The Andrew Marr Show to discuss the matter. The show was to be broadcast live at 9am today (Sunday, November 4). Here’s the Corporation’s statement about it:

“There is strong public interest in an interview with Arron Banks about allegations of funding irregularities in relation to Leave.EU and the 2016 EU Referendum. The Electoral Commission has laid out concerns about this in public and it is legitimate and editorially justified for Andrew Marr to question Mr Banks robustly about them, which he will do on Sunday morning.”

No it isn’t. In fact, it may pervert the course of justice.

We already know Leave.EU is guilty of breaking electoral law – that’s what the Electoral Commission found. Now it has passed the matter on to the NCA, which will investigate the possibility that serious criminal offences were committed.

Nobody from the NCA or the Electoral Commission has been invited to put forward what they know, so this is basically giving Mr Banks an opportunity to influence the nation’s thinking on the matter. This could be disastrous for justice if a jury is ever asked to decide on his innocence or guilt.

People have picked up on these facts. For instance:

It’s a perfectly legitimate question, if the BBC is interested in balance. Carole Cadwalladr is the investigative journalist who uncovered much (if not all) the evidence against Leave.EU.

More to the point is this:

This is the substantive point – presenting evidence that might go before a criminal court may prejudice the case.

Trouble is, I think we need to watch, just to check whether what’s broadcast is reasonable. This member of the public thinks it won’t be:

Again, good points. The BBC is acting hypocritically as it is affording Mr Banks a courtesy never offered to other people in the public eye, whose behaviour has been the focus of legal interest in the past. And it is the job of all reporters to ensure that they do not prejudice the outcome of criminal inquiries and court cases when reporting them.

Will the following be mentioned?

Probably – but not in anything like the exhausting detail with which Mr Banks is likely to put his side of the story.

So it should be no surprise that the BBC has received a huge number of complaints and people have been calling on other members of the public to make their views known:

And what do you think was the BBC’s measured response?

It closed down the complaints page on its website.

This is not the action of a responsible organisation.

It gets worse than that, though – information has been leaked to suggest Theresa May quashed an investigation into Mr Banks’s dealings, years ago, quoting “political sensitivity” (which is the reason the Met Police has given for failing to do anything about the matter over the last several months).

Here‘s The Guardian:

“A Labour MP has asked Theresa May whether she or any other minister had ever declined a request from the security services to conduct an investigation into the controversial Leave.EU campaign donor Arron Banks.

“Ben Bradshaw wrote to the prime minister a day after it was announced that a criminal investigation into Banks had begun, amid repeated allegations that May had blocked an investigation in 2016, when she was home secretary.

“Downing Street would not comment on Bradshaw’s suggestion that an investigation was blocked, although it is understood the claim is denied. A No 10 spokesman said: “We would never confirm or deny the detail of any conversation with security services on any topic.”

“The Daily Mail reported on Thursday that May declined a request by one of the security services to investigate Banks in 2016, repeating a claim made by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, at his party conference in September.

“At the time Watson asked: “Did [May] ask the security services to investigate? Or did she stop them doing so? There is a suggestion that in the run-up to the referendum the prime minister – in her capacity at the time as home secretary – declined at least one application from the security services to mount a full investigation into Mr Banks and others suspected of Russian influence. We need to know if that is true.””

Again, the social media have been having a field day:

And there is a critically serious issue at the heart of this: Alleged interference in UK politics by a foreign power – Russia – with the aid of individuals like Mr Banks and, it seems, Mrs May.

The fact that lawbreaking has happened, the spectre of foreign interference, and the possibility of corruption at the highest level of government – all focused on the UK’s departure from the European Union – mean that the legitimacy of Brexit has been called into question.

Ardent ‘Leave’ voters will be infuriated at Professor Brian Cox’s suggestion…

… but in legal terms – in a nation run by people who accept the rule of law – it is the correct course of action.

We need to know the facts before Brexit happens – not when the damage has been done.

That is why it is important for the facts to be examined thoroughly – including and especially the facts about Arron Banks and Leave.EU.

And that is why the BBC should respect the rules – or does Auntie think that she’s above them?

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Met police investigation into alleged anti-Semitic hate crimes in the Labour Party is a welcome move

This is to be welcomed in many ways – although the fact that the file was leaked to police shows that Labour still has an internal security problem.

Information about the allegations of anti-Semitism against This Writer was leaked to The Sunday Times in February – false information claiming that I was a Holocaust denier.

The lies were taken up by others and I have spent the last nine months pursuing the newspapers involved through the press regulator IPSO, with a series of victories to prove my innocence.

I will soon attend a Labour Party disciplinary hearing at which I hope to disprove the allegations. I have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the funds to take my accusers to court and gain compensation for the harm they have caused me. Anyone who would like to see justice done is invited to visit my JustGiving page and make a donation, no matter how large or small.

So there is evidence to show that someone very high in the Labour hierarchy – a member of the ruling National Executive Committee or someone working for that body – is maliciously spreading lies about alleged anti-Semitism.

That is the aspect of this case that is unwelcome.

But hate crime of any kind should be investigated and prosecuted, and I don’t know why Labour didn’t pass on details of any such crime to the police – especially if those details had been investigated and proved according to the party’s own systems.

Is this an admission that what Labour considers to be anti-Semitic activity would not qualify as such according to police standards?

It seems we’re about to find out.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “If somebody passes us material which they say amounts to a crime, we have a duty to look at that and not to dismiss it.”

That’s true – and makes an important point about the so-called Macpherson Principle.

Some commentators, who should know better, have been trying to claim that an allegation that someone has committed an anti-Semitic crime means that they are guilty; if a Jewish person says that they have been a victim of anti-Semitism, that is all the proof that is needed.

It is heartening to see the police commissioner affirming that this would not meet the standards expected of a criminal investigation. Macpherson in fact stated that allegations of anti-Semitism should be recorded as such, but the police would still have to carry out a full investigation and determine for themselves whether such a crime had been committed.

That is what makes this investigation worthwhile.

These allegations will be examined according to the requirements of the law of the land.

If people who have been accused are found innocent – after Labour’s system condemned them – it will raise serious questions about the party’s system.

If people who have been accused are taken to court and convicted, then a hate criminal will have been identified and punished.

This is a win-win situation – in spite, I think, of the person who created it.

Scotland Yard has begun a criminal investigation into allegations of antisemitic hate crimes within the Labour Party, police said.

Specialist officers looking through a leaked internal dossier of cases are begun a inquiry into some of the allegations, the Met said in a statement.

Detectives have already sought “early investigative advice” from lawyers working with the Crown Prosecution Service.

The investigation is centring on a folder of paperwork compiled by Labour Party staff on cases of alleged antisemitism by Labour activists and members.

It was leaked to the LBC radio station, who then gave a copy to the Met Commissioner Cressida Dick after an interview in September.

Source: Criminal investigation launched into ‘antisemitic hate crimes’ within Labour Party | The Independent

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POLL: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted a criminal offence. What should be done with him?

Smirking: Yet again, Jeremy Hunt seems to have got away with it.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a criminal.

He may never go to prison for his offence because he is a Conservative cabinet member and that means corruption – but we can all see the truth of it.

Hunt bought seven luxury flats in Southampton with his wife – they acted as a company called Mare Pond Properties – then failed to notify the Register of Members’ Interests in Parliament within the required 28-day period, or Companies House. When the registration documents were filed in September 2017 only his wife was named, constituting a breach of regulations. His failure to declare his interest to Companies House is a criminal offence. It took him months to rectify these omissions.

According to The Guardian, “He also breached the Companies Act, which requires anyone with more than 25 per cent control of a company to be declared ‘a person with significant control’. The act was introduced by David Cameron’s government in 2015 to tackle money laundering and came into force the following year.”

Hunt says these were genuine errors – an “honest mistake”.

His spokesperson said Hunt notified the Cabinet Office in good time but did not realise he was supposed to register the holdings with the other organisations.

Do you believe that? Even if you do, does it make a difference?

They are indeed. In addition to the new offences against money-laundering legislation, Mr Hunt is also a tax dodger, having avoided £100,000 in tax in 2010, days before a 10 per cent rise in the tax on dividends in April 2010.

Let’s let the Telegraph, of all periodicals, explain:

“[Mr Hunt] and his business partner, Mike Elms, transferred ownership of their company’s office building in Hammersmith into their own names in April 2010, just before the tax rate for the transaction rose to 42.5 per cent. They then leased the property back to Hotcourses, their jointly owned education company, for 10 years.

“By paying themselves the building as a dividend before the change in tax rules, the two men saved themselves an income tax bill of £202,000 on the £1.8 million deal, by paying tax on it at the rate of 32.5 per cent. The company now pays them £60,750 a year in rent. No stamp duty was payable on the property, which at the time would have been 4 per cent.”

Nauseating.

The Tory government is adamant that there is nothing to be done about this. Hunt has apologised and the matter is closed.

Shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett disagrees. He has referred the case to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He said: “Faith in politics and politicians is at a historic low. Any minister flouting the rules designed to prevent big financial interests corrupting politics must be held to account, especially when that minister’s own government introduced the rules.”

What do you think, though?


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