The Home Office has lumped together left-wing groups and green campaigners with neo-nazis and white supremacists in literature and posters supposedly designed to educate officers about extremism.
The Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) document has categories including white supremacist and nationalist groups, left-wing and “associated single issue groups,” animal rights groups, and environmental campaigns.
The left-wing and environmental groups listed include the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greenpeace.
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.
Comments by Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney about former colleagues who defected to The Independent Group have proved very interesting – in the way another former Labour MP has lied about them.
Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney said the MPs who founded and joined The Independent Group took part in a “necessary cleansing” of Labour.
He described Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna as “self-centred careerists”.
Mr Leslie was “aloof and arrogant”, he said, adding: “The venom and vitriol with which he addressed our front bench was a disgrace.”
And he applied these criticisms to other Independent Group members who used to be Labour MPs, including Mr Umunna, Mike Gapes and Angela Smith.
But he said Luciana Berger, who also quit Labour to join the Independent Group, had faced “unacceptable bullying”.
And how does Ian Austin, who also quit Labour but didn’t join The Independent Group, present this story?
A Labour MP says that people who have left Labour because of racism and extremism is a "necessary cleansing". Let's think about this: @pauljsweeney thinks the party is cleaner because people appalled about racism have left.https://t.co/t5B0bdCNyN
Is this more irresponsibility from the least responsible UK government ever?
Theresa May stripped the UK’s police of their ability to handle terrorist attacks (as we saw in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing).
Now, it seems, we are finding that she stripped the country of its ability to anticipate attacks such as that at Manchester.
All because she didn’t have enough resources to handle Brexit properly – probably because of her own party’s cuts to the public sector.
And how’s Brexit going?
The Home Office has a department named the Extremism Analysis Unit responsible, as its name suggests, for identifying and analysing potential extremist groups and individuals in order to identify the most serious threats to the safety of UK citizens.
And a civil servant close to the unit alleges that Theresa May, along with her successor Amber Rudd, intentionally moved resources away from it in order to increase resources available to Brexit teams.
This was a terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist – and just the first sign of a wave of aggression, around the world.
People like Thomas Mair saw the anti-immigration rhetoric that fuelled the vote to leave the European Union as an endorsement of racist, nationalist views.
And the proliferation of hate crimes suggests those views appear to be on the rise in the United States of America, after the election of Donald Trump as President, and in continental Europe.
People are committing these crimes because they think they can. They think that, somehow, atrocities against their fellow human being are now permissible – or at least that the authorities will turn a blind eye.
But what makes them believe their racism, homophobia, sexism, sectarianism, anti-Semitism or whatever is justified, anyway?
Have we, as a culture, failed to address these issues?
This Writer finds that hard to believe. I’ve been brought up in the same culture as everybody else and my compassion for another person has never been conditional on the colour of their skin or the compatibility of their religious beliefs.
Yet these crimes have happened and are continuing to happen. Thomas Mair murdered Jo Cox on the basis of a falsehood – for a lie.
I know many Vox Political readers have been waiting to air their opinions on this very subject; now is your chance.
What on Earth do you think has been motivating this?
Thomas Mair has been jailed for life after being found guilty of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.
The 53-year-old shot and stabbed to death the mother-of-two in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on 16 June, a week before the EU referendum vote.
Mair shouted “Britain First” in the attack, but the judge said the true “patriot” was Mrs Cox, not Mair.
Prosecutors said Mair was motivated by hate and his crimes were “nothing less than acts of terrorism”.
Mair was also found guilty of having a firearm with intent, causing grievous bodily harm with intent to 78-year-old Bernard Kenny, who tried to help the MP, and having an offensive weapon, namely a dagger.
In talking about the “cycle of violence and hate”, Jeremy Corbyn has been expanding on a theme – that we must cut off the supply of money and weapons to extremists.
In This Writer’s opinion, Corbyn is referring to this cycle:
It seems clear that the appropriate starting point is at the bottom, where it says: “Allied based manufacturers supply weapons to the extremists.” This is one of the events Mr Corbyn wants to stop.
By contrast, David Cameron wants Parliament to support air strikes in Syria. See the segment that says “Allies respond to extremism by bombing Middle Eastern targets”?
This is only to be expected from a man who has led at least one trade delegation to the Middle East in order to sell weapons.
Clearly, Cameron is part of the problem and Corbyn is offering the solution.
Jeremy Corbyn has said that Britain must not be “drawn into responses that feed a cycle of violence and hate” following the terror attacks in Paris.
The Labour leader told a regional party conference in Bristol on Saturday that governments “must not keep making the same mistakes” following atrocities such as the series of attacks in the French capital that left 130 people dead.
However, Corbyn said Labour would back every necessary measure to ensure Britons were safe. “The dreadful Paris attacks make the case for a far more urgent effort to reach a negotiated settlement of the civil war in Syria and the end to the threat from Isis,” he said.
“It is the conflict in Syria and the consequences of the Iraq war which have created the conditions for Isis to thrive and spread its murderous rule,” he added. “For the past 14 years, Britain has been at the centre of a succession of disastrous wars that have brought devastation to large parts of the wider Middle East. They have increased, not diminished, the threats to our own national security in the process.”
Corbyn had been due to give his speech last weekend but cancelled it in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Last week at the House of Commons in London there was a discussion on ‘Youth, Alienation and Radicalisation’ – terms that can equally encompass young Muslims as well as white working class people.
Rushanara Ali MP had agreed to sponsor the meeting and she was joined by Fiyaz Mughal OBE, director of Faith Matters, an interfaith and anti-extremist organisation and Professor Matthew Feldman, an expert on fascist ideology and the contemporary far-right in Europe and the USA.
There were comments from the discussion that can prompt us all to do our part to peacefully combat extremism and as one of the attendees I was keenly listening for anything that may shed light on the root causes of this disenchantment and how it could be addressed.
Here are some of my notes:
Fiyaz opened the meeting by acknowledging that the Paris incident would result in new legislation and information-gathering amongst the North African community that would have consequences on free speech, but the right to publish is a right we should protect.
He also stressed that even though people from a lower socio-economic group were more vulnerable to radicalisation, evidence was only cursory. Social exclusion could have many causes such as mental health issues, a lack of trust in the system, a perceived discrimination, ideology or theology. ‘Stop and search’ practices along with anti-Muslim rhetoric in the media and our UK foreign policy in relation to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis should also be considered. The Koachi brothers had been described as normal boys but they became politicised after a journey to Yemen and had stated that the images from the Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 were a source of grievance, while Kahn – a UK extremist – had cited the Iraq war as one of the driving forces behind his actions, so the online world can radicalise young people.
There is also vulnerability after converting from one faith to another (as well as changes in the individual, familiar external supports also fall away) leaving the young person susceptible to gang-like pressures, thereby allowing an extreme group to exert greater influence. Extreme groups often have a gang mentality; they are against state structures and have a nihilistic mindset. Fiyaz also mentioned that radicalisation did not occur in the Mosques; it was actually taking place in common public spaces such as the gym.
Matthew highlighted radicalisation as an accumulative process, created from a series of events. However, since 9/11, this was the first time France had suffered home-grown terrorism. He stated that terrorism is a tactic that is not just linked to one group; extremists, though diametrically opposed, rely upon each other’s narratives.
A member of the audience asked the unanswerable question, “Why do people move from non-violence to violence?” Matthew replied that, currently, there are no definitive explanations – only indications as to the causes, with less than one per cent of extremists actually moving to violence. At this point he made it clear that far-right groups may not agree on the use of violence or have similar views on the electoral system, but they do have a common denominator: Anti-Muslim prejudice now prevails (Anti-Semitism used to be the common factor). Approximately half of the attacks on Muslims in the UK are carried out by a hardened core of far right individuals who use prejudicial logic and tit-for-tat extremism. For example, there was a 373 per cent increase in reported anti-Muslim incidents (the contagion effect) in the week after the Lee Rigby tragedy and up to three months later a massive rise in Mosque attacks had been maintained.
Note that collecting detailed statistics is not easy because hate crimes are not disaggregated into their specific types and five out of six hate crimes are not usually reported to the police. Hate crimes are often opportunistic and only 25 per cent of them are tried, resulting in a significant lack of confidence.
New faces of the far right include ‘National Action’, a small group of “proud” neo-Nazis who are targeting campuses, and ‘Britain First.’
Rushanara gave her opinion on why young people turned from politics to radicalisation. She said that, politically, we live in a difficult international environment, the interdependence between countries is profound, while technology and the Internet can be a negative or positive force. On the positive side, she thought young people wanted interactive politics and that they were interested in issues such as the environment and poverty.
Nevertheless, the events of 9/11 and 7/7 were uniquely different for those of young Muslim identity; other groups had not suffered the same effects. She felt that Britain leads in dealing with youth alienation but extreme narratives have to be constantly challenged; we have to be thick-skinned and be able to explain our stance contrary to those holding extreme views:
How can we use our collective intelligence to prevent such extremism?
How can we use our personal sphere of influence in our everyday contact with young people and can we empower ourselves to confront these issues?
We have to ensure that young people are not made to feel defensive if blamed, incorrectly, for the acts of others who conveniently use the term ‘religion’ for their terrorism.
Matthew at this point reminded the audience that liberalism requires everyone’s participation; we all have a responsibility for the society we inhabit.
Far right groups are aware that The Racial and Religious Hatred Act in the UK does not offer Muslims protection (as an ethnic group) and are therefore, for example, not given the same legal protection as Jews or Sikhs. Britain has strong equality legislation but funds have been slashed, so the Equality and Human Rights Commission cannot enforce the legislation well.
Rushanara stated that neighbourliness in the UK overall was in decline, therefore charging immigrants with all the responsibility for non-integration ie that they were the ones who were at fault for non-integration only served “to do immigrants down”.
Fiyaz reiterated the role of the media and that the Murdochs of this world, who carry on as normal, are not being held to account for their sensationalist, negative reporting; the media needs to develop a responsible approach. He emphasised that far-right propaganda can be extremely slick and difficult to combat and that we, as citizens, need to build a shared sense of community ownership that creates more opportunities to mix and care for one another.
Were all the important issues covered? Did we get to the bottom of youth disenchantment in this short discussion? No. The role of UK foreign policy and the militaristic agenda was only briefly mentioned; after all, extreme far-right views are not only the territory of the young and disenfranchised!
One statement from the audience aptly described the difficulty many of us have in expressing our citizenship: The majority can feel disempowered in a society driven by rampant neoliberal capitalism.
We can all suffer from alienation – can we do our bit to help each other? Can we especially reach out to young people, to combat this inhuman milieu? A small act of kindness may go much further than we think.
IS militants, doing exactly what the western powers want them to do, in order to maintain fear of terrorism among (for example) British citizens. [Image: AFP/Getty].
Does anybody else think the reaction to the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo – along with that against ISIS (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days), Al-Qaeda and, for that matter, Russia – has been, at the very least, off-colour?
Terrorists attack the staff of a magazine, claiming to be doing so in the name of Islam (we have no proof that this was their purpose and may never have it), so there’s a huge backlash against Muslims and the same magazine’s next issue – with a cover featuring a poor (yet still offensive) attempt at caricaturing Muhammad himself – sells five million copies; its normal circulation is 60,000.
Here in the UK, David Cameron does his best to use the attack as an excuse for even greater government intrusion into citizens’ privacy, on top of the incursions already enacted by his government.
Is it really about keeping us safe, or is it about keeping us down?
Some have argued that the western military-industrial complex has a vested interest in providing the public with a state-sponsored bogeyman to fear. During the Cold War it was the USSR. Immediately after Soviet Communism (which must not be confused with socialism) collapsed, the west went to war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – a regime formerly supported by the USA. Since then we’ve had 911, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 7/7, Libya, Syria and Islamic State. While this has been going on, the western media seem to be stirring up fear of Putin’s Russia.
Isn’t that only to be expected from a coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs*?
There is no doubt that the British people are kept safe by the efforts of our security services – it is important that this should not be misunderstood. Many of the threats mentioned a couple of paragraphs above have been real.
But they aren’t anywhere near as serious as certain extremely rich people and organisations want us to think they are. Look at Iraq – Saddam Hussein didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction at all! He was found in a hole, living on ‘fun-size’ Mars bars (if certain writers are to be believed**).
It seems clear that there is a system of control being exercised upon us here. You can see it for yourself, evidenced by the fact that we never seem to find ourselves clear of any threats; there’s always another one on the horizon and it’s always important for us to give up more of our civil liberties in order to fight it – and of course, we pay for all the weapons and ammunition used, with our taxes.
So, looking at this objectively, we should be asking ourselves: Who is the greater threat?
As far as the Islamic extremists are concerned, if we lived in a rational world there would be a strong argument for someone to go and speak to them (under a white flag or whatever it took to be heard) and point out a few important facts: The western military has enough firepower to turn the Middle East into a scorched crater if it wants to do so. The reason it doesn’t is it needs you to be the equivalent of a pantomime villain, to be defeated at regular intervals on the evening news. The West will never defeat you completely, because you’re too useful for making a profit for the arms dealers and for keeping western citizens under control. You are, therefore, nothing but toys. The only way to defeat this strategy is to disengage completely; stop the violence against the west that will never, ever succeed and find better solutions to your problems.
If we lived in a rational world, they would agree.
Wouldn’t you like to live in that world, instead of this?
*As described in Revolution, by Russell Brand. Cheers for looking it up, Russell.
Extremists: Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove. [Image: BBC.]
The alleged rift between Michael Gove and Theresa May over claims that Muslim extremists have taken over 25 Birmingham schools is bizarre.
These are government ministers who most closely share the extremist attitudes that the ‘Trojan Horse’ school governors are said to have; their methods are the same, even if their aims are different.
Consider this. The claims made about the Birmingham school are that:
A ‘Trojan Horse’ (stealth) takeover of schools in Birmingham, by Islamic extremists, has taken place.
Governors were installed who undermined and then replaced school leaders with staff who would be more sympathetic to their agenda.
Boys and girls have been separated.
Assemblies put forward extremist Islamic views.
Other religions are downgraded.
Now let’s look at Theresa May, who:
Took part in a backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government after the Conservative Party failed to win a majority in the 2010 general election.
Wants to repeal the Human Rights Act as it protects UK citizens against some of her favourite policies:
The duty to refrain from unlawful killing, investigate suspicious deaths and prevent foreseeable loss of life runs against the results of the Coalition’s changes to incapacity/disability benefit assessment which led to the unnecessary deaths of 73 people per week between January and November 2011.
The prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced labour is contrary to the government’s mandatory work activity schemes.
The right to a fair trial contradicts the changes the government has been making to Legal Aid.
The right to respect for one’s privacy, family life, home and correspondence runs against the “snooper’s charter” that Mrs May wished to impose.
And so on. The Tories would dearly love to remove your rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, as that means they could outlaw this blog and abolish trade unions.
Authorised a plan to use a fleet of advertising vans telling illegal immigrants to “go home”, which split the London communities in which they were used and led to false accusations against British citizens.
The phrase “go home” on the vans attracted criticism from the Advertising Standards Authority as it was a reminder of an extremist racist slogan.
And Michael Gove:
Took part in the backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government.
Has imposed an army of independent advisors on his education department, to overrule the opinions of expert civil servants, grind down their morale and force them out of their jobs.
Planned to give a Bible to every state school in the country, clearly implying an intention to assert the supremacy of Christianity over every other religion practised in the UK, with others downgraded.
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