Tag Archives: intelligence

‘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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Fury as Starmer asks Labour to abstain on Bill allowing government agents to commit crimes like murder, torture and rape

Keir Starmer: he’s not left-wing but he’s definitely sinister.

Why is a former human rights lawyer like Keir Starmer asking Labour MPs to let the Tories pass a law that will allow their agents to commit crimes that trample all over our human rights?

The crimes that will be allowed are bad enough – the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill is also known as the ‘Licence to Kill’ Bill. Also allowed would be torture and sex crimes including rape.

But it will also be impossible to mitigate the worst aspects of the Bill with the Human Rights Act, because the Tories stated 11 months ago that, as the state would not be the “instigator” of the crimes, it could not be held responsible for them.

Starmer, a former human rights lawyer, has reportedly convinced some Labour MPs that this is not the case. He must know that this isn’t true.

So why does he want to give government agents – including people from the Environment Agency and the Financial Conduct Authority – a licence for torture, rape and murder?

As This Site documented last week, Starmer already whipped Labour to abstain on the second reading of the Bill.

We were told this was in order to create a chance to modify the legislation, tightening restrictions on using the powers it creates.

This no longer seems to be the case: he is now suggesting that Labour should abstain once again – and let the Bill pass without opposition – if no amendments are made.

As you may imagine, there has been more than a little opposition to this:

But on the same day this information was released, Starmer called a press conference in which he changed his policy on Covid-19 and demanded a “circuit-break” lockdown, across England, for two or three weeks – creating a huge amount of fuss among the media and the public.

Do you think he was trying to hide something?

Source: Keir Starmer facing major rebellion after saying Labour should abstain on ‘Licence to Kill’ bill even if unamended | Evolve Politics

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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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Did Grayling quit intelligence committee because he really WAS Johnson’s stooge?

Chris Grayling: it seems there are limits to the humiliation he can endure.

Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling has quit Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee after failing (he does that a lot) to be named as chair a few weeks ago.

He was prevented from taking that position – despite being Boris Johnson’s nomination for the role – when opposition MPs combined their votes with that of Julian Lewis to install him instead.

Mr Lewis subsequently lost the Tory whip, on grounds that he had been “working with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

But it was widely believed that it was Johnson who had been trying to install his stooge (Grayling) to run a committee that had previously been proudly independent and non-partisan.

Grayling’s resignation will only strengthen that belief.

Source: Chris Grayling resigns from Intelligence and Security Committee | The Independent | Independent

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Floundering Johnson outflanked over publication of ‘Russia Report’

Facepalm: Boris Johnson could be in serious trouble with members of his own party, depending on the contents of the so-called ‘Russia Report’.

Any hope Boris Johnson may have had that he could further delay or hide the revelations in the so-called ‘Russia Report’ on interference by that country in UK politics must now be gone.

And that’s a good thing for British democracy!

A panicking Johnson furiously threw Julian Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party after he joined Labour and SNP members of the new Intelligence and Security committee to get himself elected as its chair instead of Johnson’s choice, the incompetent Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling.

And it seems Johnson is considering attempting to have Lewis removed from the committee altogether.

But Lewis has moved too fast for it to make a difference. The committee met today (July 16) and ordered that the Russia Report will be published within the next week – before Parliament rises for the summer.

It has been suggested that the report contains details that are embarrassing for the Tories – or at least for Boris Johnson. But the government has claimed that political considerations were not involved.

However (1): while it is true that Downing Street cleared the report for publication last November, Downing Street also ordered a general election, meaning that the previous Intelligence and Security committee, that would have overseen its publication, was disbanded and nothing could be done until the new committee was set up.

However (2): the creation of the new committee was delayed by eight months while Parliament waited for Boris Johnson to nominate MPs to be its members.

However (3): if there are no political considerations, why remove the Conservative whip from Lewis after his so-called ‘coup’? This committee does not operate on political lines – it was established by an Act of Parliament and must act impartially – so it is inappropriate for Johnson to claim that Lewis acted for political gain, and far more likely that, in doing so, it was in the interests of his own well-being.

However (4): it has been suggested that Johnson may now put a motion before Parliament to remove Lewis from the committee he now chairs, in order to replace him as chair with another Tory (not Grayling, who seems to be backing out) of Johnson’s choice. This really would be seen as political interference as it would indicate beyond doubt that Johnson wants to control, for his own purposes, a committee that is intended to be impartial.

He would be better-off leaving well alone.

But it seems a lot of damage has already been done.

Former Tory Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has verbally attacked Johnson, just for removing the Tory whip from Lewis.

He said: “The Act of Parliament is quite clear the Prime Minister has no role in the choice of the chairman of the committee

“Once the committee has been appointed it is for the committee itself to decide its chairman.

“The idea of using the Whips to try and force Conservative members to vote for a particular candidate goes totally against the way the committee under statute has operated since it began.

“It’s never been a partisan committee, I think the Prime Minister has handled this – or his advisers whoever is dealing with it – in an extremely incompetent way.”

And he continued, damningly: “What I most object to, was the attempt of Prime Minister and the government or whoever, Dominic Cummings, whoever is involved in these things I don’t know, to try to control the way the intelligence committee operates by choosing for its chairman and putting pressure on MPs to make him chairman.

“If they had succeeded, that destroys the whole purpose of the Intelligence and Security Committee. It is a unique committee. They are the only people who have access to the highest levels of intelligence.

“They need the confidence of the intelligence agencies and of Parliament. If they are thought to be creatures of government they have no authority to do the job that the law requires them to do.”

So with the committee chaired by Lewis, it actually has more authority than under anyone chosen by Boris Johnson. So much for his claim that it’s Lewis who was politically-motivated!

Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s intervention suggests a deeper problem for Johnson, though:

The Conservative Party still has a strong contingent of members who believe very firmly that the UK should be the most powerful country in the world and they should be running it because that makes them the most powerful people in the world.

The implication that the Russia Report has been suppressed because it indicates some form of collusion – of subservience – by representatives of their party to Russia is anathema to them.

They want to know the facts – now – so they can work out what to do about Johnson.

His troubles may be only just beginning.

Source: Russia ‘interference’ report to be published – BBC News

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Russia report: new intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip but gains respect

Coup: Julian Lewis.

This is very funny indeed – but we may all have cause to be grateful for what has happened.

You will recall that concerns were raised when Boris Johnson nominated Chris “Failing” Grayling – widely held to be one of the stupidest individuals ever to be voted into office – as the chair of Parliament’s important Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the group that would be responsible for publication of the so-called “Russia Report” on interference by that country in UK politics. The concern was that Grayling would mess up publication of that report. He has a reputation for such things.

The nine-strong committee comprises five Conservatives, three from the Labour Party and one from the SNP.

With a clear Tory majority, it was expected that Grayling would be voted into the chair – but it seems there was a coup.

The Labour and SNP representatives nominated Julian Lewis – a different Tory – for the chair, and his own vote sealed his election. The other Tories voted for Grayling, including Grayling himself.

So Johnson has kicked Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party – in official language, he has withdrawn the Tory whip.

Apparently…

A senior government source told the BBC that Mr Lewis “has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

By voting for himself? But wouldn’t Grayling have been working for his own advantage because he voted for himself?

And – considering the concerns about Grayling – isn’t it possible that he was in fact acting in the national interest, rather than “for hiss own advantage”?

You have to be wary of the language these government types use, you know.

It’s clear that Lewis did the right thing. He’ll gain respect for it, in the long run. And he can’t be voted out; the choice has been made.

Perhaps Johnson is just spooked because now the “Russia Report” is likely to be published before Parliament goes into recess on July 22. He has gone to great lengths to keep it away from the public since it was written last October – nine months ago.

Labour committee member Kevan Jones seems to think so:

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’s been through both the committee, it’s been agreed through the redaction process, and it’s been agreed by government,” he says.

So it seems Johnson has been foiled.

And Julian Lewis losing the Tory whip is a small price to pay to find out what’s in that report.

Source: Russia report: New intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip – BBC News

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Beyond satire: has Boris Johnson found another way to delay release of the ‘Russia Report’?

Chris Grayling: how can this become chair of an intelligence committee? He’s practically drooling in the photograph.

We are being asked to believe that the long-awaited report on Russian influence in UK politics could soon be released after Boris Johnson announced his nominations for the Parliamentary committee responsible for it.

But how can Parliament approve those nominations when he has nominated legendary dunderhead Chris Grayling to chair the committee?

Grayling is quite possibly the stupidest human being ever to infest the Palace of Westminster. His blunders are legendary and installing him as chair of a committee with the word “intelligence” in its title would be a contradiction in terms.

Even if this imbecile is cleared to chair the committee by Parliament, there is no guarantee that he won’t conform to his character and either lose the document that’s causing Boris Johnson so much concern – or destroy it.

Needless to say, Twitter has greeted the situation with both horror and hilarity:

https://twitter.com/eljgales2/status/1281360099198611457

https://twitter.com/libdemfightbac/status/1281339893298475010

Still, it is possible to see light at the end of the tunnel…

Source: Long-delayed report into Russian influence on UK politics could soon be cleared for publication | The Independent

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Do you believe Downing Street’s story that the Russia report may soon be published?

Parliament’s committee responsible for publishing the report on Russian interference in UK politics may be reconvened “imminently” – according to Downing Street sources.

Do you believe that?

Or do you think that, even if it happens, it’s only because Boris Johnson has found another way to delay the report – or hide what it says?

According to the BBC, the government is denying that Johnson has stalled the process:

A source close to the process has told me they are hopeful the committee will be confirmed by Downing Street “imminently”.

That would remove the most significant obstacle to the Russia report being published and means it could happen soon.

Number 10, meanwhile, has denied deliberately stalling the process.

The PM’s spokesman said the government wanted to get the committee up and running as soon as circumstances allowed.

But the spokesman said the last few months has seen an unprecedented situation in government and Parliament.

So the Covid crisis has made Johnson so busy he hasn’t had time to restore this vital organisation that could release damning information?

What’s he been busy doing? Changing nappies?

Apparently so. But while This Writer approves of equality in the parenting process, as prime minister, Johnson has a responsibility to the nation.

He seems to have forgotten that. But did you anything different from him?

Source: Russia report committee to be set up ‘imminently’ – BBC News

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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