Tag Archives: torture

‘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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Outraged Labour members want to know why Starmer supports illegal torture by UK armed forces

Keir Starmer: if he was really a soldier – as in this mock-up image – he might be less inclined to support illegal torture by members of the armed forces.

The Tories aren’t the only ones getting a hammering from the public over plans to break international law.

Party members are calling on their representatives in Labour’s ruling NEC to debate why MPs were told to abstain from voting on a Bill to allow servicepeople to commit acts of torture.

Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded that MPs should abstain, rather than opposing the plan, which should be abhorrent to any right-thinking human being.

So when NEC member Rachel Garnham asked what members wanted to hear discussed at today’s meeting, this was the response:

Some have used it as a subject for humour – with a strong underlying criticism of Starmer, who many party members now consider to be no better than a Conservative:

Starmer’s leadership is too weak to brook any such criticism of his decisions, so it seems unlikely that any such discussion will take place.

This Writer certainly doesn’t expect to hear about any such deliberations.

So much for Labour Party democracy. Jeremy Corbyn tried to roll it back out to the members, but now Starmer is in charge, the people are losing their voice once again.

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Keir Starmer’s Labour is unpopular – because he supports war crimes and sacks people who don’t?

Sacked: Nadia Whittome.

… And actually briefs a right-wing, fake-news blog site about the sacking before telling the person he has sacked, too.

Classy moves, Sir Keir!

So it’s true. As first reported on the Skwawkbox blog late yesterday (September 23), Labour leader Keir Starmer has sacked Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake from positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries because they voted against the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21.

They were objecting to provisions in the Bill that would protect soldiers from prosecution if they participate in acts of torture while on duty overseas.

It will come as no surprise that the Conservative government relishes the idea of UK soldiers torturing Johnny (and Janey) Foreigner.

Starmer’s decision to abstain on the Bill (a U-turn from a previous position in which Labour would have opposed it) was, as Skwawkbox pointed out, reminiscent of the abstention on a Welfare Bill ordered by Harriet Harman years ago – that fuelled support for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest.

In all, 19 Labour MPs voted against the Bill:

The other 16 – including Mr Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery and the previously-sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey – were all backbenchers.

The public response has not just been critical of Starmer for supporting the Bill and for the sackings…

… but also for the fact that he briefed right-wing trash blog Guido Fawkes on what he had done before he bothered to tell her, so it could say she couldn’t resign properly:

Labour has form on briefing members of the so-called press about action taken against members. When This Writer’s party membership was suspended on fake charges of anti-Semitism, I found out about it from a reporter for the Western Mail, who phoned me up a day before I was notified by email.

From this we may infer that the people in charge of the party’s disciplinary procedures at the time were right-wing factionalists and not supporters of then-leader Jeremy Corbyn. Or so it seems to me.

All this comes on top of reports that Labour under Starmer is less likeable now, compared to when Corbyn was in charge.

Here’s (and I apologise for this) the Daily Express:

A new Ipsos MORI poll has found in November 2019, under the leadership of Mr Corbyn, the likeability of the Labour was 49 percent.

Just 10 months later, and five months since Sir Keir took over the leadership, the figure has fallen to 38 percent.

The poll did show support for Starmer himself was higher than that for Corbyn ever reached – possibly because Starmer has support from rags like The Express? – but this was before the latest scandal.

Starmer’s letdowns are becoming legendary: he sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey under a false claim (it seems clear now that she opposed his plan to support Boris Johnson in reopening them too soon. She was right and he was wrong); he called the Black Lives Matter movement a “moment” after having a publicity photo taken to profess support for it; he betrayed the many party members who (like me) have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism; and he betrayed nine of the 10 pledges he made in his leadership election campaign.

He may be popular among a general public that is being spoonfed propaganda by a right-wing press that wants to keep a “safe pair of hands” – meaning a member of the Establishment who won’t rock the boat – in charge of the main Opposition Party.

But some of us know better – including increasingly-disillusioned Labour members.

Source: Keir starmer news: Labour Party’s likeability plummets lower than when Corbyn was leader | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

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Tories have wasted £120m in two years trying to tell people they’re not disabled

Habitual cruelty: if you thought the Tories stopped persecuting people with long-term illnesses and disabilities during the Covid-19 crisis, think again.

What a waste of time and money.

Over the last two years, Conservative governments have spent more than £120 million in taxpayers’ money fighting disability benefit claims – despite losing three-quarters of tribunal appeals.

That means automatic wastage of £90 million – but it is likely that the quarter of claimants who lost their appeals also had valid grounds to claim Personal Independence Payment and/or Employment and Support Allowance but were outflanked by a prejudiced system.

The increase in expenditure is far greater than the 13 per cent increase in applications would suggest. And it is happening at a time when the country can ill-afford to waste any cash at all. There can only be one reason for it: sick cruelty – the Tories are enjoying torturing sick and disabled people to death.

And why are there so many applications for disability and sickness benefits in the UK? Do conditions here – especially working conditions – cause illness and disability?

The new figures are further proof that the Tories’ convoluted appeal process has nothing to do with saving money from fraudsters and everything to do with starving people with disabilities – to death, if possible.

It is now well-documented that claimants initially have to go through an internal appeal process within the Department for Work and Pensions called mandatory reconsideration.

The courts only recently ruled that a Tory regulation forcing claimants to go without any benefit payments, and therefore without any income, for the period of a mandatory reconsideration – no matter how long that may be – was illegal.

Only after the DWP rules that a claim should be rejected can the sick or disabled person take their case to a tribunal.

And it is at tribunals that 76 per cent of PIP claims, and 75 per cent of ESA claims, are upheld.

This means the Tories have needlessly and cruelly deprived these people of their means of survival for the number of months – years in some cases – that these claims have been disputed.

We all know that there is hardly any fraud in disability benefit claims – the last recorded number This Writer saw was somewhere in the region of one or two per cent of claims.

So the huge proportion that the Tories refuse – and the amount of time and money wasted in the appeal process – can only mean one thing:

The Tories hate disabled people and want them to die.

Why isn’t this a national – if not international – scandal?

Source: Government spends £120m in taxpayer money fighting disability benefit claims in two years, figures show | The Independent | Independent

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This Tory had 1,500 indecent images of children including BESTIALITY and TORTURE. Why was he not jailed?

What the blazes is wrong with our courts?

Former Tory campaign manager Mark Lerigo was convicted of possessing more than 1,500 indecent images of children.

This was really depraved stuff including images of bestiality – sex with animals – and torture.

But he walked free from Warwick Crown Court, with nothing but a suspended jail term and an order to do just 150 hours’ community work.

That’s even though the judge made it perfectly clear that “any consumer of this dreadful material causes others to make it”.

So Lerigo was as responsible for the torture of the children in the images as the people who made them… but he didn’t deserve jail. That does not make any sense at all.

He had been judged not to pose a high risk to children. But if, by consuming this material, he caused others to make it, then that is not true.

Not only do the children involved suffer during the creation of the images, but they go on to suffer for the rest of their lives. The effects – both psychological and physical – last forever. Was that not taken into account?

I am left to wonder why this former Conservative campaigner got off so lightly – and to suggest that the courts review their advice on sentencing these cases, which is clearly contradictory.

Source: Former Tory campaign manager spared jail over indecent images of children | The Independent | Independent

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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More Tory racism: Priti Patel wanted to deport girl so she could be subjected to genital mutilation

Irony: the posters behind Priti Patel in this image extol the virtues of ‘UK aid’ – but her idea of helping foreigners is sending them away to suffer genital torture.

Dept of calling-a-spade-a-shovelling-instrument: this decision shows that Priti Patel wanted to send a girl away to have her genitals cut – because her victim is of Sudanese origin.

Ms Patel refused to grant asylum to the girl – aged just 11 – in the knowledge that she would be returned to an area of Sudan where the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) is 97.7 per cent.

The mother’s claim for asylum was rejected after Home Office officials deemed she lacked credibility. But it later transpired through family court proceedings she was a reliable – albeit highly traumatised – witness.

The girl, who is thriving at school and only speaks English, was brought to the UK in 2012 by her mother, herself a victim of what is known as type 3 FGM whose two sisters died after being cut in their native Sudan.

The single mother, who brought her daughter to Britain to protect her from FGM, exhausted her appeal rights in 2018 and was given notice of the family’s removal to Bahrain where they lived before coming to the UK.

The day before she was due to board a plane, Suffolk county council obtained an FGM protection order, preventing the girl’s departure.

Court documents explain the family were likely to be directed from Bahrain, where their citizenship has expired, back to Sudan. They are from North Kordofan state where the prevalence of FGM is 97.7%. Three of the girl’s cousins are known to have been cut.

After a series of hearings, the Family Court ruled that the girl and her mother should be allowed to remain in the UK.

But Patel launched an appeal claiming that the immigration court’s risk assessment of overseas FGM – “that there was no substantial grounds for believing there was a real risk” – should have been the starting point in the family court.

A Court of Appeal judge found the home secretary “misses the point” because assessing risk is different in the family court where the child’s welfare is central to inquiries – rather than simply being the dependent of an adult making a claim.

The Home Secretary’s – costly – legal challenge was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on June 15.

Charlotte Proudman, a barrister on the mother’s legal team, has accused the Home Office of hypocrisy in digging its heels in over the case and says its unwillingness to protect the girl makes a mockery of FGM protection orders, designed to stop those at risk being taken abroad.

Proudman, who specialises in cases of gender-based violence, said: “It is appalling and shameful the home secretary is wasting taxpayers’ money to score points around policy yet amid the political jostling is prepared to risk the effective torture of this girl.

“With one hand the department is pursuing FGM prosecutions in Britain. With the other it is sending girls abroad to get cut, simply because they are not British.”

“It is sending girls abroad to get cut, simply because they are not British.”

That’s racism. That’s Priti Patel. That’s the Conservative government. And it’s also the British way – which is why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important.

Source: Priti Patel accused of ‘shameful’ bid to deport girl at risk of FGM | Global development | The Guardian

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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