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London Mayor moves to ban Hezbollah

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | July 10, 2017

The Sunni Muslim Mayor of London seeks to ban a Shi’a party from Lebanon from the streets of Britain.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has moved to ban support for Hezbollah in Britain. This is not only an attack on free speech but a totally one-sided attempt to silence global opposition to imperialism and occupation.

Hezbollah is a political party in Lebanon with supporters and well wishers across the world. Hezbollah currently has 12 seats in the Lebanese Parliament and 2 cabinet ministers.

Hezbollah was formally organised in 1985 in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War. Like many political parties which formed in the midst of a civil war, including the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland which currently supports the British government, Hezbollah has an armed resistance faction designed to do what the Lebanese army is increasingly incapable of doing, namely, resisting continued Israeli attempts to illegally attack and occupy Lebanon as well as helping to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria.

It is patently absurd for a UK politician who carries water for the western establishment in their support of Salafist terrorists in Syria to ban support for a group which is fighting them. Hezbollah’s fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda is a fight for civilisation and for common humanity. Many Lebanese who support other parties admit this so why can’t Mr. Khan?

Britain’s streets are filled with officially sanctioned rallies of people holding various flags of extremist Sunni terrorist organisations involved in the conflict in Syria. Some of these rallies have been attended by Mr. Khan, a Sunni of Pakistani origin. This is made all the more odd by the fact that the Mayor of London has no formal foreign policy making role and has no role in the internal politics of Lebanon.

People in major cities like London support all kinds of parties. There are many Americans in London who support the Republican Party of Donald Trump, a man who Khan has attacked multiple times on Twitter. There are French people in London who support Marine Le Pen’s Front National as well as Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! The list goes on, but Khan has decided to single out for reproach, a single Lebanese party.

This is a disgraceful decision from a disgraceful man. Unless one wants to ban all foreign political parties from having support, one shouldn’t single out one party from Lebanon. One cannot say with any sincerity that the ban has anything to do with Hezbollah’s armed factions as the British Prime Minister sits with a party, the DUP, that has been supported by and has cultivated alliances with armed factions in a disputed territory of Britain that many want to see become part of a united Irish Republic. By contrast, no one disputes that Hezbollah’s heartland of southern Lebanon is anything but Lebanese. Israel’s attempts to once again occupy it have been condemned by the world as illegal acts.

One used to think that Khan was more of a mouse than a man. It turns out, he is a rat.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

London mayor backtracks after sparking row by likening Scottish nationalism to racism

RT | February 26, 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan sparked a row in tweets preceding his latest speech by implying Scottish nationalism is akin to racism. He was forced to backpedal after Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, slammed his remarks as “spectacularly ill-judged.”

“The last thing we need now is to pit different parts of our country or sections of our society against each other – or to further fuel division or seek separation.”

“There’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish, and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race, or religion,” Khan said in tweeted remarks preceding his speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Perth on Saturday. He also implied that a new Scottish independence referendum would be destabilizing.

“The world is an increasingly divided place – with Brexit, the election of President Trump and the rise of populist and narrow nationalist parties around the world,” he said.

He then went on to stress the need to find an “antidote to Brexit and the rise of right-wing populist parties” that does not “break away or push our neighbors away,” but is based on unity.

SNP [Scottish National Party] leader Nicola Sturgeon branded Khan’s statements as “spectacularly ill-judged,” tweeting that Khan’s “intervention… is an insult to all those Scots who support independence for reasons of inclusion & social justice.”

Sturgeon was not the only one who found his words insulting. People posted angry remarks on Twitter, saying London mayor’s own policies are more akin to racism, while warning that Khan’s Labour party now has little chance of success in Scotland.

However, shortly before delivering his speech to the Labor conference, Khan clarified his statements with the BBC, insisting that he was “not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted.”

“Of course, I am not saying that the SNP are racists or bigots.”

“What I am saying is that the world is increasingly divided by Brexit result and the election of President Trump, with the rise of populist and narrow nationalist parties across the world, now is the time to come together, now is the time for unity, not a time for division or isolation,” Khan told a BBC reporter.

While he followed his initial script during his speech, Khan also attempted to make his points more clearly.

“With the world becoming an increasingly divided place. Brexit. President Trump. And the rise of populist and narrow nationalist parties around the world. Now’s not the time to play on people’s fears. Or to pit one part of our country – or one section of our society – against each other.”

“In that respect, there’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish, and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race, or religion. Now, of course, I’m not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted – but now, more than ever – what we don’t need is more division and separation,” he specified.

Scotland voted 55 to 45 percent in favor of remaining in the UK in a tightly contested September 2014 referendum, but then largely opposed the UK’s decision to leave the European Union known as Brexit last year, with 62 percent of the Scottish population voting for Britain to remain in the EU. As the British government is increasingly leaning toward a “hard Brexit,” which would entail totally withdrawing from the European single market and customs union, the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) has intensified calls for a second independence referendum lately, publishing a draft bill for the vote last October. However, the British government could block the second referendum, according to Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who said earlier this month that London would not allow a repeat of the 2014 plebiscite.

Scottish independence campaigners claim that an independent Scotland would continue to work closely with the rest of the UK, insisting that their civic nationalism is inclusive and non-sectarian.

February 26, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

London’s new police chief Dick led botched operation that killed Jean Charles de Menezes

RT | February 23, 2017

Relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian shot dead by counter-terrorism police in 2005, say the appointment of Cressida Dick as chief of the Metropolitan Police is ‘offensive,’ as she was responsible for the botched operation.

De Menezes was shot in the head 11 times on a train at Stockwell Underground Station, south London, after being mistaken for a terrorism suspect.

His bereaved family say Dick’s appointment proves that “police officers can act with impunity.”

Dick was appointed chief of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on Wednesday, making her the first woman in history to head the UK’s largest police force in its 188-year history.

Although many hailed Dick’s appointment, the de Menezes family hit out at the decision, saying they had “serious concerns” for London’s security under her leadership.

“We had to face a tragedy that no family should ever have to experience; the tragic death of a loved one at the hands of those we entrusted to serve us and protect us,” the family said in a statement.

“At the helm of the police on that fateful day when Jean was killed was Cressida Dick.

“The message of today’s appointment is that police officers can act with impunity.”

The family also pointed out the seriousness of the role.

“The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is the most senior police officer in the country, a post that is expected to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, to command public confidence and be responsible for ensuring that the police act lawfully and are held to account.”

De Menezes, who worked as an electrician, was killed in 2005 at Stockwell tube station while on his way to work after police reportedly mistook his actions for those of terrorist suspect Hussain Ossman.

De Menezes, was seen entering the station, but then doubled back, one of the acts deemed suspicious by police. However, it was later revealed the station was in fact closed.

Dick said in 2007: “From the behaviors described to me – nervousness, agitation, sending text messages, [using] the telephone, getting on and off the bus – it all added to the picture of someone potentially intent on causing an explosion.”

Despite ordering officers to stop de Menezes, she claims she never ordered that they open fire on him.

While the Met was found guilty of failings when the incident was taken to trial, Dick was spared any personal blame.

The family wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Friday, warning him Dick would not “command public confidence” if she was given the job.

But Khan, a former human rights lawyer, was among those backing Dick’s candidacy, hailing her appointment as “historic.”

“This is a historic day for London and a proud day for me as mayor … it was absolutely essential that we found the best possible person to take the Met forward over the coming years and I am confident that we have succeeded.”

Prime Minister Theresa May also welcomed Dick’s appointment, saying she has an“outstanding record of public service.”

“[Dick’s skills and insight] will be crucial in shaping the Met as the job of police reform continues, coordinating the national response to the ongoing threat of terrorism and serious criminality as well as keeping Londoners safe,” May said.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

The London Mayoral Election: a Victory for Whom?

By Thomas Barker | CounterPunch | May 13, 2016

The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous for the Labour Party, to say the least. Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity message has made significant gains at the polls, despite the best efforts of Labour right wingers to smear the left of party with accusations of anti-Semitism.

One of the biggest wins for Labour was the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London.

Khan’s campaign benefitted enormously from the surge of grassroots support for Corbyn, many of whom took to social media and the streets under the slogan “Jez We Khan” – an extension of “Jez We Can”, used to back Corbyn in last year’s leadership race.

Curiously, however, whilst accepting support from these activists, London’s first Muslim Mayor has constantly sought to distance himself from his party’s leader, claiming that he has his “own mandate” and is not beholden to Corbyn.

Although Khan is frequently described as “soft-left” or a “social democrat”, his political record reveals an active hostility toward the principles which saw Corbyn elected as Labour leader last year.

During his election campaign, Khan vowed to be “the most pro-business Mayor London has ever had”; stated his opposition to the “mansion tax”, the nationalisation of banks, and has pledged to work with the Tory government to defeat Corbyn’s push for a “Robin Hood Tax” – a fee on buying stocks, shares and derivatives publicly backed by the Labour leader last summer; and in recent weeks, Khan has described the fact that there are 140-plus billionaires and 400,000 millionaires in London as “a good thing” – echoing the haughty words of Labour’s true blue Tory Peter Mandelson,

Khan has also come out in opposition to Corbyn on the issue of defence, in particular the renewal of Britain’s nuclear “deterrent” Trident – estimated to cost the tax payer a cool £100billion. In an interview with the Telegraph, Khan states unequivocally: “I’m quite clear that I can’t foresee any circumstances in which I would vote to unilaterally end our nuclear capability.”

Since his election, Khan has now expressed support for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who, he states, “is doing interesting stuff with the infrastructure bank in Chicago.”

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust is a project, backed by former President Bill Clinton, to entice private investors to fund public projects – hardly a left wing solution.

Mayor Emanuel, a former investment banker, is himself a controversial figure, and has been implicated in a number of high profile corruption cases and is renowned for his hostility toward the public sector.

It has also been exposed that Khan, the man who has pledged to solve London’s housing crisis, accepted almost £30,000 in donations from parasite landlords during his election campaign. £10,000 came from a Mancunian firm which Magistrates fined £14,000 for breaching tenant safety rules. And £19,900 came from a south London developer which campaigns against landlord licensing.

But perhaps most revealing of all, is Khan’s eagerness to join in the witch-hunt against Labour members who criticise the brutal militarism of the Israeli government, which has been purposefully conflated with anti-Semitism.

Just last week, Khan was one of many Labour MPs calling for the suspension of Corbyn’s close political ally Ken Livingstone over alleged anti-Semitic (in reality anti-Israeli government) statements.

Such scurrilous attacks are intended to discredit the left wing leadership of the Labour Party.

The Labour right, with the full backing of the capitalist class, are cynically and sickeningly using this very real form of discrimination to undermine Corbyn, who has close links with pro-Palestine groups, with an eye, first of all, to isolate him, then eventually to remove him as the party leader.

His high profile mayoral campaign has meant that Khan has played a key role in this process.

But perhaps we should not be surprised. Khan’s association with the Labour right goes back to his election as Labour MP in 2005 – the same year that he became a patron to the Blairite faction of the Labour Party, Progress, the group responsible for organising attacks on Corbyn’s leadership.

Apparently, Sadiq Khan’t stop supporting the 1%

Detaining Suspects Without Trial

In February 2005, Tony Blair’s government voted in favour of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill which, amongst other things, legislated to create “control orders”: civil orders made by the Home Secretary against individuals who the intelligence services suspect of “involvement in terrorism-related activity” on a domestic or an international level.

Control orders allow for a range of restrictions from house arrest and electronic tagging to rules on whom the suspect may contact, where they can go and where they may work. The orders also significantly lowered the standard of proof necessary to detain terror suspects (no trial is necessary, for instance).

The legislation was roundly criticised by human rights organisations for providing the Home Secretary, then Charles Clarke, with powers equivalent to that of the judiciary.

Although Khan was not yet an elected MP when this vote was passed, in 2007 and 2010 he voted to renew these highly undemocratic measures… despite being a former human rights lawyer himself and despite being a persistent critic of the War in Iraq!

Corbyn consistently voted against control orders.

Pro-Academisation

In 2006, Blair’s government voted on the Education and Inspections Bill. The bill served as an important step toward expanding the academisation (i.e. privatisation) project, the rotten fruits of which are being reaped today, by encouraging councils to pass schools from the hands of democratically elected Local Authorities into those of private sponsors.

One representative from the National Union of Teachers described Blair’s Education Bill as giving “even greater opportunities to business and religious sponsors to instil their ideas on young people.”

Khan voted in favour of this bill, but the Labour Party faced a major backbench rebellion, with over fifty MPs (including Corbyn) voting against the proposed legislation.

Revealingly, Blair could rely on the full support of the Tory opposition to push through this attack on comprehensive schools, the leader of whom, David Cameron, said that the reforms were in line with Conservative Party policy.

Anti-Worker

With the Prison Officer Association coordinating a series of strikes at the end of 2007 because of privatisation and cuts to pay, the government responded on January 9, 2008 by strengthening the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, section 138 of which prohibits prison workers from taking strike action.

Khan voted in favour of this act, Corbyn against.

Treaty of Lisbon

A few weeks later, the news media was dominated by the issue of the Treaty of Lisbon, which was widely understood as providing an EU-wide legislative basis for the privatisation of public services, as well as facilitating attacks on the wages, conditions, and rights of workers.

Article 188c, for instance, helps to remove the ability of states to veto trade deals involving health and education, opening up the prospect that financial speculators, as a right, could intervene and cherry pick the most profitable aspects of health and education.

The Lisbon Treaty was opposed overwhelmingly by delegates at the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Irish workers rejected the Treaty outright in a referendum.

Whether or not one is in favour of remaining or leaving in the upcoming EU referendum, the decision as to whether or not the Lisbon Treaty should have approved should have been put to the public.

Khan voted in favour of the Treaty, and against a referendum on its imposition. Corbyn voted against the Treaty, and in favour of a referendum.

Khan’s Record on Welfare 1

Perhaps one of the most pernicious attacks on welfare that the Tory-Liberal coalition government (2010-2015) carried out was the introduction of the 2013 Jobseeker’s Bill. After the court of appeal quashed the regulations that underpinned the government’s hated Back to Work programme (introduced in 2011) for “lack of clarity”, the Tories responded by rushing through “emergency” Jobseeker’s legislation to set out the bill in more stark terms.

The Workfare program has been described by Dr Simon Duffy, the Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, as a form of “modern slavery.”

So, what was Labour’s response?

After much debate, discussion, and disputation, the Labour leadership took the bold move of whipping its MPs into abstaining from the vote.

The reason given for this was that by abstaining, and allowing the coalition government to fast-track the workfare scheme through parliament, Labour were able to negotiate concessions, including a full review into the sanctions regime. And yet, just two months prior, the Labour Party described the Work programme as “a worse outcome than no programme at all.”

If this was the case, what would be the purpose of a review?

Khan was one of the many who abstained on the vote. Corbyn voted against it.

Khan’s Record on Welfare 2

Next up is the Welfare Cap which was introduced by the Tory-Liberal coalition in 2014 as a way of curtailing the amount in state benefits that an individual can claim per year, as well as the amount of overall welfare spending.

Diane Abbot gave a particularly impassioned speech against the bill:

This benefits cap is arbitrary and bears no relationship to need, as our benefits system should. It does not allow for changing circumstances—rents going up and population rising—and will make inequality harder to tackle. There are ways to cut welfare. We could put people back to work, introduce a national living wage, build affordable homes and have our compulsory jobs guarantee.

Others read the bill as an attempt to perpetuate a false divide between “strivers” and “scroungers”.

And yet, under the leadership of Ed Miliband, the Labour Party, including Khan, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the cap. Thirteen Labour backbenchers, including Corbyn, defied the party whip to vote against the cap.

Khan’s Record on Welfare 3

More recently we have the controversial Welfare Reform and Work Bill, voted on in the aftermath of the 2015 general elections. The Tories, having narrowly been elected with an outright majority – although with the smallest mandate since Universal Suffrage – took the opportunity to hammer home their cuts agenda against a weak, divided, and (apparently) confused Labour Party.

Amongst other things, the Bill was committed to reducing the household benefit cap from £26,000 to £20,000 (£23,000 in London); freezing the rate of many major benefits and tax credits for four years; limiting the child element of universal credit to a maximum of two children; and stopping those on certain benefits being able to claim additional help towards their mortgage payments.

Against a backdrop of huge anger, the interim Labour leader Harriet Harman whipped fellow MPs to abstain on the vote in order to show the electorate that Labour “was listening” to their concerns about welfare. According to Harman:

The temptation is always to oppose everything. That does not make sense. We have got to wake up and recognise this is not a blip and we have got to listen to why. No one is going to listen to us if they think we are not to listening to them.

Amongst those who absented themselves, many remain in the Labour shadow cabinet: Tom Watson, Angela Eagle, Seema Maholtra, Hilary Benn, Andy Burnham, Heidi Alexander, Rosie Winterton, Lucy Powell, Owen Smith, Jon Trickett, Lisa Nandy, Chris Bryant, Lilian Greenwood, Vernon Coaker, Ian Murray, Nia Griffith, Kerry McCarthy, Kate Green, Maria Eagle, Gloria de Piero, Luciana Berger, Karl Turner, John Ashworth, and John Healey.

That is an astonishing 89% of the current shadow cabinet who refused to oppose the Tories’ Welfare Bill (anyone looking for evidence of Corbyn’s isolation within the Parliamentary Labour Party need look no further than this fact). In fact, only three members of the current shadow cabinet opposed it: Corbyn, McDonnell, and Abbott.

Credit to Khan, however, who, unlike the majority of his right wing colleagues, defied the whip to oppose this bill, but given his background and his planned Mayoral bid it is tempting to speculate that there was no small amount of political opportunism in this vote.

In Summary

Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide election as Labour leader showed the potential for creating a mass anti-capitalist party. Unfortunately, however, the majority of Labour MPs and councillors remain pro-capitalist and pro-austerity. Khan is amongst this group

To defeat the right means starting to mobilise the currently fragmented anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement. This will not succeed if it remains trapped within the current undemocratic structure of the Labour Party, vainly trying to compromise with “the 4.5%” – the Blairite representatives of big business in the Labour Party.

Instead it means building an open, democratic movement – organised on federal lines – that brings together all of those who have been inspired by Corbyn and want to see a determined anti-capitalist party.

Thomas Barker is an independent journalist and PhD student in Aesthetics and Politics. He can be reached at https://durham.academia.edu/ThomasBarker

May 13, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment