Monday, May 29, 2017

13 questions mainstream media should be asking about Salman Abedi


The more we find out about the Manchester Arena terrorist, the worse it looks for the UK government and secret services.

One of the first revelations about the British-born terrorist Salman Abedi was that he had been banned from a mosque for expressing pro-ISIS views, and repeatedly reported to authorities for by other members of the Manchester Muslim community too.

So much for the extreme-right mantra that "Muslims should do more to root out terrorists"!

The Muslim community of Manchester did their civic duty by repeatedly reporting Abedi to the authorities, but the authorities apparently did nothing to actually stop him.

Another early revelation was that he committed the atrocity at Manchester Arena only days after arriving back from the lawless terrorist breeding ground in Libya, and also that he was also known to have travelled to Syria to associate with Islamist fanatics.

People soon started asking the obvious question of how he managed to travel between Manchester and the terrorist hotspots of Libya and Syria unhindered by the UK security services, and if he was able to travel freely between the UK and terroist hotspots, how many others have also been slipping in and out of the UK to train as terrorists in Libya and Syria?

The website Middle East Eye soon found several UK based Libyan fighters who detailed how they had actually been encouraged by the UK secret services to go and fight in Libya. Several of them had had their passports revoked for suspected extremism, but had them handed back when the Islamist uprising against Gadaffi began to kick off.

The next damning revelation was that the UK secret services were tipped off in January 2017 by the Americans that Abedi was actively planning an act of terrorism. Apparently the UK security services monitored him for a while before dropping the investigation.

Their excuse for dropping the investigation into a known extremist it is absolutely astounding. Their claim is that they were too busy juggling other terrorist investigations!

Of course keeping track of suspected terrorists is a difficult job. Nobody is saying it's easy. But if the Muslim community of Manchester repeatedly tipped them off that the guy is a dangerous fanatic; and the Americans tipped them off that he's actively planning a terrorist atrocity; how is it that the investigation was dropped? And how is it that he managed to pass through the UK border without at least being stopped?

13 questions

Here are a some important questions that any mainstream media journalist who is not a total Tory stooge should be asking Theresa May, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, and the Tory government:

1. Was the Home Office made aware of the US tip off that Salman Abedi was actively plotting a terrorist attack in the UK?
2. Why was the investigation into Salman Abedi dropped within months of the US tip off?
3. Who signed off on the investigation being dropped?
4. What was the justification for the investigation being dropped so soon after such a serious tip off? 
5. Have any other investigations been dropped after tip offs from the Americans that they're actively planning a terrorist attack (if so how many)?
6. How did someone who was so recently under investigation as a terrorism suspect allowed to pass through a UK airport on the way back from Libya?
7. The French Interior Ministry says that they have evidence that Abedi was also in Syria. What evidence does the UK have about his involvement with Islamist extremists in Syria, and was this information considered when the decision was taken to drop the investigation?
8. Was Salman Abedi himself given dispensation by the UK secret services to travel to Libya to fight in the civil war there?
9. How many British-Libyans in total were given dispensation by the UK secret services to fight in the Libyan civil war (or is the number unknown)?
10. Was the then Home Secretary Theresa May aware of this policy of giving British-Libyan extremists dispensation to travel to Libya to fight in the war, or was it going on behind her back?
11. How many of these British-Libyan fighters have now returned to the UK (or is the number unknown)?
12. What action was taken (if any) when Abedi was reported to the police counter-terrorism hotline five years ago, and again one year ago?
13. What action was taken (if any) when Abedi was reported as an extremist by the Didsbury mosque two years ago?

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Why do the mainstream press let the Tories get away with systematically abusing disabled people?


Do you remember when the mainstream media whipped up a storm of condemnation of Theresa May and the Tories after a study at Herriot Watt university found that the Tory Work Capacity Assessment regime is "fundamentally discriminatory to people with mental health conditions", that staff carrying out the assessments were unqualified to make mental health judgements, and that the discriminatory WCA process actually intensified the mental health conditions of many of the people who were forced to go through it?

No. Because it didn't happen.

Just like the 
UK press failed to whip up a storm of condemnation of the Tory government when the courts ruled that their Work Capacity Assessment was discriminatory towards people with mental health conditions in 2013, yet they carried on regardless.

Just like the 
UK press failed to whip up a storm of condemnation of the Tory government when it was revealed in January 2016 that this discriminatory Tory Work Capacity Assessment regime actually costs far more in corporate outsourcing fees than it will ever save in reduced benefits payments, meaning the whole traumatic farce actually relies of taxpayer subsidies to keep going.

Just like the UK press failed to whip up a storm of condemnation of the Tory government when the United Nations produced a scathing report into the way disabled people's rights are being systematically violated by the Tory government.

Just like 
UK press failed to whip up a storm of condemnation of the Tory government when they were caught specifically instructing the corporations who administer the Work Capacity Assessment regime to actively discriminate against people with mental health conditions (whilst simultaneously dressing themselves up as champions of mental health!).

Why the media blackout?

The suffering of people with mental health conditions under this discriminatory Tory assessment regime just isn't considered newsworthy by the majority of the mainstream press.

It's not newsworthy for two main reasons.

The first is that, even though there are millions of disabled people in the UK, the suffering of disabled people just doesn't sell enough newspapers or generate enough website clicks. A significant swathe of the mainstream media won't touch stories like the ongoing systematic abuse of disabled people, because they'd make more money by churnalising sensationalist guff.

The other main reason the systematic Tory abuse of disabled people given so little prominence is that it runs counter to the pro-Tory bias of the mainstream press. They're not going to expend time on holding the Tory government to account for their callous mistreatment of disabled people when their billionaire bosses are fanatically pro-Tory. It's a matter of self-interest for most mainstream media hacks. Push the agenda that their sociopathic right-wing billionaire bosses demand, or get pushed out of the door at the next round of redundancies. Stay on message or face the chop.

What we can do

  • Support independent media because independent journalists have the freedom to write what they want to write about, and don't have to worry about getting sacked if they stray from the propaganda lines imposed by the fanatically right-wing billionaires who own the publications they work for.
  • Share this article to let more people know about the way the mainstream media consistently under-reports the savage Tory mistreatment of disabled people.


 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.




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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Don't let the mainstream media con you into believing the Tories aren't ideological extremists


Don't ever let anyone tell you that Jeremy Corbyn and The Labour Party are pushing extreme-left policies because they want to renationalise some stuff.

The majority of the public actually back the policies of running the NHS, railways, water companies and Royal Mail as not-for-profit public services.

Democratic public ownership of the things Labour propose to nationalise is absolutely commonplace across Europe plenty of other western economies, such as nationalised rail (France, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Ireland ...), a publicly owned national grid (Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, even Texas!), a publicly owned mail system (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland) and a national investment bank/sovereign wealth fund (Norway, Singapore, Australia, South Korea).

Just look at the evidence. The ones pushing an extremist agenda are clearly the Tories who have spent the last seven years privatising stuff like the NHS (against the will of 84% of the public), literally thousands of schools (against the will of 81% of the public) and chunks of the police force like the forensic science service (against the will of 87% of the public).

The Labour Manifesto clearly aligns with the views of the majority of people. It's the Tories who have been pursuing a fanatical economic agenda that is only supported by a tiny minority.

The only reason the Tories keep getting away with their extremist economic agenda is that the complicit mainstream media consistently fail to properly hold them to account over their extremely unpopular economic policies, and instead present the reality-reversing narrative that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, not Theresa may and the Tories are the ones pushing the fanatical, extreme and highly unpopular economic agenda!


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Why aren't the Tory attack dogs savaging David Davis for saying this?


The more time that passes after the dishonest Tory attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, the more examples of their abject hypocrisy are being unearthed.

We've had Theresa May exposed as a liar over her brazen misrepresentation of what Corbyn actually said (she's a liar, liar); we've had Boris Johnson exposed as a hypocritical buffoon for describing Corbyn's carefully considered comments as "monstrous" when he himself used the staggeringly crass phrase "told you so" to make the same point about terrorism after the London 7/7 bombings; then we had the laughable spectacle of the faux intellectual Tory Defence minister Michael Fallon furiously condemning Boris Johnson's words because he thought they were Jeremy Corbyn's!

Now yet another example of a Tory saying pretty much exactly what Corbyn said, but in a more direct way, has come to light. This time it's the Tory Brexit Minister David Davis.

After the publication of the damning Chilcot Report into the invasion and occupation of Iraq David Davis wrote this on his website:
"The decision to go to war was part of a cascade of mistakes that resulted in the careless destruction of a nation, our complicity in the use of torture, our ceding of the moral high ground, and an increased risk of terrorism at home."
I'm not arguing that David Davis was wrong to say this. In fact I think it's a pretty good description of what happened.

The Iraq invasion wasn't a party political issue. The Labour leader Tony Blair pushed for it and won his war vote with the backing of the majority of Tory MPs, including Theresa May.

Opposition to the invasion was a cross party effort with Charles Kennedy (Lib-Dem), Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn (Labour), Alex Salmond (SNP) and Ken Clarke (Tory) amongst the most vocal opponents.

My problem is that the Tories and their attack dogs in the right-wing media didn't shriek furious condemnation at David Davis for having pointed out a link between foreign policy and terrorism. Neither did they warp and misrepresent his views as if he'd said that Britain deserved to suffer terrorist attacks, which neither he, nor Corbyn even implied.

The problem here is the searing hypocrisy. The Tories and their attack dogs will smear, misrepresent and abuse Jeremy Corbyn for saying what countless Tory MPs have also said. But they have no complaints at all when Tory MPs make the exact same foreign policy-terrorism point, but in much more direct (in David Davis' case) and downright insensitive (in Boris Johnson's case) ways.

Conclusion

Don't let the hypocritical Tory liars programme you into believing their misleading propaganda about what Corbyn said in his terrorism speech. Read it for yourself, think about it for yourself. Draw your conclusions for yourself.


Full transcript of Jeremy Cornyn's speech on terrorism.



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Beware of Tory dark ads


We all know that the Tories are bankrolled by a rogue's gallery of right-wing billionaires and that they're awash with cash for this general election right?

We also know that they have absolute contempt for the electoral rules after they deliberately misdeclared expenses at the 2015 general election don't we?

We also know the increasingly important role big data is playing in elections, and how psychological profiling and targeted social media adverts helped to swing the EU referendum and the 2016 US election right?

Tory dark ads

Well what the Tories have been up to during the 2017 general election is absolutely shocking. They've been creating all kinds of fearmongering shock adverts, paying Facebook to target them at people, and refusing to provide examples to the 
Electoral Commission of what they've been sending out.

What is worse is that in the days before the voter registration deadline they used their secretive dark ads to deliberately undermine a young adult voter registration drive, by replacing the voter registration adverts with their own nasty smear jobs on Jeremy Corbyn.

The charity that was running the voter registration drive realised that 
someone else was bidding for the same advertising slots when the price per click of their "register to vote" adverts spiked from about £1.07 to over £3.40.

To find out who was taking their advertising slots they set up dummy accounts fitting the profile of their target audience, and lo and behold the people gazumping their voter registration drive were the Tory party, who were clearly trying to disengage young people from politics by bombarding them with misleading anti-Corbyn smear jobs.

The electoral rules are hopelessly outdated

The Electoral Commission rules are farcically insufficient to deal with the issue of targeted adverts, especially since they seem unable to even get the Tories to reveal the contents of what they've been sending out.


The Tories will likely pretend that the £millions they're spending on these dark ads constitute part of their unlimited national campaign budget, so as to evade the local spending limits. But is it actually possible to think of a more local act of campaigning than targeting specific adverts at specific voters in specific constituencies?

Another problem with holding them to account is that the evasive Tories have been outright refusing to supply examples of the dark ads they're sending out to specific voters, so there's no way the electoral authorities can actually know whether the adverts themselves are national campaign material, or material that is tailored to the local constituency and should be allocated to the strictly limited local spending allocation.

What we can do

  • If you come across any of these secretive dark adverts from the Tory Party in your Facebook feed, make sure to screenshot them and send them to the Electoral Commission (info@electoralcommission.org.uk) so that they have some idea of what the Tories are sending out in their dark ads. I'm dubious that they will actually do anything to clamp down on the practice, but at least if we send them evidence, they won't be able to pretend that they're unaware of the problem. 
  • Talk to people and let them know that the Tories are trying to rig the general election by pumping vast amounts of cash into dark ads to smear their political opponents (and that they undermined a voter registration drive in the process).
  • Vote against the Tories and try to persuade others to vote against them too. There's no way that using the cash their billionaire backers are showering on them to undermine democracy with their secretive dark ad campaign can be considered acceptable. Anyone who wants to see a level political playing field needs to vote against the Tories and their secretive,cynical and anti-democratic gaming of the system.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.




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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Tories are still accepting support from "gay cure" promoters


The Tories are defending a razor slim majority of just 733 in Eastbourne, Their candidate Caroline Ansell is backed by a homophobic "gay cure" promoting organisation called Christian Action Research and Education (CARE).

Ansell has accepted an intern from CARE between September 2016 and June 2017, which means this "gay cure" promoting organisation is providing financial support to the Tory candidate during the general election campaign.

It's quite extraordinary that Ansell, and Tory high command, considered this acceptable after the scandal of 20 MPs accepting donations from this organisation back in 2012.

Ansell's main rival in Eastbourne is the Lib-Dem Stephen Lloyd who was the MP between 2010 and 2015, but lost his seat due to the backlash over their support for Cameron's government (why vote Lib-Dem to get a Tory government when you can just vote Tory?).

I'm dubious about the Lib-Dems current pledge not to prop up another Tory government (tuition fees anyone?), but a Lib-Dem you're not sure you can trust is surely a whole lot better than a Tory who is backed by some dodgy "gay cure" promoting outfit isn't it?

Lloyd is going to have a real fight on his hands because (as in scores of other constituencies) the Ukippers have decided not to field a candidate in Eastbourne order to rig the general election in Theresa May's favour.

Let's hope the non-bigots in Eastbourne come out in force to show Caroline Ansell and her "gay cure" mates the door on June 8th.

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Steve Keen is backing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party


The economist Steve Keen is backing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. This is big news because he was one of the only economists to predict the global financial sector meltdown.

Foresight

Steve Keen was one of the only economists to accurately predict the global financial sector meltdown in 2007-08. Of course a lot of people could see that the housing bubble was creating unsustainable amounts of private debt, but Keen was one of the few who used this information to accurately predict the way that the global economy would collapse.

Here's a paper he wrote in 2006 almost a year before the sequence of bank failures started in 2007. He concluded that the state of debt and the ever increasing debt service burden meant that a recession would be unavoidable.

In hindsight he was absolutely right, but at the time he was derided as a scaremongerer and a crank for the "crime" of predicting the financial crash that the mainstream economics profession absolutely refused to see until the economy actually started imploding around them.

I don't know if you've ever been in the position where you're trying to alert people to the danger, and they just laugh at you and deride you. It takes bravery and great strength of character to keep swimming against the tide and standing up for what you believe in under such circumstances.


Labour


In an interview with Mark McGowan Keen explained why he was backing Labour. He's particularly enthusiastic about the proposed financial transaction tax, describing it as a tax that can't be evades by means of complex offshore structures, because every time they sell a product, they'll face a transaction tax.

Keen also praised Corbyn for the policies of rail renationalisation, properly funding the NHS, and scrapping student fees, saying the policies mean that Labour is no longer Tory-lite, but "a real social democratic alternative" that could finally break the ruinous neoliberal political hegemony that has ruled since the rise of Thatcher in 1979.

Another think that Keen noted was the vicious anti-Corbyn bias of the mainstream media and the elitist Westminster political establishment for proposing the kinds of policies that are taken for granted in plenty of other western economies, such as nationalised rail (France, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Ireland ...), a publicly owned national grid (Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, even Texas!), a publicly owned mail system (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland) and a national investment bank/sovereign wealth fund (Norway, Singapore, Australia, South Korea).


Watch the interview here:
Steve Keen's book "Debunking Economics" features on my list of recommended reading for those who want to learn more about economics.


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Jeremy Corbyn's grassroots football policy is simple but brilliant


Jeremy Corbyn's grassroots football policy is simple but brilliant. He wants to boost grassroots football by ensuring that a small portion of the £billions in TV revenues flowing to the top clubs is used to support grassroots football.

This policy isn't just brilliant for English football because it will give many thousands more kids the facilities and opportunities to strive to become the elite players of the future, it'll also be a massive boost for the health of the nation.

Players

Anyone who follows football will be aware of the way Jamie Vardy climbed from the non-league to become a legend in Leicester City's astonishing Premier League winning campaign. Until 2010 he was playing for Stocksbridge Park Steelers FC. Then after stints with non-league Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town he joined Leicester City, going on to beat the Premier League record by scoring in eleven consecutive games and score his first goal for England in a 3-2 win against Germany.

How many more Jamie Vardy's might thrive and climb their way towards the pinnacle of the English game with better funding and facilities at the grass roots level?

Coaches

The benefit wouldn't just be for players either. Better facilities and more opportunities mean that English football coaching can begin to crawl out of the international basement. In 2014 England had just 1,395 UEFA A qualified coaches. In comparison Germany had 6,934 and Spain a whopping 15,423.

Given the lack of qualified coaches it any wonder that it's now an incredible 25 years since the last English manager led a team to the English league title? (Howard Wilkinson, Leeds United, 1991-92)

More money for the grassroots game will mean more aspiring coaches learning the skills to to bring the best out in British kids, 
and to succeed at the top level where previous generations have failed.

Public health

The public health benefits of more people playing sport are so obvious as to barely need explaining: Regular exercise is one of the most fundamental aspects of a healthy lifestyle, and the bonding experience of being part of a team is obviously a massive mental health benefit too.

The healthier lives people lead, the less reliant on the health service they are. Public health isn't just good for the individuals, it's good for the taxpayer too.

Conclusion

Corbyn's policy of ensuring 5% of the TV revenues are used to support grassroots football isn't some kind of punishment for the elite clubs. They can easily afford it, and the long-term benefits of more kids with decent football facilities, and more adults actively engaged in the game will more than compensate the big clubs in the long-run when the next superstar players, managers and coaches begin to flow up to the top of the game.

Jeremy Corbyn's belief that "football is for the many" is something that must surely resonate with anyone who has ever played at the grassroots level.

It's a fantastically simple policy that will be of enormous benefit to the long-term future of the British game.

And even if you don't much like football, getting more people involved in sport would clearly be a fantastic public health benefit too.


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Only insane leftists like the former head of MI5 and most of the British public would agree with Jeremy Corbyn


After their spitefully dishonest condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn's carefully considered speech on terrorism, the ideological dogmatism of the Tory party and their cheerleaders in the right-wing press couldn't be clearer.

It's now totally clear that it doesn't matter what Jeremy Corbyn says, they'll attack it, misrepresent it, and smear it rather that ever actually admit that he's actually talking some sense.

Aside from the profound message of solidarity in the face of barbarism, the crux of Jeremy Corbyn's speech was that the "war on terrorism" is failing, and that the UK government needs to adopt a more intelligent approach to the problem of murderous Islamist fanaticism.

Corbyn very clearly stated that understanding the causes of terrorism in no way excuses or reduces the guilt of those who attack us, but lying Tory politicians like Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Ben Wallace deliberately warped and misrepresented what Corbyn said in the hope that the British public are so gullible that they'd just believe the Tory lies, rather than check the primary source for themselves.

Here's the full transcript of Corbyn's speech

Aside from blatantly lying about what he said, others have tried to attack Jeremy Corbyn as if his idea that turning places like Iraq and Libya into lawless power vacuums has increased, rather than decreased the global threat of terrorism as if such an idea is dangerously extreme leftist nonsense.

The problem for this argument is that Corbyn is absolutely right.

Well he's right if you think that the former head of MI5 is the kind of person who knows what they're talking about.

And he's right if you credit the British public with enough intelligence to not idly dismiss their understanding that creating lawless terrorist breeding grounds is likely to increase the threat of terrorism.

The expert

The former head of MI5 Eliza Mannigham-Buller wrote this in her book:

"Whatever the merits of putting an end to Saddam Hussein, the war was also a distraction from the pursuit of al-Qaeda. It increased the terrorist threat by convincing more people that Osama Bin Laden's claim that Islam was under attack was correct. It provided an arena for the jihad for which he had called, so that many of his supporters, including British citizens, travelled to Iraq to attack western forces . . . And our involvement in Iraq spurred some young British Muslims to turn to terror." 

That's the exact same argument that right-wingers are abusing Corbyn for making. I wonder why they didn't howl and shriek when the former head of MI5 published this in her book?

The public

Then there's the fact that the majority of people tend to agree with what Jeremy Corbyn said.

A YouGov poll
found that 65% of respondents agreed with Corbyn's argument that "the wars that the UK has supported or fought are in part responsible for terror attacks against the UK" after the results were weighted 53% agreed, while only 24% disagreed.

That's more than twice as many people believe that the UK bombing other countries is in part responsible for terrorism, as those who think that UK wars have no impact on terrorism whatever.


The idea that the UK bombing other countries isn't a factor in terrorism is the unpopular minority view, and the view that it is a factor to be considered is widely-accepted "common sense".

By attacking Corbyn for saying what most people believe, the right-wingers are clearly insulting the intelligence of the majority of the public.


The sickening hypocrites


Aside from the former head of MI5 and public opinion on his side, Corbyn can also find support for his views from people like Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Tim Farron (two of whom savagely attacked him for making the exact same argument they had made previously).

Boris Johnson called Corbyn's comments "monstrous", but in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings Boris actually said this:
"The Iraq war did not create the problem of murderous Islamic fundamentalists, though the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people in this country, and given them a new pretext. The Iraq war did not introduce the poison into our bloodstream but, yes, the war did help to potentiate that poison."

Aside from making the exact same argument as he condemned Corbyn for, he also used the incredibly insensitive phrase "told you so", which Jeremy Corbyn would never be crass enough to use in the wake of a terrorist atrocity.

The lamentable Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron was another to publicly slate Corbyn's speech, but just one year ago he stood up in parliament to argue that bombing foreign countries fuels terrorism and is a danger to us all!

The sad hypocritical point-scoring little scunner!

David Cameron was another who made the exact same point as Corbyn, but with no shrieks of outrage, or sickening distortions of what he said from the Tory ranks, or the right-wing propaganda rags.

Conclusion

In attacking and smearing Jeremy Corbyn for saying what the experts agree with, what the majority of the public agree with, and most incredibly what they themselves have agreed with in the past, the Tories (and the lamentable gonk Tim Farron) have made one thing absolutely clear:

The fact they're so utterly desperate to attack and smear Jeremy Corbyn that they'll say literally anything, no matter how hypocritical, incoherent, or downright dishonest, is proof that they hold you, and me, and the rest of the public in total contempt.

They expect us to just mindlessly accept their lies and smears, to not go to the primary source and check out what he actually said for ourselves, and to not look through the stuff they've said in the past in order to expose their appalling hypocrisy.

Why on earth would anyone vote for arrogant charlatans who assume them to be pathetically gullible idiots who are incapable of thinking about anything for themselves?



 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.




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