British soldiers, corporate media incite anti-Labour violence

Screenshots from the video of British paratroopers shooting an image of Jeremy Corbyn circulating online today

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Corporate media’s ‘relentless’ attacks on Corbyn ‘to blame’ for army’s target practice outrage

CORPORATE media came under fire today over its constant smearing of Jeremy Corbyn after footage emerged of British troops using the Labour leader’s picture for target practice.

The army confirmed it was investigating the incident of soldiers shooting at his image in a video shared on social media, which was described by a Labour spokesman as “alarming and unacceptable”.

Footage captured this week in Kabul, Afghanistan, shows four soldiers from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment using the Labour leader’s picture for target practice on a Simunition range.

Lined up in a row, they are seen firing handguns before the camera turns to show a large picture of Mr Corbyn with small coloured wax pellets targeted at his face.

It comes after John Murphy, 31, was jailed for 28 days last month for hitting Mr Corbyn on the back of his head with an egg while inside Finsbury Park Mosque.

Award-winning media watch group Media Lens said that the “entire mainstream media system has been waging a relentless, fanatical smear campaign demonising Corbyn.”

It referred to the Daily Mail having mocked up a picture of Mr Corbyn in a coffin with the headline: “Labour must KILL vampire Jezza.” It noted that after the newspaper received a backlash, it had changed the word “kill” to “dump” on the online version.

Media Lens warned that it was not just the right-wing press that were complicit, as the Independent and the BBC had also stoked the fire in portraying him as a security threat.

It pointed to Independent articles claiming that the British army could “stage [a] mutiny” under a Corbyn-led government and also noted an anonymous general’s comment that “generals would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of the UK.”

Media Lens added that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg was broadcast “wagging a finger at Corbyn” and saying “do you acknowledge there is a risk that it looks to voters like you would put your own principles ahead of the protection of this country?”

Sky News, in reporting the target practice, explicitly linked the footage of the soldiers shooting at Mr Corbyn’s picture to allegations from Tories that he would threaten national security.

The broadcaster also interviewed Tory MP Mark Harper who said that Mr Corbyn sided with Russia over the apparent attack on the Skripals in Salisbury – an allegation based on Mr Corbyn having asked for evidence before endorsing action against Russia.

Media Lens, which won the 2007 Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award, tweeted: “Let’s be clear, they learned this hatred of Corbyn from a single source – corporate media.

“It’s astonishing how journalists have turned this honest, compassionate, thoroughly decent politician into a hate figure.”

Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade Nick Perry said the army was conducting a full investigation, is keen to get to the bottom of the incident and is “obviously taking this extremely seriously”.

However, media critic and journalist Jonathan Cook suggested that the investigation could be compromised as the army is being led by “a general who explained to the [Rupert Murdoch-owned] Times that he and his colleagues would make sure Corbyn was never allowed to reach No 10.”

This 3 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn as target practice? What comes next could be worse | Owen Jones talks

As a video emerges of British soldiers firing rounds at a Jeremy Corbyn poster on an army base in Kabul we must remember that words have consequences. In the past four years we’ve seen an growing dangerous radicalisation on the right against the Labour leader who has been demonised as an “enemy within” and been accused of siding with terrorists and if we don’t continue to call it out we could see more violence ahead.

By the Socialist Equality Party (UK):

UK elite Parachute Regiment use Corbyn poster for target practice

4 April 2019

Footage of soldiers in the elite Parachute Regiment firing rounds into a poster of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a grave warning of the climate of political violence being fomented by Britain’s ruling elite.

The video was posted on Snapchat, before being leaked yesterday onto Twitter. Four paratroopers are seen repeatedly firing at the Corbyn poster with handguns. The words “happy with that” are captioned on the video, before the camera pans to the poster of Corbyn, zooming in to show his head peppered with bullet holes. Some of the soldiers can be heard laughing.

The video was reportedly shot in recent days and its authenticity has been confirmed by the Army. Around 80 members of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) have been stationed in Kabul in Afghanistan since 2018 as part of the Resolute Support Mission. The footage was apparently shot in the loft of what Sky News reported is the “New Kabul Compound”.

Immediate efforts were made to downplay the seriousness of the event.

Ex-Colour Sergeant Trevor Coult told the Daily Mail, “It should never have gone online. But it was tomfoolery, nothing serious. There should not be an investigation.” Coult had shared the video with the comment, “Not looking good for a Labour leader” and a laughing emoji. Conservative MP and former soldier Johnny Mercer joined the defence effort, tweeting, “every organisation has good people who make serious misjudgements.”

The Ministry of Defence said an investigation would be undertaken, but Brigadier Nick Perry, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, also downplayed the incident as “a serious error of judgment.”

All attempts to portray this event as bad behaviour by a few individuals must be rejected. The Parachute Regiment is one of the most elite infantry regiments in the world. It strains credulity that no senior officers were aware of what was happening.

The use of Corbyn’s image for target practice takes place against a background in which the Labour leader has been repeatedly subjected to death threats by far-right forces. Only last month, as the politically toxic atmosphere over Brexit intensified, he was violently assaulted by a right-wing thug at Finsbury Park Mosque, who had threatened online that he would like to kill [Muslims and politicians].

Moreover, this latest attack on Corbyn comes from a unit specialising in counterinsurgency operations. In recent decades 3 PARA was stationed in Northern Ireland where it brutalised the Catholic population and fought in the Falklands/Malvinas War.

Decades of unrestrained militarism have forged a professional military caste, increasingly hostile to any form of civilian control or restraint. In response to the army video, former soldiers and their supporters have taken to social media issuing online threats to assassinate Corbyn. One, identifying as “Army Veteran Royal Signals”, tweeted, “I am an Ex soldier. I would shoot Corbyn for real for free.”

Such threats are made all the more significant as they come just one day after the fascist Jack Renshaw was found guilty of planning to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

More fundamentally, the target practice against Corbyn by 3 PARA soldiers in Kabul gives expression to views widely held by the leadership of the Armed Forces.

For the last three years, senior military figures have repeatedly warned that a Corbyn government would be unacceptable because of Corbyn’s previous opposition to war, NATO and the use of nuclear weapons.

Within one week of his election as Labour leader in September 2015, the [Rupert Murdoch-owned] Sunday Times cited an anonymous “senior serving general” that in the event of Corbyn becoming prime minister “direct action” would be taken.

“There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event that would effectively be a mutiny… The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that.”

Months later, in breach of the constitutional principle of the political neutrality of the Armed Forces, Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Houghton told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that Corbyn’s statement that he would never authorise the use of nuclear weapons “would worry me if that thought was translated into power.”

The Tory government, the Labour Party’s Blairite faction and a frothing right-wing media have united to attack Corbyn as a threat to “national security”, a friend of terrorists, a stooge of Russia’s Putin government and an anti-Semite.

In 2016, a Daily Mail article by Blairite Dan Hodges was published under the headline, “Labour must kill vampire Jezza”, accompanied by a photo of Corbyn in a coffin. The article was published just 10 days after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a fascist. “Jezza’s jihadi comrades”, “Corbyn ‘the collaborator’,” “Corbyn and the commie spy” and “Blood on his hands” are among the countless headlines to have dominated the British press for the past three years.

After the video’s existence was widely reported yesterday, Tory MP David Jones asked Prime Minister Theresa May in parliament, “is it still the position of the prime minister that the leader of the opposition [Jeremy Corbyn] is not fit to govern the UK.” May replied, “When we suffered a chemical weapons attack on the streets of Salisbury… [Corbyn] said he preferred to believe Vladimir Putin than our own security agencies. That is not the place of somebody who should be prime minister.”

This was the cue for pro-Brexit Tories to denounce May for entering talks with Corbyn over Brexit. Caroline Johnson said May risked “ushering in a Marxist, anti-Semite led government.” Former international development minister Priti Patel tweeted, “A man who sides with terrorists and socialist dictators, would surrender our nuclear deterrent, has let anti-Semitism run rife in his Party and would bankrupt Britain has now been given the keys to Brexit.”

This follows apocalyptic newspaper headlines that a failure by the Tories to resolve the Brexit crisis risks allowing a Corbyn-led government, in the words of the Sun, to “force their Marxist agenda down our throats.”

Referring to Operation Yellowhammer being enacted in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ministers were not “specifically” planning for martial law, “but did not rule it out as an option.” In such a situation the target practice using pictures of Corbyn would be revealed as preparation for gunning down demonstrators and striking workers.

This 3 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Alleged neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw admits to plotting to kill MP | Matthew Wright

A man who plotted to kill his local MP with a 19-inch knife has avoided a retrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict on whether he was a member of a neo-Nazi group. Jack Renshaw, 23, admitted making preparations to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper and a female police officer …

Hope Not Hate‘s Matthew Collins joins the Matthew Wright show to talk about the story.

By Robert Stevens in Britain:

Neo-Nazi planned assassination of second UK Labour MP

4 April 2019

The plot by a neo-Nazi, Jack Renshaw, to murder Labour Party MP Rosie Cooper was finally revealed following the end of a seven-week trial at London’s Old Bailey.

Renshaw was on trial, accused of being a member of a fascist organisation, National Action, which was banned by the Conservative government in November 2016 and proscribed as a terrorist group. Last July, the leader of National Action, Christopher Lythgoe, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of membership of the group. Another fascist, Matthew Hankinson, was jailed for six years for membership. They had been arrested by police who were investigating the plot to kill Cooper after a tip-off.

That court heard evidence that Lythgoe was aware that Renshaw, then aged 22, intended to kill Cooper, the MP for West Lancashire. At the beginning of that trial, Renshaw pleaded guilty to preparing to kill Cooper and admitted that he purchased a replica 19-inch Roman Gladius sword for that purpose.

He had spent just under a month planning to kill Cooper, explaining, “I wanted to send a message to the state that if you beat a dog long enough it bites—she [Cooper] just happened to be my local MP.”

He planned to “turn up at one of her social events” and then “hack” at her jugular vein with the knife. He also admitted planning to kill a police officer, Victoria Henderson, who was investigating him for sexual offences, including grooming children for sex.

The plot to kill Cooper was initiated just one year after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by the fascist Thomas Mair, who stabbed and shot her to death outside a library in her west Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen. The killing took place on June 16, 2016 …

National Action, which was established in 2013, was banned after it hailed the murder of Cox.

At their trial, Lythgoe, Renshaw and four other defendants denied membership of National Action between December 2016 and September 2017. The court heard that just days before the ban, Lythgoe sent out an e-mail to National Action members as to how they would respond: “It’s going to be a piece of p**s. We discard the name and symbolism of National Action… The important thing is that what we’ve built up stays together… Secondly, at the regional level we should all split up into autonomous regional groups. Though behind the scenes it’ll still be run much the same. We’ll keep away from the proactive stuff for now… just focus on effective activism.”

The plot to murder Cooper came to light after a former National Action member, Robbie Mullen, contacted Matthew Collins, a member of the Hope not Hate anti-racist organisation in July 2017. Mullen became disillusioned with the fascist outfit and began to inform on its activities that April.

Collins said he received a message from Mullen while on holiday in Portugal, asking him to “call me ASAP”. When they spoke the following morning, Mullen told Collins that Renshaw had discussed killing Cooper during a meeting in a pub in Warrington.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on whether Renshaw was a member of National Action after it was banned, leading to a retrial, which began last month. At his latest trial, another jury were also not able to reach unanimous or majority verdicts on whether Renshaw was a member of National Action. He will be sentenced on May 17, in relation to his admission that he planned to kill Cooper.

Still in his early 20s, Renshaw has been heavily involved in fascist organisations since his youth. Aged 15, he joined the English Defence League (EDL), founded by Tommy Robinson before joining the British National Party (BNP). He met its then leader, Nick Griffin, and became a leading figure in BNP Youth. In October 2014, he stood as a candidate for the BNP in a Blackpool council ward by-election. As a BNP member he worked for a period at the European Parliament in Brussels. He was forced to leave a university course at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015 after an investigation into his incitement of racial hatred.

By 2015, Renshaw was a member of National Action. At a “Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists” event of the group, he called for Jews to be “eradicated”. Described as a National Action “spokesman” he stated, “Hitler was right in many senses but you know where he was wrong? He showed mercy to people who did not deserve mercy… As nationalists we need to learn from the mistakes of the National Socialists and we need to realise that, no, you do not show the Jew mercy.”

Last July, Renshaw was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service for incitement to racial hatred related to statements made at a demonstration in 2016 in Blackpool of another fascist group, the North West Infidels (where he described Jews as “parasites”) and at a Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists event the previous month.

In January 2018, Renshaw was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for the offences.

Between this conviction and sentencing he was jailed, in June, after being found guilty of four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, after grooming two boys online, aged 13 and 15.

The cases of Renshaw and Mair and the horrific massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers—carried out at two mosques in New Zealand by Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant last month—confirm the warnings made by the Socialist Equality Party that a significant layer of the far right are now engaged in the planning and carrying out of terrorist activity, including the killing of elected politicians.

Under conditions of a systemic crisis of the capitalist system and mounting social and political tensions in every country, fascist and other right-wing forces are targeting those they consider to be the “left” and “Marxists”. On March 3, while Renshaw was appearing in court, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was violently attacked by a pro-Brexit thug who had previously stated on a Facebook page that he would like to kill [Muslims and politicians].

The author recommends:

The assault on Jeremy Corbyn is a warning that must be heeded [6 March 2019]

17 thoughts on “British soldiers, corporate media incite anti-Labour violence

  1. And yesterday in parliament a tory woman MP denounced Corbyn as a Marxist and anti-semite. If MPs do not know how to behave and continue to misuse terms in a demonizing fashion then what hope is there.


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