British sexually abusive police spies and Lush cosmetics campaign

This Lush company video from Britain says about itself:


1 June 2018

Undercover officers have infiltrated the lives, homes, and beds of activists since 1968. Their roles were to infiltrate political groups and collect ‘intelligence’ about planned demonstrations and the individuals involved.

An Undercover Policing Inquiry is taking place, but many campaigners have a complete lack of confidence in the public inquiry’s approach. We’re standing with them to put pressure on the UK government to make the Inquiry more effective, and we’re asking you to join us.

Find out more and get involved here.

Read more here.

By Margot Miller in Britain:

UK: Lush workers oppose attempt to gag campaign against police undercover operations

23 June 2018

UK cosmetic retailer Lush recently held a poster campaign against undercover policing in the face of intimidation of its staff by former police officers, encouraged by the Conservative government’s Home Office.

Lush is particularly popular with young people for its aromatic, hand-made cosmetics and hair products, which are not tested on animals. In 2007, it began donating to environmental groups.

… It has also campaigned for the release of Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer to the UK and has backed anti-fracking campaigns. Following the Grenfell fire, Lush stepped in with funding when the Conservative-run Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council did not provide translations of vital information for the tower’s survivors.

The high street chain began its latest campaign in conjunction with Police Spies Out of Lives campaigning support group and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance. Posters in its windows featured a male model dressed as both a policeman and activist with the slogan “PAID TO LIE”, and fake police tape printed with “POLICE HAVE CROSSED THE LINE”, Slogans on the posters included the words, “SPIED ON FOR TAKING A STAND” and #SPYCOPS INQUIRY: TRUTH OR COVERUP.”

The campaign aimed to highlight the decades-long infiltration by undercover police into political, environmental and animal rights groups and to express dissatisfaction with the ongoing inquiry into undercover policing. Such was the scale of infiltration by police agents that a number of them entered into relationships with activists and had children with them.

But within a week of beginning the campaign in early June, Lush was forced to pull down its posters in its 104 stores, declaring it needed to protect its staff from harassment. Staff reported ex-officers going into shops and intimidating them into removing the posters. The campaign continued on Lush’s website, featuring a long statement, “Exposing the spy who loved me” and inviting visitors to sign a petition.

Criticism of the campaign was led by Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who claimed it was anti-police and damaging to officers who were not part of the alleged wrongdoing. He condemned it as a “public advertising campaign against our hardworking police.” Also attacking Lush was Ché Donald, the vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales. The right-wing media did its utmost to vilify the campaign, with a Daily Mail front-page article headlined, “High Street Chain’s vile slur on police.”

This week, in an interview with the Guardian, two of Lush’s founders, Mark and Mo Constantine, stated that after the initial poster campaign, which began in 40 stores, shop staff “were followed home … and attacked on Facebook. The newspaper reported that “One uniformed police officer came to a shop and said they were going to organise an anti-Lush campaign.” Outside a shop in Leeds, two police officers on horseback stayed outside the store for a period.

However, such was the favourable response from the public, opposed to censorship in general, and the support of its employees for it, that the window campaign was relaunched. In a Lush branch in London and in other areas, including Northampton, staff held discussions and took votes to continue the campaign.

The following week, a new campaign poster was displayed in all its shops. This time there was no photograph but text pinpointing how undercover police spied on 1,000 political groups while “infiltrating the lives, homes and beds of citizens for 50 years.” It criticised the inquiry for being “increasingly secret and going nowhere.”

Police surveillance and infiltration of political and campaigning groups began in earnest in the 1960s and 1970s, a period of intense class struggle internationally, initially against anti-Vietnam War and anti-apartheid groups.

In 2011, at the instigation of eight litigants, a police investigation called Operation Herne was set up into the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which operated in London between 1968 and 2008. The outcome was an apology and compensation of £425,000 paid to one woman who had been duped into having a relationship with Special Branch detective Bob Lambert and had his child, while he was working as an undercover cop.

More women reported that partners, with whom they had long-term relationships and even children, had in fact lied about who they really were—police spies. When confronted, some of the men confessed. Environmental activist Mark Stone confessed his real identity as Police Constable Mark Kennedy. An unknown number simply disappeared, after having informed for years on those closest to them.

In the words of Carolyn, a Police Spies Out of Lives campaigner, “You don’t have to do very much to end up on a police file, and potentially be labelled a domestic extremist.”

The police spies embedded themselves into the lives of their hapless victims, working undercover for five years on average. They harvested information from grieving families campaigning for justice after the death of relatives in police custody, for example. This included the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

One of the victims, known only as Andrea, expressed the extreme hurt and trauma suffered by what was nothing less than “state sponsored abuse.” She had been deceived in a five-year relationship with police officer Mark Jenner. Not only did the officers steal and adopt the identities of dead children, but they stole the lives of their partners, who had assumed they were in a genuine relationship.

The evidence gathered from the work of the spies was used to form a blacklist to deprive socialists or militant workers of a living. The Metropolitan Police Service admitted they provided names from the blacklist to the major construction companies. In 2016, construction leader Sir Robert McAlpine paid out £75 million to 771 blacklisted building workers.

Unable to keep a lid on the scandal, in 2015 then Home Secretary Theresa May launched an inquiry into the activities of the SDS and also the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which operated between 1999 to 2010.

Last year, the inquiry revealed that 1,000 organisations had been infiltrated and spied on. Their names, however, were withheld but the Pabloite International Marxist Group was one of the few groups identified. The inquiry has since released some of the cover names of spies and the organisations they infiltrated, including the Socialist Labour League and Workers Revolutionary Party—the predecessor organisations of the Socialist Equality Party (UK).

Like so many other inquiries—including the Aberfan and Hillsborough disasters, and the ongoing inquiry into the Grenfell fire—the purpose is to conceal the truth and protect the guilty.

After three years and at a cost of £10 million to date, the inquiry is still in the evidence gathering stage and not a single piece of substantive evidence has been heard in public due to police legal applications for anonymity. Hearings to examine evidence will not begin until next year and the inquiry, due to end this year, is not expected to conclude until 2018.

While the inquiry has identified, though not named, 171 members of the SDS and 84 members of the NPOIU, it is likely that Judge Sir John Mitting, chair of the inquiry, will receive their submissions in private.

Core participants have written to both previous home secretary Amber Rudd and Savid Javid conveying their concerns about the inquiry but have received no reply. In March, 60 campaigners expressed no confidence in the inquiry by walking out. Judge Mitting conceded their demand for a panel to join him but refused their other demands. They are calling for the inquiry to investigate operations in Scotland and abroad, and full disclosure of police files on individuals and all environmental and political groups as well as the undercover names of the spies. Without the latter it is impossible for all the victims to identify themselves or give evidence, and a cover-up is inevitable.

The attempt to silence the Lush campaign is of a piece with the evisceration of democratic rights in Britain by the government, police and intelligence agencies—epitomised most cruelly in the politically motivated incarceration of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London these last six years.

The attempts to silence Lush take place as Google and other Internet conglomerates, backed by government of all political stripes, step up their censorship of anti-war, left-wing and socialist websites. Among their main targets is the World Socialist Web Site.

Noting the moves of governments to censor any dissenting voices, Lush states on its website, “Across the globe, governments are instructing Internet service providers to restrict Internet access, particularly to social media.”


Donald Trump regurgitates German nazi propaganda

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Spreading Nazi Propaganda

18 June 2018

Donald Trump has been caught lying about the crime rates of immigrants in Germany. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“In the midst of a domestic battle over his own administration’s strict immigration policy, President Trump took aim at Germany’s Angela Merkel on Monday — arguing in a tweet that the German chancellor’s more open policies toward migration and refugees had led to a crisis in her government coalition.

But in making his argument against Merkel’s “big mistake”, Trump claimed that crime in Germany was “way up.” That claim is not supported by recent statistics. Notably, Merkel’s biggest challenger on immigration policy is on record as saying just last month that crime in Germany was the lowest it had been in decades.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had released new crime figures in May that pointed to an overall decline in Germany during the past year. The figures showed that 5.76 million crimes were reported in 2017 — a drop of 5 percent from 2016 and the lowest number since 1992. Given the increases in Germany’s population, Seehofer told reporters in Berlin, this meant that Germany’s reported crime rate was at the lowest it had been for three decades.”

Read more here.

Ironically, Seehofer, while admitting that crime rates have gone down, is an anti-refugee hardliner, causing a government crisis as he says that Merkel is not anti-refugee enough.

JEFF SESSIONS: NAZIS KEPT ‘JEWS FROM LEAVING’  During an appearance on Fox News Monday, the attorney general rejected comparisons between families being separated by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and those torn apart by Nazi Germany’s “final solution”. “Well, it’s a real exaggeration, of course. In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country”, Sessions told host Laura Ingraham. [HuffPost]

THE HARD-LINERS MAKING POLICY After years in the fringes of politics, Attorney General  Sessions and White House policy adviser Stephen Miller are now among the most influential people in Washington. The two have partnered together before, when, in 2009, Miller served as Sessions‘s spokesman in the Senate. [NYT]

NIELSEN STANDS BY ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ In a contentions press conference Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has led to the forced separated thousands of children from their families. Asked if the separations were tantamount to child abuse, Nielsen tersely replied, “Be more specific, please.” Echoing President Donald Trump, Nielsen blamed congressional Democrats for refusing to close “loopholes.” [HuffPost]

THE HEARTBREAKING SOUNDS OF ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ Audio obtained by ProPublica of an immigration detention facility quickly went viral Monday, prompting widespread condemnation of the treatment of the children featured in the clip, who are heard crying and calling out for their parents. In the recording, a person who ProPublica reports is a U.S. Border Patrol agent is heard joking about the crying children. “Well, we have an orchestra here”, the agent says. “What’s missing is a conductor.” [ProPublica]

‘Investigate British government’s torture’

This 2009 video from Britain says about itself:

“Yes I am emotional about torture SIR!” Shami Chakrabarti SAVAGES UK Minister Geoff “Buff” Hoon

Shami Chakrabarti SAVAGES UK Minister Geoff “Buff” Hoon over the US attempts to BLACKMAIL Britain into silence over evidence of torture.

Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at the American base [Guantanamo], has launched a legal challenge in the High Court in London for documents detailing his treatment to be made public.

However, two judges ruling on the case said that David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, had advised that releasing the documents could lead to America withdrawing intelligence co-operation. …

The judges reveal that the secret documents at the centre of the case give rise to an arguable case of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It is also disclosed that a British intelligence official may have been present when Mr Mohamed alleges he was tortured. The judgement raises the prospect of criminal charges being brought against British officials.

By Sam Tobin in Britain:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Reprieve: torture inquiry ‘long overdue’

CALLS for a public inquiry into the British government’s use of torture are long overdue, Reprieve said yesterday.

The human rights group welcomed former justice secretary Ken Clarke’s call for Prime Minister Theresa May to set up a judge-led inquiry into Britain’s use of torture in the so-called War on Terror.

Mr Clarke, who shelved plans for an inquiry due to ongoing police investigations in 2012, admitted having been wrong to block an inquiry and joined 13 other MPs and peers in calling for a full investigation.

The move comes weeks after the unprecedented apology to tortured Libyan dissident Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “The only way for the UK to regain moral authority on this issue is to fully examine and expose past wrongs.

Pointing out that former PM “David Cameron promised to establish a judge-led inquiry once police investigations had concluded”, Ms Foa said: “That moment has now arrived and Ken Clarke and his colleagues are right to call on Theresa May to keep the government’s promise.”

‘Erdogan-ISIS mass murder collusion in Turkey’

This 24 August 2016 video by France 24 says about itself:

Turkey offensive in Syria: “Erdogan always favoured ISIS over the Kurds

By Steve Sweeney:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Erdogan‘s party accused of ordering deadly Isis suicide bombing

A Turkish news agency claims it obtained a classified EU intelligence report saying ‘there is reason to believe… forces within [Erdogan‘s party] commissioned’ the attack

TURKEY’s ruling party is alleged to have ordered Isis to carry out a deadly bomb attack that killed more than 100 people at a 2015 opposition election rally in Ankara.

The Ahval news website claimed it had been leaked a three-page European Union intelligence report that was released three days after the attack on a peace rally near Ankara train station which killed 109 people and injured at least 500 in October 2015.

The document was allegedly circulated as an urgent top classified briefing note that claimed “the modus operandi of the attack (suicide bombers) points to Da’esh.”

It concluded: “Given the circumstances (arriving buses with demonstrators not searched, police almost absent at the huge demonstration), there is reason to believe that in this case, forces within the AKP commissioned the Da’esh operatives.”

The bombing remains one of the worst attacks in Turkish history, targeting a rally of peace activists, trade unionists and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) supporters.

It occurred only months after the June 2015 elections in which the AKP lost its parliamentary majority and the pro-Kurdish HDP won its first seats in the Grand Assembly.

The report suggested that with another election looming in November 2015, “the last thing Erdogan really wants at this juncture is a Kurdish peace.”

Police were criticised for hindering emergency services in the aftermath as they blocked a road and fired tear gas at those wounded by the blast.

A trial hearing last November heard suspect Suphi Alpfida allege that police officers in Gaziantep knew about the bombings beforehand and personally knew the leaders of the Isis cell responsible.

It is alleged that police failed to act on an active arrest warrant leaving Isis mastermind Yunus Durmaz, who allegedly planned the Ankara attack and Suruc bombing, free to conduct the massacres.

Speaking at a rally today Mr Erdogan said he would approve the hanging of jailed presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas if Parliament requested it.

Mr Demirtas responded: “This is the election promise of a presidential candidate in 2018 Turkey, can you imagine? I would sacrifice my life a thousand times for the people and won’t ever take a step back.”

The European Union intelligence and situation centre had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at the time of going to print.