British Blairites attack left Labourite voting rights

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn: The Labour Party should apologise for the Iraq war

21 August 2015

Lindsey German is national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition. She was interviewed on Channel 4 News about the proposal by Jeremy Corbyn that the Labour party apologise for the Iraq war. Jeremy Corbyn is a candidate for the Labour leadership.

Tony Blair took the UK into the illegal Iraq war in 2003 by lying to parliament and the British public. Jeremy Corbyn voted against the war that killed up to a million Iraqis and devastated the country, creating the conditions under which the brutal ISIS extremists have grown into a force controlling much of Iraq today.

In the United States of America, voting rights of African Americans and others are under attack by Republican politicians, subverting democratic elections.

In Britain, the Tony Blair-ite establishment is attacking the voting rights of Labour party members and paid up supporters, in order to subvert the democratic process of electing a party leader, as they fear left winger Jeremy Corbyn might win a fair election.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Labour voters culled

Friday 21st August 2015

Party members furious as they get caught up in witch hunt for ‘entryists

ANGRY Labour backers accused the party of instigating a “purge” yesterday after hundreds of members received emails barring them from voting in the leadership election — including one of the party’s own council candidates.

Robert Sharpe, a two-time Labour candidate for Salford Council’s Walkden South seat, was caught up in yesterday’s mass expulsions and slammed the party’s “shambolic” response to entryism scare stories.

He said: “It’s been a bit of a shambles. I voted last night and this morning I had an email saying: ‘We cancelled your membership, we rejected your application to be a member.’

“My membership got renewed about a month ago. It’s renewed every year. So I called the party and they said ‘We cancelled your membership and you’re not eligible to be a supporter.’ I said I’ve been a council candidate for the last few years, I’ve been a member for five years.’

“My MP has called to say the party has realised their mistake. They confused me with another Robert Sharpe, and they will ring me to apologise.”

Many took to social media to express their anger and disappointment at being barred from the election process.

Young member Jack Chadwick told the Star how less than 24 hours after voting for Jeremy Corbyn he was amazed to receive an email rejecting his “membership application.”

Mr Chadwick, who joined the party in 2011, said he rang the membership office requesting information on his exclusion but no-one was able to help.

He added: “I’m a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and I’ve made my support for him known on social media.

“I’ve also, in the past, criticised the direction of the Labour Party under its recent leadership.

“I’m getting the impression that they’re not being at all thorough with their checks. At this point it almost sounds like they’re just throwing out whoever’s flagged as supporting Corbyn, even if they have no legitimate reason to.”

The Labour Party has repeatedly argued that it wants “the widest number of supporters to have their say in Labour’s leadership contest,” but that it is scrupulously sifting through new applicants.

Those receiving rejection emails have been told that the party had reason to believe they did not support Labour’s “aims and values.”

Many were vetoed retroactively after they had cast their vote, raising concerns of “McCarthyite” style purges of the party’s left wing — in particular Corbyn voters.

Claims of far-left “entryism” have been instigated by the right-wing media since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid took up.

Comedian and writer Pete Sinclair, who was banned after receiving his ballot papers, said he had first backed Labour in 1979 and continued to “vote Labour solidly until Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq, which I couldn’t possibly support.”

But at the last elections he made it public knowledge he would be voting for the Green Party in the safe Labour seat of Greenwich, London.

“I passionately wanted Labour to beat the Tories” he argued, adding that his vote was cast “in order to show Labour that there were supporters to the left that needed to be won back to the party.

“The clincher is that I actually donated to the election campaign — £20.

“The same guy, Iain McNicol, whose name was on the email thanking me for my donation, telling me that I was a valued party supporter, is also on the email saying I am not allowed to vote.

“I would like to ask them if Tony Blair is getting a vote?

“Is being paid to advise the dictator of Kazakhstan consistent with the aims and values of the Labour Party?”

Jack Chadwick
Member since 2011
I’m getting the impression that they’re not being at all thorough with their checks. At this point it almost sounds like they’re just throwing out whoever’s flagged as supporting Corbyn.

Robert Sharpe
Member since 2010
I called the party and they said: ‘We cancelled your membership and you’re not eligible to be a supporter.’ I said I’ve been a council candidate for the last few years, I’ve been a member for five.

Stop the Labour Purge: here.

This video from England says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at biggest protest in UK history against Iraq war

On 15 February 2003, two million people on the streets of London, in the biggest protest ever in UK history, said not in our name to the Iraq war. Jeremy Corbyn gave this speech to the huge rally in Hyde Park.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Gavel coup

Saturday 22nd August 2015

Is Labour right using member row to clear way for legal attack?

LABOUR rightwingers warning of a possible court challenge to the leadership vote are fuelling the row over party membership because Jeremy Corbyn “is setting the political agenda,” his campaign team said last night.

Andy Burnham’s campaign manager Michael Dugher suggested yesterday that the outcome of Labour’s leadership election could be subject to “legal challenge” due to the party’s inability to properly investigate newly registered voters.

His intervention came as Blairite candidate Liz Kendall denied an allegation that her campaign had gathered information to assist the “purge” of party members.

Hundreds of new members and supporters of the party have been excluded from the leadership vote on the basis that their values are “not consistent with the aims and values of the Labour party.”

Some have accused Labour of a “purge” of leftwingers in order to prevent frontrunner Mr Corbyn from winning the election.

In a letter to Labour general secretary Iain McNicol, Mr Dugher said the party was “allowing the issue to drift, and potentially leaving insufficient time to act.”

He called for an urgent meeting to discuss the potential for “several thousand” Conservative supporters to be lurking in Labour’s ranks.

“We are also concerned that given the party’s limited resources and the effort required to investigate applicants, this could result in the integrity of the contest being called into question, and the outcome subject to legal challenge,” he said.

Yesterday the Morning Star revealed that members of many years standing as well as new supporters had been excluded.

Mr Corbyn’s camp said Mr Dugher’s “internally-faced intervention” was “an attempt to distract the leadership election onto ‘process’ rather than real political issues, such as Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to apologise for Labour’s role in the Iraq war.

“The purely internal procedural obsession falls short of the outward debate the party needs,” a spokesman said.

“Whilst some issues have been raised, we do have confidence in management of the process by elected members of Labour’s NEC and the general secretary.”

An official for Ms Kendall’s campaign told the Star: “We’ve not called for there to be any halt or delay to the process and Liz continues to believe that expanding the party’s membership is a good thing.”

The representative denied allegations that campaigners working on Ms Kendall’s leadership bid had been investigating the credentials of new supporters.

He said the campaign would not have the means to access new membership data “even if this was something we wanted to do, which we don’t.”

A source has alleged to the Star however that an assistant to Kendall-supporting MP Barry Sheerman carried out research into new members. They were said to have done so on behalf of Ms Kendall’s team, but during office hours.

Reports have revealed the extraordinary efforts by sections of the Labour Party to stop veteran “left” MP Jeremy Corbyn from winning the contest for party leader. … This has been sickeningly designated as “Operation: Icepick,” in reference to the assassination of Leon Trotsky: here.

Iraq war opponent Corbyn, new British Labour leader?

Iraq triptych, by Michael Sandle

In this painting entitled “Iraq Triptych,” Tony Blair was depicted by Michael Sandle as a naked, stony-faced person and surrounded by haunting images of the war in Iraq.

By Lindsey German in Britain:

Longtime Iraq war opponent Jeremy Corbyn has Blair running scared

Friday 14 August 2015 16:13 UTC

Running scared. That is the only explanation for the increasingly desperate and angry denunciations from the right wing of the UK’s Labour Party, as Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn‘s campaign looks more and more likely to win him the party’s leadership on 12 September. The mass grassroots support for the anti-war and anti-austerity candidate has taken most Labour politicians by surprise. Their horror at this development only indicates their sense of entitlement to their own positions, their undimmed arrogance in the face of political failure, and their paper-thin commitment to any form of real democracy.

This week war mongering multi-millionaire Tony Blair published a second article attacking Corbyn. Blair warns of “annihilation” for Labour if Corbyn becomes leader. In the Guardian he wrote: “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.”

His fellow warmonger, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, told Channel 4 News on 13 August that elections cannot be judged on the basis of the Iraq war. Alastair Campbell, the spin-doctor who spun the 45 minutes WMD claim, has argued that a Corbyn victory would be a “car crash” for Labour.

It takes a supreme level of arrogance and insensitivity for those who were the architects of one of the most disastrous modern wars, whose consequences are still being played out across the Middle East with devastating outcomes for the people there, to feel that their pronouncements should be listened to. Jeremy Corbyn has the advantage over them in that he always opposed this war, and indeed the whole War on Terror since 2001, and he has been proved right.

His view is much more in tune with public opinion, on this and many other issues. How many people supporting Jeremy in this election are doing so because of his position on the Iraq war? Blair, on the other hand, lost the party a million votes in the election of 2005 (generally accepted to be largely as a result of the war), saw membership shrinking, again often for the same reason, and was forced out of office in 2007 again partly because of his enthusiastic backing of Israel in the Lebanon war of 2006.

Families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq this week launched the threat of legal action against Sir John Chilcot, demanding he set a date for publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, an inquiry which took its final evidence four years ago but still has been not been released to the public. Blair, Straw and Campbell are all likely to be at the least highly criticised.

Much of the decline in support for Labour can be dated to the war and its aftermath. Of course there are many other issues that are now persuading many Labour members and supporters to back Jeremy Corbyn: opposition to government austerity, a sense that levels of widening inequality need to be halted and reversed, opposition to the scapegoating of migrants and Muslims. The anti-Corbyn candidacy hysteria stems from support for a neoliberal consensus that has led to this inequality.

The potency of Jeremy’s campaign is precisely that it breaks the dominant political consensus in the UK and elsewhere, and puts forward a real alternative. While the right of Labour claim that the Conservatives will welcome a Corbyn victory, this is by no means the case among the more intelligent of them. The neoliberal pro-war consensus needs a supine and weakened Labour leadership, dragged increasingly onto the centre ground in the vain hope that it can implement a slightly more humane set of what are in essence barbaric policies. A Corbyn-led party will put on the agenda a range of policies that the Conservatives would rather were not given much airing.

There is also the small issue of democracy here. Labour’s electoral system was changed expressly to weaken trade union influence, and was accepted at a party conference by all sides. It ended the electoral college system where MPs got one third of the vote, trade unions another third, and individual members the final third. Perhaps least remarked on but most galling to Blair et al is that the MPs have no more say in the election than anyone else (although they do have the power to prevent candidates getting on the ballot paper).

The new system has worked to benefit the left, which certainly was not the intention. That the individual members and supporters, and union affiliates, have the temerity to vote for a left candidate is something that the Blairites thought they had put a stop to. They cannot believe how wrong they were.

Now they are desperately claiming that there are thousands of “entrists” with their own agenda, and combing through lists to disqualify anyone they can. This is a negation of democracy.  It is the same negation of democracy that we saw over Iraq. Then millions marched but were ignored, treated with contempt by a leadership that relied on the passive support of millions but did not see it as important to listen to their views.

What is happening with Corbyn’s campaign is that many people are waking up to the fact that there can be an alternative political manifesto and that the dominant neoliberal agenda can be fought. Perhaps what frightens the Blairites most is that, far from the myth that this will lead to annihilation, such policies can win elections. The onslaught the Conservatives are planning in this government will meet widespread opposition: there has already been one mass anti-austerity demo since the election, called by the People’s Assembly, and in October there will be mass protests at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

The Corbyn campaign is one expression of that movement: the fear of mainstream politicians is that it lights a fire of opposition to their policies.

Lindsey German is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and co-author of A People’s History of London.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn: what has the anti-war movement achieved?

12 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn, frontrunner in the race for the Labour Party leadership, and national chair of Stop the War Coalition, tells Lindsey German what he thinks has been the impact of the anti-war movement in the years of the ‘war on terror’.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Ex-PM Brown wheeled out to wade into leadership row as attempts to demolish Corbyn support fail

GORDON BROWN proved himself a walking contradiction yesterday after he claimed that Labour needed to learn from its past in choosing a leader that “inspires hope.”

The former prime minister was constantly pacing up and down during his speech as he swung from asserting that the party needed fresh change to making thinly veiled attacks on leadership favourite Jeremy Corbyn, despite having promised not to attack any particular candidate.

In what looked like yet another “intervention” by a senior politician, after Tony Blair and his ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell both had a pop, Mr Brown warned that Labour would be “powerless” as a “party of protest” and urged voters to consider its chequered history.

See also here.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning getting solitary confinement for toothpaste?

This video is about the United States military killing Iraqi civilians, exposed by Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Toothpaste puts Manning at risk of solitary confinement

Saturday 15th August 2015

US MILITARY whistleblower Chelsea Manning could be placed in solitary confinement for having a magazine and toothpaste in her cell.

Lawyer Nancy Hollander says her client faces a hearing on Tuesday for allegedly having the edition of Vanity Fair featuring transgender sports star Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and a date-expired tube of toothpaste.

Charges include possession of prohibited property in the form of books and magazines while under administrative segregation, medicine misuse over the toothpaste, disorderly conduct for sweeping food onto the floor and disrespect.

The maximum penalty is indefinite solitary confinement.

Ms Manning, a trans woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, is serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of espionage for passing classified documents on US war crimes in Iraq to WikiLeaks.

See also here.

Update: here.

Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq demand end of covering up Blair’s guilt

This video from the USA says about itself:

SPRING RISING DC/ END ENDLESS WARS/ Military Families & Iraq Vets Against the War

Friday March 20 2015

Organized by World Can’t Wait

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Ave., NW # 454
Washington, DC 20008

“What are the connections and challenges for those working to stop targeted killing by the U.S. and those working to stop killing with impunity by U.S. police?”

A discussion by Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

Jeff Merrick, Military Families for Peace

Kevin Lucey, Son Jeffrey committed suicide after returning from Iraq in 2004.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Iraq inquiry faces court for delay

Friday 14th August 2015

Families of dead soldiers threaten legal action against Chilcot probe

FAMILIES of soldiers killed in the Iraq war said yesterday they will take legal action against the Chilcot inquiry if it doesn’t publish its report by the end of the year.

Reg Keys, whose 20-year-old son Tom was killed in Iraq in 2003, said Sir John Chilcot did not grasp the families’ feelings.

Twenty-nine families have threatened Mr Chilcot with legal action, believing that the inquiry may have broken a law requiring it to wrap up in good time.

Giving people criticised in the report time to reply — known as “Maxwellisation,” after pensions thief Robert Maxwell — has fuelled serious anger.

Mr Chilcot claimed last month that the inquiry was making “significant progress” but couldn’t say when it would be finished.

Set up in 2009, it has now dragged on for six years.

Mr Keys said that bereaved families need closure and demanded Mr Chilcot publish the report by the end of the year or face court.

He also argued that there is no legal requirement to give those criticised a chance to respond.

“I think what Sir John doesn’t understand is the strength of feeling amongst the bereaved,” Mr Keys said.

“I think what Sir John has to bear in mind now is that we want closure on this, it has to be done fair, it has to be done right.

“But he’s had time enough now and he’s not imposing deadlines on this and that’s where our argument is, we want to give a deadline now, by the end of the year or legal action will be following.”

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw — who alongside Tony Blair is expected to be criticised — claimed that it wasn’t letting witnesses respond that had caused delays.

But Stop the War Coalition spokesman Chris Nineham condemned the “special privileges and in effect protection” Mr Blair and others had received.

“It is an outrage that the report has been so many years in the making and particularly despicable because the delays are clearly due to pressure from those who stand accused of crimes against humanity.

“It is disgraceful that those who face potential criticism are given special dispensation almost to appeal the verdict before it is even published.”

He said the peace group “obviously understands and totally supports” the families’ legal strategy.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson also backed the families’ bid, saying: “Most people want this inquiry to identify culpability for war crimes and to lay bare the process by which the UK ended up in a catastrophic and bloody war of aggression.

CND still believes that Tony Blair should stand trial for his actions. The hundreds of thousands killed in an illegal invasion, and the continuing bloodshed, is what Blair will be remembered for. He must not be allowed to avoid responsibility.”

Speaking recently, Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn said that if Mr Blair is judged to have committed a war crime by carrying out the illegal war he should be tried for it — as with anyone else.

“I want to see all those who committed war crimes tried for it, and those who made the decisions that went with it,” the leftwinger told BBC Newsnight.

Turkish air force kills Iraqi civilians, update

Iraqi village destroyed by Turkish bombs, photo by Chloe Cornish

From IRIN News:

By Chloe Cornish

The village of Zargali nestles in northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains, close to the Iranian border. More than an hour’s drive from the nearest town, the road hairpins beneath stark cliff faces and through orchards.

Despite harsh summer temperatures, it is green and pleasant, split by a river edged with walnut trees.

But on 1 August, the peace was shattered as Turkish warplanes bombed the area as part of their assault on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) …

In a visit undertaken by few foreign journalists, IRIN travelled to the village to see the damage caused. While Turkey says the strikes are focused purely on hitting the militants, the PKK say they had no fighters in the area.

Whatever the truth of these claims and counter-claims, ordinary people appear to have borne the brunt of this particular air assault. Mohammad Hassan, co-president of the local municipality, said eight civilians died and 16 more were wounded. No fighters were killed, he said.

“I told him not to go to the village,” 26-year-old Rebwar said, describing the last time he saw his friend Karokh. “But he said, no, I have to.” Karokh was visiting a neighbouring village when the first airstrike hit his family home in Zargali, killing his mother. He rushed back to the house to try to help his father.

“Actually I wanted to go with him,” admitted Rebwar. “But my family said no.”

Twenty minutes later, as the rescuers rushed to free the wounded from under the debris, a second airstrike hit the same spot.

“It was a catastrophe. There were lots of dead bodies. The human flesh was burning and smelled horrible. I saw Karokh’s leg sticking out from under the rubble,” said Rebwar. “He was a very good man.”

Two fronts or one?

Karokh’s death highlights the stark differences between the US-led coalition and Turkish policies in the region – he was a member of the Peshmerga, the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region’s fighting force, often singled out as a key Western ally in fighting ISIS.

Late last month, Turkey announced it would begin bombing the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria after agreeing a deal with the American government. …

Since the campaign began, however, there have been dozens of attacks on PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan’s northern region, but just a handful on Islamic State in Syria … raising concerns that Ankara has used the threat of the Islamists as an excuse to target old foes.

For the rural community of Zargali, the impact of this campaign has been dire. Ava Shin, a doctor at the village’s small medical clinic, was attending to the victims of a bomb attack on a different village when Zargali was hit. She confirmed the double-strike.

“I saw one of [the dead]. His intestines were spilling out,” Shin said, miming the injury. “He was still alive but in shock and losing lots of blood. He died in front of my eyes.”

“[Another] is in a coma now. I saw someone with a head injury, one person who lost an ear. Another lady lost four family members.”

A PKK spokesperson, who calls himself Zagros, gave IRIN access to the bomb site. The PKK mans checkpoints along the valley and journalists cannot gain access without their consent. He said there were five houses there that had been flattened.

There was no trace of the structures except smashed concrete. Heavy pieces of shrapnel from the bombs were visible amongst the rubble. Zagros pointed to the spot where the victim of the initial strike had been found. He said she was an elderly lady, consistent with Rebwar’s account that this was Karokh’s mother.

“No. Not at all. Of course PKK fighters came to help the injured at that time. I myself came and helped,” insisted Zagros. “But I don’t live in this village.”

“We don’t have bases nearby. Our bases are in the mountains. We don’t use villages as bases. Where is the nearest one? I cannot tell you!” he laughed.

Zagros said that the PKK did not expect the airstrike in Zargali. “Everybody knows this is a village. We are not fighting Turkey here. People here are living their lives. They are not the ones to pay for the fighting.” …

For many of the residents, this attack was the last straw. This is the second time in two years that these villages have suffered a Turkish air offensive. …

Since the attack, approximately 900 people have fled Zargali to Warta, a sub-district further west, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Um Bahram is among those planning to quit her village next to Zargali, saying she lives in constant fear. “We are really scared even being here now, just waiting for the drone sound,” she said, pointing out the cracks in their house that she says were caused by the blast from the airstrike. “But we came today because we have work to do on our farmland.”

“We will have dinner and leave before sunset.”

“My nephew was killed,” she said. “They are all our people, our tribe.”

Ten-year old Zahra stood close to her mother. “For several days my daughter couldn’t eat anything, she was so scared and shocked,” said Um Bahram. “My husband went to Diana (a town nearby) to find us some place to live in… It will be very difficult. But what can you do? It is to save our lives.”

Sabah Ibrahim is a teacher at Zargali’s primary school. “We evacuated the first night of Turkish airstrikes, around 4am. They came twice after that. We saw lots of airstrikes before, but it was never like this.”

After windows smashed over his sleeping family, Sabah rushed outside to see if his car was on fire. It wasn’t his car. The entire hillside was burning, and the trees around his car were alight. Racing to recover the vehicle, he found a girl lying unconscious in the road, thrown by the force of the blast. The bomb had landed some 250 metres from Sabah’s house. Among his walnut trees, a charred trunk remains.

“They even bombed the river channel,” he said, disbelievingly.

“I have a seven-year-old daughter; her mentality, her psychological health has been distorted by this fighting,” said Sabah, rattling his prayer beads. “During the night she wakes up and starts to cry. We do our best to calm her by saying that nothing’s happened and it will never be repeated. But we can’t be sure – we just want to help her.”

Fifty local children attend his school, but “if the war continues, it’s impossible to have a school.”

Sabah’s family has moved further up the valley, living in a house with three other displaced families. An NGO came to deliver blankets and mattresses to them. “We need a shelter to live in. We don’t need mattresses and blankets”. Sabah refused to take the aid he didn’t need.

Although they won’t stay long in case the drones and planes return, Sabah showed IRIN his damaged property in Zargali. The ground is littered with shards of glass where the bomb blast shattered the windows. Two of Sabah’s female cousins were seriously injured by shrapnel and are being treated in Erbil. One is now blind.

“I just started to create my nice garden and clean the environment. Look how beautiful it is here. I would cry for myself.” There are small rose plants and rows of tender purple basil. …

IRIN left the village amidst the crackle of walkie-talkies reporting that a helicopter was in the air nearby.