Henry Jackson and his Society, racism, war, corruption, torture supporters


This military video from the USA is called Japanese Americans in WWII.

From the Independent series about US American activists:

Minoru Yasui

1942

In the Second World War, a notice was suddenly posted throughout Japanese neighbourhoods: “All persons of Japanese ancestry will be evacuated from the above designated area by 12 o’clock noon”.

There was nothing in the evacuation order or in any public law that allowed the United States government to keep Americans within any restricted area. But the War Relocation Authority, by pure executive fiat, detained us under their jurisdiction and sent us to camps. The military, without imposing martial law, was ordering the civilian to do something. In my opinion, that’s the way dictatorships are formed.

And if I, as an American citizen, stood still for this, I would be derogating the rights of all citizens. I had to stand up and say, “That’s wrong”. I refused to report for evacuation. Sure enough, within the week, I got a telephone call saying, “We’re coming to get you”. I can still see them. The lieutenant was in a saloon car. A jeep followed with four military policemen. I was thrown into the North Portland Livestock Pavilion, where Japanese-Americans had been put. In stalls where horses and cows were kept, people now lived. It was sweltering, but we had no way to escape it. They wouldn’t let us outside.

In September, they started moving us into desert camps. You were surrounded with barbed-wire fences, armed guards, searchlights, and machine-gun nests. We wondered how long we were going to be interned. What was going to happen? By then, we had heard rumours of forced labour camps in Germany. Were they, as [the journalist] Westbrook Pegler and others were suggesting, going to castrate the men and ship them back to Japan? These things were in the papers constantly: make them suffer. Make them hurt. And I kept on thinking, “What did I do?”

One of the most vocal advocates of this putting into concentration camps of people just because of their ancestry, was US politician Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson.

Before we go to Britain today, first some more United States political history.

In the twentieth century, there was the late United States senator and failed presidential candidate Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson. Mr Jackson was corrupt, Jackson’s nickname was “the gentleman from Boeing“. Boeing being a military contractor getting lots of taxpayers’ money for killing and torturing people. Jackson was also a major supporter of wars, like in Vietnam.

Jackson was a strong supporter of the racist internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps because of their ethnicity during World War II.

The 21st century ‘Henry Jackson Society’ seems to have substituted Muslims for Japanese-Americans. This society includes hard-line politicians from the USA. And from Britain: right-wing Conservatives, like David Cameron’s now-sacked education secretary Michael Gove. And right-wing ‘new’ Labour Blairites. Like Denis MacShane, convicted for, and kicked out of the Labour party for, corruption. So, really similar to Henry Jackson. Also similar in being a warmonger, supporting war in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever.

Unfortunately, Denis MacShane is not unique within Labour in Britain.

The recently elected leader of the party in Scotland, Jim Murphy, is a Tony Blair loyalist, supporting war in Iraq etc. etc. And more fishy details have emerged about Mr Murphy: his links to the Henry Jackson Society.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Labour’s stand is unequivocal, but …

Friday 10th April 2015

The Henry Jackson Society is little-known outside Parliament but apparently is big in Westminster. SOLOMON HUGHES puts it under his microscope

The Labour Party responded quickly to last year’s US Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture — it rushed out a statement by shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander saying there is “no justification for the use of torture.

“It is both illegal and morally wrong,” Alexander said. “This damning Senate report confirms that the use of extreme interrogation techniques by the CIA not only failed to secure actionable intelligence, but also damaged standing and reputation of the United States of America around the world.”

But nine top Labour MPs — including their Scottish leader Jim Murphy and shadow cabinet member Chris Bryant, are supporters of an obscure but powerful neoconservative think tank which has defended the CIA against allegations of torture for years, promoting speakers making the pro-CIA case inside the Houses of Parliament.

Murphy, Bryant and co sit on the advisory board of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS).

Douglas Murray, associate director of the HJS gave a flavour of their approach on BBC’s This Week soon after the release of the Senate report.

Murray attacked the report and defended the CIA. Murray argued the idea that “torture is torture, is plain wrong” because “there are degrees” and “America didn’t do the worst things.” Murray condemned the “ceaseless attacks on our intelligence services and the efforts to stop them doing the job that they need to do to keep us safe. We should accept that aspects of that job don’t seem very nice from the comfort of our sitting rooms.”

Murray’s attitude is consistent with the HJS. In 2012 it published an article about attempts to uncover CIA “black sites” in Poland — the torture chambers referred to in the recent Senate report.

HJS researcher Robin Simcox argued: “Europeans look down on America’s interrogation techniques, comfortable in its [sic] moral superiority. How easy it is to pass judgment once America had done the dirty work that no-one else had the stomach for.”

The HJS is little-known outside Parliament, but big in Westminster. It is a £1 million-a-year operation, although the society won’t say where its money comes from. It is a neocon-ish think tank [advocating] “The pursuit of a robust foreign policy” and a “strong military.” HJS is based in London, but named after a US senator best known for supporting the Vietnam war.

Labour MPs on the HJS advisory board include Hazel Blears, Margaret Beckett, Jim Murphy, John Spellar, Gisela Stuart, Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant and Khalid Mahmood.

There are also 28 Tory MPs on the board, mostly from the right of the party, along with Ukip’s new MP Mark Reckless.

None of the Labour MPs on the board appear to have objected to the HJS’s persistent attempts to defend the CIA from accusations of torture.

In October 2013 the HJS arranged a meeting with former CIA boss General Mike Hayden in the House of Lords where he justified torture. Hayden told the meeting that “there is a very long scale with varying shades of grey, as to what constitutes torture, and what doesn’t constitute torture.”

He argued waterboarding and sleep deprivation are “not torture” and made light of the “13 techniques” of “enhanced interrogation” used by the CIA saying: “Four of which I had happened (sic) to me in Catholic grade school.”

I asked Davis Lewin, HJS deputy director, about the way they backed the CIA on torture allegations. He said: “The society’s institutional line on torture is the same as that expressed by our associate director Douglas Murray on December 14 2014,” pointing to an article where Murray wrote “Actual torture … is so wrong that it should not be done whatever the possible cost-benefits.”

In the same article Murray wrote that there are “convincing reasons to believe” that the Senate report on CIA torture “is largely or partly untrue.” He also suggested that slapping and sleep deprivation are not torture.

Lewin also said that the HJS “opposes the use of waterboarding, however note that it is a legal grey area as US government policy has differed on its use, constituting it as both permissible and non-permissible.”

I emailed all the Labour MPs on the HJS advisory board to ask why they were backing the HJS, given its long-running stand with the CIA over torture allegations. Most did not reply. Ben Bradshaw MPs spokesperson suggested I contact Chris Bryant MP, who could explain both their involvement with HJS.

I contacted Bryant, but he didn’t reply. It almost seems like these normally talkative MPs are embarrassed by their involvement with this neocon think tank.

Nine of the 11 Labour MPs on the HJS board voted to join George Bush in the war with Iraq in March 2003 (Margaret Beckett, Hazel Blears, Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant, Meg Munn, Jim Murphy, John Spellar, Gisela Stuart and Derek Twigg), while Birmingham MP and HJS board member Khalid Mahmood abstained on that Iraq war vote.

So this does look like a remnant of the times when new Labour were in bed with the US Republican hawks over Iraq — although in the absence of any statement it is hard to say where they stand at all.

Only one Labour MP on the HJS board — Bridgend’s Dai Havard — responded. He is also the only one of them who joined 139 other rebel Labour MP’s to oppose the Iraq war in March 2003. Havard distanced himself from HJS thought, saying: “The Henry Jackson Society and its operatives do not speak for me and I do not speak for them.”

He added: “I disagree, personally and politically, with many aspects of the output of the HJS and many of the arguments and opinions of the individuals it invites to speak in parliamentary events.”

Havard told me that that many US government responses to terrorism were brutal and wrong and that HJS were useful because they “represent a body of thoughts and policy influences, particularly in the US, which we all need to understand and engage with if we are to change such responses.”

Jim Murphy’s promise that a Labour government would protect Scotland from future spending cuts was contradicted by three of his senior colleagues on Monday, leading to claims that he had been “hung out to dry” by his party’s Westminster leadership: here.

British secret police spying on Parliament


This video from London, England says about itself:

Labour MP Paul Flynn asks about the criminality of GCHQ and the British government on spying on people.

Recorded from BBC Parliament, 10 June 2013.

For the CIA, United States domestic spying on anyone is illegal. Nevertheless, in practice it turns out that the CIA spies even on the United States Senate committee monitoring their torture and other activities.

Now, to Britain. By Luke James in London:

SPIED-ON MPs DEMAND TO SEE SPOOKS‘ FILES

Friday 27th March 2015

Furious Labour politicians call for the release of secret reports on their personal and political lives

LABOUR MPs targeted by police spooks demanded the release yesterday of secret files compiled on their political and personal lives over 10 years.

… Police Minister Mike Penning faced an urgent question over the covert surveillance of MPs on the final day of parliamentary debate before the election.

Only hours earlier, spook-turned-whistleblower Peter Francis had revealed that Special Branch spied on 10 Labour MPs during the 1990s.

Prominent MPs such as Dennis Skinner, Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and the late Tony Benn were all monitored by Special Branch, he told the Guardian.

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, the most senior MP targeted, demanded to see an uncensored copy of her file.

Mr Penning told MPs that their cases would be considered by the Pitchford inquiry into secret policing that was established earlier this month.

But Ms Harman argued that he was kicking the issue into the long grass, saying: “I would like you to assure me that you, the government, will let me see a full copy of my file.

“I was campaigning for the rights of women, for the rights of workers and the right to demonstrate — none of that was against the law, none of that was undermining our democracy.”

Jack Straw said that the evidence suggested he was being spied on even while he was home secretary between 1997 and 2001.

During the urgent question, Mr Skinner asked why the spooks “only seem to pursue socialists?”

Mr Corbyn also pressed Mr Penning to secure the release of the “full, unredacted version” of his file.

“If I was under surveillance, or the late Bernie Grant or any of my friends, then presumably the police were at whatever meetings we attended and recorded whatever phone calls we made,” he said.

“I think we have a right to know about that.”

The minister promised the pair that he would “make sure that as much as can be released is released” but added that there may be security reasons for material being withheld or censored.

A Home Office spokesman told the Star that the final decision on whether to redact information would be made by the Metropolitan Police, which holds the files.

The Morning Star contacted the Met to ask whether it would release the files in full.

In a statement, a Met spokeswoman said: “While talking openly about undercover policing is challenging because of its very nature, the upcoming inquiry represents a real opportunity to provide the public with as complete a picture as possible of what has taken place.”

She added that Operation Herne, the police investigation into misconduct by Met officers, was “very willing to engage” with Mr Francis about his claims. Operation Herne maintains that without speaking to Peter Francis it is simply not possible to fully investigate allegations he makes,” she said.

But Labour MP John McDonnell said that the government should first guarantee Mr Francis immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.

Mr McDonnell tabled an early day motion last week calling on the Pitchford inquiry to examine evidence given by Mr Francis that the Met also spied on trade unions, the family of murder victim Stephen Lawrence and anti-fascist groups.

This video says about itself:

Labour MP Dennis Skinner asks about the criminality of GCHQ and the British government on spying on people.

Recorded from BBC Parliament, 10 June 2013.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Unjustified Intrusion

Friday 27th March 2015

DENNIS SKINNER hit the nail on the head yesterday as Parliament discussed revelations that the Met Police had been spying on MPs – and even, it seems, at one point the Home Secretary.

“Why is it they only seem to pursue leftwingers and socialists?” the Beast of Bolsover asked Police Minister Mike Penning.

The Tory’s response – that since he had once been an FBU member who stood on picket lines he may himself have been snooped on- was hardly reassuring.

From Edward Snowden unmasking in 2013 the vast international surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency to this year’s finding by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that GCHQ’s information sharing with the agency was illegal for seven years, British citizens have got used to the idea that the state is always watching.

Few will be surprised that this surveillance extended to MPs, and years of expenses fiddling and corruption scandals have done such damage to Parliament’s reputation that many may not care.

Certainly the news that Blairite warmonger Jack Straw, who as home secretary increased police powers and tried to restrict the right to trial by jury, was being spied on himself by an organisation he was supposedly in charge of has a touch of the comic.

But as Mr Skinner points out, this is not simply a case of MPs being subject to the same unjustified intrusion to which the rest of us are subjected.

Special Branch was highly selective about who it spied on. Among the names revealed by whistleblower Peter Francis are well known socialists familiar to this paper’s readers. Mr Skinner himself of course, Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn – as well as veterans of the anti-apartheid and anti-racist movements such as Peter Hain and Diane Abbott and peace campaigner Dame Joan Ruddock.

By contrast, as the Bolsover MP eloquently puts it, “all those paedophiles managed to disappear into thin air.”

The appalling abuse of children perpetuated by MPs such as Cyril Smith and allegedly also by members of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet were evidently of less concern to the police than legitimate political campaigning.

The picture this paints of the British state is not an attractive one. But it is sadly familiar.

State power in this country is exercised by a ruling capitalist class. That doesn’t change depending on election results.

Labour has often proved a tame servant of that ruling class in office, but the party does represent the aspirations of millions of ordinary workers and its MPs include socialists who do fight for a Britain governed in their interests.

Hence the Establishment’s continued suspicion of the party, displayed in the fact that all the names released by Mr Francis were Labour MPs just as it is seen daily in hysterical attacks on Ed Miliband in the pages of newspapers owned by tax-dodging tycoons.

This alone is an indication that those on the left who see no difference between Britain’s biggest parties are missing something. If Labour were just another bunch of neoliberals, the rich wouldn’t care wheter it won May’s election or not.

So this scandal is not ultimately about the rights of MPs or the extent of parliamentary privilege.

As Mr Corbyn said yesterday, MPs can at least grill the Home Office about why they were spied on – “but many, many others unknown to us do not have that opportunity.”

Clearly the state has been treating trade unionists, socialists, peace and anti-racism campaigners as “the enemy within,” whether they’re ordinary citizens, MPs or ministers.

Lord Pitchford’s inquiry into undercover policing must expose the whole rotten business. But only revolutionary change, for a Britain run by its people and not by a shadowy elite, can hope to end it.

KEITH EWING, JOAN MAHONEY and ANDREW MORETTA probe the Special Branch files which destroyed an innocent man’s livelihood — and ask whether anyone on the left is safe from secretive state-sponsored sabotage. ON MARCH 12, Theresa May announced a judge-led inquiry into undercover policing. Not a moment too soon it might be thought, as evidence mounts of Special Branch infiltrating various campaign groups and trade unions: here.