Saturday, 28 April 2018

A Great Dictator

Talk-show comedians and the tabloid press may delight in mocking Kim, but many of those who watch him closely are actually impressed. What are the things a dictator needs to be good at? You need to manage the system—the party structure, the military, the economy, and the security forces—in such a way that your people remain loyal. This is done by adopting policies that bring prosperity, if not to everyone, then to at least enough people; by artfully elevating those most loyal and able; and by demoting the able but disloyal. Threats to your power must be eliminated ruthlessly.
A dictator needs to know how to present himself in public, and at this, Kim III already excels. He has a deep voice and is a capable public speaker. “I have noticed in my viewing of him that he moves well as a politician,” says Bill Richardson. “He is a lot better than his father. He smiles. Goes and shakes people’s hands.” Daniel Pinkston, a deputy project director for the International Crisis Group, who studies North Korea closely, says, “I do not like dictatorships, but as far as being a dictator—given that system, and what type of person is needed to manage it, maintain it, and sustain it—he is a great dictator.”
A great dictator must offer more than an impressive voice and posture. He must be decisive and instill fear. In his first three years, Kim has removed the two men who posed the most serious risk to his rule. The first to go was Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, chief of the general staff of the Korean People’s Army and a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party. Ri had been close to Kim II and had direct responsibility for protecting Pyongyang and, perhaps more important, the Kim family. He had been one of the stars of his generation. In July 2012, Kim III called a rare Sunday meeting of the Workers’ Party Central Committee politburo and abruptly stripped Ri of his duties. It was the first sure sign that Kim planned to run the show himself. After Kim’s purging, Ri vanished. His ultimate fate is unknown, but no one is expecting him back.
The second threat was Uncle Jang, who, being a family member and a far more powerful figure than even Ri, was far more emphatically dumped. Kim made a public show this time, demonstrating a more impulsive flair in such matters than his father, who was content to shoot errant generals quietly, to imprison them, or retire them to rural estates. The fall of Jang harked back to the old Soviet show trials and the flamboyant excesses of Saddam Hussein, who liked to get up onstage with a fat cigar before his assembled leadership and personally point out those who were to be taken from the hall and shot.
What exactly was Kim up to? It was crucial to clean house in the military, replacing older leaders loyal to his father with those primarily loyal to him, many of them younger men. This not only ensured that the military’s commanders were beholden to him but also infused the old Cold War-era ranks with more modern thinking and less resistance to change.
He has also initiated sweeping economic reforms. His father was leaning toward some of these in his later years, but the changes have been so aggressive that the prime mover behind them must be Kim himself. Most are designed to build North Korea’s economy on money, which seems an almost silly thing to say, since economies are by definition about money. Not in North Korea. In the nation’s past, the only path to prosperity was ideological purity. If you lived in a better apartment, drove a nicer car, and were permitted to live in the relatively affluent districts of Pyongyang, it meant you had the approval of the regime. Increasingly, North Koreans can better their lot by earning more money, as is the case throughout the world. Managers of factories and shops have been given financial incentives to do better. Success means they can pay their workers and themselves more. Kim has pushed for the development of special economic zones in every province of the country, with the aim of setting up internal competition and rewards, so that the fruits of success in one area no longer must be fully returned to the state. It is part of a general effort to kick-start productivity.
In the agricultural sector, Kim has also implemented reforms that have proved surprisingly effective. “He decided to do what his father was deadly afraid of doing,” says Andrei Lankov, the Russian Korea expert. “He allowed farmers to keep part of the harvest. Farmers are not working now as, essentially, slaves on a plantation. Technically, the field is still state property, but as a farming family you can register yourself as a ‘production team.’ And you will be working on the same field for a few years in a row. You keep 30 percent of the harvest for yourself. And this year, according to the first unconfirmed reports, it will be between 40 and 60 percent that will go to the farmers. So they are not slaves anymore, they are sharecroppers.”
There was no dramatic announcement of the change in policy, and few have noticed the turnaround. Chronic malnutrition remains a problem. But in 2013, according to Lankov, for the first time in about 25 years North Korea harvested almost enough food to feed its population.

The whole thing is well worth a gander (source)

Thursday, 26 April 2018

SECRETLY TAPED AUDIO REVEALS DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP PRESSURING PROGRESSIVE TO LEAVE RACE

The secretly taped audio recording, released here for the first time, reveals how senior Democratic officials have worked to crush competitive primaries and steer political resources, money, and other support to hand-picked candidates in key races across the country, long before the party publicly announces a preference. The invisible assistance boosts the preferred candidate in fundraising and endorsements, and then that fundraising success and those endorsements are used to justify national party support. Meanwhile, opponents of the party’s unspoken pick are driven into paranoia, wondering if they are merely imagining that unseen hands are working against them.
Hoyer bluntly told Tillemann that it wasn’t his imagination, and that mobilizing support for one Democratic candidate over another in a primary isn’t unusual. Rep. Ben Ray Luj├ín, D-N.M., chair of the DCCC, has a “policy that early on, we’d try to agree on a candidate who we thought could win the general and give the candidate all the help we could give them,” Hoyer told Tillemann matter-of-factly.
“Yeah, I’m for Crow,” Hoyer explained. “I am for Crow because a judgment was made very early on. I didn’t know Crow. I didn’t participate in the decision. But a decision was made early on by the Colorado delegation,” he said, referencing the three House Democrats elected from Colorado.

@TI

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

J'accuse!

Israeli Professor and Holocaust Researcher Daniel Blatman compares Israel's Political and Military elite to their Nazi equivalents

The headline of this piece is taken from the open letter “J’accuse” by the novelist Emile Zola to France’s president on January 13, 1898. It’s about the injustice caused to Alfred Dreyfus, and about shattering France’s legacy of liberty, turning anti-Semitism into a force unifying the haters of equality. It’s about the lies and malice in the army and the corruption, distortion of truth, ignorance, violence and deceit. Zola protested all these things and accused those responsible. In Israel on the eve of our 70th Independence Day, we are also accusing.

We are accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of selling his soul to the devil of incitement, fearmongering and racism. Circumstances gave him a chance to appear before the world as a leader who courageously says the right things: We will deal with the distress of tens of thousands of unfortunate human beings based on the values of justice and humanism.
Now, a few days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we remember the Jewish refugees who could find no safe haven to which to flee, we will put an end to this difficult humanitarian problem. My fellow citizens, a worthy leader would say, this is the way, it’s the right and proper way and there is no other. But Netanyahu, who is chiefly to blame for Israel’s current situation, chose to remain a pathetic and scared leader without moral backbone.
We also accuse Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who defends an army that commits war crimes against civilians demonstrating against their poverty and distress while they are imprisoned between the sea to the west and fences, snipers’ rifles and tanks to the east. We accuse him of incitement against the country’s Arab citizens, corrupt politics and hooliganism, and of using the norms of a regime that no longer exists, which are poisoning the shaky Israeli democracy. We accuse him of encouraging incitement against elected officials – Jews and Arabs – who were legally elected to the Knesset and faithfully represent their constituencies.
We accuse the heads of the army and the security agencies of failing to protest against the political leadership and warn that after 50 years of occupation and oppression the Israel Defense Forces is losing the ability to distinguish between what is permissible and what is forbidden. The army’s spokespeople sometimes sound like the officers of armies whose leaders were accused of collaborating with the worst crimes of the 20th century. Senior German and Japanese officers and commanders gave exactly the same reasons when they tried to explain the injustices in occupied Russia and the Philippines.

Moar accusations!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Not his finest hour: The dark side of Winston Churchill

by Johann Hari

Winston Churchill is rightly remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour – but what if he also led the country through her most shameful hour? What if, in addition to rousing a nation to save the world from the Nazis, he fought for a raw white supremacism and a concentration camp network of his own? This question burns through Richard Toye's new history, Churchill's Empire, and is even seeping into the Oval Office.

George W Bush left a bust of Churchill near his desk in the White House, in an attempt to associate himself with the war leader's heroic stand against fascism. Barack Obama had it returned to Britain. It's not hard to guess why: his Kenyan grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was imprisoned without trial for two years and was tortured on Churchill's watch, for resisting Churchill's empire.

Can these clashing Churchills be reconciled? Do we live, at the same time, in the world he helped to save, and the world he helped to trash? Toye, one of Britain's smartest young historians, has tried to pick through these questions dispassionately – and he should lead us, at last and at least, to a more mature conversation about our greatest national icon.

Churchill was born in 1874 into a Britain that was washing the map pink, at the cost of washing distant nations blood red. Victoria had just been crowned Empress of India, and the scramble for Africa was only a few years away. At Harrow School and then Sandhurst, he was told a simple story: the superior white man was conquering the primitive, dark-skinned natives, and bringing them the benefits of civilisation. As soon as he could, Churchill charged off to take his part in "a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples". In the Swat valley, now part of Pakistan, he experienced, fleetingly, a crack of doubt. He realised that the local population was fighting back because of "the presence of British troops in lands the local people considered their own," just as Britain would if she were invaded. But Churchill soon suppressed this thought, deciding instead they were merely deranged jihadists whose violence was explained by a "strong aboriginal propensity to kill".

He gladly took part in raids that laid waste to whole valleys, destroying houses and burning crops. He then sped off to help reconquer the Sudan, where he bragged that he personally shot at least three "savages".

The young Churchill charged through imperial atrocities, defending each in turn. When concentration camps were built in South Africa, for white Boers, he said they produced "the minimum of suffering". The death toll was almost 28,000, and when at least 115,000 black Africans were likewise swept into British camps, where 14,000 died, he wrote only of his "irritation that Kaffirs should be allowed to fire on white men". Later, he boasted of his experiences there: "That was before war degenerated. It was great fun galloping about."

Then as an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests, based on his belief that "the Aryan stock is bound to triumph". There seems to have been an odd cognitive dissonance in his view of the "natives". In some of his private correspondence, he appears to really believe they are helpless children who will "willingly, naturally, gratefully include themselves within the golden circle of an ancient crown".

But when they defied this script, Churchill demanded they be crushed with extreme force. As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland's Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes...[It] would spread a lively terror."

Of course, it's easy to dismiss any criticism of these actions as anachronistic. Didn't everybody think that way then? One of the most striking findings of Toye's research is that they really didn't: even at the time, Churchill was seen as at the most brutal and brutish end of the British imperialist spectrum. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by Cabinet colleagues not to appoint him because his views were so antedeluvian. Even his startled doctor, Lord Moran, said of other races: "Winston thinks only of the colour of their skin."

Many of his colleagues thought Churchill was driven by a deep loathing of democracy for anyone other than the British and a tiny clique of supposedly superior races. This was clearest in his attitude to India. When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." As the resistance swelled, he announced: "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." This hatred killed. To give just one, major, example, in 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal, caused – as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has proved – by the imperial policies of the British. Up to 3 million people starved to death while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region. He bluntly refused. He raged that it was their own fault for "breeding like rabbits". At other times, he said the plague was "merrily" culling the population. Skeletal, half-dead people were streaming into the cities and dying on the streets, but Churchill – to the astonishment of his staff – had only jeers for them. This rather undermines the claims that Churchill's imperialism was motivated only by an altruistic desire to elevate the putatively lower races.

Hussein Onyango Obama is unusual among Churchill's victims only in one respect: his story has been rescued from the slipstream of history, because his grandson ended up as President of the US. Churchill believed that Kenya's fertile highlands should be the preserve of the white settlers, and approved the clearing out of the local "blackamoors". He saw the local Kikuyu as "brutish children". When they rebelled under Churchill's post-war premiership, some 150,000 of them were forced at gunpoint into detention camps – later dubbed "Britain's gulag" by Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Professor Caroline Elkins. She studied the detention camps for five years for her remarkable book Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya, explains the tactics adopted under Churchill to crush the local drive for independence. "Electric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire," she writes. "The screening teams whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated Mau Mau suspects." Hussein Onyango Obama never truly recovered from the torture he endured.

Many of the wounds Churchill inflicted have still not healed: you can find them on the front pages any day of the week. He is the man who invented Iraq, locking together three conflicting peoples behind arbitrary borders that have been bleeding ever since. He is the Colonial Secretary who offered the Over-Promised Land to both the Jews and the Arabs – although he seems to have privately felt racist contempt for both. He jeered at the Palestinians as "barbaric hoards who ate little but camel dung," while he was appalled that the Israelis "take it for granted that the local population will be cleared out to suit their convenience".

True, occasionally Churchill did become queasy about some of the most extreme acts of the Empire. He fretted at the slaughter of women and children, and cavilled at the Amritsar massacre of 1919. Toye tries to present these doubts as evidence of moderation – yet they almost never seem to have led Churchill to change his actions. If you are determined to rule people by force against their will, you can hardly be surprised when atrocities occur. Rule Britannia would inexorably produce a Cruel Britannia. So how can the two be reconciled? Was Churchill's moral opposition to Nazism a charade, masking the fact he was merely trying to defend the British Empire from a rival?

The US civil rights leader Richard B. Moore, quoted by Toye, said it was "a rare and fortunate coincidence" that at that moment "the vital interests of the British Empire [coincided] with those of the great overwhelming majority of mankind". But this might be too soft in its praise. If Churchill had only been interested in saving the Empire, he could probably have cut a deal with Hitler. No: he had a deeper repugnance for Nazism than that. He may have been a thug, but he knew a greater thug when he saw one – and we may owe our freedom today to this wrinkle in history.

This, in turn, led to the great irony of Churchill's life. In resisting the Nazis, he produced some of the richest prose-poetry in defence of freedom and democracy ever written. It was a cheque he didn't want black or Asian people to cash – but they refused to accept that the Bank of Justice was empty. As the Ghanaian nationalist Kwame Nkrumah wrote: "All the fair, brave words spoken about freedom that had been broadcast to the four corners of the earth took seed and grew where they had not been intended." Churchill lived to see democrats across Britain's dominions and colonies – from nationalist leader Aung San in Burma to Jawarlal Nehru in India – use his own intoxicating words against him.

Ultimately, the words of the great and glorious Churchill who resisted dictatorship overwhelmed the works of the cruel and cramped Churchill who tried to impose it on the darker-skinned peoples of the world. The fact that we now live in a world where a free and independent India is a superpower eclipsing Britain, and a grandson of the "savages" is the most powerful man in the world, is a repudiation of Churchill at his ugliest – and a sweet, ironic victory for Churchill at his best.

HT TG

Monday, 23 April 2018

Labour’s Expulsion of Cyril Chilson, a Child of Holocaust Survivors, Says Everything You Need to Know About Labour's 'Antisemitism' Witchhunt

Below is the case of Cyril Chilson, an academic at Oxford University and an ex-Israeli who served as a Captain in the Israeli army.

Cyril's parents were both Holocaust survivors, including his mother who was a Auschwitz concentration camp. His father only just escaped the Nazi invasion of Soviet-occupied Poland and went on to fight in the Soviet army. As such Cyril was an ideal target for the vile racists behind the racist witch-hunt. Perfect in fact.

Cyril was expelled for two years by Labour’s National Kangaroo Court on March 20th as part of the fight against 'anti-semitism' in the Labour Party.

Tony Greenstein has the incredible story.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

On Sensible anti-Imperialism...

Apparently, acknowledging the reality of the chemical attacks by Assad is akin to inviting the U.S. to expand its Syria war to Assad’s targets. And so in order to oppose that, are we to deny the real suffering of Syrians? Are we to bend reality to suit our desire?
Just as there is a chorus contradicting the lived experiences of Syrian civilians, there has been an effort to undermine the White Helmets, a rescue program that has been accused both of receiving U.S. funding (it has gotten U.S. Agency for International Development money just as other projects have) and of being a front for al-Qaida.
How are so many on the left falling for such fakery? The Guardian’s extensive investigation into a propaganda effort to discredit the White Helmets offers some answers. Just as it is all too easy to fall for fake news these days, it is also easy to corroborate sources and determine veracity with a little effort.
If leftist and progressive calls to curb American imperialism are to be taken seriously, our analysis of international relations and foreign policy needs to be far more sophisticated. Not everything needs to be viewed through the lens of leaders who oppose the U.S., as though no other country in the world is capable of or interested in flexing its power internationally and domestically. If we are truly concerned about the well-being of ordinary Syrians, we need to care about them whether they are being killed by Syrian, Russian or American forces. We can condemn the mass atrocities being committed by Assad and Putin and oppose any U.S. military interference in the region. Both these things can be true at once.
TruthDig

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Did the chemical attack in Douma really happen?

Amid the war of words between the West and the Rest and the cacophony of tinkerweb trolls (and "Russobots"?) claiming Douma was a (probably US instigated and sanctioned) 'false flag', Robert Fisk offers a third way:

It was a short walk to Dr Rahaibani. From the door of his subterranean clinic – “Point 200”, it is called, in the weird geology of this partly-underground city – is a corridor leading downhill where he showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye.
“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”
There were food stalls open and a patrol of Russian military policemen – a now optional extra for every Syrian ceasefire – and no-one had even bothered to storm into the forbidding Islamist prison near Martyr’s Square where victims were supposedly beheaded in the basements. The town’s complement of Syrian interior ministry civilian police – who eerily wear military clothes – are watched over by the Russians who may or may not be watched by the civilians. Again, my earnest questions about gas were met with what seemed genuine perplexity.
How could it be that Douma refugees who had reached camps in Turkey were already describing a gas attack which no-one in Douma today seemed to recall? It did occur to me, once I was walking for more than a mile through these wretched prisoner-groined tunnels, that the citizens of Douma lived so isolated from each other for so long that “news” in our sense of the word simply had no meaning to them. Syria doesn’t cut it as Jeffersonian democracy – as I cynically like to tell my Arab colleagues – and it is indeed a ruthless dictatorship, but that couldn’t cow these people, happy to see foreigners among them, from reacting with a few words of truth. So what were they telling me?
They talked about the Islamists under whom they had lived. They talked about how the armed groups had stolen civilian homes to avoid the Syrian government and Russian bombing. The Jaish el-Islam had burned their offices before they left, but the massive buildings inside the security zones they created had almost all been sandwiched to the ground by air strikes. A Syrian colonel I came across behind one of these buildings asked if I wanted to see how deep the tunnels were. I stopped after well over a mile when he cryptically observed that “this tunnel might reach as far as Britain”. Ah yes, Ms May, I remembered, whose air strikes had been so intimately connected to this place of tunnels and dust. And gas?

Fisk it here!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The ‘anti-imperialism’ of idiots

Leila Al Shami.

This ‘anti-imperialism’ of idiots is one which equates imperialism with the actions of the US alone. They seem unaware that the US has been bombing Syria since 2014. In its campaign to liberate Raqqa from Daesh all international norms of war and considerations of proportionality were abandoned. Over 1,000 civilians were killed and the UN estimates that 80 per cent of the city is now uninhabitable. There were no protests organized by leading ‘anti-war’ organizations against this intervention, no calls to ensure that civilians and civilian infrastructure were protected. Instead they adopted the ‘War on Terror’ discourse, once the preserve of neo-cons, now promulgated by the regime, that all opposition to Assad are jihadi terrorists. They turned a blind eye to Assad filling his gulag with thousands of secular, peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrators for death by torture, whilst releasing militant-Islamists from prison. Similarly, the continuing protests held in liberated areas in opposition to extremist and authoritarian groups such as Daesh, Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham have been ignored. Syrians are not seen as possessing the sophistication to hold a diverse range of views. Civil society activists (including many amazing women), citizen journalists, humanitarian workers are irrelevant. The entire opposition is reduced to its most authoritarian elements or seen as mere conduits for foreign interests.
This pro-fascist left seems blind to any form of imperialism that is non-western in origin. It combines identity politics with egoism. Everything that happens is viewed through the prism of what it means for westerners – only white men have the power to make history. According to the Pentagon there are currently around 2000 American troops in Syria. The US has established a number of military bases in the Kurdish-controlled north for the first time in Syria’s history. This should concern anyone who supports Syrian self-determination yet pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of Iranian troops and Iranian backed Shia militias which are now occupying large parts of the country, or the murderous bombing raids carried out by the Russian air force in support of the fascist dictatorship. Russia has now established permanent military bases in the country, and has been handed exclusive rights over Syria’s oil and gas as a reward for its support. Noam Chomsky once argued that Russia’s intervention could not be considered imperialism because it was invited to bomb the country by the Syrian regime. By that analysis, the US’s intervention in Vietnam was not imperialism either, invited as it was by the South-Vietnamese government.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Christopher Wylie: Why I broke the Facebook data story – and what should happen now

9 What is AIQ’s role in this? Was British Facebook data, harvested using Cambridge Analytica’s apps, employed? Was data shared between Vote Leave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the DUP?

We don’t know. Neither AIQ nor any of the campaign parties involved have answered these questions.

If this happened in Kenya or Nigeria, a new vote would be demanded by international observers. If this happened in a local constituency, a by-election would be called. Surely British democracy is mature enough to respond when something looks like it may have gone wrong, especially when the stakes are so high. The referendum was won by less than 2% of the vote. Could this have made the difference? Vote Leave’s chief strategist said it did: on a quote – now deleted – for AIQ’s website.

I am a progressive Eurosceptic. I supported Leave. This is not about “remoaning”. It’s about upholding the rule of law. The UK is about to embark on the most profound change to its constitutional settlement in a generation. We must be absolutely certain that this is being done on a proper legal basis. These are uncomfortable facts and hard questions. But Britain mustn’t “pull a Facebook”. Denial doesn’t work.

See Wylie set out the issues – and the evidence – as simply as possible.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Big Data: Selling Democracy Down the River

AggregateIQ: the obscure Canadian tech firm and the Brexit data riddle

‘Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

We heard from him at a session of the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee that the BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy described as “by a distance, the most astounding thing I’ve seen in parliament”. Perhaps not because of Wylie’s arresting appearance – though there was that too, his pink hair offset with a suit for the occasion – but because of what he said: a four-hour account of his involvement with Cambridge Analytica that he backed up with documents, a selection of which the committee published two days later.

It was a moment that marked a significant milestone in our coverage of this story. Because back on 13 May 2017 we received a letter from Squire Patton Boggs, lawyers for Cambridge Analytica, that set out their intention to issue a “pre-action protocol for defamation” – though its immediate concern was regarding an “article that is proposed to be published this weekend”.

Seven fraught hours later, we published an article headlined “Follow the data” . It was centred on one particular document. A document that linked Cambridge Analytica to a small, seemingly inconsequential firm based above an optician’s shop in Victoria, Canada. A document that was among the stash of those released by the DCMS committee on Thursday.

The firm – AggregateIQ – didn’t appear inconsequential. In the words of Vote Leave’s campaign manager, Dominic Cummings, it played a crucial role in the Brexit campaign. For more than a year, a quote from Cummings – “we couldn’t have done it without them” – was emblazoned across AIQ’s website. Words that disappeared from the website a week ago, removed after we submitted our questions to the firm.

Read on.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Framing of Jeremy Corbyn...

One of the main concepts in journalism education is that of framing: the highlighting of particular issues, and the avoidance of others, in order to produce a desired interpretation. We have been reminded of the importance of framing when considering the vast amounts of media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged failure to deal with antisemitism inside the Labour party. On Sunday, three national titles led with the story while news bulletins focused on the allegations all last week. Dominant sections of the media have framed the story in such a way as to suggest that antisemitism is a problem mostly to do with Labour and that Corbyn is personally responsible for failing to deal with it. The coverage has relied on a handful of sources such as the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and well-known political opponents of Corbyn himself.

Yet where are the Jewish voices who support Corbyn and who welcome his long-established anti-racist record? Where are the pieces that look at the political motivations of some of Corbyn’s most vocal critics? Where is the fuss in your news columns about the rising tide of antisemitism in Europe, such as in Hungary, where the Fidesz government has used antisemitic tropes to bolster its support, or in Poland, where the government is attempting to criminalise revelations about the country’s antisemitic past? Where are the columns condemning the links between Conservative MEPs and rightwing parties across Europe in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group which trade on antisemitism?

It is not “whataboutery” to suggest that the debate on antisemitism has been framed in such a way as to mystify the real sources of anti-Jewish bigotry and instead to weaponise it against a single political figure just ahead of important elections. We condemn antisemitism wherever it exists. We also condemn journalism that so blatantly lacks context, perspective and a meaningful range of voices in its determination to condemn Jeremy Corbyn.

Letter by 40+ Academics