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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Tom Tugendhat - Pants On Fire

Perhaps encouraged by BBC Newsnight’s singularly unfortunate Photoshop exercise earlier this week, with its Corbyn-Russia backdrop, some Tory MPs have been getting a little ahead of themselves in their efforts to play yah-boo at the Labour leadership. One of the most eager has been Tom Tugendhat, who was elected to represent the people of Tonbridge and Malling, but has better things to do today than bothering about them.
Tom Tugendhat. Claims to be an MP

Tugendhat, who has inexplicably been given the chairmanship of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, has been an MP since 2015, and has today told the world that he does not merit being one any longer. His method of demonstrating his unsuitability has been to not just smear Corbyn, but do so in a way which is flagrantly defamatory. So perhaps he will be joining Ben Bradley in getting one of those solicitors’ letters.
After his fellow Tory James Cleverly, who isn’t, had a pop at Jezza, saying “Seems that @OwenJones84 is unhappy because the BBC used this photo of Corbyn against a backdrop of the Kremlin. He felt it distorted the public’s perception of Corbyn in light of his very weak response to the attempted assassination in Salisbury” (key Tory attack term “weak” deployed successfully, if ineffectually), he decided to up the ante.
He backed IRA murderers when people who cared about human rights and wanted a united Ireland joined he SDLP. He even went to an IRA funeral. Not really quite the image he wants to portray now”. The “IRA funeral” claim is fake, and the photo used to back up this false claim is probably that of former MP Owen Carron. Tugendhat had blundered. This was pointed out to him. He then failed to withdraw the offending Tweet.
Instead, he blustered “I accept the correction of Corbyn attending an IRA funeral and withdraw that as a mistake. I did not know the photograph had been identified as someone else. I stand by his failure to support the real peacemakers in Northern Ireland”. If he didn’t know the photo was of someone else, then why pretend it was Corbyn? Heck, the photo was taken around six years before Jezza became an MP.
Could it get any worse for The Blue Team? As if you need to ask. Remember James “not very” Cleverly? Just to show how not very Cleverly he was, he Retweeted the offending Tweet, thus compounding the potential libel. Someone in the Tory Party has not been reading up on McAlpine v Bercow, or even Monroe v Hopkins. So that’s another of those solicitors’ letters on its way to the MP for Braintree, hopefully.
Tugendhat has now deleted the offending Tweet, but in the meantime it had been viewed, liked and Retweeted thousands of times in total. The totally untrue claim that Jeremy Corbyn attended an IRA funeral has been spread far and wide - including among at least one suitably credulous fellow Tory MP. Tom Tugendhat is supposed to be a Parliamentarian - not a cheap and dishonest propagandist.

But his party chairman Brandon “barrow boy” Lewis is equally devoid of either spine or principle, so don’t expect their behaviour to improve any time soon. What a shower.

Guido Fawked - Fake News Indeed

While those in and around the Brexit debate digest the news about Cambridge Analytica and that 50-million-strong data breach, somewhere out there on the right there are excuses being readied. Because not only has the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr been proved right in spades, those who smeared her as a conspiracy theorist have their own questions to answer. And those answers are likely to prove unconvincing.
So who might now find themselves covered in rather more than confusion? To no surprise at all, the answer is the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, whose smearing of Ms Cadwalladr kicked off in no style at all last July as part of a post titledBBC Promoting Cranks And Conspiracy Theorists”.

Here, they told “Last night Newsnight aired a 13 minute video investigating whether Leave.EU ‘hypnotised’ - Newsnight’s word - the British public into voting for Brexit. The package, complete with comically sinister music, was based on a conspiracy theory by a tin foil hatted journalist called Carole Cadwalladr that a shadowy American company working for Leave.EU stole the referendum. This is bonkers. Leave.EU weren’t even the official Leave campaign”. Mental health smear: check!

There was more. “The swivel-eyed Remain media can’t bring itself to believe people voted Leave of their own accord, they want to believe it was stolen. The Beeb is giving credence to a huge amount of nonsense at the moment”. And another mental health smear.

The framing of Ms Cadwalladr as not credible continued later last year with her inclusion in10 People Who’ve Been Driven Mad By Brexit” [mental health smear: check!], alongside Alastair Campbell, who has suffered well-documented depression. Classy, eh?

This time, the schtick was “Cadwalladr appears to genuinely believe Brexit was a Russian plot, she has claimed the Leave campaign used psy-ops to hoodwink voters and doesn’t appear to realise she is being elaborately trolled by Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore who have christened her ‘Carole Codswallop’”. Banksy and Wiggy, eh? Top plonkers!

And the Fawkes Massive was not finished yet. “Last night she suggested lifelong Eurosceptic Michael Gove only backed Vote Leave on the orders of the Legatum Institute, who she reckons are agents of Putin. It’s so ridiculous even Newsnight have taken the piss. The Observer’s continued indulging of her conspiracy theories seems almost exploitative”. Mostly untrue, and tediously so. But not a word chez Fawkes today.
Not even an acknowledgement of Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear telling “We will have our full interview with @CamAnalytica whistleblower Chris Wylie here http://www.channel4.com/news  imminently with details of the grab of 50 million @facebook profiles and their use by the data firm which credits itself with @realDonaldTrump's election victory”. Ms Cadwalladr was right then, and she’s right now.
But instead of waiting for the evidence, The Great Guido sided with the likes of Arron Banks - a congenital blowhard and liar with a shady financial backstory - and trashed the journalist who has been exposing serious wrongdoing.

Why would they do that? You might wish to ask that - I couldn’t possibly comment.

Cambridge Analytica SUSPENDED By Facebook

[Update at end of post]

It was the company credited with swinging those swing states for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. Its technology was also credited with swinging the Brexit referendum. But then Cambridge Analytica downplayed its role, and the Leave EU gang, who had been so keen to talk up its presence, also decided they weren’t involved, really. But now Cambridge Analytica is back in the news, and for all the wrong reasons.
The company has had its Facebook presence suspended, which may raise a few eyebrows. Why should a social media provider pull the presence of a company that does nothing more than analyse data? Ah well. After telling “We have suspended Cambridge Analytica from our platform for a clear violation our policies. They cannot buy ads or administer its clients' pages”, the man from Facebook spelled it out.
They certified deleting user data they received from an app developer in 2015 but we have since learned that not all of it may have been removed. This is a clear violation of our policies and terms of service … we are still looking into these issues so will share more as we get deeper”. It’s a data breach. And it’s a serious one.
Facebook’s official statement explains “In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica … Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app. Approximately 270k people downloaded the app”.
And what was that information? “In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it”.
So what action was taken when this was discovered? “By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica … he violated our platform policies. When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan … certified to us that they destroyed the data”.
There may be trouble ahead ...

Except CA did not delete all that data. And for anyone still shrugging shoulders and responding “so what?”, both the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential Election came the year after Facebook discovered the violation, and CA said they’d deleted the info.
... and someone will be facing the music very soon

So the not-actually-deleted data was still there during those campaigns. That, folks, is why this discovery matters, why it is a big story, and why you should be concerned. And just how big a story we will find out very soon. How that might occur cannot be told at present, but Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer has mused “Waking up to the news that Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica today? TWO YEARS after it discovered massive data breach? Wondering why now? Answers coming soon”.

Ms Cadwalladr’s paper comes out tomorrow. I’ll just leave that one there.

[UPDATE 1400 hours: tomorrow's Observer feature has been made available online already, and in it Carole Cadwalladr reveals that the personal information of more than 50 million individuals was harvested and used improperly in what must be one of the biggest and most embarrassing - for Facebook, at least - data breaches ever.

Most of those whose data was harvested were registered US voters. Confirmation has come from a whistleblower, who has passed what he knows to the National Crime Agency's cybercrime unit and the Information Commissioner's office.

What information might have been harvested on voters in the UK is not known. But what can be told is that the Observer article is only the first instalment: there will be more from other media outlets very soon.

Those who sneeringly labelled Ms Cadwalladr, and others involved in bringing this story into the open, as mere tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists were plain flat wrong. And embarrassingly so]

BBC Newsnight - We Have To Talk

This blog prefers to give the BBC, and indeed all mainstream broadcasters, the benefit of the doubt, even when claims of prejudice and bias are swirling around. Most of the time, the Corporation does its best to steer a path free of partiality, and succeeds in its efforts. But one part of its reporting on the fallout from the Salisbury poisoning has given cause for concern. And I have to tell the Beeb that the concern is justified.
While the Government, cheered to the rafters by the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press, has wasted no time in pointing the finger for Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s poisoning with a nerve agent from the Novichok family straight at the Government in Moscow, and in the wayward world of former very occasional London Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, straight at its head, Jeremy Corbyn had urged caution.

The Labour leader has pointed out that Novichok nerve agent may have fallen into the hands of one or more of the mafia organisations that have sprung up since the collapse of the former Soviet Union; it has already been admitted by the Government that Novichoks can be manufactured in more or less any suitably equipped laboratory.
For this caution, Corbyn was instantly vilified by the right-wing press, the Mail and Sun asserting that he was in hock to Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin. Terms such as “puppet”, “stooge”, and “appeaser” were deployed in support of these claims. The BBC should have been aware of the sensitivity of the subject when Newsnight came to cover it.

So the dismay expressed by many, and not just on the left, at the deliberate linking of Corbyn and Moscow, was entirely understandable. There was presenter Emily Maitlis, in a studio whose backdrop was, as Billy Connolly once put it, loaded. A supposed vista of Moscow sights, with Corbyn front and centre, with even his usual headgear changed to make him look just that little bit more Russian.

Coming hot on the heels of that morning’s papers and their incendiary headlines - the Sun’sPUTIN’S PUPPET” and the Mail’sCORBYN, THE KREMLIN STOOGE” at the forefront - there can be only one message being conveyed here, and it is that of Jezza siding with not just a foreign power, but the gangsterist Putin régime.
What did not help the Corporation was when the following night’s show, still with the faux-Moscow backdrop, had Evan Davis countering Owen Jones’ arguments in support of the Labour leadership by saying “but the public support Theresa May by two to one”. We should now decide foreign policy stances on instant poll ratings and take our cues from organisations just as adept at mafia-style behaviour as that in Moscow.

The BBC cannot always get it right; that is understood and some slack should be cut it on those occasions. But that Newsnight backdrop was not an accident. It was a deliberate linking of Jeremy Corbyn and the Government in Moscow.

Newsnight got that call seriously wrong. And that’s not good enough.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Red Roar Exposed As Fawkes Offshoot

Recently I checked out The Red Roar, a site covering Labour-related issues, which was in reality doing little more than attempting to put the boot into anyone and everyone who was not opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The thought occurred at the time that this operation may have some link to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Now that thought has become a racing certainty.
The Red Roar’s latest outpourings are all that The Great Guido might have wished for: “Student Trotbusters”, “SWP Links”, anti-Semitism allegations, Labour NEC election claims - note that, like the Fawkes massive, The Red Roar missed Jon Lansman bowing out of the contest - kicking Momentum, and accusing Left New Media sites of spreading conspiracy theories. It’s not about Labour, it’s about Labour bashing.
It’s almost as if the Fawkes blog had farmed out the hatchet jobs on Left New Media to someone else - with one addition, the use of the fictitious term “Alt-Left”. There is, as any fule kno, no such thing as the “Alt-Left” - it’s a term coined by right wingers to suggest that the Alt-Right, which most certainly does exist, is just part of some political equivalence, and that those Rotten Lefties (tm) are equally bad. Oh what a giveaway!
And as if that were not enough of a sign that this is not a site Of The Left, but merely one that is sounding off about it, the Fawkes rabble has started endorsing The Red Roar, and not merely occasionally. A notable example is the sneering at LabourList for allowing Diane Abbott to be guest editor, which is held to be a move to the left (?). The post tellsThe only up and coming Labour leaning site that doesn’t support Corbyn is Red Roar”.
Note that a shit-stirring site kicking the Labour leadership is being pushed as “an up and coming Labour leaning site”. Like heck it is. Another endorsement from The Great Guido is where the Fawkes rabble reinvent the deselection of Robin Wales as Mayor of Newham as “Momentum have deselected Labour’s moderate Mayor”. This is the usual bullshit, as Tom Copley AM has had to point out. And guess what? “Red Roar has the numbers”.
The Red Roar also gets one of those prized mentions in the Fawkes “Seen Elsewhere”, probably the major source of clicks to sites like the desperately dull Conservative Woman, which would be in dire straits without them. Expect the site to get more of those in future, as it ramps up its attacks on the Labour leadership and tries to find Momentum reds under each and every bed. And that means only one thing.
The Great Guido and The Red Roar are linked - maybe deniably, but linked they are. Attacking Left New Media using terms that would never be used by anyone to the left of the Tory right is just one giveaway of many. Being used by the Fawkes rabble as part of its attack-dog approach is another. If it walks like a Fawkes operation, quacks like a Fawkes operation, and smears like a Fawkes operation, it might just be a Fawkes operation.

All that is left now is for clueless Tory MPs and their pals in the Pundit Establishment to start quoting The Red Roar in the same reverent way they quote the Fawkes blog.

The Red Roar is a Fawking cuckoo. So don’t let it into your nest, Labour people.

Evening Standard - Aka Uber PR

Earlier this week, I noted that the Evening Standard, supposedly London’s evening newspaper, had not so much as peeped about recent revelations concerning driver and rider matching service Uber. The paper’s editor, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, was, after all, most likely party to the Downing Street decision to shill for Uber when he was still Chancellor of the Exchequer.
And what is now clear is that, far from just ignoring bad news about Uber, the Standard is going much, much further - it is actively shilling for the company, in a manner that is clearly intended to make Uber a part of Londoners’ lives that they will not want to see taken away any time soon. The partisan behaviour is rapidly getting beyond occasional, and beyond a joke. There is no shortage of recent examples of this shamelessness.

Last month, for instance, Standard readers were toldTaxi-hailing giant Uber on Friday moved to improve its tarnished image by lending an ear to its drivers … A handful of drivers will meet with peers every week to gauge sentiment about new products or decisions that affect them, and then meet with senior Uber executives to fight their corner”.

Fight their corner” my arse. And it got worse later that month with blatant PR spin “Taxi giant Uber’s new boss said on Thursday he wants to tighten its grip on public transport as it grapples huge losses … Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the firm could branch into buses and bikes.  ‘I want to run the bus systems for a city,’ said Khosrowshahi at a conference”. Run a bus service? I wouldn’t let the SOB run the proverbial whelk stall.

And worse, with more PR spin “First it was cab rides and then restaurant food deliveries. Now Uber is making a surprise move into the hairdressing game - with an app that allows time-poor London women to summon a professional stylist to the comfort of their homes … The service promises that a customer will be under the blow-dryer within half an hour of tapping on their smartphone screen”. Advertorial. Masquerading as “tech”.
Could it get even worse? Toe-curlingly worse? Worse than the worst thesis submitted to the University of Worstness? You bet. “You might already know this, but it's St Patrick's Day this Saturday (March 17) which means everyone is trying to cash in on Ireland's patron saint … The latest culprit is our dearly beloved Uber Eats who have teamed up with Barburrito to create Guinness burritos”. That’s a straight-A f*** right off.

Can’t the Standard actually report news on Uber, rather than running promotional material and passing it off as “innovation”? Oh, hang on, yes there is! “Birmingham wants clarity from Uber on its business model as it decides whether to renew the taxi app’s license after granting a temporary extension”. But don’t worry, Uber fans, it’s not all bad news.

Uber has made a series of changes to its business model in recent months, responding to requests from regulators, including the introduction of 24/7 telephone support and the proactive reporting of serious incidents to London’s police”. See? Everything is cool. Just ignore all those doomsayers pointing out that the app is universal, and the idea it’s been re-engineered just for London can’t be trusted unless the software is re-checked.

The Evening Standard - the press equivalent of “La la la I can’t hear you”. Thus the challenge for London’s cab trade - when the only local paper is in Uber’s pocket.

Sun Ultimate Iraq Hypocrisy

If you’re going to tell a lie, the saying goes, it might as well be a big one. And the lies do not come any bigger than the shameless editorial in this morning’s edition of the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, in which the Murdoch goons try to dump the blame for their own bosses’ folly by claiming that the fault for Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War lies solely with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. That’s not quite true, is it?
Maxine Shameless strikes again

The point of the rant is to try and persuade the paper’s dwindling readership to trust politicians (ho ho ho): “SCEPTICISM of politicians is healthy. But too many people, fuelled by social media, indulge in knee-jerk cynicism and baseless distrust which has become appallingly destructive”. But the Sun is less trusted than what people can read on social media. And their blame game is just laughable.

The fault originates with Tony Blair and his liar Alastair Campbell … Convinced they were doing God’s work, they cared nothing for truth. Their war in Iraq, with its hideous consequences, wounded our MPs’ reputations … The expenses scandal shredded what remained”. The Iraq war, in the retelling, is Blair’s, and his alone.

That will come as a surprise to many who recall that one Rupert Murdoch was in the vanguard of the call for war. As Roy Greenslade pointed out at the time, there were 175 Murdoch papers around the world in 2003, and by the most miraculous of coincidences, all 175 of them shilled unequivocally for the Iraq war. Every last one of them.

Rupe had his own agenda for backing war - he thought it would lead to cheaper oil: “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy … would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country … Once it [Iraq] is behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else”.

The Sun, then under the less than benign editorship of Rebekah Wade, put out an articleinstructing readers to cut out and use the faces of those who opposed the Iraq war as a dartboard”. It told “You can aim your own missiles at the cowards and traitors who opted to support Saddam Hussein rather than the brave troops who laid down their lives for freedom … These are the people who wrongly told us that war would last months, the Iraqi people did not want it and many thousands of civilians and coalition soldiers would die”.

That article was later pulled. But a copy has been preserved. Heck, even Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, told the Leveson Inquiry “I’m not sure that the Blair government - or Tony Blair - would have been able to take the British people to war if it hadn’t been for the implacable support provided by the Murdoch papers. There’s no doubt that came from Mr Murdoch himself”. The Sun was so gung-ho, one of its feature writers resigned.
And why today’s calling of “liar” on Alastair Campbell? Well, perhaps this has something to do with it: “Rupert Murdoch joined in an ‘over-crude’ attempt by US Republicans to force Tony Blair to accelerate British involvement in the Iraq war a week before a crucial House of Commons vote in 2003, according to the final volumes of Alastair Campbell's government diaries”. Sadly for the Sun, Big Al got that into print five years ago.

There has been no legal action since. And there won’t be. For the Murdoch press to drop cheerleading for the Iraq war on anyone else is beyond shameless.

Mail Corbyn Whine - Paper In Decline

Away from the news headlines, our free and fearless press has been reading and inwardly digesting some less than favourable information of its own: year-on-year sales to February show that the decline of recent years is, if anything, gathering pace. The Murdoch Sun, which recently was selling more than 3 million copies a day, has finally fallen below the 1.5 million mark, an almost 8% fall. Its Sunday stablemate has declined by over 9%.
But it is the Daily Mail, and Mail on Sunday, which have suffered rather greater falls, with the Mail down 11% to under 1.3 million copies a day, and the MoS getting perilously close to the magic one million mark. The ability of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to connect with his target audience has finally departed; his hacks and pundits are left flailing for attention. And today’s front page shows the problem for all to see.
Who the f*** says I'm a useless c*** who's f***ing up a once great paper, c***?!?!?

IS THIS THE TURNING OF THE TIDE?” thunders the headline. What is this about? Austerity? Brexit talks? Weather conditions? Wave power? The Mail’s campaign on plastic waste? Sadly, it is none of these, but a comment on an attempted takeover of GKN by a group of potential asset strippers. This is an important story, but is hardly something that the Mail’s readers will want to digest over breakfast. And it gets worse.
Appeasement, Guv? Issa big word, innit?

Also signposted on that front page is another rant by the Mail’s unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn, where the target is Jeremy Corbyn. Again. As it was in the run-up to the last General Election. That worked well, didn’t it?

Littlejohn, who is so in touch with the ordinary men and women who read the Mail that he is paid an obscene £800,000 a year and lives within a gated compound in North Vero Beach, Florida, pretends that Jezza would not have bothered with fighting the Nazis, had he been PM in 1940. It’s drivel. It also sees the Mail skating on very thin ice.
Suggesting that anyone else would have gone soft on Hitler is somewhere the Mail has no right to go: right up to the declaration of war in 1939, the Mail and its deluded proprietor Lord Rothermere were not just soft on Hitler, they were positively fawning over him.

Littlejohn sneers “Challenged about German military expansionism, the Prime Minister said Herr Hitler had every right to annex Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries and the Sudetenland, as a vital bulwark against Western aggression”, but his own paper, the Daily Mail, defended German annexation of the Sudatenland.
And what puts Littlejohn beyond the pale is when he snarks “Mr Corbyn has rejected out of hand widespread reports that millions of Jewish men, women and children across Europe are being rounded up by the Nazis. He said that was as absurd as trying to suggest that there was any anti-Semitism in the Labour Party”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.
The Daily Mail was running anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi stories throughout the 1930s. It was the Mail that told its readers of “German Jews Pouring Into This Country. Now its sick pundits are playing deflection in order to smear the Labour leader.

There is no more stark example of why the Mail is losing sales, readership, advertising revenue, credibility, and yes, influence. The world is not interested in the blustering of these sick, sneering, overpaid, out of touch bullies any more. Good thing too.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Sun Tory Russia Story Fawked

At last week’s Press Awards, the good and great of the Press and Pundit Establishments came together to demonstrate to the real world that they were totally divorced from such trivial realities. This was achieved by such actions as awardinghighly commended” status to the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who claims to work for the Murdoch Sun, in the category titled News Reporter of the Year.
Would you give this clown a gong? No, me neither

Master Cole, who has been pretending for some years to be a journalist without ever convincing anyone except Himself Personally Now, would not be able to identify news reporting if it jumped up and kicked him in the undercarriage. But he does know how to selectively pitch a story in order to achieve maximum brownie points. This was demonstrated by an item in today’s edition of the Sun.

Under the headline “GALA GATECRASHER Notorious Russian official ‘attended exclusive summer party with top Tories’”, readers are toldSergey Nalobin rubbed shoulders with the Cabinet at West London’s plush Hurlingham Club in 2014, it is claimed”. And, so what?
Paul Staines (left) with Master Cole (right) in December 2014, still working together after the event described in the Sun article. The other two prime specimens are Alex "Billy Liar" Wickham, and former sketch writer Simon Carr

THE Conservatives invited a notorious Russian embassy official to their exclusive summer party with the PM just months before he was expelled from Britain in a spying row, it was claimed last night … Sergey Nalobin rubbed shoulders with the Cabinet and Ministers at West London’s plush Hurlingham Club in 2014, according to the Spectator magazine”. Cole has lifted the copy from his old pals at the Speccy.

There is more. “His diplomatic visa was revoked in 2015 and he was classed ‘persona non grata’ and forced to return to Moscow  sparking fury from the Russian Embassy in London … Despite public concerns about his activities being raised by MPs, it is alleged Mr Nabolin was able to attend the exclusive Tory bash - where rich donors are charged thousands for tickets to line party coffers”. And who is doing the alleging?
The explosive revelation was made by political blogger Paul Staines editor of the Guido Fawkes blog”. Ah, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines. And at that point, the deception being played on the Sun’s readership was complete. So let me put Cole straight.

One, Master Cole used to work for Staines, and at the time of the alleged encounter at the Hurlingham Club, was still doing so.

Two, Staines has discussed Nalobin before, notably on Twitter, as can be seen from the two examples shown (he is the subject under discussion).

Three, Nalobin has claimed he was not expelled,  and nor was he declared persona non grata by the UK authorities. He does, however, remember meeting Staines.
Four, Cole has failed to mention that only months after he visited Moscow at the end of 2011, the Fawkes blog started running adverts for the Russian embassy - and, naturally, taking their money for doing so. Cole worked for an enterprise taking Kremlin money.

And Five, not only Cole, but the Sun more generally, retains links with The Great Guido to this day. All that selectively omitted information, the whole thing cadged from another publication, and that is worth a “highly commended”? Yeah, right.

Sun Corbyn Putin Smear BUSTED

It is Albert Einstein who is usually credited with the observation “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Most intelligent people understand this concept. But at the Baby Shard bunker, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun are having none of it. For them, it’s a case of If You Don’t Succeed, well, just suck a little more seed instead.
They tried to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Soviet agent. That failed, most notoriously after their claim that the former East German Stasi held a file on him proved to be untrue. So now they are bringing their readers the same, er, fluid in a differently labelled bottle, with today’s headline proclaiming “Outrage at Red Jezza … PUTIN’S PUPPET … Corbyn refuses to blast Russia on spy attack”.

Perhaps buoyed by the Mail backing up its stance - their headline is “CORBYN, THE KREMLIN STOOGE” - the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn has proclaimed to readers “JEREMY Corbyn was branded Vladimir Putin’s puppet last night after failing to condemn Russia over the nerve agent attack”.
But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one problem with this idea - it was bollocks. We know this as the text of what Jezza actually said is readily available, and contains such lines as “The attack in Salisbury was an appalling act of violence, Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment”. Nor did he hold back on the Putin régime.

We have a duty to speak out about the abuse of human rights by the Putin Government and their supporters, both at home and abroad, and I join many others in this House in paying tribute to the many campaigners in Russia for human rights, justice and democracy in that country. We must do more to address the dangers posed by the state’s relationship with unofficial mafia-like groups and corrupt oligarchs”. And that condemnation?
The events in Salisbury earlier this month are abominable and have been rightly condemned across the House. Britain has to build a consensus with our allies, and we support the Prime Minister in taking multilateral and firm action to ensure that we strengthen the chemical weapons convention and that this dreadful, appalling act, which we totally condemn, never happens again in our country” [my emphases].

Corbyn has made clear his, and his party’s, condemnation of what happened in Salisbury. Yet there are both the Sun and Mail claiming he did not. Sadly for therm, what Jezza said is a matter of Parliamentary record. Newton Dunn no doubt has his orders, and needs the money, but once again his credibility has been shot through by nothing more taxing than actually checking the facts. And the facts say his pants are on fire.
Shill for the Tories by all means, Sun and Mail hacks. But all that lying to the readers will do is to guarantee, with the certainly of night following day, that once they realise they’ve been had, they’ll stop buying your rubbish and won’t come back.

And the Sun is still losing money hand over fist. Serves the idiots right.

Farage Promotes White Supremacist

Once again, broadcaster LBC has some of those Questions To Answer after its continuing employment of former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage resulted yesterday in the channel getting caught up in the promotion of a notorious foreign bigot - dressed up as nothing more than an exercise in “free speech”.
Squeaky promoting extremism finger up the bum time

Mr Thirsty had clearly been kept up to speed on the refusal of the authorities in the UK to allow Canadian far-right activist Lauren Southern to enter the country; she was stopped near Calais and told she was not welcome. This set the Usual Suspects off ranting about how Britain was becoming some kind of totalitarian state, and of course that the country was now in hock to all those Scary Muslims (tm).

So Farage decided to interview Ms Southern from Strasbourg, where he has been once again milking the EU, which he claims to dislike, for all the expenses he can get out of it. He solemnly Tweeted later “Anti-terrorism laws were used to ban @Lauren_Southern from the UK this week. We should be able to criticise religion in a free society”.
Lauren Southern - persona non grata in the UK

The question then is, is Ms Southern merely wanting to criticise religion? And the answer, to no surprise at all, is more than likely no. We can say this with some confidence as the people at Hope Not Hate have been on the case, and this is what they have to say.

While Southern attempts to stay away from the issue of race by veiling it in anti-Muslim rhetoric, some of her closest colleagues and friends do not. Faith Goldy, whom Southern has made multiple videos with and who she worked closely together with at Rebel Media, has appeared on extreme right media outlet Red Ice TV and on a podcast by the neo-nazi Daily Stormer site. Goldy supported the white nationalist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, a rally which led to the killing of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer and is a proponent of the idea of ‘white genocide’”.
There was more. “Southern supported and took part in the ‘Defend Europe’ mission that sought to block NGO ships from rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean … She defends her dangerous actions by arguing that Muslims are ‘barbarians’ that will lead to the fall of Western civilisation”. “Western civilisation” is code for “White civilisation”.

And more. Ms Southern claimed “As far as I’m concerned, Hitler was just a SJW” and went on “another problem I have with Hitler? He fawned over Muslims more sycophantically than Justin Trudeau. Bibi Netanyahu was right to point out that Hitler decided on the Holocaust partly because Middle Eastern Muslims told him they didn’t want Jews expelled into the region”. Muslims, in her worldview, are responsible for the Holocaust.
She’s also “argued for ‘The Great Replacement’ far-right conspiracy theory espoused by xenophobic scholar Renaud Camus. In Southern’s own words the theory maintains that  ‘You have one people and in the space of one generation you have a different people’. The Great Replacement theory is regularly championed by far-right groups and websites”.

That is who Nigel Farage - and, yes, LBC - gave a platform to yesterday. A white supremacist rabble-rouser pretending to be just another young voice saying the things that so many others are thinking, honestly. Still want to keep Nige on the airwaves, LBC?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Facebook BANS Britain First

After getting themselves jailed last week, and with a potentially ruinous libel action hanging over them, the leaders of far-right Britain First might have thought they had now reached rock bottom. But for Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, this was only the beginning: there was also the potential sanction from social media companies.
One fewer social media outlet for hate speech

And kicking off that sanction today was Facebook, as the BBC reported: “The social media company said the group had repeatedly violated its community standards … Earlier this month, Britain First's leader and deputy leader, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, were jailed after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment … More than two million people had liked the group's Facebook page … The pages of Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen also had large followings”. Facebook has banned them.
Mark Di Stefano of BuzzFeed was in no doubt as to the significance of this event: “HUGE: Facebook has banned Britain First”. Nick Robinson of the BBC agreed: “Facebook are taking down the pages of Britain First & its leaders which have been used to draw hundreds of thousands of people to racist propaganda. A significant step”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan concurred: “Facebook’s decision to remove Britain First content from its platform is welcome. This is a vile and hate-fuelled group whose sole purpose is to sow division”. But the far-right was in full paranoia mode.
Mark Collett was typical: “Britain First have just been banned from Facebook. They had over 2 million likes - more than any other political party in UK. Free speech is being throttled by politically correct corporations”. Free hate speech, more like. There was more: “#BritainFirst banned from Facebook. The elite will not tolerate resistance to your replacement and coming genocide!” Yes, the white genocide mob was here. Next.
Facebook has just banned britain first, this is getting worse, we no longer have a voice to protect the children of this country #pedophile behaviour seems to be accepted here in the #UK … Facebook bans Britain First group and leaders! Politically motivated?! … The end of free speech begins with the suppression of unpopular opinions. Make no mistake, yours will be next”. That last one had at least two takers, both of them wrong.
Golding and Ms Fransen were portrayed as “Patriots” in the world of the far-right: “Facebook bans pages of #BritainFirst and leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen … All dissension must be crushed … #ProactivePatriots”. Then came accusations of Government interference: “It was removed at the request of the current Tory Government who who have become as authoritarian as the far left”. Wibble.
Could it get more off the wall than that? You bet, and with pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins in the room, anything was possible. “14 March. 1) Commons leaders delivered scripted narratives on Islamophobia 2) Our flag went brown 3) Facebook became the arbiter of opinion”. This must mean something. But what? Who knows? Who cares?

Britain First and its leaders got banned from Facebook for violating their standards. They kept pushing hate speech and went beyond the limits. And now they’ve been removed from that platform. For good. Just rejoice at that news.