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December 21 2019

mr-absentia

Angel Fox Media: Doctors Blocked From Observing Assange’s Health Condition in Court Yesterday

The U.S. and U.K. have obviously venomously plotted out their strategy to destroy this truth teller out of vengeance for their crimes being exposed. Anyone who has a bit of morality can see how unfair this is. How can one man get justice from 2 of the biggest super powers in the world? He can’t. Only the People rising up and demanding justice for this hero can get results.

mr-absentia

U.S. Lobbyists Prepare to Seize “Historic Opportunity” in Tory-Led Brexit to Shred Consumer Safeguards, Raise Drug Prices

«The original Brexit referendum that passed in June 2016 pitted populists against the establishment, with banks funneling huge amounts of money to oppose the referendum, which was cast as a measure to return taxes and power to local British citizens, while restoring the sovereignty of the U.K.’s borders against what was cast as unfair trade and uncontrolled migration.

But the politics of the deal have shifted over time, with hard-liners gaining power within Tory leadership and demanding a radical break from the EU. Corporate lobbyists now see an opportunity to use Johnson’s proposed swift exit from the EU as a way to forge bilateral trade deals, including one between the U.S. and the U.K, that would outsource local authority to rules set by an array of international business interests. A wide range of industries are primed to take advantage of the deal to evade EU consumer safeguards and drug pricing rules. Representatives from American pork to Silicon Valley and everything in between are trying to influence the negotiations.

Departing the EU could mean that British consumers would no longer be protected by broad EU-wide regulations on chemicals, food, and cosmetics, among other products. Several international corporate groups have pushed to ensure that in the event of Brexit, such safeguards are abandoned in exchange for a regulatory standard that conforms to the norms of the U.S.

Consultants working directly on the Brexit deal in London and in Washington, D.C., have asked to limit the ability of British regulators to set the price for pharmaceutical drugs, lift safety restrictions on pesticides and agricultural products, and constrain the ability for the U.K. to enact its own data privacy laws.

In January, a lengthy hearing hosted by trade officials from both countries provided a forum in D.C. for industry to lay out its agenda on what should happen after Brexit. Before the hearing, two major industry groups sent letters outlining their agendas for the Brexit negotiations in 2019.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the lobby group that represents the largest drugmakers in the world, insisted that any U.S.-U.K. deal “must recognize that prices of medicines should be based on a variety of value criteria.” PhRMA called for changes in the way the U.K.’s National Health Service sets price controls through comparative effectiveness research, an effort to control the costs of drugs using clinical research.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a lobby group for the biopharmaceutical industry, made similar demands in a letter to trade officials for the U.K., calling to do more in “shouldering a fair share of the costs of innovation.” BIO suggests that in order to ensure fair treatment for drugmakers, companies should have the right to petition an “independent body” to overrule decisions made by the NHS.

At the hearing, Craig Thorn, a lobbyist representing the U.S.’s National Pork Producers Council, told the Trump administration that the proposed U.S.-U.K. deal present a “historic opportunity,” citing his client’s desire to continue trade with the U.K. by evading EU restrictions on certain feed additives and antibiotics used widely on American pork. Similarly, Floyd Gaibler, a representative of the U.S. Grains Council, said that the deal provides a window for American agriculture to avoid the EU restrictions on pesticides that have been or will soon be banned.

Silicon Valley, similarly, views Brexit as a chance to bypass EU-wide limits on data collection, or even new U.K.-based rules. Several technology lobbyists have pushed to provide trade provisions between the U.S. and U.K. that outlaw so-called data localization requirements. Some regulators have looked at the need for technology firms to store consumer data in local servers, to ensure that it is not resold or abused in any way.

Other corporate demands by U.S.-based groups are spelled out in a series of requests and testimony made by lobbyists before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the federal agency entrusted with negotiating trade deals. Federal lobbying disclosures show a number of interests, including Cargill, IBM, Koch Industries, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers AssociationFord Motor Company, the National Association of Manufacturers, and Salesforce, have lobbied on the potential U.K. deal in recent months.»

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December 16 2019

U.S. Lobbyists Prepare to Seize “Historic Opportunity” in Tory-Led Brexit to Shred Consumer…

U.S. Lobbyists Prepare to Seize “Historic Opportunity” in Tory-Led Brexit to Shred Consumer Safeguards, Raise Drug Prices
https://theintercept.com/2019/12/09/brexit-american-trade-deal-boris-johnson

Boris Johnson’s election on December 12 hinges on the British prime minister’s promise to leave the European Union. Johnson has remade the Conservative Party, pushing out longtime party members wary of a firm break from the EU, to cast the election as a chance to build a parliamentary majority focused on finalizing Brexit. The original Brexit referendum that passed in June 2016 pitted populists against the establishment, with banks funneling huge amounts of money to oppose the referendum, (...)

#MPAA #Ford #Salesforce.com #élections #législation #bénéfices #BigData #BigPharma #consommation #data #lobbying #santé (...)

##santé ##BiotechnologyInnovationOrganization-BIO

https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2019/12/boris-illustration-1575673737.jpg
Reposted fromcheg00 cheg00 via02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

The Failure of the Left to Grasp Brexit

Thursday’s General Election was a bad day for the Labour Party, it spelled the end of Remainism and signalled a historic defeat for the Left. There needs to be serious reflection on all of this because the repercussions are severe and wide-ranging, and broader lessons must be learned, not just for the UK but elsewhere. It turned out, contrary to much expert assessment, that the 2016 referendum was, in fact, binding. The failure of the Left to grasp this, or to take seriously the underlying disconnect it signified.

Two initial responses have been predominant, some blaming Corbyn’s leadership, others focusing on Brexit itself. The truth is that both are to blame – they cannot be disaggregated, since Corbyn ultimately has to take responsibility for capitulating to the promise of a second referendum. If any further evidence were needed in Labour heartlands that its leadership represented just another version of a metropolitan elite that has become so utterly distrusted, this was it. John Macdonell’s rapprochement with New Labour’s Alistair Campbell and his explicit embrace of Remain was a moment that will live long in the memory.

The disconnect between the Labour Party and working class voters of course reflects a decline taking place not over months, or years, but decades. It has no easy fix. But the irony is that within the Labour Party, Corbyn was almost uniquely placed to put his weight behind a ‘Lexit’ agenda, his life-long Euro-scepticism giving him a credibility that was simply never utilised, undermined when he decided to campaign for Remain in 2016 and effectively abandoned through further concessions to the Remainers both inside and outside the Party. The tragedy, in short, is that Corbyn, and many of those around him, have gone down fighting for a cause they didn’t believe in. 

The result was clearly bad for the Labour Party, which, after doing unexpectedly well in 2017, attaining 40% of the electorate on a socialist platform and with the promise to respect the outcome of the referendum, fell to around 32% of the vote, with a similar programme but revoking its Brexit promise. Although the scale of defeat has been grossly exaggerated (Labour got more votes than under Miliband in 2015, Brown in 2010 and Blair in 2005), it can only be described as a failure. If this spells the official end of Corbyn, in truth, ‘Corbynism’ was already over once Labour capitulated to its Remain wing on Brexit, effectively giving Labour Leave voters little option but to defect to the Tories or the Brexit Party or to simply abstain. In the end, Labour lost a quarter of its Leave voters to Conservatives and 52 out of the 54 seats it lost in England were in leave-voting constituencies. 

The concessions to Remain were presumably made in part due to internal pressures and in part on the basis of some electoral calculation, the fear of losing votes to the LibDems eclipsing concern over defection to the Tories or the Brexit Party. The apparent preponderance of Remainers amongst Corbynistas themselves, along with the influence of groups such as Another Europe is Possible, meant Corbyn essentially fighting with one hand tied behind his back. From this angle, Corbyn’s position might have been justified as an attempt to perform an increasingly precarious balancing act. 

But a balancing act was not what was required. The scales had already been weighed; Remain had lost in 2016. This is such a simple point it seems extraordinary that it could have been lost from sight. No doubt, the fear of losing seats to the LibDems was real. But the real shock from this election is the complete failure of Remain as an electoral strategy, not only for Labour but for LibDems, which had turned itself into a single issue stop Brexit party but reaped scant reward. 

If the decisive victory of Johnson spells the end of Remainism, it does not, however, present an obvious path forward. Johnson’s victory was not based on a surge of enthusiasm, the Tories achieving only one percentage point more than under Teresa May. The apparent success of Johnson’s slogan of ‘Get Brexit Done’ is matched only by its emptiness. It is unclear that Johnson’s Tories has a plan of any political substance, which is not to doubt the substantial damage they may do. And if the path to leaving the EU is now open as a matter of Parliamentary arithmetic, obstacles lie ahead, not least the issue of Scottish Independence. 

The historic defeat of the Left is a more difficult proposition to outline because it requires a deeper excavation of the underlying materials. The first and most straightforward point is that there was a near-total failure of leadership on the Left either to prepare for Brexit, or less excusably, after the referendum, to take advantage of the opportunity that it provided. By 2019, a Left programme that took exit seriously had three years to mature – not on a speculative terrain, but on a terrain primed by the electorate against political and economic elites, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a rupture from the status quo. The failure is all the more extraordinary given that over the last decade since the financial crisis, across Europe, and further afield, the conjuncture has delivered up the slow-motion collapse of social democratic parties attached to EU-style centrism. It is astonishing that the same Left that witnessed the total capitulation and then defeat of Syriza could, with some notable exceptions, have evaded this historic task. 

The Labour Party has avoided Pasokification, no doubt partly due to the UK’s electoral system, but also due to the robust social movements that have grown inside it. But there is the temptation now by some on the Left to double down on the disconnect from working class communities, dismissing the electorate as ignorant, stupid or simply racist. Apart from the folly of that position in terms of constructing a viable opposition moving forward, it overlooks the fact that this dismissal had already occurred, sealed with the promise of a second referendum, writing off half the electorate at a stroke – and possibly many more when adding in Remain voters who think the outcome of the first should have been respected. 

There is a counter-argument, which points out that class is now more complex, and that a Lexit position would alienate a new core of the young, urban, cosmopolitan Labour support. There are a number of problems with this argument, even assuming it is based on accurate assumptions. Most concrete is the electoral arithmetic, which suggests that a position to respect the referendum could have cost some seats to the LibDems, but would have saved far more from the Tories. More fundamentally, this appeal to identity politics is a dead-end for the Left, not least with the problematic conflation of a Remain identity, however real that may be, with a simplistic desire to overturn a referendum. Most basic of all, however, is that Remaining in the EU should be understood for what it is – remaining in a neoliberal straightjacket, a regressive polity that not only suffers from all the defects of its various Member States but aggravates them through structural democratic deficits.

The condensed diagnosis of this conjuncture is that Labour appear to have forgotten the democratic part of democratic socialism. Not only in the trivial sense, of failing to respect a democratic mandate. But in the more complex sense of assuming that the electorate, and particularly its working class constituency, understood in all its complexity, could simply be bought off by a top-down socialism rather than advancing through their own political empowerment. 

mr-absentia
mr-absentia

The Scottish Parliament Does Have the Right to Withdraw from the Act of Union - Craig Murray

17 Dec, 2018

«English MPs or English ministers in their London Parliament can, at any time, impose any legislation they choose on Scotland, overriding Scotland’s parliament and Scotland’s representation in the London parliament. Yet, under the English Votes for English Laws rules of the London Parliament introduced by the Tories in 2015, Scottish MPs cannot vote at all on matters solely affecting England.

That is plainly a situation of colonial subservience.

I am firmly of the view that the Scottish government should now move to withdraw from the Treaty of Union. Scotland’s right to self determination is inalienable. It cannot be signed away forever or restricted by past decisions.

The Independence of a country is not a matter of domestic law it is a matter of international law. The right of the Scottish Parliament to declare Independence may not be restricted by UK domestic law or by purported limitations on the powers of the Scottish Parliament.»

«I have continually explained on this site that the legality of a Declaration of Independence is in no sense determined by the law of the metropolitan state, but is purely a matter of recognition by other countries and thus acceptance into the United Nations. The UK Government set this out plainly in response to a question from a judge in the Kosovo case:

2. As the United Kingdom stated in oral argument, international law contains no prohibition against declarations of independence as such. 1 Whether a declaration of independence leads to the creation of a new State by separation or secession depends not on the fact of the declaration but on subsequent developments, notably recognition by other States. As a general matter, an act not prohibited by international law needs no authorization. This position holds with respect to States. It holds also with respect to acts of individuals or groups, for international law prohibits conduct of non-State entities only exceptionally and where expressly indicated.

As I have stressed, the SNP should now be making a massive effort to prepare other countries, especially in the EU and in the developing world, to recognise Scotland when the moment comes. There is no task more important. There is a worrying lack of activity in this area. It may currently not be possible to spend government money on sending out envoys for this task, but if personal envoys were endorsed by the First Minister they would get access and could easily be crowd funded by the Independence Movement. I am one of a number of former senior British diplomats who would happily undertake this work without pay. We should be lobbying not just the EU but every country in Africa, Asia and South America.»

mr-absentia

Resolution - Craig Murray

«The disillusionment will be on the same scale as Johnson’s bombastic promises. The Establishment are not stupid and realise there will be an anti-Tory reaction. Their major effort will therefore be to change Labour back into a party supporting neo-liberal economic policy and neo-conservative foreign (or rather war) policy. They will want to be quite certain that, having seen off the Labour Party’s popular European style social democratic programme with Brexit anti-immigrant fervour, the electorate have no effective non-right wing choice at the next election, just like in the Blair years.

To that end, every Blairite horror has been resurrected already by the BBC to tell us that the Labour Party must now move right – McNicol, McTernan, Campbell, Hazarayika and many more, not to mention the platforms given to Caroline Flint, Ruth Smeeth and John Mann. The most important immediate fight for radicals in England is to maintain Labour as a mainstream European social democratic party and resist its reversion to a Clinton style right wing ultra capitalist party. Whether that is possible depends how many of the Momentum generation lose heart and quit.

Northern Ireland is perhaps the most important story of this election, with a seismic shift in a net gain of two seats in Belfast from the Unionists, plus the replacement of a unionist independent by the Alliance Party. Irish reunification is now very much on the agenda. The largesse to the DUP will be cut off now Boris does not need them.

For me personally, Scotland is the most important development of all. A stunning result for the SNP. The SNP result gave them a bigger voter share in Scotland than the Tories got in the UK. So if Johnson got a “stonking mandate for Brexit”, as he just claimed in his private school idiom, the SNP got a “stonking mandate” for Independence.

I hope the SNP learnt the lesson that by being much more upfront about Independence than in the disastrous “don’t mention Independence” election of 2017, the SNP got spectacularly better results.»

December 12 2019

mr-absentia

@SomersetBean: #HumanRightsDay marks the 3290th day that Julian Assange's human rights have been denied. Denied due process. Denied the asylum he was granted. Denied the rule of law. All to hold him in the UK for a show trial & an effective death sentence in the US for publishing the truth.

Reposted byin-god-we-trust02mydafsoup-01

November 21 2019

mr-absentia

@wikileaks: While the world knows Julian's name has been cleared in Sweden, he is sitting in a cell in Belmarsh prison, probably unaware of the news. The Prison cancelled all visits today. Don´t Extradite Assange!

mr-absentia

October 24 2019

mr-absentia

Assange in Court - Craig Murray

«I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.»

«For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defence to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defence to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.

After the recess the defence team stated they could not, in their professional opinion, adequately prepare if the hearing date were kept to February, but within Baraitser’s instruction to do so they nevertheless outlined a proposed timetable on delivery of evidence. In responding to this, Lewis’ junior counsel scurried to the back of the court to consult the Americans again while Lewis actually told the judge he was “taking instructions from those behind”. It is important to note that as he said this, it was not the UK Attorney-General’s office who were being consulted but the US Embassy. Lewis received his American instructions and agreed that the defence might have two months to prepare their evidence (they had said they needed an absolute minimum of three) but the February hearing date may not be moved. Baraitser gave a ruling agreeing everything Lewis had said.

At this stage it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defence. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defence ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm.»

«Finally, Baraitser turned to Julian and ordered him to stand, and asked him if he had understood the proceedings. He replied in the negative, said that he could not think, and gave every appearance of disorientation. Then he seemed to find an inner strength, drew himself up a little, and said:

“I do not understand how this process is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t even access my writings. It is very difficult, where I am, to do anything. These people have unlimited resources.”

The effort then seemed to become too much, his voice dropped and he became increasingly confused and incoherent. He spoke of whistleblowers and publishers being labeled enemies of the people, then spoke about his children’s DNA being stolen and of being spied on in his meetings with his psychologist. I am not suggesting at all that Julian was wrong about these points, but he could not properly frame nor articulate them. He was plainly not himself, very ill and it was just horribly painful to watch. Baraitser showed neither sympathy nor the least concern. She tartly observed that if he could not understand what had happened, his lawyers could explain it to him, and she swept out of court.»

October 12 2019

mr-absentia

@SomersetBean: Today: Julian Assange has been in a London prison for 6 months, after UK police seized him from Ecuador's embassy. A journalist & publisher facing a US kangaroo court & 175 year prison sentence—for exposing the truth.

December 16 2019

The Failure of the Left to Grasp Brexit

Thursday’s General Election was a bad day for the Labour Party, it spelled the end of Remainism and signalled a historic defeat for the Left. There needs to be serious reflection on all of this because the repercussions are severe and wide-ranging, and broader lessons must be learned, not just for the UK but elsewhere. It turned out, contrary to much expert assessment, that the 2016 referendum was, in fact, binding. The failure of the Left to grasp this, or to take seriously the underlying disconnect it signified.

Two initial responses have been predominant, some blaming Corbyn’s leadership, others focusing on Brexit itself. The truth is that both are to blame – they cannot be disaggregated, since Corbyn ultimately has to take responsibility for capitulating to the promise of a second referendum. If any further evidence were needed in Labour heartlands that its leadership represented just another version of a metropolitan elite that has become so utterly distrusted, this was it. John Macdonell’s rapprochement with New Labour’s Alistair Campbell and his explicit embrace of Remain was a moment that will live long in the memory.

The disconnect between the Labour Party and working class voters of course reflects a decline taking place not over months, or years, but decades. It has no easy fix. But the irony is that within the Labour Party, Corbyn was almost uniquely placed to put his weight behind a ‘Lexit’ agenda, his life-long Euro-scepticism giving him a credibility that was simply never utilised, undermined when he decided to campaign for Remain in 2016 and effectively abandoned through further concessions to the Remainers both inside and outside the Party. The tragedy, in short, is that Corbyn, and many of those around him, have gone down fighting for a cause they didn’t believe in. 

The result was clearly bad for the Labour Party, which, after doing unexpectedly well in 2017, attaining 40% of the electorate on a socialist platform and with the promise to respect the outcome of the referendum, fell to around 32% of the vote, with a similar programme but revoking its Brexit promise. Although the scale of defeat has been grossly exaggerated (Labour got more votes than under Miliband in 2015, Brown in 2010 and Blair in 2005), it can only be described as a failure. If this spells the official end of Corbyn, in truth, ‘Corbynism’ was already over once Labour capitulated to its Remain wing on Brexit, effectively giving Labour Leave voters little option but to defect to the Tories or the Brexit Party or to simply abstain. In the end, Labour lost a quarter of its Leave voters to Conservatives and 52 out of the 54 seats it lost in England were in leave-voting constituencies. 

The concessions to Remain were presumably made in part due to internal pressures and in part on the basis of some electoral calculation, the fear of losing votes to the LibDems eclipsing concern over defection to the Tories or the Brexit Party. The apparent preponderance of Remainers amongst Corbynistas themselves, along with the influence of groups such as Another Europe is Possible, meant Corbyn essentially fighting with one hand tied behind his back. From this angle, Corbyn’s position might have been justified as an attempt to perform an increasingly precarious balancing act. 

But a balancing act was not what was required. The scales had already been weighed; Remain had lost in 2016. This is such a simple point it seems extraordinary that it could have been lost from sight. No doubt, the fear of losing seats to the LibDems was real. But the real shock from this election is the complete failure of Remain as an electoral strategy, not only for Labour but for LibDems, which had turned itself into a single issue stop Brexit party but reaped scant reward. 

If the decisive victory of Johnson spells the end of Remainism, it does not, however, present an obvious path forward. Johnson’s victory was not based on a surge of enthusiasm, the Tories achieving only one percentage point more than under Teresa May. The apparent success of Johnson’s slogan of ‘Get Brexit Done’ is matched only by its emptiness. It is unclear that Johnson’s Tories has a plan of any political substance, which is not to doubt the substantial damage they may do. And if the path to leaving the EU is now open as a matter of Parliamentary arithmetic, obstacles lie ahead, not least the issue of Scottish Independence. 

The historic defeat of the Left is a more difficult proposition to outline because it requires a deeper excavation of the underlying materials. The first and most straightforward point is that there was a near-total failure of leadership on the Left either to prepare for Brexit, or less excusably, after the referendum, to take advantage of the opportunity that it provided. By 2019, a Left programme that took exit seriously had three years to mature – not on a speculative terrain, but on a terrain primed by the electorate against political and economic elites, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a rupture from the status quo. The failure is all the more extraordinary given that over the last decade since the financial crisis, across Europe, and further afield, the conjuncture has delivered up the slow-motion collapse of social democratic parties attached to EU-style centrism. It is astonishing that the same Left that witnessed the total capitulation and then defeat of Syriza could, with some notable exceptions, have evaded this historic task. 

The Labour Party has avoided Pasokification, no doubt partly due to the UK’s electoral system, but also due to the robust social movements that have grown inside it. But there is the temptation now by some on the Left to double down on the disconnect from working class communities, dismissing the electorate as ignorant, stupid or simply racist. Apart from the folly of that position in terms of constructing a viable opposition moving forward, it overlooks the fact that this dismissal had already occurred, sealed with the promise of a second referendum, writing off half the electorate at a stroke – and possibly many more when adding in Remain voters who think the outcome of the first should have been respected. 

There is a counter-argument, which points out that class is now more complex, and that a Lexit position would alienate a new core of the young, urban, cosmopolitan Labour support. There are a number of problems with this argument, even assuming it is based on accurate assumptions. Most concrete is the electoral arithmetic, which suggests that a position to respect the referendum could have cost some seats to the LibDems, but would have saved far more from the Tories. More fundamentally, this appeal to identity politics is a dead-end for the Left, not least with the problematic conflation of a Remain identity, however real that may be, with a simplistic desire to overturn a referendum. Most basic of all, however, is that Remaining in the EU should be understood for what it is – remaining in a neoliberal straightjacket, a regressive polity that not only suffers from all the defects of its various Member States but aggravates them through structural democratic deficits.

The condensed diagnosis of this conjuncture is that Labour appear to have forgotten the democratic part of democratic socialism. Not only in the trivial sense, of failing to respect a democratic mandate. But in the more complex sense of assuming that the electorate, and particularly its working class constituency, understood in all its complexity, could simply be bought off by a top-down socialism rather than advancing through their own political empowerment. 

mr-absentia
mr-absentia

The Scottish Parliament Does Have the Right to Withdraw from the Act of Union - Craig Murray

17 Dec, 2018

«English MPs or English ministers in their London Parliament can, at any time, impose any legislation they choose on Scotland, overriding Scotland’s parliament and Scotland’s representation in the London parliament. Yet, under the English Votes for English Laws rules of the London Parliament introduced by the Tories in 2015, Scottish MPs cannot vote at all on matters solely affecting England.

That is plainly a situation of colonial subservience.

I am firmly of the view that the Scottish government should now move to withdraw from the Treaty of Union. Scotland’s right to self determination is inalienable. It cannot be signed away forever or restricted by past decisions.

The Independence of a country is not a matter of domestic law it is a matter of international law. The right of the Scottish Parliament to declare Independence may not be restricted by UK domestic law or by purported limitations on the powers of the Scottish Parliament.»

«I have continually explained on this site that the legality of a Declaration of Independence is in no sense determined by the law of the metropolitan state, but is purely a matter of recognition by other countries and thus acceptance into the United Nations. The UK Government set this out plainly in response to a question from a judge in the Kosovo case:

2. As the United Kingdom stated in oral argument, international law contains no prohibition against declarations of independence as such. 1 Whether a declaration of independence leads to the creation of a new State by separation or secession depends not on the fact of the declaration but on subsequent developments, notably recognition by other States. As a general matter, an act not prohibited by international law needs no authorization. This position holds with respect to States. It holds also with respect to acts of individuals or groups, for international law prohibits conduct of non-State entities only exceptionally and where expressly indicated.

As I have stressed, the SNP should now be making a massive effort to prepare other countries, especially in the EU and in the developing world, to recognise Scotland when the moment comes. There is no task more important. There is a worrying lack of activity in this area. It may currently not be possible to spend government money on sending out envoys for this task, but if personal envoys were endorsed by the First Minister they would get access and could easily be crowd funded by the Independence Movement. I am one of a number of former senior British diplomats who would happily undertake this work without pay. We should be lobbying not just the EU but every country in Africa, Asia and South America.»

mr-absentia

Resolution - Craig Murray

«The disillusionment will be on the same scale as Johnson’s bombastic promises. The Establishment are not stupid and realise there will be an anti-Tory reaction. Their major effort will therefore be to change Labour back into a party supporting neo-liberal economic policy and neo-conservative foreign (or rather war) policy. They will want to be quite certain that, having seen off the Labour Party’s popular European style social democratic programme with Brexit anti-immigrant fervour, the electorate have no effective non-right wing choice at the next election, just like in the Blair years.

To that end, every Blairite horror has been resurrected already by the BBC to tell us that the Labour Party must now move right – McNicol, McTernan, Campbell, Hazarayika and many more, not to mention the platforms given to Caroline Flint, Ruth Smeeth and John Mann. The most important immediate fight for radicals in England is to maintain Labour as a mainstream European social democratic party and resist its reversion to a Clinton style right wing ultra capitalist party. Whether that is possible depends how many of the Momentum generation lose heart and quit.

Northern Ireland is perhaps the most important story of this election, with a seismic shift in a net gain of two seats in Belfast from the Unionists, plus the replacement of a unionist independent by the Alliance Party. Irish reunification is now very much on the agenda. The largesse to the DUP will be cut off now Boris does not need them.

For me personally, Scotland is the most important development of all. A stunning result for the SNP. The SNP result gave them a bigger voter share in Scotland than the Tories got in the UK. So if Johnson got a “stonking mandate for Brexit”, as he just claimed in his private school idiom, the SNP got a “stonking mandate” for Independence.

I hope the SNP learnt the lesson that by being much more upfront about Independence than in the disastrous “don’t mention Independence” election of 2017, the SNP got spectacularly better results.»

December 12 2019

mr-absentia

@SomersetBean: #HumanRightsDay marks the 3290th day that Julian Assange's human rights have been denied. Denied due process. Denied the asylum he was granted. Denied the rule of law. All to hold him in the UK for a show trial & an effective death sentence in the US for publishing the truth.

Reposted byin-god-we-trust02mydafsoup-01

November 21 2019

mr-absentia

@wikileaks: While the world knows Julian's name has been cleared in Sweden, he is sitting in a cell in Belmarsh prison, probably unaware of the news. The Prison cancelled all visits today. Don´t Extradite Assange!

mr-absentia

October 24 2019

mr-absentia

Assange in Court - Craig Murray

«I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.»

«For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defence to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defence to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.

After the recess the defence team stated they could not, in their professional opinion, adequately prepare if the hearing date were kept to February, but within Baraitser’s instruction to do so they nevertheless outlined a proposed timetable on delivery of evidence. In responding to this, Lewis’ junior counsel scurried to the back of the court to consult the Americans again while Lewis actually told the judge he was “taking instructions from those behind”. It is important to note that as he said this, it was not the UK Attorney-General’s office who were being consulted but the US Embassy. Lewis received his American instructions and agreed that the defence might have two months to prepare their evidence (they had said they needed an absolute minimum of three) but the February hearing date may not be moved. Baraitser gave a ruling agreeing everything Lewis had said.

At this stage it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defence. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defence ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm.»

«Finally, Baraitser turned to Julian and ordered him to stand, and asked him if he had understood the proceedings. He replied in the negative, said that he could not think, and gave every appearance of disorientation. Then he seemed to find an inner strength, drew himself up a little, and said:

“I do not understand how this process is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t even access my writings. It is very difficult, where I am, to do anything. These people have unlimited resources.”

The effort then seemed to become too much, his voice dropped and he became increasingly confused and incoherent. He spoke of whistleblowers and publishers being labeled enemies of the people, then spoke about his children’s DNA being stolen and of being spied on in his meetings with his psychologist. I am not suggesting at all that Julian was wrong about these points, but he could not properly frame nor articulate them. He was plainly not himself, very ill and it was just horribly painful to watch. Baraitser showed neither sympathy nor the least concern. She tartly observed that if he could not understand what had happened, his lawyers could explain it to him, and she swept out of court.»

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