Posts Tagged ‘Data Protection Act’

Asa Winstanley Suspended from Labour Party Charged with ‘Anti-Semitism’

March 12, 2019

Asa Winstanley, a journalist with the pro-Palestinian website, The Electronic Intifada, has become yet another casualty in the Labour right’s attempts to silence critics of Israel. He was suspended from the party because of a Tweet he posted, which said

Israeli embassy proxy the JLM confirms it was responsible for the referencing of Labour to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supposed “institutional antisemitism”.

Shameless sabotage of the party.

This is what Israel terms “lawfare”

https://electronicintifada.net/tags/lawfare

Like other members of the party, who have similarly been suspended and smeared as anti-Semites, Winstanley only knew of this after it was published by the Jewish Chronicle, which also chose to reveal Winstanley’s private details. A hack from the Chronicle, Rosa Donerty, posted

It is understood that Asa Winstanley is suspended from Labour party pending investigation.

to which Winstanley commented that

The fact that a Jewish Chronicle journalist is claiming to be the first to know information, which would, if true, be confidential indicates attempts to politicise and compromise Labour’s disciplinary process.   

And, as you might expect, the abuse started. Someone calling himself ‘Dr. Gonzo’ responded in classy fashion with

F**k off you anti-Semitic piece of s**t. Go play with the traffic you insufferable racist c**t.

Ali Abunimah’s article about this mentions that two years ago in 2017, lawyers from the Jewish Labour Movement, which has close ties with the Israeli embassy, tried to shut him down by threatening legal action.

See: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/labour-party-investigates-electronic-intifada-journalist

Mike states in his piece about this latest vile attack on a critic of Israel that it resembles his own experience. He only heard that he had been suspended when someone phoned him up about it from the Welsh paper The Western Mail. Mike also agrees with Winstanley that the disclosure of the information to a third party may be a breach of the Data Protection Act. Mike’s currently taking the Party to court, and this is very definitely going to be a part of his case. And yes, Mike has also suffered vile abuse following the Labour party’s actions. Mike also makes the point that although the party describes its investigations procedure as quasi-judicial, it has no legal validity. This means that the party can be sued by members or former members, who have suffered harm to their reputations after their treatment by the party.

The Electronic Intifada’s article states that the complaints procedure was expected to become fairer with the appointment of Jenny Formby. It hasn’t. Mike concludes

But then, it seems the attitude of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee and complaint-handling “compliance unit” really hasn’t changed in the nearly two years since my case began.

They still treat the people who pay their wages with nothing but contempt.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/12/labour-investigation-of-asa-winstanley-shows-it-is-still-abusing-rank-and-file-members/

I’m not surprised that the Labour party has accused Winstanley of anti-Semitism. As the Electronic Intifada’s article on him says, he’s been with them since 2015, and has appeared frequently on the various alternative news media discussing and commenting on Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians, and the Israel lobby’s attempts to silence opposition and dissent, with other journalists and activists. In a way, I’m just surprised that it took this long to get round to him.

I suspect the tweet about the Jewish Labour Movement being a front for the Israeli embassy got him into trouble because, as last Friday’s piece in the I by the United Synagogue’s Richard Verber shows, the Israel lobby is claiming that accusations that Jewish or other organisations are funded by Israel is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. In some cases, it may well be. But the Jewish Labour Movement was founded in 2015, as its leader, Jeremy Newmark admitted in 2016, in order to fight opposition to Israel. It has strong ties to the Israeli embassy, as does Labour Friends of Israel, whose chair, Joan Ryan, hobnobbed nearly every day with disgraced conspirator Shai Masot. And six of the original eight founders of The Independent Group were members of the LFI, and they included that organisation’s chair. Which means that Ruth George was quite right when she tweeted that she wouldn’t blame anyone for suspecting that they were funded by the Israelis.

The accusation also shows how fake and contrived these accusations of anti-Semitism are. I’ve read many articles by Winstanley and the other journos at the Electronic Intifada, and absolutely none of them have been genuinely anti-Semitic in the real, legal sense of of expressing or trying to provoke hatred of Jews as Jews. Indeed, I believe from the tenor of the articles that the opposite is true. The articles have always been very well informed and precisely worded, so that the object of criticism has been the Israeli state and right-wing politicians, activists and Israeli racism in general. But never Jews or the Israelis as a people.

Which is why I’ve no doubt that the JLM is trying to silence him now. He’s too well-informed, accurate and reliable, and definitely not an anti-Semite. I wish Mr Winstanley every success in dealing with this vile calumny and give him my full and staunch support, as I do with everyone like him – Mike, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni, Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone. May they get re-instated soon, their names cleared, and those who besmirch them exposed and thrown out instead.

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Branson Denies Corbyn Forced to Sit in Corridor on His Train

August 25, 2016

Mike also put up a couple of posts this week about another controversy to hit Jeremy Corbyn. A few months ago the Labour leader released a video of him sitting in the corridor while travelling by Virgin Trains, Richard Branson’s rail franchise. Now Beardie Branson has released footage apparently showing Corbyn walking past empty seats. Of course the right-wing media has leapt on this, as Mike says, as it appears to show Corbyn is lying.

But Mike in his first article asks his readers who they’re prepared to believe – Branson, or Corbyn and the people he was travelling with? Since the video was released, other passengers have come forward confirming Corbyn’s story that the train was indeed ‘ram-packed’. Mike also points out that the video shows Corbyn walking past reserved seats, and that it is known that the train company upgraded other people to first class, after they realised he and his companions were on the floor.

He also makes the point that Branson has every reason to dispute the Labour leader’s account. Corbyn has said that he wants to renationalise the train network. Branson would lose out if this occurred, quite apart from the fact that his section of the rail network has not improved to the extent that is actually required. See Mike’s article: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/08/23/who-do-you-believe-about-corbyns-train-trip-the-profit-making-rail-company-or-the-politician-set-on-re-nationalisation/

In a further article, Mike quotes Steve Walker, who knows this area of the law better than him, to point out that Beardie Branson and the Beeb may have broken the Data Protection Act by showing the footage. There is nothing in the law which allows such footage to be used by a company to defend its reputation, and by putting it on YouTube and then giving to the Beeb, both Branson and the Beeb may have broken the law, and specifically the provision against using footage that specifically shows one individual.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/08/23/did-virgin-trains-break-the-law-by-releasing-cctv-footage-of-jeremy-corbyn/

Yesterday the ‘I’ joined in the right-wing attack on Corbyn, running the headline ‘Corbyn’s Train Seat Campaign Derails’ on the front page, with a photo of Corbyn walking past apparently empty seats. Here’s the photo.

Corbyn Train Pic

If this is supposed to show that Corbyn was lying, it has not done so. All the seats in the picture are reserved, as can be seen from the paper tags fixed to them.

And regardless of whether Corbyn was right about this specific journey, he is right in calling for the trains to be renationalised. The train service is now more expensive in public subsidies, and more efficient than it was in the last days of British Rail. I’ve been on train journeys, where I’ve been forced, with others, to sit in the corridor because the train is literally jam-packed. And there are frequent delays. On the rail network stretching from the south-west of England up to Scotland, for example, there are a frequent delays of anything from a few minutes to well over an hour regularly. Privatisation hasn’t, and isn’t working. Even Olga Maitland, the very Tory peer, wrote a piece in the Mail a few years ago recommending that the trains should be renationalised.

New Labour Turns to Criminal Hacking to Stop Corbyn

July 19, 2016

Mike yesterday put up a piece reporting that an internet campaign organisation, #HackingLabour, had been formed by the Blairites at Progress, Saving Labour and Labour First. This organisation has the object of hacking into Labour’s computer records, in order to find details of ex-members, who left in protest against Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour party. #HackingLabour and its backers wish to use the information to recruit these former members back to Labour, so that they can vote six more anti-Labour representatives onto the NEC to block Corbyn’s policies there.

Mike points out that such data mining is illegal under data protection laws. See his article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/18/hackinglabour-the-new-wheeze-by-the-campaign-against-corbyn-is-a-criminal-offence/

In fact, it was so illegal that Mike later reported that the Information Commissioner had stepped in to stop it.

Information Commissioner acts to shut down illegal #HackingLabour data harvesting

This is more evidence showing just how desperate New Labour is to hold on to power, and keep people trapped in the Thatcherite consensus of austerity, welfare cuts and poverty, all to curry favour with the right-wing media and political and economic establishment. It’s just one in a long line of dirty tricks, from T-shirts to heckling and other PR stunts.

Of course, the real question is what Owen Smith and Angela Eagle think of all this. These stunts have been done for their benefit, and breaking into computers to steal membership information isn’t that far removed from breaking into a hotel room to steal information. That brought down Richard Nixon. The public has a right to know what Smith and Eagle think about it, because this reflects on their attitude to other, possible forms of corruption and illegality in government.