Labour MPs tonight joined a pro-Assad rally alongside protesters with flags, hats and scarves bearing the face of the Syrian tyrant. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, Chris Williamson, Emma Dent Coad and Lloyd Russell-Moyle were among those present at this evening’s Stop the War demo at Parliament Square. Williamson told an audience waving pro-Corbyn placards and communist flags that there was no evidence for the Douma chemical attack and that Assad had no motive to carry it out. Echoing Kremlin talking points, Williamson said:
“Why would the Assad regime at this stage of the appalling conflict in Syria, where he’s virtually won the battle for Eastern Ghouta, launch a chemical weapons attack when it would be bound to bring on the wrath of the West? … The motive is questionable, the evidence – where is the evidence? It just isn’t there. And it’s no coincidence, it seems to me, that on the day before the OPCW inspectors were due to start their inspection, these air strikes took place. What is going on? There are very serious questions, it seems to me, that need to be answered.”
One Assad supporter told Guido said the Syrian leader had not done anything illegal and that it was the UK parliament that was acting illegally. He added his message to Jeremy Corbyn was “well done”.
The Stop the War fringe event at Labour conference is always a laugh. Last night Corbyn aide Andrew Murray, who has previously expressed open support for North Korea, gave this absolutely textbook example of the “Stop the War but”:
“Now North Korea’s own conduct is often provocative and belligerent, I don’t defend its rhetoric, but this is a country which perhaps has learned the lesson from the Iraq War, that Iraq got invaded when it did not have weapons of mass destruction. So being threatened continually by the Americans you go out and you get them.”
Stop the War veteran Lindsey German then argued North Korea gets unfair treatment compared with other countries:
“I don’t agree with what Kim Jong Un is doing but let’s face it, the North Koreans are testing some missiles most weeks, the Americans test something like a thousand missiles a year, the Indians and Pakistanis test nuclear weapons, nobody puts sanctions on them, nobody threatens them with war… The war in Korea which went on for three years was devastating for the people of North Korea. They had absolutely no targets left to hit because they destroyed every single town in that part of the country. They deliberately targeted dams so that they would flood the rice fields and they would therefore starve the population. This is the record of America in Korea, and they wonder why people might be a little bit suspicious.”
“I don’t agree with Kim Jong Un, but…”
The publicly-funded Imperial War Museum is giving a free tour to members of the Stop the War Coalition which will be led by a notorious hard-left agitator. Activists from the group, long associated with the far-left and Jeremy Corbyn, will be granted free access to the People Power: Fighting for Peace exhibition in London. Meanwhile, ordinary families will pay to go round the show this summer: adult tickets cost £10, children £5 and concessions £7. An email to Stop The War members also reveals the museum will provide the services of a professional curator and historian:
“We are pleased to announce a free guided tour for Stop the War members of the People Power: Fighting for Peace exhibition at the IWM in London at 4pm on 3rd August, which will last for about an hour… Senior IWM curator and historian Matt Brosnan and Stop the War convenor Lindsey German will be guiding the tour. “
As noted in The Economist, Stop the War has “often been accused of being sympathetic towards (or at least, conspicuously quiet about) despotic foreign leaders.” Its founder, John Rees, said Hamas and Hezbollah are “a legitimate part of [our] movement”. When Syrian civil society groups lobbied the UN to set up no-bombing zones in Syria, Stop the War opposed it. Tour leader Lindsey German – formerly of the Socialist Workers Party Central Committee – wrote in The Guardian: “The answer to the misery of the people of Aleppo… is not a no-fly [no bombing] zone, which in fact entails military intervention.” A public institution hosts a free day out for the hard left…
If you are going to organise a rally protesting against Donald Trump, you should probably try to make sure it isn’t hijacked by cranks, extremists and anti-Semites. Alas, the speakers at this afternoon’s “Stop Trump” rally in Westminster are a roll call of wrong ‘uns…
While a Respect Party councillor in Birmingham, Yaqoob infamously refused to join applause for George Cross-winning war hero Lance Corporal Matt Croucher. L/Cpl Croucher threw himself on top of a Taliban grenade in Helmand in 2008, saving the lives of his colleagues. As decorated Croucher entered the council chamber, Yaqoob sat with her arms crossed.
Malia Bouattia (NUS President)
Disgraced Bouattia says the government’s anti-terror programme Prevent is fuelled by a “Zionist lobby“, has ranted about the “Zionist-led media” and has described the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost“. She also refused to acknowledge the right of the State of Israel to exist during a Channel 4 News interview last year. Professor Carol Baxter, the NHS’s former head of equality, diversity and human rights, carried out a probe into Bouattia’s comments and found they “could be reasonably capable of being interpreted as anti-Semitic”. Rumours are circulating that she could be ousted from the NUS this week.
Asad Rehman (Friends of the Earth)
Asad Rehman is Friends of the Earth’s “international climate campaigner” but he engages on a variety of issues outside his realm of expertise: Rehman has tweeted his belief that Netanyahu and Israel are “best pals” with ISIS. He advocates banning “Zionist organisations” from climate change events. Real piece of work.
Murad Qureshi (Chair, Stop the War Coalition)
The West-hating Stop the War has praised the “internationalism and solidarity of ISIS”, blamed the French for the Paris terror attacks and refuses to oppose Russian bombing of Syria. Qureshi feebly claimed his organisation could not protest against Putin because the Russian Embassy is on a private road. As Peter Tatchell says of Qureshi’s group: “The Stop the War Coalition is in moral meltdown… over its one-sided Syria protests and its persistent failure to listen to appeals from democratic, anti-war and civil society activists inside Syria.”
Way to completely discredit your anti-Trump protest.
Blairite MP Ann Clwyd asks why there are no protests outside the Russian embassy in London. Boris agrees:
“I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy. Where is the Stop the War Coalition?”
It might look something like this:
This time presumably Stop the War will be busy washing their hair…
Despite the so-called ‘ceasefire’ in Syria, Russian planes have been accused of bombing a Medicin Sans Frontieres hospital this morning, killing nine people. According to the humanitarian aid organisation, “This appears to be a deliberate attack on a health structure, and we condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms”. Anti-war campaigners must be up in arms…
Head over to the Stop the War Coalition website today and there is no mention of the Russian air strikes in Syria anywhere. The site instead leads with a Stop the War protest against Nicky Morgan. Good to see the tankies are all over the big issues…