As Trump abandons Kurds, Israel worries how dependable he is
JOSEF FEDERMAN,Associated Press 16 hours ago
JERUSALEM (AP) — For the past three years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has bet heavily on President Donald Trump and been rewarded with major diplomatic gains in exchange for his warm embrace of the U.S. leader.
But the U.S. pullback from northeastern Syria, essentially abandoning its Kurdish allies, has called that strategy — and Trump’s reliability as a friend — into question. In particular, there are growing fears that Israel’s archenemy Iran could be emboldened by what appears to be an increasingly hands-off American policy in the region.
“The Israelis had thought of Trump as a special U.S. leader very much in tune with their view of the region,” said Dan Shapiro, who was former U.S. President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Israel. “Now they’re coming to terms with the cold hard reality that his isolationist instincts and his chaotic, impulsive decision making can actually be very damaging to their interests.”
It is a surprising turn of events for Netanyahu, who has been one of Trump’s strongest supporters on the international stage.
That alliance yielded a wealth of dividends for Netanyahu during the first few years of the Trump administration — perhaps none so striking as Trump’s decision to break with decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He moved the American Embassy to the contested holy city, enraging the Palestinians.
Trump also withdrew from the international nuclear deal with Iran — an agreement that Israel had derided as weak and ineffective. He defended Israel from its many critics at the United Nations, and, early this year, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war.
Netanyahu routinely boasts that Trump is the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House. But things have begun to change since he failed to win reelection in April and was forced to hold a second, inconclusive vote last month.
During the first campaign for the April race, Trump embraced Netanyahu’s candidacy and made little secret of his support, inviting the Israeli leader to the White House when he announced his recognition of the Golan Heights annexation.
But during the do-over race, Trump kept his distance. And after Netanyahu last month failed for a second time to win a parliamentary majority in national elections, Trump appeared to play down the friendship. “Our relations are with Israel, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Concerns have only deepened following a series of moves in which Trump backed away from possible military confrontations. In June, he called off a planned attack against Iran in response to the shooting down of an American drone. Trump also decided against military action in response to an alleged Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities last month, saying he did not want war.
Then, this week, he abruptly withdrew U.S. troops from Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria, clearing the way for a Turkish invasion aimed at crushing the Kurds, America’s allies in the fight against the Islamic State group. Trump has defended the move by saying the United States should not be “fighting and policing” in the Middle East. But it reportedly caught Israeli officials off guard.
The fear is that Trump’s actions, or lack thereof, could encourage Iran to step up what Israel sees as aggressive and hostile activity in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
“The main image is a very weak U.S. that does not help its allies. It deserts its allies,” said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.
Israeli officials declined to comment about Trump’s decision in northern Syria but said relations with the U.S. remain strong and the country is more than capable of defending itself.
“We will always remember and implement the basic rule that has guided us: Israel will defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony Thursday for soldiers killed in the 1973 Mideast war. “The Israeli military is prepared to preempt any threat, defensively and offensively, with crushing strength.”
But while officials have stopped short of openly criticizing Trump, the American pullback from Syria has pushed some to question Netanyahu’s close alliance. That support has had the effect of alienating some of Israel’s traditional backers in the Democratic Party and the overwhelmingly liberal Jewish American community and caused friction with allies in Europe.
“From Jerusalem’s perspective, it is another warning sign that this president — until recently presented as Israel’s greatest friend ever in Washington — can’t be trusted,” said Amos Harel, a commentator in the Haaretz daily. “Again, one must wonder whether too much reliance hadn’t been placed on Trump, at the cost of Netanyahu distancing himself far from the Democrats and undermining traditional bipartisan support in Washington for Israel.”
Ofer Shelach, a lawmaker with the Blue and White Party, the main rival of Netanyahu’s Likud party, said the events in northeastern Syria are “more evidence of Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing diplomatic failure.” He said that despite the close ties with Netanyahu, Trump does “what suits him.”
But not everyone views the U.S. move as necessarily bad for Israel — or all that new. Yaakov Amidror, Netanyahu’s former national security adviser, said Trump’s disengagement in many ways continues Obama’s reluctance to become embroiled in yet another Mideast conflict.
Although a U.S. exit from the region could have “very bad consequences” in terms of Iranian actions, he said it also could create new opportunities. Not having to worry about the “sensitivities” of U.S. troops in the area could give Israel more freedom to act, he said.
“The space is more opened to not just the Iranians but to us,” he said.
The statement that the CIA made some time back that in 20 years time zionist israel and all the jewish zionists would not exist , seems to becoming true
I was stopped from speaking out against Israel’s crimes – Britain’s complicity in Palestinian repression must end :OMAR BARGHOUTI
Omar Barghouti,The Independent Mon, 23 Sep
I was set to take part in a Labour Party conference fringe event this weekend talking about my work advocating for Palestinian rights – but was unable to travel to Brighton because of a peculiar delay in the processing of my UK visa application. I suspect that Israel’s far-right government has once again outsourced its desperate war of repression against those supporting Palestinian rights to another western government.
I was invited to two different events, organised by the National Education Union, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Momentum-aligned fringe event The World Transformed, to speak about the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and our nonviolent resistance to Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
I was planning to expose the deepening complicity of the British government, corporations and institutions, in enabling Israel’s brutal system of oppression, while highlighting how Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – a non-violent tactic against the occupation – has become a significant partner in a growing international progressive wave fighting the global far-right led by Trump.
Yet the space in which advocates of Palestinian rights can – without persecution – expose decades of Palestinian dispossession, forcible displacement and daily humiliation by a settler-colonial regime is shrinking rapidly.
After a charity event in Tower Hamlets advocating for Palestinian rights was blocked by the council, keenly aware of this shrinking space and expanding repression by public institutions in the UK, Palestinian figures wrote, “The rights of all British citizens to accurately describe, inform and convey the reality of ongoing Palestinian dispossession, and to call for action to resist these illegalities, belongs in the public space. All public bodies have an obligation to protect and defend these rights, to maintain democracy.”
The clearest case of this rising suppression of freedom of expression is the collusion of western establishments in Israel’s desperate war to delegitimise the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
In May, the German Bundestag passed a resolution smearing BDS as “antisemitic”. More than 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars, including authorities on antisemitism and history of the Holocaust, condemned the “deceitful” resolution, saying it did nothing to “advance the urgent fight against antisemitism” and ignored the BDS movement’s explicit condemnation of “all forms of racism, including antisemitism”.
Daniel Blatman, a prominent Israeli Holocaust era historian and chief historian of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, was even more blunt. He wrote, “That is how a country where antisemitism was a political tool that contributed to the rise of the Nazis’ murderous enterprise became a country that promotes distortion of anti-Semitism as a tool to facilitate the political persecution of a nonviolent [BDS] movement that fights the occupation, the oppression of the Palestinians and the war crimes Israel perpetrates in the territories”.
In the UK, communities secretary Robert Jenrick promised days ago to go after local authorities that adopt BDS-related measures that aim to end complicity with corporations implicated in violating Palestinian human rights, again citing antisemitism.
Dozens of UK Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups have also denounced this new definition as a thinly veiled attempt “to silence a public discussion of what happened in Palestine and to the Palestinians in 1948, when the majority of its people were forcibly expelled”.
In spite of this political persecution, our inclusive BDS movement is growing substantially – its impact is multiplying rapidly through building principled and intersectional alliances with global movements fighting for racial, indigenous, social, economic, gender and climate justice. As Angela Davis always reminds us: justice is indivisible.
Just last week, the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC), representing millions of working people, voted for ending military trade with Israel and to pressure corporations to end complicity in its violations of Palestinian rights. In its conference last year, the Labour Party adopted a freeze of arms sales to Israel. Unite the Union, voted in June to boycott HP-branded companies over their involvement in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.
These and many other expressions of support for Palestinian rights give us hope and inspire us to continue our march to liberation. There have always been attempts to muzzle our voices, and to break our spirits and bodies, but wherever we live, at home or in exile, Palestinians remain steadfast in our commitment to fight not only McCarthyism and repression but apartheid and settler-colonialism. We will persist in the pursuit of our UN-stipulated rights, including self-determination, and the return of our people made refugees through ethnic cleansing.
They prevented me from being in the UK to speak yesterday, but they have failed to silence me. I spoke via video about my people’s tireless struggle for our rights and about the legal and ethical necessity to end UK complicity in maintaining Israel’s denial of those rights.
They fear our shining a light of truth that reveals their lies. They dread our tireless quest for justice. They loathe our love for freedom and our insistence on nothing less than an existence with dignity and “the full menu of rights“, to borrow from South African leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Omar Barghouti is a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights
Early Wednesday, Mr Gantz told a cheering rally of supporters that while it was too soon to declare victory, he had begun speaking to potential partners and hoped to form a unity government.
“Starting tonight we will work to form a broad unity government that will express the will of the people,” he said.
Attention will now focus on Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who is to choose the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a stable coalition.
Mr Rivlin is to consult with all parties in the coming days before making his decision.
HE(BENJAMIN NETANYAHU) IS ON THE WAY OUT AND THE ARAB PARTIES WILL HOPEFULLY BE IN THE NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT ,IT IS TOO MUCH TO HOPE THAT THE ARAB POPULATION WILL GET A JUST AND FAIR DEAL , BUT AT LEAST ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN BIBI NETANYAHU.HALF A LOAF IS BETTER THAN NONE , MAYBE A FEW FISHES AS WELL
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing lengthy coalition talks as he fights for his political life after he tied with rival Benny Gantz in early results.
Mr Netanyahu failed to secure a majority with his natural religious and nationalist allies in elections on Tuesday, with the exit polls currently too close to call.
But addressing his supporters early on Wednesday, he refused to concede defeat and vowed to work to form a new government that excludes Arab parties.
The result has set the stage for a period of coalition negotiations that could threaten the Prime Minister’s political future and even clear the way for him to be tried on corruption charges.
Initial partial results showed Mr Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party tied with Mr Netanyahu’s Likud.
While the results do not guarantee that Mr Gantz will be the next prime minister, they signalled that Mr Netanyahu, who has led the country for over 10 years, could have trouble holding on to the job.
His campaign focused heavily on attacking and questioning the loyalty of the country’s Arab minority – a strategy that drew accusations of racism and incitement from Arab leaders.
“In the coming days we will convene negotiations to assemble a strong Zionist government and to prevent a dangerous anti-Zionist government,” he said.
He claimed that Arab parties “negate the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” and “glorify bloodthirsty murderers.”
The partial results released on Wednesday by the Central Election Commission were based on 35 percent of the vote counted.
The three Israeli TV channels reported the same outcome, based on more than 90 percent of the vote counted, but did not explain the discrepancy with the commission’s percentage.
Final results are expected Wednesday and could still swing in Mr Netanyahu’s favour.
According to the partial results, the parties of Mr Gantz and Mr Netanyahu received 32 seats each in the 120-member parliament.
Likud with its natural allies of religious and ultra-nationalist parties mustered 56 seats – or five short of the needed majority.This means both Likud and Blue and White will have difficulty setting up a governing coalition without the support of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party.That put Mr Lieberman, a former protege of Mr Netanyahu’s who has become one of the prime minister’s fiercest rivals, in the position of kingmaker.Arab parties, which have never before sat in an Israeli government, also finished strong, and exit polls predicted they would form the third-largest party in parliament.Addressing his supporters late Tuesday, a jubilant Mr Lieberman said he saw only “one option”: a broad, secular coalition with both Blue and White and Likud.”We’ve always said that a unity government is only possible in emergency situations. And I tell you and I tell every citizen today watching us on television: the situation, both security-wise and economically, are emergency situations,” he said. “The country, therefore, requires a broad government.”Read moreUS envoy: Luxembourg PM’s behaviour is reminder of why UK wants BrexitEarly Wednesday, Mr Gantz told a cheering rally of supporters that while it was too soon to declare victory, he had begun speaking to potential partners and hoped to form a unity government.”Starting tonight we will work to form a broad unity government that will express the will of the people,” he said.Attention will now focus on Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who is to choose the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a stable coalition.Mr Rivlin is to consult with all parties in the coming days before making his decision.Read moreRead more US envoy: Luxembourg PM’s behaviour is reminder of why UK wants BrexitComments (7)Sign in again to post a comment.
Call for unity government after Israel election ends in dead heat
Netanyahu faces fight for survival as Likud party fails to secure Knesset majority
Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 07:50 Updated: about 23 hours agoMark Weiss in Jerusalem
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara casts their votes at a voting station in Jerusalem. Photograph: Heidi Levine/ AFP/Getty Images
It looks unlikely that Binyamin Netanyahu has won a fifth term as Israel’s prime minister, with TV exit polls following Tuesday’s election showing his right-wing/religious bloc falling short of the 61 seats required for a Knesset majority.
But even though Mr Netanyahu lost, his main rivals, the centrist Blue and White led by former top general Benny Gantz, did not win convincingly. Two exit polls showed Blue and White emerging as the biggest party, winning between 33-34 seats, compared with 31-33 for the Mr Netanyahu’s Likud. A third poll indicated 32 seats for both parties.
With the result too close to call, all the leading politicians preferred to wait until the ballot slips are counted on Wednesday.
Mr Gantz said on Wednesday it appeared from the exit polls that Israel’s longest-serving leader was defeated but that only official results would tell.
In his own speech to right-wing Likud party faithful, Mr Netanyahu, sipping water frequently and speaking in a hoarse voice, made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he was awaiting a vote tally.
Mr Netanyahu’s appearance in the dead of night at Likud election headquarters was a far cry from his triumphant declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.
His failure to form a government after the April ballot led to the new election on Tuesday. Mr Gantz, a former armed forces chief, beamed with confidence as he told a rally of his Blue and White Party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work towards formation of a unity government. Mr Netanyahu, he said, apparently “did not succeed in his mission” to win a fifth term. “We will await the actual results,” Mr Gantz, 60, said.
The exit polls following Israel’s second election in five months indicated a political stalemate with the likelihood of weeks of political horse-trading ahead as both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gantz scramble to cobble together a working coalition.
The most likely scenario appears to be some kind of Likud-Blue and White unity government, possibly involving a rotation of the premiership.
Mr Netanyahu’s bloc is projected to win between 54-57 seats, compared with 54-58 for the centre-left bloc, if the seats of the Arab Joint List, which is projected to win between 11-13 seats, are added.
Holding the balance of power is the right-wing, secular Yisrael Beiteinu led by former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, the big winner of the election, with a projected eight to 10 seats. Mr Lieberman renewed his call on Tuesday night for a unity government comprising Likud and Blue and White together with his own party, without any religious and far-right parties.
The two left-wing parties – Labour and the Democratic Camp (formerly Meretz) – both passed the minimum threshold to enter the Knesset, while the extremist far-right, anti-Arab Jewish Strength fell short, according to all the exit polls.
Leading Likud politicians were quick to quash rumours that there may be a move within the Likud to replace Mr Netanyahu as leader.
President Reuven Rivlin will formally task one of the party leaders with forming a government next week after he completes his consultations with all the party leaders once the final results are in. He has made it clear that he will do everything to ensure that a government is formed, avoiding the nightmare prospect of a third election within a year.
The elections were very much focused on one question: should Israel’s longest-serving prime minister be given another five-year term in office. The result appears to be inconclusive.
The fact that Mr Netanyahu is facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases, pending a final hearing in a few weeks’ time, failed to have a dramatic impact on the campaign.
These elections were dubbed as a battle for the soul of Israel. The results indicate, yet again, that Israel’s soul is split in two.–Additional reporting Reuters
This was a false flag attack organised and carried out by KIDON( if you do not know who or what KIDON is check it out on the net)
Ex-CIA and commercial jet pilot John Lear claims that the Twin Towers were not brought to the ground by planes crashing into them on 9/11, and now detailed information has been posted online corroborating his account.
Conspiracy theory becomes FACT put that in your pipe and smoke it mr marbella .
Note the usage of the word evidence used in the above header not conspiracy theory. Hard facts that are choosen to be ignored by the pro zionist lobby.and the likes of the trump brigade. Still read the article and form your own opinion.
I voted Remain, not because I was so convinced it was best (at the time I was too uninformed to have such strong conviction), but simply because I see multinational economic and political cooperation as an attractive alternative to international conflict. I also consider the EU itself to be a progressive project in a dangerously unstable world.
After the referendum, I admit I was shocked at the result. Still, hopefully David Cameron knew how to make Brexit work out for the best. Oops, make that Theresa May. Oops…
I live in a strongly ‘Remain’ part of England and as far as I knew not a single one of my friends, neighbours or relatives had voted ‘Leave’. Though as I gradually discovered, a small minority of them had. Those few all had one thing in common: they were independently wealthy.
And yet according to the demographic research, the majority of Leave voters were either working class or out of work.
To put it crudely, the rich and the poor had voted Leave, while the rest had voted Remain.
I found this hard to fathom. But as I began to look into the deluge of opinions, arguments, articles, reports and official documents published in the wake of the referendum, a rather ugly picture began to emerge.
I’ve gone into immense detail with this answer, not wishing to leave anything out. My apologies for the length. But if you just want the overview, here it is:
(1) A lot of the arguments made for Britain leaving the EU were and still are based on myths and misinformation…
‘The EU threatens British sovereignty.’
‘The EU is run by unelected bureaucrats.’
‘The UK must leave the EU in order to control its own borders or make its own laws.’
‘The UK will be economically better off outside the EU.’
None of these is really true.
(2) Sincethe referendum,it has become much clearer what Brexit was really about all along, and how it was pulled off …
While most UK business benefits from being in the EU, Brexit was and still is primarily driven by a tiny minority of super-rich businessmen who like to operate above the law — tax-dodging tycoons, foreign oligarchs and unscrupulous investors.
Since 2010, the EU has been introducing regulations to put a stop to their unethical practices. In particular, the EU began to clamp down on hedge funds (2011) and corporate tax avoidance (2016).
Since then, those who would be most affected by these regulations — a few billionaires plus certain Conservative politicians who aspire to be like them — have been pushing relentlessly for a hard or no-deal Brexit.
They favour crashing out if the EU because any kind of negotiated deal would inevitably involve accepting EU regulations. (Hence Theresa May’s Brexit deal was immediately rejected because she had agreed to retain the EU’s tax regulations.)
Boris Johnson has been sponsored to push through a no-deal Brexit by Halloween; the official line that he is actively seeking a new deal is pure spin.
For some in the Conservative Party, Brexit also represents an opportunity ‘to finish what Margaret Thatcher started’, i.e. dismantling the welfare state and restructuring the UK in favour of self-interest and private profit — only this time without any trans-national regulations or human rights laws getting in the way.
The two main pro-‘Leave’ campaigns in the run-up to the referendum (Farage’s ‘Leave_EU’ and Johnson/Cummings’s ‘Vote Leave’) were unlawful and unethical. Aside from hiding their dodgy finances, they used both public ads (the big red bus) and ‘micro-targeted’ messages to disseminate anti-EU lies and misinformation.
I think everyone involved needs to be aware of these hidden agendas and covert tactics.
(1) MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION
“The EU threatens British sovereignty”
Many have argued that the EU has undermined British democracy, law and parliamentary sovereignty, and that leaving the EU is the only way for the UK to ‘take back control’. And yet the UK has never, at any point, lost control to the EU.
Even the UK Government’s own outline for leaving the EU states that ‘Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU,’ adding simply that ‘it hasn’t always felt like that.’
In reality, the UK has simply opted-in to a prestigious multinational ‘club’ in order to achieve certain shared objectives and enjoy certain privileges and benefits, such as
operating as a powerful single market;
enjoying hassle-free international travel for business, holidays, studying, working, research, etc.,
collaborating successfully on everything from cancer research to crime investigation to climate change.
Club membership also comes with a number of rules and regulations, which are constantly evolving. As a particularly strong and influential member, the UK has always had considerable power to shape these. But now, by leaving the EU, the UK is losing all of this power as well as all of the membership benefits.
“If you take back the right to set your own rules and standards, it will by definition become harder to do business with countries that use different ones.
If you want to trade, you will probably end up following the rules of a more powerful partner—which for Britain means the EU or America—only without a say in setting them.”
It seems ironic, in fact, that the UK is prepared to lose all this power, prestige and privilege in the name of ‘taking back control’.
Even more ironically, by ‘taking back control’ with a no-deal Brexit, the UK will have to comply with trade rules set behind closed doors in Geneva by the unelected committees of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 
“The UK needs control of its own borders”
The UK doesn’t need to leave the EU to have control of its own borders.
For one thing, the UK has never opted-in to the Schengen Area, a border-control-free subset of EU countries, precisely in order to maintain full control of its own borders.
The Schengen Area |
Leaving the EU will of course mean the UK is no longer obliged to accept the free movement of EU citizens. This in turn will no doubt reduce the volume of EU citizens visiting or staying in the UK.
But free movement grants visitors temporary residence for only up to three months. Beyond that, a visitor must meet certain criteria such as studying or finding employment, otherwise they must return home. And in any case, their continuing stay is at the host nation’s own discretion.
The UK, however, doesn’t take full advantage of this and seems to keep quiet about it.
This is partly because an earlier governmentopted to allow unrestricted migration from newly-joined EU member-states in Eastern Europe. Britain was then taken by surprise at the influx of migrants from these countries.
It’s also partly because the UK still lacks adequate methods for checking immigration statistics and monitoring those who over-stay.
Resolving such issues does not necessitate leaving the EU. Nevertheless, that was the simple solution sold to voters by the ‘Leave’ campaigns.
“The EU is run by unelected bureaucrats in the European Commission”
Eurospectic politicians and newspapers are fond of referring to the officials of the European Union as ‘unelected bureaucrats’ or ‘eurocrats’, suggesting that these unaccountable officials make decisions that affect our lives.
In fact, the EU is run democratically by two bodies:
the Council of the EU — a regular get-together of government ministers from each of the EU member states;
the European Parliament — an assembly of 751 directly-elected MEPs representing their constituencies.
A third body, the EuropeanCommission consists of over 30,000 civil servants whose job is to administer EU laws. It is overseen by 28 Commissioners, one nominated by each member state.
While it is technically correct that the Commission’s civil servants are “unelected bureaucrats”, the same is true of all civil servants everywhere.
What is grossly incorrect is the idea that Europe is “governed” or “run”by these civil servants. This misconception may be due to the fact that it’s the Commission’s job to proposeand implementnew EU-wide legislation. But it does so only in an administrative capacity.
[For an explanation of how the Commission works, see Note 1]
So what about all those ludicrous laws imposed on the British by dastardly eurocrats?
They don’t exist. They were deliberately made up by British anti-EU journalists, like a certain Boris Johnson.
From 1989–1994, Johnson was a bored young journalist reporting from the European Commission in Brussels. He soon found that he could easily make front-page headlines by portraying the European Commission as a bunch of incompetent, jumped-up foreigners undermining the natural greatness of the UK.
He also found that Brussels-bashing boosted his career prospects, as a lot of old-fashioned Conservatives back home believed every word he wrote.
Almost single-handedly, Johnson had created the brand of fake news known as ‘the Euromyth’. It did of course mean ditching any semblance of journalistic integrity, just deliberately lying and scaremongering on a daily basis — but he managed to do it spectacularly well, and still does.
He was, however, recently caught red-handed:
In his leadership campaign, Boris Johnson paraded a kipper claiming that ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ impose ridiculous rules on kipper packaging. In fact the packaging rules are set by the UK’s own Food Standards Agency to ensure the safety of food bought online.
“The UK will be economically better off outside the EU”
The UK currently enjoys all the benefits that go with being part of the world’s most democratic trading bloc, such as tariff-free import/export trade. In addition, the EU’s huge single market provides enough combined clout to level the playing field with the world’s other two economic superpowers, China and the US. It is estimated that the economic benefits of EU membership provide the UK with a return on investment of somewhere between 5 and 15 times the annual membership fee.
But by cancelling its membership of the EU, the UK will lose all these economic advantages at a singlestroke. 
The economic effects for the UK, according to the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), will be negative for decades to come even in the best-case scenario of having a free-trade agreement with the EU, but far worse in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The only positive is a minuscule savings in regulatory costs. (Note: this model was calculated justbefore the referendum and takes 2016 as the Leave date.)
Even the Treasury’s own analyses of the economic effects of leaving the EU are absolutely grim. Whether the outcome of leaving is Norway-style (EEA membership), Canada-style (bilateral agreement), or a no-deal exit (defaulting to WTO rules), there is no economic benefit to the UK:
”The Treasury’s analysis shows that the UK would be permanently poorer if it left the EU and adopted any of these models. Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU.”
British business will be hurt; British science and scholarship will be hurt; British workers will lose the right to work anywhere in Europe; British students will no longer be able to work or study anywhere in the EU; the NHS will have fewer doctors and nurses; poorer areas like Cornwall and Wales will lose their EU grants.
The IMF has likewise suggested that a no-deal Brexit could cost the UK economy somewhere between 5% and 8% of GDP, representing a loss of thousands of pounds per household.
In the face of a global economy dominated by the US and China, plus covert trouble-making by Russia, the EU provides long-term stability, protection and resilience .
Following Brexit, however, the UK will become just another external country hoping to do business with that lucrative market. Every form of Brexit comes with serious economic costs that will really hurt British families, businesses, jobs, living standards and public finances for decades to come.
Yet many leading Brexiteers are perfectly aware of all this. This is why people like Jacob Rees-Mogg have been moving their own assets out of Britain to continue making profits within the EU while the UK struggles along outside it.
So now we come to the bigger picture.
(2) WHAT IT WAS REALLY ABOUT ALL ALONG
First, let’s rewind a few years. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007–8, the UK and many other countries went into economic recession.
To address the large deficit in government finances, the Conservative Party under David Cameron inflicted a punishing austerity programme on the less well-off, with lower public spending, welfare cuts and frozen benefits.
To qualify for state benefits when out of work, for example, an individual is required to be a full-time job-seeker, spending 35 hours of every week online looking for work. Failure to do so for any reason incurs draconian sanctions or even fines.
Most notoriously, private-sector outfits are being paid public money to deliberately re-assess disability benefit claimants as ‘not disabled’ wherever possible.
Dismantling the welfare state in this way was something many anti-welfare Conservatives had long dreamt of doing. Now they were delighted to be actually getting away with it:
“The genius of David Cameron and George Osborne was that they persuaded the country to accept the most challenging cuts to public spending in our peacetime history without [causing] riots.” — JEREMY HUNT, MP,
By 2013, public spending had fallen to levels not seen since 2003. With growing confidence — and still no sign of riots — David Cameron then began pushing the austerity programme as a permanentfeature.
The austerity programme continues unabated, with dire social consequences: food banks; homelessness; reduced life expectancy; reduced policing services; the closure of public libraries; the disposal of public buildings. 
The alarming hardships caused by years of austerity has even been the subject of a special investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report concluded that the whole thing seems unnecessary and politically motivated:
“A booming economy, high employment and a budget surplus have not reversed austerity, a policy pursued more as an ideological than an economic agenda.
… much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos.”
Just as growing numbers of people began to protest against Cameron and his government, along came the EU referendum of 2016.
This was seen by many as an opportunity to vent their frustration and punish Cameron. And since Cameron had appointed himself leader of the ‘Remain’ campaign, the obvious way to vote in protest would be to vote ‘Leave’ …
Recent surveys show that many voted ‘Leave’ simply as a protest against years of government-imposed austerity, not really expecting that the referendum outcome would be a victory for ‘Leave’:
“the 2016 EU referendum would have resulted in a clear victory for Remain (or the referendum might never have happened) had it not been for austerity measures such as extensive cuts to public spending.”
In contrast to Cameron’s low-key, apathetic performance, the two ‘Leave’ campaigns led by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson were extremely high-profile, well-funded, and relentless. Knowing that people felt their homes, jobs, and communities were at risk, the Leave campaigns blamed those fears on the European Union rather than on Tory austerity.
Ironically, the EU has been financially supporting some of the poorest areas of the UK through years of austerity. Nevertheless, many voters in those very areas suddenly became convinced that their financial woes and social concerns were all the fault of the EU and immigrants.
We now know that the Leave campaigns were deceitful and fraudulent. In fact, the extensive illegality of the Leave campaigns may well be the biggest ever fraud committed against democracy in modern British history.
Many on the far right, not only in Europe but also the USA and Russia, have come to see disruption, disintegration and destruction of the EU as highly desirable, if not essential. After all, the EU has brought decades of unprecedented multi-national cooperation, peace and social progress. For the far right, this is intolerable. The EU referendum was their moment to turn the tide.
For example, despite being an American citizen, Trump’s campaign leader Steve Bannon has been actively promoting far-right parties across Europe — including the UK’s BNP, the EDL, Ukip, and anything to do with Nigel Farage. Bannon would like to see the EU torn down and be replaced by Trump-style nationalism and xenophobia. 
Bannon is also the former Vice President of Cambridge Analytica , the notorious ‘digital persuasion’ company that has interfered in hundreds of elections around the world.
During the run-up to the EU referendum, Facebook enabled Cambridge Analytica to post blatant lies to UK citizens about the EU. The purpose of these ‘micro-targeted ads’ was to urge carefully-selected (i.e. psychologically susceptible and impressionable) members of the British public to vote ‘Leave’.
Similar scare-headlines were repeated on a daily basis in the right-wing press. Brexit was sold as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to regain sovereignty, control immigration and increase wealth, and many voters were persuaded.
We also now know that over 400 fake “British” Twitter accounts whipping up anger and discord over the referendum were actually run from a Russian troll farm. Facebook was also littered with anti-EU and anti-NATO group pages covertly set up by the Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik. And yet a House of Commons committee investigating fake news finds that the British Government has been strangely reluctant to accept evidence of interference in the 2016 referendum.
Facebook has been fined £500,000 by Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office for its complicity in misuse of personal data. Since the referendum, numerous other official investigations have been underway.
The funding of the Leave_eu campaign via Arron Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency
For failing to disclose finances, the Leave_eu campaign was fined £50,000 and the Vote Leave campaign was fined £41,000.
For sending unsolicited spam texts, the Vote Leave campaign was fined £40,000 and the Leave_eu campaign was fined £50,000.
But despite all thisevidence ofmalpractice, manipulation and interference, the actual referendum result cannot be legally overturned.
Because the referendum result was only ever advisory, like an opinion poll, not mandatory, like a legal statute.
Even though the referendum is now, in effect, a massive crime scene subject to multiple legal investigations, the result itself cannot be overturned on legal grounds because the result itself has no legal significance. Despite politicians repeatedly claiming that they’ve been given a ‘clear mandate’ to leave the EU because ‘the people have spoken’, the Government was (and still is) under no legal obligation whatsoever to act on the result.
So why are they?
Let’s follow the money…
CORPORATE TAX AVOIDANCE
Throughout the world, corporate tax avoidance is a colossal problem. And by far the biggest enabler of corporate tax avoidance, with its global network of secretive tax-haven territories, is the UK:
“Britain has single-handedly done more to undermine theworld’s tax system than any other nation … Tax haven territories linked to Britain are responsible for around a third of the world’s corporate tax avoidance risk.”
Britain itself is badly affected by unpaid corporate tax, yet the Conservative Party has done little to address the matter. This seems particularly galling when we consider that the amount of missing tax per year is about the same as the total reduction in welfare spending in the name of austerity (over £30 billion).
In 2016 (note the year), the EU published its planned Anti-Tax Avoidance Directivewhichseeks to tackle the thriving culture of corporate tax avoidance. From January 2020, the new law will require anyone with offshore accounts and investments to disclose them to enable full scrutiny so they can no longer get away with tax-avoidance and evasion.
Continuing membership of the EU, or just the single market, means that the UK must adopt and enforce this anti-tax avoidance policy on itself.
This obviously conflicts with all those major companies and business owners who dodge taxes, as well as numerous leaders of poorer countries who are secretively hoarding and laundering money with the help of British offshore banks. 
A hard Brexit or no-deal Brexit, on the other hand, means business as usual.
This is the plain and simple reason why so many of the most powerful supporters of Brexit — wealthy business tycoons who also happen to be named in the Paradise Papers— suddenly began proclaiming that Britain had to leave the EU, the sooner and harder the better. These include …
Aaron Banks, highly dodgy owner of an offshore bank who donated £8.5 million plus another £6 million in so-called loans to Nigel Farage’s Leave campaign.
The Barclay brothers, owners of therelentlessly pro-Brexit Telegraph newspaper and Spectator magazine, who live in the Channel Islands to avoid paying UK taxes.
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, currently in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as Leader of the House of Commons; chairman of the Conservative Party’s shadowy ‘European Research Group’
It also makes one wonder why David Cameron — the PM who called the referendum — failed to mention the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive while he was self-appointed leader of the Remain campaign. Perhaps it was because the tax income generated by the new directive would be more than enough to justify the end of his ‘permanent austerity’. Or perhaps it was simply that he himself was averse to the new regulations.
As soon the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive was announced, Conservative Euroskeptics immediately set about portraying the EU as the new enemy of Britain, an undemocratic superstate out to cause misery for ordinary Brits.
“The EU exists only to become a superstate, wrote former Chancellor Nigel Lawson for The Telegraph in May 2016. “Britain has no place in it.”
Sadly, many ordinary Brits fell for it.
But then … things didn’t quite work out as planned.
DEAL OR NO-DEAL?
After she became Prime Minister, Theresa May spent a long time with other EU national leaders working out and agreeing on a pragmatic Brexit plan.
But when this huge Withdrawal Agreement finally came out, some of the most prominent Brexiteers were deeply unhappy with it.
Because at the back of the document there was a commitment by the British Government toretain the EU’s new anti-tax avoidance laws.
Suddenly, the Prime Minister was being branded a ‘traitor’. A column in The Telegraph literally suggested that she was ‘guilty of treason’.
But if another Prime Minister could be found … preferably an unprincipled opportunist who will say and do absolutely anything to get into 10 Downing Street …
… perhaps he could convince the people of Britain thathe could do better than Theresa May’s deal … but then simply wait for Britain to crash out of the EU with no deal whatsoever. And then, literally overnight, there will be no new corporate tax laws for the tax avoiders to worry about.
But now Brexit offers so much more than just support for tax avoidance…
Many experts blamed the global financial crisis on the US and UK governments’ failure to regulate the reckless behaviour of their own banking and financial sectors. So to help protect Europe from the risk of such actions leading to another recession, the EU focused on tightening regulations.
But then came the 2016 EU referendum result and the prospect of the UK actually leaving the EU. For some in the UK, this suddenly opened up a whole new vista of possibilities…
There is a certain worldview — one could even call it a cult — which holds that market forces and the profit motive are sacred while any kind of state regulation is abhorrent. The only role for government and public spending in this ‘free-market ideology’ or ‘market fundamentalism’ is to provide police and armed forces to protect the status quo.
And so, immediately after the referendum result, the free-market think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) announced:
“The weakness of the Labour Party and the resolution of the EU question have created a unique political opportunity to drive through a wide-ranging … revolution on a scale similar to that of the 1980s … This must include removing unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses, such as those related to climate directives and investment fund[s].“
The vacuum of regulations that would be created by Brexit suddenly presented an opportunity to reshape the entire British economy — minimising the public sector and giving complete free rein to the private sector.
This is another reason why some very powerful billionaires have been sponsoring and championing Brexit as a means to deregulate UK business and especially London’s financial centre, the City.
“The majority of money donated to Boris Johnson’s campaign [has come] from hedge fund managers and other financiers backing Britain’s exit from the European Union, favouring low taxes and the deregulation of the UK economy.”
Indeed, Brexit now promises the private sector free rein by ditching EU regulations once and for all. And with City-friendly politicians now in Government actively pursuing a no-deal Brexit, the UK won’t be adopting any EU-like regulations any time soon. Quite the opposite in fact, as Britain begins kowtowing to US demands. 
Some of the leading Brexiteers who have long claimed that leaving the EU will lead to enormous dividends for the UK are, in fact, hedge fund investors seeking enormous dividends for themselves..
They are seizing the opportunity to make millions — even billions — from the inevitable uncertainty and chaos of Brexit, especially from a no-deal Brexit.
Hedge fund managers, for example, are investors who gamble on the economy. They place bets on any economic value that might rise or (ideally) fall, such as the value of sterling. The world is just one big casino to them, and any humanitarian disaster or economic crisis is simply a good bet — an opportunity to make a killing.
Naomi Klein, in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine, refers to this deeplycynical and toxic modus operandi as ‘disaster capitalism’.
William Rees-Mogg (Jacob’s father) actually wrote a book extolling the financial benefits of social collapse and economic crisis for a few astute investors. The book makes it pretty clear why Jacob — recently promoted to Leader of the House of Commons by Boris Johnson — not only craves Brexit, but also the economic pain that is likely to come with it.
In the Information Age, according to William Rees-Mogg (or ‘Mystic Mogg’ as Private Eye called him), all nations, governments, social services and even democracy itself will collapse. Finally, no more taxes! No more propping up the poor and the sick!
And then, out of the inevitable violence and carnage to come when the masses turn on each other, only the most capable and self-interested investors will inherit the Earth.
“There is a reason why the hard Brexiteers cannot coherently explain their vision of Brexit: their chief aim is to break as many things as possible, in the belief that from the rubble might arise a kind of flag-waving, small-state, free-market utopia that even the blessed Margaret might have found unpalatable.”
This is why proponents of a free-market revolution don’t care about the harm caused by austerity and won’t care about the damage caused by Brexit. Shortages simply mean high demand and higher prices. Deregulation simply means giving the greedy greater freedom to exploit the needy.
But why sit around waiting for an economic disaster to exploit when you can covertly engineer one yourself?
“What to do if you are a hedge fund manager down to your last billion? Answer: rig global politics in your favour. If that sounds improbable, remember we are talking about folk capable of shorting the entire Japanese economy in response to a natural disaster. Hedge fund managers are megalomaniacs. It goes with the territory.”
One of the new EU directives designed to regulate the financial sector, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011), focused on the worst excesses of unscrupulous hedge funds. It addressed everything from their secrecy to how much managers could pay themselves in bonuses.
Hedge fund managers in London, who had been used to operating as freewheeling rogues outside the system, took exception to this and began clamouring for Britain to leave the EU. The clamouring increased in 2015 after they were fined by the Greek government for messing with the struggling Greek economy.
Since the EU referendum, they have been actively sponsoring Leave campaigns as well as sponsoring Boris Johnson to push for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Odey routinely bets against the British economy — if UK stocks and share values go down, or if a British business goes bankrupt as he predicted, he wins.
He made £220 million after successfully betting that a Leave result would cause the pound to crash. But then, he had also donated almost £900,000 to the Vote Leave campaign to help get the desired result.
After Theresa May’s downfall, Odey donated £10,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign. He then began publicly calling for people to support Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit strategy as the best possible way ahead for Britain.
‘Theresa May wasted three years,’ he said. ‘The only optimism about anything lies in supporting Boris.’
Yet Odey has placed a £300 million bet on a no-deal Brexit leading to disaster for British companies — but another staggering windfall for himself.
“Odey’s apparent lack of confidence in flagship British firms stands in marked contrast to his fund’s investments in other countries, including France, Germany and the US, where he is mainly backing shares to rise.”
While some politicians genuinely care about the rights and the wellbeing of the people they represent, there are others who really don’t care at all. They are in it for themselves. What puzzles many academics is the way so many low-income voters keep voting for them.
It’s undoubtedly because many of these politicians have the backing of those who run much of the British press — The Sun, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and so on. Plus there are certain wealthy backers like Steve Bannon who have appropriated social media techniques used by the military and intelligence services for misinformation and propaganda.
We used to say that knowledge is power. But today, investing in mass deception appears to be far more effective.
“In both Britain and America, there exists a class of billionaires who seek to become oligarchs and a corresponding class of government officials who want to become billionaires.
This international billionaire class is also establishing and using private intelligence and influence agencies like Cambridge Analytica to help them manipulate national and international politics.”
The free-market fundamentalists’ original dream was of doing away with government interference. Now it is all about using government itself as a means to covertly protect and promote their self-interest.
“Brexit is not a cry for help from the English underclass. It is a carefully stage-managed campaign by global finance capital in the form of the hedge funds. It is being orchestrated out of hedge fund self-interest and the greed of billionaires. Boris Johnson is their front man.”
And with their man at the helm, the UK itself is set to be converted into a Singapore-style tax haven for Big Money.
With so many shady groups and individuals — British, American and Russian — funding UK politicians to say whatever it takes in order to produce the hardest Brexit possible, it really begs the question: Who is the current government actually working for?
Whatever its initial driving forces, Brexit is now essentially a coup pulled off by a subgroup of Conservative Party politicians on behalf of tax-dodging tycoons and unscrupulous investors.
They have been systematically misleading the British public to hate the EU through a constant supply of anti-EU propaganda and lies. Their only concern for ‘taking back control’ is to rid UK businesses of EU tax laws, financial regulations and employees’ rights. To this end, their immediate objective is to bring about a no-deal Brexit.
They are abusing democracy to create a plutocracy.
The Commission proposes new legislation in alignment with already-agreed EU policies.
The Council of the EU and the Parliament vote on whether or not to accept, reject or amend each proposal.
New legislation is enacted only if the two elected bodies jointly agree to it.
The Commission does the paperwork to implement their decision.
Note 2: Shortingexplained:
Short selling or shorting is an investment tactic whereby –
An investor decides to gamble on the price of certain stocks or company shares dropping radically in the near future.
The investor first borrows the relevant stocks/shares from an existing owner, promising to give them back at a future date.
The investor then sells whatever he has borrowed at the current market price. Let’s say, for example, that’s £1,000,000.
If the investor has gambled right, the market price soon drops radically. Let’s say the amount he already borrowed and sold is now priced at just £100,000.
Now the investor buys the much cheaper stocks/shares in order to give back what he originally borrowed. That leaves him with a huge profit. (In this example, £900K.)
Wikipedia — Schematic representation of short selling in two steps.
The hope behind shorting is that the stock price will collapse and/or that the company will go bankrupt — leading to total ruin for the equity holders. It’s more than just hope, however. The very act of selling a huge load of stocks/shares (step 3 above) can, by itself, kick-start or amplify the predicted collapse in market price. It’s a feedback loop that affects (or rigs) the system.