Dr Paul Stott of 9/11 Cultwatch takes a look at some of the associates of John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn.
Recent weeks have seen a lot of critical coverage of the associations of both Jeremy Corbyn and more recently John McDonnell. If anything that coverage has not gone far enough, at least where issues surrounding their personal judgment is concerned. Whilst political judgment will always be questioned and debated, this article argues both display an alarming inability to spot a ‘wrong ‘un’ – even when that wrong ‘un is under their very nose.
Back on 14 January 2009 I attended a talk by the ‘Make Wars History’ group in Norwich. MWH had been launched in March 2008 as a successor group to the Britain and Ireland 9/11 Truth Campaign, which was dissolved following the co-ordinated resignations of its leaders on 8 March 2008. The main financier of the ‘truth’ movement in the UK, Belinda McKenzie, saw MWH as an opportunity to campaign on political issues, leaving behind some of the ‘controversial’ issues with which the truth movement had become associated. The ‘truthers’ wanted to go mainstream.
If so, little was achieved. That night in Norwich a mere 15 brave souls assembled. The main pitch of MWH – that all war is illegal since the 1928 International Treaty for the Renunciation of War (the Kellog-Briand Pact) has not caught on. Indeed Herr Hitler seems to have taken a different line as far back as 1939. MWH’s main organiser – a plummy-toned north London barrister called Chris Coverdale – also argued that the 1945 UN Charter bans aggression via its statute not to threaten or attack another country. Coverdale’s core campaigning tactic – to withhold all taxes in protest at the continuance of illegal wars – may create lots of work for the legal profession, but is probably an extremely bad idea in a society where debt, and civil proceedings arising from it, are serious problems already. In 2009 Coverdale admitted he was now legally bankrupt, and had been to court 26 times in 10 years.
Given the UN’s uselessness in a series of issues (let us count backwards from Syria) few can have held out much hope for MWH. Except it seems the now Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell. The 9/11 Truth movement and indeed MWH’s flirtation at various stages with the Green Party, the Stop the War Coalition and the anarchist movement all met real resistance. For example in the STWC’s official history we are reminded by Andrew Murray and Lindsey German “There is no room for pointless conspiracy theories – 9/11 was not carried out by the US government or by Israel’s Mossad” (p.12).
Yet as the video here shows, John McDonnell took MWH so seriously he hosted Chris Coverdale at the House of Commons on 28 July 2013.
Joining them was the former MI5 officer and ex-Secretary of the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement, Annie Machon. The warmth with which McDonnell speaks about both, and evident respect for their ‘expertise’ is alarming.
With both McDonnell and indeed Jeremy Corbyn, it is remarkable how their long term status as semi-detached members of the parliamentary Labour Party seems to have led to an absence of any wiser heads counselling them with regards to the meetings they held, particularly at the House of Commons. Whilst much media attention has focused on both men’s perceived friendships with representatives of Sinn Fein, Hezbollah and Hamas, a degree of gullibility emerges particularly when you consider their engagement with current or former spooks. The very people you might expect socialists to be a little bit wary of!
In her parliamentary talk, Annie Machon presents herself as a whistleblower, who left MI5 in 1996 along with David Shayler, in protest at its actions in support of jihadists in Libya. That is the sort of talk which seems to have impressed John McDonnell. The facts are of course somewhat different – Machon left MI5 to take up a new career as a management resources consultant in HR, for a company which listed MI5 among its clients. The dispute between her former partner David Shayler, and MI5, followed his involvement in a series of newspaper exclusives about the service in the press a year later. The trail of ‘analysis’ Shayler and Machon left on Libya is as clear as mud, and mostly criticised not MI5, but MI6. Either way, it was all to be utterly devalued in 2007 when Shayler did a David Icke and declared he was the messiah.
Machon’s former position at Shayler’s side, and her key administrative role in the UK ‘truth’ movement – that odd collection of conspiracists and anti-semites with a You Tube video for every occasion – was something John McDonnell either did not know about when he hosted Machon, or did, but decided to ignore. He even seems to have missed Machon and Shayler’s 2006 appearance in the New Statesman as the ‘No Planers’ – where Shayler insisted holograms of planes were used on 9/11. As recently as 2013, Machon and Coverdale were the people John McDonnell had advising him on the legality of war. The Labour Party had better hope his economic advisers are better.
In September 2011 the Cordoba Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood related think tank in London, was promoting the parliamentary launch of former Special Branch officer Bob Lambert’s book ‘Countering Al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership’. This was a joint event organised by the Cordoba Foundation, the Council for Arab-British Understanding and ….. Jeremy Corbyn MP.
The relationship of Corbyn, a Sinn Fein sympathising socialist, with a career Special Branch officer in the shape of Bob Lambert was always a strange one. Whilst much of the legend Lambert developed for himself in academia sprang from the naiveté of ‘critical’ academics willing to accept him, not as a former secret policeman but as a sort of crusading activist against racism, some credibility also came from his much advertised friendship with Jeremy Corbyn. Time spent with Bob Lambert at academic conferences, or his public talks, would often feature references to his work with Corbyn at Finsbury Park mosque, and jokes that whilst he and Corbyn had beards because they wanted to, for their Islamist friends beards were of course compulsory. Why Corbyn was so enamoured with Lambert is unclear. Certainly when the details of Lambert’s long career of needless spying on radical activists, even fathering a child with one women he deceived, were revealed, Corbyn was left with a considerable amount of egg in his beard. Did he really think someone who had spent a quarter of a century in Special Branch had spent his whole time seeking to advance community relations?
Whilst some awkward questions have begun to emerge on whether Lambert, far from working with Corbyn was in fact spying on him, the new leader of the Labour Party has kept his silence on the issue. Perhaps he is embarrassed at how readily he may have been taken in. If so, it seems a trait common to both himself and his Shadow Chancellor.