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Galloway: Corbyn Wants me for a Sunbeam as George Promises, “Every terrorist will be shot down dead.”

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Every terrorist will be shot down dead, and if I can, I will pull the trigger myself.

Our old friend George Galloway is a busy fellow these days.

He’s full of lightness and sweet to boot.

Guardian article by   reports on the man living the dream.

As the only serious contender in the race for the Mayor of London, is good to hear of his,

expressions of pleasure in Corbyn’s triumph and accompanying disclosures about his closeness to Corbyn and members of his team. These claims of intimacy scaled a new peak over the weekend when the Sunday Times reported him describing Seumas Milne, my fellow Guardian writer who’s taken leave to become Corbyn’s executive director of strategy and communications, as his “closest friend” with whom he has “spoken almost daily for 30 years.”

Only one shadow, no bigger than a man’s endorsement by the Labour Party, stands in his way.

Sadiq Kahn.

Khan, who is, of course, Labour’s mayoral candidate. He’s called him a “very boring man”, a “flip-flop merchant”, a “product of the Blairite machine”, an accomplice in Blair/Brown “crimes and blunders” and an “unprincipled speak-your-weight machine” who “went into what can only be described as a swoon over kissing the queen’s hand.”

Galloway also appears to consider Khan, a Muslim, an inadequate practitioner of his faith, telling the Evening Standard that the Labour man erred by holding the Koran “in his left hand” when he met the monarch and that this “wasn’t missed by people who care about these things”.

The Guardian’s newshound interviewed the dapper gent hot on the campaign trail.

Such was the backdrop to my question, which I put to Galloway during a public meeting held on Tuesday evening at the Orford House Social Club in Walthamstow, E17. His answer began with a metaphor he often favours. “Sadiq Khan supports Jeremy Corbyn like the rope supports the hanging man,” he said, winning a ripple of laughter among the 100-plus people present.

One can see that Galloway has lost none of the touch that has made him a hit with audiences from Spring Road Allotment shed to the Dean Street telephone box.

Nor his surefire political acumen,

“I have no doubt whatsover that Sadiq Khan is part of the cabal which is seeking to bring Jeremy Corbyn down.”

“If you’re looking for a Corbyn in this election, it’s me. It’s not Sadiq Khan. I support all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. I might put them a little differently. If you don’t mind me saying so, I might put them a little better. But I support them.”

Galloway is also the coppers’ best mate, reports a different Guardian (local paper for Waltham Forest amongst others),

Galloway also promised to support the police and security services in the fight against terrorism.

“The police will find a friend in me,” he added.

Every terrorist will be shot down dead, and if I can, I will pull the trigger myself.

“I say to the police officer in the room, when it comes to your wages, your resources and your strengthening, you can count on me.”

The word – unconfirmed – is that Galloway also supports our gallant Russian ally’s bombing in Syria.

He’s got another Best Friend these days.

Galloway has just re-tweeted, John Ross, former leader of the International Marxist Group, and now best-known for his article, How China made the World’s Greatest Contribution to Human Rights.


Galloway is soon appearing in a US ‘theater’.


Book Now!


Written by Andrew Coates

November 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Dieudonné Sentenced to 2 Months in Gaol in Belgium for Anti-Semitism: Will his ‘Peace’ Concert go ahead?

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Brussels (AFP) – A Belgian court sentenced controversial French comedian Dieudonne Wednesday to two months in jail for incitement to hatred over alleged racist and anti-Semitic comments he made during a show in Belgium, a lawyer said.

Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who has faced similar court cases in France, was also fined 9,000 euros ($9,500) by the court in the eastern city of Liege, said Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium’s Jewish organisations.

He was not in court for the verdict.

The judgement “says that all the accusations against Dieudonne were established — both incitement to hatred and hate speech but also Holocaust denial” relating to a show in Liege in 2012, Lemmens told AFP.

“For me this is more than satisfying, this is a major victory,” he said.

Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Dieudonne in a separate case, deciding that freedom of speech did not protect “racist and anti-Semitic performances”.

Dieudonne was protesting a fine he received from a French court in 2009 for inviting a Holocaust-denier on stage. He was fined 10,000 euros ($11,000) for what that court referred to as “racist insults”.

In March, a French court also handed Dieudonne a two months suspended sentence and fined him heavily for anti-Semitic remarks after he caused uproar by suggesting he sympathised with the attacks against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

“I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” he wrote on Facebook, a play on the slogan “Je suis Charlie” that became a global rallying cry against extremism and Amedy Coulibaly, one of the attackers.

The performer, who made his name in a double act with Jewish comedian Elie Semoun, is infamous for his trademark “quenelle” hand gesture that looks like an inverted Nazi salute but which he insists is merely anti-establishment.

French courts have hauled him up over a string of comments which opponents say are bluntly racist while supporters champion his right to free speech.

Dieudonne, who can appeal the decision, was not immediately reachable for comment.

Le Monde gives recent background, including other convictions for anti-semitism and his expulsion from his theatrical base at Saint-Denis.

Dieudonné condamné en Belgique pour antisémitisme

L’humoriste français Dieudonné a été condamné en Belgique, mercredi 25 novembre, à deux mois de prison ferme et 9 000 euros d’amende pour antisémitisme. Le jugement « considère que toutes les infractions reprochées à Dieudonné sont établies : à la fois l’incitation à la haine et diffusion de propos haineux, mais aussi l’infraction de négationnisme », a expliqué MEric Lemmens, qui représentait les organisations juives de Belgique.

Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala était poursuivi pour différentes préventions liées à de l’incitation à la haine et à la diffusion de propos discriminatoires, antisémites, négationnistes et révisionnistes lors d’un spectacle qu’il avait donné à Herstal, dans la province de Liège, le 14 mars 2012, selon Le Soir.

Le polémiste peut faire appel de la sentence, qui le condamne également à publier la décision du tribunal à ses frais dans les deux grands quotidiens francophones belges Le Soir et La Libre Belgique.

Expulsé de la Main-d’Or et privé de théâtre à Saint-Denis

Au début d’octobre, l’humoriste avait déjà été privé de théâtre à Saint-Denis, le tribunal de Bobigny ayant donné raison au groupe Madar, spécialisé dans l’immobilier de bureaux et d’entreprises, qui avait refusé de lui louer un espace de 1 500 mètres carrés au sein des anciens ateliers Christofle, situés en Seine-Saint-Denis.

L’humoriste avait par ailleurs été expulsé de la Main-d’Or après que le tribunal de grande instance de Paris a validé, à la fin de septembre, la demande d’expulsion de l’humoriste du Théâtre de la Main-d’Or.

Dieudonné a également été condamné en mars 2015 à 22 500 euros d’amende pour des déclarations antisémites proférées lors de son spectacle Le Mur.


“In July 2008, Jean-Marie Le Pen became godfather to Dieudonné’s third child. Philippe Laguérie, a traditionalist Catholic priest, officiated at the baptism, which was held in the Saint-Éloi congregation in Bordeaux.[59]

On 26 December 2008, at an event at the Parc de la Villette in Paris, Dieudonné awarded the Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson an “insolent outcast” prize [prix de l’infréquentabilité et de l’insolence]. The award was presented by one of Dieudonné’s assistants, Jacky, dressed in a concentration camp uniform with a yellow badge. This caused a scandal[60] and earned him his sixth court conviction to date. On 29 January 2009, he celebrated the 80th birthday of Faurisson in his theater, in the midst of a representative gathering of Holocaust deniers, right-wing radicals, and radical Shiites.[61] Dieudonné and Faurisson further appeared together in a video making fun of the Holocaust and its commemoration.”

Dieudonné remains popular amongst a wide range of people.

Some, including the writer of this Blog, do not think that the law is the best way to deal with him or his admirers’ racism. 

Whether his participation in this Concert for Peace will go ahead is unclear.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Free Ashraf Fayadh. Sentenced to Death for “Apostasy” from Islam.

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Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies.

The statement, which will be delivered to the Saudi embassy in London by English PEN on Friday, says: “We believe that all charges against him should have been dropped entirely, and are appalled that Fayadh has instead been sentenced to death for apostasy, simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief.”


Amnesty International. Poet faces death for apostasy in Saudi Arabia: Ashraf Fayadh.

Human Rights Watch.

The trial documents, which Human Rights Watch reviewed, indicate that members of Saudi Arabia’s Committee on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or religious police, arrested Fayadh at a café in Abha, in southern Saudi Arabia, in August 2013. The religious police went to the café after a man reported that Fayadh had made obscene comments about God, the Prophet Muhammad, and the Saudi state. The man also alleged that Fayadh passed around a book he wrote that allegedly promoted atheism and unbelief.

After Fayadh was arrested, the court documents indicate, the religious police discovered on his phone photos of Fayadh with several women, whom Fayadh said he met at an art gallery.

The religious police held him for a day, then released him, but authorities re-arrested him on January 1, 2014. Prosecutors charged him with a host of blasphemy-related charges, including: blaspheming “the divine self” and the Prophet Muhammad; spreading atheism and promoting it among the youth in public places; mocking the verses of God and the prophets; refuting the Quran; denying the day of resurrection; objecting to fate and divine decree; and having an illicit relationship with women and storing their pictures in his phone.

During the trial, which consisted of six hearings between February and May 2014, Fayadh denied the charges, and called three witnesses contesting the testimony of the man who reported him to the religious police. The defense witnesses said that the man reported Fayadh following a personal dispute, and that they had never heard blasphemous statements from Fayadh. Fayadh also said that his book, Instructions Within, published a decade before, consists of love poems and was not written with the intention of insulting religion.

During the last session, Fayadh expressed repentance for anything in the book that religious authorities may have deemed insulting, stating, according to trial documents, “I am repentant to God most high and I am innocent of what appeared in my book mentioned in this case.”

On May 26, 2014, the General Court of Abha convicted Fayadh and sentenced him to four years in prison and 800 lashes. The court rejected a prosecution request for a death sentence for apostasy due to trial testimony indicating “hostility” between Fayadh and the man who reported him, as well as Fayadh’s repentance.

The prosecutor appealed the ruling. Human Rights Watch was not able obtain a copy of the appeals ruling on the initial verdict, but the case was eventually sent back to the lower court. On November 17, 2015, a new judge with the General Court of Abha reversed the previous sentence and sentenced Fayadh to death for apostasy.

According to the judge’s ruling, he dismissed the testimony of the defense witnesses in the initial trial and ruled that Fayadh’s repentance was not enough to avoid the death sentence.

“Repentance is a work of the heart relevant to matter of the judiciary of the hereafter; it is not the focus of the earthly judiciary,” the ruling said.

The case moves next to the appeals court. The sentence must be approved by the appeals court and the Supreme Court.

Saudi Arabia has executed 152 people in 2015, which according to Amnesty International is the highest recordednumber since 1995. Most executions are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. The vast majority are for murder and drug crimes, but Saudi courts occasionally hand down death sentences for other “crimes” such as apostasy and sorcery.

In February 2015, a Saudi court sentenced a Saudi man to death for apostasy for allegedly posting a video to YouTube showing him tearing pages of the Quran. A local activist associated with the case told Human Rights Watch that the man suffered from a mental disorder.

Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all countries and under all circumstances. Capital punishment is unique in its cruelty and finality, and it is inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.

Saudi authorities regularly pursue charges against individuals based solely on their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, in violation of international human rights obligations. The Arab Charter on Human Rights, which Saudi Arabia has ratified, guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression under article 32.

“This death sentence against Fayadh is yet another indictment of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record,” Whitson said. “The Saudi authorities should immediately vacate this sentence and order Fayadh’s release.”

Apostasy in Islam (Wikipedia)

More than 20 Muslim nations have laws that declare apostasy by Muslims to be a crime, many imposing the death penalty for apostates. In addition, some Islamic countries without laws specifically addressing apostasy have prosecuted individuals or minorities for apostasy using broadly-defined blasphemy laws. In many nations, the Hisbah doctrine of Islam has traditionally allowed any Muslim to accuse another Muslim or ex-Muslim for beliefs that may harm Islamic society. This principle has been used in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and others to bring blasphemy charges against apostates.

Saudi Arabia has no penal code, and defaults its law entirely to Sharia and its implementation to religious courts. The case law in Saudi Arabia, and consensus of its jurists is that Islamic law imposes the death penalty on apostates.[211]

Apostasy law is actively enforced in Saudi Arabia. For example, Saudi authorities charged Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi writer, in 2012 with apostasy based on comments he made on Twitter. He fled to Malaysia, where he was arrested and then extradited on request by Saudi Arabia to face charges.[212] Kashgari repented, upon which the courts ordered that he be placed in protective custody. Similarly, two Saudi Sunni Muslim citizens were arrested and charged with apostasy for adopting the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam.[213] As of May 2014, the two accused of apostasy had served two years in prison awaiting trial.[214]

Saudi Arabia school textbooks include chapters with justification for the social exclusion and killing of apostates.[215]

According to the “Online Saudi-arabian Curriculum مناهج السعودية الألكترونية”,[216] taught at schools, we read under the title “Judgements on Apostates أحكام المرتدين” the following (in Arabic):[217]

“An Apostate will be suppressed three days in prison in order that he may repent ….. otherwise, he should be killed, because he has changed his true religion, therefore, there is no use from his living, regardless of being a man or a woman, as Mohammed said: “Whoever changes his religion, kill him”, narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.”

Written by Andrew Coates

November 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Parisians: We will Remain Drunk and Joyous Faced with the Lovers of Death.

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It is tossed by the waves but does not sink: Paris.

The City’s motto has become the statement of the City’s defiance.


These are more expressions of defiance.

Joann Sfar, après avoir appris avec effroi la nouvelle des attentats de Paris, a réalisé douze vignettes BD.
The people who died this evening were outside  to live, to drink, to sing. They didn’t know that war had been declared on them.


#PorteOuverte, le hashtag de solidarité pour se mettre à l’abri à Paris

For more see: What a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist drew after the second Paris terror attack in a year.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 15, 2015 at 11:52 am

André Glucksmann, former Leftist, Nouveau Philosophe, Sarkozy Backer, Dies.

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Mort d’André Glucksmann, le philosophe en colère

Glucksmann’s death was the first item on France Inter this morning.

Agence France Presse states,

Paris, France:  French philosopher Andre Glucksmann, who rose to fame in the 1970s after supporting the Vietnamese boat people, has died at the age of 78, his son said today.

Coming to prominence in the glory days of French intellectual thought in the 1960s, Glucksmann, who died late Monday, famously broke with his Marxist peers and became increasingly right-wing in later years.

In 1979, he rallied the support of fellow philosophers including Jean-Paul Sartre to the cause of the Vietnamese who were fleeing the war in that country.

He later supported US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lobbied on behalf of Chechen Muslims during their civil war with the Russian government in the 1990s.

“My first and best friend is no more,” wrote Raphael Glucksmann on Facebook.

“I had the incredible chance to know, laugh, debate, travel, play, do everything and nothing with such a good and excellent man.”

This is an excellent, short but important, written, aural, and video, dossier on my favourite Radio Station, France Culture: Mort du philosophe André Glucksmann.

And here: Réécoutez André Glucksmann dans “A voix nue”.

In his student and academic youth André Glucksmann was associated with the left.His Discours de la guerre, théorie et stratégie (1967) and Stratégie et Révolution en France (1968) were translated into English and published in New Left Review.The first was an extended look at, amongst other aspects, classical military strategists, the second was a revolutionary Marxist call and skeleton programme for the French left to take power.

Not an orthodox ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Glucksmann was an active ‘general’ in the, Mao-Spontex’  Gauche Prolétarienne. After a dispute, in which he took the view that their campaign for “popular justice” in the  Affaire de Bruay-en-Artoi (1972-3) was degenerating towards calls for a public lynching. He and other critics were dismissed as “vipers”. Glucksman distanced himself from the group, which dissolved in 1973.

For most people he will be remembered for the two books he published shortly afterwards,  La Cuisinière et le Mangeur d’Hommes – Réflexions sur l’État, le marxisme et les camps de concentration (1975), and Les Maîtres penseurs (1977).

They expressed a fierce critique of Marxism, strongly influenced by the Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It asserted that Marx has always despised the peasantry and the “plèbe” – the popular masses. The Gulag was a vast disciplinary machine to punish and reform, to break down the people.

The second, taking up a theme from the La Cuisinière, claimed that Lenin’s wish that every Cook could run the State was a disguise for a Marxist will to take control over all aspects of people’s lives. This drive for Mastery, Glucksmann alleged, was the real message of Marxism – not a desire for freedom, but a Will to control. Marx’s categories tried to encompass the world in their “general illumination” and ended up deforming it, Marx, he asserted, loathed the anarchy of the market not because it was wrapped in exploitation, but because it was “anarchy”. All Marxist regimes, he considered, had and would become nationalist, exclusive, intolerant, and murderous, in order to dominate the lives of the masses.

With these publications Glucksmann, as a critic of Marxism,  became, along with Bernard-Henri Lévy, an ubiquitous public figure as one of the late 1970s group of ‘anti-totalitarian’ publicists, promoted as the Nouveaux philosophes.  They extended their attacks from the Gulag to French politics. Nouveaux philosophes were active, as part of a wider “anti-totalitarian front”. They warned of the threat of the French Communist Party (Parti communiste français (PCF)),  coming to power as part of the left coalition,  the Union de la gauche – 1972 – 1977.  Glucksmann’s anti-left fervour did not quickly die down. In 1981 he still feared a possible Communist influence on the Parti Socialiste and backed the independent liberal rightist candidate  Marie-France Garaud against François Mitterrand in the 1981 Presidential election. She received 1,33 % of the vote. Mitterrand’s first government (1981 – 1984), headed by Socialist Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy, drew on 4 Communist Ministers. Not many noticed the first signs of the Gulag.

Subsequent books failed to have the same resonance.  They include Descartes c’est la France (1987), an essay on the Cartesian influence on French thought and culture,  Cynisme et passion (1999), a free-ranging discussion of political feeling in democratic politics,  Le Discours de la haine (2004), which took up, war, terrorism, religion, and ethnic conflict. More books, collections of journalism, and polemics, and earnest appeals to those in the Élysée followed.

In 1986 Guy Hocquenghen placed Glucksmann amongst a list of “renegades” from the left, above all ex-Maoists..He noted, Ma génération n’a connu qu’un seul type d’intello : l’intello flatteur du Prince.” My generation has known only one type of intellectual: the Price’s toady.” (Lettre ouverte à ceux qui sont passés du col Mao au Rotary)

Glucksmann was indeed better known as a media-intellectual aspiring to political influence than a writer or a philosopher.

Perhaps one of Glucksman’s best known moments was in 1979, when with Jean-Paul Sartre et Raymond Aron he helped organised support for refugees,  the boat-people from Communist Vietnam. Known as  ‘Un bateau pour le Vietnam’ the centre-right president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing received their requests and acted upon them. 

By the 1980s Glucksmann became one of the best-known figures in the drive for “humanitarian interventions”.

Glucksmann supported military action by the West in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was highly critical of Russian foreign policy, supporting for example Chechen independence.

He, however, was against the Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence from Georgia, arguing that Georgia is essential to maintaining European Union “energy independence,” vis-a-vis Russia, through access to oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet republics: “If Tbilisi falls, there will be no way to get around Gazprom and guarantee autonomous access to the gas and petroleum wealth of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan” . As proof of Russia’s plans to use energy blackmail, Glucksmann referenced a biting anti-Gazprom satirical song performed at the annual satirical award show “Silver Rubber Boot”, which made jokes like: If the Eurovision Song Contest denies victory to Russia again, we are going to drive to their concert and block their gas with our bodies!. Glucksmann described this song as proof that the Russian people want to cut off gas to Ukraine and Europe. He wrote: Consider a popular song performed by a military choir in Moscow. Its chorus depicts the “radiant future” that Gazprom is preparing: “Europe has a problem with us? We will cut off its gas… The Russian public loves the song.”


Glucksmann’s son, Raphaël Glucksmann is married to Eka Zguladze, is a Georgian and Ukrainian government official, currently serving as First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the position she assumed on 17 December 2014. She had served as Georgia’s First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs from 2006 to 2012 and Acting Minister of Internal Affairs in 2012.

In 2007 Glucksman supported Nicolas Sarkozy’s Presidential candidature. In Pourquoi je choisis Nicolas Sarkozy (2007), he cited the candidate’s backing for the Chechens and declared that Sarkozy represented the France of the “heart” (cœur).

He fell out with Sarkozy over the President’s apparently insufficient opposition to Russia’s President Poutin.

We dedicate this video to the memory of André Glucksmann.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Galloway: “Next Year I Could be Mayor”, but Refuses to Reveal Secret Deal with Labour.

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Framed Picture in Galloway’s Salon. 

George Galloway: “I’ve always fancied being mayor – and next year I finally could be.” Evening Standard reveals.

After a brief lull the Great Man speaks to the world again.

Galloway has lost none of his deft touch for religious feelings.

Speaking of his so-called rival Sadiq Khan   he said,

He says Khan held the Koran “in his left hand” at their meeting (symbolically unclean, because it is traditionally reserved for bum-wiping) “which wasn’t missed by people who care about these things”.

Deeply pious Galloway will not reveal any plans for a Haj to Mecca,

Who does he pray to? Is it true he converted from Catholicism to Islam? “I’m told by my advisers that we don’t ‘do’ God, as Alastair Campbell used to say,” he says. “I’m a religious believer and I believe in the commandments, and if everyone obeyed them — including me — life would be better.”

It seems that the great man’s channels with the Labour Party remain on the hush-hush.

There’s talk that Galloway would like to re-enter the Labour fold — he was expelled in 2003 for “bringing the party into disrepute” over his opposition to the Iraq war. Has he spoken to Corbyn? “I wouldn’t go public with what my communication has been with him,” he says, “but we’re in touch through others. I’ve no doubt my point of view is heard.”

The dapper gent reveals some of his top tips for keeping ‘up to date’ as a “hipster” as young people say,

Galloway spends a fortune on vintage clothes, buying from shops such as Victory in Whiteleys and Rokit in Covent Garden. The other day “an Arab admirer, a Saudi woman living in Holland Park” offered him £3,000 for his “trademark” fedora. He’s even bought the lease on his own vintage shop near Portobello (“which will open sometime” but is “a sore point” with his missus “because she didn’t want to”).

As Britain’s answer to popular French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala  Galloway is appropriately a pillar of the Groucho Club.

He’s a regular at Soho House-owned Pizza East and a member of the Groucho Club. “I have been for 25 years — politicians were not technically allowed but Nigella Lawson and her late husband John Diamond were friends and as membership secretaries swung it for me I was the only politician there — probably still am”.

Read the rest of the interview with London’s next Mayor at the Evening Standard.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Student Union bans Speech by Heroic Volunteer who Fought with Kurds Against ISIS Genociders.

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Macer Gifford: “wanted to shine a light and to show the Kurds aren’t alone.”

The Tab,

The Union banned a YPG fighter from talking at the University – in case he influences others to go and fight.

Ex-student Macer Gifford fought in Syria for five months earlier this year with the Kurdish Group YPG against Islamic State, and was due to give a speech at the University yesterday.

President of the Kurdish Society, Kavar Kurda, organised for him to come in, but was told Macer would not be given a platform to speak because “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist”.

Activities and Events Officer, Asad Khan, said the decision was “because there were concerns an event with a person speaking about their experiences fighting in Syria could lead to others going and fighting in the conflict”.

He said in an email: “In every conflict there are two sides, and at UCLU we want to avoid taking sides in conflicts.”

“Kavar claims Asad went on to say how he “doesn’t agree with western definitions of groups.”

Kavar told The Tab: “Asad went down the same route as CAGE and other questionable organisations by appealing to white middle class stereotypes and told me the only reason Macer wasn’t arrested was because he is ‘white and middle class’.

“I find it astounding such an institution like UCL are unwilling to take a side in this conflict

“If you don’t support Kurds and the YPG, only ISIS are left. Where’s the freedom of speech? What about human rights?”

Asad had expressed concerns to Kavar about the human rights record of YPG, citing UN reports which detailed how YPG had “carried out recruitment of child soldiers”, but Kavar says the sources were “random” and Asad had “gone out to find anything remotely negative against the group, dismissing the huge applause for them around the world”.


Asad said the Syrian crisis is a “contentious topic” and defended his decision to block the speaker.

He told The Tab: “It is important to note the rooms these activities take place in belong to UCL rather than UCLU and we liaised with UCL, who in turn wanted to seek advice from the police.

“When they didn’t get a reply, to stay on the side of caution, UCL also leant towards not providing a platform.

“The Syrian crisis is a very contentious topic with many different groups, and although I understand YPG are fighting against ISIS the situation is far too complex to understand in black and white as expected by the student.

“I don’t think UCLU can disregard an Amnesty International report as well as one from the UN Independent International Commission. Despite signing a commitment in 2014 to demobilise all under-18 fighters, the Human Rights Watch have reported that YPG have recruited child soldiers, some of them below the age of 15.

“In this context, despite the fact YPG aren’t a terrorist organisation, I think there is enough evidence to show they have committed human rights abuses, for which reason it is not appropriate for UCLU to be associated with someone who chose to go and fight for them.

For the Kurdish reply to these allegations:

YPG General Command: Amnesty International Report is Contradictory

The General Command of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) has released a detailed statement responding to the Amnesty International Report, published on 12 October 2015 and titled, “We Had Nowhere Else to Go – Forced Displacement and Demolitions in Northern Syria”.

Underlining that the report is contradictory and puts the credibility of the organisation at stake, the YPG higlighted the following points in response to the report which drew worldwide reaction due to its attempt and effort to defame the People’s Protection Units by means of unfounded claims;

Not many people think that backing the YPG’s fight against the Islamist genociders of ISISis “contentious” and, not a “black and white issue” and  “far too complex” to take sides in.

It would be interesting to find out the stand of Kahn’s own organisations on this and related topics.

“…my main involvement in university has to be with Pakistan Society where I was the events organiser and in the Islamic Society where I led Charity Week in my final year. Profile.

And there is this:

Asad Khan had votes deducted but still won

• Allegations of mass electoral fraud sees last minute disciplinary meeting

• Asad Khan and Mohammad Ali named in complaints seen exclusively by The Tab

• Union panel docks Asad Khan one per cent of his votes

Fraud allegations have been levelled against victorious candidates of this week’s Union elections, Asad Khan and Mohammad Ali.

Asad, who will serve as the £25K-a-year Activities and Events Officer, had one per cent of his first preference votes docked after an official complaint was made to the Union.





Written by Andrew Coates

November 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm