Another scandal to be swept under the carpet!
Diane Abbott has called for the leaked Labour report that sparked allegations of anti-Black racism to be published in full.
This comes after the Guardian printed an article claiming the former staffers are now claiming the report contained misused private messages from their WhatsApp account.
The leaked 860-page report emerged in April, just after Keir Starmer became Labour leader, reigniting party splits by claiming that Corbyn’s chances of success were scuppered by disgruntled party elements.
Authored anonymously in the final months of Corbyn’s tenure, the report said opponents hampered his efforts to tackle antisemitism in the party and cited WhatsApp messages insulting Corbyn’s allies. Some of the messages had apparent racist or sexist overtones, prompting outrage among the party’s BAME members.
The Irony of these staffers claiming the messages were private is that these former staffers stand accused of creating a program that trawled through Labour Party members social media, the program hunting for keywords that would enable them to suspend or expel members, all done without any consideration for the member’s privacy.
The report even goes as far as to say they created what they called a ‘New Stasi’ system, this had a tool that could scrape twitter accounts looking for left-wing members they could suspend or expel from the Labour Party
As well as Twitter, staff specifically scraped Facebook with what was called “new stasi system”, that would record who were fans of particular pages and scrape Facebook comments from those pages.338 This was, again, specifically targeted at pages, such as “JeremyCorbyn4PM”, “Momentum” and “Young Greens”, that might catch people on the left saying anything remotely that they could use to remove the members from the Labour Party.
EXTRACT FROM THE LEAKED REPORT: 2.2.3. The “Validation” process. Extract from the Leaked Labour document:
“I’ll work on an experimental new Stasi system”
“James Schneider has [been flagged] but unfortunately it’s a bit benign” “fuck Momentum”
It was in this context that the Governance and Legal Unit led on a highly controversial operation to “vet” members and supporters by examining their social media feeds – a second round of 2015’s “Trot hunt”, officially called “Validation”.
At the time, the Nationbuilder software that Labour used to hold its member and supporter data had agreements with Facebook and Twitter that enabled it to “match” profiles, primarily through people’s email addresses.
At the end of June 2016, Richard Shakespeare, Labour’s lead developer, quickly produced a web app that would scrape Twitter and Facebook for tweets, retweets, shares and comments that matched various search criteria, and then match them to profiles of members and supporters, with a basic interface for staff to review the evidence and matches produced.
Though formally under Buckingham (who continued to work part-time), and despite having started in his role just days earlier, on 27 June 2016, Sam Matthews, newly appointed Compliance Officer was tasked with “co-ordinating this on a day-to-day Basis”.
He noted on 1 July that “the goal is… [to] investigate and refer as many as possible within the time scale we’ve got”.
The scale of the operation was deliberately hidden from the NEC, however – “we don’t want the NEC to have much of an idea how many there are to review (we’re worried they’ll get scared)”.
Matthews and Shakespeare discussed the need for secrecy, limiting what information people involved could see, and using people who could be “trusted”, with 10 people being recruited to work on this from Labour Students (two of whom were also noted as coming from “Britain Stronger In Europe”; there appears to have been some overlap between the two organisations)
Britain Stronger in Europe (formally The In Campaign Limited) was an advocacy group which campaigned in favour of the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union in the 2016 British referendum.
Lord Peter Mandelson sat on the board on Britain Stronger IN Europe. He along with Roland Rudd another of Tony Blair’s advisers later setup the Corbyn–sceptic remain campaign pressure group ‘The People’s vote’
The key staff involved in this process openly opposed Jeremy Corbyn, and this process of “vetting” was designed to target the party’s left.
There is much much more in the leaked report, most damning is what appears to be a conspiracy to lose the 2017 general election.
The staffers claim that was“simply is not true”.
However after reading the Leaked report many people would come to a very different conclusion.
First duty of senior party officials is to support the Labour Party and support the Leader— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) August 7, 2020
Its how you win elections – had all of this happened we would now be in our third year of a Labour Government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister#LabourLeaks https://t.co/EtR4Dx9wpA
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer set up an inquiry led by Martin Forde QC to investigate the contents of the report but more so how it was leaked.
Sir Keir Starmer went against Party legal advice and has recently paid significant damages to seven of these former party staffers who spoke to the BBC’s Panorama programme about antisemitism in the party under Labour, who were accused of being anti-Corbyn, and it is braced for similar claims.
It would be very difficult to describe some comments as anything other than Racism
The report also fuelled concerns of Afriphobia, or anti-Black racism, in the party.
Party officials used a number of insults in private conversations to describe senior Black MPs and officials including Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis.
The way you have been treated by people some people within the Labour Party is disgusting and now it looks like @Keir_Starmer is going for the brush and carpet tactic. Let’s call it for what it is, It was a racist attack and the #LabourLeaks showed a betrayal of democracy. pic.twitter.com/8Pl1DhmJB4— Labour Heartlands (@Labourheartland) August 7, 2020
Black voters are still reeling from the aftermath of the leaked report and many have told us that they now feel “politically homeless”.
The lengthy document revealed that Labour officials used a string of insults, racism, and sexism in their private WhatsApp groups to describe senior Black MPs and officials including Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis.
The messages about Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott are a visceral reminder of the discrimination black women face in the workplace
Many black British women feel a particular, protective kind of kinship toward black female MPs, grateful for their representation both figuratively and literally in the face of media attacks.
So the leak of an internal report from Labour HQ, which alleges senior staff exhibiting the very prejudice they claim to fight against, has been especially hard to digest.
The 860-page document has unearthed a plethora of party horrors: allegations of misuse of funds, the continued undermining of the 2017 electoral campaign and the then-leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts to investigate anti-Semitism in the party, as well as vicious criticism of leading Labour figures by staff members in private messages.
The entire dossier is hard to swallow, but the messages regarding Dawn Butler and Diane Abbott left a singularly bitter aftertaste.
One staff member “engaged in a classic racist trope” by referring to the Hackney North MP as an “angry woman”, while another called her “repulsive.”
When Ms Abbott was found crying in the toilets in the wake of abuse in 2017, a female staff member suggested telling a Channel 4 journalist of her whereabouts. Another replied that he already had, followed by a wink emoji.
Yomi Adegoke writes One can only fathom the level of dehumanisation that has taken place, for peers to gleefully relish in bullying that has brought a colleague to the brink and then contribute to it.
The report appears to shows party staff organising against Labour candidates and to undermine MPs, hoping the party would fail at elections, and failing to work as instructed by the elected leadership and National Executive Committee. It appears too that this behaviour was not just protected but encouraged and co-ordinated by the most senior levels of management.
Claudia Webbe, the Leicester East MP who oversaw Labour’s disputes panel under Corbyn, condemned what she called a playing down of the content of the WhatsApp messages.
She said: “It’s disgraceful that anyone would attempt to justify racism towards black Labour MPs and misogyny towards women employees, which has driven many of our members, particularly BAME members, to leave our party in disgust.
“If former officials thought quotes in the report – which are clearly copied and pasted from WhatsApp – were misleading, they would welcome the Forde inquiry having the chance to see the full texts. Instead, they seem to want to stop the inquiry from looking at the evidence because they fear it will confirm the accuracy of the WhatsApp messages.”
One former Labour staffer said: “I don’t see how it’s possible for so many extracts to seem racist or sexist when that wasn’t their meaning, especially when discussions are quoted in full.
“I’m sure if they want to show they were actually condemning racism, sexism and not obsessed with an imaginary war against ‘Trots’, they’ll publish their chats in full.”
Read the full report here LINK The question to the membership is where is our sense of honour, our sense of justice and accountability?
But more so without full transparency this will never go away and if so how can the Labour Party ever be trusted again…
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