British Prime Minister Gordon Brown seems to be in hot water since his take over last summer. His handling of Glasgow terrorist incident was quite impressive. Though over all policy towards war on terror and its victims has not much changed. A public/judicial enquiry into the 7/7 terrorist incidents especially the movements, arrivals and departures of guests from friendly part of the Middle East would help in confidence building among all the communities.
By Dr Shahid Qureshi
Certain close friends of Gordon seem not very happy or fully satisfied? Tony Blair’s mess and disastrous polices are costing lives and limbs to the British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gordon Brown also seems very close to all the communities including Jewish community. Brown is also in good books of very well respected, enlightened religious philosopher Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs especially when his daughter is working in his office according to some reports. One wonder what lead to the browning of Gordon? British Jewish community is very well placed in the political and financial circles but some right wing elements still manage to bring religion into debate may it be a simple coincidence?
Most recently highlighted Jewish conspiracy theories are: why is it that we find Jewish men and women when sex or financial scandals are exposed? For example self confessed illicit affair of Tory Minister Edwina Cohen (Curry) with former Prime Minister John Major and more recently Home Secretary David Blunkitts affair with a Jewish lady called Kimberly Fortier (Kimberly Quinn) or former US President Clinton’s affiar with Monica Lewinsky. This line of thinking is quite worrying?
On the other hand The Independent reported on 7th December 2007, “that a senior Isreali Public Security Minister Avi Dicher cancelled his UK visit fearing he could be arrseted on war crimes charges arising from the assassination of a top Hamas military commander over the July 2002 bombing attack in Gaza on Saleh Shehadah which killed at least 13 civilians. Mr Dichter was due to speak at a seminar in King’s College London”.
The Guardian reported on 27th November 2007 that, “Ever since Tony Blair appeared on television a decade ago to apologise for taking a £1m donation to Labour from the formula one boss, Bernie Ecclestone, Labour has been tarnished with sleaze. The Ecclestone row broke after it was revealed that Downing Street had granted an exemption from the tobacco-advertising ban for grand prix events, a remarkable concession for the multi-million sports. At the time, Tony Blair insisted: “I am a pretty straight sort of guy.” Later, though, questions started to be asked about the activities of Lord Levy, the music promoter and tennis partner of the then prime minister, who was entrusted to raise millions for the party.
Late Henry Drucker, the Labour noted that many of the newly ennobled peers were multimillion-pound contributors to Labour. The scandal became much more explicit at the time of the last election in 2005 after it was revealed that Labour had received tens of millions of pounds of loans from wealthy donors which had not been declared to the Electoral Commission. This disclosure led to the Scotland Yard “cash-for-honours” investigation, which has dogged the party over the past two years but resulted in no prosecutions.
Deputy assistant commissioner John Yates took the allegations seriously and the subsequent inquiry – centring on allegations that offers of peerages were made to Chai Patel, Sir David Garrard, Sir Gulam Noon, Barry Townsley and others in return for large loans or donations to Labour- was a huge embarrassment to Labour.
The allegations went to the heart of government – with Blair facing questioning as a potential witness and Levy, facing arrest for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after it became clear that not everything had been disclosed to the police.
The Labour Party is dogged by scandal again, with the disclosure that north-eastern Jewish property developer David Abrahams has given more than £600,000 to the party- but using other people – perhaps as many as four – to hand over the cash, to hide his identity.
Not only does this break the transparency rules, which are a key part of the policing role of the Electoral Commission watchdog, but also it could open the party to criminal prosecution. Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, has said as much. The question of how officials allowed this happen puts Labour in the spotlight again for disreputable practices.
David Abrahams an active member of Labour Friends of Israel donated more than £600,000 to the labour party in directly through his associates. David Abrahms said that he disguised the source of the money to protect his privacy. Peter Watt, who quit as Labour Party’s general secretary, acknowledged he was legally responsible for reporting details of the donation. He said he was unaware of some of the reporting requirements.
The Electoral Commission is investigating whether property developer David Abrahams’s use of associates to donate more than £600,000 to the Labour party has infringed the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
The acceptance of the donations – which the prime minister Gordon Brown admitted on 27th November 2007 had “not been lawfully declared” – has potentially left the Labour party and possibly individuals open to criminal prosecution.
The 2000 Act created a range of criminal offences, which can be committed by donors or by agents who give money on behalf of a donor, and in some cases by the political party, which accepts the donation. The penalty for anyone convicted of an offence is a fine or a maximum of a year’s imprisonment. Political parties cannot be imprisoned but Labour Party could be hit with a large fine. Gordon Brown said today that the money would be returned.
Channel4 aired exclusive reports on the issue and reported that these donations could be related to the planning permission by the motorway authority for the development of a land as Business Park which was initially turned down due to the opposition of the local people but later granted. One reporter stated that critics are saying it could be “Israeli money”.
The reports in the Western media seem to be focusing on friends of Israel? French newspaper Le Figaro reported on 12th October 2007 that recently elected president Sarkozy’s link to Mossad. Reporter JEAN-MARC LECLERC wrote, “The PJ (Police Judiciere) investigates an electronic mail that was sent during the presidential election to one hundred top responsible of the police force. The email affirms that Sarkozy, like Balkany, Lellouche, Devedjian and Aeschlimann were connected to Mossad. At the end of March 2007, in the ‘last right’ of the election, all departmental managers of the Public Security, around one hundred senior civil servants, were sent a strange electronic mail. The future president was bluntly accused of having been recruited in 1980s by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. In 1983, Patrick Balkany would have recruited the “young and promising” Sarkozy, the fourth man of the Mossad. The fifth recruit came to complete the implement in the 1990s: Manuel Aeschlimann, deputy-mayor of Asnières (Hauts-de-Seines).”
An Algerian minister said that Sarkozy owed his electoral victory to Israel and “the Jewish lobby,” the French daily Le Figaro reported on 28th November 2007. The comments by Minister for War Veterans Mohammed Cherif Abbes were made in an interview published earlier this week in the popular Algerian daily El Khabar. “You know the origins of the French president and those who brought him to power,” Cherif Abbes said, referring to the fact that Sarkozy’s mother is of Greek Sephardic Jewish descent. “Did you know that Israeli authorities circulated a stamp bearing Sarkozy’s likeness during the presidential election campaign?” he asked rhetorically.”
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior award wining investigative journalist and writer on security, foreign policy, and terrorism based in London)