Corbyn: War on Terror is not Working – We Need a New Solution

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Kam Sandhu of Real Media UK, says that Corbyn has opened up a conversation in the UK that many people want to have but they have been under siege with ongoing terror attacks

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Story Transcript

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network, I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

The two main British party leaders have vocalized their anti terror policies on Friday, this follows a nationwide hiatus in respect of political campaigning that was put into place after the Manchester bombing. Theresa May the Conservative Prime Minister has focused on the role of technology and social media firms, claiming they must do more to support the fight against terrorism.

Leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, struck a decisively different tone, this is a part of what he had to say.

JEREMY CORBYN: There is no question about the seriousness of what we face. Over recent years the threat of terrorism has continued to grow. You deserve to know what a Labour government will do to keep you, and your family safe. Our approach would involve change at home and change abroad.

At home, we will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police, once again in Manchester they proved to be the best of us. Austerity has to stop, at the Accident and Emergency ward, and at the police station door. If the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should and they will get them.

We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we’ve been involved in or supported and fought in, in other countries such as Libya, and terrorism here at home. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism.

SHARMINI PERIES: Joining us today for a discussion on all of this regarding the UK general election, is Kam Sandhu. Kam is an investigative journalist and editor, and co-founder of the UK based independent media outlet Real Media. Thanks for joining me again Kam.

KAM SANDHU: It’s good to see you Sharmini, thank you for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right Kam, so tell me, Jeremy Corbyn has struck against the role of UK foreign policy as a contributing factor, as far as the types of terror attacks and experiences that Londoners and Manchesters have had. What is a reaction to these arguments?

KAM SANDHU: Well I think it’s been a very important day for British politics, because as you say, when Jeremy Corbyn was laying out his ideas for foreign policy, while he derided all of these people involved in the Manchester attack on Monday night, he, perhaps for the first time in a number of years, has played the role of a politician who has said that the war on terror is not working, and that we need to find a new solution to these kinds of problems, because this is going to keep happening again and again.

The reason that’s kind of important is, we don’t get to hear that kind of thing and the attacks that we’ve had, we had the Westminster attack at the beginning of the year and the 7/7 bombings, we haven’t had perhaps a more nuanced discussion about the things that are causing this. And in the 7/7 bombings, just like in Manchester on Monday night, these people were British nationals, and so this kind of rhetoric that we’ve had as a result of these attacks, in terms of attacking immigrants and attacking refugees, it doesn’t really make any sense, and perhaps for the first time, Jeremy Corbyn has been able to bring that issue to the table in a way that doesn’t take away from the fact that there is a lot of grieving and a lot of pain still going on, certainly in Manchester.

SHARMINI PERIES: Kam, the press, including for example, The Daily Telegraph, have been quite hostile to the position of Jeremy Corbyn, whereas other papers haven’t really covered it yet, but in the past, even the joint intelligence reports as well as the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war made it quite clear that the invasion would substantially increase the threat of terrorism. Why is Corbyn’s position being received so hostilely, such hostility in the UK media?

KAM SANDHU: Well I don’t think … That’s a very important question and I don’t think it is surprising that a paper like The Daily Telegraph, and I did manage to catch that front page, which is essentially they span the story to say that Corbyn blames the attack on UK foreign policy. Now that is not close to what he said, but this is the kind of attacks that Corbyn has received throughout the time that he’s become leader of the Labour Party.

As soon as he was elected as leader of the Labour Party the first time, there was a huge vote on Syria, and the bombing of Syria, and that caused huge fractions between him and his party, Hilary Benn, you might remember, made a very passionate speech about the reasons that we must go and intervene in Syria.

This is the point that they’ve always tried to get him on. Corbyn has a history of being part of the Stop the War Coalition, he wants to take different actions to prevent greater actions by the UK abroad, and certainly in ways that will de-stabilize other countries. This is not just a Corbyn thing, this is a conversation that this country has not been allowed to have for many, many years, and I’ll give you an example of that.

Glen Greenwald not so long ago, wrote an article about anti war voices in the media, and he said, that after the Iraq war political commentators or political figures, weren’t allowed to maintain their credibility if they didn’t support the Iraq war in some way, or if they were against it, they weren’t allowed to question the moral position of that war.

We’ve seen over 10 years, Iraq and certainly the actions taken around it, the number of deaths that it caused, and the ongoing pain. You know, the length of it, this was not meant to be a long war, and it’s ended up being one of the longest ones that the US has been involved in. This is kind of resulting from all of that silence that’s happened over a long, long time, and I think a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief that for the first time in the last decade, a leading politician has been able to come forward and say that we have a role to play in this too.

SHARMINI PERIES: Kam, how significant are Jeremy Corbyn’s other positions regarding emergency services likely to be treated by the public and of course the media?

KAM SANDHU: I think he’s going to have a huge amount of support, I mean as we were talking about foreign policy today, but we were also talking about the security of this nation, and he says that he’s going to implement 20,000 new police officers, which is, by the way, the amount that Theresa May cut the police force by, and that is the reason we now have soldiers on our streets after the Manchester attack, because she cut those in 2015, while telling the Police Federation that they were scaremongering her about these cuts.

So we’ve seen a kind of direct result of Theresa May’s policy already, and how potentially that is already leaving us insecure, so I think, hopefully, I personally would like to see an increase in the protection of our public services, in terms of not just the police forces, but the NHS and so on. I think his policies will certainly resonate with people more and more now.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. How significant do you think the speech that Theresa May had made focusing on technology firms and national security, and how they have to be involved in helping them identify terrorists by using social media and the internet?

KAM SANDHU: Well yes, she’s come out and kind of suggested that people like Google and Facebook need to certainly do more to identify risks, and identify places that people are being radicalized, or people are organizing, or that people are even being groomed. Now there is evidence to back this up, there are calls for greater action from ISP providers, from big organizations like Facebook and Google, however to put this into context of Theresa May and her legacy, in that manifesto, Theresa May also said that she wanted to bring in really, really harsh regulation of the internet, to the extent that, the government would control what was being said online.

I think one of the comments in that manifesto was that, “Some people think that the government should have no place in regulating the internet, but we disagree.” Theresa May is also responsible for bringing in the IP Bill, which is a very Draconian Bill derided by human rights lawyers and privacy groups alike, which has, “Essentially sold privacy in the UK down the river.” In the words of Martha Spurrier, who works for Liberty, a leading human rights foundation here.

So putting that into context, the politics of Theresa May, it’s to be questioned about whether she’s doing this for everybody’s safety, or whether this is another level of her intercepting peoples privacy.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right Kam, we are less than 20 days from the election, we’ll be keeping an eye on this, and I thank you so much for joining us and briefing us on what is happening there. Thank you.

KAM SANDHU: No problem, thank you.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real New Network.