Freedom Rider: Propaganda and the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn

If Corbyn can be defeated with a libel, it can work just as well on Sanders.

One year ago this columnist wrote about the Integrity Initiative, an arm of British intelligence masquerading as an NGO. “The Integrity Initiative is a means of undermining the sovereignty of the British people by manipulating them with lies. It engaged in numerous efforts to libel Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and prevent him from ever being elected prime minister.” There is no claim of precognition here, just an effort to connect the dots regarding those forces that make the word democracy a sham and a lie.

The Labour Party suffered a resounding defeat in the elections held on December 12, 2019. They didn’t just lose to the conservative Tories, they lost in a landslide. Constituencies that had dependably voted for Labour for many decades suddenly switched sides.

The 2016 Brexit referendum played a significant role in these events. The region known as the Labour Party heartlands voted in favor of leaving the European Union. Jeremy Corbyn originally pledged to support the result even though he favored remaining in the E.U. But he was convinced to change course and promised a second referendum. The Brexiters in his party wanted their choice to be respected and were rightly angry.

But there is another factor that must be discussed in analyzing this election. Corbyn and his party were relentlessly targeted by the corporate media who worked in collusion with the Tories, the surveillance state, and right-wing forces in the country. He was accused of being a Russian agent and an anti-Semite. The latter charge was often used against him and the entire party. The smear was repeated quite often and created an endless need to respond. Of course, the target is never free in such instances. Corbyn couldn’t focus on his message when prominent people like the country’s chief rabbi called him “unfit for office.” The Archbishop of Canterbury helped shove Corbyn under the bus by asserting that British Jews lived in “fear and insecurity.”

Most voters said that the charges of anti-Semitism didn’t sway their choices, but propaganda works in an insidious way. Repetition of a lie can change minds, much like subliminal messaging on a constant loop. Eventually the target cannot be thought of in a positive light and is connected with the libel just because it is uttered often enough. The need to challenge a falsehood gives it energy and attention. Even a denial emphasizes the connection of the targeted individual with what he hopes to avoid.

Corbyn was facing an establishment that had too much to lose if he won. They could not risk him freeing Julian Assange or returning gold illegally stolen from Venezuela or refusing to snatch Iranian oil tankers if the U.S. demanded it. They couldn’t risk anyone possibly disrupting the work of MI6, one of the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies which works in concert with counterparts in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The U.K. is at the very heart of the surveillance state, acting as America’s puppet. The once mighty empire, which subjugated and oppressed millions of people around the world, now exists as Uncle Sam’s puppet and partner in crime. It was British intelligence figures like Christopher Steele who provided the foreign interference in the 2016 elections. The two countries work hand in hand to ensure that the people don’t get what they want. Corporate media in both countries behave in similar fashion and make a mockery of any claims of a free press.

When Boris Johnson arrived at a Remembrance Day event in 2019 and made a fool of himself, the BBC broadcast fake footage from 2016 so as not to embarrass him. They clearly didn’t care that the ruse was so obvious. They weren’t going to let Johnson’s stupidity stand in his way of being elected prime minister.

The Tories should have been the party that suffered big losses. The rightwing impoverished millions of people with punishing austerity, deprived the National Health Service of funds, stripped black Britons of their rights in the Windrush scandal, allowed the rich to hide their assets from taxation, and followed every American foreign adventure like good little vassals. The dictates of white supremacy were an extra layer of propaganda.

Johnson has a long history of making racist remarks, on one occasion referring to “pickannies”  and “watermelon smiles.” Johnson has long been a buffoonish figure of fun in British politics while serving as mayor of London, foreign minister, and prime minister. He plays the part of a dumb blonde, but being blonde surely doesn’t hurt him. Getting buy-in from the billionaire-controlled media gave him protection.

The post-election analysis on this side of the Atlantic parroted all the claims of Corbyn’s opponents. We are told that the Democrats can’t go too far to the left, that is to say protect the welfare state, because they will end up like Corbyn and the Labour Party. Like clockwork, Bernie Sanders is accused of being an anti-Semite. The smear worked so well that there is no need to come up with something new. If Corbyn can be defeated with a libel it can work just as well on Sanders.

Corbyn provides us with a cautionary tale. Sanders will be cheated out of the Democratic Party nomination not just because super delegates will vote against him. The media either disappear him with the “Bernie blackout” or give access only to his detractors. Over and over again Americans are told that they can’t have free college or health care or anything else they need and want. Eventually even supporters will question their decisions out of fear of seeing another Donald Trump election. If they are told often enough that what they want is impossible or bad for the Democrats they will reject it.

If Americans are going to make connections with the British elections they must talk about the assault on democracy from the billionaires and their willing minions. They must plan for the inevitable character assassination of anyone who threatens the elites and their established order.  If any connection with U.S. politics seems farfetched, consider that an Integrity Initiative operative “volunteered” for Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016. The connections are international, and the elites in one country are fast friends with those in another. The politicians of Corbyn and Sanders ilk will always face an uphill battle. Denying this reality means that the scoundrels will stay in control in the U.S., the U.K. and the whole world.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at  Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

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