(Opinion) Who is “behind Labour”? PART 1 – Agents of Influence: Novara Media?

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by Behind Labour

Our honest opinion is that the CIA is behind the Labour left – read on to see if you agree:

This article is being published in two parts. This first part describes what we believe is the CIA’s main conduit for influencing the UK left, the anarchist collective Plan C and identifies the organisations it utilises as fronts.

The second part will recount how and why we consider these known Plan C fronts to be responsible for the collapse of the Corbyn project, both as an electoral initiative and wider movement.

Nearly five years ago, Jeremy Corbyn was defeated in the 2019 General Election. This defeat was preceded by years of sabotage – from both left and right – and catastrophic capitulations from the Labour leadership, most notably over the largely cooked up “antisemitism crisis” scam. Since then, the Corbyn project has collapsed almost completely, and the left has once again split into varying rival factions. Once again, the left can’t be trusted to organise a piss up at a party conference. How did it go so wrong?

We believe that we now have enough evidence to support the claim that what became the “Corbyn Project” was tainted from inception. It was never going to succeed because those who set it up in the first place did not want it to succeed, at least with Corbyn as leader and this at least partially explains why the very organisations supposedly established to support Corbyn accepted the terms of debate set by his internal and external enemies. One explanation for this is that many organisations were, formed, from the start by Plan C, a CIA cutout with a paramilitary wing operating in Syria under CIA direction, in the form of activists sent to the middle east as part of their “Rojava Cluster”.

Whilst we do not have enough material to identify specific individuals as CIA assets, we believe that the evidence we have demonstrates that:

a) Plan C is, as an organisation a CIA asset or cutout/intermediary; 

b) Plan C played a major role in establishing the organisations that would become known as the Corbyn movement;

C) Plan C then used this position to sabotage and destroy “Corbynism” from the inside

What is Plan C?

On its website, Plan C claims to:

“organise in, beyond, and against capital. We think this requires the development of ideas and practices that are able to cohere together whilst at the same time being dynamic enough to adapt to changes in our lives and our work. Whilst we try to avoid tying ourselves down to key principles and hallmarks, there are a few things that can be sustainably drawn on to broadly describe its form.”

If this seems opaque, well, it is:

“The ‘C’ is deliberately ambiguous. The assumption tends to be that it stands for ‘Commons’ or ‘Communism’. Either of these is acceptable but people should feel free to interpret it differently if they wish. It also has the advantage of sounding a little like the title of a 1950s American ‘red scare’ thriller. More importantly, it’s a play on the flurry of discourse around ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ that emerged in the UK once the crisis had dug its heels in after 2007.”

So far, so much postmodernist brain-leakage. Further down, there’s a little more clarity, as it is acknowledged that the people behind Plan C are “anti-capitalist and anarchist horizontalists”, whatever that means.

If it’s not clear what Plan C is from what they say, seeing them straight is easier when we dispense with the pseudo-academic claptrap and look at what they actually do.

It then becomes obvious that the “C” in Plan C, might as well stand for CIA.

How is Plan C linked to the CIA?

Plan C affiliated paramilitaries are actively working for the CIA in its occupation of northeastern Syria via Plan C’s Kurdistan Cluster.

In an interview with London Green Left a Plan C activist explains their commitment to the Kurdish occupation of Syria’s oil and wheat fields:

“There’s a long and rich tradition of revolutionary internationalism, and the Rojava Revolution has produced beautiful examples like the International Freedom Battalion, as well as martyrs like Anna Campbell, the match of any other moment in revolutionary history. But the scale is far, far smaller, for clear material reasons, but this is something that must be recognised and addressed.”

From Plan C’s own website, which recounts the activities of their activists, its clear that some have been recruited to fight and die in the Syrian civil war, including Anna Campbell, who was killed in March 2018.

 In the case of another activist, “Josh”, Plan C recounts:

“A longtime member of our Kurdistan Cluster, Josh travelled to Syria in 2017 to volunteer in the Rojava Revolution. He stayed for a year, volunteering with both SYPG, a Marxist civil organisation supporting the growth of the democratic system, and the International Freedom Battalion, an internationalist YPG battalion established as a united front of anarchists and communists defending the revolution. Josh was loved and respected by the people in Rojava as a teacher in Kobane, and by his IFB comrades as a soldier in the liberation of Raqqa.”

Plan C claims that the territory occupied by the United States and its Kurdish proxies following the CIA backed Arab Spring is something of a socialist-ethnonationalist Kurdish utopia:

“built on democratic, feminist, and social values with some form of critique of capitalism is being built. This society has the potential to spread, mutate, and shape the larger region and the states which seek to dominate it. In particular to serve as a model for the rest of Syria and to support the progressive movement in Turkey where the process of democratic confederalism has deeper and older roots. Rojava is a living example of the possibility of radical large scale social change in our times and should be an important focus of solidarity and study for revolutionary structures across the world.”

However, the truth behind this positive characterisation is clear from their acknowledgement that the Rojava movement is, “built on the intellectual, organisational, and material foundations of decades of struggle, primarily via the PKK in Turkey”.

 In reality, the PKK is running the show and the PKK has been a partner of the CIA for some time now, as was confirmed by retired CIA employee Marc Polymeropoulos, who admitted that


“The most interesting part of the US relationship in the counter-ISIS [Daesh] campaign is that we partnered in essence with a terrorist group, the PKK” […]

“It [PKK] has been kind of rebranded for a short-term solution. In essence, we partnered with PKK and drove the Turks bananas, as it should, because it’s an insurgency going on in Turkey that killed scores of Turkish soldiers and civilians”

Polymeropoulos’s claims have been confirmed by other sources, including the Cuban News agency Prensa Latina and a report to the UK parliament. Nevertheless, the truth would be obvious to anyone paying close attention, not least because CIA advisor James Jeffrey, a former US Ambassador to Turkey is the architect of the United States’ operation in Syria, including the “Rojava” project. Of Kurds in Rojava, Jeffrey said:

“The SDF, they’re clean kids. I’ve gotten to know them and their leadership very, very well. They really are phenomenal, by Middle Eastern standards. They’re a highly disciplined Marxist offshoot of the PKK. They’re also not particularly interested in pursuing the PKK agenda. They’re the squishees; they don’t have any mountains […] The YPG is the PKK.”

Furthermore, Numerous sources from as diverse institutions as BBC News, the Cradle and Mehr news agency have reported on the CIA’s partnership with the SDF, the latter highlighting that the CIA is transporting SDF fighters to Nazi let military units in Ukraine. .

Hardly the stuff of “progressive revolution”!

However “squishy” the Kurds may be, anyone who studies the history of the CIA will know its long track record of infiltrating and coopting militant socialist organisations that previously opposed the Anglo-American Empire to serve as its proxies. That this is the case with the PKK explains why the Turkish government felt able to blame both the PKK and the United States for the November 2022 terrorist attack in Istanbul. Like Italy’s Red Brigades during the latter stages of the Cold War, the PKK is now a servant of its masters at Langley, this is particularly true in SDF occupied Northeast Syria where the United States has an interest in oil production. “Rojava” is very much a CIA subsidiary  regime. It could not even exist without the presence of at least 900 US troops .

Moreover, and despite claims by Plan C, the CIA regime in northeastern Syria is not democratic or progressive in any meaningful sense. As a 2018 report to Parliament makes clear:

“The PYD/PKK rules over an area of Syria it calls “Rojava” in an authoritarian and abusive manner that has destroyed all independent media and political opposition”

We think it is highly unlikely that they could travel to Syria to assist what the UK government still classes as a terrorist group without UK security services assistance. It is, in fact illegal to travel to Syria to fight in the various militia armies active their and people have been arrested for doing so.

Worse still are the arguably genocidal actions of the PKK/PYD/YPG in Syria. As Amnesty has reported,

“A fact-finding mission to northern Syria has uncovered a wave of forced displacement and home demolitions amounting to war crimes carried out by the Autonomous Administration led by the Syrian Kurdish political party Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (PYD) controlling the area […] The Autonomous Administration is a key ally, on the ground, of the US-led coalition fighting against the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

‘We had nowhere else to go’: Forced displacement and demolitions in northern Syria reveals evidence of alarming abuses, including eyewitness accounts and satellite images, detailing the deliberate displacement of thousands of civilians and the razing of entire villages in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration, often in retaliation for residents’ perceived sympathies with, or ties to, members of IS or other armed groups.”

Through Plan C, the UK left, including Jeremy Corbyn and Andrew Feinstein have been led into supporting this regime of horrors.

 We hope Jeremy Corbyn and Andrew Feinstein read, and consider very carefully, the testimonies of “Rojava’s” victims documented in Amnesty’s report.

How does this make Plan C an asset of the CIA?

As well as working for the CIA’s partner PKK in Syria, Plan C is assisting them in spreading propaganda to the West by sharing the work of a group called “Rojava Plan” a  name adopted by activists living in northeastern Syria “for outside communication with the rest of the world it suggests our goals” – and communications from senior members of the CIA/PKK regime.

As the aims of “Rojava Plan” make clear and as is obvious to anyone who has looked at their website, Plan C is acting as an intermediary for the CIA regime, funnelling propaganda produced by the CIA’s subsidiary in Syria back to the UK. The group has even published a soft interview with YPG Commander Cihan Kendal.

Plan C’s pro Rojava stance is therefore not spontaneous but being fed to it by the CIA regime itself, meaning that the Plan C’s propaganda is intended to generate support for a brutal, illegal and genocidal occupation. It is therefore legitimate and indeed accurate to regard Plan C’s “Rojava” output as CIA propaganda.

This also means that Plan C, which remains based in the UK, is by definition a CIA asset or “cut-out”, in that it is used  as  a “mechanism” […] “to create a compartment between the members of an operation to allow them to pass material or messages securely”. In the case of Plan C, it’s function as a cut out is to pass messages that the SDF forces’ CIA handlers want to export to the west to generate support for their illegal and otherwise unjustifiable occupation in a form that is palatable to  UK left-liberals.

Which organisations do Plan C and its activists use as fronts?

There are many organisations that act as fronts for Plan C, whether through disseminating “Rojava” propaganda written by Plan C activists – as is true of the Canary, Red Pepper, Novara Media – or serving as platforms through which Plan C activists exert influence – such as The World Transformed, Momentum and Don’t Pay UK. Others, like Progressive  International have worked with Plan C proxies such as the Autonomous Design Group, which contributed to the design of Progressive International’s website.

Given the sheer extent of Plan C influence across the UK left, it can be said that it to an extent runs the show, even if many of these activists (including those mentioned in this article) are unaware of the group’s links to the CIA. For now, we will deal with arguably the most significant of these organisations, which is Novara Media.

Novara Media, whose co-founder Aaron Bastani is on record as a Plan C supporter and wrote up their philosophy of “Full Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) into a book length “manifesto”, could be described as the group’s house journal. In fact, this appears to be how Plan C views it themselves, describing it as “our own” in one article – a clear smoking gun identifying the media organisation as a Plan C proxy or front.

The platform has published a wide variety of articles from a range of known Plan C associates and former Plan C members. These include “A real revolution is a mass of contradictions” by “Peter Loo”, “Pandering Won’t Solve Labour’s Brexit Problem” by Michael Chessum, “Do They Owe Us a Living? 7 Reasons the Universal Basic Income is Worth Fighting For” by TWT co-founder Andrew Dolan, “Shoplifters of the World Unite!” by Plan C cofounder Seth Wheeler, “How Do We Reclaim the Northern Soul?” by Novara Media’s North of England Editor Craig Gent and many more.

This list of activists and articles gives us a flavour of the Plan C/Novara Media/Aaron Bastani perspective, which is radically Western-identity-politics-liberal to the point of near extremism and instinctively sympathetic and sometimes forthrightly supportive of establishment institutions such as NATO and the EU. This sympathy for NATO is hardly surprising, given that both Plan C and Novara Media, are either, in the case of Plan C actively participating in NATO proxy wars or, in the case of Novara Media, endorsing them by pushing supportive propaganda.   

These are not, therefore, ideal ideological bedfellows for Jeremy Corbyn or natural supporters of his hitherto Euro- and NATO- Sceptic, and tradition Communist Party of Great Britain political style. At least that’s what you might think.

However, Jeremy Corbyn’s own Spokesman and Director of Strategic Communications – Momentum co-founder James Schneider, has also written for Novara Media. Schneider, it turns out, is friends with Ben Judah and David Patrikarakos, both of whose names appear in Integrity initiative leaks and who he knows from university.  According to Wikispooks, the online encyclopaedia of deep politics Patrikarakos “outed” Schneider “as a spook” (cite). Schneider also knows Plan C co-founder Alessio Lunghi and is the Head of Communications for Progressive International, for whose website Plan C partner Autonomous Design Group contributed. This is just a small snapshot of the extent to which Plan C coloured the Corbyn Project, which will be displayed more expansively in Part 2.

Agents of Influence

The close relationship between Novara Media and Plan C and Novara’s role as a platform for disseminating propaganda on behalf of CIA regime volunteers in Syria and also Ukraine, means that it is, in our honest opinion, accurate to describe them as “Agents of Influence” as defined by both the International Spy Museum and SIS historian Nigel West.

The International Spy Museum defines an Agent-of-Influence simply as “A person who works within the government or media of a target country to influence national policy.”

In the case of the CIA regimes in northeastern Syria and Ukraine, the target country is the UK and both Plan C and its Novara Media proxies are the agents of influence who promote the interests of the CIA’s proxies to the public and policymakers via their media platform.

West provides a more detailed description of Agents of Influence and their modus operandi. According to West,

Such an individual [agent of influence] usually associated with fellow travellers and sometimes a confidential contact of a local foreign embassy, is not a conventional intelligence source but is usually ideologically motivated. During the Cold War, such agents often held posts that enabled them to exercise influence on behalf of Moscow”.

West elaborates,

“Following the defections of Soviet agents Oleg Giordievsky in 1985 and Vasily Mitrokhin in 1992 evidence emerged that several well-known British left wing journalists had allegedly received undeclared financial support from the KGB, among them the Guardian’s literary editor Richard Gott, and the long serving editor of Tribune, Dock Clements.

Not all agents of influence are necessarily conscious, although Michael Foote, one of Tribune’s editors, who would become leader of the Labour Party, would be criticised for apparently not noticing a large subsidy from the Soviet Embassy for what purported to be a volume subscription to the weekly Journal”.

Again, our honest opinion Novara Media and many of its writers fit into this frame – how could we not think so?

Like the agents of influence described by West, many of the Plan C activists writing for Novara media are, in their role as journalists, plainly affecting influence on behalf of foreign CIA proxy regimes through their positive reporting. 

Also akin to the agents of influence described by West, the current and former Plan C activists writing for Novara are no doubt true believers, at least for the most part.

Although they are not, to our knowledge, connected to any foreign embassies, they do receive a small sum of money from a foreign government. Specifically Novara Media is in receipt of funds the German Foreign Office – from which the CIA has a well documented history of running operations – earmarked, via the intermediary of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. According to the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation annual reports, this money is allocated for specific “foreign office projects”.

Novara Media is by no means the only example of a platform for Agents-of-Influence on the UK left but they are perhaps the most prominent.

 Their example illuminates the deeper truth that institutions that dominated “Corbynist” politics were largely set and run by activists from a CIA cutout who pushed propaganda narratives that assisted the CIA in drumming up British support for its puppet regimes in Syria and Ukraine. Plan C activists would eventually use the vehicles they built to ride the 2015-2019 Corbyn surge to steer Corbynism off a cliff, chasing the spectre of Labour antisemitism and false hopes of reversing Brexit. These will be the subjects covered by Part 2.

We contacted Aaron Bastani for comment before publication. Below is a record of the conversation:

Behind Labour: “Hi Aaron,

Hope you’re well. We are going to publish an article on Sunday that explains how, in our honest opinion, Novara Media is a front for Plan C, a CIA asset, and that Novara can therefore be described as acting an Agent-of-influence in their interest according to the standard use of the term by intelligence agencies.

We’d be grateful if you could provide any comments by 5pm tomorrow (Saturday May 4th 2024), so that we have time to include any response/amendments in our article.

Unfortunately we are blocked by the main Novara Media Account so we have contacted you instead.

Thanks

Behind Labour”

Aaron Bastani: “Hello, thank you for coming to me for comment. My reply is: “These allegations are a complete fantasy.”

Behind Labour: “Thanks. We’ll add your response to the bottom of our article so that readers can judge it against the extensive evidence from multiple sources we are providing to support our claims.”

Readers, please do judge for yourselves.

For more Unity News analysis of Novara Media and its record, check out “Is Novara Media a NATO asset?”.

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