The massive effort to stop Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders

One of the features of the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US is the panic that it has induced among the ruling classes and all the organizations that they use to maintain their grip on power. Normally these groups could exercise their power discreetly in the shadows and let the electoral game play out, knowing that whoever wins will be subservient to their interests. But Corbyn and Sanders are too great a threat to the power structure to ignore or take likely and the rulers have been forced to become more overtly involved in the process in order to stop them.

The process is more obvious in the UK. Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal write that with days to go before the British General election on the 12th, the UK intelligence establishment has pulled out all the stops to join with the British oligarchs and corporate media to prevent any chance of the socialist becoming prime minister. The effort has relied upon the most highly dubious sources to make allegations against Corbyn. Wse have already seen the anti-Semitism attacks. Now it is that he is a pawn of Russia.

The popular socialist leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, could be on the verge of becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom. And the mere possibility is terrifying British intelligence services and the US government.

Since Corbyn was elected to the head of the Labour Party in 2015, in a landslide victory after running on a staunch leftist and anti-war platform, the corporate media has waged a relentless campaign to demonize and delegitimize him.

With just days remaining before UK’s national election on December 12, British intelligence agencies and US government-backed organizations have escalated their attacks on Corbyn, borrowing tactics from America’s Russiagate hysteria and going to great efforts to portray him — without any substantive evidence — as a supposed puppet of the dastardly Kremlin.

These government-sponsored attacks on Corbyn, a lifelong anti-imperialist and former chair of the Stop the War Coalition, are far from new. In December, The Grayzone reported on the Integrity Initiative, a UK government-funded secret network of spies, journalists, and think tanks that rehabilitated Cold War-era information warfare to demonize Corbyn and smear anti-war leftists as Vladimir Putin’s unwitting foot soldiers.

But as polls show more and more popular enthusiasm for Labour and its socialist program on the eve of the vote, and as the prospects of a Corbyn-led government become increasingly plausible, Western government spooks have rapidly laundered avalanches of disinformation through the press, desperately trying to undermine the party’s electoral efforts.

Dozens of misleading hit pieces are circulating in the press that treat PSYOP specialists and regime-change lobby groups funded to the hilt by Washington, NATO, and the weapons industry as trustworthy and impartial.

British journalist Matt Kennard has documented at least 34 major media stories that rely on officials from the UK military and intelligence agencies in order to depict Corbyn as a threat to national security.

The article goes on to expose the background of Ben Nimmo, who alleged that the NHS dossier that Corbyn obtained that revealed the secret design to put the NHS for sale in a future Conservative trade deal with the US, was obtained as part of a ‘Russian operation’ and thus, in thse heated times, automatically discredited. The charge was accepted uncritically and came across to the US via The Daily Beast.

Not one outlet covering story bothered to inform readers who Nimmo was, or offered any detail on the powerful state forces behind Graphika.

In fact, Nimmo is not a data expert or a journalist, but a former NATO press officer who previously consulted for the covert Integrity Initiative propaganda farm, which was funded by the UK Foreign Office and dedicated to spawning conflict with Russia.

Nimmo also works as a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s unofficial think tank in Washington.

As The Grayzone has reported, the Atlantic Council is a corruption-stained money dump for Ukrainian and Middle Eastern oligarchs, as well as Gulf monarchies, the arms industry, the British Foreign Office and the US State Department.

On December 6, Reddit announced that its platform had been used by “suspected” Russian actors to publish the scandalous NHS dossier that become a centerpiece of Corbyn’s campaign against Johnson. As usual, the primary source for Reddit’s claim was the Atlantic Council, which it credited with “provid[ing] us with important attribution.”

Reddit’s Director of Policy, Jessica Ashooh, is the Atlantic Council’s former Middle East Strategy Task Force Deputy Director, and an ex-official of the government of the United Arab Emirates. She was hired by the social media giant in 2017, at around the same time that Senate Select Intelligence Committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner was demanding more government control over Reddit on the grounds that it was a potential vehicle for Russian influence.

In the US, a similar effort has been undertaken to stop Bernie Sanders, but uses different tactics. In this case, given the importance of media coverage in US elections, the effort has taken the form of essentially blacking him out or even flat-out lying about how well he is doing, with little reporting on his high poll numbers and the enthusiastic crowds at his rallies, combined with a huge promotional effort to boost other candidates like Pete Buttigieg in an effort to squeeze Sanders out of the spotlight and give the impression that his candidacy is irrelevant or even over. The supposedly ‘liberal’ MSNBC has been a big part of this effort.

Over the two months, these six programs focused on Biden, often to the exclusion of Warren and Sanders. Sanders received not only the least total coverage (less than one-third of Biden’s), but the most negative. As to the substance, MSNBC’s reporting revolved around poll results and so-called electability.

But Ryan Grim reports that this media blackout could have the opposite of the intended effect.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    “as polls show more and more popular enthusiasm for Labour and its socialist program on the eve of the vote”

    Citation needed. Labour, despite facing the worst government in living memory, are languishing in every poll.

  2. Dunc says

    @ #1: According to the FT’s UK election poll tracker (paywalled, sorry), which takes a recency-weighted average of the most recent poll from every major pollster, Labour has risen from around 25% at the time the election was called to 33% today. Not a brilliant performance, but hardly “languishing”.

  3. says

    I heard an interesting theory the other day that part of what the Democratic establishment is doing is flooding the zone with candidates so that Bernie’s message gets drowned out. But the real trick comes if the primary is split, because the “reformed” party rules allow the superdelegates to vote for whoever they want if the outcome is not clear. Basically, the dems have sleazily gerrymandered themselves a sleazily as the republicans have gerrymandered the country. It’s rigged elections all the way down to the town dog-catcher.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    … America’s Russiagate hysteria …

    I propose that anything written by a Russian-US-election-dirty-tricks denier be taken with a large lump of salt.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    The idea that Russia favours a Corbyn win is absurd on its face. Putin’s billionaire buddies love the status quo.

  6. says

    Now if only Bernie supporters would stop shooting themselves in the foot! This Politico article talks about how those on the left have turned hostile towards Elizabeth Warren. I see this as a potential problem for Bernie because I don’t believe he can win the nomination without Warren supporters and he may not get enough Warren supporters if his chase them away!

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Leo Buzalsky @6: As in 2016, I suspect the number of foot-shooters is quite small, but they make a lot of noise. Or enough noise that the media blows up their significance out of all proportion. I can never get an answer to the question “what percentage of Sanders supporters are Bernie Bros?”.

  8. Dunc says

    @ #6 & #7…

    Call me paranoid, but if I was in the business to trying to torpedo somebody’s campaign, then one of the first things I’d do would be to generate a bunch of fake social media chatter to make the supporters of that campaign look bad. If I had more time and resources, I’d also look to place some of my people in key roles in various organisations on the opposing side. (It’s not hard, most political organisations are crying out for volunteers and will take anybody they can get.)

    Which is not to say that there aren’t some idiots in every campaign or political tendency -- but I’d assume that at least some of them are either outright fake or working for the other side. The use of agents provocateurs is a very old technique, after all, and one of the key tasks for anybody involved in radical political organising has always been to figure out who they are. (Which has the side benefit of making such organising even more difficult -- mistrust and in-fighting are very dangerous for any organisation) Why would we imagine that people have given up on such effective and reliable tactics now?

  9. Jazzlet says

    Dunc @#8
    I wouldn’t call you paranoid given the evidence there is of police infiltration of campaign groups. I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that what we know happened using the police is also happpening with more covert organisations.

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