The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

It is almost exactly a year since Lutfur Rahman was elected mayor of Tower Hamlets after being sacked from the Labour Party for his links with the Islamic extremist group, the IFE, and a controversial local businessman, Shiraj Haque. His term so far has indeed, as I predicted, been a “slow-motion car crash.”

The latest row, the other week, was caused by his council’s decision (now reversed) to hire out the Merchant Navy War Memorial gardens for City bankers’ C... Here are the other highlights of Lutfur’s recent political career: let me know if I’ve missed any.

March 1 2010: The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches reveal that Lutfur, then the Labour council leader, achieved the position with the help of the IFE, which works to create an "Islamic social, economic and political order" in Britain. In a filmed interview, he refuses to deny the charge.  Under Lutfur, large sums of council money are diverted to IFE front organisations, a man with close links to the IFE is made the council’s assistant chief executive despite being unqualified for the job, and the respected white chief executive is summarily sacked. In undercover filming, senior IFE activists boast of their “consolidated… influence and power” over the council.  The local Labour MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, tells us that his party has been “infiltrated” by the IFE.

May: Lutfur is replaced by the Labour group as council leader. The IFE-linked assistant chief executive is forced to resign. However, the IFE now aims to “get one of our brothers” into the powerful new directly-elected mayoral post that is to replace the council leadership in October.

July/August: Lutfur is excluded from Labour’s shortlist for the mayoral candidacy, but goes to court to force his reinstatement. The solicitor he uses was closely connected to the al-Qaeda-supporting group, al-Muhajiroun, and signed a fatwa calling for a “full-scale war of jihad” against Britain and the US.

September 3: In filmed interviews (transcripts here), local residents tell how Lutfur has personally signed up their entire families as sham Labour members to win selection as the party’s mayoral candidate.

September 4: Lutfur is selected as the Labour candidate.

September 15: Evidence is submitted by one of the defeated candidates and others to Labour’s National Executive Committee detailing Lutfur’s links with the IFE and Shiraj Haque and alleging massive fraud in the selection.

September 18: Lutfur is accused of failing to declare thousands of pounds in donations from Shiraj Haque – a criminal offence, if true. We have been asked to point out that Lutfur was later sent a police letter saying that there was "no case to answer." However, the complainant, Cllr Peter Golds, insists that the police never investigated the matter seriously. (See PCC adjudication here.)

September 21: Labour’s NEC sacks Lutfur as the candidate.

September 25: Lutfur stands as an independent. Under Labour Party rules, he is automatically expelled from the party. Six of the people whosign his nomination papers have the same names as senior office-holders and trustees of the IFE.

October 15: Thousands of copies are distributed of publicity material smearing Lutfur’s Labour opponent as a wife-beater and an enemy of Islam. The chief coordinator of Lutfur’s campaign, Bodrul Islam, later says that the material was produced by people “embedded” in the Rahman campaign and with its full knowledge.

October 19: Ken Livingstone, Labour candidate for mayor of London, who has also benefited from IFE support, and been personally paid money by Lutfur's council, campaigns for Lutfur against his own party’s candidate.

October 21: Lutfur Rahman elected mayor. The chief coordinator of his election campaign, Bodrul Islam, later says that the new mayor had a "strategic relationship" with the IFE and "most of [Lutfur's] campaigners during the election were either Respect or IFE activists."

October 28: Lutfur furious as the council votes to deny him a 98 per cent pay rise, awarding instead a 71 per cent rise. One of his key supporters, Cllr Oli Rahman, describes it as a “cynical” attempt to “undermine the mayor.”

November 3: Tower Hamlets places CDs of sermons by an extremist Islamic preacher, Abdurraheem Green, in the Town Hall reception area. Green believes that “Islam is not compatible with democracy” and that a husband should have the right to administer "a very light beating” to his wife.

November 10: Lutfur appoints Alibor Choudhury, a former employee of an IFE front organisation with a long track record of encounters with the police, to the key post of cabinet member for finance. Alibor was committed for trial for violent disorder in 2006, but the case was dropped due to what he insists was an “abuse of process.”

November: Lutfur’s publicly-funded political adviser at Tower Hamlets, Kazim Zaidi, anonymously writes a chapter in an Exeter University reportattacking Lutfur's critics and libelling six senior figures in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party and the local Labour MP as racists. The university is forced to withdraw the report and issue a grovelling apology.

December-February: At council meetings, Shiraj Haque and a crowd of other Lutfur supporters shout homophobic abuse at the mayor’s opponents from the public gallery. They abuse Peter Golds, the Tory leader, as “Mrs Golds” and a “poofter.” They heckle another gay councillor, Labour’s Josh Peck, and a gay local resident speaking at the meeting with animal noises and cries of “Unnatural acts! Unnatural acts!”

January 27: An official Labour Party inquiry finds a “concerted effort” to add fake members to the party during the campaign to select Labour’s candidate for the Tower Hamlets mayoralty.

February 23: Lutfur’s voting bloc on the council passes a motion to “campaign against the pariah state of Israel.”

March 8: Lutfur gives a character reference on Town Hall notepaper for Zamal Uddin, a minicab driver who had six weeks earlier pleaded guilty to a serious sexual assault on a woman passenger. When the press finds out, he claims that he did not know the nature of Uddin’s crime before agreeing to provide the reference.

March: Shiraj Haque is appointed chair of the advisory board for a major council-subsidised festival, the Baishakhi Mela. The council had previously removed him from all involvement with the festival and severed relations after allegations, which he denies, of massive financial irregularities.

April 4: Shiraj Haque’s premises are raided by police investigating a major counterfeit wine ring.

April 5: Disclosure logs reveal that the council is paying £50,000 a month of taxpayers’ money to three front organisations for the IFE.

April 12: One of Lutfur’s key supporters, Cllr Shelina Akhtar, is charged with fraud.

April 17:  The council’s official propaganda newspaper, East End Life, runs a series of adverts for a training centre closely connected to Anjem Choudhury, the al Qaeda supporter who runs the extremist group al-Muhajiroun.

April 27: Lutfur takes a number of council staff paid by the taxpayer tocampaign for the Labour Party in a parliamentary byelection. The District Auditor is called in.

May 8: Lutfur and Shiraj Haque turn the taxpayer-funded Baishakhi Mela festival into a platform for Ken Livingstone, who makes the keynote speech attacking Boris Johnson.

June 8: Defying a new local authority publicity code against taxpayer-subsidised council “Pravdas,” Lutfur rules that East End Life will continue publishing, at a cost to the public purse of around £1.3 million a year.

June 17: As the council passes budget cuts of £70 million, Lutfur spends £115,000 to refurbish his personal office and treble it in size.

July 4: One of Lutfur’s cabinet, Oli Rahman, appears on a platform with a group campaigning for the “unacceptability of homosexuality.” Lutfur has earlier pledged “zero tolerance” against a wave of homophobic attacks in the borough.

July 14: Lutfur acquires a luxury Mercedes and council-employed chauffeur at a cost to council taxpayers of up to £60,000 a year. No other elected mayor in London, Boris Johnson included, has an official car.

July 22: Tower Hamlets loses its second chief executive in two years as its top official, Kevan Collins, quits for a lower-paid job. He praises councillors (but not Lutfur) in his resignation statement.

August 7: It is revealed that Shiraj Haque has been given a Tower Hamlets council house at the subsidised rent of £135 a week, even though he is a multi-millionaire owning at least eight properties worth around £5 million.

August 8: As riots sweep London, Tower Hamlets’ enforcement officers are given the day off.

Sept 12: Lutfur scraps the official car of the borough’s ceremonial mayor and tells him to travel to functions, in his robes and gold chain, by taxi.

Oct 10: Tower Hamlets hits the front pages after hiring out its war memorial garden for City bankers’ Christmas parties. The decision is reversed after a storm of protest.

Oct 12: The council’s official newspaper, East End Life, promotes an extremist preacher previously banned from speaking on council premises.

Tags: Articles, Collected, Lutfur, Rahman:, Zsubversion, Zuk

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Borough of Tower Hamlets: a byword for sleaze

Muslim mayor Lutfur Rahman in line of fire over public grants in Tower Hamlets, East London

In 2012, Mr Rahman changed Tower Hamlets’ procedures to ensure that he personally decided all council grants over £1,000, with the help of his “adviser to the third sector”
In 2012, Mr Rahman changed Tower Hamlets’ procedures to ensure that he personally decided all council grants over £1,000, with the help of his “adviser to the third sector” 

The Old Poplar Town Hall, in East London, has a secure place in British political history. It was here, in 1921, that radical Labour councillors, led by George Lansbury, began a rebellion against “unfair” rates that resulted in them being sent to prison, and triggered reform of a system that discriminated against poor areas such as Poplar.

Almost a century later, Poplar Town Hall, now absorbed into the borough of Tower Hamlets, is making history of a different kind. It has become part of the spoils in a rather more sinister redistribution of wealth by Britain’s most disturbing local authority. In behaviour described by one councillor as “out of control” and smacks of the days of Shirley Porter, a directly elected mayor with close links to Islamic extremism appears to be abusing public money and council assets to reward his supporters and, in the words of the local MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, to “buy his re-election this May”.

“It is going on under our noses in the heart of the capital city and no one is doing a thing about it,” says Peter Golds, the leader of the opposition in Tower Hamlets. “The authorities — the Government, the Electoral Commission — seem paralysed. This is a test for us all about whether democracy can be bought.”

In 2010, after investigations by The Sunday Telegraph, the then Tower Hamlets council leader, Lutfur Rahman, was replaced, deselected and later expelled by the Labour Party because of his close links to an extremist Muslim group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), based at the radical East London Mosque.

But, thanks in part to another campaign by the IFE, Tower Hamlets changed later that year from a conventional council leader to an all-powerful directly elected mayoralty. Mr Rahman stood as an independent, winning on a tiny turnout with the help, as his own campaign coordinator later admitted, of a mass mobilisation by IFE activists. This year’s poll, however, coincides with the local elections, turnout will be higher and voting probably tighter — so Mr Rahman and his friends appear to be pulling out all the stops.

Poplar Town Hall is a case in point. A large and attractive Victorian listed building, a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf and steps from a future Crossrail station, it is worth millions. But The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that in 2011 the council sold it for £875,000, little more than what a three-bedroom Victorian house in the neighbourhood would cost. Poplar Town Hall, though, is big enough for its new owners to be converting it to a 25-bedroom hotel.

Once they’d bought the place, the would-be hoteliers had a second stroke of luck. Approval for any conversion of a listed building, especially one with all the transport and noise issues of a hotel, must normally be decided in public by elected councillors on the planning committee. Extraordinarily, the new owners of Poplar Town Hall got their planning permission in private, without any planning committee hearing, under “delegated authority” from one of Mr Rahman’s officers.

So who are the new owners of Poplar Town Hall? It was sold to a company called Dreamstar, one of whose key shareholders, Mujibul Islam, is chief executive of Medialink, the registered owner of Mr Rahman’s election campaign website, lutfurformayor.com. Another main shareholder, Alfaz Kabiri, is director of a “regeneration” company based in the East London Mosque offices of the IFE.

Mr Islam admitted last night that he had “had an affiliation” with Mr Rahman and had “helped” him during the 2010 election, but insisted that they were not close and that, if anything, he now regretted the association. Poplar Town Hall “was openly tendered for anyone to buy and we just tendered [for it] as everyone else did,” Mr Islam said.

He said he did not know whether his company’s was the highest bid. The council refused to respond to questions about the deal put to it by The Sunday Telegraph.

Under Dreamstar’s ownership, Poplar Town Hall has also housed an organisation called Barbican College, which is closely linked to another key Rahman ally, the London-based Bengali television channel, Channel S — popular with Mr Rahman’s Bangladeshi voter base. Barbican College, under another name, was previously based in Channel S’s Walthamstow offices and the two have shared key staff, including a spokesman.

Last year the broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, censured Channel S after Mr Rahman paid it thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to run up to 15 adverts a day promoting his policies. Political advertising is banned on television.

It was at least the ninth time Channel S has been censured by Ofcom or the advertising watchdog, the ASA. Mr Rahman has given, or is proposing to give, Channel S at least £17,000 from council funds to stage events. He pays a further £1,050 a week of public money to Channel S’s chief reporter, Mohammed Jubair, employing him as a part-time “community relations adviser” even as Mr Jubair continues to report for Channel S. The council refused to answer questions about its relationship with Channel S.

Mr Rahman employs at public expense another “community liaison officer”, Shazid Miah, whose job, leaked minutes from May 2012 show, is to “lead” Mr Rahman’s re-election campaign. Vast sums are also spent on official propaganda, with a weekly council newspaper delivered to all households, posters of Mr Rahman across the borough and residents bombarded, again at public expense, with thousands of personalised letters from Mr Rahman boasting of his achievements. A man who circulated a smear leaflet falsely accusing Mr Rahman’s main opponent of wife-beating was then given a council grant.

In 2012, Mr Rahman changed Tower Hamlets’ procedures to ensure that he personally decided all council grants over £1,000, with the help of his “adviser to the third sector”, Maium Miah. And it is these grants that are causing the most serious concern.

In the words of councillors on Tower Hamlets’ cross-party scrutiny committee, “new, untested organisations with no track record of delivering for the community” suddenly sprang up, paid substantial sums for sometimes ill-defined projects. One organisation that has received tens of thousands of pounds to run a “lunch club” for Bengali pensioners and a “mother tongue” school for 72 Bangladeshi children apparently conducts these activities from a two-bedroomed council flat.

Many of the groups, it turns out, have close links to Mr Rahman and his political allies. The Island Bengali Welfare Association, based in another former council flat on the Isle of Dogs, has received no less than £91,000. Its ex-chair is Maium Miah, the Rahman ally who helps decide the grants.

IFE-controlled groups have fared best, gaining hundreds of thousands of pounds. More than 60 per cent of the grants under the “community faith buildings” scheme have gone to Muslim organisations, though Tower Hamlets is only 34 per cent Muslim. Even in many non-religious activities, the majority of grants for lunch clubs, children’s services, study support, language classes, youth services and lifelong learning have been channelled to Muslim groups, often at the expense of established organisations serving the whole community. Thousands of pounds are also to be paid to Rahman allies to organise events and parties in the run-up to the election.

As councillors at the scrutiny hearing said, this spending was “not benefiting the borough as a whole” but “being directed to certain areas where the mayor had the majority of his voter base”. The council refused to answer questions from The Sunday Telegraph about the grants, merely saying that it had “followed the relevant laws, guidance and policies”.

But, responding to the scrutiny committee, Mr Rahman was defiant. “Although [council] officers may [have] come to the view that an application is poor and/or that it should not receive funding, there are from time to time cases where projects are worth supporting in view of the perceived potential community benefits,” he said.

Mr Golds said: “I think we know what the perceived community benefits in these cases are: the re-election of Lutfur Rahman. This council is out of control and its behaviour smacks of the days of Dame Shirley Porter.”

John Biggs, Mr Rahman’s Labour opponent for the mayoralty, said: “It looks as if Lutfur Rahman is trying to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes.”

Dame Shirley, the gerrymanderer of the Westminster “homes for votes” scandal in the late Eighties and early Nineties, was eventually disqualified, humiliated and forced into exile – but don’t expect anything to happen to Lutfur Rahman any time soon.

Terrified of being accused of racism, the authorities appear content to let Tower Hamlets stew in its own juice.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10581958/Borough-of-Tower-...

Photo of Lutfur Rahman's launch for his next Mayoral bid.  Bearing in mind his fiefdom is only 35% muslims, look at this photo.

It is hard to find more than a couple of people there who do not look Bengali.  Moreover, it's hard to find people there who look female.

3 years ago, councils across Britain were made to make extensive cuts.

Tower Hamlets "Austerity Mayor" finally gives up his £120,000 chauffeur-driven Mercedes.  Couldn't possibly be because the mayoral elections are coming, could it?  Labour's candidate for mayor of the Rotten Borough of Britain said that he would scrap the chauffeur-driven car.  That clearly rattled the current Emir of the Rotten Borough.

http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/taxi-for-lutfur-hair-s...

Rahman's PR team notes:

Redbridge which maintains £123,000 two stretch Jaguars

Redbridge also has a muslim mayor.

But look at this from the article: Lutfur Rahman has NOT answered a single question from councillors or residents during his entire time in office!

So the Mayor who has failed to answer a single question from councillors or residents in the council chamber during his entire time in office is now a great believer in “probity and transparency”.

Clearly, the Emir does not think he should have to answer to his (mostly) kuffar subjects.

Here is a link to a blog post i did following a freedom of information request to Tower Hamlets council asking for financial details of grants and funding for the last 5 years to Islamic organizations.

http://kafircrusaders.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/tower-hamlets-foi-re...

Unsurprisingly Muslim groups especially those related to Islamic Forum Of Europe did the best. 

Kafir Crusader, excellent info and work re the FOI report.  thanks

Court victory for the Express as judge discloses a London mayor's reference for fraudster

EXPRESS Newspapers today scored an important victory for the rights of the press to view court documents by persuading a judge to release a glowing character reference from a London mayor for a convicted fraudster.

Judge Anthony Pitts at Southwark Crown Court agreed to release the reference from Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman in support of millionaire Mohammed Mahee Ferdhaus, an influential TV mogul and presenter who was sentenced last month to three years in jail for laundering £500,000 of proceeds from an insurance fraud.

The judge was so impressed with the arguments put forward by Express barrister Joseph Lewis and its journalist Ted Jeory that he revealed Mr Rahman’s deputy, Councillor Ohid Ahmed, had also provided a reference that praised Ferdhaus’s attempts on TV to reduce crime.

“You may as well have that too,” the judge volunteered. 

The judge said the case had been an important matter for criminal sentencing procedures. 

Both letters, which were used by Ferdhaus to try and secure a lower sentence, were written on Tower Hamlets council headed notepaper.

While the deputy mayor added a postscript to his reference that he was writing in a “personal capacity”, no such note was on Mr Rahman’s letter.

Judge Pitts in earlier correspondence with the Express had declined an application to disclose the reference, saying it had been handed to him in the sentencing hearing “in confidence as part of the mitigation”.

However, after listening to arguments at a hearing in open court today, he said he had “changed his mind”.

He said: “I think that the press are entitled to know these two particular documents. They could easily have been read out and they could have been called as witnesses. “For that reason, I am going to disclose both of them.”

He said he had found arguments “extremely interesting” and had ordered his court officials to look “extensively” to see if the references remained in the building.

Officials had only found them 10 minutes before today’s hearing, he said.

In his arguments, Mr Lewis said Mr Jeory had a long and acclaimed record of investigating Tower Hamlets and the links between the mayor and Bangladeshi television stations.

Mr Lewis told the judge Channel S had previously been “repeatedly reprimanded” by Ofcom for biased coverage in favour of Mr Rahman.

He said Ferdhaus’s influence “held great sway” within the Bangladeshi community of east London.

He said Mr Jeory was investigating the nature of the links between the mayor, who was elected to office in 2010, and Channel S.

He added a BBC Panorama programme due to air “in the not too distant future” was also probing the relationships.

Mr Lewis said while he accepted the principle that certain references supplied to the court should remain confidential, for example victim statements in domestic violence cases, a letter from an elected public official on council paper was “a different matter”.

“This was a political ally effectively providing assistance to his friend or ally,” Mr Lewis told the judge.

At the sentencing hearing last month, the court had been told Mr Rahman had provided a reference, but the details of the letter had not been read out in full.

Mr Lewis said the public had a right to know what had been said.

He said court guidelines recognised the “special position of the press’s role as a public watchdog” and that Mr Jeory’s application as an accredited journalist should be accepted.


Judge Pitts also revealed a number of “very well known” other personalities had supplied references for Ferdhaus but their names remain anonymous.

Ferdhaus’s case was reported by Express.co.uk last month.

He had admitted his part in a £1.9million “crash for cash” insurance scam between 2006 and 2008.

Gangs had rammed expensive cars such as BMWs into each other at drinking parties and Ferdhaus, 40, had a “background” role in the crime.

Until the day of his trail he had tried to pin the blame on his innocent brother Abdul. He had been jailed for 18 months in 2008 for conspiracy to defraud in respect of an almost identical earlier insurance scam between 2002 and 2003. 


The businessman was on bail awaiting trial at the time he became embroiled in the later fraud. 

Ferdhaus had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being kidnapped at gunpoint outside his TV station offices in Walthamstow, east London and issued with a £250,000 ransom demand.

When he refused to pay his assailants they tortured him, hanging him upside down and pouring boiling water on his head, before threatening to rape his daughter.

In his reference for Mr Ferdhaus, Mr Rahman wrote: “Mr Ferdhaus has played an instrumental role in promoting British Bangladeshis across the globe through Channel S.

“His contribution to the British Bangladeshi community especially in the fields of media and culture is widely recognised and commendable.

“Under Mr Ferdhaus’s leadership Channel S was one of the first satellite BME channels to initiate free viewing, connecting the Bangladeshi diaspora across Britain and the world.

“He has played a critical role in philanthropy, supporting charity and humanitarian organisations following natural disasters.

“As a prominent media personality, I have always known him to be constructive, critical but impartial as an anchor on community and current affairs.”

In his reference, Deputy Mayor Councillor Ahmed said Ferdhaus influenced his thinking on policies.

He said Ferdhaus’s ‘Reality with Mahee’ Tv programme was “particularly useful”.

He wrote: “His programme helped the community enormously as his show always talk about real issues and problems (sic).

“I often watch his programme and find it very useful particularly his suggestions and recommendations to solve these problems.

“As founder of Channel S (Number one Bangladeshi TV channel in UK) he has always helped us promoting the good initiatives particularly the community safety issues, recent example was that when Tower Hamlets facilitated the biggest police operation in the country, he sent his camera crew in the middle of the night with reporters which was broadcast in the channel extensively (sic).

“As TV presenter and Founder of TV channel he has his own community intelligence which he often share with us in order to resolve problems in our community particularly drugs, prostitution and antisocial behaviour related problems.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/465987/Court-victory-for-the-Expre...

Lutfur Rahman adviser: there will be street violence unless people stop complaining about Tower Hamlets election

Lutfur Rahman

You may not be familiar with Kazim Zaidi. He is the man who cost Exeter University substantial amounts in costs and damages after writing a chapter in a book it published which comprehensively libelled many people in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party. (Read the university’s grovelling apology to them here.)

Mr Zaidi is now, as he was then, political adviser (a council appointee and publicly funded post) to the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. Now his unique communication skills are going to land him in further difficulty.

Desperate to stop the widespread concerns about voter intimidation which have completely ruined his boss’s great re-election triumph, Mr Zaidi has today written a quite extraordinary post on the Trial by Jeory blog saying: “If those who still seem unable to accept the result continue as they are, it will spill out onto the streets where even the cleverest machine politicians will not be able to manage it.”

He will no doubt say that this is not a threat, but a prediction. The truth is that whatever his intentions it will be read as a threat.

We saw Lutfur Rahman’s ability to mobilise a crowd at the count on Friday, when a huge group of 2,000 Rahman supporters gathered outside the count centre, effectiv...

As the count dragged endlessly on late into the night, Labour’s London campaign director, Sadiq Khan MP, and many others were told by police that they could not leave the building. The returning officer pleaded with those inside not to pass count details to the crowd for fear of them invading the premises.

We saw Rahman’s ability to mobilise a crowd at the polling stations on Thursday, when despite the promises of police many stations werepicketed by groups of Rahman supporters, through whom voters had to push to reach the ballot box. There are disturbing stories of these crowds following some voters right into the ballot booth to insist that they marked their vote in the correct box.

Most of Mr Zaidi’s article is a cunningly worded pitch for Labour to readmit Rahman. That is, of course, the mayor’s great hope of redemption – and there are a few in the Labour group who actually believe it would be sensible to join up with him. There are many reasons why it would not be.

It would be a betrayal of all those voters who only last week put their trust in Labour as a force for non-racial, clean and democratic politics. It would place Labour locally in a position of enormous weakness, signalling that they were prepared to accept Rahman and his cronies running the show and signalling their consent to the council’s dodgy practices.

The fatal weakness of some in Tower Hamlets Labour is to believe that the Rahman camp are essentially decent people with whom it is possible to compromise. As Team Rahman have surely shown in the last four years, they are vicious and ruthless people who treat compromise as surrender.

It would also be highly damaging for the party nationally. At the moment Rahman is a problem only for Tower Hamlets, not the Labour Party. If Rahman were allowed to rejoin, or any Labour councillors allowed to serve under him, every act of his administration would become Labour’s problem.

The mayor is a man whose council is under police and Government investigation for corruption and misuse of funds. The manner of his election win has actually further tarnished him, shaming Tower Hamlets before the country and bringing its extraordinary political culture to much wider national attention than before.

And if any more proof were needed of Rahman’s unsuitability for readmission to the political mainstream, today's words from Mr Zaidi ought to provide it.

For a summary of the case against Rahman, click here.

For a detailed account of his Muslim favouritism, click here.

For a full transcript of my 2010 Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Rahman and his extremist backers, click here.

For a chronological account of his career to 2013, click here.

Lutfur Rahman: a defence based on lies

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I’ve been marvelling at last week’s Guardian article by Richard Seymour and Ashok Kumar defending Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets. Ashok is the man who celebrated Rahman’s election victory under the headline: “The last outpost of the Raj falls.” There are also interesting things online about Richard which open, shall we say,new windows into his views on racism. With friends like these, etc, etc.

Even by the standards of the Guardian’s reporting of Tower Hamlets – most unlikely to win another Pulitzer! – this is an amazingly dishonest piece. Its 950 words contain by my count at least 18 separate falsehoods, many of them copied directly from council press releases and Rahman leaflets (see above.)

It’s worth going through the claims from the leaflet (and – where different – the article) to deconstruct some of the things we’ll be hearing endlessly from Rahman and his defenders in the weeks ahead. “Judge me by my record,” he keeps saying. Not, presumably, his and his supporters'cronyismfavouritism, passing of valuable council assets to his friends,links with extremismbullyingintimidationunscrupulousness andgeneral political sleaze but his many alleged policy accomplishments to help the people of Tower Hamlets.

Even some of his opponents half-buy the line that Rahman’s success is due as much to his populist policies as to vote-buying, ethnic bloc favouritism and so on. See what you think once you’ve read this.

Claim: A racist smear campaign has been launched against Rahman.

Reality: This is presumably a reference to my and other people’s reporting. In fact Rahman and his supporters have lost countless complaints to the PCC and Ofcom about my reporting, which has been upheld on every substantive point. In particular, the PCC ruled that it wasnot inaccurate to describe Rahman as extremist-linked.

The claim of racism is the standard charge made by Rahman against all who question him. But a majority of my sources, including three of those quoted in my latest article, are themselves Bangladeshi.

Claim: Tower Hamlets has “built more council housing than any other council in England or Wales.”

Reality: Tower Hamlets did not build a single new council home last year, according to DCLG figures. Nearly all new social housing in England is built not by councils, but by private developers as part of bigger schemes or by housing associations. Nearly all public funding for newbuild social housing comes not from councils but from Whitehall (or, in London, the Mayor of London.)

Claim: Tower Hamlets “introduced [the] Decent Homes programme to refurbish every council home.”

Reality: Decent Homes is a national programme introduced by the last Government in 2000, two years before Rahman even became a councillor and ten years before he became mayor. It is also paid for by the Government – though that hasn't stopped Rahman sending thousands of publicly-funded direct mail letters to council tenants, claiming the credit.

Claim: Tower Hamlets is the “only council in the UK to replace the full Educational Maintenance Allowance.”

Reality: When abolished in 2011, the full EMA was worth £30 a week, or £1170 per academic year (39 weeks). Tower Hamlets’ scheme pays a maximum of £400 a year and is in any case due to end this summer (p4 of this PDF).

Claim: Tower Hamlets provides a “£1500 bursary for students attending university.”

Reality: Only 400 bursaries were available – although 800 students from the borough start university each year – and even these were a one-off, given only to students starting in the 2013/14 academic year (p4 of this PDF).

Claim: Tower Hamlets has “introduced free school meals for every primary school child.”

Reality: Free school meals have in fact only been introduced in two of the seven primary years – reception and Year 1.

Free school meals will be introduced for the other primary years only in September. The cost for the the three infant years will actually be met by the Government under its new national scheme, not by the council. The free meals for junior school children (years 3-6) will be funded by the council, but only for twelve months. It is not clear what happens after that.

Claim: Tower Hamlets has “kept full council tax benefit for every recipient.”

Reality: This actually applies only to “most” recipients, according to the council website. And even that is only guaranteed until April 2015, after which it will be “reviewed on an annual basis taking into account the needs of residents, the cost of provision and the funding available.”

Claim: Tower Hamlets was the “first in the UK to introduce the London Living Wage for all contractors.”

Reality: Untrue. Tower Hamlets does not pay the London Living Wage to all contractors, as this officer report (para 8.2) makes clear. A number of authorities, including Tory-controlled City Hall, do pay it to all contractors. Nor was Tower Hamlets even the first in London to extend the LLW to contractors.

Claim: Tower Hamlets is the “only council not to charge for elderly personal care. All provision remains free.”

Reality: Untrue – 32 other UK councils do not charge for elderly personal care.

Claim: "All children’s centres, libraries, leisure centres and youth services remain open."

Reality: Untrue. In youth services, Tower Hamlets has cut its budget by 65 per cent – double the national average. It is one of only 12 authorities in England to receive an official Government warning about its failure to track young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Children’s centres were restructured in 2011 and the service offered from fewer main sites. According to a quarter-on-quarter comparison by the council’s scrutiny committee, the restructuring resulted in 153 fewer classes, 715 fewer hours’ service provided and 3,372 fewer children using the service.

Claim: Tower Hamlets was the “first council to ban contracts with firms that blacklist trade unionists.”

Reality: The ban in fact applies only to construction firms which blacklist trade unionists. Tower Hamlets was not the first council to ban such contracts – Hull, for instance, acted sooner. The ban appears to have only symbolic effect because the companies involved in the blacklisting say they have stopped doing it.

Claim: An investigation following allegations by the BBC’s Panorama “turned up no credible evidence of wrongdoing.”

Reality: Both a police investigation and a separate Government investigation remain ongoing. See my earlier blogpost for an account of the wholly misleading statement issued (and later corrected) by the Met on this issue.

Claim: The Electoral Commission found “insufficient evidence to prove an offence” of voting fraud in 2012.

Reality: As my detailed post on the issue describes, many of the allegations of fraud were investigated and dismissed not by the Electoral Commission or by the police, but by Tower Hamlets Council – in other words, by people working for Lutfur Rahman. Where the police did investigate, they found “evidence to suggest that offences may have been committed” for at least five – possibly more – allegations. However, their investigation was desultory and made little effort to gather sufficient evidence for prosecution.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100274286/lutfur-r...

I may be being naïve, but Rahman has repeatedly lied on his council election leaflet (or whatever it is). Isn't there something LEGAL that can be done about this?

High court trial on electoral fraud.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/tower-hamlets-mayor-lutfur-...

I hope they investigate the islamic charities to which he donated hugely disproportionate amounts of money - I'm very sure that it is through these channels that he and his ilk reward those who harass voters outside polling stations.

Lutfur Rahman 'secured Tower Hamlets election win with curry house threats and bribes'

High Court challenge: Mayor Lutfur Rahman saw his bid to have the petition thrown out dismissed

The controversial mayor oversaw a “systematic campaign of intimidation” including widespread postal vote fraud in order to triumph in May’s election, documents seen by the Standard claim.

He, or those acting on his behalf,  allegedly told activists for his party, Tower Hamlets First, to collect and fill out 250 postal vote application forms each at a meeting held in a Bangladeshi restaurant ahead of May’s election, which he won by 3000 votes.

Supporters of Mr Rahman, who is Britain’s first Muslim directly-elected mayor, told voters that backing Mr Rahman’s rivals would be “un-Islamic and sinful” and said a vote in his favour would be a “virtuous and Islamic act”.

Lutfur Rahman and Labour rival John Biggs (Picture: Nigel Howard)The dossier claims Mr Rahman authorised bribery of religious groups in exchange for leaders promising him votes at the election.

It alleges that the Mayor’s Labour rival, John Biggs, was smeared as a “racist” in Bangladeshi-language newspapers within the borough.

A group of four petitioners lodged the 70-page dossier yesterday after a High Court judge blocked Mr Rahman’s request to throw out a case probing claims of fraud. 

In the dossier, the petitioners allege that Mr Rahman “knew or suspected corrupt practices were being carried out and took no or insufficient measures to prevent them” and was therefore himself guilty of corruption.

It alleges that Tower Hamlets staff were threatened at a meeting to support Mr Rahman’s re-election that they “may lose their jobs at the council” if they did not obtain 100 votes each for him. It was made clear that these votes should be obtained illegally, “including through postal vote fraud”, the documents claim.

The council’s Conservative group leader Peter Golds said: “The election petition indicates the long held concerns by residents about ongoing electoral malpractice in this borough. It is right and proper that this is tested publicly before an experienced judge.”

Lutfur Rahman is mobbed by supporters at May's election countThe petitioners are calling for the chaotic election – which saw the announcement of some results delayed by five days - to be declared invalid. Mr Rahman last month failed in a bid to have the case thrown out and is now set to face a High Court trial over the claims, which he denies.

A spokesman for Mr Rahman said: “The allegations filed with the court yesterday don’t come as a surprise. They repeat allegations made before and which have never been proven, despite thorough investigations by the Metropolitan Police and Electoral Commission. We look forward to vigorously contesting them in court.”

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/tower-hamlets-vote-fraud-ex...

THIS DISCUSSION IS NOW CONTINUED IN THE FORUM:

Lutfur Rahman and Tower Hamlets Corruption - collected articles

http://4freedoms.com/group/uk/forum/topics/electoral-fraud-in-tower...

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Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
1. SP Freedom of Speech
Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms
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An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

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