Yesterday I blogged about an attack on Palestinian leader Raed Salah by the Daily Express. The trashy, racist British tabloid slandered him as a “hate preacher” after Sheikh Raed won a case in the UK High Court on Friday. The judge ruled he had been wrongfully detained in June, because the arresting officers had given incorrect reasons for the imprisonment. They had told Salah he was being arrested for “immigration offences”. But since then, barristers acting for the Home Office have stated on multiple occasions that Salah did nothing wrong in entering the country, since Home Secretary Theresa May had not actually told Salah about her banning order .
In a seperate but related legal case, Salah is challenging the government attempt to deport him from the country. The Sheikh wants to clear his name before he returns home to Palestine. Ever since it emerged in court this week that the Community Security Trust (CST) had a “principle” role in supplying flawed advice to the UKBA which Theresa May used as the basis of her ban, I have been doing some digging on the CST, and have uncovered a link with the Daily Express.
Richard Desmond and the CST
Pornographer Richard “these girls love modelling” Desmond, through his Northern and Shell group, happens to control several tabloids and celebrity magazines, as well as Channel 5. A British mini-Murdoch if you will. But it turns out he has a charitable side in the form of his “RD Crusaders Foundation” (formally known as the Richard Desmond Charitable Trust). Since it is a registered charity and entitled to certain tax breaks, the British Charity Commission holds some interesting information on this foundation, including accounts.
According to the foundation’s numbers, Desmond (as sole remaining named trustee) and the Express’s parent group (named as a corporate trustee) have donated tens of thousands of pounds to several pro-Israel groups including the CST.
While such figures are perhaps small-fry for Desmond’s charity (which has spent millions since 2006), it will be interesting to see if he repeats his finanical support in the future, after this fiasco.
But what gives at the Express? Only one article on their website slandering Raed Salah?! The Daily Mail has managed far more than that, even without the financial link. Are Express hacks are too busy writing puff pieces for Desmond’s other pet projects?
Thanks to Tony Greenstein whose blog post on the CST’s finances gave me the idea for this post.