Henry Jackson Society

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The Henry Jackson Society
Logo of the Henry Jackson Society.png
AbbreviationHJS
MottoDemocracy. Freedom. Human Rights
Formation11 March 2005; 15 years ago (2005-03-11)
TypeForeign policy, defence policy, counter-terrorism
Registration no.07465741
HeadquartersMillbank Tower, London
Executive Director
Dr Alan Mendoza
Staff (2018)
22
Volunteers (2018)
6
WebsiteHenryJacksonSociety.org
Martin Lee SC, a barrister and founder of United Democrats of Hong Kong, speaking at the Henry Jackson Society—Hong Kong Watch joint seminar in London in September 2018

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) is a trans-Atlantic foreign policy think tank based in London. Its purpose is the promotion of liberal democracy across the world;[1] it is currently focused primarily on supporting global democracy in the face of threats from China and Russia.[2][3] The society is named after the American politician Henry M. Jackson, a Democratic Senator from Washington state who was a civil rights advocate and anticommunist liberal hawk.[4][5] Jackson was respected by conservative leaders like Ronald Reagan who praised him for his bipartisanship:

Scoop Jackson was convinced that there's no place for partisanship in foreign and defense policy. He used to say, ``In matters of national security, the best politics is no politics.'' His sense of bipartisanship was not only natural and complete; it was courageous.[6]

History and political aims[edit]

The society was founded on 11 March 2005 by academics and students at Cambridge, including Brendan Simms, Alan Mendoza, Gideon Mailer, James Rogers and Matthew Jamison.[7] It organises meetings with speakers in the House of Commons. The society claims that it advocates an interventionist foreign-policy that promotes human rights and reduces suffering, by both non-military and military methods, when appropriate.

Advocacy for the persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority of Iran was an early project of the think tank.

In 2006, the society worked to raise the profile of the Ahwazi Arabs of Iran, who it claimed were being oppressed by the Iranian government.[8] Ten years later, reporting in The Telegraph appears to have confirmed this.[9] Work from this period was later used to commend military interventions for humanitarian reasons in UK Parliament as recently as 2013.[10]

Having been founded at the University of Cambridge, the organisation was later moved to London. In April 2011 the entire staff of another London think-tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion which has since been dissolved[11] joined the Henry Jackson Society.[12]

In 2017, Hannah Stuart, one of the society's Research Fellows, released Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015), which profiled every individual convicted under terrorism legislation in the UK between those dates with an Islamist connection.[13]

In June 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK's Department for International Development is to be merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[14] The plan had first been proposed in a report published by the Henry Jackson Society in 2019, for which Johnson had authored the foreword.[15][16]

Statement of principles[edit]

Democratic Senator Henry M. Jackson, after whom the think tank is named.
US Sec State Mike Pompeo speaking at Henry Jackson Society in support of the UK decision to secure data networks, 21 July 2020
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has previously contributed to Henry Jackson Society reports.

According to the Henry Jackson Society itself, the society operates along the following principles:[17]

  1. Believes that modern liberal democracies set an example to which the rest of the world should aspire.
  2. Supports a 'forward strategy' – involving diplomatic, economic, cultural, and/or political means – to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so.
  3. Supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach, that can protect our homelands from strategic threats, forestall terrorist attacks, and prevent genocide or massive ethnic cleansing.
  4. Supports the necessary furtherance of European military modernisation and integration under British leadership, preferably within NATO.
  5. Stresses the importance of unity between the world’s great democracies, represented by institutions such as NATO, the European Union and the OECD, amongst many others.
  6. Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that the political or human rights pronouncements of any international or regional organisation which admits undemocratic states lack the legitimacy to which they would be entitled if all their members were democracies.
  7. Gives two cheers for capitalism. There are limits to the market, which needs to serve the Democratic Community and should be reconciled to the environment.
  8. Accepts that we have to set priorities and that sometimes we have to compromise, but insists that we should never lose sight of our fundamental values. This means that alliances with repressive regimes can only be temporary. It also means a strong commitment to individual and civil liberties in democratic states, even and especially when we are under attack.

The society's statement of principles have been changed from those first signed by supporters in Cambridge on 11 March 2005, to de-emphasise military methods and to more recognise the legitimacy of international organisations. The original versions were:[18]

  1. Supports a 'forward strategy' to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so. This would involve the full spectrum of 'carrot' capacities, be they diplomatic, economic, cultural or political, but also, when necessary, those 'sticks' of the military domain.
  2. Supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach.
  3. Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that any international organisation which admits undemocratic states on an equal basis is fundamentally flawed.

Structure and projects[edit]

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking on Global Britain and foreign aid at the Henry Jackson Society on 11 February 2019.
Sarah Champion, Labour MP and Chair of the UK's International Development Select Committee, has been a panellist for Henry Jackson Society events.
Aimen Dean, a Saudi-born British national who worked within Al-Qaeda as an MI6 double agent was a speaker at Henry Jackson Society on 11 September 2018.
Jeremy Wright MP speaking at the Henry Jackson Society paper "Free to be Extreme" in January 2020 with Nikita Malik and Dr Paul Stott.

The Society has produced a breadth of research reports and papers, with a recent focus on the impact of COVID-19 on civil liberties, critiques of far-right extremism in western democracies and the possible legal response to China's COVID-19 culpability.[19] Other areas of research include Islamic extremism & Islamist terrorism, crackdowns on human rights and democracy and various facets of foreign policy and defence.[20][21][22] Its current workstreams include:

  • Asia Studies Centre. This Centre seeks to provide "an in-depth understanding of the structural shifts, regional complexities and historic tensions that exist alongside the tremendous economic and social growth that traditionally characterise the 'rise of Asia'."[23] Publications include a paper on the possible outcomes of the negotiations with North Korea,[24] and the need to safeguard critical national infrastructure in the West from vulnerabilities which may be built in by China.[25]
  • Global Britain Programme. Focuses on "the need for an open, confident and expansive British geostrategic policy in the twenty-first century – drawing on the United Kingdom’s unique strengths not only as an advocate for liberalism and national democracy, but also as a custodian of both the European and international orders."[26] This centre has published papers on what the European Union 'owes' the United Kingdom,[27] as well as advocated for increased military spending by NATO members.[28]
  • Russia & Eurasia Studies Centre. Researches domestic and foreign policy issues in Russia and the former Soviet states. In 2018 the Conservative MP Bob Seely published a paper through this Centre which sought to define 'Contemporary Russian Conflict', and in which he accused the government of Vladimir Putin of pursuing KGB-style tactics.[29]
  • Centre for the New Middle East. Established following the Arab Spring, the Society describes this Centre as "dedicated to monitoring political, ideological, and military and security developments across the Middle East and providing informed assessments of their wide-ranging implications".[30] The Centre has released reports highly critical of Iran.[31][32]
  • Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism. Focuses on the threat to the United Kingdom and elsewhere by Islamist terrorism. Reports have ranged from analyses of the UK charitable sector[33] to the way in which criminals utilise the darknet.[34]
  • Student Rights. Created in 2009 "as a reaction to increasing political extremism and marginalisation of vulnerable students on campus".[35] This project has tracked what it describes as "extreme" speakers on British university campuses.[36]
  • Centre for Social and Political Risk. In September 2018, the Society announced the creation of a new centre, which will "identify, diagnose and propose solutions to threats to governance in liberal Western democracies",[37] focusing on social cohesion and integration; freedom of speech and political correctness; demographic change; and other issues.

Recent projects by the think tank include studying the discrepancy between gaol terms in the UK for Islamic extremists and far-right offenders. The Director of the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism found Islamist extremists are sentenced to "an average 73.4 months compared with 24.5 months for far-right offenders, despite the government’s ambition to treat both strains of extremism in the same way."[38]

Supporters and critics[edit]

The think tank has been described by The Herald as having right-wing and neoconservative leanings, though it positions itself as non-partisan.[39]

Co-founder Matthew Jamison, who now works for YouGov, wrote in 2017 that he was ashamed of his involvement, having never imagined the Henry Jackson Society "would become a far-right, deeply anti-Muslim racist [...] propaganda outfit to smear other cultures, religions and ethnic groups", further relating that: "The HJS for many years has relentlessly demonised Muslims and Islam".[40]

Think tank discussions on the Middle East and Islam have led some media organisations to criticise a perceived anti-Muslim agenda. Marko Attila Hoare, a former senior member, cited related reasons for leaving the think tank and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was urged, in 2015, to sever his links with the society.[39][41]

According to the report published in 2015, "a right-wing politics is apparent not only in the ideas that the Henry Jackson Society promotes, but also emerges distinctly on examination of its funders."[42]

Facebook is one multinational who has partnered with Henry Jackson Society, and spoken about it publicly. Their spokesperson has said:

Our work with groups like the Henry Jackson Society is critical to helping the industry understand and make progress on these important issues. It is through collaborations like these and with governments, academics, and others companies, through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, that we improve our collective ability to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms.[43]

Initial signatories[edit]

Gisele Stuart, longtime Labour Party (UK) MP, is one of the signatories to the Henry Jackson Society statement and has served on its board.

The initial signatories of the statement of principles included:[18]

International patrons included Richard Perle, William Kristol, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey Jr., and former Lithuanian leader Vytautas Landsbergis.[44]

Funding[edit]

Henry Jackson Society is a registered charity in England and Wales and receives financial backing from private donations and grant-making organisations which support its work.[45]

The income of the society increased significantly from 2009 to 2014, from £98,000 to £1.6 million per year.[45][46] It's reported that Edward Atkin, the retired baby care entrepreneur, made donations through his charity totalling £375,000 between 2011 and 2013.[46] Similarly the philanthropist Stanley Kalms has given the think tank £100,000.[46] Nina Rosenwald, an activist who supported Henry M. Jackson's own Democratic Party campaigns in the 1970s, is known to have donated US$10,000 through American Friends of the Henry Jackson Society. In July 2014 Lady de Rothschild claimed that she has financed the Caring Capitalism summit and that HJS and its executive director Alan Mendoza were holding £137,000 of “surplus funds” from the conference that should be returned to the couple’s investment company EL Rothschild, and so moved to civil proceedings.[47] In 2017, the Henry Jackson Society was accused of running an anti-China propaganda campaign after the Japanese embassy gave them a monthly fee of 10,000 pounds.[48] The campaign was said to be aimed at planting Japan's concerns about China in British newspapers.[49]

In 2009 the society became the secretariat of two all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs), for Transatlantic and International Security, chaired by Gisela Stuart, and for Homeland Security, chaired by Bernard Jenkin. A transparency requirement upon non-profit organisations acting as secretariat at that time was that they must reveal any corporate donors who gave £5,000 or more to the organisation. In 2014, following a query, the society refused to disclose this information and resigned its position, so as to comply with the Rules. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, upheld a complaint against these APPGs, but noted the society had already resigned, and its non-provision of secretariat services therefore "appears to have taken effect" as the Rules intended.[46][50][51] The case was closed with no further action taken and the APPGs themselves dissolved with the dissolution of Parliament in March 2015. The APPG Rules were subsequently changed so only non-profit organisations providing services to APPGs of more than £12,500 in value need to declare corporate donors.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dodds, K; Elden, Stuart (1 August 2008). "Thinking ahead : David Cameron, the Henry Jackson Society and the British Neoconservatives" (PDF). The British Journal of Politics and International Relations – via Sage Journals.
  2. ^ "Will China replace Islam as the West's new enemy?". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  3. ^ Foxall, Andrew. "Russia's blatant war on the West must go unchallenged no longer". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  4. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (2011). "Rethinking American Conservatism: Toward a New Narrative". The Journal of American History. Oxford Journals. 98 (3): 752–755. doi:10.1093/jahist/jar390. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. '^ name=Oldham>Kit Oldham, "Cyberpedia Library: Jackson, Henry M. 'Scoop' (1912–1983): HistoryLink.org Essay 5516" Archived 18 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine, historylink.org (The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
  6. ^ "62684c | Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - National Archives and Records Administration". www.reaganlibrary.gov. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  7. ^ "The Henry Jackson Society Is Now Launched!". Henry Jackson Society. 11 March 2005. Archived from the original on 30 April 2006.
  8. ^ ": Ahwazi: Iran Slammed for 'Barbarian' Treatment of Ahwazi Arabs". UNPO. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  9. ^ Hamid, Rahim (1 December 2015). "This is what happens to Arab activists in Iran". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  10. ^ "House of Commons - Defence Committee: Written evidence from the Henry Jackson Society". Publications. Parliament. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Companies House Records for Centre for Social Cohesion". Companies House. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  12. ^ Isaby, Jonathan. "Douglas Murray and staff from the Centre for Social Cohesion join the Henry Jackson Society". Conservative Home. Archived from the original on 15 March 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offences and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015)". Henry Jackson Society. 5 March 2017. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  14. ^ "International development and Foreign Office to merge". BBC News. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  15. ^ Hope, Christopher (16 June 2020). "Analysis: Why there is nothing new about scrapping the Dfid". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  16. ^ Rogers, James; Seely MP, Bob (11 February 2019). Global Britain: A 21st Century Vision (PDF). Henry Jackson Society. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-909035-51-5. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Statement of Principles". Henry Jackson Society. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Statement of Principles". Henry Jackson Society. 11 March 2005. Archived from the original on 30 April 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2006.
  19. ^ "Publications". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  20. ^ "India: Security Challenges and National Responses". Henry Jackson Society. 12 November 2015. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Close Encounters: Russian Military Intrusions into UK Air- and Sea Space Since 2005". Henry Jackson Society. 12 October 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Fighting Corruption with Con Tricks: Romania's Assault on the Rule of Law". Henry Jackson Society. 4 January 2017. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Asia Studies Centre - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Negotiating the Peace: Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  25. ^ "Safeguarding Our Systems: Managing Chinese Investment into the UK's Digital and Critical National Infrastructure - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Global Britain Programme - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  27. ^ "What the European Union owes the United Kingdom - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  28. ^ "After the NATO Summit: Towards the 'Normalisation' of British Military Spending? - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  29. ^ "A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Centre for the New Middle East - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  31. ^ "Going Ballistic: Responding to Iranian Missile Advances - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Beyond Compliance: Iran and the JCPOA - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: How Islamist Extremists Exploit the UK Charitable Sector - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Terror in The Dark: How Terrorists use Encryption, the Darknet and Cryptocurrencies - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Student Rights - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  36. ^ "Extreme Speakers and Events in the 2016-17 Academic Year - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  37. ^ "HJS welcomes Sophia Gaston and launches Centre for Social and Political Risk - Henry Jackson Society". henryjacksonsociety.org. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  38. ^ "Islamists get longer jail terms than far-right extremists". the Guardian. 18 January 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  39. ^ a b Gordon, Tom (4 January 2015). "Scottish Labour leader urged to cut links with right-wing think tank". The Herald. Glasgow. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  40. ^ Jamison, Matthew (18 February 2017). "Brendan Simms and the racist corrupt Henry Jackson Society". linkedin.com. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  41. ^ Bloodworth, James (20 May 2013). "Labour should cut its ties with the illiberal Henry Jackson Society". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  42. ^ "The Henry Jackson Society" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  43. ^ Townsend, Mark (18 January 2020). "Islamists get longer jail terms than far-right extremists". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  44. ^ "International Patrons of The Henry Jackson Society". Henry Jackson Society. Archived from the original on 30 April 2006.
  45. ^ a b Charity Commission. The Henry Jackson Society, registered charity no. 1140489.
  46. ^ a b c d Ramesh, Randeep (30 December 2014). "Rightwing thinktank pulls funds for Commons groups after disclosure row". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  47. ^ "Lady de Rothschild sues think-tank over funds from 'caring capitalism summit'". Evening Standard. 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  48. ^ Kerbaj, Richard; Sheridan, Michael (29 January 2017). "Rifkind a stooge in secret PR war on China". The Sunday Times. London. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.(subscription required)
  49. ^ Connelly, Tony (29 January 2017). "British think tank funded by Japan pushing anti-China campaign into mainstream UK media". The Drum. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  50. ^ The Transatlantic and International Security APG: Report (PDF). Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (Report). UK Parliament. 8 December 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  51. ^ The Homeland Security APG: Report (PDF). Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (Report). UK Parliament. 8 December 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  52. ^ Guide to the Rules on APGs (PDF) (Report). UK Parliament. March 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.

External links[edit]