Jeremy Corbyn could face US sanctions. A legal team is already looking into the possibility.

Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump

Jeremy Corbyn could personally face US sanctions. City law firm W Legal has produced a memorandum looking at the possibility that Donald Trump’s administration could sanction the Labour leader.

The possibility is real

The US state department can give a terrorist designation to foreign nationals such as Corbyn for simply being considered as “otherwise associated” with what the US perceives to be a terrorist organisation. In other words, the legal requirements are so vague that US president Donald Trump could use sanctions as a political tool against Corbyn. W Legal suggested that Trump could use Corbyn’s out-of-context so-called “dealings with Hamas” as a means to designate him, concluding:

the reported references made by Jeremy Corbyn concerning HAMAS and HAMAS persons and his dealings with them may be construed by the relevant US authorities as tantamount to him being “otherwise associated” with HAMAS and might thereby result in relevant US authorities determining he should be designated

The consequences

An anti-Corbyn Labour supporter, to whom The Canary spoke, requested the legal research into whether Trump could sanction Corbyn.

If that happened, US banks would be unable to process transactions to or from Corbyn, which could in turn disrupt transactions through high-street UK banks. W Legal speculates that UK banks may go even further and stop payments to the Labour Party while a designated person is leader.

Political weapon

The US government has long used terror designations as a political weapon. Muslim communities in the US, for example, have faced surveillance and persecution because of unjust designations. In Corbyn’s case, the mainstream media has worked hard to smear the Labour leader through alleged association with groups or people perceived to be involved in terrorist activities.

Out of step with such accusations, however, Corbyn received the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award in 2013. And the International Peace Bureau (IPB) awarded him the Séan MacBride Peace Prize in 2017.

A Corbyn government would mark an unprecedented break from US-led foreign policy and free-market capitalism. The Labour Party may need to prepare for the backlash it seems likely to face as a result.

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