The Darroch Affair 599

I am amused when I hear the resignation of Kim Darroch mooted as an attack on an apolitical civil service. Darroch’s rise to the top of the FCO was in fact a startling example of the politicisation of the civil service – there is no doubt that his enthusiastic support for the Iraq War, and for every neo-con war of aggression since, is what endeared him so strongly to the people who make the decisions on the top posts (and do not believe the fiction that ministers have no influence on them).


Kim Darroch and Tony Blair

I have annoyed quite a few people – including regular readers – for refusing to endorse any of the more baroque conspiracy theories involving Trump and Johnson conspiring to get rid of Darroch. These have the attraction of simplicity, with the evil Johnson and Trump on one side and the angelic Darroch on the other.

But many things do not easily make sense. The notion it is a plot to make Farage Ambassador to Washington is bizarre. If Johnson wishes to appoint Farage as Ambassador to Washington, after the summer break he could do it on Darroch’s retirement – which could have been if desired quietly brought forward two months with no fuss.

More to the point, the Brexit Party like UKIP is nothing without Farage. The idea that, at this crucial point, he would volunarily lose his political leverage by going off to be a diplomat in Washington is a nonsense. And – crucially for Farage – there is just as much cash in being an MEP.

We do not know who leaked the telegrams and why. One overlooked possibility is the intention was to damage Trump himself, by releasing Darroch’s criticisms of him. As I pointed out, Darroch is an abrasive character with many disaffected people who have worked for him around, and I still think that is a likely source for the leak.

We just don’t know. But what I do know is that the idea that Darroch is an apolitical civil servant is a nonsense. I would remind you also that my objections to torture and extraordinary rendition were entirely in internal highly classified communications at the time the FCO first decided to try to move to sack me. I only leaked afterwards. So the idea that the FCO encourages honest and candid reporting is still more of the hypocritical nonsense being talked around Darroch’s resignation.

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Kim Darroch – the Simple Explanation 235

The media is full of over-complicated theories as to who might have leaked Kim Darroch’s diplomatic telegrams giving his candid view on the Trump administration. I should start by explaining the FCO telegram system. The communications are nowadays effectively encrypted emails, though still known as “telegrams”: to the Americans “cables”. They are widely distributed. These Darroch telegrams would be addressed formally to the Foreign Secretary but have hundreds of other recipients, in the FCO, No.10, Cabinet Office, MOD, DFID, other government departments, MI6, GCHQ, and in scores of other British Embassies abroad. The field of suspects is therefore immense.

It is very important to note that this is an old fashioned kind of leak which was given to the mainstream media without the documents being published online. It is therefore pretty useless in terms of public information. We haven’t seen the documents, we only know as much as Isabel Oakeshott and the Daily Mail chose to tell us. It is not possible to envision any more untrustworthy or agenda driven filter than that. We can therefore be certain this was not a wikileaks style disclosure in the interests of freedom of information about public servants and their doings, but the agenda was much more specific.

Darroch’s scathing assessment of Trump is no way out of line with the mainstream media narrative and it is interesting – but exactly what I would expect of him – that Darroch shares the neo-con assumption that Trump’s failure to start a war with Iran over the drone take-down was a weird aberration. The leaks neither tell us anything startling nor obviously benefit any political faction in the UK. So what was the motive?

I believe the most probable answer is much simpler than anything you will find in the vast amount of media guff printed on the subject these last two days by people with no knowledge.

Kim Darroch is a rude and aggressive person, who is not pleasant at all to his subordinates. He rose to prominence within the FCO under New Labour at a time when right wing, pro-Israel foreign policy views and support for the Iraq War were important assets to career progress, as was the adoption of a strange “laddish” culture led from No. 10 by Alastair Campbell, involving swearing, football shirts and pretending to be working class (Darroch was privately educated). Macho management was suddenly the thing.

At a time when news management was the be all and end all for the Blair administration, Darroch was in charge of the FCO’s Media Department. I remember being astonished when, down the telephone, he called me “fucking stupid” for disagreeing with him on some minor policy matter. I had simply never come across that kind of aggression in the FCO before. People who worked directly for him had to put up with this kind of thing all the time.

Most senior ambassadors used to have interests like Chinese literature and Shostakovitch. Darroch’s are squash and sailing. He is a bull of a man. In my view, the most likely source of the leaks is a former subordinate taking revenge for years of bullying, or a present one trying to get rid of an unpleasant boss.

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Bought Politicians 275

Between just 28 May and 10 June Boris Johnson received £235,500 in “private” donations, to himself personally, as he prepares to become the UK’s unelected Prime Minister.



The blatant corruption of the UK’s political system is part of the reason for popular alienation from the ruling classes. It was Blair who elevated British politics to US levels of shamelessness in the matter of politicians’ self enrichment, and Johnson looks set to follow the Blair example. While some may pretend to do so, I do not accept that there is anybody who is naive enough genuinely to believe that such donations do not influence politicians’ policy decisions.

Straight donations aside, the slightly disguised corruption of our political system should also be taken into account. The banks put politicians in their pockets not through direct payments, but through massive, often six figure, fees they pay them for “speaking at dinners”. That is how Hillary Clinton garnered much of her Wall Street funding. In the case of Boris Johnson, it is interesting that in the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests, he frequently lists the name of the speaking agency who paid him, but not who the client was.

Another way to pay less obvious bribes – and one particularly pursued by New Labour – was the book deal, where publishers pay massive six figure advances to politicians which are, routinely, up to ten times the actual royalties earned for which they are an “advance”. This only makes sense when you realise that every single one of the major publishers is owned by a much bigger multinational – for example until recently Murdoch owned HarperCollins.

James Reuben, who gave two donations totaling £50,000 to Johnson, is the scion of the UK’s second wealthiest family, worth £18 billion. The Reubens made their money, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, in the pillaging of Russia’s massive metal producing assets, which were physically seized by gangsters, in the chaotic US organised Yeltsin privatisation process. The entire basis of their vast fortune was the exploitation of assets effectively stolen from the Russian state and people.

There is a fascinating link here to New Labour corruption that shows how entirely rotten Westminster is. Many will recall Peter Mandelson’s famous meeting with Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild on the yacht in Corfu, at a house party where George Osborne was also around. The full story has never appeared in mainstream media, so far as I can judge.

Deripaska had been involved with the Reubens in Russia’s “privatised” aluminum market, and in 2008 was also involved in business with Nat Rothschild. Putin was determined to try to claw back some control of precious commodity markets from the oligarchs who had plundered them, and he started to lean on Deripaska, in ways which were quite threatening, to make some hefty repayment. Nat Rothschild had obligations to Deripaska which the oligarch was trying urgently to call in, and this process required the sale of shares in (if I remember correctly) Canadian or US aluminium companies. The big obstacle to this raising the needed money to get back to Putin was the high EU tariff on aluminium.

By one of those wonderful coincidences which make life so joyous, happily Peter Mandelson was, absolutely independent of the meeting on the yacht or his own relationship with Nat Rothschild, persuaded of the need for the EU to reduce aluminium tariffs and as UK Trade Minister and then EU Trade Commissioner was able to secure very large reductions in EU aluminium tariffs indeed. So they all lived happily ever after.

Isn’t that nice? And even nicer, Mandelson is now a paid adviser to Deripaska on climate change.

So Boris Johnson’s donations and Mandelson’s dealings all link in to the pillaging of Russia’s formerly state run metals industry, which legalised theft accounts for a dozen of the world’s wealthiest billionaires and a high proportion of its political corruption.

I want Scottish Independence to try to set up a smaller, more manageable national entity in which corruption can be better reduced, (and sadly it will never be eliminated). I find the insider knowledge I have from my days as a British Ambassador and from the connections I then made, weighs horribly heavy upon me. If I knew less, I guess I would be less sad and less cynical.

It has become my firm belief that the destruction of the UK state by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and the purging of the financial cesspit that is London by Jeremy Corbyn, are both essential to human progress.

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Help Steven Leelah

With a callousness that defies belief, the British government continues to pursue and persecute Chagossians in pursuit of the genocide they initiated on the community in 1971. This blog has been campaigning for the Chagossians for over ten years, but following the recent resounding condemnation of the British government at the International Court of Justice, and the massive vote at the UN General Assembly for Chagos to be returned to Mauritius, thankfully the issue is becoming better known. The SNP are to be congratulated for initiating and leading a debate at Westminster this week to demand that the UK respects the International Court of Justice decision (which the Tories are refusing to do).

You may be interested to know that, having spent some of your subscriptions for two years on paid promotion of the blog to targeted audiences on Facebook, it was my article analysing at length the disgraceful British political actions over Chagos, particularly by New Labour, which caused Facebook to ban me from all Facebook advertising. I am still banned.

When the British government forcibly deported every single Chagossian from their islands between 1967 and 1971 to make way for a US nuclear weapons base, a few of them eventually found their way to the UK, being at the time British subjects. The small British Chagossian community is very active. Steven Leelah’s grandfather was one of the original deportees and his mother is a UK citizen. Steven had his right to remain in the UK refused by the Home Office, and when he turned up to report as required pending his appeal, he was arrested and imprisoned in “immigration detention” pending deportation. Just where they intend to deport him is an interesting question – his father is Chagossian and his mother is British – certainly not to Chagos, where the islanders are still forbidden from their own homes.

This is yet another example of the vicious and callous brutality which was injected, deliberately, into the Home Office by Theresa May and her “hostile environment” policy, which is no more and no less than the institutionalisation of racism as government policy. It goes hand in hand with the deprofessionalisation of the “Border force” and the contracting out of most of its functions to for profit companies.

You may find it hard to believe, but I worked very closely with officers of the old “Immigration Service” when posted in Lagos, Warsaw and Accra and formed many good friendships with members. They were career civil servants and included individuals who were sensible, humane, erudite and even kind, and often took a real interest in understanding the cultures of the people with whom they were working abroad. All that has now gone and been replaced by minimum wage teens box checking applications, and Serco and Group 4 thugs “enforcing”, all for profit, and in pursuit of the objectives of racism.

That the UK should compound the world renowned disgrace of its Chagos brutality with this treatment of Steven Leelah is jaw dropping. I really am incandescent with rage over this. Please do help by contributing to his fundraiser here.

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How To Spot A Twitter Troll 400

UPDATE: GCHQ are currently advertising to recruit more trolls to carry out precisely the activity I outline here. As their advertisement puts it:

We are looking to recruit individuals who can contribute to a step change in the UK’s ability to project cyber power against our adversaries, in order to keep the UK safe. You will be at the forefront of the nation’s covert online capability. We want people who can help support and run operations that disrupt and degrade our adversaries’ ability to do us harm, and contest malign activity in cyber space.

I do hope this helps cut through the cognitive dissonance for those of you who found it difficult to come to terms with the truth of the below.

ORIGINAL POST

It is a matter of simple fact that the British government employs a very large number of people whose full time job is to influence the political narrative on social media. The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity Initiative, MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet.

I have long been fascinated by the disconnect by which people, who do know and understand that the security services employ tens of thousands of people and have budgets of billions, nevertheless find it hard to accept that they may come personally into contact with their operations. Therefore when I state that the security services infiltrate groups including environmentalists and the SNP, and were involved in the Skripal story in ways not public, there is a peculiar desire among people to reject it as it is uncomfortable. Equally while people do know the security services are committing huge sums to social media influencing, to point out any of its instances brings derisive shouts of “conspiracy theory”.

It was when I was pointing out the many omissions and inconsistencies in the official version of events surrounding the Skripals, that I first came under sustained attack from accounts on twitter, often making short and very sarcastic comments. I confess for a while this did actually get me down. I have no difficulty with people disagreeing with me, but I find it depressing to encounter unreasonably closed minds.

But in quite short order I started to note a few defining characteristics of the scores of accounts from which I was being attacked. These are false accounts, but they are trolls not bots. There are people from the 77th Brigade, GCHQ or other agencies sitting behind a desk and running scores of fake accounts each. As there is a real human being behind them, unlike bots, these trolls can reply if challenged and attempt to promote a real identity. But there are a number of key giveaways:

1) Many times more “follows” than “followers”.

In establishing a fake identity, the first step they take is to follow other twitter accounts. This is because a percentage of twitter users will automatically follow you back, so if you quickly follow 500 people you will likely get 100 “followers” back immediately. That appears to establish a real identity with followers. There are some interesting consequences of this technique. These troll accounts remarkably often follow sports betting twitter accounts, for example – because those accounts automatically follow back.

2) A tweet record consisting almost entirely of retweets.

This is the most important single giveaway. If you select “tweets” under the account, these accounts have zero original content. Their timeline consists of retweets of pro-Establishment content, leavened with retweets of the single characteristic that was chosen to establish a “character” – eg “Everton supporter”, “gym fanatic”. They never initiate a topic or posit an original thought, but work entirely in “retweet” or “reply” mode.

3) Follow and troll

Accounts which had nothing in common with me in terms of interests or political views, would suddenly decide to post a brief highly disparaging or ridiculing comment, and always simultaneously would start following me. The motivation of somebody who opens with rudeness yet simultaneously starts following is plainly aggressive – and not usual behaviour.

4) No convincing tweet history

A great many of these accounts are very newly minted at the time of first propaganda use. Generally, even those routine retweets are few and far between. Occasionally the troll twitter account claims to be longstanding – dating from 2009 or 2010 – but there is no evidence of actual (re)tweets going back more than a couple of years. This either suggests wholesale sleeper accounts were established, or twitter is actively involved in helping produce fake ones.

5) Lack of a normal “cluster” of followers

On most real people you can look through their followers and spot a little cluster of family, friends or workmates. The trolls don’t have normal roots.

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How normal is this five point profile? Well, I looked through 200 entirely random twitter accounts and found 9 that would fit this profile – 4.5%. Yet surveying the threads from my own tweets, over 75% of the replies which I would characterise as hostile come from accounts that fit this profile. By which I mean meeting all five points. This analysis meets the scientific criterion of being replicable. You can test those figures for yourselves by looking through twitter. That is plain evidence these unusual profiles are being deliberately deployed – and highly probably deliberately created – for hostile intent.

I had spotted the giveaway profile of those attacking me a year ago, and had been mulling over posting on it. What determined me to do so was clicking on the “Mark Field” twitter trend following his physical attack on the female climate change activist. I was astonished by the sheer volume of tweets defending Mark Field. Clicking on them, I started to realise that what I was seeing was a massive deployment of twitter troll accounts all precisely following the profile I have outlined. They were putting out a unified message that the lady may have been an armed terrorist and that Field should be praised for his resolute, even heroic, action.

So here is the fun bit, some examples you can look at. I don’t claim these are all trolls. Some of these may be real identities who just happen to match the twitter troll profile. They may follow many times more people than they have followers simply because they have deeply repulsive personalities or nothing interesting to say. But remember we are talking about trolls not bots, so there is a human multiple account operative to all of the actual security service troll accounts, whose job it is to respond and attempt to portray a real existence. Unlike bots, if challenged, troll accounts will answer.

Look out yourself for troll accounts with these characteristics on twitter in future. Exposure is the simple way to nullify the vast state propaganda programmes on social media.

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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A Moment in History 966

Sometimes we do not know when small actions could have the most momentous effects. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand loved his wife, which was most unusual for a Hapsburg. She was not of royal blood and strict protocol meant she could not appear in public ceremonies with him in Vienna. Which is why he chose to undertake a royal visit to the obscure Serbian provincial city of Sarajevo for her birthday. The rest, as they say, is history.

AJP Taylor liked to list Franz Ferdinand’s love for his wife as a cause of the First World War, a reminder that history is the study of human beings. Of course the massive arms race between the imperial powers, and the nationalist and democratic forces acting on old heterogenous dynastic empires, lay at the root of the First World War. But Taylor’s absolutely correct point is that even the greatest store of paraffin will not ignite without a spark, and perhaps the spark may never come. I am with Taylor on this, against the rigid determinists.

The vast transfer of wealth from everybody else to the bankers in the great banking collapse, and the huge growth in wealth inequality and obscene concentrations of wealth in a tiny number of private hands, are the underlying causes of the collapse in old political party structures across the western democracies and the rise of insurgent politics in all its various forms, mostly under the careful control of the elite using all their media control to misdirect popular blame for mass poverty against immigrants.

There are however genuine examples of insurgent politics seeking to craft a fairer society in the UK, of which the SNP and Yes Movement in Scotland, and Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in England and Wales, are the most important examples.

Unusually for me, this article is addressed primarily to Corbyn supporters down in England and Wales. You don’t have to be an Austrian Archduke to stand at the moment when your own small actions can have profound, indeed historical ramifications. If just a few score less ordinary people had listened to and acted on Camille Desmoulins’ great speech as the revolutionary impulse teetered, the world might have been very different. Corbyn supporters are at that moment of historic decision right now – and mostly do not realise it.

Jeremy Corbyn represents the only realistic chance the people of England and Wales have been given in decades, to escape from the neo-liberal economics that have impoverished vast swathes of the population. But he leads a parliamentary party which is almost entirely comprised of hardline neo-liberal adherents.

The majority of the parliamentary Labour party are the people who brought in academy schools, high student tuition fees, PFI, who introduced more privatisation into the health service than the Tories have, and who brought you the Iraq and Afghan Wars. They abstained on the Tory austerity benefit cuts and on May’s “hostile environment” immigration legislation. They support Trident nuclear missiles. Many hanker after bombing Syria, and most are members of Labour Friends of Israel.

Even before the current disintegration of UK political structures, there was no way that these Labour MPs were ever going to support Corbyn in power in seeking to return the UK towards the mainstream of European social democracy. They have spent the last four years in undermining Corbyn at every turn and attempting to return Labour to the right wing political Establishment agenda. In the current fluid state of UK politics, with sections of Labour MPs already having split off and others threatening to, it is even more important that the very large majority of Labour MPs are replaced by people who genuinely support the views and principles for which Jeremy Corbyn stands.

Regrettably Labour MPs do not automatically have to run for reselection against other potential party candidates, but under one of those hideous compromises so beloved of Labour Party conferences, they have to notify their intention to again be the party’s candidate for the constituency, and there is then a very brief window of a couple of weeks in which local branches and trade union branches can register a contest and force a challenge.

That process has now been triggered and it is ESSENTIAL that every Labour Party member reading this blog acts NOW to try to get rid of those dreadful Blairite MPs. If you do not act, the historic moment will be missed and the chance to move England and Wales away from neo-liberalism may be permanently surrendered.

The right wing forces have the massive advantage of inertia. The local MP is very likely a crony of the chairs of the relevant local branch institutions and of the appropriate local trade union officials (and there is insufficient public understanding of the fact that historically the unions are very much a right wing force in Labour politics). I am willing to bet that in the vast number of constituencies local officials and MPs are pretty confident of getting through this without the large majority of their members – especially the vast new Corbyn supporting membership – even noticing that anything is happening.

Which is why you need to act. Phone the chair of your local constituency today and demand that they tell you how to go about forcing a reselection battle. Make sure that they give you the phone numbers for any local branches or institutions you have to go through. If you do not know the phone number for your local constituency chair, phone Labour HQ and get them to tell you. If you are a member of an affiliated trade union or organisation, take action there too

Do not be put off. Do not follow any instruction from anyone, not even Momentum, about MPs who ought not to be challenged. Politics is a dirty game and full of dirty deals. Use your own judgement. Certainly any of the Labour MPs who abstained on Tory welfare cuts, failed to oppose the “hostile environment” immigration policy or voted to bomb Syria must be subject to challenge. I would recommend that you challenge any Friend of Israel, given that Israel is now openly an apartheid state. Remember, you may be able to influence two constituencies – that where you live, and through your trade union branch that where you work.

Whether or not you are a Labour Party member (and remember I am not), please bring this article to the attention of any and every Labour Party member you know. Progress reports in the comments section would be extremely welcome, as would anyone willing to take the time to draw up “hit lists” based on the kind of criteria I outline above.

While the media are concentrated on the Tory shenanigans, it is the Labour Party members who have the chance to make choices which could have in the long term much more important effects upon society; if people act as I recommend, this could be a historic turning point. Otherwise it will just be one of those moments that passed, and the Corbyn insurgency a small footnote of might have been.

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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The Question of Character

Every now and then, I feel myself compelled to write something I know that the majority of my readers will not agree with. That is because I do not go along with left wing groupthink any more than I go along with the line of the Establishment. I do not subscribe to a set of opinions. but attempt to consider every question afresh.

Wikileaks is much criticised for having published the leaked Hillary and Podesta emails, thus having “caused” Trump. At its extreme, this involves the entire evidence free “Russiagate” paranoia. I find myself criticised for my association with Julian Assange on these same grounds.

The major answer to this is that it would have been morally wrong to conceal the evidence of Hillary’s wrongdoing, her associations with the Saudis and the Bankers, and particularly the rigging of the primary elections against Bernie Sanders by Hillary and the DNC. If I was accused of association with concealing all that, I would not be able to defend Wikileaks. Another part of the answer is that I am not sure any of this much affected the actual votes cast. But the most important bit of the answer is that I am not sorry that Clinton lost and Trump won.

I say that with apologies to all my American friends who are suffering from Trump’s harsh domestic policies and his version of the “hostile climate for immigrants” which we have long suffered in the UK. I do not underestimate the harm done by Trump’s penchant for trade wars, or his blindly pro-Israel policies and gestures, nor the continuation of the Saudi anti-Shia alliance.

But the vital fact for the rest of the world is that Trump remains the only US President since Jimmy Carter not to have launched a major war. In this, he is true to what he said consistently during his election campaign. I do not think you have to look any further than that for the explanation of why he pulled out of the attack on Iran following the destruction of the US drone. The mechanics of the decision taking are not its cause, contrary to all the speculation.

I should take the time to congratulate Iran on shooting down the drone. The Americans have killed tens of thousands of people, all over the Middle East and Central Asia, using such drones. That they should holler so much when somebody knocks one down is ludicrous.

I am absolutely convinced that, were Hillary President, the Middle East would now be devastated by the biggest of all the recent wars, and America would have invaded both Syria and Iran by now. Hillary was an enthusiast for the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan and she was personally involved in starting the obliteration of the advanced Libyan state on the flimsiest of pretexts. The potential devastation she would have inflicted and the millions who would now be dead, maimed or orphaned outweighs in my view all the harm perpetrated by Trump. So my conclusion is this: I would far rather not have President Trump nor President Clinton, but forced into a straight binary choice I will take Trump. He has a better character; for all his faults he is the only one of the two who is not a psychopathic killer.

How the Trump administration plays out, given the warmongering advisors from the political Establishment with whom Trump has surrounded himself, is a fascinating question. John Bolton is as near evil as any human being can be. Which brings me back to the faux left and their views. In 2013, I spoke in a ceremony at the Oxford Union to give the Sam Adams Award for Integrity, of which previous winners include Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kyriakou, Thomas Drake and myself. Hundreds of students from the “left” at Oxford University were engaged in a rowdy picket against the Sam Adams award aimed to stop the event because of the ridiculous allegations in Sweden against Assange.

Now get this. Exactly the day before, the Oxford Union had hosted an evening with John Bolton. Not a single member of the “left”, who tried to prevent Ray McGovern and I from speaking, had demonstrated against the egregious war criminal, responsible for the death of millions. There could not be a more stark example of the spectacular success of the Establishment in using the false trail of identify politics to split and divert the left, particularly among young people.

The following day I was again back in the Oxford Union, this time to take part in a debate on the American Dream. I genuinely was quite spectacularly drunk when I gave this speech. I always enjoy posting it, and am happy to do so again.

My cheerful admission to being drunk is relevant to the point of my imperfect character, and I now will annoy my readers again by saying I don’t think Boris Johnson’s domestic row is important – provided it did not involve violence – or tells us anything we did not know. I confess personally to having once been involved in a domestic shouting match so noisy that the police were called. It was entirely uncharacteristic of both my life and that relationship. Nor for once did I deserve to be shouted at. But these things happen. The evidence is that they happen much more often to Boris than to other people, and if his current partner expected him to be faithful she is plainly very foolish. When it comes to his personal relationships, the man is a serial rat. But did anybody not know that already?

The neighbours were quite right to intervene as they did, including calling the police. It is what should be done where there is real reason to fear domestic violence. Recording the events as potential evidence of a crime was also sensible. But I do not believe that giving the tape to the Guardian was justified. As it appears no violence was in the event involved and no crime had taken place, I do not believe further public prurience is in order. Nor do I believe Boris Johnson is obliged to reveal the detail of his private life to us. Doubtless his partner will sell the story to the tabloids when he eventually casts her off, be that days, months or years away.

Personally I shall welcome Boris Johnson’s elevation to be Prime Minister, which will not last long. It will be a catalyst for Scottish Independence. The political disintegration of the UK will hopefully jolt England out of the cul-de-sac of right wing politics in which it has been stranded for years. Johnson is an awful person. But his brand of uncaring and elitist conservatism is an infinitely greater problem than his domestic arrangements, and where the genuine public concern should lie.

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That Mark Field Feared a Terrorist Attack is Clearly a Lie – or He Is Dangerously Insane

The reason that Mark Field attacked the lady who had just passed by him was that she wore a sash clearly identifying her as a climate change protestor. She had entered with the other guests, already wearing her sash, and making no effort at concealment. Field knew exactly that she was a climate change protestor when he attacked her: it is why he attacked her. Had she just passed by him without that sash, he would not have attacked her.

There is zero history in the UK of personal violence or terrorist attack by climate change protestors and nobody could claim they had a reasonable fear that a climate change protestor was carrying a weapon – something which has simply never happened. I could equally rationally grab Mark Field by the throat any time I saw him, and claim he might have been carrying a concealed weapon because he is a Tory MP. His excuse is a complete and utter nonsense, a post hoc effort at justification.

He only had a genuine fear of her carrying a weapon if he is suffering from a serious psychological derangement, and one dangerous to the public.

Unlike Mark Field, I happen to have led a life involving real danger, and had guns pointed at my head in both Uzbekistan and Liberia, whilst in the service of the UK. But in my sixty years I have never once raised my hand in anger to a woman. Field’s unprovoked attack was cowardly and ungentlemanly in the extreme (and I really do not care if you find my attitude outdated or not).

It is worth observing that there was not a gentleman at this gathering of Britain’s bankers and upper classes. Nobody stood up to try to assist the peaceful woman who had been grabbed by the neck. Sickeningly, they applauded Field on his return. I find the extraordinary tirade of Tory defence on twitter this morning says a great deal about the kind of party it has become.

One point that appears to have been missed in media comment, is that it seems to me extremely likely that the woman had an invitation or ticket for the event. She was dressed in evening wear as the other guests, but was not attempting to infiltrate or gatecrash or she would not have worn the sash. The most probable reason for someone to follow the dress code but identify themselves with a protest sash is that they were a legitimate guest wishing to make a point.

It is essential to our society that Mark Field is immediately arrested and charged with assault. If Tories are allowed simply to assault people lest they make a speech that Tories disagree with, society has turned a corner to somewhere very dark indeed.

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The Broader View Reveals the Ugliest of Prospects

Standing back a little and surveying the events of the last couple of weeks, gives a bleak view of the current state of western democracy.

We have seen what appears to be the most unconvincing of false flags in the Gulf. I pointed out why it was improbable Iran would attack these particular ships. Since then we have had American military sources pointing to video evidence of a packed small Iranian boat allegedly removing a limpet mine from the ship the Iranians helped to rescue, which was somehow supposed to prove it was the Iranians who planted the alleged device. We also have had the Japanese owner specifically contradict the American account and say that the ship was hit by flying objects.

The Iranians certainly have a strange method of bomb disposal if they carry it out using unarmoured personnel, with as many as possible crammed into a small boat in immediate contact with the “mine”. It is also hard to understand why the alleged “limpet mines” would be four feet above the waterline.

Limpet mines are placed below the waterline. There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly, holes above the waterline will not sink a ship. Secondly, the weight of the water helps contain the blast against the ship. Thirdly, it is obviously harder to detect both the diver placing the mine and the mine once placed if it is below the water. In fact it would be very difficult for a diver to place a limpet mine four feet above the waterline, even if they wanted to.

There seems to be a remarkable disconnect between the widespread popular disdain at yet another fake western power casus belli in the Middle East, and the near universal complicity of the UK political and media class in promoting this transparent lie. It is as though even pretending to have any respect for truth and fact has simply been discarded within the UK’s governmental system. Which ought to worry us a lot.

The second development ought to have been the biggest media story of the decade in the UK, if we had anything like a free and honest media. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, made plain the Trump administration’s intent to prevent the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Pompeo told a meeting of Jewish leaders:

It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gantlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back.

This blatant interference by a foreign power in the UK’s democracy is an absolute scandal. Compare the lack of media outrage at Pompeo’s intervention with the ludicrous claims made about much less high profile Russian attempts at influence. This incident provides incontrovertible proof that the world does indeed operate in the way that I have been explaining here for a decade. It is not a “conspiracy theory” that democracy is manipulated by hidden powers, it is fact. Pompeo’s description of Corbyn’s route to election as “running the gauntlet” is particularly revealing. Even more so is the cursory coverage this story was given, and I have seen no evidence to date of any MSM “journalist” attempting any follow-up investigation on the methods the US are planning to employ – or more likely already employing – against Corbyn.

Everybody should be incandescent at this, no matter who they vote for.

Something else which revealed the truth of the way the political world now operates, and which again did not get nearly the media attention it deserves, was Matt Kennard’s stunning revelation of the way the Guardian has been taken over by the security services. I have been explaining for years that the Guardian has become the security services’ news outlet of choice, and it is very helpful to have documentation to prove it.

It is worth noting that the Guardian obeyed completely the DSMA committee ban on mentioning Pablo Miller in reporting the security service fantasy version of the Skripal story. As Kennard points out, it is also very interesting indeed that the Guardian published Luke Harding’s front page fabrication of Manafort/Assange meetings two weeks after MOD Director Dominic Wilson congratulated Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson on “re-establishing links” with the security services. The Guardian is, like other British newspapers, as controlled by the military and security services just like in any other decent autocracy.

Incidentally, I cannot find Matt Kennard’s excellent work set out anywhere, except in that twitter stream. Surely there is an article on a website somewhere? I cannot find anything on Google, but as it is exactly the kind of information Google routinely suppresses, that does not mean it is not out there. Anyone seen it?

Finally, we have of course seen Sajid Javid sign the extradition warrant for Julian Assange to be sent to the United States for the “crime” of publishing truthful information about US government illegalities. Julian’s extradition hearing was, contrary to normal practice, held despite the fact he was too sick to attend in person. And it was presided over by Judge Arbuthnot, despite the fact that her husband is a former Tory defence minister who started a “security consultancy” in partnership with a former head of MI6, the war criminal John Scarlett who oversaw the fabrication of the dossier of lies about Iraqi WMD, in order to launch an illegal war of aggression that killed and maimed millions. The Assange team had asked her to recuse herself on that pretty obvious basis, but she had refused. At an earlier hearing she taunted Assange with the observation that he could get adequate exercise in the Embassy on a 1.5 meter Juliet balcony.

Just as the Guardian has never apologised for, nor withdrawn, the utter lie of the Assange/Manafort story, so the identity politics promoting, false “left” has never apologised for its pursuit of Assange over sexual allegations in Sweden, which were obvious on the slightest scrutiny to be only a fit-up designed to get him into custody. Those figures like David Allen Green, Joan Smith and David Aaronovitch, among scores of other pustulous hacks, who mocked and scorned those of us who always said that Assange faced not extradition to Sweden but to the United States for publishing, have been shown up as, at the very best, stupid naive and unwitting tools of the state, and more likely, insincere and vicious propagandists.

This brief review of current issues reveal that not only do western governments lie and fake, they have really given up on trying to pretend that they do not. The abuse of power is naked and the propaganda is revealed by the lightest effort to brush away the veneer of democracy.

I find it hard to believe that I live in times where Assange suffers as he does for telling the truth, where a dedicated anti-racist like Corbyn is subjected to daily false accusations of racism and to US and security service backed efforts to thwart his democratic prospects, where the most laughable false flag is paraded to move us towards war with Iran, and where there is no semblance of a genuinely independent media. But, starkly, that is where we are. This is not unrelated to the massive and fast growing inequality of wealth; the erosion of freedom is the necessary precondition that allows the ultra-wealthy to loot the rest of us. It remains my hope there will eventually come a public reaction against the political classes as strong as the situation demands.

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The Gulf of Credibility

I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neo-cons.

The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.

It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control.

That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous allegation. They are however very much the targets that the USA allies in the region – the Saudis, their Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues, and Israel – would target for a false flag. It is worth noting that John Bolton was meeting with United Arab Emirates ministers two weeks ago – both ships had just left the UAE.

The USA and their UK stooges have both immediately leapt in to blame Iran. The media is amplifying this with almost none of the scepticism which is required. I cannot think of a single reason why anybody would believe this particular false flag. It is notable that neither Norway nor Japan has joined in with this ridiculous assertion.

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A Swedish Court Injects Some Sense

When, eight years late, the European Arrest Warrant request for Assange was finally put before a Swedish court, the court refused to issue it.

Readers of this blog are amongst the very few people who have had the chance to learn the information that the original European Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange from Sweden was not issued by any court but by a prosecutor; that this was upheld in the UK Supreme Court despite the Court’s open acknowledgement that this was not what the UK Parliament had intended by the phrase that the warrant must come from a “judicial authority”; and that the law had been changed immediately thereafter so it could not be done again.

Consequently in seeking a new European Arrest Warrant against Assange, Swedish prosecutors had finally, eight years on, to ask a court for the warrant. And the court looked at the case and declined, saying that the move would be disproportionate. It therefore remains the case that there is no Swedish extradition warrant for Assange. This is a desperate disappointment to the false left in the UK, the Blairites and their ilk, who desperately want Assange to be a rapist in order to avoid the moral decision about prosecuting him for publishing truths about the neo-con illegal wars which they support.

The problem is that the evidence of sexual crimes was always extremely, extremely weak to anybody who took the trouble to examine it – which is why the same false left were desperate to convince us that it was wrong to examine the evidence as the “victim” must always be believed, a strange abandonment of the entire principle of justice.

In the lesser charge which fell through the statute of limitations, Anna Ardin claimed that during the act of sex Julian Assange had deliberately torn the condom with his fingers. But the torn condom she produced to police had none of Assange’s DNA on it, a physical impossibility.

In the remaining charge of “rape, less serious”, Sofie Wilen alleges the following. She had consensual sex with Assange in her bed. She then dozed and was “half asleep” when Assange started having sex with her again. He states that she was fully awake and responsive through a series of sexual acts.

I have looked Julian Assange in the eye when he explained what happened, and believed him. I have not had the same opportunity with Sofie Wilen, and quite possibly she is equally honest in her account of events and I would believe her too. They had both been drinking. The difficulty is that this scenario is incapable of proof. A private sexual act that everybody agrees started and was consummated as fully consensual, but then continues or resumes as one partner is drifting off or has drifted off, but the other partner says they were still awake, absent a recording is quite simply incapable of proof either way.

What is beyond doubt true is that Sofie Wilen had no thought she had been raped when she met police to ask if Assange could be compelled to take an HIV test – a visit to the police which had been encouraged by Anna Ardin (she of the faked condom evidence). Ardin was present during Wilen’s police interview.

At the police station on 20 August, Wilen texted a friend at 14.25 “did not want to put any charges against JA but the police wanted to get a grip on him.”

At 17.26 she texted that she was “shocked when they arrested JA because I only wanted him to take a test”.

The next evening at 22.22 she texted “it was the police who fabricated the charges”.

Despite this, Ms Wilen’s lawyer is adamant that she now does wish a prosecution to proceed. The problem is that question of proof. As the court has seen, there is none.

Julian Assange was interviewed in detail in Sweden before he was given permission to leave Sweden when the case was dropped by the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm. When it was reopened by another prosecutor (possible in Sweden), who issued the European Arrest Warrant, Assange at all times during his detention in the UK declared his willingness to be interviewed again, and eventually was interviewed over two days in the Ecuadorean Embassy in November 2016.

Julian Assange has never tried to avoid the investigation in Sweden. His concern was always that the whole thing was cooked up as a ruse to get him into custody for extradition to the USA. Events have proved this to be true.

To return to Sweden, the remaining question at issue is a very simple one. Was Sofie Wilen awake and responsive when sex was resumed, as Julian Assange insists, or was she “half-asleep” as Sofie says? Exhaustive questioning both in Stockholm and London has failed to produce an answer which could convince a court to issue a warrant. Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson is now going to apply to interview Assange again. I genuinely cannot see what she feels this is going to achieve, unless she hopes to harass an ill man into a false confession.

The Swedish courts have finally injected a note of realism. The evidence Assange broke any law in Sweden has never stacked up. At some point, this poisonous farrago of prosecutorial grandstanding and Swedish sexual politics needs to be brought to a close.

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The Incredible Disappearance of Shai Masot

A Google news search reveals that not one single mainstream media outlet has mentioned Shai Masot in 2019. Not even once.

Yet the main political news story the last two days has been the suspension of Labour’s Peter Willsman for “anti-semitism” for making the suggestion that the “anti-semitism” witch-hunt is promoted by the Israeli-Embassy. This has been demonstrably a massive story:

The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands who will read this article know who Shai Masot is and know why his activities are absolutely central to the Willsman story.

And here is the truly terrifying thing.

The overwhelming majority of the mainstream media “journalists” who produced those scores of stories about Willsman also know exactly who Shai Masot is and why his activities are central to the Willsman narrative. And every single one of those journalists chose to self-censor the crucial information that casts a shade over the “Willsman is an anti-semite” line. Every single one. Their self-censorship is not necessarily a conscious and singular act, though in many cases it will be. They are simply imbued with the line they are supposed to adopt, the facts they are supposed to ignore, to forward their career and remain accepted in their social group.

Because the plain truth is that the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby (part 1 below) showed to the entire political world that Mr Willsman’s thesis about the involvement of the Israeli Embassy in British politics and its objectives is broadly true. It says something about the current dystopia that is the UK, that this truly shocking documentary did not result in any official action against Joan Ryan (who has thankfully since hurtled herself into the political abyss), but that pointing out the undeniable truth about Israeli Embassy interference in British politics is an expulsion offence.

I should be very happy to go on the BBC and say this and so would many other people. Yet the mainstream media have been unable to quote this point of view from a single person. Yesterday’s 12 noon news on the BBC had Willsman as the top story with interviews with first Charlie Falconer, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion, then a six minute live rant from extreme zionist John Mann, calling for Mr Willsman’s expulsion. There was no attempt to balance this at all with a remotely sane guest. To be fair, the presenter did baulk at some of Mr Mann’s more frothy mouthed utterances, but the BBC knew precisely what they would get when they invited him, and the decision to have a major news item with only two intervewees, both from the same side of the argument, was a quite deliberate one.

This was a much worse example of lack of balance than those for which Russia Today is routinely censured by Ofcom and threatened with closure. But doubtless as it was a pro-Israel and anti-Corbyn lack of balance (Corbyn was condemned by both interviewees) Ofcom will take no action whatsoever. I am however putting in a complaint to Ofcom about this specific news item and I urge you to do the same.

Al Jazeera’s exposure of Shai Masot led to his quietly being removed from the UK, however he was but the tip of the iceberg. With my FCO inside knowledge I could show that the Israeli Embassy has an extraordinary and disproportionate number of “technical and administrative staff” like Masot, and that there was a mystery over what kind of visa he had to live in the UK. The FCO refused to answer my questions and no mainstream media “journalist” was willing to pursue the case.

The readership of this blog has grown fast over the last two years. I therefore do recommend that you read this blog post which ties in Masot’s activities to the Mossad collaboration of Liam Fox and Adam Werritty – which was the real story behind the Werritty scandal, again completely hidden by the mainstream media. I should mark my debt to the late Paul Flynn MP in helping me prove that fact beyond dispute, as you will see if you read the article. Not one of the media and political hypocrites who so recently eulogised Paul was willing to support him in this or even mention the facts that he had winkled out. Jeremy Corbyn also helped me expose the Werritty/Israel links in his pre-leadership days by asking parliamentary questions.

I do blame Jeremy for not taking a more robust line. Genuine anti-semitism should always be called out and condemned, and it plainly exists, even in the Labour Party. But the open attempt to stifle all criticism of Israel, and in effect to make adherence to zionism a pre-condition for membership of the Labour Party – or indeed acceptance in wider society – is a vicious form of authoritarianism that should have been repudiated robustly from day one.

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Jeremy Hunt Works That Rogue State Status

When Jeremy Hunt decided to attack the United Nations on twitter yesterday, he didn’t expect them to respond. He got owned.

Professor Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Professor Melzer is Swiss. He is an extremely distinguished lawyer and Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow in addition to Professor of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy. He served 12 years as a Red Cross Delegate. There is no doubting either Professor Melzer’s expertise or his independence in this matter.

When Professor Melzer says that “UK courts have not shown the objectivity and impartiality required by law”, people should sit up and listen. I have detailed judge Michael Snow calling Assange a “narcissistic personality” in a brief hearing in which Assange had said virtually nothing but “not guilty”, on the basis of prejudice Snow brought with him into the courtroom. Snow convicted him summarily of bail jumping and sentenced him to a virtually unprecedented 50 weeks. I have detailed Judge Arbuthnot, wife of a former Tory Defence Minister who co-owns a company with a former Head of MI6, mocking Assange and saying he can get all the exercise his health required on a Juliet balcony, as she dismissed a motion to have the bail charges dropped. I have detailed Judge Phillips of the Supreme Court choosing to rely on the French text and discount the English text of a treaty in arguing extradition was in order.

The bias of the British courts has been palpable and stinking. Hunt’s response to being called out, by saying the UN “should allow British courts to make their judgements”, is a nonsense. British judges have shown themselves to be utterly untrustworthy.

For almost ten years I have been documenting the incredible abuses of legal process and the barefaced displays of malevolent prejudice by the British judges who have been at the sharp end of the state’s persecution of Julian Assange. Yesterday I recommended an excellent summary of it all by Jonathan Cook. Yet every single episode has been entirely misrepresented by the corporate and state media to the extent that the ordinary population of the UK has been brainwashed into unthinking hatred of Assange. Those of us who have tried to explain the true situation have been systematically traduced by the state and “mainstream” media.

As Professor Melzer put it yesterday:

there has been a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.” According to the expert, this included an endless stream of humiliating, debasing and threatening statements in the press and on social media, but also by senior political figures, and even by judicial magistrates involved in proceedings against Assange.

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.

This is undeniably the truth. The British “liberal” establishment and media should be hanging their heads in collective shame at being called out by the United Nations on this. But they won’t.

I recall that, when the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary and Illegal detention ruled that Julian was being held against his will in the Ecuadorean Embassy and should be permitted to leave to Ecuador, in repudiating the UN Working Group – whom the UK had supported in every single one of hundreds of previous cases – then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stood up in the Commons and denounced the UN Working Group as being “lay people not lawyers”, when in fact every single one of the panel is an extremely distinguished international lawyer. Hammond’s lie to parliament did not surprise me; but I was genuinely astonished that the entire corporate and state media went along with this most blatant of lies and did not call it out. The BBC, Times, Financial Times, Guardian all reported Hammond’s comment that the UN panel were “not lawyers”. None of them would agree to publish a correction of this basic and easily verifiable fact.

Britain no longer makes a pretence of obeying the rule of international law. It simply refuses to acknowledge the concerns of the UN in the Assange case, happily dependent on the bubble of prejudice the political and media elite have manufactured. This is part of a general pattern of direspecting the UN. Theresa May as Home Secretary refused to let the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women inside Yarls Wood immigration detention centre to inspect conditions there. The Tory government reacted to the recent shocking UN report on poverty in the UK – none of the basic facts of which are challenged – by seeking to have the UN Rapporteur removed.

When you add this together with the UK’s refusal to accept the 13-1 Opinion of the International Court of Justice that the Chagos Islands belong to Mauritius, and the UK’s refusal to accept the ruling of the agreed International Chambers of Commerce Court of Arbitration that Britain must pay its debt to Iran, you get what is a very clear picture that the UK has gone full rogue state and has simply abandoned its support for the system of international law which was in very large part a UK creation.

To repudiate the institutions of international law at a time when the UK is leaving the EU and launching out on its own as a middle sized power, just at the moment when acting as a crony to the USA no longer gives you the protection of the biggest boy in the school, is unwise. But still more is it immensely sad to see the abandonment of the project for an international system based on the rule of law rather than on force. One by one, the UK is simply repudiating the authority of all the major international institutions that enforce international law. The UK is acting as a rogue state.

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The Unrelenting State

We are seriously worried about the condition of Julian Assange. He was too unwell to appear in court yesterday, and his Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, found him in a state where he was unable to conduct a conversation and give instructions. There are very definite physical symptoms, particularly rapid weight loss, and we are not satisfied that genuine and sufficient diagnostic efforts are being made to determine the underlying cause.

Julian had been held for the last year in poor, highly confining and increasingly oppressive conditions in the Ecuadorean Embassy and his health was already deteriorating alarmingly before his expulsion and arrest. A number of conditions, including dental abcesses, can have very serious consequences if long term untreated, and the continual refusal by the British government and latterly the Ecuadoreans to permit him access to adequate healthcare while a political asylee was a callous denial of basic human rights.

I confess to feeling an amount of personal relief after his arrest that at least he would now get proper medical treatment. However there now seems to be no intention to provide that and indeed since he has been in Belmarsh his health problems have accelerated. I witnessed enough of the British state’s complicity in torture to know that this may be more than just the consequence of unintended neglect. That the most lucid man I know is now not capable of having a rational conversation is extremely alarming.

There is no rational reason that Assange needs to be kept in a high security facility for terrorists and violent offenders. We are seeing the motive behind his unprecedented lengthy imprisonment for jumping police bail when he entered political asylum. As a convicted prisoner, Assange can be kept in a worse regime than if he were merely on remand for his extradition proceedings. In particular, his access to his lawyers is extremely restricted and for a man facing major legal proceedings in the UK, USA and Sweden it is impossible, even were he healthy, for his lawyers to have sufficient time with him adequately to prepare his cases while he is under the restrictions placed on a convict. Of course we know from the fact that, within three hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, he was already convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term, that the state has no intention that his lawyers should be able to prepare.

I have asked before and I ask again. If this were a dissident publisher in Russia, what would the UK political and media class be saying about his being dragged out by armed police, and convicted and sentenced to jail by a judge without a jury, just three hours later, after a farce of a “trial” in which the judge insulted him and called him a “narcissist” before he had said anything in his defence? The Western media would be up in arms if that happened in Russia. Here, they cheer it on.

Below is a photo of Julian in the Embassy in happier times, during the Correa Presidency, with a truly amazing and strong group of people, every one of whose stories we can follow and learn from:

Left to Right: Thomas Drake, Coleen Rowley, Julian Assange, Elizabeth Murray, Ray McGovern, Nadira, Ann Wright

I should add that I am currently trying to see Julian personally with two other close friends, but obviously access is extremely difficult.

Julian’s personal possessions have been seized by the Ecuadoreans to be given to the US government. These include not only computers but his legal and medical papers. This is yet another example of completely illegal state action against him. Furthermore, any transfer must involve the stolen material physically transiting London, and the British government is taking no steps to prevent that, which is yet another of multiple signs of the degree of international governmental coordination behind the flimsy pretence of independent judicial action.

Julian is imprisoned for at least another five months, even with parole (which they will probably find an excuse not to grant). After that he will be held further on remand. There is therefore no need for rush. The refusal of the Swedish court to delay a hearing on a potential extradition warrant at all, to allow Julian to recover to the extent he can instruct his lawyer, and the very brief postponement of the US extradition hearing in London, with the intimation it may be held inside Belmarsh prison if Julian is too unwell to move, are both examples of an entirely unaccustomed and unnecessary haste with which the case is being rushed forward. The mills of God grind slowly; those of the Devil seem to spin dangerously fast.

Finally, for those who still believe that actions against Julian, particularly but not only in Sweden, are in any way motivated by a concern for justice, particularly justice for violated women, I do urge you to read this excellent account by Jonathan Cook. As a summary of the truly breathtaking series of legal abuses by states against Assange, that the corporate and state media has been deliberately distorting and hiding for a decade, it cannot be bettered.

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Thoughts on UK Politics

3.1% of those eligible to vote bothered to go to a polling station and vote Tory in an important UK wide election last week. That’s 1 voter in every 33. Yet the Tory Party is shortly going to choose internally, from within its despised ranks, the next Prime Minister of the UK, even though that Tory Party does not even command a majority at Westminster. That is how dysfunctional the UK constitution has become.

Meantime the SNP were runaway victors in Scotland and Sinn Fein topped the poll on first preferences in Northern Ireland. The UK is disintegrating before our eyes. I pray the SNP leadership finally discovers the courage to seize the moment.

There is a huge amount of wishful thinking in the popular twitter meme that SNP, Libdem, Change plus Green votes just outweigh Brexit plus UKIP votes. This wilfully ignores the fact that a very high percentage of the residual Tory vote are Brexiteers- their Remainers have, like Heseltine, decamped their vote to the LibDems. Any Remainer voting Tory would be certifiable.

The figures are also distorted by adding in Scotland. In Scotland the SNP, Green and Lib Dem vote outweighed the Brexit and Ukip vote by a massive four to one. Scotland being 11% of the total vote in this election, that tilts the overall calculation towards Remain by a full net 5% (duly allowing for the small Tory and Labour votes in Scotland). If you do the figures for England alone, it is absolutely plain that the people of England wish to Brexit. Nobody has the right to stop England from Brexiting as it wishes. What is needed is a mature and friendly acceptance that this means the UK must split.

I stood twice for election in Parliamentary elections in England as an independent anti-war candidate. The first time, in Blackburn in 2005, the BBC broadcast a radio debate between the candidates but excluded me on the basis that I had “no evidence of popular support.” I polled 5.0%.

When I stood later in Norwich, the same thing happened again, and I pointed out that I had obtained 5% in Blackburn. The BBC told me that 5% was not enough public support to be given airtime.

I shall be fascinated to see if they apply that to Change UK and their 3%. Don’t hold your breath. I am rather proud that just on my own, with a few blog readers helping, I am more popular with the electorate than this massively hyped new political party.

I was a Liberal, then a Liberal Democrat, member for over 30 years. I made the stupid mistake of not realising how far the party had moved to the right during my years of working abroad, and anyone who has any understanding of history will know that for the party of Gladstone, Rosebery and Home Rule to brand itself as a Unionist party is an abomination. So there is little remaining affection, but nevertheless I would advise my remaining LibDem friends not to contemplate any kind of merger, alliance or accommodation with ChangeUK.

The LibDems are on the up, whereas ChangeUK are on the way to oblivion. Politically ChangeUK, with its unrepentant Tories and the right of the right wing Blairites, would drag the LibDems still further rightward and make remote the chance of living down the coalition betrayals that almost destroyed the party. Finally, why the LibDems would want to import the most virulent and corrupt pro-Israel lobbying in the UK into the party is beyond me. ChangeUK should simply be ignored on its route to entirely deserved extinction.

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The World: What is Really Happening

If you want to understand what is really happening in the world today, a mid-ranking official named Ian Henderson is vastly more important to you than Theresa May. You will not, however, find anything about Henderson in the vast majority of corporate and state media outlets.

You may recall that, one month after the Skripal incident, there was allegedly a “chemical weapons attack” in the jihadist enclave of Douma, which led to air strikes against the Syrian government in support of the jihadist forces by US, British and French bombers and missiles. At the time, I argued that the Douma jihadist enclave was on the brink of falling (as indeed it proved) and there was no military advantage – and a massive international downside – for the Syrian Army in using chemical weapons. Such evidence for the attack that existed came from the jihadist allied and NATO funded White Helmets and related sources; and the veteran and extremely respected journalist Robert Fisk, first westerner to arrive on the scene, reported that no chemical attack had taken place.

The “Douma chemical weapon attack” was linked to the “Skripal chemical weapon attack” by the western media as evidence of Russian evil. Robert Fisk was subjected to massive media abuse and I was demonised by countless mainstream media journalists on social media, of which this is just one example of a great many.

In both the Skripal and the Douma case, it fell to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to provide the technical analysis. The OPCW is a multilateral body established by treaty, and has 193 member states. The only major chemical weapons owning powers which are not members and refuse the inspections regime are the pariah rogue states Israel and North Korea.

An OPCW fact finding mission visited Douma on April 21 and 25 2018 and was able to visit the sites, collect samples and interview witnesses. No weaponised chemicals were detected but traces of chlorine were found. Chlorine is not an uncommon chemical, so molecular traces of chlorine at a bombing site are not improbable. The interim report of the OPCW following the Fact Finding Mission was markedly sober and non-committal:

The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody.

The fact finding mission then returned to OPCW HQ, at which time the heavily politicised process took over within the secretariat and influenced by national delegations. 9 months later the final report was expressed in language of greater certainty, yet backed by no better objective evidence:

Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon on 7 April 2018 in Douma, the Syrian Arab Republic, the evaluation and analysis of all the information gathered by the FFM—witnesses’ testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts, additional digital information from witnesses—provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.

However the report noted it was unable to determine who had used the chlorine as a weapon. Attempts to spin this as a consequence of OPCW’s remit are nonsense – the OPCW exists precisely to police chemical weapons violations, and has never operated on the basis of violator anonymity.

Needless to say, NATO funded propaganda site Bellingcat had been from the start in the lead in proclaiming to the world the “evidence” that this was a chemical weapons attack by the Assad government, dropping simple chlorine cylinders as bombs. The original longer video footage of one of the videos on the Bellingcat site gives a fuller idea of the remarkable lack of damage to one gas cylinder which had smashed through the reinforced concrete roof and landed gently on the bed.

[I am sorry that I do not know how to extract that longer video from its tweet. You need to click on the above link then click on the link in the first tweet that warns you it is sensitive material – in fact there is nothing sensitive there, so don’t worry.]

Now we come to the essential Mr Ian Henderson. Mr Henderson was in charge of the engineering sub-group of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission. The engineers assessed that the story of the cylinders being dropped from the sky was improbable, and it was much more probable that they had simply been placed there manually. There are two major reasons they came to this conclusion.

At least one of the crater holes showed damage that indicated it had been caused by an explosive, not by the alleged blunt impact. The cylinders simply did not show enough damage to have come through the reinforced concrete slabs and particularly the damage which would have been caused by the rebar. Rebar is actually thicker steel than a gas cylinder and would have caused major deformation.

Yet – and this is why Ian Henderson is more important to your understanding of the world than Theresa May – the OPCW Fact Finding Mission reflected in their final report none of the findings of their own sub-group of university based engineers from two European universities, but instead produced something that is very close to the amateur propaganda “analysis” put out by Bellingcat. The implications of this fraud are mind-blowing.

The genuine experts’ findings were completely suppressed until they were leaked last week. And still then, this leak – which has the most profound ramifications – has in itself been almost completely suppressed by the mainstream media, except for those marginalised outliers who still manage to get a platform, Robert Fisk and Peter Hitchens (a tiny platform in the case of Fisk).

Consider what this tells us. A fake chemical attack incident was used to justify military aggression against Syria by the USA, UK and France. The entire western mainstream media promoted the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian narrative to justify that attack. The supposedly neutral international watchdog, the OPCW, was manipulated by the NATO powers to produce a highly biased report that omits the findings of its own engineers. Which can only call into doubt the neutrality and reliability of the OPCW in its findings on the Skripals too.

There has been virtually no media reporting of the scandalous cover-up. This really does tell you a very great deal more about how the Western world works than the vicissitudes of the ludicrously over-promoted Theresa May and her tears of self pity.

Still more revealing is the reaction from the OPCW – which rather than acknowledge there is a major problem with the conclusions of its Douma report, has started a witch hunt for the whistleblower who leaked the Henderson report.

The Russian government claimed to have intelligence that indicated it was MI6 behind the faking of the Douma chemical attack. I have no means of knowing the truth of that, and am always sceptical of claims by all governments on intelligence matters, after a career observing government disinformation techniques from the inside. But the MI6 claim is consistent with the involvement of the MI6 originated White Helmets in this scam. and MI6 can always depend on their house journal The Guardian to push their narrative, as Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker does here in an article “justifying” the omission of the Henderson report by the OPCW. Whitaker argues that Henderson’s engineers had a minority view. Interestingly Whitaker’s article is not from the Guardian itself, which prefers to keep all news of the Henderson report from the public.

But Whitaker’s thesis cannot stand. On one level, of course we know that Henderson’s expert opinion did not prevail at the OPCW. Henderson and the truth lost out in the politicking. But at the very least, it would be essential for the OPCW report to reflect and note the strong contrary view among its experts, and the suppression of this essential information cannot possibly be justified. Whitaker’s attempt to do so is a disgrace.

Which leads me on to the Skripals.

I have noted before the news management technique of the security services, leaking out key facts in a managed way over long periods so as not to shock what public belief there is in the official Skripal story. Thus nine months passed before it was admitted that the first person who “coincidentally” came across the ill Skripals on the park bench, just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

The inquest into the unfortunate Dawn Sturgess has now been postponed four times. The security services have now admitted – once again through the Guardian – that even if “Boshirov and Petrov” poisoned the Skripals, they cannot have been also responsible for the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess. This because the charity bin in which the perfume bottle was allegedly found is emptied regularly so the bottle could not have lain there for 16 weeks undiscovered, and because the package was sealed so could not have been used on the Skripals’ doorknob.

This Guardian article is bylined by the security services’ pet outlet, Luke Harding, and one other. The admissions are packaged in a bombastic sandwich about Russian GRU agents.

Every single one of these points – that “Boshirov and Petrov” have never been charged with the manslaughter of Sturgess, that the bottle was sealed so could not have been used at the Skripals’ house, and that it cannot have been in the charity bin that long – are points that I have repeatedly made, and for which I have suffered massive abuse, including – indeed primarily – from dozens of mainstream media journalists. Making precisely these points has seen me labelled as a mentally ill conspiracy theorist or paid Russian agent. Just like the Douma fabrication, it turns out there was indeed every reason to doubt, and now, beneath a veneer of anti-Russian nonsense, these facts are quietly admitted by anonymous “sources” to Harding. No wonder poor Dawn Sturgess keeps not getting an inquest.

Which brings us back full circle to the OPCW. In neither its report on the Salisbury poisoning nor its report on the Amesbury poisoning did the OPCW ever use the word Novichok. As an FCO source explained to me, the expert scientists in OPCW were desperate to signal that the Salisbury sample had not been for days on a doorknob collecting atmospheric dust, rain and material from hands and gloves, but all the politics of the OPCW leadership would allow them to slip in was the phrase “almost complete absence of impurities” as a clue – which the British government then spun as meaning “military grade” when it actually meant “not from a doorknob”.

Now we have seen irrefutable evidence of poor Ian Henderson in exactly the same position with the OPCW of having the actual scientific analysis blocked out of the official findings. That is extremely strong added evidence that my source was indeed telling the truth about the earlier suppression of the scientific evidence in the Skripal case.

Even the biased OPCW could not give any evidence of the Amesbury and Salisbury poisons being linked, concluding:

“Due to the unknown storage conditions of the small bottle found in the house of Mr Rowley and the fact that the environmental samples analysed in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Mr Nicholas Bailey were exposed to the environment and moisture, the impurity profiles of the samples available to the OPCW do not make it possible to draw conclusions as to whether the samples are from the same synthesis batch

Which is strange, as the first sample had an “almost complete absence of impurities” and the second was straight out of the bottle. In fact beneath the doublespeak the OPCW are saying there is no evidence the two attacks were from the same source. Full stop.

I suppose I should now have reached the stage where nothing will shock me, but as a textbook example of the big lie technique, this BBC article is the BBC’s take on the report I just quoted – which remember does not even use the word Novichok.

When it comes to government narrative and the mainstream media, mass purveyor of fake news, scepticism is your friend. Remembering that is much more important to your life than the question of which Tory frontman is in No. 10.

For an analysis of the Henderson Report fiasco written to the highest academic standards, where you can find all the important links to original source material, read this superb work by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media.

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Finally two housekeeping points. Even among regular readers of this blog, well less than 1% make a voluntary subscription and among all readers the number is even smaller. Money is an unfortunate necessity to keep the blog going, and all help is gratefully received – though I do not wish anyone to contribute who has any difficulty to afford it.

Secondly the blog has used the same photo of me since 2005, and it is high time to change it. I have found a photo in which I look at least 80, so hopefully it might keep us going a few years. I hope my kind technical team will get that done today.

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Vote SNP Today – Chagos Just One Example of the Need to Dismantle the Imperial Entity

In Scotland I urge everybody to go out and vote SNP today, as the priority must be to send an unequivocal signal of support for Independence. I have respect for those who will vote Green and intend to send the same message, but it is not what I recommend you to do.

In the rest of the UK, I recommend people to vote Labour or Green as your analysis dictates. I am afraid I still have not seen sufficient evidence that my old party the Lib Dems has recovered from its sharp Orange Book lurch to the right to be able to recommend it.

The Chagos Islands vote at the UN yesterday illustrated why everybody should be ashamed of the label “British”. By a thumping 116 votes to 6, the UN General Assembly voted to uphold the International Court of Justice and demand that the UK return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

In the entire world, the only five countries allied with the UK are Donald Trump’s USA, apartheid Israel, ScoMo’s climate change denying Australia, Viktor Orban’s near fascist Hungary and the ultra corrupt Maldives. The fact that in the EU only the far right racist pariah Orban was prepared to support the UK, shows exactly the kind of far right rogue state the UK has become.

The forcible deportation of the entire population of the Chagos Islands by the British military to make way for a US nuclear base, subsequently used for extraordinary rendition and torture, is a story so shameful nobody with the slightest moral sense can possibly support it. I outlined the horrific complicity of the UK judiciary and political establishment right up to the present day, in one of the pieces of work I am most proud of. The UK’s decision to brazen it out and simply defy both the ICJ and UN as part of a far right alliance should cause anybody in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to prioritise leaving the UK in the current elections – unless they wish to live in a far right rogue state.

There was a media spasm earlier this week over the UK’s complicity in torture, which MOD documents revealed to be ongoing. The astonishing thing about this is that all the media and political class had previously agreed to pretend it had stopped. It has never stopped, and there has been no change whatsoever in the policy since I resigned and blew the whistle over the policy in 2003.

As recounted in detail in Murder in Samarkand, I was told officially, while British Ambassador, at a meeting called specifically for the purpose, that the policy was that we will obtain intelligence from torture by “allied” security services like the Saudis or Bahrainis, and that this was not illegal provided that we do not specifically request that they torture people.

That policy is entirely compatible with the Cabinet Office Consolidated Guidance on Torture that reads we do not “participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for any purpose”. It can only be ill motivation that leads the entire UK political class to pretend that this guidance precludes the receipt of intelligence from the torture chambers of Riyadh, Guantanamo and Bahrain.

The guidance is specifically worded to allow receipt of material from torture. Otherwise the guidance would say “we do not receive intelligence material from torture”. It very deliberately does not say that. Government lawyers say that to get intelligence reports from a false confession wrung from someone beaten to death in Bahrain is not to “participate in, solicit, encourage or condone”. The defence is “we did not ask them to do it”. And so MI6 and British ministers, knowingly, see intelligence from torture on a daily basis.

The UK is an evil and corrupt entity, a supporter of torture, of the deportation of the Chagossians, of the slow genocide of the Palestinians, a key participant in illegal wars now looking to a new one against Iran to keep the profits of the military industrial complex rolling in. The UK as an institution will never be able to spurn its Imperialist and warmongering behaviour. The only solution is to break the UK, to shatter it into pieces as small as possible. The chaos at Westminster shows the Imperial power in the final phases of its political decline, something highlighted by the lack of international support at the UN. Let us hasten the UK towards its long overdue demise.
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Finally two housekeeping points. Even among regular readers of this blog, well less than 1% make a voluntary subscription and among all readers the number is even smaller. Money is an unfortunate necessity to keep the blog going, and all help is gratefully received – though I do not wish anyone to contribute who has any difficulty to afford it.

Secondly the blog has used the same photo of me since 2005, and it is high time to change it. I have found a photo in which I look at least 80, so hopefully it might keep us going a few years. I hope my kind technical team will get that done today.

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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The Missing Step

In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement.

The European Arrest Warrant must be issued from one country to another by a judicial authority. The original Swedish request for Assange’s extradition was not issued by any court, but simply by the prosecutor. This was particularly strange, as the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm had initially closed the case after deciding there was no case to answer, and then another, highly politically motivated, prosecutor had reopened the case and issued a European Arrest Warrant, without going to any judge for confirmation.

Assange’s initial appeal up to the UK Supreme Court was in large part based on the fact that the warrant did not come from a judge but from a prosecutor, and that was not a judicial authority. I have no doubt that, if any other person in the UK had been the accused, the British courts would not have accepted the warrant from a prosecutor. The incredible and open bias of the courts against Assange has been evident since day 1. My contention is borne out by the fact that, immediately after Assange lost his case against the warrant in the Supreme Court, the British government changed the law to specify that future warrants must be from a judge and not a prosecutor. That is just one of the incredible facts about the Assange case that the mainstream media has hidden from the general public.

The judgement against Assange in the UK Supreme Court on the point of whether the Swedish Prosecutor constituted a “judicial authority” hinged on a completely unprecedented and frankly incredible piece of reasoning. Lord Phillips concluded that in the English text of the EWA treaty “judicial authority” could not include the Swedish prosecutor, but that in the French version “autorite judiciaire” could include the Swedish prosecutor. The two texts having equal validity, Lord Phillips decided to prefer the French language text over the English language text, an absolutely stunning decision as the UK negotiators could be presumed to have been working from the English text, as could UK ministers and parliament when they ratified the decision.

I am not making this up – you will find Phillips amazing bit of linguistic gymnastics here on page 9 para 21 of his judgement. Again, it is impossible that this would have been done to anybody but Julian Assange; and had it been the outcry from the MSM against the preference given to French wording and thus French legal tradition would have been deafening. But given the state’s unhidden animus against Assange, it all was passed quietly with the law simply amended immediately thereafter to stop it happening to anybody else.

The law having been changed, this time the Swedes have to do it properly and actually go to a court to issue a warrant. That is what is now happening. As usual, the Guardian today cannot resist the temptation to tell an outright lie about what is happening.

The main headline is completely untrue. Sweden has not filed a request for arrest. Sweden is going through its judicial processes – which it skipped the first time – in order to decide whether or not to file a request for arrest. This gives Assange the opportunity to start the process of fighting the allegations, which he strenuously denies, in the Swedish courts. However at present his Swedish lawyer cannot access him in Belmarsh high security jail, which is typical of the abuses of process to which he is subject.

It is not political correctness which prevents the UK mainstream media from investigating the extraordinary nature of the allegations against Assange in Sweden. In the case of Nafissatou Diallo, for example, the entire UK mainstream media had no compunction whatsoever in publishing the name of the alleged victim from the very first moment of the allegations against DSK, and the likelihood or otherwise of the entire story was raked through in detail by every single national newspaper, and extensively by the BBC.

I have never heard anybody even attempt to explain why it was OK for the MSM to look in detail at Diallo’s accusations and use her name, but Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen must never be named and their story must never be doubted. The answer is not the position in Swedish law – the Swedish law states that neither the accuser nor the accused may be named, which law has been gleefully broken in Assange’s case every day for nine years. When it comes to Assange, he is simply to be reviled. He is provably treated differently by both state and MSM at all points. It does not matter to them that his arrest warrant was not from a judge, or that the media apply entirely different rules to investigating his case, enforced by a feminist mantra they do not believe or uphold in other cases. He is simply to be hated without question.

Why has there never been a documentary in the UK like the brilliant “Sex, Lies and Julian Assange” from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship Four Corners programme? Please do watch if you have not done so already:

https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/sex-lies-and-julian-assange/4156420

Julian Assange revolutionised publishing by bringing the public direct access to massive amounts of raw material showing secrets the government wished to hide. By giving the public this direct access he cut out the filtering and mediating role of the journalistic and political classes. Contrast, for example, the Panama Papers which, contrary to promises, only ever saw less than 2% of the raw material published and where major western companies and individuals were completely protected from revelation because of the use of MSM intermediaries. Or compare Wikileaks to the Snowden files, the vast majority of which have now been buried and will never be revealed, after foolishly being entrusted to the Guardian and the Intercept. Assange cut out the intermediary role of the mediating journalist and, by allowing the people to see the truth about how they are governed, played a major role in undercutting public confidence in the political establishment that exploits them.

There is an interesting parallel with the reaction to the work of Reformation scholars in translating the Bible into vernacular languages and giving the populace direct access to its contents, without the mediating filters of the priestly class. Such developments will always provoke extraordinary venom from those whose position is threatened. I see a historical parallel between Julian Assange and William Tyndale in this respect. It is something worth bearing in mind in trying to understand the depth of the State’s hatred of Julian.

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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The Struggle Is The Meaning

There is no conceivable interest of the ordinary people of the Western world being served by the crazed decision of their governments to firmly take the Sunni side in the Sunni/Shia tensions of the Islamic world, and to do so in a fashion which deliberately exacerbates points of armed conflict across the Middle East.

It is even more extraordinary that, in doing so, the West is deliberately forwarding the interests of two nations which have philosophies that are entirely antithetical to the supposed tenets of Western philosophy. Those states are Saudi Arabia, an unrepentant despotism, which promotes and finances a theocratic ideology directly responsible for the major terrorist attacks on the West, and Israel, which is now an openly apartheid state. The USA/Saudi/Israel alliance is underpinned by the identification of a common enemy in Iran and other Shia communities.

Of course the patent absurdities of the alliance point directly to the fact that the real motive is entirely different; this is all about the financial ties of the 1% and the permanent interest of the military industrial complex and their financiers in stoking the flames of war.

Which is an opportune moment to mention – as I have several times over the years – that if I had to recommend one single book to illuminate your view of the world it would be Imperialism by J A Hobson. His brilliant perception that empire had been a net disbenefit to the ordinary people of both the colonial power and the colonised, with the advantages reaped purely by the military, financial, armaments and political classes, and his groundbreaking methods of proving his thesis, is one of the great works of human thought. Lenin plagiarised Hobson extensively.

You can indeed find in Hobson a reflection of the anti-semitism that was regrettably common in his time. It is a problem in many of the great books of the past. Trollope is notably anti-semitic, but when John Major as Prime Minister repeatedly told of his love for Trollope, there was none of the manufactured outrage we saw over Corbyn’s recommendation of Hobson. In reading literature of the past there are inevitably notes that jar with the mores of these times, but they do not invalidate all the other qualities, once noted and appropriately analysed. I confess to being with John Major as a serious fan of Trollope. The Way We Live Now is also a great book, whose dark anti-semitic undertones are not necessary to its critique of rampant capitalism.

To return to Iran, I have no confidence whatsoever that apparent limpet mine attacks on shipping are Iranian in origin – in fact the narrative seems to me distinctly improbable. We have the intelligence community frantically signalling that John Bolton is making up his intelligence assessment of enhanced Iranian military activity. Jeremy Hunt has just put out a quite ludicrous advisory against dual nationals traveling to Iran. My wife Nadira was recently in Iran together with several dual nationals filming a comedy feature film. They met with nothing but friendship and cooperation from Iranian officialdom.

However, I remain hopeful that Trump can outplay John Bolton and prevent any immediate escalation. However bad his domestic agenda, one thing to be said in Trump’s favour is that, unlike every American President since Carter, he has not fed the military industrial complex by starting a needless war. I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary would have started one by now. Trump, a monumentally flawed individual, is the only thing that today stands between the world and a Middle East conflagration that would make the last three decades seem like peace. That is hardly a comforting thought.

Nor is it comforting that Chelsea Manning is once again in jail, in terrible conditions, for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, himself in Belmarsh maximum security prison. These two heroes showed us more truth than the World’s professional journalists combined ever have or ever will. The American “justice” system is shown up yet again for the farce that it is. What value should be placed on testimony physically coerced from Chelsea Manning, who has already spent a lengthy prison sentence for her actions in leaking the truth about US military aggression? Either Chelsea provides damning testimony against Julian, or Chelsea gets tortured. That the world stands by and watches – and that the cowards of the mainstream media line up to applaud – I find rather hard to take.

Two other actions are worth noting here. The United States violated the Embassy of Venezuela, against the will of its government and in stark contravention of the Vienna Convention, to break in and seize materials and individuals, based on the farce of recognising the impotent US puppet Guaido as the legitimate government able to give permission. If any government wishes to recognise me as President of the United States, I happily give them my gracious permission to trash the US Embassy in their country.

There is no doubt that Guaido, with the entire world watching on, attempted to launch a military coup in Venezuela, and failed dismally. He has since addressed rallies in which his supporters have been numbered in scores. In the vast majority of countries around the world, specifically including the United States of America, Guaido would have been arrested and executed for his military coup attempt. Maduro has the power to do it. The fact Guaido and his violent antics are tolerated gives the lie to that false picture of Venezuela as authoritarian dictatorship which the mainstream media daily present to us.

Finally, in a country which the CIA has succeeded in reducing to puppet government status, Ecuador has, entirely illegally, compounded its illegal refoulement of a political refugee by handing over all of Julian Assange’s personal effects to the United States of America, on no legal basis whatsoever.

I had some difficulty in writing this post because the chain of these and other events over this past few weeks has been so thoroughly depressing, and can easily lead to a feeling of helplessness. On a more cheerful note, Part 2 of my interview with Alex Salmond is now out

RT have blocked the video from functioning in embedded form, you have to click again on the link that comes up. Or for those with Facebook

Here are three cheerful thoughts. Firstly you can declare your determination to work to destroy the United Kingdom, as I do here, and if you have a nice gentle voice and friendly personality nobody gets upset. Secondly, Part 1 had over 122,000 views on Facebook alone, plus those who watched on Russia Today TV and those who saw it on YouTube. When you compare that to the audiences of 7,000 for the flagship Nine news on the BBC’s new anti-Scottish propaganda channel “BBC Scotland”, that is pretty impressive. My third thought is this. I think the lesson of my life as revealed over the two interviews, is that no matter what the state throws at you, it is essential to continue to struggle for social justice. The struggle is in itself a good. Which is something I first learnt from Sartre’s Iron in the Soul trilogy when I was 15. I don’t seem to be getting far with intellectual development. It now being 3.25am, I shall bid you goodnight.

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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