The Slide Down May 21, 2022: - I am today in Izmir. The last time I was here, eleven years ago, I called on the bereaved family of an aid worker murdered by Israel on the Mavi Mamara. A decade later, as witness the case of Shireen Abu Aqlah, Israel is still carrying out blatant public murder of good people; there has been no progress at all. The only thing that has changed is that the suppression of critics of Israel has become much more intense across social media, mainstream media and political debate. I have in the last 18 years shared a platform with almost every… Nato Expansion and Turkey May 17, 2022: - I am in Turkey because, if there is to be movement in ending the war in Ukraine, it will happen here. President Erdogan's firm stance on a potential veto of Swedish and Finnish NATO membership is framed in public only in relation to perceived support by those countries for Kurdish resistance groups. But of course it goes much deeper. Erdogan understands that the spectacular advance by NATO eastward that Finnish enlargement in particular would represent, is a slap in the face for Putin that will make a peace deal in Ukraine far more difficult. Any such deal would have to… What Might A Ukraine Peace Agreement Look Like? May 13, 2022: - Currently nobody in power wants peace. Both sides believe they might yet improve their position on the ground. Thousands are needlessly dying horrible deaths in Europe. But the West now has a proxy war with Russia itself that is weakening Russia militarily, economically and diplomatically. Putin has to keep going, hoping to show something he can portray as victory and worth all the pain. Meantime the arms manufacturers and related interests are profiting enormously - and never forget that applies to both sides. NATO is cock-a-hoop with probable expansion to include Sweden and Finland. That is one of very many… Some Off-Beat Points on Thursday’s Elections May 7, 2022: - The Labour Party's national projected vote share is 35%, which is the same as the Labour Party's national projected vote share in 2018 under Corbyn. The "Starmer surge" is a lie, broadcast by the media to perpetuate the myth that a more radical Labour Party would be uniquely unelectable. Tory switching to Lib Dems, Greens or sitting at home helped Labour, but hardly represents Starmer enthusiasm. (Projected vote share here means an extrapolation of swing trends to areas where no election took place to give a projected total if this were a general election, done by John Curtice.) Starmer remains… Donziger: A Tale For Our Times April 28, 2022: - Texaco operations in Ecuador from 1962 to 1994 dumped 70 billion litres of "wastewater", heavily contaminated with oil and other chemicals, into the Amazon rainforest, plus over 650,000 barrels of crude oil. They polluted over 800,000 hectares. It is one of the worst ecological disasters in history — 30 times greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and 85 times greater than the Gulf of Mexico spill by British Petroleum (BP) in 2010. During the supposed clean up in the provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana, before it left Ecuador, Texaco hid over a thousand different swamps of… The Advocates of Death April 25, 2022: - There is a completely crazed article by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian - worrying its "most shared" - calling for "direct, in-country military support" by western powers in Ukraine against Russia. While Tisdall outlines well the many catastrophic and wide-reaching effects of the Ukraine war, including tangents such as its effect on climate change, he fails completely to acknowledge the rather more obviously catastrophic possibility that direct western military intervention in Ukraine will lead to full scale nuclear war. But strangely that is not what I find most wrong-headed in Tisdall's article. What I find culpably unbalanced is this paragraph:… Calling All Rwandans: Calling All Africans April 7, 2022: - UPDATED: The BBC now reports UK to give asylum seekers one-way ticket to Rwanda Some asylum seekers who arrive in the UK on small boats across the Channel will be given a one-way ticket to Rwanda, under new government plans. Home Secretary Priti Patel is in the African nation to agree a £120m trial involving mostly single men arriving in Britain on boats or lorries. BBC home editor Mark Easton, reporting from Rwanda, said ministers face legal hurdles and substantial costs. Refugee organisations have criticised the plans as cruel and urged a rethink. When the Tory government announced it was… Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War April 4, 2022: - No matter how hard we try to be dispassionate and logical, our thinking is affected by our own experiences, by the background knowledge we have and by the assumptions they generate. In discussing Ukraine - which arouses understandably high passions - I want to explain to you some of the experiences which affect my own thinking. I will start with childhood, when my world view was pretty firmly set. I spent much of my young life at my grandparents' on my mother's side, in Norfolk. In the spare room in which I would sleep, under the bed there were cardboard… 14 Years Ahead of the Game April 3, 2022: - On 14 August 2008 the Independent newspaper published together three comments on the Russian invasion of South Ossetia. They were by John McCain, Mikhail Gorbachev and (checks notes) Craig Murray. I am proud of my comments all these years later, both by their prescience and by my consistency of view until today. This is what I said: Craig Murray Russia's actions are illegal but the US and UK, who launched an equally illegal and much more devastating invasion of Iraq, are ill-placed to be outraged. A de facto Russia annexatioin of South Ossetia must not be permitted, unless we eventually… Alex Salmond and the European Court March 27, 2022: - I went to jail in order to expose the fact that Alex Salmond was being framed on false charges, orchestrated within the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's office and testified to by perjury committed by individuals very close to Sturgeon, who made fake claims of molestation. They were seen right through by a largely female jury. But the details of the defence case were reported by nobody but me, (I was jailed for it). The mainstream media, led by the BBC, conducted in unison a campaign to portray Salmond as guilty and the verdict as perverse, by presenting to the… Free, Enduring Love March 25, 2022: - UPDATE: Julian Assange - Looking through my photos, I just came across this one of Stella showing the panel on which Vivienne Westwood embroidered her personal wedding message to the couple. I thought you might like to see it. It was a cheap, white, trestle table, its thin top slightly bowed down in the middle, of the type made of a weetabix of sawdust and glue with a sheet of plastic glued on top and plastic strips glued to the sides, held up on four narrow, tubular, black metal legs. On it was a register. In front of it stood… P&O and the Tory Road to Serfdom March 21, 2022: - What has happened to P&O workers is exactly how deregulated Britain is meant to operate. With British regulations abolished or inoperative and EU regulations void, predatory international capitalists are free to treat workers like property, to be picked up or disposed of at whim, with no consideration at all other than the profit of the company. Politicians have reacted to the public disgust at the summary sacking of 800 people (disguised as redundancy even though they are to be replaced by cheaper labour), by expressions of disgust, but with no proposals at all to do anything about the particular or… Laura Murray (no relation!) March 17, 2022: - We should all congratulate Laura Murray on her emphatic victory against the Daily Telegraph and the dreadful apartheid Israel stooge Lord Ian Austin, who I am happy to say have been forced to pay substantial damages. (Update: I originally stated Laura had won her libel case - this was incorrect as the libelers caved in before the case got to court). As a favour to the Daily Telegraph, I reproduce their apology so people can see it, as it is hidden behind their paywall. Apart from justice for Ms Murray, the court judgement is important because it affirms a key… Assange Extradition: On To The Next Hurdle March 15, 2022: - With Julian still, for no rational reason, held in maximum security, the legal process around his extradition continues to meander its way through the overgrown bridlepaths of the UK's legal system. Today the Supreme Court refused to hear Julian's appeal, which was based on the grounds of his health and the effect upon it of incarceration in the conditions of the United States prison service. It stated his appeal had "no arguable legal grounds." This is a setback which is, most likely, going to keep Julian in jail for at least another year. The legal grounds which the High Court… Schroedinger’s Evidence March 4, 2022: - You be the judge. At my appeal last week against imprisonment for journalism, judges opined that my sworn evidence at my trial had been "so self-evidently untrue as not to require cross-examination", and even that my evidence had never been accepted by the court as existing. They also stated that contempt of court being "summary proceedings", there was no need to hear my evidence before sending me to jail. Yet, as I swore on oath, I quite assure you every single word is true. Here it is, as censored by the Crown Office to protect the identities of those who… The Universal Boosting of Putin March 2, 2022: - Back in the days when I was one of the British state's more efficient functionaries, I spoke with British officers who had been in Russia during the Yeltsin period, when they had been able to get up close and effectively inventory the Russian armed forces. (For those who don't know, I was First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw, I was British Ambassador in Tashkent, and I was taught to be fluent in both Polish and Russian, which included living in St Petersburg as a language student while Ambassador designate). What we (as I was then a cog in… Ukraine: How Can the War End? February 26, 2022: - I could not believe Putin really would invade Ukraine, because I could see no sensible outcome for him. I still cannot. Initiating a war on this scale has no legal justification, and no moral justification either. Russian troops are in areas which have no wish to be ruled by Russia. Those of us who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq must also oppose the illegal invasion of Ukraine. Whether the Ukrainian government is obnoxious or not is as irrelevant now, as the obnoxiousness of Saddam Hussein was irrelevant then. I am as fed up now with being asked if I… Your Man With the Petition: My Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, 23 February February 24, 2022: - UPDATE The Cabinet Minister who the judges met, delaying the start of my appeal, may have been Dominic Raab, Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister of England and Wales. Raab was in Edinburgh that day discussing with the Scottish Government the Tory plans to ditch the European Convention on Human Rights. What Lord Justice General Carloway said was that the hearing was delayed because the Scottish Government had called to set up an unscheduled meeting with a cabinet minister. We had all presumed he meant a member of the Scottish cabinet; perhaps not. Secondly, my former QC John Scott has been… Our Argument in Court Today: Full Text of Our Submission February 23, 2022: - My appeal against imprisonment for contempt of court is to be held in Edinburgh High Court at 10.30am today. The gallery will be closed and the public excluded. Here however is the full text of the written arguments we have submitted as the basis for today's hearing. I promise you that they are less dull than that sounds. It is to me astonishing that these arguments have to be made. It is also significant that the appeal hearing is expected to take a full day, whereas my original trial was rushed through in under an hour. How and why it… Appeal Against Imprisonment for Journalism, Wednesday 23 February February 21, 2022: - I will never get back the four months of my life I spent locked at least 22.5 hours a day in a 12 foot by 8 foot cell. I have nothing personally to gain from carrying on the legal fight - I was a civil prisoner and do not have a criminal record. But the legal distinction made by Lady Dorrian's judgement between "new media" and "mainstream media", in terms of their liability to prosecution and to imprisonment, has to be fought, because coming from a three judge bench of the High Court in Edinburgh it is a citable precedent…
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