Search Results for : lockerbie


Lockerbie

The information on Lockerbie published in today’s Daily Mail from an Iranian defector, matches precisely what I was shown in a secret intelligence report in the FCO just around the time of the first Iraq war – that a Syrian terrorist group was responsible acting on behalf of Iran.  It was decided that this would be kept under wraps because the West needed Iran and Syria’s quiescence in the attack on Iraq.

I was at the time Head of Maritime Section in the FCO’s Aviation and Maritime Department. I was shown the report by the Head of the Aviation Section, who was deeply troubled by it.

The UK authorities have known for over 20 years that Megrahi was innocent.  The key witness, a Maltese shopkeeper named Tony Gauci, was paid a total of US $7 million for his evidence by the CIA, and was able to adopt a life of luxury that continues to this day. The initial $2 million payment has become public knowledge but that was only the first instalment.  This was not an over-eagerness to convict the man the CIA believed responsible; this was a deliberate perversion of justice to move the spotlight from Iran and Syria to clear the way diplomatically for war in Iraq.

It will of course be argued, probably correctly, that now Syria and Iran are the western targets, it is in the interests of the CIA for the true story to come out,  (minus of course their involvement in perverting the course of justice).  That is why we now hear it was Syria and Iran.  But it so happens that is in fact the truth.  Even the security services and government can tell the truth, when the moment comes that the truth rather than a deceit happens to be a tactical advantage to them.

 

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Al-Megrahi Was not the Lockerbie Bomber

As I have previously stated, I can affirm that the FCO and MI6 knew that al-Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber.

I strongly recommend that you read this devastating article by the great lawyer Gareth Peirce, in the London Review of Books. Virtually every paragraph provides information which in itself demolishes the conviction. The totality of the information Peirce gives is a quite stunning picture of not accidental but deliberate miscarriage of justice.

Here is an excerpt:

Thurman had made the Libyan connection, and its plausibility relied on the accuracy of his statement that the fragment of circuit board proved that it would have been possible for the unaccompanied bag to fly from Malta without the seemingly inevitable mid-air explosion. And thus it was that a witness from Switzerland, Edwin Bollier, the manufacturer of the MEBO circuit board, was called on to provide evidence that such boards had been sold exclusively to Libya. Bollier was described by al-Megrahi’s barrister in his closing speech as an ‘illegitimate arms dealer with morals to match’. The evidence he was clearly intended to provide had begun to unravel even before the trial began. Sales elsewhere in the world were discovered, Thurman did not appear at the trial, and the judges commented that Bollier’s evidence was ‘inconsistent’ and ‘self-contradictory’. Other witnesses, they found, had ‘openly lied to the court’. Despite all this al-Megrahi was convicted.

Bollier had been one of the most potentially dubious of many dubious witnesses for the prosecution. But Dr Kochler, the UN’s observer throughout the trial, recorded that Bollier had been ‘brusquely interrupted’ by the presiding judge when he attempted to raise the issue of the possible manipulation of the timer fragments. Could the MEBO board, or a part of one, have been planted in such a way that it could be conveniently ‘discovered’? After the trial, new evidence that would have been at the centre of al-Megrahi’s now abandoned appeal made this suggestion more credible: a Swiss electronics engineer called Ulrich Lumpert, formerly employed by Bollier’s firm, stated in an affidavit to Kochler that in 1989 he stole a ‘non-operational’ timing board from MEBO and handed it to ‘a person officially investigating in the Lockerbie case’. Bollier himself told Kochler that he was offered $4 million if he would connect the timer to Libya.

There were throughout two aspects of the investigation over which the Scottish authorities exerted little authority: in the US, the activities of the CIA and in particular of Thomas Thurman and the forensic branch of the FBI; in England, the forensic investigations of RARDE, carried out by Hayes and Feraday. Without Hayes’s findings, the Lockerbie prosecution would have been impossible. His evidence was that on 12 May 1989 he discovered and tweezed out from a remnant of cloth an electronic fragment, part of a circuit board. The remnant of cloth, part of a shirt collar, was then traced to a Maltese shop. A number of aspects of the original circuit board find were puzzling. The remnant was originally found in January 1989 by a DC Gilchrist and a DC McColm in the outer reaches of the area over which the bomb-blast debris was spread. It was labelled ‘cloth (charred)’ by him, but then overwritten as ‘debris’ even though the fragment of circuit board had not yet been ‘found’ by Hayes. The fragment found by Hayes, and identified as a MEBO circuit board by Thurman, meant that the thesis of an Air Malta involvement could survive.

Even if one knew nothing of the devastating findings of the public inquiry in the early 1990s into the false science that convicted the Maguire Seven or of the succession of thunderous judgments in the Court of Appeal in case after case in which RARDE scientists had provided the basis for wrongful convictions, Hayes’s key evidence in this case on the key fragment should be viewed as disgraceful. There is a basic necessity for evidential preservation in any criminal case: every inspection must be logged, chronology recorded, detail noted. But at every point in relation to this vital fragment that information was either missing or had been altered, although Hayes had made meticulous notes in respect of every single one of the hundreds of other exhibits he inspected in the Lockerbie investigation.

The entire article really should be read by anybody with any interest in British or US politics.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/peir01_.html

Thanks to David Rose.

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Lockerbie

Reading through Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”, and accepting his definitions, confirms that I am a Deist rather than a Theist, Atheist or Agnostic. Except I have days when I go agnostic. I will blog about Dawkins another day.

I mention God because I have no way to prove what I am going to tell you now. I would swear any oath to its truth, but that might not convince you. Actually, I have nothing much left to me now but my reputation for honesty, and nothing to gain by sticking my neck into this one.

From late 1989 to 1992 I was the Head of the Maritime Section of the FCO and No 2 in the Aviation and Maritime Department (for those into FCO arcana, the Maritime Section was headed by a Grade 5 First Secretary and the Aviation Section by a Grade 6 First Secretary). This was the period of the invasion of Kuwait and first Gulf War, in which the Maritime Section, including me, mostly got picked up and deposited in an underground bunker as the FCO part of the Embargo Surveillance Centre. We did intelligence analysis on Iraqi attempts at weapons procurement and organised interdiction worldwide.

In this period I mostly lived in my underground bunker, quite literally, and didn’t get back to the FCO much to keep an eye on the rest of my section. On one occasion when I did, I was told something remarkable by a colleague in Aviation section.

At this time we suddenly switched from blaming Iran and Syria for the Lockerbie bombing to blaming Libya. This was part of a diplomatic drive to isolate Iraq from its neighbours in the run-up to the invasion. Aviation section were seeing all the intelligence on Lockerbie, for obvious reasons. A colleague there told me, in a deeply worried way, that he/she had the most extraordinary intelligence report which showed conclusively that it was really Syria, not Libya, that bombed the Pan Am jet, and that the switch was pure expediency.

I asked if I could see the report, and my colleague declined, saying this was too sensitive and dangerous; the report was marked for named eyes only. That in itself was extremely unusual – normally we would pass intelligence reports freely to each other, signing the register for them.

That is all I know. I never saw the report myself, and I do not know what it said, or why it was so conclusive. I am sorry to say it was such an incredibly busy time, we never discussed it again. I do not know, for instance, whether the intelligence contained an actual admission the charge aganst Libya was fake, or merely evidence that proved Syria did it (a communications intercept, for example). I suspect it will never be made public.

But the knowledge has remained with me ever since, and I was extremely sorry at the conviction of al-Magrahi. I do hope his appeal is successful. I am particularly impressed at the upright stand of Dr Swire and other victims’ representatives on this issue.

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Where Are Sting and Bill Clinton When You Need Them?

Is Gulnara Karimova dead? The source of today’s reports is Galima Burkabaeva, who is a first class journalist. She personally spoke with the Uzbek security service (SNB) source who told her Gulnara was killed by poisoning on 5 November. Galima does not vouch for the story’s truth, but she believes the source had credibility, and she is well placed to make that call.

Gulnara was once the wealthiest female oligarch in Moscow society. She had amazing friends. Unfortunately she failed to notice that the kind of friends who do not care if you made your money out of child forced labour in the cotton fields, are the same kind of friends who will not care if you are chained to an iron bedstead in an ex-Soviet mental institution being pumped full of lobotomising chemicals with only a tin potty for company.

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You see, it is not only the “celebrities” who just want someone to quietly disappear once their supply of the readies to splash around dries up. Not one western government has inquired of the new President of Uzbekistan, Shavrat Mirziayev, what he has done with his predecessor’s daughter, not to mention her children, who have also vanished.

A lot of people in the West would be most happy if she is dead. Especially in Sweden, where the massive Telesonera scandal over payments to Gulnara for mobile phone contracts implicates an important swathe of Sweden’s tight-knit business and political elite. While the Swedish police are very anxious to interview Gulnara, Swedish politicians are very anxious she never stands up in a witness box. The same is true in France, and in Switzerland, in both of which the police want her. In the United States, where $550 million of her assets have been frozen, there are some major Texas families anxious she is permanently silent. Weirdly enough the UK is the only country where she had a house and major assets but is not wanted by police, because no matter how immoral and twisted your activity, it is probably not illegal in the City of London.

In short, the 1% in the West would very much rather Gulnara were dead than speaking out from witness boxes. That is something she has in common with Osama Bin Laden and with Muammar Gadaffi. Bin Laden could have given fascinating information about his long term relationship with the CIA and the involvement of major Saudi Royals in funding Al-Qaeda and 9/11. Gadaffi would have been very interesting on, among other subjects, his deals with Tony Blair and BP, extraordinary rendition and Lockerbie. Much better for the Western 1% that these people just die. That is why no Western Embassy will ever ask the Uzbek government where Gulnara is.

But there is more than that. It is true that Gulnara joins many thousands who have simply “disappeared” and probably been killed in the Uzbek dictatorship. It is true there are thousands of more deserving political prisoners. But Galima Burkabaeva, who is in exile for bravely opposing everything Gulnara and her family stood for, is genuinely concerned for Gulnara’s safety and that of her children – because Gulnara is a human being. That is true of other Uzbek human rights activists too, and the same networks are now being put into operation, feelers being put into the system, that swing into action when it is a human rights activist, journalist, poet or imam who has been “disappeared”.

There are no phone calls going in to the Presidential Palace in Tashkent from the Clinton Foundation, from Sting or from her former (ahem) close associate, tycoon Joan Laporta, who disgraced Barcelona football club by its links to the Uzbek dictatorship.

Because when it comes down to it, the only people who actually care about Gulnara as a person are the human rights activists she despised, and who her rich “friends” would never deign to notice.

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Signed First Editions of Sikunder Burnes are now available direct from this blog! You can leave a message naming the dedication you want. Sold at cover price of £25 including p&p for UK delivery or £29 for overseas delivery. Ideal Christmas presents!!

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Delivery
Signing Instructions




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Is GCHQ Embedded in Wikipedia?

Once upon a time, being a leader writer for the Times implied Jupiter like vision and magisterial judgement, thundering out opinions that changed events across the globe. Astonishing that now it is done by the empty, bombastic Murdoch lickspittle Oliver Kamm.

On 7 February I published an article calling out Kamm for publishing a blatant and deliberate lie about me. The very next day, 8 February, my Wikipedia page came under obsessive attack from somebody called Philip Cross who made an astonishing 107 changes over the course of the next three days. Many were very minor, but the overall effect was undoubtedly derogatory. He even removed my photo on the extraordinary grounds that it was “not typical” of me. Edits to Wikipedia articles can be seen by clicking the “view history” tab top right. Here is just a sample of the record of “Philip Cross'” obsession with me.

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I don’t look at my own Wikipedia page, but was told about it yesterday. I therefore googled Philip Cross and was amazed to discover that he is allegedly an alias for Oliver Kamm attacking people online. Furthermore that Kamm has employed lawyers to threaten those who claim that he is Philip Cross, and by Kamm’s own account the Metropolitan Police have even warned off Neil Clark from saying Kamm is Cross. The Kamm/Cross affair was discussed on George Galloway’s show on Saturday. It starts 12mins 30s in.

It could of course be an extraordinary coincidence that Philip Cross, who has been named as Oliver Kamm, launched this massive attack on my Wikipedia entry the day after I outed Kamm as a liar on this blog.

But here is another extraordinary coincidence for you. On 6 August 2015 Philip Cross had launched an initial edit attack on my Wikipedia entry, with only about two dozen edits. What was my last blog post before that attack? The revelation that Murdoch lackeys at the Times had tens of thousands of fake twitter followers purchased for them. I have only criticised Murdoch’s Times operation twice in two years, and each one has been followed immediately by attacks on my Wikipedia entry from Philip Cross. I wonder if Mr Kamm’s lawyers would care to explain this?

I am not alone by any means. The magnificent Stephen Sizer has suffered fearful attacks for his stalwart stand against the oppression of Palestinians, at great risk to his livelihood in the new neo-con Welby Church of England. Sizer has been a constant target for Oliver Kamm. On 22 August 2015 Oliver Kamm published an attack on Stephen Sizer in the Jewish Chronicle describing him as “an insanitary crackpot.” Of course, something published in the Jewish Chronicle on 22 August will have been written a couple of days earlier – around 20 August 2015. On 20 August 2015 we find that “Philip Cross” made six edits to Stephen Sizer’s Wikipedia page. These coincidences really do build up, don’t they?

And just in case you are not convinced, in early February 2015 Kamm was launching a series of twitter insults at Stephen Sizer, including Kamm’s remarkable claim that Veterans Today – for which several of my ex-CIA friends write – is an “anti-Semitic website”.

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And lo and behold! Up pops “Philip Cross” on 9 February 2015 making 32 more edits on Sizer’s Wikipedia page.

Now I really do not care whether or not “Philip Cross” is actually Oliver Kamm or whether he is just Oliver Kamm’s bitch. For Oliver Kamm’s lawyers, my address is 89/14 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8BA. I should love to see Kamm explain all this in court.

Kamm has for years exhibited an absolute obsession with attacking John Pilger, the great Australian journalist. Just google “Oliver Kamm John Pilger” to see. And who has hundreds of edits on Jon Pilger’s Wikipedia page? Philip Cross. Cross has apparently his own twitter account. Here it is obvious that he shares Kamm’s precise views. Zionism, and accusing pro-Palestinians of anti-Semitism, is the single most dominant element along with attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, Julian Assange and Kamm’s other targets. Cross retweets the Jewish Chronicle, for which Kamm is a columnist, and notably Joan Smith, leading anti-Assange campaigner and former partner of convicted expenses fiddler and Israeli lobbyist Dennis McShane.

I genuinely had no idea that Kamm had an established reputation for years for weird internet trolling. For example he published readers’ reviews on Amazon of 19 of Noam Chomsky’s books, giving every one of them one star. That link is very well worth reading, incidentally. Did you know that Kamm has written that the invasion of Iraq was “the most far-sighted and noble act of British foreign policy since the founding of NATO”?

There are some very serious points to all of this. It is not just personal flim-flam. The first serious point is that it really is the most appalling comment on what Murdoch has done to the Times, that its leader-writer should be such a low creature as Kamm. A man who has not only written that the Iraq invasion was “great”, that Noam Chomsky is an “idiot” and that John Pilger is a “fraud”, but who genuinely appears to hold those views.

The second is a very serious point indeed about Wikipedia. “Philip Cross” is not just anybody who can, like you and me, make edits on Wikipedia. he is a senior editor with special administrative privileges. He uses this access on a continued basis to repeatedly and in enormous detail denigrate any individuals who hold anti-establishment views. Equally sinister, he bigs up and protects the reputation of those who promote the corporate media agenda. “Philip Cross” has not just edited, but according to Wikipedia “predominantly written” the hagiographic entries of

James Harding, Former Editor of the Times, now Head of BBC News
Katherine Viner, Editor of the Guardian
Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail
Amol Rajan, Editor of the Independent
and numerous other corporate media journalists.

Philip Cross may be Oliver Kamm. Or he may be someone who shares his views closely and echoes them in a synchronised way. Or he may be an identity which cloaks the activities of a group of people. But it is absolutely plain that “Philip Cross” is used systematically to attack the Wikipedia entries of prominent anti-establishment figures, and simultaneously to bolster the image of the corporate media. The purpose of “Philip Cross” is to ensure that an anti-establishment narrative does not take hold on Wikipedia.

The burning question is this. “Philip Cross'” activities and purpose are blindingly obvious. Actions such as the hundred edits to my page and removal of my photo, or the continued war on John Piger’s entry, are completely unjustifiable. Why then does Wikipedia continue to tolerate “Philip Cross” and grant him administrator privileges?

Oliver Kamm briefly held an internet admin account in his won name. It is particularly noteworthy that Kamm was contacted by email on 28 June 2007 at 17.25 in this guise by “slim virgin”, another Wikipedia admin account that has been widely reported to be a security services front. It ostensibly belongs to Canadian Oxbridge graduate Linda Mack, but impossibly high levels of activity (including once editing straight for 26 hours) have led many to conclude that Slim Virgin is a team – she averaged 100 articles a day, seven days a week, for a year! Linda Mack was believed by ABC News to have been acting on behalf of MI5 in monitoring their Lockerbie investigation while working for their London bureau. The admin page on which “slim virgin” contacted Oliver Kamm is specifically about his attacks on Neil Clark, which is where we came in.

There are just far too many coincidences and linkages for any reasonable person to conclude that nothing murky is happening on Wikipedia. We know for certain from the Snowden revelations that the government does carry out internet operations to promote its narrative and to degrade the image and reach of known opponents on the web. I know from personal professional experience that the security services work with trusties in the media. We have plainly uncovered something at the edge of one of these operations here.

UPDATE I have received twitter messages from “Philip Cross” that he is a person, not part of GCHQ, and that his activity on Wikipedia is often sparked by things he has read, including by Oliver Kamm. He also points out that I had blogged that I did not like my photo on Wikipedia (this is true). He states that Oliver Kamm’s influence on his Wikipedia activity is “not as great as it seems”. I have replied to “Philip Cross” asking if he knows Oliver Kamm, and why Kamm has any influence at all on his Wikpedia activity. I shall keep you posted.

FURTHER UPDATE “Philip Cross” has now replied that “occasionally, it is one of OK’s tweets that reminds me. There is no conspiracy here and I am not a paid editor.” No reply to if he knows Oliver Kamm.

Hat-Tips to Node, Clark and Squonk

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The Assange case

Many thanks indeed to “Me in Us” for this transcript.

00:12 ONN: Hello. We’re here today at the home of Craig Murray, the whistleblower and former ambassador to Uzbekistan. Craig, thank you for being here with us on ON today. On Sunday you spoke out publicly defending Julian Assange in giving a speech in front of the Ecuadorean assembly. What made you want to stand up and be counted as among his supporters?

CRAIG MURRAY: Well, the main reason is that I’ve been a whistleblower myself and active with other whistleblowers, and I’ve seen so many whistleblowers fitted up with false charges, and as soon as anybody blows the whistle, particularly on any aspects of, if you like, neoconservative foreign policy and war, you’re going to get fitted up and you’re going to get defamed with false charges, and if you’re male I think in every case those charges are going to involve sexual allegations. So I could just see, if you like, a miscarriage of justice in the process of being done, and I wanted to do anything I can to help stop it.

01:16 ONN: You said that individual whistleblowers are not charged with political offenses, they are fit up with criminal ones. Would you care to elaborate on that?

CRAIG MURRAY: Yes, certainly, and I’ll give a few examples. James Yee, who was a chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, he blew the whistle on torture and mistreatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay. He was first of all charged with espionage and acts of espionage benefiting a foreign country. Then those charges were dropped and he was charged with adultery, which apparently under US military law is an offense, and he was charged with having pornography on his government computer at work, and he was convicted of both of those, and then later the conviction was overturned.

Brigadier Janis Karpinski was the lady in charge of all Iraqi prisoners of war in Iraq, not just at Abu Ghraib. She was in charge of all military installations. She wasn’t actually at Abu Ghraib, and actually she’d only ever been to Abu Ghraib once. When the story broke about all the torture at Abu Ghraib, she came forward and she said that she had personally seen a document signed by Donald Rumsfeld detailing forms of torture to be used at Abu Ghraib, including stress positions, including threatening naked prisoners with dogs. She said those techniques were detailed in the document which was signed by Donald Rumsfeld. She was recalled to the United States, and the day after she returned to the United States she was allegedly caught shoplifting and charged with shoplifting.

Scott Ritter was an Iraqi weapons inspector on the same UN team as David Kelly. He was a captain in the US Marines. He stated that there were no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. On his return to the United States he was entrapped in a computer sex honey trap by an FBI agent, and this was admitted in court, that it was an FBI agent who entrapped him.

03:51 ONN: For those who don’t know, what does this term “honey trap” refer to?

CRAIG MURRAY: Honey trap is where you put, if you like, sexual bait in order to catch someone, to entice someone into a sexual act which they otherwise might not have committed had you not put the temptation right in their way. It’s a term frequently used in espionage and diplomatic circles because it’s a well-known technique of the security services. And Scott Ritter fell for this honey trap and he was actually convicted of pedophilia, because although the agent in concern was an adult female, she was using an Internet persona of an underage person. But — and Scott Ritter’s case is the only one where I think there may be any truth at all in the allegations, and in his case it wouldn’t have happened, the whole thing wouldn’t have happened had the FBI not set up the situation and gone out to get him.

And I should say these are all people I knew personally. Two of them are people I knew before they were accused. And it happens to everyone. And the same thing happened to me. I blew the whistle on British complicity in torture, MI6′s complicity with torture in Uzbekistan and on extraordinary rendition. I was immediately charged with sexual allegations, in effect with extorting sex from visa applicants. It took me, you know, 18 months of real hell, to be honest, to clear my name. Because, you know, I know once people throw those kind of allegations at you, it tarnishes your name forever. It’s very easy to destroy someone’s reputation by sexual allegations.

So, for me, the absolutely extraordinary thing is that, you know, after this has happened to James Yee, happened to me, happened to Scott Ritter, happened to Janis Karpinski, they pulled the same trick again and again, and now it’s pulling it with Julian Assange, and anybody taking seriously these accusations astonishes me, because the idea that people just can’t see what is happening in the world and the way that whistleblowers are being persecuted, to me it’s astonishing. And the fact that none of what I’ve just said to you will you find reported in the mainstream media, you know, ought to really, really alarm people about the kind of world we live in.

06:30 ONN: Yes, there does seem to be a rather consistent failure by the mainstream media to address these issues. I mean, in your opinion, are journalists doing their job right?

CRAIG MURRAY: No. I mean, it seems to me there is very little actual journalism in the what you might call the paid media. And part of that, of course, is that, you know, the media is owned by a very small number of people, and really people have to write what their bosses want them to write. It’s very, very difficult to get the truth into the media on any subject at all. On top of which also, of course, newspapers actually employ far less journalists than they used to. There used to be a time when individual newspapers in Fleet Street had 30 or 40 foreign correspondents per newspaper. There aren’t actually now 30 or 40 foreign correspondents between the whole of the British newspaper industry. So just the number of them has gone down, and mostly they spend their time, you know, cutting and pasting government press releases and putting out the story, the story which the people who own the papers want them to hear.

The same goes for broadcast media, which again has precisely the same restricted private ownership, unless it’s owned by the government. Though the government of course is owned by the same people who own the newspapers — it really doesn’t make a great deal of difference.

08:10 ONN: So what do you think about the actual allegations, the actual substance of the allegations made against Julian Assange? I mean, is there any evidence at all that you can see of – ?

CRAIG MURRAY: I mean, to some extent it almost doesn’t matter because, as I say, having been through it myself and having seen all the whistleblowers I know go through it, it was only a matter of time before they did it to Julian Assange. So the question of what they charged him with or what evidence they managed to fake is almost irrelevant.

I would say, I think, you know, choosing rape and sexual allegations is very clever. The CIA do know what they are doing. Firstly, because nothing tarnishes your name in that way. People might forgive you for being a bank robber, they might even eventually forgive you for being a murderer, if you said you did it in the heat of the moment, but nobody will ever forgive you for being a rapist or a pedophile. So the choice of allegation is very clever.

Also, it splits the left. If the Birmingham Six had been charged with rape, they would still be in jail today, because nobody would ever have been allowed in public campaigning to query the evidence against them, because unfortunately, because of the genuine problems with rape, genuine rape, going unpunished in society, the reaction to that has been that many perfectly decent people think the only way to correct that imbalance is by removing essentially all protection to people accused of rape. And that view is deeply held by genuine and decent people who are concerned about the position of women in society. But once you have a social acceptance that you ought not to be allowed in public discourse to challenge people making accusations of rape, that makes it the perfect tool for a security service to use, because everyone has agreed in advance that it’s the one crime that no one’s going in campaigning against miscarriage of justice to challenge the evidence or challenge the accusers.

And, as I say, you have so many people on the left whose primary political concern is feminism, who are being used as useful idiots by the CIA, who have been sidetracked into vitriolic attacks on Julian Assange, who are calling people like me rape apologists, just because the CIA has been very, very careful to choose the one accusation which they will always uphold, be it true or not. That’s the main problem with the allegations.

But, no, I mean, it is well worth studying the detail both of the allegations themselves and of the people making the allegations and of the procedures which have been adopted. Because even if you didn’t know all the background I’ve given you about how whistleblowers are always fitted up with these allegations, even if you didn’t know that, just from a careful close examination of the evidence in this case, which is widely available on the Internet, anybody would conclude this was a fit-up. I don’t see how anyone can seriously study the facts of the case and not think it’s a fit-up.

11:46 ONN: You mentioned the other day, you were giving an interview, and you mentioned one of Assange’s accusers by name, Anna Ardin, and this caused a big uproar. I’ve been doing some digging and I found out that she is in fact a Social Democrat politician. Do you feel that these are facts that need to be made widely available to public? Do you stand by the fact that you named Anna Ardin as one of his accusers?

CRAIG MURRAY: Absolutely. The most important single point in this is that Anna Ardin named herself. She has given a number of interviews to the media under her own name accusing Julian Assange, the first one of which I can find was in August of 2010. But I found at least 30 media interviews that she has given where she is reported as Anna Ardin making these accusations. Now the idea — and saying that she does not work for the CIA. It was interesting that she feels the need to say that. Most of us don’t go around denying we work for the CIA. And also saying that, you know, Assange is a misogynist and a rapist and goodness knows what else.

The idea that you should be able to make such accusations to the media – I don’t mean privately in court – that you should be able under your own name to make such media accusations and nobody should be allowed to reply to you and nobody should be allowed to use your name, even though you put it yourself in the newspapers, is sort of Kafkaesque. I actually cannot understand for the life of me why I ought not be allowed to use it when she openly puts it in the public domain herself.

And there are, you know, over 200,000 Google hits on her name, and she has been named in the mainstream media of every single major country I can find except for the UK She’s been named in the New York Times. She’s been named in the Times of India. She’s been named in Paris Match. She’s been named in La Republica. She’s been named in Der Spiegel. The UK is actually the only country where she has never been named by the mainstream media, which again is very strange.

But, no, she herself is a character with a very, very interesting history and very, very interesting ties, political ties, which don’t relate only to the Social Democrat Party in Sweden but that network of people in the police, the prosecution and Anna Ardin who are all connected, who are all working on this case together, who all have party links, is something which would itself make the case inadmissible in any decent jurisdiction. But she also has a history that relates to work with CIA-funded agencies in Miami and Cuba and Buenos Aries. So the more people study Anna Ardin, the better.

15:04 ONN: You’ll be referring, of course, to the Ladies in White, a feminist organization in Cuba based in Miami as well. Is that –

CRAIG MURRAY: That’s right. Look, she has an interesting and varied history of working in causes which, let’s say where there’s a mutual area of interest in South America with the CIA.

15:33 ONN: It’s also interesting now that it is Ecuador that has come out, that originally granted protection to Assange within the embassy and has now granted him full asylum. So if extradited to Sweden, what do you think would be the fate that would await Julian Assange there?

CRAIG MURRAY: Well, his fear is that he would very quickly be extradited on from Sweden to the United States, either extradited or rendered. And the Swedes actually now have a sort of legal rendition law for speedy temporary rendition to the United States, as it’s called. That’s what is worrying Julian Assange. Though I should say, I mean, my experience of the way they treat whistleblowers and my experience of what we have seen of the process in Sweden, I would say there must be just as big a fear that he will be unjustly convicted of rape, which I’m quite sure he hasn’t done. But if he arrives in Sweden, he will immediately be jailed. There’s no provision for bail. And the thing which most people don’t understand is that rape trials in Sweden are held entirely in secret, so nobody would ever see any of the evidence. The next thing we will hear is the verdict. My own view is the most likely scenario is that it’s been cooked up well in advance and that verdict will be guilty. And it’s very possible to do that because not only is the trial held in secret but there is no jury.

Now I’m not one of those people who believes that only the British system of law is okay. Many countries have different systems and often those systems work very well. But what you do have with the jury system is a situation where ordinary men and women do have that chance to stand up to the authorities and to say what they believe to be true. It may not be a chance that they take very often, but that possibility is there. Where you don’t have a jury, as in Sweden, the chances of the government if it wishes to seriously influencing the result are pretty firm.

18:15 I would look at the Jean Charles de Menezes inquest, for example, in the United Kingdom. In that case, the judge, who’s appointed by the government – and remember that it’s basically a government decision not just which judges get appointed but allocating judges to particular cases. In that case the judge, and sadly his name’s escaped me because he was a complete bloody disgrace, he gave a summing up which was totally tendentious and in which he said that the jury would not be allowed to return a verdict of unlawful killing, and he would only give them the choice of two verdicts, one of which was an open verdict, and the other one was that the killing had been lawful, but he wouldn’t let allow them to bring a verdict of unlawful killing, he would rule that verdict out of order, which again is a complete disgrace. He made absolutely plain that the verdict he wanted was that it was lawful. But it didn’t happen. The jury came back and said no, we’re going to bring back an open verdict. And they did, much to the annoyance of the judge.

19:37 The Clive Ponting case, when he leaked the fact that the Belgrano was actually sailing away from the Falkland Islands at the time it was destroyed with hundreds of people killed, he was charged with that under the Official Secrets Act. There was no doubt he was guilty. He was undoubtedly technically guilty. The judge said so, pretty well, in his summing up of that case. And the jury basically told the judge to get knotted and found him not guilty. So there’s always that possibility with a jury system.

Assange wouldn’t have a jury. He would be judged by a professional judge and two lay assessors. And the lay assessors are actually party political appointments, quite literally. One will be appointed by the Swedish Conservative Party and one by the Swedish Social Democratic party. The Swedish Conservative Party is very strongly aligned to George Bush and the neocons and the Social Democratic Party are precisely the people that Anna Ardin and the prosecutor and the police investigator and Anna Ardin’s lawyer all come from. So, there is every chance that this secret process would result in a complete stitch-up.

And I think although people have focused on the fear of him being extradited from Sweden to the United States, and I think that’s true and I think it’s legitimate, my personal view is an even bigger danger is of a secret trial where nobody ever gets to know what the evidence was and they announce to a complacent media that he’s been found guilty of rape at the end of it.

21:17 ONN: And then it’s a done deal and there can be no preventing it.

CRAIG MURRAY: Exactly. Then it’s a done deal and they shove him in jail for 10 years. Then when at the end of that period he comes out, he’s sent over to the United States and tried on terrorism charges, whatever, and by that stage, of course, he’s a convicted rapist as far as the media is concerned, and anyway 10 years have passed and nobody cares anymore.

21:40 ONN: That would be a terrible outcome. What would you think, do you think would be the result if William Hague carried out his threat to storm the Ecuadorean embassy at this point?

CRAIG MURRAY: Well, it’s an absolutely astonishing threat. I should say that I know for certain from colleagues, ex-colleagues within the Foreign Office, that in issuing that threat, William Hague was very closely pushed by the Americans. He was under a lot of pressure from the United States of America to get Assange to Sweden. Which again, you know, rather contradicts those who say he would be under no fear of extradition if he went to Sweden. Why are the Americans so keen to get him there? Why are they interested?

But it was an astonishing threat, because everyone in the world, except perhaps the heads of government in the United Kingdom and the United States, would view that as a grossly illegal act. It would be an absolute diplomatic outrage and it would be a, you know, a crime of aggression against Ecuador. The diplomatic repercussions would be astonishing for the United Kingdom. First of all, no British embassy would be safe around the world, because everyone would say, “Well, we can do the same as you, we can de-designate your embassy and move in and take it over.” And secondly, our relations with not just Latin America but most of the developing world at least would be very, very seriously set back.

And you must remember that we have enough problems in Latin America already. First of all we’ve got the crazy jingoistic, on both sides, dispute over the Falkland Islands. Then you’ve got the fact we would not extradite Pinochet when we’re so keen on extraditing Assange for offenses which even if they were true wouldn’t add up to a hundred thousandth of what Pinochet did. And then you have, of course, as I said earlier, the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. The idea that the Metropolitan Police, having killed Jean Charles de Menezes, we would let them launch a physical attack on a Latin American embassy, is just astonishing.

So you know the repercussions would be enormous. And I think Hague has absolutely made a fool of himself because he’s made a threat which it would be totally disastrous were he to carry it out.

24:24 ONN: And what about the legality of such a thing? Using the 1987 Diplomatic Consular Premises Act is what Hague said, the legislation he said he’d use?

CRAIG MURRAY: Well, this is just utter nonsense because it can’t trump international law. You can’t have domestic legislation which is in conflict with international law, particularly an international treaty to which we are a party. We were actually I think the second signatory on the 1961 Vienna Convention, and it’s the single most subscribed to international treaty in the world. And interestingly enough, even the 1987 act in itself says that its provisions must be in accordance with international law, and it actually says that even in the 1987 act. Well it would be completely against international law for Hague to do what he’s planned to do. Article 22 of the Vienna Convention, Part 1, states absolutely baldly, without any qualification at all, that diplomatic premises are inviolable. Full stop. And they are. You know, you’re not allowed to enter anybody else’s diplomatic premises.

Even in the chaos of Afghanistan, Britain abandoned its embassy in Afghanistan, withdrew all its diplomats. I’m not sure of that. I don’t think we were chucked out. I think we left voluntarily. But at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Britain withdrew, and our embassy sat there empty for decades, through the Soviet occupation, through the Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and the embassy building was only opened up again – although eventually we moved to new premises, it’s not the building we’re in now – but the original embassy building was only opened up again after the invasion in 2001, 2002. But it had been, for 20 years, it had sat there empty, under the Soviets and under the Taliban, and neither the Soviets nor the Taliban had entered the British embassy. Even though there was nobody there except a resident Afghan caretaker, they accepted the inviolability of embassy premises and they didn’t enter it, not the Soviets nor the Taliban. Now William Hague is proposing we should act much, much worse than either the Soviets or the Taliban, and this to me is absolutely astonishing. It beggars belief.

27:18 ONN: Okay, just one more question before we wrap up here, which was, what do you think the actual chances of Julian Assange running the gauntlet, so to speak, and making it to Ecuador safely? Do you see a way that he can manage to leave Britain now and get there to South America in safety?

CRAIG MURRAY: Physically it’s going to be very difficult. The chances of getting to Ecuador from the embassy in the middle of London without the agreement of the British authorities are limited. You can, you know, we can all think of sort of physical escape scenarios, but they’re not easy. There’s going to have to be a diplomatic solution. My guess would be that it will take a long while in coming, I think six months from now. There’s not going to be much public awareness that anything has changed, although talks will have been going on behind the scenes.

The obvious solution is for the Swedes to agree that they won’t extradite him to the United States, but the Swedes absolutely refuse to do that, and the United States refuses to say that it won’t apply for extradition, because frankly there’s no doubt whatsoever that the United States has convened a grand jury to look at prosecuting Assange and Wikileaks and has every intention of extraditing him to the United States. So all of that is very, very difficult.

You can see a kind of Lockerbie solution. The alleged Lockerbie bomber, Mr. Megrahi, was tried in the Hague under Scottish law by Scottish judges because they didn’t want to send him to Scotland and they agreed to hold the trial on mutual premises, and the Dutch agreed that a court in the Hague could actually be in effect under Scottish law for the period of the trial. It’s not the happiest precedent, because I think the trial was itself a stitch-up and a miscarriage of justice, but it does set a precedent for somebody being tried by another state on somebody else’s territory, so there is a precedent in international law if people were looking for that.

Now, as I’ve said myself, my own view is that a condition of any trial should be that it should be public. I think this case is so high-profile that people are entitled to know what evidence has been given, are entitled to know what the defense is, and frankly the defense is so strong that it would make it very, very difficult to do a stitch-up conviction. So something along those lines.

I really do not know at this stage what the end game is. The hope of the British government is that the Ecuadorean government will change. There’s an election coming up in Ecuador in the not so distant future. The British and American governments are relying on President Correa’s opponents — and his opponents are of course backed by the CIA anyway – will manage to win that election and then cancel his diplomatic asylum and hand him over, and that’s the end game as far as the British and Americans are concerned. So my guess is that they will wait for the outcome of the Ecuadorean election. I don’t think they will make any compromise at all until after the Ecuadorean election, in the hope that the government of Ecuador changes and that they will get a, basically a US puppet administration in Ecuador which will just hand him over.

31:49 ONN: Well, thank you very much for speaking with us today, Mr. Murray. It’s been fascinating and very informative. And thank you to our viewers. Thank you for watching this ONN interview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Okay.

CRAIG MURRAY: Thank you.

* I have added in italics phrases on one particular point where I thought my meaning was obvious in context, but evidently from comments on another thread it was not.

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Horrible Right Wing BBC Agenda

I am watching BBC Question Time, for the first time for many months. I am genuinely astonished at the right wing bias of the panel. That the two “non-party” panel members are Digby Jones and Fraser Nelson shows the determination of the BBC to cover the full spectrum of political opinion from very right to very very right.

That they could not find a single panel member who supports the release of al-Megrahi, or who was prepared to mention that he might well not be the Lockerbie bomber, rendered the whole first fifteen minutes of “debate” otiose

As previously mentioned, I was once invited to be a panelist on Question Time but was cancelled by the BBC at short notice. .The BBC more recently caused a storm by inviting the BNP on to Question Time. I have stood against the BNP in two parliamentary elections – one in Norwich, and one in the very heart of the BNP heartland in Blackburn. Combining both parliamentary elections, as a mere individual I gained just two votes less than the BNP.

Yet, according to the BBC, I am officially banned from politics programmes on the BBC because I have no evidence of popular support for my views, while according to the BBC, the BNP have to be invited because of the extent of the popular support for their views.

The truth is that there is no concept of too right wing at the BBC, while there is a concept of too radical. The one no go area is a questioning of the narrative of the War on Terror.

Fascists are within the pale; sceptics are not.

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UK and Libya

The advantage of a break fron blogging is the chance to give a digested view rather than the momentary reaction to events that blogging encourages. Juan Cole is the only blogger who consistently produces up to the second considered brilliance; but then he has a brain the size of a small planet.

So here are a few well-digested thoughts on the recent ructions over UK/Libyan relations.

It was absolutely right to release al-Megrahi. Every dying person deserves what comfort, pain alleviation and disease amelioration can be provided by the presence of family and by medical treatment. There should be no place in a justice system for the cruel vindictiveness of making a now harmless person die in jail. Scotland and the SNP have shown a civilised example; those who attack them have shown ugliness. There is a secondary but also valid utilitarian argument that to keep al-Megrahi in strict confinement while providing necessary medical treatment would have cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of pounds. to no purpose other than making some vicious people happy.

The Tories have shown their blood-baying, American bum-sucking true colours. New Labour have been caught in their usual horrible hypocrisy, attempting to capitalise on anti-SNP right wing media reaction, while having been deliberately paving the way for the release for years.

Those who believe that al-Megrahi was the Lockerbie bomber. believe he acted on Colonel Gadaffi’s orders. I have neard no-one argue that al-Megrahi acted alone. Even mad Aaronovitch, who loves attacking conspiracy theories, appears to believe that there was a Libyan government organised conspiracy to blow up the plane. So if Gadaffi was responsible, what logic is there in a view that it is fine for Blair and Brown to be pictured smiling with Gadaffi, but al-Megrahi must rot in jail? Who is more guilty, the man who gave the order, or his tool? But New Labour have been doing everything they can to give the impression that Gadaffi is now absolutely fine and rehabilitated, but the SNP were wrong to release his agent. Where is the logic in that?

Jack Straw has admitted that trade was the deciding factor in his agreeing that al-Megrahi should not be excluded from the prisoner exchange agreement. Bill Rammell has admitted that as an FCO Minister he told the Libyans that Gordon Brown did not want to see al-Megrahi die in jail. There is no room to doubt that the UK’s assiduous courting of LIbya saw all kinds of positive signals given quietly on al-Megrahi, whose release was an obvious Libyan demand in the normalisation of relations.

The infuriating thing is that New Labour actually did the right thing in their dealings with the Libyans. Jack Straw’s positions and Gordon Brown’s message were the right ones. But a combination of fear of the United States, a right wing populist media instinct and a desire to attack the SNP has led New Labour to tyy to hide the truth – and try so badly as to bring down more media scorn than if they had just come out and supported the release in the first place.

Al-Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber. The scandal is not that trade deals and the realpolitik of relationship normalisation led to his release. The scandal is that trade deals and the realpolitik of relationship normalisation were what led the Libyans to hand him over in the first place – very much in the way their ancestors had given hostages to Imperial Rome. His family were richly rewarded, made wealthy for generations by his acceptance of the role of sacrificial lamb, and there was the hope that he would be acquitted. That he was convicted on very dubious evidence shocked many, especially Dr Jim Swire, representative of the victims’ families, who followed the evidence painstakingly and has never accepted al-Megrahi’s guilt.

Syria was responsible for the Lockerbie bomb. But in the first Iraq war, we needed Syria’s support, while Libya remained a supporter of Iraq. Lockerbie was a bar to our new alliance with Damascus, so extremely conveniently, and with perfect timing, it was discovered that actually it was the Libyans!! Anyone who believes that fake intelligence started with Iraqi WMD is an idiot.

It haunts me that I had a chance to read the intelligence reports which, I was told by a shocked FCO colleague in Aviation and Maritime Department where I then worked, showed that the new anti-Libyan narrative was false. I say in self-defence that at the time I was literally working day and night, sleeping on a camp bed. I was organising the Embargo Surveillance Centre and I was convinced that a watertight full physical embargo could remove the need to invade Iraq. I was impatient of the interruption. I listened to my colleague only distractedly and did not want to go through the rigmarole of signing for and transporting the reports I hadn’t got time to look at then. Events overtook me, and I never did see them.

Which is not to say the Libyan regime was not a sponsor of terrorism. It was. It just didn’t do Lockerbie. It did indeed supply Semtex to the IRA. I have an obvious sympathy with the victims of IRA bombing, and their desire to obtain compensation.

But think of this. Why just Libya?

Is the United States offering to pay compensation to the tens of thousands of victims of CIA sponsored insurgents in Central and South America? Are we and the US going to pay compensation to the victims of UNITA? Are we going to pay compensation to the victims of British made cluster bombs in the Lebanon? Are we going to pay compensation to the victims of Executive Outcomes? Are the Americans going to pay compensation to the Russian and Uzbek victims of Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the days when he was a US sponsored terrorist? I could go on for a week.

Ultimately, negotiating with “terrorists” and “rogue states” has to be done. The strange thing is that New Labour’s Libyan policy has been one of its genuine successes – and makes a nonsense of its argument that we could deal with Saddam no other way. There should be more human rights emphasis in the relationship, but the apporach has been basically the right one, just as it was right to settle with the IRA, and just as it is long overdue to settle with the Taliban.

On a rare occasion when this government has shown wisdom, it appears ashamed of it.

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Blogito Ergo Sum?

I am afraid that the result of Norwich North by-election has severely dented my appetite for blogging. When I put my views to the electorate and asked for their support, I could hardly have been more comprehensively rejected. I was convinced we could get a respectable vote of 7% in Norwich North and have something to build on.

I am not interested in the smug self-satisfaction of believing I have access to a knowledge or analysis denied to the “ordinary” people. Nor do I think that people in the UK have lost their capacity for sensible judgement, or that political discourse needs to be dumbed down to try to achieve a wide appeal. The fact is that Norwich North showed that no significant minority of the general populace has any interest in what I have to say.

So the urge to give comment and information on the sick farce of the Afghan elections, the extraordinary and cynical charade over the Lockerbie “bomber”, or even the hope destroyed in University admissions this year, has been nullified by an awareness that what I think is of no account.

It is not a case of feeling sorry for myself. It is a long overdue hit of realism. I have frequently complained, for example, that the damning evidence I gave on the British government’s complicity in torture was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media. The reason is that the media is not manipulative, it is merely making a shrewd and correct commercial decision that almost nobody cares.

There are moments that change lives. I was fairly stoic at the Norwich North count. I was then struck by a catharsis. After the declaration of results, the candidates made their speeches from the platform. When it came to my turn, Chloe Smith walked off the platform and stood in front of me and the media pack noisily formed around her. The officials started chatting among themselves about what they were doing at the weekend. I was left in the position of having to make the customary comments to a noisy room in which most backs were turned on me and only a very few were politely pretending to listen.

I cannot get out of my head the idea that my blogging is but the virtual equivalent.

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Bombs and the Great Wen

London is an extraordinary, teeming, multicultural metropolis. It is a great hub of international finance, politics and intrigue. Extraordinary things have happened in London throughout my adult life. Beneath the surface events are bubbling which most Londoners neither know nor understand.

LONDON

An Italian banker, custodian of Vatican money and secrets, is found swinging under Blackfriars Bridge. Businessmen purchase seats in the national legislature simply for payments of cash. A Bulgarian dissident is killed with a tiny ricin pellet injected from an umbrella. A Brazilian electrician is executed by police on the London underground. The dismembered torso of a small African child floats down the Thames. The country’s most flamboyant businessman, a lawmaker, steals his workers’ pensions and leaves for a yacht cruise. Muslim lads from Yorkshire kill themselves and 67 people on public transport. Etonian mercenaries plan coups in Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea before finding respectability and the jackpot in Iraq. A Russian defector is poisoned with polonium and dies a slow horrible death. Politicians and civil servants concoct a dossier of lies to provoke a war. A girl is arrested for reading out the names of the dead at the Cenotaph, and a man for carrying Vanity Fair outside Downing St. A small black child bleeds to death in a tenement stairwell. Gays die as a nail bomb rips through a pub. The IRA run a long, slow war of death and attrition. Every year, scores of people simply disappear. Homeless people curl up like bundles in neon-lit doorways.

Two remarkable things happened in the last two days within half a mile of each other, at either end of Piccadilly. One, the car bomb, you have probably heard of. The second you probably haven’t.

This is a straight reproduction of a small article from The Metro newspaper, Friday June 29, 2007

“Mossad Spy” Found Dead

An Egyptian financier accused of spying for Israel has been found dead outside his London home in mysterious circumstances. Ashraf Marwan was alleged to have worked for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad during the 1973 Yom Kippur war with Egypt and Syria. He was accused of tipping Israel off about the war. Police said “He appears to have fallen from a balcony. The death is being treated as unexplained.” The 62 year old son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser was found on Wednesday in St James’s, Central London.

The fact that these two incidents are less than ten minutes walk apart does not make them connected. They may or may not be. But I note this, and the list above, to help those who have difficulty imagining that there is any need to consider any possibility other than Islamic terrorism to explain the apparent Haymarket car bomb. Astonishing things do happen in London.

A good rule is to look at what did happen, not what might have happened. Consider this:

a) Nobody committed suicide. Rather than follow Scotland Yard’s Peter Clarke and speculate that was because the driver lost his nerve, let us admit that it is at least possible that nobody was intended to commit suicide. If suicide was not part of the modus operandi, that vastly increases the number of groups and individuals who might have been responsible.

b) No bomb exploded and nobody was killed. There seems a general presumption that was because the trigger failed, or was defused in time. That is possible, certainly. It could well be so. But there is another possibility that cannot be ruled out yet – perhaps the thing was not meant to explode, perhaps no-one was meant to be killed. Perhaps it was meant to look like a convincing bomb, even like a convincing failed bomb. If you accept that as a logical possibility, that would bring in even more individuals and organisations who might have been responsible. To be up for a bomb scare is very different to being up for a bomb.

Let me be quite clear again: Islamic extremists may very well be responsible. I am not saying they are not. I am saying nobody knows yet. But let me expand a bit on my Cui Bono theme.

There are plenty of companies – and wealthy individuals – making huge amounts of money from both the War on Terror and its equally ugly sister, the War in Iraq. There has been much speculation that Brown will edge away from both of these. If British troops were to withdraw from Iraq, for example, that could reduce the access currently enjoyed by companies, including Aegis and BAE, to billions of dollars of US government contracts for arms and mercenaries. These companies make money out of killing. Death is their business. Today’s car bomb – and the immediate media presumption it is Islamic terrorism – certainly forces Brown further into the War on Terror. The fact that the Iraq war is the root cause of an upsurge of terror in the UK, strangely does not negate the surge of political support for the War that this sort of incident brings as a reflex reaction from our leaders.

I am not saying it was Aegis or BAE. I am saying don’t be one-eyed about the possibilities. Look at the list of amazing things in London above. Do I really believe that there are wealthy people in London who would stage this sort of thing to protect or further their financial interests? Yes, I do.

It could well be Islamic terrorists. That remains the most probable explanation – but by no means the only possible explanation. It could have been a preparation for an attack on tomorrow’s Gay Pride march. Mossad? Why not? We just don’t know yet. There is also of course the possibility that whoever planted it has tried to make it look like another group, by planted forensic evidence or disguising the driver. Presumably we will see CCTV footage of the driver shortly.

I am also saying that I have first hand experience of the fact that governments lie about who plants bombs. See my posting on Lockerbie below. Read pages 325 to 339 of Murder in Samarkand. Or read Darkness at Dawn by David Satter, or The Quiet American by Graham Greene.

Think.

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Bottled up: why Coke stands accused of being too cosy with the Karimovs

From the Financial Times

“At the heart of the case is the question of what obligations a multinational faces in operating in countries where human rights abuses are common and there are few legal protections.”

By EDWARD ALDEN and ANDREW WARD

14 June 2006

For nearly a decade, Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Uzbekistan was a shining example of the successful strategy that has seen the company expand into more than 200 countries around the world.

The plant on the outskirts of the capital Tashkent, set up in 1992 and run under a joint venture with ties to the family of Islam Karimov, the Uzbek strongman, was twice selected as Coke’s “bottler of the year” in its Eurasia and Middle East region and was highly profitable, with volume growth of about 10 per cent annually.

But all that began to unravel five years ago, when the marriage between Mansur Maqsudi, Coke’s main partner in the plant, and Gulnora Karimova, the president’s Harvard-educated daughter, fell apart – in recriminations that are still being felt by the couple, their children and the Coca-Cola company.

(more…)

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