Daily archives: January 15, 2009

Heathrow Bollocks

Geoff Hoon has just informed the Commons that a third runway at Heathrow is essential to Britain’s economic prospects.

I have never understood why it is essential to our economy that a gentleman flying indirect from, say, Dubai to Phoenix, should change his plane in Heathrow rather than Paris. It is that kind of transit traffic which accounts for over 90% of the additional capacity BAA is seeking.

If more people do that, we will get some more landing fees; the passenger might buy a cup of coffee in the airport. But these gains are outweighed by the costs in air and noise pollution. Our slender chances of meeting climate change targets will be greatly dented.

Hoon suggested that the extra aviation emissions could be offset by increased use of electric cars. He could have rephrased that by saying that any gains from increased use of electric cars would be lost by increased aircraft emissions.

We are used to New Labour being completely in the pocket of private business interests. But the doublespeak about how a third runway is environmentally friendly makes me puke.

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Lest We Forget

With the media pumping out Israeli propaganda about the clinical accuracy of their weapons, today the Israelis have hit the UN aid distribution centre and a Gaza hospital. The UN Secretary General has expressed “outrage”. The UN report that their compound was bombed with phosphorous shells – which the Israels still deny using as part of their “Big Lie” propaganda blitz.

Then, as one of many such incidents every day, this is in the Independent:

At least three Palestinians in Gaza were shot dead yesterday after Israeli soldiers fired on a group of residents leaving their homes on orders from the military and waving white flags, according to testimony taken by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.


Naturally, the Israelis are denying it.

We must not let compassion fatigue set in as these terrible atrocities by the Israeli military unfold. The essential fact is that at least 450 of the dead are women and children.

Stand by for one of those obnoxious Israeli spokesman telling us Hamas were firing from the UN compound.


UN Refugee Agency Head of Mission John Ging in Gaza

“It looks like phosphorous, it smells like phosphorous and its acting like phosphorous”.

“We were continually in contact with the Israelis throughout the night telling them their shelling was coming too close. The artillery was pounding and pasting this area all night. We have been warning them all night that it was not appropriate to use shells in a built up area. We had seven hundred people in the compound seeking refuge.”

“People are being killed here hour by hour and the extent of damage and destruction is frightening”.

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Catholic Orangemen Update

In September 2007 Schillings got my website closed down by my hosting company. They threatened them with legal action on behalf of convicted blackmailer and racketeer Alisher Usmanov, who is still attempting to complete his takeover of Arsenal FC.

Then in 2008 Schillings succeeded in getting my book publication cancelled on behalf of notorious mercenary Tim Spicer, by threatening my publisher.

Not only have Schillings never taken me to court, they have never even communicated with me. They don’t want a fight with someone with a spine.

Well, having released The Catholic Orangemen free online 48 hours ago, in the last twelve hours, the number of hits on a google search for the exact phrase “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” has gone up from 1,810 to 2,390. There are now several hundred places you can download it

Schillings did try to excise the truth about Usmanov from the web internationally. Mostly they received a pretty robust response from bloggers. Here is a good example:


For now, the reptiles are quiet. Maybe they are too busy with their new contract to protect Derek Draper’s rubbish New Labour blog. They do represent the most appalling people. But then I don’t suppose nice people need them. In fact, I don’t suppose nice people would want to be in a room with anyone from Schillings.

It seems I was wrong in crediting Ten Percent with the first review of Catholic Orangemen. Babak Fakhamzadeh got there first. It is a full review and benefits from his knowing some of the people and places in the book.


Here is an excerpt:

I couldn’t find the book as important as Murder in Samarkand, but it’s an entertaining read, focussing on Murray’s time, mostly working as the British High Commissioner to Ghana, roughly from 1998 to 2001, which was publicly characterized by the Arms to Africa affair.

Part of the critique on Murray’s earlier book was the intertwining of spilling political beans with spilling private beans, mostly involving Murray’s sexual escapades. Possibly to poke fun at his critics, it’s his relationship issues he starts the first few paragraphs of this book with.

The book works for Murray’s candid approach both to himself and his experiences. Clearly, what he went through both in Ghana and, more importantly, Uzbekistan, and the emotional breakdown which followed, resulted in him getting to know himself to the fullest. And The Catholic Orangemen…, as a biography or memoir works because Murray is not full of himself. He’s aware of this, touching upon it in the preface, where he points out that contrary to typical biographies, Murder in Samarkand showed the author, warts and all, as opposed to presenting a near perfect image of himself, which autobiographies and memoirs often end up doing.

As far as revelations go, this book’s not nearly as impressive as its predecessor. It’s the small details which make it juicy. Descriptions of warlords, national leaders, politics behind politics and whatnot.

But also, Murray has clearly become a better writer since his previous book, using his tongue-in-cheek style with gusto.

I very much doubt that the mainstream media will come up with anything more perceptive – and if you read his full review he is right on all points about Adrienne, too.

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