In the opening remarks of his farewell press conference, George Bush told journalists three minutes ago:
“Some of you may have misunderestimated me”.
In the opening remarks of his farewell press conference, George Bush told journalists three minutes ago:
“Some of you may have misunderestimated me”.
In a recent post I called Gordon Brown a two-faced cunt. That brought a howl of protest from those who felt I was insulting the female sexual organ.
I do apologise, and to make amends should let you know that Nadira is appearing in three charity performances of The Vagina Monologues at the New Players Theatre in Charing Cross on 19 and 20 February at 7.30pm, and 21 February at 8pm.
You can find the details and buy tickets here:
I received the following email yesterday from [email protected]
russian email? But i’ll write to u in English..
Not only you are an ugly looking man,but you are born dickhead.heard your satanic speech against Israel and how you hate it.U deserve death.ASAP
I replied as follows
As I presume you feel the poor children of Gaza also deserve death, I am in good company.
If you want to try to kill me, I live at 31 Sinclair Gardens, West Kensington, London W14 0AU.
Nearest tube is Shepherds Bush. I do hope that is helpful.
Lawyers Schillings, acting on behalf of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, persuaded my publisher to pull out of publishing my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflcits I Have Known. Tim Spicer has made millions from the war in Iraq, and the UK has become notorious for the ability of the rich to close down criticism because of the massive costs – often hundreds of thousands of pounds – of defending a legal action.
There is access to the courts in big libel cases only for the ultra-rich. So much so that just a simple letter like this
can kill a book. This process is known in the trade as “Chilling”. Schillings are the acknowledged leaders in chilling.
But the law was formulated in an age when a limited number of printing presses were the only means of mass communication. Not only does this not apply in the digital age, but by using the “Streisland effect” we can make sure that any attempt at “Chilling” results in ten times more people actually reading the book. Eventually this will discourage clients from using firms like Schillings, and hopefully put the leeches of repression out of business.
So as a lesson to Schillings and their potential clients, here is The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. I am making it available across the internet, absolutely free to read. You can find it here:
(At midnight my platform is refusing to upload, saying the file is too large – how embarassing! I hope we will get our own hosted copy up in the morning, when I can get help).
Let me be clear: there is no libel in this book – it is all true and based on my own eye-witness account. It contains not libel, but rather truth some people wish to hide.
It is going online in the next 24 hours in over thirty jurisdictions – Schillings will have their work cut out trying to get all those taken down, and it would make a dent even in Spicer’s bank balance to try.
So please read it, pass it around, copy it and post it to your site. You will be striking a blow for freedom, and you will ultimately contribute to making libel lawyers poorer.
If you want a hard copy, I have self-published and had some privately printed. You can buy it here.
I should be most happy if people wished to buy the book – you can widen the effect by giving it as a present! My last book, Murder in Samarkand was a non-fiction bestseller, so Schillings have cost me a lot of money. It will be more than worth it if we can get the truth out more widely, and strike a blow against the libel laws.
The Establishment is closing ranks around their Prince. He has apologised for his remarks, so that is OK, they say.
I am troubled by the gap between the official explanation and the actual video footage. On the “Paki” remark, an official statement from St James Palace says that it was a nickname for a friend. I therefore expected the video to show Harry joshing with his friend and calling him Paki.
But that is not what the video shows at all. From across a waiting area littered with soldiers, Harry focusses his camera on a distant Asian and says “And there is our little Paki friend”.
It is very plain that the Asian soldier cannot hear what Harry is saying. And while Harry’s voice is good-humoured in that he is enjoying his own jibe, do I imagine a slight sneer to the tone? It is certainly by no means evident that Harry would call the man that to his face, or that it is a nickname. “Our little Paki friend” is an unbelievably long nickname anyway.
On his “raghead” remark, I am familar with the use of raghead as a chiefly American term of racist abuse for an Arab or Muslim. Harry served in Afghanistan. If our officers are going around using the term “raghead”, that is no joke. There is no doubt that in the Army it is a disciplinary offence.
Sky News this morning noted that it would be an uncomfortable breakfast for Prince Harry with his father at Highgrove.
I thought how remarkably sporting Prince Charles must be, to invite Prince Harry’s father to Highgrove!
Somebody got a video of my speech to yesterday’s amazing demonstration in London against the occupation of Gaza. Two minutes limit and a huge crowd is a difficult brief. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=04d_1231674275
I had marched in the body of the massive demo, which had been fine but for the extraordinary decision by the police to close the pavements and narrow the route to a bottleneck at exactly the point where it passed the Israeli Embassy. In consequence three score hotheads who wanted to kick off there could block the whole thing. The police reacted to that by penning in many thousands into just this narrow point, and donning riot gear.
A more sensible police would have had the flow at its widest as it went past the Israeli Embassy and hurried people through at speed. Anyway, the crush that resulted from the constriction was really pretty scary, especially for the hundreds of children. I had Nadira with me who is five months pregnant. So I arrived to the stage rather rattled and with nothing prepared to say. But it went fine, and “Zionism is Bullshit” came out quite spontaneously, but felt for me personally like an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment of political truth.
There go all my American sales.
Lenin has the best photos (that sounds unnervingly like “Satan has all the best tunes”.)
The Heathlander the best report
Press coverage focussed entirely on the 0.01% of troublemakers. The 4,000 Zionists who rallied in Trafalgar Square today got much more sympathetic coverage.
I have been obliged to self-publish my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, because legal threats from mercenary commander Tim Spicer scared off my publisher:
I have accordingly decided to make it available free online from 12 January as a PDF hosted on over a hundred different websites, in almost thirty different juridictions. I have, however, had physical books printed for those who wish (and purchased carbon offset). I hope to get copies into bookstores shortly, though this is difficult. It is available from Amazon.co.uk for just £11.87
You can however purchase it here, direct from me, for the cover price of £17.99. This includes postage and packing to anywhere in the World, plus a signature and message if you wish.
I should fess up that I stand to make 80p profit on every copy sold though Amazon, but about £3.60 on every copy sold direct here. So, in addition, for every copy sold direct I will make a donation of £1 to either People and Planet, Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. You can choose the nature of your donation below when you make your purchase via PayPal, and your donation choice will be confirmed by email.
If you want a signed copy, please note this in the “Special Instructions to Merchant” box when you enter the delivery address, together with any dedication you want with the signature.
The book is an autobiographical prequel to Murder in Samarkand and covers the period 1998 to 2002. It exposes the links between blood diamonds, crime and British mercenary involvement in Africa. it argues that the disregard Tony Blair showed for both British and international law in dealing with Sierra Leone prefigured the disaster of Iraq. It also covers my role in the dawn of democracy in Ghana.
More importantly, it is intended in an entertaining way to present questions of African development, drawing on thirty year’s practical experience. I am deeply critical of current fashionable doctrines in the field of overseas aid. I hope it will inform and entertain as Murder in Samarkand did, but on a different set of issues. Here is the blurb from the book:
Craig Murray’s adventures in Africa from 1997 to 2001 are a rolliciking good read. He exposes for the first time the full truth about the “Arms to Africa” affair which was the first major scandal of the Blair Years. He lays bare the sordid facts about British mercenary involvement in Africa and its motives. This is at heart an extraordinary account of Craig Murray’s work in negotiating peace with the murderous rebels of Sierra Leone, and in acting as the midwife of Ghanaian democracy. Clearly his efforts were not only difficult but at times very dangerous indeed. Yet the story is told with great humour. Not only do we meet Charles Taylor, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jerry Rawlings and Foday Sankoh, but there are unexpected encounters with others including Roger Moore, Jamie Theakston and Bobby Charlton! Above all this book is about Africa. Craig Murray eschews the banal remedies of the left and right to share with us the deep knowledge and understanding that comes over 30 years working in or with Africa. Gems of wisdom and observation scatter the book, as does a deep sense of moral outrage at the consequences of centuries of European involvement: even though he explains that much of it was well-intentioned but disastrous.
If you wish to pay by cheque or postal order, please write with your details to Craig Murray, 31 Sinclair Gardens, West Kensington, London, W14 0AU. Cheques for £17.99 should be made payable to Craig Murray.
With thanks to David Rose.
I sometimes complain that we have forgotten so much of our fantastic hreitage of thinkers and writers in the British radical tradition. Please read this closely. It is the best comment I have seen yet on the current extraordinarily bad condition of our World.
It was written by William Blake in 1804.
What is the price of Experience; do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath; his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer’s sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer
To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits & flowers
Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!
Wlliam Blake: The Four Zoas – Vala (Night the Second)
“In of the one gravest incidents since the beginning of operations, according to
several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot-soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children), warning them to stay indoors. Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately thirty. Those who survived and were able, walked two kilometres to Salah Ed Din road before being transported to the hospital in civilian vehicles. Three children, the youngest of whom was five months old, died upon arrival at the hospital.”
“The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.
In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israel Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.
“This is a shocking incident,” said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC’s head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded.”…..
…The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable”.
The Oxford Professor of International Relations, Avi Shlaim, is for me the among most clear-sighted and independent of all commentators on Israel. I recently read his book, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and recommend it most strongly as an extraordinary piece of research combined with storytelling. I don’t agree with him on everything, but the information is indispensable.
Thanks to Michael Meadowcroft for pointing out to me Shlaim’s brilliant piece in yesterday’s Guardian supplement.
Israel’s spin doctors have been remarkably successful in getting this message across. But, in essence, their propaganda is a pack of lies.
A wide gap separates the reality of Israel’s actions from the rhetoric of its spokesmen. It was not Hamas but the IDF that broke the ceasefire. It did so by a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas men. Israel’s objective is not just the defence of its population but the eventual overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza by turning the people against their rulers. And far from taking care to spare civilians, Israel is guilty of indiscriminate bombing and of a three-year-old blockade that has brought the inhabitants of Gaza, now 1.5 million, to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel’s insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash. After eight days of bombing, with a death toll of more than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis, the gung-ho cabinet ordered a land invasion of Gaza the consequences of which are incalculable.
It is well worth reading the whole article. In doing so, remember that Shaim is not only an academic of world standing, he is an Israeli who served loyally in the Israeli armed forces.
My name appears in extraordinarily distinguished company in this letter to the Guardian published today:
We speak out for the people of Gaza. What is happening there is a crime against humanity. We are asking everyone to be at Speaker’s Corner in London at 12.30pm on Saturday 10 January, and join the march to the Israeli embassy.
Tony Benn President, Stop the War Coalition
Andrew Murray Chair, STWC
Annie Lennox, Michael Nyman, Brian Eno, Alexei Sayle, Terry Jones, Dr Richard Horton, Bill Bailey, Vanessa Redgrave, Nigel Kennedy, Janet Suzman, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Samuel West, Caryl Churchill, AL Kennedy, Tariq Ali, Corin Redgrave, John Williams, Lauren Booth, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Roger Lloyd Pack, Jehane Markham, John Pilger, Susan Wooldridge, Katherine Hamnett, Kika Markham, David Gentleman, Professor Hilary Rose, Iain Banks, Miriam Margolyes, Professor Steven Rose, Mark Thomas, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Mark Steel, Andy de la Tour, Professor Paul Gilroy, Michael Rosen, Janie Dee, Kathy Panama, Mike & Kate Westbrook, Craig Murray, Ed Harcourt, Dave Randall, Ian Macdonald QC, Michael Kustow, Michael La Rose, Louise Christian, Ali Hussein, Liane Aukin, Eugene Skeef, Keith Burstein, Peter Gabriel
I will certainly be there – I needed some new shoes anyway.
Sometimes statistics really do tell the truth. Thanks to Gerard Mulholland:
From NBC’s Mark Murray
With President Bush set to leave the White House less than two weeks from now, here’s a “Then and Now” to show what the United States looked like when Bush was entering office and what it looks like now as he’s leaving. The “Then” is the best-available figure as Bush was taking office in 2001. The “Now” is the most recent figure.
Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)
DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)
BUSH FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 50% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 31% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)
CHENEY FAVORABILITY RATING
Then: 49% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)
CONGRESS APPROVAL RATING
Then: 48% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 21% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)
SATISFIED WITH THE NATION’S DIRECTION
Then: 45% (1/01 NBC/WSJ poll)
Now: 26% (12/08 NBC/WSJ poll)
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE (1985=100)
Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)
FAMILIES LIVING IN POVERTY
Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent numbers available)
AMERICANS WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE
Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 — most recent available)
Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)
Russia has caused a major crisis throughout much of Europe by radically reducing gas supplies. This was ordered personally by Putin, and is not really about Ukraine’s unpaid gas bill at all. It is about Putin’s desire to force Ukraine back into the Soviet orbit. On the whole, his efforts to regain Russian control over the Former Soviet Union are remarkably succesful.
All of this was entirely predictable:
Only normal business is the last thing Gazprom is involved in. Gazprom is perhaps the most important tool in Putin’s armoury. He keeps a close eye on it. The Chairman of Gazprom is Dmitri Medvedev, First Deputy Prime Minister, close Putin ally and a possible Putin choice for his successor. The Trade, Energy and Foreign Ministers are all represented on the board at ministerial level.
Gazprom has been the instrument by which Putin has reasserted Russian hegemony over the Former Soviet Union, blackmailing European ex-Soviet countries by cutting off energy supplies in winter, and buying up the Central Asian ex-Soviet countries by taking over the heart of their economies.
More surprisingly, Gazprom is key to Putin’s harsh internal control. Mr Kuprianov often appears on the nation’s TV screens, which is easily explained. A year after taking power, Putin decided to stamp out independent media in Russia. When NTV, the only independent national TV channel, was closed down in 2001, it was Gazprom Media who took it over and turned it into a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. Gazprom went on to buy up Russia’s two large independent national newspapers. The last significant remaining one, Kommersant, was bought last November personally by the sinister Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, chairman of Gazprominvest Holdings. The Editor-in-Chief was immediately sacked while the longstanding defence correspomdent, Igor Safronov, mysteriously fell out of a window three months later
June 1, 2007
I do urge you to read that article. Murders of journalists have intensified since. Putin always uses the Gazprom weapon during periods of freezing weather; this kills people as surely as military action. It is also extremely clever. European countries are already turning against Ukraine, particularly Putin’s poodle, Angela Merkel. As Putin pulls a struggling Ukraine back into his neo-Soviet orbit, Germany is giving it a push.
In a world where individual freedoms are held light, this blog values freedom of speech higher than is currently fashionable. I do not believe that freedom should apply only to views I agree with.
The Israeli attack on Gaza is unconscionable. It is wildly disproportionate and plainly the attacks on schools yesterday were only the most blatant examples of Israel’s continual breaches of the laws of warfare – war crimes. But it is only an episode in the terrible ethnic cleansing and destruction of the Palestinian people by the Israelis who have stolen their land.
Let me say it loud and clear. I do not believe in Israel’s right to exist. It is a militarised, evil entity founded on a racist premise and a lot of religious hokum. It shuld be replaced by a single, secular state in which the Palestinians are free to live, and in which they receive either their stolen lands or genuine equivalent financial compensation, in either case plus damages.
I shall be attending Saturday’s demonstration from Hyde Park. I needed some new shoes anyway.
I have not deleted a single pro-Israeli comment from discussion on these pages, though I disagree profoundly with many. I have deleted three anti-Jewish comments. I should make it plain that I am in profound disagreement with those commenters who conflate Israel with Jews in general. We have had commenters excusing anti-Jewish comments on the grounds Jews are not a race, and positing claims of a world conspiracy of Jews and freemasons. I have only deleted three of these, because in general I believe the suppression of any opinion to be an evil which requires major justification. I find it hard to define the exact line which leads to deletion.
The great John Stuart Mill said it was legitimate to express the opinion that all corn merchants are thieves of the people’s bread; but it was not legitimate to shout the same thing to a howling mob at night carrying torches outside a corn merchant’s house. He was, as ever, right.
So almost any opinion can be expressed here. But I would be grateful if those people who have a serious grudge against Jews in general, would go and express their views on their own websites.
Michael has overstepped the mark by a posting about “Jews with their Satanic Smirks” (long overdue yellow card) and then introducing the Protocols of Zion (automatic red card offence). All of his 31 comments have therefore been deleted.
Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions are a peaceful response to Israel’s continued illegal occupation, repression and brutal military operations against the Palestinians. Useful links can be found on the Boycott Israel site.
Another useful site for those interested in Boycotting Israeli Goods can be found at: http://www.bigcampaign.org/
…and if anyone really wants to know more about how bar codes work then here is a good place to start… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GS1
Caution: If you are an US individual or organisation then boycotting Israeli goods is illegal! (US Department of Commerce). I guess its further proof that organisations like these are highly effective.
STOP THE MASSACRE NOW: ISRAEL OUT OF GAZA
SATURDAY 10 JANUARY ASSEMBLE HYDE 12.30 PM
MARCH TO ISRAELI EMBASSY, LONDON W8
Organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other organisations.
For updates and more info: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
Update: A continuous vigil for Gaza starts today (08/01/2009) in Parliament Square, London. http://www.vigilforgaza.net/
I watched BBC World News for a timed hour yesterday. In that time I saw:
Pro-Israeli (including US government) speakers – 17
Pro-Palestinian speakers – 2
Mentions of Hamas Rockets as reason for war – 37
Mentions of illegal Israeli settlements – 0
Mentions of Palestinians killed by Israel during “ceasefire” – 2
Mentions of Sderot – 12
Mentions Sderot used to be Palestinian – 0
If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.
The Interpal facebook group, of which I am a member, was sending out information on demonstrations and on relief aid to Gaza. Facebook yesterday closed down Interpal, with the following message:
Now I frequently pull up people commenting here if I feel they are being anti-Jewish or supporting terror, but I received all Interpal’s messages and saw nothing at all that could be characterised as “Hateful, threatening or obscene”, except in that they are labels which the powerful continually manage to apply to anyone opposing Israeli military aggression.
It is Facebook’s closing the Interpal group which might more correctly be characterised as hateful, threatening and obscene, in view of what is happening in Gaza.
I strongly recommend this interview with Dr Mads Gilbert as a corrective to the mainstream media.
Brown is appeasing domestic horror at the Israeli massacre in Gaza by calling for a ceasefire. Meanwhile British diplomats on the United Nations Security Council are under direct instructions to offer “tacit support” to United States’ efforts to block a ceasefire.
I have been told this directly by a former colleague in the UK Mission to the United Nations.
A footnote on the uses of obscenity – 7,200 people read this entry between 15.30 on a Sunday afternoon and 08.30 on a Monday morning. That’s normally the slowest time of the entire week.
Amazing what a catchy heading will do. Besides, if you think the title is obscene, how do you describe what is happening in Gaza?
As legal sharks Schillings caused my publisher to back down, causing me to have to self-publish The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, we have needed to think imaginatively about promoting the book. One plan will involve promoting some individual short quotes. I have been through the book and extracted some personal favourites, which I need to whittle down to about ten.
Any of these strike anyone as particularly attractive or a turn off?
Autobiography is a form in which individuals observe sharply the failings of others, but are themselves near-perfect.
It is not always the man society finds most respectable who is likely to try to do what is right.
Thousands of senior British diplomats, civil servants and members of the military knew of our policy of acceptance of torture.
You don’t have to be a saint to call torture when you see it.
Diplomats rather pride themselves on not caring.
Blair believed that he alone was the judge of right, and did not care how many had to die to prove it.
Blair’s policy of “Projection of hard power” was simply the return of formal Imperialism.
In conflict with Cook over ethical foreign policy, Blair would always overrule his Foreign Secretary, especially if the interest of the UK arms industry could be invoked.
The great fallacy of the Blair years was that foreign conflicts could be seen in black and white, as goodies versus baddies.
George Washington was fighting for the right to keep black people in chains.
Executive Outcomes ?” as enthusiastic a band of white killers as has been unleashed on Africa since King Leopold ran the Congo.
UN official, I regret to tell you, too often means corrupt and untrustworthy.
Having met Spicer, I was worried about his intentions and didn’t trust him.
A fundamental part of this new Blair doctrine was to be the ultimate privatisation ?” the privatisation of killing.
The Sandline Affair was a deeply squalid plot to corner the market in Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds.
It was the old story ?” trained white men go in, shoot up a load of Africans and gain control of key economic resources.
Sandhurst has been responsible for educating those who generated untold repression and economic ruination in Africa.
President Abacha died in bed with three hookers, from an overdose of Viagra. I quipped that it would take days to nail down the coffin lid.
The Customs and Excise team told me that the recommendation was that both Spicer and Penfold be prosecuted for breach of the embargo.
The dossier was returned to Customs and Excise from the Crown Prosecution Service the very same day it was sent. It was marked, in effect, for no further action.
The decision not to prosecute in the Sandline case was the first major instance of the corruption of the legal process that was to be the hallmark of the Blair years.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Iraq, including thousands of British and American soldiers, but some people have made huge amounts of money from the war.
Tim Spicer has made a fortune out of the Iraq War.
Tim Spicer has long been an advocate of shooting civilians in case they have bombs.
Butchering your live victims’ limbs with a machete is only more horrific in its immediacy than planting a car bomb or bombing an Iraqi town from the air in your invulnerable jet.
I realised that I was almost certainly the only person in that room who had never killed anybody.
Isaac was the product of the sores of Africa: he was a hardened killer, but he was also the little boy forced to kill his own mother.
Having led the way in African nationalism, Nkrumah was pioneering the forms of economic mismanagement that were to destroy the economies of the continent and bring starvation and immeasurable suffering to millions.
Those who did benefit, massively, were the dictators, their cronies, and the bonus-quaffing Porsche-driving bastards of the City of London.
Africans have destroyed their own regional trade, for the protection of corrupt private interests.
These first years of Rawlings in power unleashed political terror on Ghana which outstripped anything done by British colonial rule or by Nkrumah.
“That’s about the right number,” opined the Prince, “We have about six hundred and fifty MPs, and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time.”
There are some things that are too weird even for me, and the lower reaches of the Royal household are one of them.
Personally, I never understand why people accept honours, when there is so much more cachet in turning them down.
The United States, in what seemed to me an absurd example of political correctness, sent a delegation of blind election observers.
I was myself to encounter more electoral fraud in Blackburn than I ever did in Ghana.
In West Africa, among people who wear silk suits and are driven in Mercedes, the standards of truthfulness sadly leave in general a great deal to be desired.
Valerie Amos is the very antithesis of a democratic politician. One of the Blair inner circle, she rose to Cabinet level without ever having faced the electorate.
At launch over one third of Travant’s first equity fund came form DFID. A few months afterwards Baroness Amos, ex DFID minister, joined the board of this profit-making private equity firm.
In the course of this election campaign, Nana Akuffo Addo was repeatedly accused of arrogance by opponents and commentators alike. His lack of populist body language has cost him dear, but being lucky enough to know the man personally, he is a charming, considerate, witty and good humoured man who serves you in his home with his own hands – which is not true of many of his detractors.
So it is with regret that I say that it is essential for the good of Ghana that my friend now concedes defeat. With 9 million votes cast, only the tiny fraction that is 23,000 votes separates the two candidates, with one last constituency, Tain with 51,000 voters, voting today.
But Tain is an NDC constituency and has not been strong NPP in recent history. The kind of winning margin Akuffo-Addo needs there is near impossible. There have been recurrences there, now, of the thuggery and intimidation that have marred the second round in many places.
But the governing NPP’s decision to boycott today’s Tain run-off can only be construed as a decision to repudiate the entire election result. I see nothing else it can mean. Particularly when combined with yesterday’s failed attempt to obtain an injunction against the results.
We are already seeing more political violence in Accra than we have in the past decade. If the government repudiates the election result, then force becomes the only arbiter. It has been plain in Accra the last few days that the security forces will back the NDC, as they have historically. In not accepting the results, the NPP risks starting a fight it cannot win.
Look at the broad picture. This race is quite incredibly close. I have no doubt, that if you eliminated all cheating by all sides, the result would still be within just 1%. The NDC started from a base of 45% in 2008 and have, beyond any shadow of a doubt, genuinely picked up support in this election.
If you have two runners over one hundred metres, and one clocks up 9.86 seconds and the other 9.87 seconds, that does not make the loser a bad runner. But there has to be a winner, and the adjudicator’s decision must be accepted.
It would be unfair for Akuffo-Addo to lose, but it would also be unfair for Atta Mills to lose. The NDC have the genuine and consistent support of between 43% and 50% of the electorate over the long term. You cannot keep a group with that much support permanently out of office, and a system which did keep them permanently out of office would not be a true democracy.
The NDC has its liberal and democratic wing, personified by Vice President Elect John Mahama and Moses Asaga; and it has its wing that would happily jail the opposition on any pretext, personified by Tony Aidoo and Nana Konadu Rawlings. Jerry hovers between the two. Atta Mills is a good man, though how strong he is against Jerry remains to be seen.
But for the NPP not to hand over power gracefully, would strengthen the hand of the old PNDC undemocratic tendency in the NDC, and could lead to allegations of plotting and unconstitutionality.
I was heavily involved personally in 2000 when John Atta Mills, like the gentleman he is, undercut the hardliners in his own party by conceding defeat before the result was announced. It now behoves Nana Akuffo Addo to do the same.