Agents Provocateurs 191


A number of pro Iraq War bloogers have started commenting more or less full time on this blog for the last few weeks. If you look through a number of comments threads, you will see that angrysoba and Larry from St Louis, for example, have actually spent more time on this blog in the last couple of weeks than I have.

When they first appeared, I made a point of saying that free speech is the basic rule of this blog, and they were welcome.

But increasingly angrysoba, Larry from St Louis, and alan campbell are not putting any rational argument about the whole string of vital, evidential posts on Iraq that prompted their appearance. Instead they seek to provoke commenters into discussing, 9/11, and attempt to provoke anti-semitic commenters to inhabit the blog.

For example, in the post about Lord Goldsmith below, at 11.47am Alan Campbell posted:

“And not only is he not an expert in international law, he’s looking particularly Jewish, ‘eh lads?”

Nothing in my post or in any of the comments had made any inference at all about Goldsmith’s ethnic origin, of which I know nothing and which is in any case completely irrelevant.

Similarly Larry from St Louis at 8.56pm on the thread “Government Ban Protest Outside Blair Iraq Hearing” posted

Still waiting on Craig to delete references to the Protocols …

on a thread where the only nutter wittering on about the Protocols of Zion was Larry.

The object of these interventions is to provoke anti-semites and others to comment on this blogsite. On other sites around the blogosphere, the same individuals then post entries and comments saying

“Ignore Craig Murray’s articles, his site is inhabited by 9/11 truthers, green lizards and anti-semites”, with an inference, or sometimes direct accusation, that I hold those views myself.

The objective of the exercise is to reduce public belief in my evidential postings on extraordinary rendition, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am not positing that the individuals involved are anything other than individuals with an amazing amount of time on their hands and a fervent attachment to the “War on Terror”.

I remain fundamentally committed to free speech. Contrary comments from all angles remain welcome here. I don’t read all comments – it would be a full time job – but I will knock out racism where I come across it. You can bring it to my attention by email. The only views which are mine are those I post myself.

We have some regular commenters who regularly take an opposite view to me, and who remain welcome – Eddie for one is a good example. Eddie does argue about the posting in question and does not routinely try to provoke strange views. But I will be much more ruthless in deleting off topic comment.


191 thoughts on “Agents Provocateurs

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  • MJ

    “The objective of the exercise is to reduce public belief in my evidential postings on extraordinary rendition, Iraq and Afghanistan”.

    Yes, and those of us who have risen to the bait must also bear some responsibility. Craig posts key evidence here, impeccably and uniquely sourced, and its weight and significance is being diluted by diversionary tactics and off-topic, tangential spats.

  • writerman

    Recently an influential American professor, who is close to the current White House team, sorry I can’t remember his name, stated that in future it might be necessary, for the state, to infiltrate certain website covertly in order to push them in a more “rational” direction. He specifically 9/11 “truth” sites and others of conspiratorial or extremist nature.

    It’s clear, I believe, that the Pentagon, just for example, regards the WWW and information, as an important and strategic “cyber battlefield” for the future. Winning the battle for hearts and minds is a top priority. It’s also well-known that the Israeli security services and private organizations monitor the web and expend a great deal of time, effort, and money, rebutting lies posted about Israel. In my opinion, in a war, they have the right to do this. So this isn’t about anit-semitism. In my case that particular smear would be particularly offensive.

    Propaganda and anit-propaganda are, and probably always have been battlefields, only now they are infinitely more important.

    I often think, or feel, that some of the comments I encounter on my travels, seem very familiar. I recognize the style. I think they are almost exercises carried out by a team, designed to waste time and divert attention from what really matters. Exercises in deception.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    How am I a “pro Iraq War blooger”?

    That I don’t believe in some of the faith beliefs (notice that I’m avoiding the specifics) of the majority of people at this blog does not mean that I ever supported the Iraq War.

    I’m just sick of the axis of crazy shared by the British Left and the American Right.

    For instance, I’m disgusted with Alex Jones. Anyone who appears on his show is supporting that right-wing paranoid fuck.

    Also, the plural for me and angrysoba is not “agents provocateurs” – it’s “agents provocateur.” Our compensation does not depend on you getting that right, but I’d still appreciate it if you got that right.

  • CheebaCow

    I have always admired Craig’s dedication to free speech. However sometimes the internet, coupled with trolls, makes discussion about controversial topics impossible. In real life peoples comments are usually tempered because they have consequences when talking face to face with people. However with the anonymous nature of the internet, some trolls feel they are able to say things to people they would never have the courage to say in real life.

    I hope I don’t sound like a broken record when I say this, but I would suggest Craig implements a comment rating system on this blog that allows the community to upvote or downvote comments made. This has 2 benefits, firstly it can be set to only hide low rated comments by default, so people can still view all comments if they wish (preserving free speech). At the same time it also allows people to ignore the trolls if they want. See slashdot.org for the best implementation of such a system that I have found. This would also save Craig a lot of work deleting comments.

    Usually I just recommend people ignore the trolls, but when they are as dedicated as angry and larry this becomes quite difficult. I’ll admit I fell for angry’s bait, thinking he was somewhat interested in genuine debate. I quickly saw my mistake.

    Craig, any chance you could make an ‘off topic’ blog once a week? I really like the community here, but I am reluctant to derail topics you are blogging about with my own questions/comments about different issues that others may find of interest. Of course, feel free to disregard this idea, it’s your blog after all 😉

  • CheebaCow

    writerman –

    The academic was Cass Sunstein, currently the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

  • arsalan

    we know why they are here. They are here to get us friends to hate each other so we will have less time to hate them and the wars they support.

    They have so much time because they are most likely getting paid to do what they do. Or they work in IT so get paid to do nothing.

    I’m here to get more people to eat Fish.

    I’m about to put something called an admiral pie in the oven. It doesn’t contain any Admiral but does have a lot of fish.

    I have time to do this because I married a doctor so don’t have to work at all!

    that includes housework.

  • eddie

    Craig

    I certainly agree with you about anti-Semites and 911 conspiracists. However, you should also be aware that certain posters here seem intent only on abusing people like me who raise opposing points of view. They don’t debate, they just abuse and abuse and abuse. I have posted examples if you are interested. Why are they allowed to spout their bile?

    Jaded is one of the worst examples I have come across, closely followed by Sam, Apostate and Steelback (perhaps they are all the same person). I know I have used anglo-saxon language on occasions: for example I once told you to fuck off when you compared Powell to Saddam – I was so incensed that anyone could make such a moral equivalence. But that is in the heat of the moment. You own the blog and you can do what you like but if you don’t deal with these people you will end up with an increasingly narrow section of the population posting here, and I assume you don’t want that? Even in the last few days several people have expressed horror at the abuse they have encountered here. I am finished here unless this is addressed.

  • Craig

    Eddie,

    I must admit that vulgar abuse has not been one of my main worries – there are things about apostate and steelback’s comments sometimes that worry me much more than that! But I nore what you say.

  • MS

    Craig

    Perhaps you can make it clear that off-topic comments will be deleted so people will be discouraged from engaging in that very draining exercise?

    eddie

    I don’t agree with justifying your ‘f*** off’ with it being heat of the moment.This is a blog where people go through a process to post their comments.In any case,you could have posted an apology afterwards.

    I just think this kind of language is totally counterproductive!

  • Clark

    Eddie,

    look back and read through the “Missing You” thread. You’ll see how tempers got raised during Craig’s low-bandwidth absence. I expect it will take a little while for tempers to calm down, but Craig has applied the brakes, and things have improved considerably already.

  • Ruth

    The intelligence services come in all shapes and sizes; some to put rational thinking people off and some to make you fall into the trap of cemsorship, which would no doubt be followed by cries that you are partial.

  • MJ

    eddie: most people here have been on the receiving end of some pretty unpleasant and hurtful abuse at some time or other. I think the thing to do is not take it personally, ignore it and stick to the point. In my experience the abuse then usually peters out.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Should I be offended that Ruth and others have stated that I’m a member of the intelligence services. Perhaps – they’ve also accused the intelligence services of some fairly horrific but imaginary actions.

  • Craig

    Larry,

    I would take issue with the view that anyone who appears on the Alex Jones show is supprting him. I have appeared on a very wide range of US radio stations. I am giving my views and experience to the listeners, not there to agree with the host. In the UK I’ve been, for example, on both the Tories Doughty Street TV and on George Galloway’s show.

    This blog has had about 70,000 unique visitors in January already. I suspect very few of them have the “religious beliefs” you refer to. The institutional breakdown of where people come from is almost the same as that recently published by Guido. The largest number of referrals is by IainDale, the second largest the New York Times. The Guardian and ConservativeHome are in the top ten, Harry’s place in the top twenty.

    You remain welcome here, but please stick to the topics of the threads and don’t provoke discussion of the religious beliefs you decry if the thread does not relate to them.

  • arsalan

    Goujon there’s an idea.

    How about small strips of lets say three different types of fish, strips of chicken, coated in breadcrumbs lightly spiced?

  • Craig

    Eddie

    Sorry, I note what you say – about other’s abusing you. I didn’t mind your saying fuck off at all. I knew you meant what you just posted 🙂

  • MJ

    eddie: not all war criminals get their hands dirty. Some keep in the background, encouraging and facilitating. They are no less culpable for that.

  • CheebaCow

    eddie –

    nore = note

    nore that r is next to t.

    arsalan –

    I took offence to your first post. I work in IT. I wish I had the time to waste like angry and larry.

  • Craig

    I agree entirely with MJ. Those hung at Nuremberg had mostly never personally killed anybody.

    Those who ought to face war crimes charges are Blair, Straw, Powell, Campbell, Manning and Goldsmith.

  • dreoilin

    LOL @ MJ and Arsalan.

    I’m trying to go back to Goldsmith but he’s exhausting. I think he’s been studying up for weeks and weeks. And he seems to be talking far more than any of the other witnesses?

    CheebaCow, my son is a network security guy. He’s run off his feet most of the time. But he can work from almost anywhere, which is a bonus.

  • anno

    My dear Eddie

    Of course there is no moral equivalence between Powell and Saddam Hussain.

    Powell is an opportunistic tart, who participated in the bonfire of Iraq, while totally denying the 1,366,000 deaths that followed as a result of the conflagration, while Saddam Hussain was a Muslim who believed in God and who sought redress for the injuries the Arab people had suffered for centuries at the hands of the likes of Powell. He didn’t tolerate collusion with his enemies.

    I regard Powell and Blair as lying snakes, while I admire Saddam for his refusal to be undermined and his sticking two fingers up at Western bullying. I sympathise with the headless battery chickens of Europe and the US, who live their lives in a blur of moral uncertainty and football and I sympathise with the victims of Saddam’s unspeakable aggression. Definitely Powell is the greater criminal, in my opinion.

  • Jon

    @Craig – excellent, nice to hear Goldsmith is on the skids. I shall be downloading his video this evening, and perhaps I can work out how to snip the best bits onto YouTube.

  • hawley_jr

    @Larry: “Also, the plural for me and angrysoba is not “agents provocateurs” – it’s “agents provocateur.” Our compensation does not depend on you getting that right, but I’d still appreciate it if you got that right.”

    The plural of ‘agent provocateur’ is ‘agents provocateurs’. Look it up – as you are American, I suggest you try Merriam-Webster.com.

  • CheebaCow

    dreolin –

    Yeah it’s a definite bonus. I applied and interviewed for my job in Australia, but have spent the last 2 years doing this job while in South East Asia. With the wonders of modern tech, I can be on a train or boat and use my mobile phone as a modem for my laptop. Even though tech is my job, I am still in awe of what you can achieve with it.

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