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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  • eddie

    Rob Lewis. That sounds like whataboutery to me. None of those points justifies or excuses gassing 5,000 of your own citizens. Regarding the question of moral equivalence, few of you seem to have any understanding of history or the particular and specific crimes of the nazis, and that includes Craig. As I said before, comparing Powell to Saddam, or making reference to Nuremberg in the context of Iraq is both wrongheaded and facile and discredits the quality of the debate on these boards, hence reinforcing its reputation for wacky extremism around the rest of the blogosphere.

  • Anonymous

    and just to some it up, my heart goes out to those who have lot their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan lets call them ‘collateral damage’ and to those who should never be forgotten, of course im talking about Holocaust Day

    Play nice eveyone…there really are more nasty buggers out there who you should be vent your angst on!

  • arsalan

    Sorry craig,

    Getting back to the topic.

    War crimes, means lost the war.

    That is all it means.

    Only the side that loses are tried.

  • Craig

    Powell and Hussein both fall in the category of war criminal. Some criminals are worse than others, I agree. Your problem, Eddie, is that you are in denial that your New Labour heroes launched an illegal and unnecessary war in which hundreds of thousands of people – men, women and children – really did die horrible deaths.

    You have to somehow psychologically come to terms with that horrible reality, Eddie. You are in denial. It really did, happen, you know. Most of those bodies really are well rotted by now. Plenty of the maimed are still around.

  • angrysoba

    “apologies, it was Larry. You have, however, spent days trying to goad people into discussing 9/11 here, as you know damn well”

    I actually wanted to talk about other things too.

    a) I asked a legitimate question about chocolate in Ghana wondering if you had a response.

    b) I discussed what I thought about WMD in Iraq and I didn’t argue a pro-Iraq war case, but said that I thought the government had lied.

    c) I discussed the David Kelly story which was the subject of the post there.

    d) I helpfully (IMHO) told other commenters where they can watch the Iraq Inquiry. I absolutely didn’t clutter up those threads with 9/11 discussion.

    e) I asked you a question about Ahmed Rashid’s reporting on Uzbekistan genuinely hoping for some information.

    f) I have talked about 9/11 mostly on threads in which a discussion on that was already underway, or on the thread that you dedicated to me or on “off-topic” threads. I don’t believe I have initiated any 9/11 discussion anywhere else.

    And, finally… I am still a bit annoyed that on the post you dedicated to me you said I was in favour of somehow suppressing opinions I didn’t like. I don’t agree with censorship or deletion of posts and have not once asked you to delete anything or ban anyone.

    Anyway, I’m watching the Iraq inquiry now.

  • arsalan

    Powel can be tried, but he wont because he wan.

    Saddam can be tried, he was because he lost.

    That is all that matters.

    There are somethings that everyone agrees is a war crime and other things everone agrees is not.

    But the few that are tried in Gitmo are tried for war crimes even though they are accused of killing American soldiers in battle.

  • arsalan

    Another example. Saddam gased kurds, at the time he wasn’t a war criminal because he was a friend of America. When he became an enemy and was captured he became a war criminal. But he wasn’t the first one to gas kurds. Churchil gased kurds when they stopped paying him Taxes. And he is still regarded as a hero.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    If one were to engage in a review of history in a light most favorable to the Nazis, then, yes, that would justify the rise of Fascism in a sense.

    “As if Saddam was laughing while he did it, and perhaps stroking a white cat a la Blofeld.”

    I don’t remember any portrayal of Saddam as such. Perhaps things are different in the UK.

  • Rob Lewis

    To pick up from that point, the US actually intitially claimed that the chemical attacks on Halabja were committed by Iranian forces, although they knew full well this was not the case. Further, there were US advisors in Iraq before, during and after the attack. Doubtless the UK is equally complicit, or would have been given half the chance – I would like to point out to our American friends I am not claiming any moral high ground.

  • anno

    eddie me old mate,

    My point about Saddam and Powell is that it is possible for there to exist more than one value system on this planet.

    In any trial in the West of those who led the Iraq invasion, by lying, by restricting information to British Public and by applying UK values to non-UK citizens, Western leaders will always be exonerated because they played by our dirty little rules.

    We can’t just bulldoze the entire West with all its moral snobbery and ill-gotten gains into some empty volcanoe and start again. Blair is likely to exonerated because he thinks we think the removal of Saddam Hussain is worthwhile at any price. He thought Keynsian interest-based economic theory was worth it at any price.

    Just because he’s exonerated, doesn’t mean he’s right. Events will follow that will demonstrate that he was wrong. We just haven’t got there yet. Antagonising the entire Muslim world while at the same time going to Muslim countries for fresh oil money when his errors have caused the system to fail, has not gone unnoticed in the world, for all this inquiry’s smokescreens.

    We are watching a soap, where the script writer is in control. Nothing whatsoever to do with reality which is where the rest of the world stands.

    Do I worry if I missed an episode of a soap and lose the story line? Whatever they want to say and do, let them do. The world is bored with the soap. Look at Gordon Brown posing as planet saver, and then it turns out he’s taken the 3rd worlds’ climate change cash from the charity till and he’s going to convert the cash into Carbon currency anyway. He’ll end up paying nothing at all to anyone.

    It’s all bollocks and I don’t know why you bother to try to defend it, like some art critic on the telly oozing about some poxy film.

  • Rob Lewis

    My previous post a response to Arsalan’s, not Larry’s.

    Larry, nobody (to my knowledge) claimed that Saddam actually was laughing and stroking a white cat as he ordered the massacre of Halabja. I have attempted satire here, I confess.

    As for your response directly above it, I don’t quite follow its logic as a sequitur, but I think I will leave it on the assumption you now understand I have not justifed or attempted to justify the gassing of Halabja. Or that if you don’t understand it is because you are a simpleton. Or oddly nefarious.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    I get the satire, but I don’t think the events in Kurdistan have been portrayed to me as acts “of absolute evil by a terroristic madman.” Perhaps I missed that propaganda. My recollection is that they were portrayed as acts of mass murder by a faceless and nameless military.

  • craig


    I changed the mistake immediately it was pointed out.

    Your contributions not on 9/11 are very welcome. Sorry if I haven’t answered all your questions – that’s the norm i’m afraid

  • anno

    Setting an example of illegal invasion is something the West may come to regret very soon. Cancelling international law is an issue not just for the present inquiry and the preset offensive in Pakistan, but for the century to come. If you leave the moral high ground, the way is paved for a real madman, like Hitler, to stray down the path you made. It would be far better for the world to try and convict Bush and Blair, than to listen to the smokescreens they are putting up today.

  • Bert

    Vronsky: The use of French phrases is so pass?. I used to be pretentious, but I’m not maintenant…

    Back on topic:

    There is a whole spook/security industry dedicated to monitoring websites/blogs/forums etc. – See

    for details….

    As I said before, whenever a topic hits a nerve/is ‘on the button'(including resulting comments), the gang pop up & start slinging about the stock phrases 911, jews, conspiracy theories etc. etc.

    Craig, I am glad that you are getting an increased readership. Your articles are most welcomed.

    Can you/anyone advise where there is video on the web of the Chilcot enquiry? I wanna see Goldsmith squirm…

  • Clark

    Anno and Arsalan,

    I’ll “defend” the Chilcott enquiry as follows:

    1) Evidence is called for and given, in a public forum. The lies that were told get exposed to a wider audience. Members of the voting public who didn’t know before learn. The consensus shifts. Some time later democratic change occurs – we hope.

    2) We hope – though it is a thin hope, I admit – that the enquiry helps lead to criminal charges being persued, thus providind a deterrent to such behaviour in the future. Even without charges, the enquiry acts as a (lesser) deterrent.

    3) “They” must think it matters, or they wouldn’t have interrupted it yesterday!

    This is why I’ll be in London on Friday – to show that this matters to me, and to add my voice to all those calling for justice.

    I understand your negativity, you are most likely correct, and it will all achieve nothing. But I’m not going to let negativity stop me trying.

  • anno

    No, Clark, it is not a deterrent. It is another green flag for the colonial trans-history express steaming through the centuries towards the Day of Judgement.

    The smiling conductor reassures you with information about your creature comforts, but the train of colonialism gains momentum by these inquiries, not the other way.

  • Tim Groves

    Craig, I think you’ve made an excellent point with this post and put it fairly.

    Moreover, having commenters like angrysoba, Larry from St Louis, and alan campbell popping in is in itself a form of mental torture, a cruel and unusual punishment if you will, and nobody should be forced to put up with their malicious badgering and malodorous piffle for any longer than one would be expected to endure waterboarding. They are feral savages engaged in a form of bloodsport and you have every moral right to discipline them with lines, homework, detention, a few strokes of the caine, and if all else fails, expulsion. After all, you are a sort of headmaster now.

    Now, sit back and enjoy the Chilcot Inquiry. I see the tickets have sold out for Tony Blair’s performance on Friday.

  • eddie

    The gas at Halabja was supplied primarily by Egypt and the Dutch.

    Craig I am not in denial. Let me tell you, on the day of the Iraq march I actually got as far as Cambridge station fully intending to march. It was only when I saw the hordes of people there that I realised I had nothing in common with them. These people had done zilch to protest about Rwanda or Kosovo or Bosnia or Sierra Leone where (in the last three cases) the West had successfully, albeit belatedly, intervened to save lives. They cared little for the gulags of China or the camps of Cuba. To me they seemed like sheep, whose entire agenda was either a crude anti-Americanism that put politics before people or who cared nothing for the suffering of the Iraqi people, or both. Yes I am a member of the Labour party, but my understanding of the decent left is that it has a history of standing up to fascists, whether it was Blair fighting tyrants in Sierra Leone and Kosovo or Orwell fighting Franco. Governments have to make difficult decisions: my view is that Blair had a genuine desire to deal with a tyrant who posed a threat to the region and to the West. The outcome may have been not what was foreseen, but that is the case of many policy decisions. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I remember very few people at the time saying that post-invasion there would be insurgency and suicide bombings and sectarian violence. Moreover, as Chomsky says, you have to balance one thing against another. How many would have died had we not intervened? How many other bombings would there have been on the streets of New York or London had Al Qaeda not been confronted in their heartland. I doubt you or anyone here can answer such questions. There are difficult moral issues involved. But to call Blair and others war criminals, as you do, I think demeans you. Firstly, a criminal is generally viewed as someone who has been convicted of a crime. Secondly, if a crime has been committed who is the enforcer? Can you or anyone here honestly say who is going to action a case? Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental principle of our law, the law that you and others here seem so keen to uphold.

    No doubt you would all like to see Blair swinging from a tree, but you need to be careful of what you wish for.

  • Clark


    thank you for your link (which leads to an article in “The Register”, in case anyone is wondering). I’m grateful to have some reliable news on these practices. I’ve downloaded the PDFs and will read them – eventually.

  • writerman

    Powell, like Obama, understood and was recognized as a valuable personage in the early stages of their careers.

    Powell was always accutely aware of the political nature of his activities in the US Army, and what service, loyal service could lead to; success, fame, vast wealth.

    The first time he was really noticed, the lever that catapaulted him onwards and upwards, was his central involvement in investigating, ring-fencing, and covering up the nature and extent of the Mai Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. From then on he could do no wrong, as long as he did no wrong, in relation to Power; and this ability characterized his later career. The ability and willingness to serve loyally… regardless.

    Was he “worse” than Saddam? Who knows? Who really cares? Was Hitler worse than Stalin? Who decides? What about Mao?

    It’s difficult to compare cultures like Iraq with a the United States.

    Aren’t we supposed to use higher standards when comparing a public servant, like Powell, to a brutal, totalitarian dictator like Saddam? We cannot, surely, argue that because Saddam was a very, very, very, bad man; that we are therefore allowed to be very, very, bad, and that this small difference makes us materially better than Saddam?

    When one is dealing with millions of deaths, mountainous piles of corpses, rivers of blood, can one really, in any meaningful way compare and weigh these crimes on some collosal scale and conclude that one side is good and the other bad? Doesn’t the massive scale of the bloodletting on both sides cancel each other out?

    This is, of course, something Blair and his gang, simply don’t appear to understand and are never really asked about. They piously maintain how much they agonized over the great responsibility they felt moving towards war, yet this great weight hanging over them didn’t lead them to stop, think, and examine whether all this mass killing was really worth it.

    Saddam, the thug we lifted into power, a power way above his worth, like we so often do; was a useful tool, but then he outlived his usefulness and could be disguarded, like a used Kleenex, as we often do. He was demonized, like we so often do, and then removed. He was a “monster”, yet he wasn’t. He was merely our latest hitman, but they tend to get above their station don’t they.

    When Saddam was fighting a dreadful proxy war for us against Iraq, very few western leaders criticized him. He was our boy, our friend, on our side. The gas attack in Kurdistan wasn’t isolated. He used chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers supplied by us. Tony Blair didn’t condemn Saddam then, he only discovered his revulsion at Saddam’s methods and lack of respect for the rights of his people, when it was permisible, convenient, and expedient to do so, for reasons of state.

    Our leaders aren’t, in reality, that different from the “monsters” we create and then condemn. We do “evil” too, only we are more sophisticated and successful at hiding our “monsters”, we are better at deception, we have, after all, more experience and a longer history of being monsters than others.

  • anno

    Clark, Hi.

    If Bush and Blair and co. are not guilty, send them now to Islamabad to be tried, as US has demanded of Bin Laden. It has spent seven years trying to enforce that demand. Which means that they know they can only get away with colonialism within their own governmental systems.

    If everybody plays by the rules of their own national expediency, we are back in pre-Nuremburg and we do not have any deterrent against international aggression. The only reason why colonialism continues is because they see that they got away with it, in African slavery, in China , in India. God sent Hitler to draw a line under this stupidity, but two generations down the line, the idiots in power have forgotten. Or, it seems they need another reminding.

  • arsalan

    Eddie What do you mean no one new what would happen post invasion?

    That is what everybody and his aunty was saying!

    I know blair wanted us to believe an Anglo-American Army invading a Muslim country would be greated with flowers. But Everyone. But be honest, you knew people would fight back didn’t you?

    If you didn’t the rest of the world did.

  • Clark


    for the record, I have no wish to see anyone executed.

    The UK is SUPPOSED to be a democracy, Eddie, though you have spoken against that, how much in jest I am not sure. Certainly you support top-heavy (and hence inherently unstable) government.

    If lies are used to achieve consensus for war then democracy has been subverted.

    I was on the 2003 march – making me one of your “sheep”. But then “sheep” are just what you argue for – so long as they follow the Labour Party – why else advocate a top-heavy system of government?

    Eddie, the people in attendence in 2003 were exceedingly diverse. Maybe the type of people you wanted to see were simply diluted by the diversity and the vast numbers present.

    Incidentally, Iraq was never an “al-Qaeda homeland”.

  • MJ

    “How many other bombings would there have been on the streets of New York or London”

    I suspect there will be bombings whenever a new and repressive piece of legislation is in the pipeline, or when foreign polcy is about to take a new imperialist turn. Just like PNAC said. You watch.

  • Clark


    yes, they do need another reminding, and no, they won’t be tried in Islamabad.

    So we work with what we have, incrementally. If I could trust my country’s legal system to do justice, I wouldn’t have to go to London and put myself in danger on Friday. But if that were the case, there would never have been this war.

    I don’t believe that any God would have sent Hitler. As usual, corrupt politics made Hitler what he was.

  • Clark


    did you follow Bert’s link? It seems that if you’re not getting paid, then you’re missing out. Best apply quick.

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