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.

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191 thoughts on “Agents Provocateurs

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  • Apostate


    The link to should help you approach these issues productively.

    The site is run by Joey Kurtzman and includes a terrifically stimulating dialogue between him and the guy to whom I referred,John Derbyshire.

    As I described,Derbyshire hazards the idea that journalistic criticism of Jews can lead to professional suicide.On the contrary says Kurtzman look at guys like Chomsky,Fisk and Finkelstein.They’re doing very nicely thank you selling themselves as martyrs to world Jewry says Kurtzman.

    It’s civilized and incredibly informative to read this dialogue and it shows how these issues can be tackled seriously and sensitively.

    Cut above Larry et al anyway!

    Go for it:

    Use the site search engine,type in Derbyshire and Kurtzman Dialogue.The articles are from 2007 but the current front page has pieces on Mel Gibson,Schlomo Sand and one on “The Cynicism Behind Restoring Synagogues in Arab Countries”.

    Needless to say Larry and the gamers would have you believe Kurtzman is a “self-hating Jew”!

    I can’t think of a better recommendation than that,can you?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    But Arsalan, your history is fanciful. The history of the Khalifat was complex and apart from immediately after the initial expansion of the Ummayad Empire from Arabia, Muslim ‘lands’ were certainly not ‘united’ in the manner you suggest, even when they were the global superpower and the most advanced society of the ‘Old’ World. I understand the frustration – I think that it is true that they need to get their act together – in both senses of the term – but a harking after utopian and Nativist mythologised glories will not aid that process. The weak are easily divided (and ruled) and majority Muslim countries must become strong internally. It is not realistic to crave after a ‘Khalifat’ as though that would be the solution. I know it’s the current fad. But it’s a facile dead end. I’m all for increased unity and cooperation – though any leader who attempts this, whether b/w Muslim or ‘Third World’ countries in general, tends to end up dead – Bhutto, King Faisal et al, surprise surprise.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    OK, folks, back to the original topic:

    “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 …”

    Craig, I don’t post such things to other sites.

    And doesn’t it appear that such silliness does not require my instigation?

  • Steelback

    This guy vronsky offering to moderate comments for craig could be anybody.

    I’d be very suspicious of such offers lest the site fall into the lap of those who’ll delete any unofficial conspiracy theory then causing problems for the establishment.

    Likewise the “anti-semite” canard will be used to stifle all criticism of Israel,the Lobby,or Holocaust fundamentalism.

    vronsky-craig’s blog will end up being just another gate-keeper cypher for the corporate media.Most of us would like to get clean away from such fabricated consensual pap thank you very much!

    Moderate out the gamers like Larry and the other barely literate off-topic weirdos and you’ll likely get a unanimous vote in favour!

  • tony_opmoc


    To be honest, to approach the issue from such a point of view, I think is highly counter-productive, and in that respect I agree with the vast majority of posters here.

    On the other hand, to not consider the views of people like Gilad Atzmon is equally ignorant.

    I have always been a contrary soab, since escaping the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 15.

    If someone tells me not to read someone elses views, then I want to know why.

    It maybe because that person is promoting a load of racist evil, or it maybe that someone is attacking the racist evil that he doesn’t want me to read.

    But at the end of the day, you can descend into an irrelevent philosophical level/discussion loop, and totally miss the real issues, that you may actually be able to do something positive about, like clearing land mines from the Congo, which is what Craig’s brother Frazer does for a “living”.

    You can’t really argue with that, except perhaps screaming at the people who are manufacturing the fucking things to stop doing it.


  • david

    Craig, I have a suggestion that may have some value and be easy to implement.

    When posting a comment here one is asked for an email address. I suppose this could be any email address, even a bogus one–as long as it looks like one. My suggestion is this: when a comment is submitted, automatically send a confirmation email to the given address, and wait until the sender clicks on an included confirmation link, or replies, before it is posted. This would have the advantages of allowing a commenter to think again about what was said, to check the spelling, and of slowing things down a bit and taking the heat out of some exchanges. It’s not a complete panacea for the issues you are having. For example it would still be possible to impersonate another’s pseudonym, and it might frighten off worthwhile comments from people in, say, Uzbekistan.

    Another thought: have an optional logon system where one can reserve one’s pseudonym. At the same time, still allow comments from unverified pseudonyms, but provide a button to allow hiding them.

    I love the simplicity and openness of your blog format; but it’s also wide open to abuse. The slight complications that I am suggesting might be worth a try.


  • Jaded.


    ‘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”.’

    Craig, that sounds more conspiratorial than saying they are paid shills. Reread what you wrote there a few times and think about it. Are you really of that opinion?

    By the way, did you notice how after I recommended you hook up with Brian Gerrish yesterday there were comments that ridiculed the idea? It’s all part of ‘divide and conquer’ Craig. You need to hook up with other dissidents to become stronger. Don’t get too close because the powers that be will always look to cause a split. Gerrish himself is aware of this. Keep doing your own thing, but find some allies to get some sort of broad, cohesive strategy going. Gerrish is trying to provide a platform for all of this. What have you got to lose by looking at what he says? Do you want to achieve change or not?

  • arsalan

    Suhayl Saadi

    While it is true that the Muslim world has never been as unified as they were during the Umayad period and before, they have never been as disunited as they are now.

    There has never been a time when the Muslim world was in the state it is now.

    I am not claiming the Khilafah is some sort of utopia. The Khilafah is just a first step to sort our problems out.

    The Khilafah is the means to gain unity. Muslim countries will never work together with out it. There is no bases or starting point to any form of unity among Muslims without Khilafah.

    I want to repeat these invasions were not caused by the strength of our enemies but by our own weakness and disunity. Would the Americans be able to invade Iraq without their bases in Kuwait, without their airfield in Qatar? Would they be able to invade Afghanistan without the transport roots in Pakistan and the bases in Uzbekistan?

    Let me be straight, Muslim countries will never work together at all, in anyway shape or form without Khilafah. They will never strengthen, educate or gain justice.

    None of this will happen because none of it is possible without Khilafah.

  • Richard Robinson

    A lot of this looks like a simple abuse of other peoples’ courtesy. Address direct questions to people and they’ll likely feel obliged to reply, even if it drags in issues that seem like irrelevancies. And then question that reply with more distraction … and it can be made to go on as long as people will put up with it.

    I don’t think we need to assume deliberate plots to explain this,

    for the simple, sad, reason that people will behave like this for free. All the rhetorical moves, the techniques, are only things that turn up everywhere, wherever people bandy opinions around on the net, even in quiet conversations with nothing controversial about them. Some people have axes to grind, some people seem to take pleasure in upsetting others, some look for fights, some want to prove they’re cleverer than everone else, some give themselves a bunch of names and have mock-quarrels with themselves, the works.

    Which is not to deny that astroturf happens (are there astroturf organisations to deny the existence of astroturf, yet ? It’s probably only a matter of time).

    Analysis of the logs can sometimes establish things. I saw a case a day or two ago (on something of Bruce Schneier’s, I think) where 4 posts, from 4 different names, claiming to be from Spain and Egypt, were followed by a notice from a site-techy remarking that they all came out of the same IP address, which was in Jordan. Something of a fair cop, not a lot of room for doubt there. (‘whois’ is the tool involved – DNS lookup, see who an address is regstered to).

    Many sites have problems with this, it’s possible there might be some techy possibilities to make it easier to deal with. Someone mentioned a ‘rating’ system – the ability to not have to see stuff from whoever we regard as a windup, would be nice. (Must look at slashdot more. Is this per-user, or is it a voting system ? The latter could be flooded).

  • hawley_jr

    I imagine that most of us reading and commenting on this blog do so because we are interested in what Craig posts. It’s counter-productive to go against the house rules or to post inflammatory comments simply because it’s an open forum.

    Personally, I understand and sympathise with many of the extreme comments, but we make nothing but noise when we argue one extreme against another. And we turn off those who might have become amenable to alternative views.

    The bigger picture has to be dealt with, here and in the world at large, but at this point in time it seems we can only gain ground by arguing the mainstream points. And, hopefully, success there will lead on to tolerance of discussion of those matters which are at present unacceptable to the general ear.

    For those who believe a fifth column is at work, remember:

    When you walk amongst the enemy, wear his colours.

  • Jaded.

    Any dedicated shill can easily appear from multiple IP addresses. Blocking them gives more hoops to jump through and will annoy them though.

  • Mac

    Much as I sympathise with your stated reasons for this Thread, I do feel the need to draw your attention that to some extent you yourself have inadvertently encouraged what you are complaining about; take the recent Thread ?Greek Orthodox Church Sells Palestinian Lands to Israel?, in which you make the unconnected & bizarre statements that ?In Cyprus the Church is a major player in money laundering and the international illegal arms trade? , & ?Is the Greek Orthodox Church the most corrupt major religious organisation in the world? Discuss.?. Firstly despite the requests of at least two Posters, you have not seen fit to substantiate the first accusation, and so it remains a cranky Conspiracy Theory, on the back off which you then try to attack the Greek Orthodox Church, (and in doing so further ignore the fact that the Cypriot Church is autocephalous from the main Greek Orthodox Church.) Further, as a direct result of your failure to explain your comments, the Thread then degenerated into an off topic marathon of over 250 posted Comments !

  • tony_opmoc


    Moderating a very popular blog is a hellish task. To do it properly requires full time staff working 24x7x365.

    But in order to allow free speech, in the true sense of the word, you must allow all comments to be posted, even ones diametrically opposed to your own point of view.

    Very few people are actually sufficiently objective, that they are up to the task.

    In my view, the only posts that should be deleted, are…

    those of the repetetive troll variety, specifically designed to drown out open and fair discussion (that shouldn’t be allowed to stray too far off topic except in certain cases of obvious enormous interest)

    those that are clearly liable to result in legal action being brought against the person making them (which is why Craig needs his own blog) – and whoever hosts it is prepared to take on such legal action – as that is usually the first point of call

    those that are personally abusive, particularly if they threaten physical violence (my memory is like an elephant)

    those that post completely inappropriate links to material specifically designed to be offensive (unless it is on topic pictures of gross war crimes with appropriate warnings)

    those that name individuals who obviously wish to remain anonymous

    Its a tough job, that probably isn’t worth the effort.

    However, My Son did it on his own blog which became very popular indeed and at the age of 13, he was actually deleting some of the stuff that I was posting, because it was too offensive to some ultra-pro war Americans.


  • Rob Lewis

    @B: Thank you for the link. I used to read Postman Patel, but only from about 2007 on. I missed that, if it was ever on there. Ed Teague RIP.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Arsalan, I think you’re confusing a number of distinct strands here. Muslim countries were largely colonised during the late C8th and throughout the C19th because they were weak – they are still colonised (in one way or another) – for a whole complex of reasons. There was a Khalifa in Istanbul until 1922, when Ataturk abolished the office, but it had been completely irrelevant to the process of Muslim countries/ empires being colonised, in fact it had been irrelevant to power politics for centuries. There was the Khalifat Movement in early C20th India – which ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan. We’ve been here before, you see. Also, colonialism and all the fall-out from it affected and affects non-Muslim countries just as much as Muslim countries. Right now, the Pentagon has created this ‘enemy’ bu8t I don;t think we need let this become a self-perpetuating thing. I think we need to look at power in the context of history in a cold and lucid manner, no matter how angry we may feel – and I am extremely angry. I think it’s illusory to chase after a Caliphate. It’d be not so dissimilar, politically, as Europe after WW2 saying, “I wish we had a Caesar”, or “I wish Papal Rule could be re-established across Christendom – I am a Guelf!”. The EU – yes, I know about Napoleon Bonaparte’s idea – originally was created largely because of the USA’s to build a subservient bulwark against the Soviet Bloc, and also to control Germany. In other words, it occurred because of distinct processes, economic and military, which had nothing to do with the mythologising of history. The first step would really be an economic community b/w Muslim (or more broadly what used to be called, Non-Aligned) states – as a protection measure (cf the EU’s tariff walls). This is what Chavez has been attempting to do in South and Central America. Sukarno, Nkrumah et al were really brought down because they has a similar idea. I do not think the Caliphate is realisable as the force which you are positing. Genuine mass movements for real economic independence for the PEOPLES – not the elites – of these countries is the only conceivable mode of achieving progress.

  • Derekic

    I can understand the anger at the rabble rousers, but don’t be so down on 9/11 truthers – I still haven’t seen a worthwhile rebuttal to the 1000 named, professional architects and engineers that don’t buy the official story…

  • Richard Robinson

    “imagine that most of us reading and commenting on this blog do so because we are interested in what Craig posts. It’s counter-productive to go against the house rules or to post inflammatory comments simply because it’s an open forum” -hawley_jr.

    “Tragedy of the commons” – that’s the phrase I’ve been grasping for. People over-use it for their own (perceived) advantage and it ends up laid to waste.

  • dreoilin

    Whoops, my long comment about Halabja has been “taken into moderation” and there was only one tiny url in it …


  • dreoilin

    Well, there’s the URL again.

    It’s the Central Intelligence Agency’s senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and professor at the US Army War College from 1988 to 2000, writing (January 2003) in the New York Times, and saying that the gassing of the Kurds may well have been an accident of war (“collateral damage”) rather than Saddam having “gassed his own people”. He also claims that the gas that killed them, a blood agent, was only held by Iran in that period.

    He says that the Defense Intelligence Agency wrote a classified report to that effect at the time, and that the facts were long in the public domain, but were rarely mentioned afterwards.

  • tony_opmoc

    Richard Robinson,

    Re the Tragedy of The Commons,

    “It has been shown that increased educational and economic opportunities for women correlates well with reduced birthrates”

    There is also a great deal of historical evidence, that the supposed issue of the Tragedy of The Commons, never actually happenned with small stable populations, and that the commons were not misused to the point of destruction.

    At the time, the overiding issues controlling population were not wars, but disease and natural climate change.

    And the theory that the Tragedy of The Commons was a serious issue, was used for completely inappropriate privatisation, which resulted in the misuse of the commons by a selfish controlling elite, that effectively enslaved and starved the common man.

    Take a look at Kerala for a modern example of a sustainable society. A place where you may expect there to be a continued exponential population growth, but which has now become stable.

    Or for that matter, the almost complete opposite of Kerala – virtually any developed Western Nation, where the indigenous birthrate in places like Germany and Italy is as low as 1.3 (2.1 required to sustain population levels)

    And there are also other highly significant issues with regards to technology and resources that people are completely ignorant of.

    For example, I realise that most people here will not believe this, but the evidence that oil is a fossil fuel was discredited in Russia around 1950. Also all that waste in all those land fill sites will be an incredibly valuable future resource.

    Sure as a human race, we need to stop over-breeding, but the way to do that is to stop killing people, and start educating them and allow them to feel safe and secure in their own land under their own control.

    Whilst teacher always thinks he knows best, teacher is in fact and idiot.

    If you can do it, do it. If you can’t teach it.


  • dreoilin

    I think I’ve conflated the remarks Stephen Pelletiere made to Phillip Adams, in an interview in Australia, with the NYT article, but no matter. The NYT article is linked.

  • tony_opmoc


    Whilst I read that version of events several years ago – before the Iraq War started – “the gas that killed them, was only held by Iran in that period”, I have more recently read that it was actually a British company that Thatcher knew and allowed to supply the gas to Iraq, completely breaking all international law in force at the time. I think it was posted somewhere in the depths of the education forum.

    Of course neither version of events maybe true, but the stuff written by English historians is often more convincing than that which come from the CIA.


  • dreoilin


    We’ll probably never know the full truth about Halabja, but I’d say that there is at least some doubt over Saddam’s guilt on that occasion. And it’s a case that was heavily touted in the United States as one reason for removing Saddam.

    Pelletiere also says:

    “a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change …”

    and he then says

    “Perhaps the strongest argument left for taking us to war quickly is that Saddam Hussein has committed human rights atrocities against his people. And the most dramatic case are the accusations about Halabja.

    “Before we go to war over Halabja, the administration owes the American people the full facts. And if it has other examples of Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds, it must show that they were not pro-Iranian Kurdish guerrillas who died fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards.”

  • glenn

    Not to say that gassing civilians (or dropping a Hellfire [tm] missile from an unmanned drone, for that matter) is in any way excusable, but was it any less objectionable when the great Winston Churchill did exactly the same? Times change, and all that, and what was once fine and dandy (see Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam) is not so good in these more enlightened times.

    So shouldn’t we now be removing all the portraits and statues of Churchill, for what he did in gassing Kurds and Iraqis?

  • Ruth


    What was the name of ‘the British company that Thatcher knew and allowed to supply the gas to Iraq?’

  • tony_opmoc


    I seem to recall, that Churchill acknowledged his evils, at around the time that he became MP for Oldham and swung between the Conservatives and Liberals, and also in an attempt to seek forgiveness, volunteered for the front line of the trenches in WWI a position that my Grandfather actually took and amazingly survived as an Officer and a Gentleman.

    However George Dutton’s point about him pissing off to the Carribean with all the Kings Gold, if we had actually lost WWII may well be correct.

    But he didn’t piss off did he.

    I’m not sure my Grandfather didn’t though, after seeing the 1,000,000th soldier die in the trenches, he probably thought that this is not much fun.

    All the young men from Accrington, Lancashire were wiped out – not one survivor.


  • alan campbell

    Nice to see my silly little comment did manage to help showcase the full deranged glory of the nutters and conspiraloons that inhabit this website. I had a feeling it might.

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