Daily archives: February 22, 2010

Disappearing Murder

I sometimes have to seriously query the competence of my publisher. They had a couple of months notice of the radio play of Murder in Samarkand, but Amazon were out of stock before the broadcast even started and now are showing 5 to 9 days dispatch, while I can’t find the book at all on Waterstone’s website.

There would be a good chance that some of the 2 million people who heard the play, casually coming across the book in a bookshop, might buy a copy. But a lady just contacted me having been to five different London bookshops – before she found a copy in Foyles.


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Gladstone Was Right

My MA thesis was entitled “Midlothian and Gladstone”. Here is an extract from one of Gladstone’s Midlothian campaign speeches, in Dalkeith, while the Second Afghan War was raging.

Those hill tribes had committed no real offence against us. We, in the pursuit of our political objects, chose to establish military positions in their country. If they resisted, would not you have done the same? … The meaning of the burning of the village is, that the women and the children were driven forth to perish in the snows of winter … Is that not a fact ?” for such, I fear, it must be reckoned to be ?” which does appeal to your hearts as women … which does rouse in you a sentiment of horror and grief, to think that the name of England, under no political necessity, but for a war as frivolous as ever was waged in the history of man, should be associated with consequences such as these?

There could be no clearer indication of how far we have diminished as a nation. Remember, Gladstone was campaigning in opposition to become PM again, for a third time. No senior politician would ever dare today to say:

If they resisted, would not you have done the same?

Anyone who suggested today that the Afghans have a right to resist foreign occupation would be drowned out in screams of “Wooton Basset” and the false, flatulent patriotism of newspaper proprietors and editors sat on their well-padded arses in comfortable offices,

Gladstone won both Midlothian and the general election. But there are no politicians of anything approaching his stature today. Charlie Kennedy actually understood what Liberalism is; Nick Clegg has neither courage nor prinicple.

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NATO Bomb Kills 21 Civilians In Afghanistan

Afghan civilians are being killed all the time by Nato; it only gets reported when they kill a lot at once, and even then it doesn’t exactly hit the front pages. In the latest incident 21 people have been wiped out from the air – families fleeing the NATO destruction of their homes


Those who have just heard Murder in Samarkand will be sickened to hear that the United States is yet again being complicit with the Uzbeks in faking evidence of al-Qaeda presence in Uzbekistan to justofy the US/Uzbek alliance:

Al Qaeda aims to infiltrate Central Asia to train militants and turn the ex-Soviet region into a zone of unrest, a U.S. envoy said on Saturday.

…In Uzbekistan, the region’s most populous and ethnically diverse nation, President Islam Karimov told Holbrooke he was eager to work closer with the United States over Afghanistan.

“The leader of our nation … expressed Uzbekistan’s firm determination to further develop U.S.-Uzbek relations in a constructive way in light of efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan,” the official UzA news agency said.

Relations between Uzbekistan, long under fire over human rights violations, and the United States have improved in recent years as Washington has shifted focus more to security issues in its contacts with Tashkent, diplomats say.

Uzbekistan is now part of the new NATO supply route and Western nations rarely criticise its rights record. Last year the European Union angered international human rights groups by lifting sanctions it imposed on Uzbekistan after a violent crackdown by Uzbek troops on protesters in 2005.


The “violent crackdown” was the murder of at least 700 demonstrators in Andijan. There is no evidence of IMU fighters returning to Uzbekistan, but doubtless we will soon see another spate of flase flag “Bombings” like the ones I investigated in detail on the spot as British Ambassador and outline in Murder in Samarkand.

Hat tip to Mary

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