Monthly Archives: February 2011


Is this thing on?

Hi folks. Tim here, with a quick notice about the visual changes to the site that cannot have escaped your attention.

The data from the old site has now been cleansed of spam and successfully transmogrified to WordPress format.

The WordPress format is now live site-wide, and all old pages should redirect to the new versions as of now.

This site will be using IntenseDebate to make conversations easier for all concerned, and I know from experience that there will be a significant delay between activating this plug-in and all comments appearing through it. So, if you see any old posts where the comments appear to have disappeared, please do not worry, they will all return in an easier-to-follow format within a few days (or perhaps weeks).

(The only comments lost permanently apart from spam and any replies to spam; roughly 700 casualties from the 1800-comment epic debating 9/11 conspiracy theories. Yes, of course it was an accident. Why are you looking at me like that?)

I hope to open the site to accept new comments from Monday.

Cheers all.

Tim

UPDATE – Some truncated posts have been spotted. The relevant importing error has been identified and addressed, and a fresh import will take place over the weekend.

UPDATE (Monday 28th) – Thanks to readers who spotted errors (and some remaining spam). A fresh and hopefully final import will be staged today. All but the latest two posts may disappear in hour or so this will take.

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Raymond Davis Does Not Have Diplomatic Immunity

Take this as definitive from a former Ambassador

There are five circumstances in which Raymond Davis, the American killer caught in Pakistan, might have diplomatic immunity. They are these.

1) He was notified in writing to the government of Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff of a US diplomatic mission in Pakistan, and the government of Pakistan had accepted him as such in writing.

2) He was part of an official delegation engaged in diplomatic negotiations notified to the government of Pakistan and accepted by them.

3) He was a member of staff of an international organisation recognised by Pakistan and was resident in Pakistan as a member of diplomatic staff working for that organisation, or was in Pakistan undertaking work for that organisation with the knowledge and approval of the Pakistani authorities.

4) He was an accredited diplomat elsewhere and was in direct tranist through Pakistan to his diplomatic posting.

5) He was an accredited courier carrying US diplomatic dispatches in transit through Pakistan.

2) to 5) plainly do not apply. The Obama administration is going for 1). My information, from senior Pakistani ex-military sources that I trust, is firmly that the necessary diplomatic exchange of notes does not exist that would make Davis an accredited US diplomat in Pakistan, but that the State Department is putting huge pressure on the government of Pakistan to overlook that fact. This passes a commonsense test – if the documents did exist. La Clinton would have waved them at us by now.

A brilliant article here by Glenn Greenwald.
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/21/heartsandminds/index.html

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Berlusconi’s Cut

A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy. Just at the moment that would be too much even for Berlusconi to survive.

This morning I see the Italian foreign minister is warning 300.000 Libyan refugees will fly to Europe if Gadaffi falls – as though there will be none if he stays. I have checked with other diplomatic sources, and they confirm that Italy is using the refugee warning to argue that Europe should back Gadaffi, and not impose sanctions. That point is not coming over in the mainstream media.

This blog will be back up completely revamped next week. But I thought this snippet was important. If someone wants to repost it somewhere comments are possible…

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