Daily Archives: March 29, 2011


Completely Surreal Hague Press Stunt

William Hague just gave a press conference on the big Libya conflab in London at which he obviously thought it would look good to be flanked by an Arab. So he sat next to the Prime Minister of Qatar, who solemnly told us that the Libyan people have the right to choose their own leadership. Fucking QATAR! An absolute monarchy.

This is from the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report 2009:

The emir exercises full executive power. The 2005 constitution provides for continued hereditary rule by the emir’s male branch of the Al-Thani family. Shari’a (Islamic law) is the main source of legislation. The emir approves or rejects legislation after consultation with the appointed 35-member Advisory Council and cabinet. There are no elections for national leadership, and the law forbids political parties

Rather amusingly, but completely wrongly, the State Department call this unmitigated hereditary autocracy a “constitutional monarchy”. It is also worth noting that the State Department has listed Qatar as a Tier 3 – ie absolutely terrible – country for human trafficking in bonded domestic servants. Homosexuality is illegal as are Christian religious symbols, even in churches.

Of course the chief decision of the London conference was that Qatar will take over Libya’s oil resources. I am still astounded that anybody can still be taken in by all the bullshit about democracy and human rights, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other human rights abusers in the thick of the politicking.

Finally, hours of broadcast coverage have been given to the poor woman who says she was raped by Gadaffi’s militia. I am inclinded to believe her, but it sticks in my throat that it is paraded everywhere as a justification for war. As detailed in Murder in Samarkand, rape by the security forces is a constant occurrence in our ally Karimov’s Uzbekistan, and neither these outraged western journalists nor western governments have ever said a single word about it.

View with comments

At 16.00 Today I Was

Juggling my itinerary for media appearances in Turkey next week to promote the Turkish edition of Murder in Samarkand, to enable me to get back to participate in an event on Saturday 9 April.

I have the Sri Lanka/New Zealand match on in the background. It looked a lot more hopeless for New Zealand at 16.00 than it does now. I still think Sri Lanka will make it, though.

View with comments

Reverse Visibility Engineering

There is a lot of money to be made from getting websites visible. Search engine optimisation, I believe it is called. It is a science in itself to get yourself up the top of page 1 of a google search, whether to help a website sell something or attract clicks for an advertising banner. Rumour has it that employing the dark arts of this trade for companies are how the great Tim Ireland keeps bread on the table.

Presumably you can work it backwards. I was working out links between corporate and NGO recipients of government and EU grants in Lancashire and New Labour – which would make a book in itself. There is a statutory duty on political parties to publish lists of party donors, but weirdly a google search will not help you find it.

Google search “New Labour Donors” and you will be overwhelmed by a mountain of journalistic sleaze revelations, but you will have to scroll through pages for months before finding a statutory published list. I am rather proud to say this blog comes top of page 2.

In fact the results give you an amusing and accurate caricature of the parties. From New Labour nothing, zilch, all anal and clammed up. Google search “Conservative Party Donors” and again nowhere will you find the list of Conservative Party donors, but the Tories understand search engine optimisation and right up at items 3 and 4 are Tory website links urging you to make a donation, credit cards accepted. Google “Liberal Democrat” donors and again you won’t find a list, but you will find on the first page two major Lib Dem blogs attacking their own party for corruption!

I presume I will find the lists on the electoral commission website. But it really ought to be easier. In a past age, certain notices had by law to be posted in the church porch or council noticeboard, because that was the easiest place for the public to find them in the technology of the day. You could not post them on the outhouse. But the lists of party donors are on the virtual equivalent of the back of the one-holer.

View with comments