Whistleblowers Not Welcome at New Statesman/Frontline Debate 57

The New Statesman and Frontline Club are holding a debate at Kensington Town Hall on Saturday on the subject of whistleblowing. I was invited to be on the panel, and then my invitation was abruptly withdrawn. The main interest will of course be Julian Assange, but I should have liked to have contributed from my own, very difficult experience.

What is really annoying is that, having disinvited me, they are now discussing whistleblowing without a single whistleblower on the panel. Julian always states (quite rightly) that he is not a whistleblower, but rather publishes things leaked by whistleblowers. The motion is:

“This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place”

For the motion:
Julian Assange, Wikileaks
Clayton Swisher, al-Jazeera
Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman

Against the motion:
David Richmond, ex Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bob Ayers, ex US Department of Defence
Douglas Murray, Henry Jackson Society

Not only is there no whistleblower allowed on the panel, it enables Ayers and Richmond to portray unchallenged their views on what is practically necessary as seen from inside government. I have nothing against Swisher or Hasan, but they are general talking heads, as is Douglas Murray.

It is a complete mystery to me why I should be invited, then uninvited. This is the exchange of emails:

Dear Craig,

I am writing from the Frontline Club in regards to a debate we are organising with the New Statesman on Saturday 9 April at 5pm in Kensington Town Hall, London for which we would like to invite you to speak. It will be a two-sided adversarial debate, the motion being “The house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place”. Joining you on stage will be Julian Assange, Mehdi Hasan (the New Statesman’s senior political editor), Douglas Murray and others to be confirmed. You will find further details of the content of the debate below. Please do let me know if you think you will be available. We only announced the event late last week and it has already sold out. It is sure to be a brilliant debate and we would love for you to join us.

Best Regards,
Ryan Gallagher

To which I replied:


I should be delighted.


Which was confirmed with:


Excellent news. We are very pleased to have you on board. You will be a valuable addition to the panel.

There are more details of the event here: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/03/debate-assange-wikileaks

It will take place between 5pm-6.30pm on 9th April and it is likely there will also be some kind of after party.

I will be back in touch soon with more details. Until then, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to get in touch.

Best regards and many thanks,


Which was followed up with this rather strange one:

Dear Craig,

Would you be able to hold off announcing you appearance at the debate for a few days? We are going to formally announce. Sorry, I should have made this clear in my initial email.

Many thanks,


To which I innocently replied:

oops, too late!! But nobody reads my blog any way. I’ll edit it out and hope nobody noticed. Can you not find a larger venue?


At which stage it started to become clear that I was being eased off the panel with:

Dear Craig,

Thanks for editing your blog. The structure and panel for the debate is still subject to confirmation you see, so we cannot 100% confirm at this stage because the details may change. We have sent out numerous invites and at this point are waiting on several replies before the final panel will be selected by the editorial team. We would like to have you involved, but until the format is decided I cannot say in what capacity as the decision is not up to me.

I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can on this.

As for the venue, we are not in a position to get a larger one. We had no idea the demand would be so great and have already signed with Kensington.

I’ll be in touch again asap.



Not being the only whistleblower in the world, and seeing that the New Statesman were desperate to withdraw their invitation, I therefore offered to stand down in favour of another whistleblower:


I quite understand. if you do not include me in the panel, I do hope you will nonetheless find room for at least one actual whistleblower. Julian is the first to say he is in the position of an editor who publishes the revelations of whistleblowers. Dan Ellsberg might very possibly come – he is passionate about the subject matter and really the godfather of us all.

I should not wish to participate in any capacity other than one of the main speakers in the debate. You will perhaps understand that in my position it would be difficult for me to accept that my views on whistleblowing, if on nothing else, should command less respect than those of Douglas Murray or Mehdi Hasan. It would, I think, look pretty strange to the audience too.


To which they replied:


Good to hear from you. We have already been on to the wonderful Daniel Ellsberg but it is his 80th birthday that weekend and he is celebrating in the states. Your email will certainly be noted and I completely understand where you are coming from.

I’ll try and get back to you as soon as I possibly can.



But they never did “Get back to me”. Then yesterday they published the final panel for the debate, not only excluding me but excluding any actual whistleblowers.

I phoned Ryan Gallagher from Turkey and said I thought it was impolite of him not to have contacted me before they published the panel. I also suggested that it was very strange to have this debate without any whistleblowers. He said that they were anxious that whistleblowers should not be excluded, and that one or two whistleblowers might be invited to make a statement.

This really is pathetic by the Frontline Club, an organisation for which I had a fair amount of respect.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

57 thoughts on “Whistleblowers Not Welcome at New Statesman/Frontline Debate

1 2
  • Jonangus Mackay

    What an oozing irony: that the organisers of the Staggers/Frontline whistle-blowing debate should by their craven behaviour render themselves so richly deserving of some insider with sufficient sense of justice to pop up & blow the whistle on them.

    Brother Julian’s understandably twitchy paranoia antennae tend, in my limited experience, to be tuned as often as not in the wrong direction: witness, for example, his most unfortunate choice of host(ess) for the infamous Swedish jaunt, & his bizarre involvement with the preposterous & pseudonymous Israel Shamir. And now, it would appear, this dubious promotional stunt.

    Can any hack worthy of the label journalist doubt for a moment that whistle-blowers are a good thing to be encouraged at every opportunity? Why bother dishing out annual awards for so-called scoops? Is this really a matter of serious journalistic debate?

    The owner of the Frontline Club is in origin a military man. I’d be astonished if Vaughan Smith did not early on receive, at the very least, an invitation to a spot of lunch at the Travellers Club, over which he would have been reminded, in so many words, where the loyalties of any former Grenadier Guards officer appropriately lie. Had such a chat not occurred, Her Majesty’s Spookocracy would have been failing in their perceived duty to the tax-payer ~ quite aside from missing a bargain basement opportunity to display willing at least before fuming Langley friends & associates.

    I urge anyone with a Kensington Town Hall ticket to get in there with the first obvious question from the floor: Who vetoed the whistle-blower Murray & why?

  • Jon

    I'm not normally in favour of theories involving tinfoil hats and the like, but I can't think of any reason why Frontline/NS would disinvite you, other than that they had received a polite warning from the Establishment. Whilst I am sure the Beeb regularly bends over for such types, I am surprised the NS seems to be doing the same – notwithstanding the right-wing direction they've been taking for some time.

    • ingo

      Exactly my point Jon, why should the FCO be standing by listening to Craigs facts on torture and their obfuscations over it, when they were not prepared to even release all the files on the Mau Mau concentration camps, castration of inmates and torture, unspeakable treatments of human beings are being covered up, then and now.

      Not long now and we will get the confirmation of our predictions.

  • somebody

    Truly terrible news.

    Fukushima Meltdown Confirmed
    Submitted by Stephen Lendman on Fri, 2011-04-08 08:51

    Fukushima Meltdown Confirmed – by Stephen Lendman

    On April 6, Reuters reported that "the core at Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel," Rep. Edward Markey told a House hearing on the disaster, saying:

    "I have been informed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the core has gotten so hot that part of it has probably melted through the reactor pressure vessel."

    Recklessly promoting nuclear proliferation, America's NRC is notorious for coverup and denial of its harmful effects. As a result, their rare admission virtually confirms a full core meltdown in one or more reactors, meaning vast amounts of radiation are being uncontrollably released into the atmosphere, water and soil, spreading over a vast area. It's the ultimate nightmare scenario now unfolding, but don't expect major media reports or government officials to explain.

    • ingo

      The most outspoken Prof. Dr. Chris Busby, a friend from my green days of old, could always be relied on to be frank and to the point, he means what he says and has written a book called 'wings of death' nuclear pollution and human health.
      In this report on RT, he does not mince his words about anything, especially not over Chernobyl's full consequences, balls I say, good on you Chris. http://www.japanonline.jp/full-meltdown-in-full-s

  • Ishmael

    Craig, why do you not allow my post's. I have to get information to the CIA without them finding out who I am. Your site, and what I believe to be your impartial experience.

    The USA has no friends but as I have said before I need to keep the balance. They won't be too strong but in a position where they need the agreement of countries like Russia * China, and as a balance against hedgemony, small African states to do most strategic activity. If you can't get these posts across i'll have to take the risk and phone them. I don't want to do that. Some of my stuff is now focused on fake jews. I am going to expose the criminals like Netanyahu and change world opinion. I know real jews descended from the 13? Israelite tribes. They are pissed off and want Netanyahu's head. No one knows the whereabouts of the tribes, and this was done to prevent a lunatic finding them and killing them. Yes, the bad jews hunt them too. If i wanted to I could use the Russians to collapse local government, that would cause me more problems than I want. Everything I have found..Concorde, American Embassy told in 1996 to check the left side wing. Evidence exists in the form of a police report filed in 1996 from the American Embassy, in London, asking the police to investigate a person who had called the embassy and asked the authorities to check the left wing on the Concorde as they could see flames coming from it, which sat on a runway in New York, several hours from takeoff. Concorde spectacularly splattered its body across the French countryside in 2000. That was the event, to start what is currently happening now. You may not understand, but I am sure you know what I am telling you. Help me out.

    • Craig_Murray

      Hi Ishmael,

      Sorry – the comment moderation feature will disappear once all the old comments from the old website have been loaded. This is a process that takes weeks. So far 47,700 have loaded and 10,000 are to go. But it seems to be slowing. Meantime we have this nuisance.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    There is a veneer of civilization in the public domain, and discussions such as these are supposed to give credence to the affirmation that Britain is a "free society". Trouble is that so much is done in the world that is uncivil – dropping bombs on people in Afghanistan – Iraq – turning a blind eye to torture in Uzbekistan – bombing Libya – to metion a few places where less than civil conduct has been directed. But – of course – we live in a civilized society.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @Michael.K – you ask "or was he a criminal, warmonger, who knew exactly what he was doing."

    Answer: He is a criminal, warmonger, who knew exactly what he was doing. Don't forget the "Downing Street Memoradum". Blair did't just drift into the attack on Iraq – he full well intended to and did commit to do that which he criminal and so dishonestly did.

1 2

Comments are closed.