Monthly Archives: May 2011


SNP Headed For Overall Majority

It is 5.30 am and I haven’t been to bed. I intended to watch the first few results from the elections and to turn in around 2 am, but the first Scottish results were so riveting, I have been unable even to think of leaving. And just a moment ago “SNP gain Paisley” flashed up. Paisley!!

The SNP so far have won 28 constituencies on the first past the post part of the election, with many still to come. Compared to seven of these last time. If this were a first past the post election, the SNP would have a thumping absolute majority. But I reckon the regional lists wil still result in an overall majority to the SNP. As Scottish independence remains the practical political goal to which I am most attached, I am absolutely delighted.

Alex Salmond has already indicated that he will use his mandate to push for more powers for the Scottish parliament – most crucially, the power to borrow money so Scotland can run a more Keynsian economic policy, and the power to vary corporation tax. These will be resisted by the Tories, which will set up precisely the confrontation needed over the next four years to prepare for a referendum on independence.

I vote Lib Dem when in England and SNP in Scotland. I am sorry in a sense to see the collapse of the Lib Dem vote in Scotland, not least because Tavish Scott is a very decent person and a genuine liberal. But the atavistic unionism of the Scottish Lib Dems in recent years deserves a kicking, not least because it is the precise opposite of the party’s historical and philosophical roots, and would have Gladstone and Rosebery spinning in their graves. Any real Liberal in Scotland in 2011 should want Scottish independence, and it was only recently in my adult life that the view started to be taken that belief in Scottish independence is incompatible with being a Liberal Democrat.

That Liberals were prepared in Scotland to spend years in coalition with war criminals, but would not enter a coalition with the SNP because of opposition to letting people have a referendum on independence, was so stupid and illiberal, that bluntly the Scottish Lib Dems deserved their virtual annihilation.

New Labour will get an enormous raft of MSPs on the regional list system, having lost 75% of their constituency MSPs. By and large these list candidates are not the same people as the defeated New Labour MSPs. Amazingly, they are on the whole even less talented than the obnoxious numpties the electorate have just sent packing. There is not going to be any effective opposition in the new Scottish parliament, and I hope that the horrible regional list system at least throws up some greens and independents to liven things up,

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FCO Finally Admits I Was Innocent

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(You need to click on fcomurray1, and then on the lower smallcase fcomurray1 that will appear again, and then repeat the process with fcomurray2. Hopefully I might find a more elegant way later.)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has, for the first time, admitted I was cleared on all 19 charges they laid against me, except for the Kafkaesque charge of talking about the charges against me in order to prepare a defence.

However the letter from Lord Howell claims – falsely, as far as I am aware – “that the disciplinary allegations taken by the FCO in Craig Murray’s case related first to complaints made about him by members of his staff”. In the course of a four month investigation under suspension, I was only ever shown a single complaint about me by members of my staff. This consisted of a signed statement by a small group of staff in the visa saction, to the effect that on a named morning I had told them I had a hangover.

This statement was not the source of the allegation, but rather obtained after the allegation that I was an alcoholic had been made by the FCO. Every single member of my staff was called in and asked if they had ever seen me drunk. That statement, that I once said that I had a hangover, was the sole result of this fishing expedition. I was never shown any staff statement on any other allegation, including the astounding allegation of sex for visas, and as these were all dropped for lack of evidence I presume there were no such statements. Lord Howell is telling an untruth, though I fully expect as a result of being lied to by his civil servants.

On the other disciplinary count – that of unauthorised disclosure to the media – relates to my appearance on the Today programme etc AFTER I had told the FCO I was leaving the service, so is hardly germane. Jack Straw added that line to parliament in order to say I had not resolved all charges against me. Straw had fudged this to appear still to refer to the sexual charges.

Of course, what Lord Howell fails completely to mention is, that these eighteen disciplinary charges miraculously appeared from nowhere immediately after I became the only UK civil servant to enter a written objection to our complicity in torture in the War on Terror.

What sickens me most about this in Lord Howell’s letter is the FCO’s claim to have cleared itself in its own investigation of having made the allegations against me “maliciously or in bad faith”.

Do they really expect anybody to believe that you can make eighteen serious allegations against somebody, every one of which turns out to be untrue, in good faith?

I am very grateful indeed to Nigel Jones for his persistence in winning at least this much acknowledgement of my innocence from the FCO, after eight years in which they have systematically blackened my name. I am sorry that Lord Howell can’t tell Nigel Jones from Digby Jones!

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Death of Alexander Burnes

Bombay Times, April 23 1842 Deposition of Bowh Singh, lately a Chuprasse in Sir Alexander’s service

“Sir Alexander Burnes was duly informed by his Afghan servants, the day previous to his murder, that there was a stir in the city, and that, if he remained in it, his life would be in danger; they told him that he had better go to the cantonments; this he declined doing, giving as his reason that the Afghans never suffered any injury from him, but on the contrary he had dome much for them, and he was quite sure they would never injure him.

On the day of the murder, as early as three o’clock in the morning, a cossid came to me, on duty outside; he said “Go and inform your master immediately that there is a tumult in the city, and that the merchants are removing their goods and valuables from the shops.” I knew what my master had said on this subject the day before, so I did not waken him, but put on my chupras and went to the char choukh. Here I met the wuzeer, Nazamat Dowlah, going towards my master’s house; I immediately turned with him, and on our arrival awoke him, when my master dressed quickly, and went to the wuzeer, and talked with him some time. The wuzeer endeavoured to induce him to go immediately into cantonments, assuring him that it was not safe to remain in the city; he, however, persisted in remaining, saying: “If I go, the Afghans will say I was afraid, and ran away.”

He however sent a note to Sir W. Macnaghten, by Wallee Mahomed.

A chobar came from the king to call the wuzeer, who asked and obtained permission to stay at the door; the wuzeer said to Sir Alexander Burnes, “Why, you see already that some of Ameen oola Khan’s people have collected to attack you; if you will allow me I shall disperse them.”

He (Sir A Burnes) said, “No, the King sent for [you] to go to him without delay.”

The wuzeer accordingly mounted his horse, and went away. The gates were then closed, and then in a little time surrounded by Ameen oola Khan and his rabble. Hydur Khan, the late kotwal of the city, whom Sir Alexander Burnes had turned out of office, brought fuel from the human on the opposite side of the street, and set fire to the gates.

The wuzeer shortly returned from the Bala Hissar, with one of the king’s pultuns, on seeing the gates on fire, and an immense crowd about, he took it apparently for granted that Sir A Burnes had either escaped or been destroyed, and withdrew the regiment.

At this time, the whole mob of the city was collected, and the house in flames.

The jemadar of chuprassees told Sir A Burnes that there was a report of a regiment having come to assist him; he was going to the top of the house to look, and had got half way, when he met an Afghan, who said that he had been looking about, and there was not the least sign of a regiment.

My master then turned back, and remarked, there was no chance of assistance coming from the cantonments or the king. A muslim, a Cashmeeree, came forward, and said “If your brother and the chuprassees cease firing on the people, I swear by the Koran that I will take you safe through the kirkee of the garden to the fort of the Kuzzilbashes”.

The firing ceased, and Sir A Burnes agreed to accompany him, and for the sake of disguise, put on a chogha and a longee.

The moment he came out of the door, a few yards, with the Cashmeeree, the wretch called out “Here is Sikunder Burnes.”

He was rushed on by hundreds, and cut to pieces with their knives. His brother Captain Burnes went out with him, and was killed dead before Sir Alexander.

Captain Broadfoot was shot sometime before, in the house, and expired in half an hour. There was a guard of fourteen sepoys, they were all killed in the affair. All the Hindoostanees except myself were killed. His sirdar-bearer, who is with me, escaped, as he was at home. I got away, having an Afghan dress. All the Afghan servants deserted. I got into cantonments, after being several days in a shop. Sir Alexander forbade the chuprassees and others firing on people until they set fire to the gates.”

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47 Bahraini Medics Charged

Bahrain is putting 47 doctors and nurses on trial for treating wounded and dying protestors. Again there is total silence from the UK and US governments at this sickening human rights abuse by our “ally” in the Gulf. There is no discussion of sanctions against Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. There no longer seems to be even the slightest attempt to disguise the double standards. Human rights are merely an excuse to attack those who oppose UK and US interests, meaning corporate wealth; those who promote those interests can rape, kill and pillage whosoever they please.

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Ian Tomlinson Unlawfully Killed By Metropolitan Police

The comments by the jury make this sound more like murder than manslaughter:

The jury decided Pc Harwood acted illegally, recklessly and dangerously, and used “excessive and unreasonable” force in striking Mr Tomlinson.
Jurors added that the newspaper seller, who was not taking part in the protests, posed no threat.

Unfortunately the jury cannot compel a prosecution, so my bet is that the killer, PC Simon Harwood, will get off scot free. But at least a British jury has shown its historic independence of authority has survived – an independence which was denied it in the case of the murder of Jean Charles De Menezes by the utterly disgraceful Sir Michael Wright, grovelling tool of the authoritarian state.

Talking of which, it seems to me that Dr Freddy Patel needs to be sacked and struck off for the disgraceful lie that Tomlinson died of a heart attack. The last thing this country needs is bent pathologists tailoring their evidence to suit the police.

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UK State Terror Resurgent

Predictably, the death of Osama Bin Laden has brought the return of “war on terror” impunity to the crazed British security services. An extraordinarily sinister body, the “Civil Nuclear Constabulary”, has arrested five Asians for possibly taking photographs of the Sellafield nuclear power station – of which there are thousands of photographs online and which is visible on Google Earth.

Because of course, if you were a fiendish mastermind wishing to have intelligence on Sellafield, you would covertly and surreptitiously take photos using five young Asian men in a group in Cumbria in broad daylight.

Racist harassment by the state is firmly back on the agenda.

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Henry Cooper

To my generation, Henry Cooper was a real working class hero whose unaffected manner belied his status as a great master of his craft. Possessing incredible courage and skill, he was prevented from becoming world champion only by prominent eyebrow ridges that made his skin cut easily there. Sensibilities change with the years, and I now dislike boxing. But nobody could doubt Henry Cooper’s nobility of spirit, or the genuine warmth and respect between him and Muhammad Ali.

There is a scene in the movie Royal Flash, where the camera is in the place of an opponent boxing Cooper. Anybody who doubts the real skill of the sport should watch that scene. The lightning speed of the moving head, the bewildering feints. Not all the Rocky movies together demonstrated the reality of the sport a fraction as well as that brief scene of Cooper.

I listened to Cooper’s final defeat against Joe Bugner on the radio with my grandfather in his back parlour. The decision was highly unpopular and probably dubious – there was talk of low punches. But Cooper bowed out with grace, and represents a time of innocence when a great champion would go on to invest his little earnings in a grocery shop. Bugner, who had the physique of a Greek God, was to disappoint in the rest of his career by not punching his weight. I seem to recall my grandfather told me that this was because he had once killed a man in the ring; which should be enough to end this thread of boxing romanticism.

They called Cooper “Our Enery” and he did feel like just one of us in a way that sporting superstars somehow don’t any more. His death seems a break with a better past.

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He Who Lives By the Sword

Osama Bin Laden had perpetrated many acts of violence. Blowback does not only affect states; Osama Bin Laden was killed by his former allies, those who used to support and arm him. Celebrations of someone’s death are always distatsteful, but Osama Bin Laden dealt in violent death and died a violent death. Of course, he who lives by the sword is a two-edged observation; it applies to Americans too, and I am afraid there will sadly be further violence in the short term.

There are questions to be asked about why Osama Bin Laden was killed rather than captured, when he would evidently be such a valuable intelligence asset. There are aspects of the official story which do not add up. I have seen the photo of his body on France 24, and plainly he was killed by a head shot; if you have to shoot someone you are trying to capture, you do not go for the head. Secondly we are told that he could not be captured because there was a fierce firefight of resistance at the house; but that no Americans were injured. So not that fierce, then. Aside from Osama Bin Laden, only two men and one woman were killed – so again, hardly a great pitched battle. The building was then torched, destrying the forensic evidence.

If Bin Laden did not kill himself, or get one of his own men to shoot him, it remains open to question why he was taken out with a headshot in a situation where resistance had been so ineffective that no American had been hurt.

It is yet another commentary on the state of Pakistan that Bin Laden was living in a large house in Abbottabad – which is by no means a backwater. It is also a major garrison town and the headquarters for military and intellligence operations in the Afghan frontier areas. (By chance, James Abbott, its founder, is one of the Great Game players I am currently studying). I simply do not believe that Bin Laden could live for years in a million dollar home in Abbottabad without significant parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence community knowing he was there.

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Good Vibrations

One of my cunning plans for making a living was to open sex shops in the arrivals areas of airports. Since air travel became such a horrible experience, I figured that people must be chary of taking with them in their baggage the battery operated items that they find essential to their personal happiness, for fear of having them waved about by security men. Therefore the chance to equip themselves suitably on arrival might be welcome.

I was surprised to find that the Germans have got their already. In the departures lounge at Munich airport, and most importantly after you have passed through the last security search, is a Beate Uhse sex shop. And more than that, in the window they had a display of solar powered vibrators. How wonderful! You can have an orgasm and save the planet all at the same time. Good vibrations indeed.

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Mission Gallop

It is worth reminding ourselves that the stated aim of SCR 1973 is negotiations, not the wiping out of one side in Libya. Killing children by bombing a residential house in a residential suburb is not remotely defensible; for Cameron to claim that killing children is “protecting civilians” is awful – those children were civilians, whoever may have been their grandfather.

I could accept that SCR 1973 could be stretched to include knocking out air defences as pre-emptive action against a challenge to the no-fly zone. That it stretches to widespread attacks on the “command and control” facilities of one side of a civil war, is plainly nonsense. The resolution calls for negotiations between the two sides; it cannot therefore be construed to mean that the only way to protect civilians is the utter destruction of one side. Then the “command and control” excuse was used to attack civilian telephone networks, then TV networks, then civilian electricity supplies. Now it is used to justify the murder of children in a family home.

I am frankly astonished that more concern is not coming from the Liberal Democrat side of the coalition about this mission gallop.

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