Monthly Archives: September 2011


The 11th of September

Do remember the innocent victims of the attacks on the Twin Towers. I will. The horror of what happened to them that day was unspeakable.

But I shall be avoiding the wall to wall neo-cons and those making money from “security” who will infest the media today. And I will also remember the 500 times more people who died as a result of the attack on Iraq, which had no connection with the attack on the Twin Towers, and no WMD. And I will rmember those who will die in Afghanistan and Libya today.

It is not impossible the anniversary will spark a terrorist attack. But it is quite certain that possibility will be played upon by those whose interest it is in to keep us in a perpetual state of fear, to justify wars abroad which benefit the oil, armament, military supplies and security industries, and provide the excuse for enhanced power for politicians at home at the expense of all our liberties.

Remember New York’s vicitms. But remember all the other victims whose lives have been destroyed by wars launched using the attack on the Twin Towers as a propaganda excuse. I shall do my remembrance standing on the stormy seashore. Not in front of a television.

View with comments

Out of Fashion

I am delighted that Gulnara Karimova has been kicked out of New York fashion week. The world of super wealth and glamour has no conscience, but it does have brands to protect. It seems that it is the stark truths about Gulnara in some of the leaked Wikileaks US diplomatic cables of Jon Purnell that have finally put a bump in her career of schmoozing with the A-list.

Strangely, my statcounter shows that for the last few days I have had a good number of different people arriving on this site from google searches for variations of “Gulnara Karimova’s height” or “How tall is Gulnara Karimova?”

I haven’t worked out what has prompted this. I should like to think it is some plan involving telegraph poles and piano wire.

View with comments

Vanessa Redgrave

The Guardian has an interview with Vanessa Redgrave. She is truly noble. Not necessarily always right – nobody is – but always kind, giving and helpful. You can’t ask more from anybody.

When I whistleblew on UK complicity in torture, I was smeared, falsely accused, sacked and my self worth and physical health were both destroyed. I was given by doctors a maximum of three years to live. I was penniless, living in a friend’s flat, and in danger of just giving up on life. Corin and Vanessa Redgrave actively sought me out. They invited me to dinner in a little Indian restaurant along King Street from the Lyric, Hammersmith, where I think Corin was appearing. I don’t think they realised it, but I hadn’t had money to eat for several days. I have never known such empathy. They seemed to understand what was happening to me, with very few words from me.

Vanessa was leaning heavily on a stick, and Corin seemed rheumy. But they still had a life force that spilled over enough to revitalise me. They thought I was doing something worthwhile – you must remember, that when I was trying to tell the world in early 2004 our government was complicit in torture abroad, the government told everyone I was lying, mad and a crook.

Corin and Vanessa made no attempt to twist my tale to an ideological construct. They just wanted to say thank you. They just wanted to buy me a meal. They just wanted to help. I am sure there must be thousands like me touched briefly by Vanessa’s kindness over the years.

View with comments

Reasons to be Cheerful no. 103

This in no way detracts from the duplicity and illegality involved in NATO’s intervention in the Libyan Civil War, but I am cheered by the thought that NATO’s attempt to co-opt, absorb and neutralise the “Arab spring” is not going as swimmingly as they hoped. The release of the damning documents on MI6 and CIA involvement with Gadaffi is one hopeful sign: the major anti-Israeli demonstration in Cairo is another.

The arab world is not as under control as Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron would like. I shall sing a little this morning.

View with comments

Bliar: How Much Death Can One Man Want?

I presume that serial killers become addicted. The really big killers, like Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot appear figures divorced from humanity. I really do find it hard to know what to make of Tony Blair. Universally execrated for fabricating the evidence to attack Iraq, apostle of war everywhere, Israel’s most ardent supporter, I used to think the desire for personal wealth – which his murderous career has indeed brought – was his primary motivation. But with his latest cheerleading for yet more wars, it seems he is indeed one of those who, having thrown off conventional morality in favour of homicide, just wants to go on and on with it.

For Bliar, the desire for killing will never stop.

View with comments

Wasting Ordinary People’s Money

Blanket opposition to public spending cuts is not my thing. We have far too large a state. It interferes far too much with our freedoms. It wields far too much physical power through excessive armed forces, it controls a crazed ability to wipe out human life on the planet, it attacks – apparently permanently – other countries and kiils their people. It carries out far too much surveillance of us.

It also wastes the hard earned money of working people on idiots like Martin Samuda. According to his Guardian profile, he has this non-job: “He works within schools as a home liaison officer, and within youth support”. You can catch the tone of the sort of things he does in his job from this article on his good friend Mark Duggan. If Martin Samuda views it as a mere peccadillo, scarcely worth mentioning, to be travelling around London with a loaded firearm (a converted weapon of precisely the type used in the majority of fatal gang shootings in London’s recent past), then what kind of use is he in his home liaison visits?

I have feared ever since the looting that one outcome is going to be an increase in funding for the entire class of social worker/youth leader/paid community leader who pop up everywhere in the media as pundits at times like these. Their refrain is that there is nothing wrong with urban street culture, that its adherents are victims not instigators of violence, and that the way forward is more government money for them.

The horrible death of Baby P revealed the uselessness of the vast hordes of local authority community and social officers sucking money from working people. It was certainly true that Ed Balls treated Sharon Shoesmith scandalously; but not nearly as scandalous as the incredible amount of taxpayers money this woman was getting.

Real communities cannot be developed by the state, and in fact excessive state interference distorts the growth of community and stunts it. There are many things that need to be done to address the problems of our society. One of them is to sack Martin Samuda and anybody else being paid from other people’s taxes in any similar kind of work, all round the country.

View with comments

The Gibson Inquiry – Wilfully Blind?

Wilful blindness – or worse? The credibility of the Gibson Inquiry into UK government complicity in torture seems to me to fall by the minute. The following facts seem to me almost unbelievable.

Government departments, including the FCO and MI6, are supposed to have already given Gibson all relevant documents so the inquiry can read through them before starting witness hearings.

But the government did not hand over the key document, revealed by Ian Cobain in the Guardian last month, which set out the permissions to operatives on complicity in torture. In fact as an email to me from Sara Carnegie, solicitor to the inquiry, reveals, the government still had not given this document to the inquiry ten days after the Guardian published. It now has done so in response to a specific request from Sara Carnegie.

Just as astonishingly, the FCO papers including those shown above, handed over by me to the Inquiry, were not among those submitted to the Inquiry by the FCO. The Inquiry has now requested unredacted copies. As of five days ago, and two months after I submitted my copies (redacted by the FCO), the Inquiry had still not received these papers from the FCO.

Ian Cobain’s source for his document is a whistleblower. I am also a whistleblower. There is no doubt that the documents produced from these whistleblower sources to the Inquiry are key evidence that the UK government was complicit in torture. There is also no doubt that if it were not for these whistleblowers, the Inquiry would never have seen this material – AND THAT THE INQUIRY IS INCREDIBLY RELAXED ABOUT THAT. So how much other incriminating material is the government still keeping hidden, and the so-called Inquiry not inquiring about?

Which goes back to the specific question on which I challenged the Inquiry. Had Gibson, in his role as Commissioner for the Intelligence Services, seen the document authorising complicity in torture revealed by Ian Cobain? This is the Inquiry’s very carefully worded answer to me on that point.

Further to your email below, I have now had an opportunity to speak to Sir Peter and show him a copy of the relevant document that was referred to in the Guardian article. He has confirmed that he has no memory of ever having seen this and that it would not have been a document that he would automatically have been expected to see at that time.

The statutory function of the Intelligence Services Commissioner was extended with effect from 6 July 2010, to include the monitoring of compliance by intelligence officers and military personnel with the Consolidated Guidance on the standards to be following during the detention and interviewing of detainees. Sir Peter had no role in the drafting of the Guidance. You may be aware that this Guidance is the subject of Judicial Review proceedings and judgment is expected in the near future.

The second para is smoke in your eyes, answering a point I never raised. The first para is a very narrow denial – that Gibson cannot recall having seen a particular piece of paper. It is far short of a denial that he knew of the policy. I think that Clive Stafford Smith’s point is absolutely right. Gibson should not be a judge, he should be a witness.

Suspect might be a better word.

View with comments

“Illegal” Stroll Down Memory Lane

Many of the supporting documents giving evidence of the truth of Murder in Samarkand were removed from the book by my publisher after the government threatened to prosecute them. They were then posted to my original website, but many were taken down after the government threatened to prosecute me.

With retrospect that was an act of strange cowardice on my part, so I have decided to bring them back, one at a time. This first one is a fascinating treasure trove in which to dig. It is the document listing the changes the FCO demanded in Murder in Samarkand, (in addition to the removal of all government documents). The FCO consulted every individual named in the book who was, or ever had been, in government service, and checked all the files. The exercise took over a year. In almost every instance, my own opinion is that my original version was in fact correct. However almost all these changes were made in tbe book by the publisher.

You can see what I originally wrote in this document.

But the really interesting point is that the changes requested are actually very small, and very few indeed. This document is a testimony to the accuracy of my account, and to just what the government wanted kept secret, and why. In those very rare instances where my accuracy is disputed, I am afraid the explanation is that government officials are not telling the truth, for motives which are obvious.

The page numbers in this document refer to the manuscript and do not relate to the published book.

UPDATE

Some people are having difficulty finding the document. You have to click on the link below, then on the next page that will come up, click again on the link below the heading there. The document will then load, but takes (on my computer anyway) about 30 seconds to do so.

FCO_Comment-2

View with comments

BP Profit From Torture

Just when you thought that nothing could be more sickening than the revelation that the mad Mahdi Blair was godfather to the baptism of Murdoch’s daughter in the River Jordan…

Kudos to the Daily Mail for outing BP’s Mark Allen as the MI6 man who wrote the sickeningly jaunty message to Gadaffi henchman Moussa Koussa on the rendition to terrible torture of a Libyan dissident and his wife and family. Lest we forget, this is the message:

I congratulate you on the safe arrival of Abu Abd Allah Sadiq. This is the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years

Allen then moved seamlessly from MI6 to a £200,000 pa job at BP working on their relationships with Gadaffi and other Arab dictators. We can only hope that one day Egypt emerges from military government to democracy and its security files too are opened. But I am willing to bet that MI6 and CIA shredders have been put in to Cairo government offices and will be working ceaselessly for the next few days. Expect the odd fire too.

.

View with comments

Bipolar Therapy

Apologies, having a bit of bipolar down side trouble, but I think I am coming out of it.

Except in the direst extremity, I have stayed away from the drugs they use since the horrible, deadening experience of lithium for a brief while in my student days. It remains my opinion that the sharpness and creativity is worth the days of lack of will to…anything. I have, however, a rather strange therapy I devised myself. I always have a very strong emotional reaction to music, and there is a danger of it reinforcing mood swings – listening to the Symphony Pathetique when down or Don’t Stop Me Now when up.

I loaded all my 1400 CDs on to a laptop, and I play the tracks completely at random, or ordered by some emotionally irrelevant criterion like track length. I listen constantly. I find it helps – and with this kind of thing, if you think it helps, it helps. It doesn’t need an objective basis.

View with comments

Hating the Internet

The meeting in Paris to hand out the Libyan oil and reconstruction contacts to Western companies, the NATO assault on Sirte and surrounding towns, the continuation of control orders in the UK, even the unchallenged Israeli spokesman on TV saying that the Mavi Mamara was laden with arms and that all those killed were terrorists: all of these things make me feel that liberalism is so otiose that there is no chance of resonance, and there is no point in my screaming into the void. It is hard to summon up the willpower to keep blogging.

Not too pleased with the internet today either. Searching for the Wikileaks cables which the Guardian say are now available and freely searchable. Why are they not up on a website somewhere? Tried the Pirate Bay site to which someone posted a link. Could not get the cables to download, but did manage to infect my computer with all kinds of shit casino programmes, my homepage has become some rubbish called facemoods, etc. Is this what the brave new world of internet sharing became? Buggering up people’s computers for money?

You will recall that when commercial publication of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo was stopped by the mercenary Tim Spicer and legal parasites Schillings, I responded by making it available free online. I now can’t find it anywhere where it is not hidden behind registration or payment or the sort of crap downloads I just got given by The Pirate Bay.

I actually have no desire to download the Wikileaks cables anyway. I just want to search and read them. Why is that so difficult? Bloody interweb thing is useless.

View with comments

Strange But True

This comment appeared beneath the Guardian leader on Ned Kelly:

The defrocked ambassador to Uzbekistan , Craig Murray , had an earlier career as a barman in Aviemore. His party piece was somewhat bizarre. He would take a used cardboard box , cut out Ned Kelly style eye and mouth holes in it and then stand on the bar at drinking up time singing “Time to go Home” a la Andy Pandy

He was defrocked from that job too

All true. Strangely, while the Guardian moderators delete a great many references to me, they did not delete this one. In truth, I did not look nearly as ridiculous with a cardboard box on my head as Alan Rusbridger does with that wig on his.

View with comments