Establishment Darkness 169

I am a guest speaker tomorrow at the NUJ Conference in Newcastle, on the subject of blogging. Never one to appease an audience, I shall give them it straight on my opinions of the collusion between mainstream media and power, and thus those who work within it. I expect to hear a lot about how bloggers are irresponsible, do not check sources etc.

I shall be drawing on some of the content of this talk:

I post this again because nowadays this website has far more readers than when I first posted it, and because it encapsulates my thoughts rather well.

I shall tell the NUJ that the mainstream media remains very constrained in what they publish. The Jimmy Saville affair broke on the internet in a big way a year ago, and yet the mainstream media is only now catching up – and still not making key links, like to Haut de la Garenne.

I receive, constantly, emails from people wishing me to take up various cases on my blog and furnishing information. 95% of the time I do not publish because I am not able to investigate fully (there is just one of me) and I do not know the source: the exclusives on this blog come mostly from my access to well-placed sources I have known for years through my past diplomatic career, and trust.

A notable proportion of the cases brought to me by those I do not know involve alleged paedophile rings. I was sent information about Haut de la Garenne for years, which named a string of senior people alleged to take advantage of organised paedophilia in the care home. Among the judges, politicians and aristocracy, there was indeed the name of Jimmy Saville. I have to admit it was not just that I could not prove any of it, I was actively sceptical about what seemed a random list of names of the famous. We now know for certain that Saville visited the place several times. The whole Haut De La Garenne investigation always seemed to obscure more than it revealed; I do hope it is mow re-opened, and taken away from the local Jersey police.

Another case which caused me great concern was that of Hollie Greig, where the jailing of Robert Green seemed to me vicious and unjustified. But I had earlier refused a request on behalf of the Greig family to involve myself in the case because the allegations made seemed to me incapable of proof without investigative powers and resources of the kind the police have. That the police do not properly deploy those resources where allegations involve the powerful appears to me too often to be too likely. Where the accusation is that the judicial establishment is involved in a paedophile ring, for the same judicial establishment to start jailing campaigners is extraordinary.

But the Alisher Usmanov and Adam Werritty cases will be the main thrust of my talk to the NUJ. In the first, the mainstream media still to this day persist in covering up the criminal past of the convicted blackmailer and Putin cohort who purchased 10% of Facebook and 35% of Arsenal Football Club.

The Werritty case is much more sinister because it goes to the media collusion in burying evidence of the influence of Israel on British politics. The public were told that Werritty was at a small number of meetings where he should not have been. The mainstream media refused to discuss why he was at those meetings or what his participation was actually about – leaving the public to infer he was merely Fox’s lover or in some way they were making money.

Even when I was able to produce undeniable evidence that Fox and Werritty held eight meetings with Matthew Gould, now and during six of those meetings British Ambassador to Israel (and Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary for the first two meetings) the mainstream media refused point blank to publish it. Mossad were present for at least two of those eight meetings. Gus O’Donnell’s report, whcih led to Fox’s resignation, had revealed only two of these eight meetings. This should have been a massive story. The media buried it (with the sole and belated exception of the Independent on Sunday).

No media were prepared to put any investigative resources into what Gould, Werritty and Mossad were doing. I had an impeccable senior source who told me that they were discussing preparing the political ground for an attack on Iran. You would think that, given the Werritty affair caused Fox to resign, that was worth investigating. The media completely blanked it. To this day the fact that Werritty and Fox met Gould eight times has been reported nowhere but one column in the Independent on Sunday.

I think my encounter with the journalistic profession could be quite fun. I shall also be arguing that bloggers should be allowed to join the NUJ; an internal NUJ debate on this is the background to my invitation to speak.

169 thoughts on “Establishment Darkness

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  • lysias

    American journalist Leah McGrath Goodman, who has been denied entry into the UK because she was investigating the Haut de la Garonne story, said on Max Keiser’s show on RT television last month that she was told that her investigations, if they were allowed to continue, might destabilize the whole governmental system in the UK.

  • Mary


    The Other Side of Jimmy Savile

    Former detective Mark Williams-Thomas conducts an in-depth investigation into allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused vulnerable teenage girls at the height of his fame.

    Today on ITV1 from 11:10pm to 12:05am

  • Roderick Russell

    Even though it’s in its early days as yet, a couple of things are already coming out of Quebec’s Corruption Enquiry. One is just how large the political corruption has been, and the other is that the enquiry is beginning to demonstrate that the corruption goes far beyond Quebec and into the rest of Canada. It is not an exaggeration to say that this enquiry is beginning to show that corruption is endemic amongst certain Canadian politicians.
    One of the effects of corruption is that it makes blackmailing politicians easy for those in the know; and it’s not just hard corruption where bribes are paid, but soft political corruption such as unnecessary foreign travel junkets and appointing friends to jobs they don’t merit. Secret police organizations like MI5 / MI6 (and CSIS in Canada) are in a position to “know” what is going on, as is some 100 private sector spy organisations that are open for such business in London alone (though most are staffed by ex MI5 / MI6 operatives). These organisations, or whoever pays them, are in a position to control the political process since they know all a politicians secrets.
    The growth in power of the security/intelligence apparatus and their ability to “censor” the press is very dangerous for democracy. If we had a free press, with honest reporting rather than propaganda, none of this could happen.

  • March

    Read the stuff on re Jimmy Saville & the other shocking revelations re the Kincora Children’s Home in Belfast, which was apparently used as a blackmail tool by the Security services.
    Search out ‘The Kincora Scandal: Political Cover-up and Intrigue in Northern Ireland’ by Journalist Chris Moore.
    Horrible stuff, but apparently in the National Interest……..

  • me in us

    Hi Craig and Jon — I did a transcript of this Berlin conference youtube when you first posted it and the youtube was disappearing and reappearing, as well as your accompanying interview youtube at, and tried to send them on to you via your contact e-mail then, but never heard back. Don’t know if you even got them. I could do what I did recently and just post the transcript in a comment, for you to pick up and do with as you will — ? Of course they’re long, and this post of yours covers more territory than the youtube. Maybe you could post them as PDFs in your Documents tab or something? Anyway, they already exist and you can have them with my best wishes.

  • Jon

    Hi @me in us

    That would be splendid yes, post it as a comment here (it may require moderation, I will approve it when I see it). Grand effort! Sorry you didn’t hear back from Craig at the time – I have a feeling he get so much email per day that things sometimes get missed. This thread is fairly short however, so he should notice it, and perhaps post it separately.

  • me in us

    Love it! Here goes. If you’re looking to edit, Mark Donfried’s five-minute introduction is pretty much straight out of wikipedia. Also wondering, was the jump cut at 42:56 ever explained? Will also find the e-mail and re-send it if Craig wants to look for it — it was rich text .docs with PDFs too.


    ICD – Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
    The Berlin Freedom of Expression Forum
    Censorship and Freedom in Traditional and New Media:
    The Revolution of Media as a tool of Freedom of Expression
    February 28th to March 2nd, 2012

    MARCH 1, 2012


    ICD HOST MARK DONFRIED: Allow me to at least mention a few episodes which makes I think Ambassador Craig John Murray quite an interesting speaker, especially for this conference.

    Ambassador Murray was initially born in West Runton, Norfolk, and grew up in the neighboring Sheringham in the United Kingdom. He studied Modern History at the University of Dundee, and during this period he became a member of the Liberal Party in 1973. When he was in the university, he was quite active, and again, just to mention some of the highlights, he became the president of the Dundee University Students’ Association, was re-elected a second time, and I guess in order to avoid a third election, the university changed the rules and didn’t allow for a third election, but despite that he was still quite active in university politics. I think this is maybe where his interest in politics really initially emerged.

    Then in 1984 he joined the diplomatic service through a civil service open competition. He had a number of overseas postings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to Africa as well to Europe. In London he was then appointed the FCO’s Southern European Department as Cyprus desk officer, later becoming head of the Maritime Section. In August 1991 he worked in the Embargo Surveillance Center as head of the FCO section. This job entailed monitoring the Iraqi government’s attempts at smuggling weapons and circumventing sanctions. His group gave daily reports to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and John Major. In Murder in Samarkand, his recent book, he describes how this experience led him to disbelieve the claims of the UK and US governments in 2002 about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

    In the year 2002 Murray was appointed British Ambassador to Uzbekistan at the relatively young age of 43. He was dismissed from that post in October of 2004, and at that moment I guess there’s a great quote from The Guardian that you said, quote, “There is no point in having cocktail party relationships with a fascist regime,” and then, “You don’t have to a pompous old fart to be an ambassador.” I think these are two quotes, I think, that you’re also proud of that really do encompass really also the spirit of Ambassador Murray. He was there, he told them what he thought, and I think really at also a risk to his own career.

    In October 2002, Ambassador Murray made a speech at the human rights conference hosted by the Freedom House in Tashkent in which he asserted that, quote, “Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy” and that the boiling to death of two members of Hizb ut-Tahrir “is not an isolated incident.” Later, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan confronted Uzbek President Islam Karimov with Murray’s claims.

    Ambassador Murray was summoned to the FCO in London on March 8, 2003 and was reprimanded for writing in a letter to his employers, in response to the speech of the President of the United States George W. Bush, quote, “When it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in international fora… I hope that once the present crisis is over, we will make plain to the US at senior level officials our serious concern over their policy with Uzbekistan.”

    Murray was removed from his post in October 2004 shortly after a leaked report in the Financial Times quoted him as claiming that MI6 used intelligence provided by Uzbek authorities through torture. The FCO denied that there was any direct connection and stated that Murray had been removed for “operational reasons.” It claimed that he had lost the confidence of senior officials and colleagues. The following day in an interview on the Today Programme, the BBC’s flagship political radio show, Murray countered that he was the “victim of conscience,” and that in this and other interviews was critical of the FCO. A few days later he was charged with “gross misconduct” by the FCO for making these media appearances. Murray agreed to resign from the FCO in February 2005.

    In his 2007 book, Murder in Samarkand, Murray speculates that his anti-torture memos caused two problems for the US and UK governments. First, the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program was secretly using Uzbekistan as a country to which to fly people to be tortured. Second, the transcripts of the torture sessions were then shared with Britain’s MI6 because of the UK-US intelligence sharing agreements of the Second World War. By objecting to the UK’s acceptance of the CIA torture-obtained information, he was interfering with the secret rendition program as well as threatening the MI6’s relationship with the CIA.

    And I’ll stop there in terms of his diplomatic career just to give you a few of the highlights, but I think that episode really is quite an illustrative example of also the power of freedom of expression in this sense. Later on, on February 16, 2007, he continued his career. He was elected to the position of Rector of the University of Dundee, which is where he studied, his alma mater. In July 2007 he was also elected Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. Currently Murray is executive chairman of the Atholl Energy Company as well as Chairman of the Westminster Development Ltd., a gold mining company, both operating in Ghana.

    So, for many reasons, I think Ambassador Murray is a great choice for a speaker for this conference, and we really look forward to his lecture, which the title, I will read, is, “Realism or Hypocrisy? Western Democracy and the Freedom of Expression.” Please join me in a very, very warm welcome for Ambassador Craig Murray. Thank you.

    Realism or Hypocrisy? Western Democracy and the Freedom of Expression

    [5:00] CRAIG MURRAY: Thank you very much. Thank you for that wonderful introduction. I had no idea I was so interesting. I’d like to – at the start, I just want to give you a couple of documents which you can hand around and read. I’m going to waffle on here for half an hour or so, so you’ve got plenty of time to actually read it when it comes to you. There are two – these are actually copies of the two diplomatic – in the UK we call the basic means of communication which diplomats use within the Foreign Office, we call them diplomatic telegrams. In Washington they call them diplomatic cables. I’m not quite sure what the Germans call them, to be honest, but these are copies of the two diplomatic cables I sent back to London about receiving intelligence from torture in Uzbekistan. I know, from speaking to one or two of the interns here, particularly, that there are people here who are considering a career in diplomacy. You may like to look at these carefully because you’ll be able to know that if you write something like this, you will get sacked. Which is, you know, useful career advice. But do have a look. They do contain a number of acronyms which you won’t be able to understand.

    [06:17] These are copies which I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in the United Kingdom, and being obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, before giving them to me, the British government literally cuts out bits. It redacts them. It censors part. And about half the content of this one and a quarter of the content of that one is redacted. And they do it – they quite literally cut with scissors and a razor and then photocopy again. They do the cutting just to make sure there’s no photocopying mistake with Tipp-Ex or whatever. This is a wonderful sign of how government can be Kafkaesque, because these are both documents I wrote, and to give me a copy they have cut out bits of what I wrote in the hope I don’t remember what was there, which I think is really quite, quite amusing.

    [07:16] But even with those redactions, equally, they were classified Top Secret, and one of the things they have cut out is where it said “Top Secret,” because the classification Top Secret is a government secret. You’re not allowed to know that the classification Top Secret exists, even though everyone does know that exists. Introduction to, as I said, the Kafkaesque Western world.

    [07:43] Now I’m going to give these to you to read as I talk, because they’re probably more interesting than my talk, and if you could put one each side. As I say, you do have time to actually read it before you pass it on, and then when they get to the end if you could swap them over and send them down the other side. These are my two cables on intelligence under torture.

    [passes out documents]

    [08:10] Which leads me to wander gently around to the subject of the talk, realism or hypocrisy, Western diplomacy and freedom of expression. And I’m not going to keep you on tenterhooks as to what my conclusion will be, and I’m not going to, you know, advance a lengthy argument leading to conclusion, I will tell you that in my view Western policy on freedom of expression – and on other human rights, because I think freedom of expression is very interesting. It is a very good barometer for human rights in the country. I don’t know of any government which doesn’t allow freedom of expression which does not also commit a great many other human rights abuses. So freedom of expression is a very good measure of human rights in a country.

    [08:59] I think we’re hypocritical in two ways: The first way is that we are, and the most obvious way, is that we are extremely hypocritical about those countries in which we seek to target freedom of expression, in which we regard the lack of freedom of expression as a problem, and those countries in which we downplay it and don’t say anything about it for reasons of what’s known as realpolitik. But I also think we’re hypocritical in another way, which is that we ourselves in Western countries practice much less freedom of expression than we think we do. We receive a much less broad, particularly through the media, we receive a much less broad range of information and range of views than we realize. And that’s perhaps where I’ll start.

    [09:58] Now much of what I say comes from my personal experience, because largely that’s my best chance of telling you things you don’t already know, and also comes from examples taken from my own country, the UK, and from countries in which I served. But I think a lot of it has universal application. I think we can extrapolate from what I say to the situation in other countries. And let me start with a personal anecdote. We have a television program in the UK called Question Time in which a representative of each of the major political parties and then one or two other less political guests answer questions on the, you know, the political matters of the moment from a studio audience. And it’s a prestigious program. It’s a BBC flagship program. I used to watch it when I very first got interested in politics back in my teens, and it still goes on to this day. And I was extremely delighted, and genuinely honored, I would say, to be invited to take part two or three years ago. And it was taking part in Leeds. And I was actually on a train – not on a train to Leeds, but on a train to an interconnecting station to catch a train to Leeds – when my telephone rang and I was told that, oh, it had been decided that as international relations weren’t much in the news that week, I didn’t ought to take part in the program after all. Somebody else was being substituted. And I said I was on the way there. And I was bitterly disappointed.

    [11:44] I had been appearing – and since leaving the Foreign Office – life for whistleblowers is not easy. I’m not asking for your sympathy, though if anybody wants to take a collection and give me some money it’s very welcome, but – but life is not, it’s not easy to become a whistleblower, because all organizations, every organization, be it a business, be it a newspaper, the one thing they value most in their employees is loyalty to that organization. And there’s a view that if you’ve been in their view disloyal to your past organization, for whatever reason that may be, you are not a trustworthy employee.

    [12:24] I know – you know, whistleblowers are a small group. There are, you know, five or six people I can mention in the UK, not many more in the States, who are major whistleblowers. We all know each other. We keep in touch with ourselves. We meet each other. We have a kind of mutual support organization. Virtually no one has ever managed to get a job. Some have obtained more respectability than others. Our kind of godfather, the person who mentors us and is very kind to us, is Dan Ellsberg in the States, who has at least made some sort of career. But in terms of ever being again in any situation of responsibility, or in any vaguely well paid employment, it’s almost impossible.

    [13:13] I found – I used to do, I still do, jobbing bits of journalism. I give talks at places where some of which pay good money and some don’t. One of the things I used to do is actually appear quite regularly on the BBC giving commentary on various programs, which used to pay small money, but it was helpful. And for two or three years after I left the Foreign Office I was appearing in total 30 or 40 times on BBC radio or television programs in a year, a bit less than once a week, culminating in that invitation to appear on Question Time which was canceled at the last moment. Since then I have been invited – I have been keeping a count of this on my blog, and I contacted a member where the count is now – I think it’s 32 times now I’ve been invited onto BBC programs, and every time out of 32 consecutive times I’ve been phoned up and canceled before the program happened.

    [14:15] There have been two exceptions. One was an appearance on News Night to talk about the Uzbek cotton industry, where I went on – and it wasn’t live, it was a feature in the program – I went in on that afternoon, was filmed, gave my interview, but although the feature ran on the Uzbek cotton industry, my bit was cut out, didn’t appear.

    [14:38] The only time out of these 32 times I did get on was a radio program which had a guest presenter, a gentleman called Peter Oborne, who is a very interesting (laughs), yes, very interesting journalist, I was going to say, of eclectic views, was how I was going to put it. But he did have – he was a guest presenter on a program, he wanted to have me on, and he said to the BBC, “I’m having Craig Murray, and if I’m not having Craig Murray we’re canceling the show.” And as he’d been announced as the guest presenter of things, he managed to get me on.

    [15:17] Now I do not know the mechanism, I do not know the mechanism, I genuinely don’t, by which I’m banned from the BBC. I don’t know how it happens that researchers or producers thinking up the guests they want to comment on a particular program – “Okay, Murray’s good.” Somebody phones me up. Somebody books me. Then at some stage in the next – usually in the next two or three hours, a mechanism kicks in and I get phoned back and I’m canceled. I don’t know the mechanism used to make that happen.

    [15:47] Somebody, not me, put in a freedom of information request to the BBC, which is a public body, asking for any documents on Craig Murray on the decision to cancel him on Question Time that time and on why he’s been disinvited from so many BBC programs since. And the BBC replied that there was an exception under the Freedom of Information Act for matters relating to journalism, and the decision not to invite me was a journalistic decision, therefore exempt from the Freedom of Information Act request. Which is fascinating. Because that means, according to the BBC, censorship and journalism are identical things. Which is not something most of us would talk about.

    [16:43] So I’m merely giving my own example, and as I talk to you more – when I finish you can ask me questions – I think I actually do not have any views which are not held by quite a large proportion of the population and which are not, you know, reasonably respectable at a dinner party. I do not have extraordinary views of the kind that need to be banned from the airways. I do have a different critique on foreign policy than the one you generally hear, a different view of government than the one you generally hear in the media, and I have of course a professional background that enables me to speak in that way with some authority.

    [17:17] One thing, in my view, that happened with the Occupy movement – and I went down, I lectured at the Occupy London site, I spent time there, I met the people there – in my view, the media were actually deliberately cherry picking people from the Occupy movement as spokesmen precisely because they appeared to be rather inarticulate, disorganized, or – That’s one of the problems with something like the Occupy movement, which has a philosophy of not having leaders and not having official spokesmen. Because when you’re in an organization and you do have an official spokesman, you choose someone who’s good at it. If you say, “We don’t have anyone,” you know, it’s all free and open, you give the media – and I have no doubt in some interviews I saw that the people from the Occupy movement were being put up by the media’s representatives in this knowledge that that person was not up to the job, and that’s why that person was selected by the media. I just put that out as another way I feel the media operates.

    [18:19] You know, again, on this subject of media identification, in the UK, opinion polls showed continually that between 30% and 35% – there really wasn’t a great deal of variation – of people were against the intervention in Libya, were against the bombings in Libya. Of journalistic output in the mainstream media concerned with the subject – I confess I didn’t do a survey – I saw virtually nothing, Seamus Milne almost alone. On the BBC, both the line taken and the way it was reported, left it as though there were no question. And, now I’m a professional diplomat – I was a professional diplomat. I’ve drafted Security Council resolutions. I’ve negotiated a Security Council resolution. There’s no doubt at all that the initial No Fly zone was legal in international law. It is arguable, it’s arguable either way, legitimately, that the attack from the air on Gaddafi forces which were threatening Benghazi was legal. That’s arguable. It is beyond doubt illegal for NATO forces to have gone on, once the Gaddafi forces were essentially defeated, to carpet bomb Sirte, killing more people than have died in Homs, something which you won’t see reported in the media, mainstream media, at all. Nothing in UNSCR 1970 or 1973 urged NATO to take a side in the [Libya] civil war and bomb the other side into submission, and made it in effect a capital offense to be a Gaddafi supporter. And I should say, I’ve met Colonel Gaddafi. I’ve negotiated with him, discussed with him, when the African Union was founded. I have no time for Gaddafi at all. Of course I’m sorry he died in that horrible way. I wouldn’t want that to happen to anybody. But I’m in no sense a supporter of him. I’m not – I’m not unhappy that he’s gone. But what NATO did in the latter stages of the conflict was plainly illegal.

    [21:00] There was a very good explanation of votes on Syria by the Russian delegation to the Security Council in which he said – and again, reported nowhere in the English media. In fact, I used to, when I was Ambassador in Tashkent, I had had of course to speak Russian. I used to be reasonably fluent in Russian. Now it’s quite difficult for me, but I can translate at least a written piece of text into Russian. I couldn’t find the UN’s English translation on line. I found a Russian translation on their mission website, and I translated it myself, and actually it was very eloquent. He said, “We have seen in Libya what the West means by the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. We have seen a No Fly zone meant to stop aerial warfare used to justify the mass bombing of the town of Sirte and other towns. We have seen a resolution which we were assured when it was passed did not encompass regime change, used to justify regime change. When we have been cheated on the Libya resolutions, why would we pass any resolution on Syria?”

    [22:15] And again, I am by no means a fan of Putin. I actually am a major critic of the Putin regime. But there’s a great deal of truth in what that Russian ambassador said about what’s happening in Libya and what’s happening in Sirte and the Western attitude to it, and what in my view were Western attempts to hijack and control the forces unleashed by the Arab Spring. And yet that’s not – as I said, there’s been no fair reportage anywhere in the UK media about the Russian position., no attempt at it. We get – the same is true of the war in Afghanistan where the amount of – there is no correspondence whatsoever between the views of the British people on the war in Afghanistan and the way it is reported in the media. And there has to be an extent to which social media, networking, Twitter, Facebook, is providing an outlet for ordinary people to express views which the mainstream media has abdicated, because the mainstream media is almost entirely signed up to a neocon agenda of continual war.

    [23:39] And I was phoned – I have a blog and I’m a whistleblower myself. I’m a reluctant whistleblower. As you will see from those telegrams going around, I was attempting internally using classification in secret to stop the policy from obtaining intelligence from torture, and I did think I would be able to stop it. I had no idea that government ministers throughout the civilized, so-called, world had decided that we should use torture as an instrument of policy. I thought this must be something which the security services were doing without the knowledge of politicians and that I would be able to stop it, which was why I sent those telegrams.

    [24:22] In fact, sadly, the West had moved to a policy of advocating torture. I was seeing it in Uzbekistan, but the same was true – when Mubarak fell, suddenly the whole media changed sides. Suddenly we were reading things about Mubarak’s regime and how terrible it was, which we hadn’t been reading in the media much at all for years and years, and Mubarak’s regime hadn’t suddenly gotten any worse in the last few months. It had always been that bad, and indeed Mubarak’s torture chambers were also providing intelligence to the CIA and to MI6, and so were the torture chambers of pretty well all of the dictators who are now being attacked in the Arab Spring.

    [25:07] You have Saudi Arabia sitting like a spider in the center of the web, a country with a dreadful human rights record, which is virtually never, ever criticized by the West. Saudi Arabia is slightly more criticized in the Western media; it’s not criticized at all by Western governments, because Western governments actually don’t really care about this human rights stuff. They pretend they care about the human rights stuff because there’s a constituency at home which cares about the human rights stuff. If you have somebody like me who tries to take them at their word in promoting human rights in a country in which they have other interests, that person becomes a threat to the states and has to be removed as a threat in any way.

    [26:00] Bahrain. We have this extraordinary situation where Western support for the Arab Spring evaporates when it comes to Bahrain and the Saudi invasions of Bahrain. I had a friend in a diplomatic mission at the United Nations in New York. You may recall that the Americans were pretending in public to be against the bombing of Libya, right up until the last moment. A lot of propaganda was put out saying the American military are against it, they’re not prepared. All the time that propaganda was put out, they were moving the military assets into place to do it. I had a friend in New York who phoned me before either the UNSCR 1970, 1973, while those resolutions were under discussion at the United Nations and before the invasion of [Libya] – so this is not post hoc rationalization, and you can find the entry I put on my blog saying this before any of these things happened. Friend of mine at the United Nations phoned me and he said, “The Americans are cutting a deal whereby they will okay the Saudis to invade Bahrain in exchange for an Arab League call for NATO to go into Libya.” That’s how cynical, that’s how cynical realpolitik is. That’s how diplomacy really works. And remember that when you see Western leaders criticizing human rights in other countries, that actually they are engaged in the most cynical of maneuvers which almost always come back to obtaining control of physical resources.

    [27:53] Let me take you back to Uzbekistan. Why there were we getting this intelligence from torture? The intelligence we got from torture was rubbish. I think one of those telegrams I sent starts by saying, “This is useless, immoral and illegal to obtain this intelligence from torture.” And it really was. The intelligence vastly exaggerated the size of Al Qaeda in Central Asia. What was happening was President Karimov, who runs what on all measures, in all human rights organizations, have Uzbekistan down as one of the worst dictatorships in the world. He was obtaining a great deal of Western support, including, according to a recent survey by the Open Society Institute, back then in 2002 and 2003 he was getting over 2 billion dollars a year from the United States, mostly from Pentagon budgets, into his armed forces and his security services and a fair bit into his own pocket, in exchange for which he had given the Americans and the Germans both air bases in Uzbekistan to support their military operations in Afghanistan. And Uzbekistan, of course, neighbors Afghanistan. And that’s the ostensible reason for our support of the Uzbek regime, because of logistic supply into Afghanistan.

    [29:22] But if you dig a little bit deeper, you discover that in 1997 the Uzbek ambassador, Sadyq Safaev, held a meeting in the Texas governor’s office with George Bush while George Bush was governor of Texas, three years before he became president. George Bush held a meeting in the governor’s office in Austin with the Uzbek ambassador and with Enron, and Enron signed a deal to tie up Uzbekistan’s oil and gas, in effect, to market it, to export in Europe. And the access route out was to be by a gas pipeline to be built over Afghanistan running incidentally through – the trans-Afghan pipeline still exists, the Asian Development Bank is – it exists as a plan. The Asian Development Bank has signed up to fund it. At that time when George Bush Jr. was meeting the Uzbek government and Enron in the Texas governor’s office to sign this up, the contract for the trans-Afghan pipeline was with another company called Unocal. Unocal were actually in talks with the Taliban to protect the pipeline. On the board of Unocal at that time was George Bush Sr., and the consultant paid by Unocal, who was conducting the negotiations with the Taliban, was a certain Mr. Karzai. Which I hope gives you some indication, when people say that foreign policy is driven by a search for hydrocarbon resources, in large part, or other resources, that isn’t theory. It’s not rationalization. It’s true in a very dull, real world way.

    [31:32] You know, if you read my book, Murder in Samarkand, you actually see there are facsimiles of the documents surrounding that meeting with the Bush and the Uzbek government and Enron. There’s a copy of a letter from Enron to George Bush confirming the meeting and what it’s about. These things really do happen in the real world. Western policy is driven by very hard financial interests, the interests of a very elite bunch of people who control a great deal and indirectly control the media narrative that surrounds the explanation the public is given as to why these wars, these attacks on human rights, happen.

    [32:10] To go back to that intelligence in Uzbekistan, there has to be a reason why you’re supporting the Uzbek dictatorship with a lot of money and training for their armed forces. This is one of the worst dictatorships in the world. How do you justify giving that dictatorship support? Well you justify it as part of a war on terror and that you are backing them against Al Qaeda. Except that there is no Al Qaeda in Uzbekistan. There’s virtually no Al Qaeda presence in Central Asia, but certainly none in Uzbekistan, virtually none.

    [32:54] I should say I’m not one of those people – there are people who don’t believe Al Qaeda exists. They are perfectly entitled to their view. From the work I was doing, the access I had, I have no doubt whatsoever, from direct evidence, of the existence of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda exists. It’s not nearly as big as it was made out to be, or as dangerous as it was made out to be, but it does exist.

    [33:19] This intelligence material – poor people were being taken off the streets, political prisoners. It could be for almost any reason. I knew one chap who actually worked for the University of Westminster. He was an Uzbek. He had a dispute with a member of the security services who wished to take his orchard in order to build a pub and restaurant on that orchard. And the way Uzbekistan works, totalitarian dictatorship, in order to get his orchard, the member of the security services just had the guy picked up and taken into custody, where he was tortured into confessing to Al Qaeda membership, and he did.

    [34:01] Torture in Uzbekistan is extremely prevalent, and by torture, the famous cases of people being boiled alive, and they really happened. I got the evidence. I got detailed photographic evidence. I sent it back and the autopsy report to the University of Glasgow Pathology Department. We particularly had very detailed photographs of one corpse which was in an extraordinary state. The guy who did the autopsy reports from these detailed photographs is now the Chief Pathologist of the United Kingdom. He said that the chap had had his fingernails pulled out. He had been beaten about the face and the neck, and he’d died of immersion in boiling liquid. He had been boiled alive. And it was immersion, not splashing, so there was a clear tide line running right across the chest and the upper limbs and 100% scalding underneath. That’s extreme, but the forcing of a limb into boiling water was not unusual. The smashing of knees and elbows, the sexual molestation, genital mutilation, rape, and very frequently the torturing of children in front of parents until they confess. In these circumstances, the Uzbeks were getting literally hundreds of confessions to Al Qaeda membership every year, and these confessions were coming to me as CIA intelligence reports.

    [35:28] And often they contained information which I knew not to be true. And because we were also sometimes able – you know, occasionally someone would escape, someone would be released because of someone who was able to exert influence, get them released, we were learning also from our investigations into torture, we were learning what people had to confess to under torture. And they had to confess to membership in Al Qaeda, they had to confess to traveling to Afghanistan, to meeting Osama bin Laden in person, taking part in Al Qaeda training camps, and they had to sign up to long lists of other people and say, “Yes, these are also members of Al Qaeda.” Very often they had no idea who those people were, but they were given a list.

    [36:11] And the truth of the matter is, almost everybody in this room – probably everybody in this room, including me – if they were cutting off your genitals, you would sign. Almost – and if they were doing it to your child, you would sign even quicker. Almost everybody signs.

    [36:27] But very often we were able – not very often, occasionally – we were able physically to check some of this CIA intelligence. There’s one example I like to give. I’m not sure if in Germany you have the Jehovah’s Witnesses or what you call them here. There was one list of Al Qaeda people. Sometimes I would see names of people I knew, named as Al Qaeda people in these long lists. Once I saw the name of a professor in Tashkent who I knew, I’d been to dinner with the man, and he was and is a Jehovah’s Witness, and he was named by the CIA as a member of Al Qaeda. Now there are not many Jehovah’s Witnesses in Al Qaeda. I actually doubt that Al Qaeda even try and recruit Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have no doubt that Jehovah’s Witnesses would try and recruit Al Qaeda if they could find them, but I don’t think it works the other way around.

    [37:20] You know, so much of this material was nonsense. There was material about training camps that named locations with coordinates given where we knew – we had been there and there was nothing. But the extraordinary thing is, what got me in more trouble than anything with the Foreign Office, they hated the fact that I was protesting about the intelligence from torture. What they really hated was the fact that I was saying the intelligence wasn’t true, and giving examples of it not being true. Because they were saying it’s high-quality intelligence. This is building into our intelligence picture.

    [37:49] And remember that I was called back to a meeting where – basically I wasn’t sacked immediately at that meeting, but the process was started, and that meeting took place two weeks before we invaded Iraq. I was saying your intelligence is rubbish. And at precisely that same time, of course, we had published the dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction which contained a lot of other intelligence material which was also rubbish. It was completely untrue. And I knew that as well, having been head of the Foreign Office union in charge of embargo surveillance.

    [38:30] So I’m afraid to say that in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the analysis of intelligence, which is something I had spent quite a lot of my career doing and at which I believe I was very good, had ceased to be a genuine intellectual exercise in determining the facts and had become instead a process of providing lies to government that government wanted to publish. Making the world as it was. The government wanted to support Karimov for reasons of oil and gas and the war in Afghanistan. There needed to be a reason for supporting him, therefore there needed to be Al Qaeda activity in Central Asia, where it did not in fact exist. And the media is complicit in this building of lies. And this is why I want to widen out the war on terror more widely.

    [39:26] Eliza Manningham-Buller, who was then head of MI5, about three years ago made a major speech in which she said there are 2,200 active Islamic terrorists in the United Kingdom. Two thousand, two hundred. And she made it plain in her speech that she didn’t mean supporters of terrorism or those who provide logistic support, she meant people actually personally prepared to carry out a terrorist act. There were 2,200 active Islamic terrorists in the United Kingdom. That’s just not true, is it? It just isn’t true. It’s what the intelligence says. It’s what the government wants the intelligence to say. And a lot of those people in Uzbekistan who were tortured were tortured into talking in particular about Al Qaeda plots in Germany, and there have been trials of people in Germany as a result of that kind of intelligence. And the strongest supporter of the Uzbek government in the West is actually the German government, not the United States government, which is a terrific shame on Germany and on the people of Germany. But those 2,200 Islamic terrorists of Eliza Manningham-Buller, much of that comes from intelligence obtained under torture, and it cannot be true. “There are 2,200 active Islamic terrorists in the UK,” have been here for – she made the speech three years ago. In that three years they have killed precisely…nobody. They must be the worst terrorists in the world.

    [40:53] And the truth of the matter is, unfortunately there was a terrorist attack, by entirely homegrown terrorists whose motive was they were outraged by our complicity in torture abroad, as one of them said on their suicide video. There has been one terrorist attack in which about 60 people were killed. There have been a couple of failed attempts. But in fact the number of people who have died of terrorism in the UK throughout the war on terror is far, far less than were killed in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, even than were killed in mainland UK during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. But that’s not the impression the media gives you. In fact, there has only been one year, there has only been one year since 2001 when more people have not died of drowning in their bath than have been killed by terrorists in the UK. On average, about 18 people every year in the United Kingdom die because, usually because they’re drunk. They drown while taking a bath. In the last 11 years, that’s 198 people have died of drowning in the bath. While in that same period, I think 62 people have been killed by terrorists. You have three times as much chance statistically of drowning in your bath as you have of being killed by a terrorist, and yet we’ve got the press reporting, absolutely uncritically – not one mainstream media, not even The Guardian, said bollocks when she said there are 2,200 active Arab terrorists in the UK. And Tony Blair said that the war on terror, Islamic terrorism, is a fundamental threat to our civilization on a par with World War II. It’s nonsense. Everybody in this room has a much, much greater chance of being struck by lightning than being killed by a terrorist.

    [V I D E O J U M P C U T ]

    [42:56] That’s not fictitious money. That money exists. An insignificant percentage of that money went to pay the soldiers. Most of it went to arms companies and supplies of private mercenary security companies and companies like the Halliburtons. There are people who have become millionaires in a big way. I mean, hundreds – individuals have made hundreds of millions out of war profiteering. And then you have to look at that nexus of corporate structures and who finances the politicians and who finances much of the mainstream media. And that gives you some idea of the nexus of lies, false narratives designed to promote interests which ordinary people are up against.

    [43:50] And I’m sorry to say that the tones of political debate have narrowed. I want to give you one example from the UK, and it comes from someone who’s a hero of mine. I told you before, I’m a liberal. I’m not – I don’t view myself as a left-wing person. In my – everything I’ve said today would have been a perfectly normal thing for anyone to have said in 1977. Today it somehow puts me on the far left, which is really, really scary. Because the terms of debate have narrowed.

    [44:25] A great Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, back in the 1870s, William Ewart Gladstone, was campaigning against – he was in opposition, he’d been Prime Minister, he was now leader of the opposition, and he was campaigning against the second Afghan war as part of his election campaign. And he made a speech in Midlothian in Glasgow which became a very famous speech, which when I was a young man was in the standard history textbooks, Gladstone’s Midlothian Campaign. It isn’t anymore. It should be. Gladstone made a speech in which he referred to British soldiers driving out Afghan women and children from their villages into the snows of Afghanistan. He said the humble hearth of an Afghan civilian should be as sacred as yours and mine. And he said, “The Afghans are fighting our troops. If they resist, would you not do the same?” That’s a man who was four times Prime Minister, who won that election, becoming Prime Minister for the third time at that stage. “If they resist, would you not do the same?”

    [45:43] No mainstream politician in any of our countries could get away with, would be allowed to say that the people fighting our troops are right, because nowadays false patriotism and supporting the troops is such a stream. And I blame the media and I blame those who work in the media who give into it. The notion that anybody fighting our soldiers may have right on their side is not a notion that anyone will find any example of any mainstream Western politician, let alone someone who’d been Prime Minister twice and going on to be Prime Minister twice. The terms of debate have narrowed. What you are allowed to think and still be respectable has narrowed. These are extremely dangerous trends in our society, and that’s what lies behind the PATRIOT Act and this raft of ludicrous authoritarian measures that we face.

    [46:47] I happen to believe that the Karimov regime is so extreme and such a barbarous dictatorship that I do not condemn any Uzbek who takes up arms against it, provided of course he’s not indulging in behavior which randomly endangers civilians. But in my view, armed struggle against a real dictatorship, a totalitarian dictatorship, can be an honest choice. Now what I’ve just said is illegal. I’ve just glorified terrorism under the UK definition of terrorism and the act that prohibits the glorifying of terrorism, because the terms of debate are now that narrow. And the failure, the abject failure, of the mainstream media, largely because of the ownership structures, the vast majority of them, to take this on, is why social media is a vital force in society now.

    Thank you.



    [47:45] ICD HOST MARK DONFRIED: Thank you very much, Ambassador Murray, for the excellent lecture, which I think we all really, really appreciated, especially given the topic of the conference.

    [48:01] AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: Hi, my name is Ingrid “Kradl,” I’m a Belgian journalist based in Paris for the moment. Talking about freedom of expression, and as you are a diplomat, I would be interested in hearing your comment on the French law on the so-called Armenian genocide. You may know that two days ago the Constitutional Committee has censored that law so it cannot be applicable. And talking about international relation and the consequences of the whole stuff, because this law had existed for years and years and years, and the whole story, the whole pressure about it, I would be interested in having your views on it.

    [48:44] AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Hello, I’m “Vukukatich”, I’m student at Vilnius University. You mentioned in the beginning of your speech about how the Western world, particularly Britain, doesn’t have the other side of the media story. And you mentioned Russia in that context. Do you perhaps, I’m just wondering now, because I live in Lithuania where Russian media is quite popular, especially RTV, which is quite new. I don’t know if you watch it, but do you think global media, with the kind of a Russian worldview like RTV, could bring some kind of different perspective or different angle of view at these, well, quite important things to the Western media?

    [49:31] AUDIENCE MEMBER #3: Hi. Mr. Craig Murray, I think this is a historic moment. It’s the first time that I see somebody talking about human rights this way, because I agree with you, and when you said that the social media is the only way to at least create awareness about this false human rights view of the Western diplomacy. Do you think that exactly because the social media is so important at this moment, that [ ] is the ultimate attack on freedom of expression, and is the ultimate act of terrorism of our governments to stop social media, to tell us what you are telling us now? Thank you.

    [50:24] CRAIG MURRAY: The question on the Armenian genocide law in France and the limits on freedom of speech is an interesting one. I don’t believe that freedom of speech is an absolute. I do believe there are occasions when it should be stopped. It’s very hard to formulate precise rules for that, and it depends on context and also timing, strangely. John Stuart Mill, who is my philosophical guide in life, noted in On Liberty that to argue that corn merchants are evil robbers who [ ] on the starvation of the poor, is a perfectly valid, legitimate argument to put it in a pamphlet. But to say the same thing to a rioting mob holding torches outside a corn merchant’s house in the middle of the night is different. And I think that’s true, but it’s very hard to quantify, you know, why context is important.

    [51:22] But I think to, you know, deny the Armenian genocide happened or deny it was a genocide or say it was all just part of a war or whatever, I find it hard to imagine a context when you shouldn’t be allowed to say that if that is what you actually believe. I have a problem in Germany with the laws on Holocaust denial. I personally, I served in the British embassy in Warsaw. I was involved in organizing to celebrate– well, celebration’s wrong. Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, for example. So I met many concentration camp survivors. I even met some people who were involved in the administration of the concentration camps, incidentally. So I have no doubt at all that the Holocaust happened. But should it be illegal to say it didn’t, if that’s actually what you believe? I’m not sure it should be illegal. In my view, limitations on freedom of speech – I think governments are the worst people in the world to determine what is truth and what is not. And when you have a law limiting specifically what you can say on a certain subject, that is a government deciding the truth. And governments are the most unscrupulous and self-interested organism which man has yet invented. So the idea that governments can be the arbiters of intellectual truth, I think is a very, very dangerous one. So, on balance, you know, I’m with the court and against the government in advance on the Armenian genocide issue.

    [53:02] On the media, actually I think Russia Today or whatever it’s called is very, very good as an alternative news source. I mean it really is good, as long as it’s not talking about Russia. On almost every other subject, it actually gives a very interesting and different perspective which is worth hearing. I mean, personally, what I do an awful lot is I will hop between the channels. I will see, you know, what Sky Fox is saying, for a laugh. I’ll see what the BBC is saying, which, interestingly, five years ago you could think would be different to what Sky Fox is saying and is no longer different to what Sky Fox say, which is slightly scary. Then I’ll see CNN. Then I’ll see Russia Today. Then I’ll see CCTV, the Chinese channel, and I’ll watch Press TV, just to get the different perspectives. And I think the ability to do that – unfortunately it’s not an ability a lot of people [ ]. But Russia Today, a lot of their stuff is extremely good and thought-provoking and interesting, especially that amusing chap who does the economics. And as long as they’re not talking about Russia, where everything they say is little lies, it’s worth looking at. They sent me, they actually sent me a very expensive looking high-definition webcam so they could interview me a few weeks ago, but they haven’t actually gotten around to interviewing me. But I do have a webcam, which is very nice.

    [54:24] On social media, I think we are going to see – undoubtedly governments are going to try to take, you know, to narrow in and reduce this freedom which has burst out all over the place. Governments have a growing intolerance for freedom of any kind. I predict over the next – under all kinds of pretexts. Pedophilia is always a very good excuse for stopping anything, because no one can argue. I think we’re going to find an increasing raft of government legislation throughout the Western world attempting to attack Internet freedom. I’ve got no doubt that’s coming. And I’ve got no doubt it should be resisted. But the Internet does seem to have this wonderful ability to work round censorship attempts in one way or another. You know, no matter how people try to block information, eventually a workaround seems to get found. Even in Uzbekistan, people manage occasionally to see my website.

    [55:26] One thing I want to – I meant – it’s very hard for those of us in the West to realize in a totalitarian dictatorship how absolute control of information is. In May of 2005 the Uzbek government killed 700 or 800 demonstrators, shot them dead in Andijan, where they crushed an attempted pro-democracy uprising. That was the only time I’ve ever known Uzbekistan to be the lead news item on the BBC, and it’s probably actually that day, the day they killed 700, 800 demonstrators, Uzbekistan was probably the lead news item everywhere in the world, everywhere in the Western world, for one day. Five days later I was speaking on the telephone to people in Tashkent who did not know it had happened. And that is what life is like in a genuine totalitarian dictatorship.

    [56:19] AUDIENCE MEMBER #4: Hello, I just wanted to ask you one thing, because obviously you’ve been on an extraordinary journey yourself of learning, and you have a website and you do talks like this and you published a book. In terms of all the kind of controls of information, what have you found the best ways of sharing what you know?

    [56:44] CRAIG MURRAY: I think undoubtedly the web. When I left the Foreign Office, my immediate – on the day I officially left, my immediate thought was to get out the information of what happened to me as completely as I could. And I’m not – this is not being melodramatic. I knew David Kelly, for example, professionally. My first thought was, I have to get everything I know out in order to minimize the incentive to kill me. So on that day, the docu– I didn’t have – those documents I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, I didn’t have those particular documents, but I had related documents, and I put them on my own website, and by contacting other bloggers who contacted other bloggers, on day one we got them onto 3,000 websites worldwide. And by sort of day five, we found websites, we could calculate, with a certain amount of extrapolation, but we calculated there had been 20 million hits worldwide, by day five, and that was before the invention of WikiLeaks. You know, the net is the most extraordinary enabler.

    [57:50] And also, incidentally it also shows WikiLeaks to be – I mean I know Julian Assange and I like him, but WikiLeaks is only a publisher. It’s not a whistleblower, it’s only a publisher. And we did it before WikiLeaks, and if WikiLeaks goes under, we can still do it. It’s only an enabler. It’s not – it’s not that important. But undoubtedly the web is, you know –

    [58:16] I have spoken probably – I must have given a hundred talks like this one since I left the Foreign Office. The largest ones have had, you know, audiences of 2,000, maybe. The smallest one I ever did was four, I think. But if you add all those people up, add all those people up, and you don’t get, you know, 5% of one day’s circulation of [Davy’s?] newspaper. Of course people – you are going to go home and say, “I just heard the most amazing man give a talk,” and word will spread in that way, but what you can really do by old-fashioned means of political organization is very small, unfortunately. The web is more helpful, but even then, my blog – we bloggers like to exaggerate. We always say how many unique visitors we get per month. My blog gets 120,000 unique visitors a month, when I’m writing it. Last week I haven’t been doing it because occasionally I get depressed. But on a normal day, that’s 10,000 people, normally. And my blog is, in the Cision rankings of UK social media, my blog’s #7. People like Guido Fawkes really – I mean, he talks about, you know, 400,000 unique visitors a month or whatever. That actually really means about 25,000 a day, and that’s the biggest blog in the UK. The important thing about the social media is its aggregation. There are so many of us, and you add it all together. But the influence an individual blog can have – probably at least 50 or 60 of my stories have been printed up, taken out and reprinted by the mainstream media. Then they get seen. But the – I wouldn’t exaggerate too much what you can do on a blog. Document leaks and things get information out very well, because people want to see the documents.

    ANOTHER HOST: Okay. Thank you very much, Ambassador Murray.

    CRAIG MURRAY: Thank you.


  • me in us

    And this is the accompanying interview youtube transcript:


    Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
    The Berlin Freedom of Expression Forum
    Censorship and Freedom in Traditional and New Media:
    The Revolution of Media as a tool of Freedom of Expression
    February 28th to March 2nd, 2012

    MARCH 1, 2012


    QUESTIONER #1: Welcome to the 2012 Freedom of Expression forum. Today we have Ambassador Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan. Thank you for joining us. Your lecture today was on “Realism or Hypocrisy? Western Democracy and the Freedom of Expression,” and on that theme we’d like to ask you some questions, if that’s okay. Those who cooperate with the West are generally portrayed more positively than those who oppose it. For example, the difference between the portrayal of America and Iran. In this sense, would you agree that the media is used to form public opinion as part of the Western intercontinental diplomacy effort?

    CRAIG MURRAY: Yes, I think that’s undoubtedly true. It’s not merely that there’s a positive portrayal of pro-Western countries and a negative portrayal of countries which are viewed as not promoting Western interests, but it’s a false portrayal in that particularly questions of human rights are ignored in Western allies and highlighted in Western enemies. The situation in Saudi Arabia as regards human rights, it’s very similar to the situation in Iran. It’s possible to argue Iran is a little bit more democratic, in fact, but that’s not the impression you get from Western media, where demonization of Iran is a continual theme.

    [01:27] QUESTIONER #1: Do you think that nothing really has changed since the end of the Cold War? Because the Soviet bloc as well as the West used to do the same thing, in terms of demonizing your enemies.

    CRAIG MURRAY: No, I think sadly that’s true. There was a period immediately after the end of the Cold War when this kind of power politics seemed to be out of fashion. You know it was possible to believe in the ’90s that the world actually was becoming a rather better, less confrontational place, and that the rule of law may prevail, that international law may become more powerful. But really the Bush-Blair era shattered that with the invasion of Iraq and the continual warfare we’ve seen since. I mean, there’s not been a moment since 2001 when U.S. forces haven’t been invading and fighting somewhere. And there seems to be no intention to end this policy of perpetual war. People make money from it.

    [02:30] QUESTIONER #1: Unfortunately. You mention in your letter that there’s an exception to the Freedom of Information Act when it comes to journalists, or journalism. Don’t you find that a bit contradictory? I mean, I think of the Pentagon Papers when I think about journalism and freedom of information.

    CRAIG MURRAY: Yes, the BBC hides behind the exception for journalism in order to avoid justifying its policies as regards what it covers and what it doesn’t cover. As I mentioned, I for some reason am not allowed to appear on the BBC anymore, and freedom of information requests asking why and asking to see the papers discussing why I’m not allowed to appear and why I’ve been removed from a list of programs have been answered but the BBC won’t reply because it’s a question of journalism and journalistic judgment. Well it isn’t. It’s a question of censorship.

    The exception to a Freedom of Information Act for journalism was a good idea. What it was meant to do was ensure that – let’s say that you are a criminal. A journalist is investigating you. It means that you can’t go and do a Freedom of Information Act to discover what the journalist knows about you. So when investigative journalism is happening, to be able to protect that from a Freedom of Information Act request is not unreasonable. I can see why they put it in. But the BBC is extending that to use it to cover policy, in the case of why I’m not allowed on the BBC, but also in the case of its policy on coverage of Israel and Palestine, for example. The BBC has refused to release its policy on its coverage of Israel and Palestine on the grounds that it’s a question of journalism.

    [04:17] QUESTIONER #1: You mentioned that most employers value loyalty, and if you have a mark against you in the past when it comes to whistleblowing, they wouldn’t want to hire you because they’re also afraid. Does this imply that maybe they have something to hide?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think probably every employer has something to hide. I think it’s more a case of what any employer wants to know is when it comes to any conflict of interest the employee will always be loyal to them first and foremost, either as an individual or to the institution, be it a newspaper or be it a company or be it an NGO.

    It sadly just is true that whistleblowers in our society have a very, very difficult time. Virtually every single whistleblower ends up being charged with a criminal offense. In my case I was accused of financial irregularities in government accounting and of issuing visas in exchange for sex. I was suspended for six months, subjected to a criminal investigation. In the end I was found not guilty. But in the meantime the government had leaked these completely false accusations to the media. And they do that to whistleblowers very regularly.

    Brigadier Janis Karpinski was in charge of all American prisoners in Iraq. She became the scapegoat for Abu Ghraib and the torture carried out there, even though she’d only ever been there once, because she was in charge of all American prisoners all over Iraq and wasn’t based at Abu Ghraib. She came out and said that she had seen an order signed in person by Donald Rumsfeld which detailed these matters of torture, which said a prisoner should be held naked, that they should be threatened by dogs, or they should be kept in stress positions. She said Rumsfeld himself had signed an order detailing this. The day after she said that, she was caught shoplifting.

    Scott Ritter, the American member of the UN arms inspection team who said there were no Iraqi WMD, was enticed into an internet chat room into conversing with a CIA agent posing as an underage girl and was convicted of online pedophilia, in effect, just shortly after he blew the whistle on Iraqi WMD. Julian Assange, of course, is facing these really very, very strange rape accusations which don’t seem in terms of the evidence presented to genuinely amount to very much. So, not finding employment is only one of many things that governments do to whistleblowers.

    [07:25] QUESTIONER #1: Speaking of WikiLeaks, what about the contradiction between Bradley Manning and also the case earlier with the Army about that sergeant that was found guilty of killing civilians of Iraq? He was only demoted one rank and fined for his pain, whereas Bradley Manning is facing up to 20 years in prison, even when President Obama came out and said that he considered him guilty. Isn’t that a bit of a, not contradiction, but a conflict of interest, since he’s the Commander in Chief and he’s facing trial in a military tribunal?

    CRAIG MURRAY: Well, there have been numerous instances of American soldiers guilty of war crimes, guilty of criminal acts of other kinds in Iraq, getting off with extremely light sentences, or of great difficulty in convicting them at all. There’s an extraordinary problem with rape in the United States armed forces, the prevalence of rape, that very, very few people – I mean rape of female U.S. soldiers happens to an extraordinary degree, and the prevalence of rape compared to the conviction rate for it, you know, is quite an extraordinary incidence. These things are regarded as not really important by the U.S. authorities, whereas the persecution of Bradley Manning has really been dreadful. And it’s not only [inaudible]. As I understand it, he faces possible life imprisonment, not just 20 years. But as well as that, you know, he has been kept naked for long periods, kept in solitary confinement, subjected to all kinds of inhuman and degrading treatment, so I greatly worry about Bradley Manning and his future.

    QUESTIONER #1: My colleague now would like to ask you certain other questions.

    [09:06] QUESTIONER #2: Given the scandalous murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the outspoken critic of Putin’s violation of Chechen human rights abuse, would you say the media serves as a double-edged sword in that it can be used to uncover atrocious acts such as the ongoing violence in Syria, but also to conceal less desirable actions often perpetrated by a state?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think, you know, we have to generalize about the media, because you have to draw general lessons on what’s happening, and in general the media, in the West in particular, but also worldwide, tends very much to favor the policies of the state in which it’s situated, as a broad rule, and as I said earlier, you find that human rights abuses in Iran are detailed much more than human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, for example, because that’s the government’s position of supports to one country and opposition to another.

    Then you have individual journalists who really are the exception nowadays, who are brave investigative journalists. And you find those in all societies, Anna Politkovskaya being one. Her fate was extremely sad, but I mean it has to be said it’s a fate shared by dozens of other Russian journalists and dozens of other journalists around the world. But in Russia I was in a small town called Tolyatti. I went there specifically, to Russia specifically, to investigate the killings of journalists in provincial towns. So often young investigative journalists in provincial towns digging into local corruption get killed and nobody ever hears about it. Not just internationally people don’t hear bout it, people don’t hear about it in Russia outside that town. I was in the town of Tolyatti speaking to the editor of the local paper there. He was the fourth editor in five years, and his three predecessors had all been murdered. And in fact five years previously he had been the tea boy and he was now the editor because everybody else was dead. Which I need to check that he’s still with us, I do hope so.

    But we should be aware that there are so many journalists around the world doing their job in conditions of extreme danger, but still doing it and still not giving up. But sadly that is the exception. The vast majority of hacks in the media essentially propagate an accepted narrative that’s a narrative which is helpful to the government in terms of putting forward the view of the world which the government wants the population to believe.

    [12:05] QUESTIONER #2: [inaudible] To move on slightly from there, the power of political, corporate and military leaders of society who are uniquely positioned to commit elite crimes, as it were, or crimes of an insider nature that particularly are difficult to punish and have broad social consequences upon the masses – for example, the parliamentary expenses scandal. Considering this, what is the point of having freedom of expression if it will just be ignored by those who are in the best position to manipulate the masses?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think this is, you know, a very real problem. It’s actually a problem I struggle with myself. I run a blog in which I try to put forward facts and comment, but facts about events which are not properly reported by the mainstream media, or are ignored by the mainstream media, including, I’m just going to give one example, the deal between the United States and the Saudis for the U.S. to okay the Saudi invasion of Bahrain in terms for the Saudis organizing Arab League support for the U.S. attack on Libya. That wasn’t reported in the mainstream media at all, that this deal was cooked up and those two events were linked.

    But it’s very difficult, because you do feel like a voice crying in the wilderness, because the number of people you can reach compared to the ability of the corporate media to reach a mass audience is very small. And sometimes you come to the conclusion that protest is an existentialist act, but it’s something you have to do irrespective of whether it really has any effect or not.

    In my happier moments, I think that the gap in wealth between rich and poor, inequality in society, has grown so extreme and so large in our societies that more people see these things now than ever saw them before. There’s a much greater realization in society that society is organized and the state is organized in order to channel the resources of society to a very small elite. More and more people see that, hence the Occupy movement and that kind of thing. It may not have fully articulated itself yet, but there is undoubtedly a perception of that. And with that comes a perception that the media are not actually giving you the full stories. You know, you can’t see this huge growth in inequality for what it is without at the same time questioning what the media tell you. So there’s reason from that to hope that social media will be able to effectively fill that void between mass communication and the truth which exists at the moment. So I have my more cheerful moments. But on the other hand, the exercise of freedom of speech, in particular the use of it to tell untold truths, does have value as an existentialist act. It would be worth doing even if it achieved nothing.

    [15:26] QUESTIONER #2: Have you ever come into conflict with the acts and interests of your government and those of your personal conscience? How did you come to terms with those conflicts in resolving these situations, and can you give us some examples?

    CRAIG MURRAY: Yeah, the most obvious example – I’ll start with a minor example. I was working at the British embassy in Poland and I received an instruction from the government in London to go to the Polish Foreign Office and complain to them that the health warnings on Polish cigarette packets were too large. They were larger than the norm just been agreed by the EU. And at the time Poland was applying to join the EU. And because the tobacco industry had a major corporate interest and hold over the British Conservative party, which was then in power – in fact, Margaret Thatcher, when she left power, went on to work for William Morris, the cigarette manufacturer – I was told to go and tell the Poles they had to reduce the size of health warnings on their cigarette packets. I said, “No, I’m not going to tell them to reduce the size of warnings on the cigarette packets. That’s unconscionable. I will not do that.” And that was the first sort of real conflict, you know, sharp conflict, I’d had.

    Of course this raised its head 10 years later in a much stronger way where I was in Uzbekistan and the British government was receiving intelligence got from torture, and Uzbekistan as part of the extraordinary rendition program and that whole question of the use of torture intelligence in the war on terror. The strange thing about that is there were many ambassadors all around the world who like me would have been seeing intelligence from torture. If I’d been in Egypt or Morocco or wherever, I would have been seeing intelligence from torture and extraordinary rendition. There were hundreds of people in Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence and the British army who would get such intelligence and would know it came from torture. And I was the only person, as far as I’m aware, of any seniority, who entered any written protest of the use of intelligence from torture. Certainly I was the only person who was prepared to lose their job in opposing torture.

    And I’ve never understood that. To this day I don’t understand it. Because to me, I never felt I had a choice. For me torture is just wrong. And I couldn’t – I never had a second’s doubt of that. And it’s quite extraordinary, because of course when you start believing the rest of the world is mad (laughs) there must be serious doubts about your own sanity, because you can’t be the only sane person, by definition. But I’ve to this day never understood why other people, who I knew, men that I’d worked with in this organization for 20 years, were prepared to go along with torture. I would do again exactly what I did, even though it led to, you know, loss of job, loss of position, loss of income, all kinds of problems for me. I would as well do it again because I don’t feel I had a choice. But why everybody doesn’t oppose torture viscerally – when you meet people who have been tortured, see dead people who died of torture, how you can see that and think it is okay is something I will never ever understand.

    [18:56] QUESTIONER #1: Can I ask a question about the acts of government? For example, in intelligence gathering, how does it play in the cultural mindset in terms of cultural organization or cultural institution or just culture in general?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think it’s a question of the use to which intelligence is put. What we have seen in recent years is an increasing use of intelligence as a propaganda tool in order to influence society. We saw that with the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

    I should say, you know, I worked with intelligence and analyzing intelligence material for a great deal of my career. And you always have to be very careful. An awful lot of intelligence material can come from the torture chamber or it can come from a human informant. And you always have to say, “Why is this man telling me this? Is it true or not?” A lot of intelligence is bought. Most of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was bought. And Iraqi colonels met in Egyptian hotel rooms and were told, “If you give me intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, I will give you one million dollars cash in this briefcase.” And of course the Iraqi colonel will then say, “Yes, we have a lot of weapons of mass destruction.” And he’ll take his million dollars and go away. And you then have the intelligence. Now that exists, it’s not been invented, it’s intelligence material, it’s there. But you have to decide, was the man telling me the truth? What was his motive for telling me? Does it fit with other known facts?

    And what happened was, in the case of weapons of mass destruction, those filters were removed. The analysts who would normally look at it and say, “Well actually, that’s just not true, because it doesn’t match with this and that. And anyway he was only telling us for the money and I don’t believe him.” And those people did exist. I know some of them, and there were people saying that. They were taken out of the loop, because the government was saying, “This is the propaganda we want to give the people. You know, this is what we want to hear, so we will accept it as true.”

    And that’s what I was seeing in central Asia with the intelligence from torture. The government wanted material that exaggerated the threat of Al Qaeda because it justified so much else they were doing in terms of resource grabs around the world and restrictions on civil liberties at home.

    So intelligence – and now, you know, so-called intelligence on the Iranian nuclear weapons program, for example, has been distorted in exactly the same way . Intelligence has become valuable not as a way of government gathering covert information – there’ll always be covert information gathered, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing if it’s used in order to, you know, give you a true picture of what’s happening so you can make real decisions. Instead it’s used to collect material the truth of which doesn’t matter, so you can say it for propaganda purposes, and that’s something which I think has happened throughout Western society and which is very, very, scary.

    [22:02] QUESTIONER #2: One of my colleagues asked me to ask you, do you feel that you can do more for the Uzbek people now or do you feel that you would be more able to provide them with assistance in your previous role?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think I was actually quite effective in assisting during my previous role. One thing I feel quite strongly about, and I think is often forgotten when people consider my story, while I was an ambassador I actually was quite effective. The fact that, the argument about getting intelligence from torture was going on behind the scenes of my own government, in public I was criticizing the terrible human rights abuses of the Uzbek government, and they didn’t like it. And in fact they started to, you know, let go one or two people. There are individuals who are alive now who I don’t doubt would be dead if I hadn’t publicly taken up their case, for example. The idea that, you know, when you are dealing with a totalitarian dictatorship, what they respect is strength. If you employ normal diplomatic practice and bow and curtsey to them and speak to them very politely, they just think you’re weak. If you shout at them and yell at them and you, you know – there was a very lovely Turkish man who was the ambassador representing the OSCE, the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe, in Tashkent. His name is Ambassador, I think “Erdujan.” And he said to me, “You know, the Uzbek government actually respect you because you have big balls.” That was his – “You have big balls. You’re not scared of them. You stand up to them.” The idea that – most diplomats have an idea of diplomacy which does consist of fawning, of being overpolite and not openly saying what you think. It doesn’t always work. It makes your life more comfortable because you never have a direct argument with your host. You know, arguing with your host can lead to distress, but it can be very effective.

    [24:17] QUESTIONER #2: How do you think that reporting in the media has changed since the events of 9/11?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think the events of 9/11 have had a disastrous effect on reporting in the media and in particular they have led to growing influence of a kind of aggressive patriotism and the idea that anything that questions the actions of American or British or Western armed forces, anything that questions aggression, is unpatriotic at a time when we are under threat and under war. And of course it’s led to this massive demonization of Muslim culture in general by the media and the stoking up of this Islamophobic fears and this vast exaggeration of the threat of Islamic terrorism, which actually exists but has been a very, very small, small threat. You know, when you compare it to other larger threats which have faced Western civilization since the Second World War, Islamic fundamentalism is a small – an unpleasant, but small threat. But 9/11 provided the context for massive overexaggeration of that, whipping up of patriotic xenophobia and the context in which the media could marginalize human rights and freedoms.

    [25:52] QUESTIONER #1: One last question. What is your opinion on the group Anonymous? I mean it seems that people from grassroots organizations are doing things because the media or journalism has failed, or even the governments have failed to protect them.

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think by and large Anonymous is one example of a whole series of kind of citizens activism initiatives, which are there precisely because people don’t think that power structures, be they state or be they corporate, serve them. People think power structures act against them, so people work through WikiLeaks, through Anonymous, through the Occupy movement and all kinds of ways to undermine those power structures. I don’t have any direct contact with Anonymous and that’s unsurprising, I don’t know who they are. But most of what they do I think is laudable. I think sometimes they are somewhat untargeted. There have been instances where some information has been released which perhaps is not entirely responsible, but that’s to overlook the broad picture of the – they are part of a wave of citizen unrest and citizen activism which I think is an extremely good thing and I think is actually the best hope we have for a better world at the moment.

    [27:16] QUESTIONER #1: So do you think Hobbes Leviathan is being unraveled or restructured in new ways then?

    CRAIG MURRAY: I think that Hobbes unfortunately was the progenitor in many ways of this model of society where everybody is activated by self-interest and profit, the idea that we only come together in society for mutual self-interest in quite a narrow way, whereas in fact, you know, altruism exists, social cohesion exists, individual acts of self-sacrifice and kindness exist. It’s one thing which worries me no end. The profit motive has come to seen by all Western governments, in a sense, as the only way to run anything. Services which used to be run by the state are now given out to private enterprise or privatized on the grounds that if somebody’s doing it for profit, they will do it better. There’s no evidence of that whatsoever. Why would a doctor heal someone better if he was doing it for money than if he was doing it out of love of healing people? And yet, the idea that the profit motive ought to be predominant has become almost unchallenged in the media narrative. It’s quite extraordinary.

    It also affects the education sector as well, which has been commercialized, students everywhere having to pay fees, you know, state education has almost completely ceased to exist, and academic teaching departments within university organizations are valued almost entirely on how much research income they bring into the university from outside sources. I’ve been rector of a university and I know that the governing body used to rank departments precisely on how much income per capita they brought in per member of staff. The question of how good their teaching was – you know, did they impart knowledge to undergraduates? – was nowhere mentioned in the rankings. It just didn’t matter. All that mattered was finance.

    And I fear that idea that society is run entirely on the profit motive is a kind of reductio ad absurdum distortion of Hobbesian philosophy, which I think is simply wrong. I think we have to look for other models of societal behavior.

    [20:53] QUESTIONER #1: We have a lot more questions, but unfortunately we’re out of time. Thank you for joining us.

    CRAIG MURRAY: Thank you very much.

  • me in us

    Just thinking — the .docs and .pdfs were attachments — maybe e-mails with attachments are screened out?

  • Kempe

    “American journalist Leah McGrath Goodman, who has been denied entry into the UK because she was investigating the Haut de la Garonne story, said on Max Keiser’s show on RT television last month that she was told that her investigations, if they were allowed to continue, might destabilize the whole governmental system in the UK.”

    Goodman was banned for two years, later reduced to one something she and her supporters forget to mention.

    What difference would a year make to her “destabilising the whole government system in the UK” I wonder.

  • Mary

    Rxcellent work by Me in Us.

    At [56:44] CRAIG MURRAY: I think undoubtedly the web. When I left the Foreign Office, my immediate – on the day I officially left, my immediate thought was to get out the information of what happened to me as completely as I could. And I’m not – this is not being melodramatic. I knew David Kelly, for example, professionally. My first thought was, I have to get everything I know out in order to minimize the incentive to kill me.

    Is this a reference to the late Dr David Kelly?

  • oddie

    Nov 3, 2011: Jewish Chronicle: Jimmy Savile came to my batmitzvah
    By Jessica Elgot He claimed to have “invented the disco”, but Sir Jimmy Savile, the DJ and presenter who died last weekend, also claimed to have done his bit towards peace in the Middle East.
    Sir Jimmy always said he had berated the Israeli Cabinet in 1975 for being too soft after the Six Day War.
    The bling-loving Leeds-born presenter of Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops, who once described himself as “the most Jewish Catholic you will ever meet,” was a strong supporter of Israel and through fun runs, marathons and personal appearances, raised funds for many charities including WIZO, Ravenswood, and the British Friends of the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.
    His ten-day visit to Israel in 1975, when he met President Ephraim Katzir and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, was organised by John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Trust.
    The trip was filmed for the BBC’s Jim’ll Fix It after nine-year-old Gary Merrie from Liverpool asked “to see the land where Jesus was born.”
    Sir Jimmy recalled his advice to the Israelis: “I arrived at this reception.
    The president came to me and asked how I was enjoying my visit.I said I was very disappointed: the Israelis had won the Six Day War but they had given back all the land, including the only oil well in the region, and were now paying the Egyptians more for oil than if they had bought it from Saudi Arabia.
    “I said: ‘You have forgotten to be Jewish’. He said: ‘Would you like to tell my cabinet that?’ Next morning, I went to the Knesset; they interrupted a cabinet meeting and I told them the same as I had told him.”
    Mr Levy recalled: “He was a gorgeous, impish, creative character. Of course, he was an egomaniac, but he was incredibly generous. He wanted to film us walking from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, so there are these scenes trudging the Judean Hills. He had many close Jewish friends, he was a real philosemite.
    When we returned, I asked him to be a ‘Friend’ of the Trust and he insisted that I listed him as ‘Special Friend’.”…
    He was a regular at fundraising dinners at synagogues in Leeds and Manchester, particularly for the British Friends of Laniado, donating large sums to the organisation…

    Wikipedia: Jimmy Savile: Jim’ll Fix It
    On the same programme, Savile himself (unusually) took part in a Christmas ‘fix-it’ when he took a young boy to the Holy Land and Jerusalem to visit some of the places made famous by the biblical Christmas story. The boy explained later on the 2000 TV show I Love the ’70s that he had never written to the show; but was selected from amongst the boys at his orphanage when the BBC requested a volunteer to accompany Savile on the trip…

  • tony roma

    American journalist Leah McGrath Goodman, who has been denied entry into the UK because she was investigating the Haut de la Garonne story, said on Max Keiser’s show on RT television last month that she was told that her investigations, if they were allowed to continue, might destabilize the whole governmental system in the UK.

    one thing you could ask the nuj is does journalism exist anymore in this country.
    towing the line,rehashing government scripts,not rocking the boat,making friends with the great and the good.
    and simply fucking telling rotten lies to shape an agenda.

    covering up rape,murder,theft.
    gulf war 1 finished it off.
    remember the term embedding
    in bed

  • Harriet

    Why is Jimmy Savile being talked about in the MSM now?

    Is his involvement at Haut de la Garenne really being downplayed?

    I wonder whether the answer to that question might not actually be “no”, and whether in fact the whole idea might not be to ringfence a possible unravelling of the Haut de la Garenne story.

    Several well-known and well-connected figures are deeply implicated in Haut de la Garenne, as are several not so well-known but extremely influential figures.

    It is standard practice for MI6 to pay some of their more powerful foreign informants using Jersey bank accounts.

    Leah McGrath Goodman would not have been expelled and banned from the UK if Haut de la Garenne was not a story considered dangerous for powerful interests not just in Jersey but in the UK itself.

    Haut de la Garenne involves not just paedophilia, and not just the abuse of children which wrecked their lives to such an extent that they committed suicide in early adulthood (as in Wales), but several actual and truly disgusting murders, for fun. It is hard or impossible to imagine more inhuman crimes.

    Was it felt that things were at such a point that one of the names had to be named publicly? Was it considered that the safest one to name was a much ridiculed dead disc jockey, who put himself on the record as defending Gary Glitter (who was found in possession not just of child pornography, but of pornography showing the torture of children, as was happening at Haut de la Garenne)?

    If this is a ringfence job, how long it will work for is another question. Lord McAlpine was of course named by many victims in Wales, but has never been prosecuted. As for those ‘boat trips’ in Loch Ness by Thomas Hamilton,…

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Isn’t it odd that the inseparable couple are no longer seen together ?
    Werrity has turned into the Scarlet Pimp….
    Wasn’t he a spy ?
    They must’ve have spent many an evening at the MoD thinking up wonderful names for their non – charities and other companies.
    And now and again, Fox rears his slimy little head to see if the press have forgiven him… bless his foxy little sox.
    You did well Craig ! Hope that you get a bit of appreciation where you’re going. Let us not forget, these journalists are pretty well working from scripts these days.
    I’ve got a feeling that the truth does not fill the bank account.

  • Moniker

    Way back up there, someone said something about there being loads of bloggers talking rubbish. Heck, most journalists talk rubbish, too. The thing is to let them get on with it (bloggers and ‘legit’ journalists) and seek out the good ones. Here’s why it might be working:

    I can remember, as a child, sitting in the lounge giving most of my attention to crumpets and cake but a little bit of it to whatever my parents had on the TV. Most weekends seemed to have a program with Jimmy Saville. I knew nothing about him but with a child’s instincts for self-preservation, I saw him as one of those mad, strange people you kept well away from. I didn’t wonder at his being on TV because it was obvious he was typical of the sort of character TV world gave to popular music and entertainment.

    Similarly, when certain people from television-land arrived in my town on tour – I’m thinking of glittery people in particular – murky stories went around at school in the following weeks and those of us who didn’t go looking for the glittery people were very glad we hadn’t. No-one made a big fuss though, and no-one called the police because the glittery people were just bits of television-world passing through. They weren’t *real*.

    Sometimes, people notice television-world can hurt their real worlds. The first example that comes to my mind is the Iraq war. The television largely seemed to follow the government in the notion that ‘only’ a million people had turned out to protest so ‘only’ a million people disapproved of the war but I looked around me and couldn’t find anyone who believed Tony Blair and his war-justifying report. What’s more, I kept hearing people saying that they couldn’t find anyone who wanted the war. In you-and-me world, I heard that even the soldiers didn’t want to go, no-one seemed to want it. But it happened, and a lot of people got killed. People who people knew got killed. That was quite a shock.

    So now most people know television-world (or ‘the media’ to give it its modern name) really is dangerous, and you’d have to be daft to trust newspapers after Leveson so we’re all wondering what to do, because if we don’t pay attention to the media, how will we feel that we know anything?

    Raising the profile of bloggers as legitimate news-finders would be a great step in the right direction. I think there are some obstacles to overcome. One is the idea that if you get your news from bloggers, there’s no knowing how reliable they are.

    The government and the media are solving the problem in a negative way by demonstrating, regularly and flagrantly, that they are unreliable too. The trouble with that is it leaves people feeling at sea – that no-one can be trusted and nothing is believable.

    Help the positive side of the equation by spreading sensible, well-reasoned material around the internet.

    Then there are those feelings that if you don’t follow the media’s stories, you will be out of touch because, although you know their stories are rubbish, you need to know what *everyone else* is going around believing. That should wear off when the range of news sources becomes wide enough and diverse enough that we all read different things, and can have more fun in the pub telling each other stories we *don’t* already know.

  • Brian Spencer

    About Lord Hutton’s Inquiry following Dr Kelly’s death – Hutton appears to be remarkably uninquisitive about establishing evidence. For example no questions are asked in open court about whether objects at the scene yielded fingerprints. The fact is that there were no fingerprints found on the knife or the watch which were close to the body. Two marks were found on the neck of the Evian water bottle but the police haven’t said whether these were identifiable prints.

    In a pocket of Dr Kelly’s Barbour jacket were his mobile (no prints), co-proxamol packets (no prints), spectacles (no prints) and a key fob (not tested).

    The knife supposedly used to sever the ulnar artery was identified by the family (photographic evidence) but was about 50 years old and with a slightly concave blade. There is no suggestion that the police asked thgemselves “didn’t he have a more suitable knife in the house?” True to form Hutton fails to ask the question.

    Dr Hunt correctly reports the presence of a post operational scar on Dr Kelly’s right elbow. He would have seen from Dr Kelly’s medical notes that he had had a fractured elbow as a result of a riding accident. Why didn’t Hunt investigate whether Dr Kelly had sufficient strength to wield the knife, he could have developed post operational arthritis.

    An assumption was made that blood had seeped into the ground yet no evidence whatsoever was supplied to back this up. In fact there was no evidence at all that the blood at the scene could have led to a fatal haemorrhage. One ambulance crew member said he had seen more blood from a nosebleed!

    At an inquest suicide and intent to commit suicide would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet intent wasn’t proved. Mrs Kelly gave evidence about his demeanour at lunch time on the 17th but however bad that appeared it wouldn’t be good enough evidence of intent to go off and kill himself. Yet this was deemed sufficient proof by Hutton.

    At an inquest evidence would be under oath or affirmation. At the Inquiry it wasn’t. We know that ACC Page lied about fingerprints at the surgery of Dr Kelly’s dentist. The Attorney General was informed and did nothing.

    Searcher Louise Holmes and DC Coe have both clearly stated that Dr Kelly’s head and shoulders were slumped against a tree. Ambulanceman Dave Bartlett is equally clear about the fact that less than a hour after the body was found he was able to stand in the gap between head and tree. In Grieve’s fantasy land the body hadn’t been moved.

    Forensic scientist Roy Green said in his report that he couldn’t completely eliminate the possibility that Dr Kelly died at the hands of another person. It’s not surprising that Mr Green’s report was available to the inquiry rather than actually being sent.

  • Ginger Nuts (was: Wagon Wheels)

    “Ambassador Murray was initially born in West Runton, Norfolk”

    And there was me thinking he was a bonnie laird. You can take the man out of Norfolk but you can’t take Norfolk out of the man. Bootiful.

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Wagon Wheels, but has posted in the past under Ginger Nuts, so fixing]

  • Ginger Nuts (was: Wagon Wheels)

    Anyone here believe that Syria has been lobbing mortars over the border into Turkey? Seems like the dumbest thing Syria could possibly do with the exception of lobbing mortars over the border into Israel.

    Seeing as the NATO backed FSA (95% NOT Syrian) are getting a real beating without air support is it not they who have the motivation to carry out such an attack to ensure eventual air support?

    Assad will be wise not to respond to their shelling – it’s escalation NATO want.

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Wagon Wheels, but has posted in the past under Ginger Nuts, so fixing]

  • doug scorgie

    I worked at the Leeds General Infirmary when Jimmy Savile was there gaining a lot of media attention for his charitable work with children and bringing a lot of money into that hospital. He occasionally worked as a porter pushing patients through the corridors shouting – now then, now then, now then – but only when Yorkshire TV were filming or the Yorkshire Post journalists were there to publicise him. Myself and many of the staff (and patients) thought he was a smarmy self-seeking prat but the management loved him. When he became Sir James Savile, OBE, KCSG, the managers of Leeds General Infirmary honoured him with an office of his own within the Infirmary with his name and titles printed on the door. After the recent accusations levelled at Savile I wonder if that office is still there?

  • Ruth

    John Goss
    ‘But the corrupt judiciary, where all important decisions are made in Gentlemen’s Clubs gets retiring judges to do a nasty piece of work before they go.’

    No, I believe judges are briefed by the intelligence services or given judgments to read out prepared by them to bring in a verdict required by the state within the state.

  • nobody

    Since we’re on the topic of the media and paedophilia, it’s clear to me that one of the media’s prime directives is to make sure that each story concerning paedophilia remains disparate and unconnected from any of the others. The truth is that they are not. The linking here of Jimmy Savile with Haut de la Garenne is barely the tip of the iceberg as far as connections are concerned.

    The best example of indisputable concrete links comes from an American writer, Dave McGowan, in his book Programmed to Kill. The first six chapters of this book detail six massive paedophile scandals (mostly in the US but also the Dutroux scandal in Belgium) and make clear (in a perfectly journalistic and footnoted fashion) that all of the scandals were linked.

    Indeed in the sixth chapter ‘Finders Keepers’ he reprints a US government customs agent report detailing what was found in the headquarters of ‘The Finders’ (a child trafficking cult founded by ‘ex’-CIA heavy Marion Pettie): telex machines and printouts of orders from all over the world specifying particular looks for children to be kidnapped and shipped off, printed handbooks detailing how to both infiltrate child-minding centres and avoid police detection whilst doing it, as well as a film recording studio, full video production facilities, and so much child pornography they needed a supply of garbage bags to haul it all away with. The punchline to this story was that when the customs agent, Ramon J Martinez, returned to Washington to follow up on the investigation he was told that the entire thing had been shut down on order of the CIA. For those who find this difficult to believe here is chapter six. This is not fanciful stuff and you will believe it.

    Actually now that I think about it, the real punchline was the fact that the media refused to touch it. The Finders story was so toxic that it defeated the media’s standard tactic of treating it as an event in isolation. And if they couldn’t do that then they wouldn’t touch it at all. That’s the media for you.

    And as it goes in the US, so it goes in the UK: Jersey is connected to Kincora is connected to Bryn Estayn is connected to Haringey is connected to Islington; with those in turn connected to Dutroux in Belgium; and that in turn connected to the Casa Pia scandal in Portugal; will all coming full circle back to the McGowan-detailed US scandals. This thing is organised, massive, and untouchable. The CIA and MI5 – their heads are there. Jimmy Savile got a knighthood.

    Given the scale of this black enterprise are we surprised the media won’t touch it? And of course that self same media wants to tell us that the blogs laying it all bare (and ipso facto the media’s own complicity) aren’t to be believed. Well they would woudn’t they? A tuppence for the lot of them.

    I’ll echo those above recommending Aangirfan. In a world not run by black hearted sons of bitches it’d be Aangirfan getting the knighthood rather than that piece of shit, Jimmy Savile.

  • BB Wolfe

    Let me be a pedant and point out that Sir Jim’s surname is spelt ‘Savile’ and not ‘Saville’.

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