Happy Birthday To Me

by craig on October 17, 2012 12:28 pm in Uncategorized

I am 54 today! That sounds really old, but I can honestly say that I feel as young and hopeful, and my mind feels as open and agile, as when I was twenty. I undoubtedly know a lot more, but I don’t confuse that with wisdom.

I am in a hotel in Ghana and sad to be apart from family today. I have been taking stock a little this morning and my greatest disappointment is that I have not been able to change things in Uzbekistan, or in Western government’s attitude to Uzbekistan.

1.4 million Uzbek children are today working in regime forced labour in the Uzbek cotton fields. They work at physically very tough labour for twelve hours a day in conditions identical to those in which black slave workers suffered in the Southern United States 200 years ago – indeed several US slaveowners would have scrupled at the wholesale use of children as young as eight in the fields, as is done by the Uzbek government. They sleep in barracks on concrete floors, live on weak vegetable soup and drink dirty water from the irrigation ditches.

Of course it is not only children who are forced into the fields, and the system requires extreme compulsion. On October 6 in Kashkadarya 18 year old Navruz Islamov was beaten to death by police for attempting to leave a cotton field when suffering from sunstroke. There are scores more such instances we do not hear about.

I have never felt so outraged as I did two years ago, when a European Commission official told me that the EU would not act on child labour in Uzbekistan as there was “no official evidence” of the preactice, only “rumour”. This year – with the active connivance of EU nation state diplomats in Tashkent, particularly the German Ambassador -the Uzbek Government for the third successive year refused a request from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to visit Uzbekistan to monitor child labour in the cotton harvest. At the same time, the EU says it will not act without this report from the ILO.

This is also the position of the British Government, which has never made a single comment or statement on child labour in Uzbekistan (except by me while Ambassdaor). Indeed the coalition government has never made any statement on human rights in Uzbekistan at all, having no interest in the fate of its 8,000 political prisoners and ever-lengthening list of tortured and killed by the British “ally”, President Karimov.

Cuba has just announced the abolition of exit visas. Uzbekistan is now one of a tiny number of extreme regimes which still locks its people in, retaining the old Soviet exit visa system. The Cameron/Clegg government refuses to raise this with the Uzbek regime.

Britain and the EU are again selling weapons and providing military and secret service training to the Karimov regime, and the UK, US and other NATO countries are negotiating to “Gift” huge amounts of arms and military materiel to Karimov as they withdraw from Afghanistan. Nobody in the West, and particularly in the Western media, appears to have any interest at all in our collusion with the most repressive and corrupr regime in the world.

I won’t have a really happy birthday until Uzbekistan is free. The good news is that I am confident I will have a lot of happy birthdays in a free Uzbekistan in the future.

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  1. Happy Birthday!

  2. i wish you were prime minister. that would be a nice birthday present.

  3. “I am 54 today! That sounds really old”

    No, it doesn’t. Not when you’re my age.
    Happy birthday, Craig.

  4. Very many happy returns Craig.

    Yes you are younger than me too!

  5. Spotted in the Garudian.

    Fox is suing Boulter for defamation!

  6. ucythediclonius

    17 Oct, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    HAppy birthday Craig.Glad to see your on good form.You should learn how to recover that state at will.

  7. Happy birthday (simply)

  8. How embarrassing, It’s my birthday today as well [52].

    My older sister sent me a card with a tenner in it, I’m sure she does that to annoy me.


  9. Happy birthday Craig and Jimmy, young men…. may you reach a much older age than me, one day….

  10. Many happy returns.
    God, you’re young.

  11. Thank you for your great concern about my country ambassador, hopefully we’ll celebrate your birthday there in near future, i’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  12. Beeston Regis

    17 Oct, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    Happy Birthday from the old country (Norfolk)

  13. Many happy returns, auld yin! (says the man who hit 53 six days ago…)

  14. You’re a good man Craig Murray. One day Uzbekistan residents will be free to thank you for your efforts. Even when success is not forthcoming in the short term it is still important to keep trying. Your efforts are well-known. Perhaps this particular birthday present will come another day. Anyway, happy birthday.

  15. Every weekend i used to visit this web site, as i want enjoyment, as this this web site conations truly good funny stuff too.

  16. Happy birthday Craig.

  17. Happy Birthday! For such injustices to be dealt with the now rigged system of bought politics and well vetted sociopaths being the only ones getting anywhere near power has to change. We need a million more voices like yours actually making it into mainstream media. We need new respected media sources through the internet and we need new political parties instead of going through another generational change to retake the two main ones we’re stuck with. Good luck and enjoy a good whiskey later.

  18. Happy Birthday Craig and many of them.
    Many thanks for your wonderful gift to us. Your Blog is the greatest.

  19. you are – don’t kid yourself. But its still good to read your blog

  20. Enjoy the sunshine and the spirit of Africa. Many happy returns of the day!!

  21. Here’s an animated song ‘wot I wrote’ to cheer you up Mr Murray.


  22. … enjoy the sunshine …
    (It does not last for ever …) …

  23. Happy birthday, Craig, and many happy returns! I’m exactly 10 years older than you; it’s funny how many of your readers make you look like a teenager. Don’t give up on Uzbekistan: you never know when the water will finally eat through the stone wall. Today a drop or two of damp; next week, maybe a trickle; in a year or so, a steady gush; and one day the whole thing will come down.

    You wrote ‘I have never felt so outraged as I did two years ago, when a European Commission official told me that the EU would not act on child labour in Uzbekistan as there was “no official evidence” of the practice, only “rumour”’.

    That is of course always the way with officials. All they need do is make sure they never see any “official evidence”, which can easily be acocmplished by not collecting any. Just as they can exempt anyone they wish from the workings of the criminal justice system, simply by determining (by some mysterious process) that “a prosecution would not be in the public interest”. Everything is fair, honest, and transparent, except when it’s not.

  24. Happy Birthday, Craig, and remember that a man is only as old as the woman he feels. On that basis…

  25. Candles.. wishes.. cake.
    Happy Birthday Craig!

  26. Happy birthday mate…now away down to the Lambadi Beach Hotel and settle in for a round of the true nectar of the gods !!

  27. Many happy returns, Craig!

    You are a shining light!

  28. I look forward to Fox suing Boulter. They’re a pair of bloody rogues and they deserve each other. But I bet Boulter knows where the bodies are buried. And the police are still investigating Werritty. Wonder what’s taking them so long. Maybe they haven’t found him yet?

    City of London police have confirmed they are still investigating allegations of fraud surrounding Werritty, Fox’s best man and former flatmate, who handed out business cards falsely describing him as one of Fox’s official advisers.

    A lawyer who represents Werritty failed to respond to requests for comment.

    You can look back with pride on your coverage of that episode, Craig.

  29. Happy Birthday Craig.I am 20 years older and I never expected to hear anyone who had been in public office speak the truth.Karimov makes Saddam look like a teddy bear but of course the Bliar goes toadying up to him,how much longer will we allow sociopaths to govern? There will be no Chilcot report or not in any form that might make any difference, meanwhile the children of Fallujah go on being born with hideous deformities and to the end of time. Sorry, the horror of this country’s sadism is difficult to absorb but please do have a v h b !

  30. Happy Birthday Craig Murray. this is one of the best political websites.

  31. Happy birthday mate. Shocking story about child labour, I didn’t realise it was that bad. Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention.

  32. It’s too bad that someone (such as yourself, Craig) willing to fight for human rights, rather than just pay lip service to them, is automatically excluded, by that very virtue, from the corridors of power.

  33. Craig, you are as young as the beautiful woman you feel. Happy Birthday.

    Jimmy, life begins at 52. Unfortunately it ends at 53. Happy Biirthdy.

  34. Happy Birthday, Mr Murray!*
    As to child labour in Uzbekistan, it reminds me a little of Milan Kundera’s oft repeated quote: THE STRUGGLE OF MAN AGAINST POWER IS THE STRUGGLE OF MEMORY AGAINST FORGETTING.
    HOPEFULLY, we will remember to not forget this struggle.
    Best wishes to ALL

    NB. The lifespan of Justice and Truth is not limited.

  35. Nearly 1000 people were killed on the orders of the Uzbek dictator, Islam Karimov, one of the most brutal dictators in the world.

    Today, agent Cameron has long since forgiven and forgotten the Massacre in Andijan.

    We have not…


  36. Many happy returns of the day, Mr. Murray. Don’t ever feel sorry for what you say were not able to do, you have already done much for raising the awareness on a place where happiness seems not to exist. In time, hopefully, things will change. And you have a consistent contribution to that. All the best,

  37. Happy Birthday Craig

    Uzbekistan has been in the news in Sweden for a couple of weeks, since TeliaSonera is accused of paying bribes to get its mobile license. There has even been rumors that the CEO may be fired because of the scandal, since the board started looking for a replacement.

    So perhaps someone will actually be slightly inconvenienced by doing business with Uzbekistan.

  38. I’m sure you’ll be able to find enough ice for your malt tonight.
    You deserve it! The Uzbek cause would be the poorer without you.
    Hope you have a really happy birthday in the not too distant future.
    The US has just decided to stay in Afghanistan, surprise surprise.
    Maybe they will liberate Uzebekistan ?
    slainte bha !
    All the best ! I’m 54 in 9 days.

  39. Happy birthday, Craig.
    Well – 54, no doubt, that IS old (several years older than myself), but who cares. As Woody Allen says – growing older…. well, it beats the alternative.
    Craig, the UK, US and EU may NOT care about the oppression in Uzbekistan. But many many people in Uzbekistan DO care. We have now had more than 51.000 views on our trailers for our film ‘Massacre in Uzbekistan’ (which includes interviews with you). And we have received hundreds of supportive emails (and only a few form the KGB out there). We are still in the process of ‘hunting’ funding for TRANSLATING the film into Uzbek and Russian, and we are making some progress….. You will be happy to know that some of your readers have contributed. But there is still a long way to go…. so anybody…..?

  40. Happy birthday, Craig.

    May Uzbekistan one day be free.

    On a related note, have any of you read Nancy Rosenberger’s 2012 book, Seeking Food Rights: Nation, Inequality, and Repression in Uzbekistan?

    She’s an anthropologist and it’s packed with the details of everyday life in contemporary Uzbekistan.

  41. Lastbluebell

    17 Oct, 2012 - 5:36 pm

    I would just like to add my best wishes, and hope you will not have to wait to long for your wishes to come true!

    But as my grandma always also used to say, never ever miss a chance to celebrate…

  42. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    17 Oct, 2012 - 5:38 pm

    Best wishes to you, young man. I say that with all the humble envy I can muster.

  43. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    17 Oct, 2012 - 5:50 pm

    Craig; Not knowing more your history apart from your stint in Uzbekistan, I wonder…

    Any inkling of running for elected office?

  44. Jemand wrote:

    “Jimmy, life begins at 52. Unfortunately it ends at 53. Happy Biirthdy.”

    I’ve just set my alarm clock. At 364 days hence, it will announce that Harriet Harman is the new Prime Minister.

  45. … Which gives me about 363 days to work out how to wire up the detonator.


  46. @JimmyJiro…I can give you detailed instructions if you like mate..lol..

  47. Geoff Cowlyn

    17 Oct, 2012 - 6:24 pm

    I come to this blog everyday, because it is informative and inspirational. I’ve never posted previously, but seeing as it is my 54th birthday today as well, I couldn’t resist wishing you happy birthday. Happy birthday Craig!

  48. By now Craig will be sitting in some Hotel bar for the first few bevies. Bottoms up.

  49. “I can honestly say that I feel as young and hopeful, and my mind feels as open and agile, as when I was twenty”

    Can you get these drugs on the NHS?

  50. Where are the party hats and the balloons?! Roll out the blow-snakes! Hearty congratulations, Craig! Have a glass of porter on me! Or better still, have a glass of whatever the arak of excellence in Ghana might be. Slainte mhath!

  51. On a more serious note (and in tune with Craig’s post), I see that Gulnara Karimova is now a perfumier. She’s called it ‘Googoosha’ – is this a blatant rip-off of Iran’s No.1 excellent pop diva of many decades, Googoosh? Would you buy a bottle of scent from this woman? Does it mask the stench of slavery, torture and death? Some day, it will be ‘Last Tango in Saigon’.


  52. Here’s the REAL Googoosh – a genuine talent and wow, what a star! Enjoy.


  53. LOL One of those silly astrology sites.

    The Scales
    September 24 to October 23
    Traditional Libra Traits

    Diplomatic and urbane
    Romantic and charming
    Easygoing and sociable
    Idealistic and peaceable

    On the dark side….

    Indecisive and changeable
    Gullible and easily infuenced
    Flirtatious and self-indulgent


  54. Happy birthday Craig. And Jimmy. And Geoff!

  55. William Flack

    17 Oct, 2012 - 8:10 pm

    Happy Birthday. I have not commented here before but this seems like a good time to wish you well and thank you for the blog and the work you do.

  56. Happy Birthday, Craig! Great to hear you so optimistic, I wish you all the best!

  57. Dick the Prick

    17 Oct, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    Happy Birthday dude, kudos from my family to yours. Big hugs

  58. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    17 Oct, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    Greenwald on the gamesmanship of democratic debates…http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/16/presidential-debate-issues

    “Citing a just-leaked 21-page “memorandum of understanding” secretly negotiated by the two campaigns to govern the rules of the debates, Farah recounted:

    “We have a private corporation that was created by the Republican and Democratic parties called the Commission on Presidential Debates. It seized control of the presidential debates precisely because the League was independent, precisely because this women’s organization had the guts to stand up to the candidates that the major-party candidates had nominated. And instead of making public these contracts and resisting the major-party candidates’ manipulations, the commission allows the candidates to negotiate these 21-page contracts that dictate all the fundamental terms of the debates.”

    The candidates should be able to negotiate terms which do not allow one party to dominate, such as timers. But the degree to which they hamper an authentic ‘debate’ should also have a timer.

    Plus, when a violation of the timer occurs, the mic should be cut off.

  59. Happy birthday, Craig. You’re out of the woods now – the first fifty years are the worst.

  60. Vronsky, you sound like a double-centenarian:

    “Let me tell you, lad
    123 is the age to be!”


  61. Well done for this post Craig. Personally this is where you are at you finest as what you tried to do there was very brave. I totally share your feelings. It is heart breaking that the Western world turns a blind eye for strategic reasons. If you want cheering up even more, check out Gulnara’s song and video round run. It is quite simply hilarious. Best wishes.m

  62. @ Craig,

    A very good month to be born in as well – consIdering that mine was the 4th October.


  63. I agree, Courtenay, October is the month!

    Mary, O Seeress of the Boards, prithee gaze into thy (radiological) crystal ball and tell me what the outlook is for someone born on the Libra/Scorpio cusp! Confusion, rather than Confucius, one suspects.

  64. Happy Birthday Mr Murray.
    Stay with it, better days are ahead.

  65. Simon Dempsey

    17 Oct, 2012 - 10:18 pm

    May God richly bless you Craig especially today. I hope and Prayer that in your lifetime you will see the liberation of Uzbekistan.(Luke2:25-30)

  66. Hippo Berth Day Two Ewes.

    Karimov may be a bastard, but he is apparently ‘our bastard’, at least currently. No doubt, sometime in the near future, he will cease to be ‘our bastard’ and the Uzbeks will have ‘democracy’ imposed on them (may the FSM help the Uzbeks either way). Which leads me to:

    I am surprised there has been no comment on Applegategate – Applegate being an ex-MOD head of procurement who has moved on to Big Things (h/t Richard Silverstein).


    “He [Applegate] confided that he used Westminster Connection, a discreet lobbying firm with Israeli links as a “firebreak” to ensure “that my fingerprints weren’t over any of it.” It could gain access to anyone “from the prime minister down.” He said the firm, based in Victoria and co-owned by Scott Hamilton, a former Conservative staffer, had used links with Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) to persuade MPs in the Commons to assist in his campaign.”

    So now, even (some of)the military now trough away Blair-style.

    Were Werritty and/or Fox in on the deal? Where is Werritty?

  67. Suhayl ROTFLMAO literally. Cannot tell you the answer unless my palm is crossed with silver.

    Earlier I was looking at Craig’s post when he announced Cameron’s birth. He is nearly 3 and a half now. Some of us who commented then are still around!

  68. amazing how many Librans come here eh…its my birthday too..the big 50…
    We are force-fed lies about Afghanistan…Mega lies about Irag…And Lybya..Ans now Syria…and yet they Know that the Massacre in Andijan…did happen…and what do we hear from politicians anywhere about this ?

    I once watched an undercover documentary about child labour in the uzbek cotton fields…the footage is out there..So the lying bastards DO have evidence…i cant track the documentary down…I wonder if the more resourceful Mary could have a try at finding it…it was on tv a few years ago..

    Anyway…Happy Birthday Craig….

  69. Happy Birthday Craig!
    These days I feel that time is a refinery that purifies our soul as we go through the pain of perishing of what’s perishable.

  70. @Suhayl,

    ” someone born on the Libra/Scorpio cusp! Confusion, rather than Confucius”

    Not taking myself too seriously. Not really into astrology.

    Who knows what the stars direct when same shine down on our birthday.

    The stars seems to have done good by Murray – made him a fighter for justice.

    Two death threats and an indication of arson later, I guess there must be a little bit of truth in the Libran “scales of justice” symbol.

    Mr. Murray deserves all the support we can muster – and so too does Julian Assange just now.

    Aluta continua!

  71. ” stars seems ”

    stars seem… I guess. Just felt my English teacher had turned in the grave.


  72. John Robertson

    18 Oct, 2012 - 12:38 am

    Happy Birthday young fella (from down under). Admire your work greatly.

    JR (hatched 1937)

  73. Happy Birthday Craig! (from yet another Libran!)

    Keep up the good work.

  74. Jeez… makes me feel like a kid reading this blog!

    Happy birthday, Craig. Hope you enjoyed your visit here – you never did give me your verdict on the Penderyn :)

  75. Happy Birthday Craig!!!

    (Damn. I’m late…)

    Gulnara Karimova is now a perfumier? Does she lack a scent of her own?


  76. Craig, you are a good man. I am also a daily visitor to this site, and greatly value your perspective. Your comments, and those of your regular posters have given me a rapid and sorely needed education over the last year or so. Happy Birthday, and thanks again from the land of the Harperite barbarians.

  77. I may be very wrong,i may be naive BUT>

    I feel a major change is occurring.Perhaps its written astrologically or ethically-i can’t say.Perhaps it’s just human decency,after all?

    Last coupla days…May gives McKinnona break,The Savile story coming to the fore and established rocks are being overturned.Mitchell and his “plebs” being called…

    It seems to me like something better is in the air?The battle between Good and Evil is perennial but i sense a shift.

    I can’t really explaint it.Perhaps its simply a change of the guard but it feels like some better souls within the Establishment are speaking out,pushing the riff…for a better world.It feels like some kinda exorcism/pureification is occurring.

    I do hope so..

  78. As predicted the IMI iron fist of interception and control is closing in on the lives of us folk:

    In a duo act of people power control, ‘web snooping’ filters at GCHQ are enhanced by the shadow of the myopic drone…

    Remember Conservative MP Damien Green? Winding back to 2008, we recall his counter-terrorist style arrest, the invasion of his constituency office, the march of heavy boots into his Parliamentary office by the authoritarian bullheads of Special Branch officers.

    He is now the Home Office Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice and the ‘Emporer of Drones’ protégé.

    He proposes a web of police drone airports throughout England to launch their Machiavellian sentient spies into the sky like ‘sentinel machines.

    Will you take the red or the blue pill?


  79. Belated best wishes.

  80. “amazing how many Librans come here ”

    I don’t believe in astrology. We Pisceans never do.

  81. am sure some ghanian friends know how to celebrate a birthday. twould be nice to be there. hope u had a good one.

  82. Ref the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to ‘Europe’. I like the suggestion for a new symbol.


  83. This might be of interest to Craig and others.

    17 October 2012.

    In a report published today – FCO’s Human Rights Work in 2011 – the Foreign Affairs Committee argues that Ministers should be bolder in acknowledging contradictions between the UK’s interests overseas and its human rights values.

    Report: FCO’s Human Rights Work in 2011
    Inquiry: Human Rights
    Foreign Affairs Committee


  84. Note that St Theresa has kicked the subject of the Olympics G4S contract and how much they contributed for the extra police and military costs into the long grass. Unless we have access to LOGOC’s accounts, how will we ever know the facts?

    Questions to the Home Secretary 15 October 2012

    Mr Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South) (Lab): Has there been full cost recovery from G4S for its Olympic failure, including costs in respect of the other forces involved—the armed forces and the police? What penalties has G4S paid?

    Mrs May:G4S was absolutely clear that it would pay for the extra costs involved in the military and police services. As the hon. Gentleman suggests, the police moved in to take over part of the venue security at a number of sites across the country. Exactly how much G4S will pay as a result of its contract is a matter of commercial negotiation with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, with which G4S held the contract.

    PS May is good at picking up freebies including one from Michael Hintze, another from Bearwood (a Lord Ashcroft company) and several discount cards for her shoes and clothes.

  85. Courtenay, I thought I’d mention because you might not know, but when I click on your web link it does not work.

  86. Re drones (Mark Golding’s link, above):

    The Home Office minister said that remotely controlled drones in the UK’s skies should be treated like “any other piece of police kit.”


    Green was speaking at launch of a new National Police Air Service (NPAS). He said: “Where it’s appropriate or proportionate to use them then we will look at using them.

    “But they need to be treated the same as any other piece of police equipment or police activity.

    “They should only be used when it’s appropriate and proportionate to do so.”

    Appropriate and proportionate use of police equipment here:


    Lost count of the times I have assumed a blind guy with a white stick was a ninja warrior about to create kendo mayhem.

    Maybe I need my eyes tested.

  87. Hi Craig… my birthday is also Oct 17th. Happy birthday yesterday!

  88. And to Geoff, Tom and Jimmy!

  89. Gosh, Brian as well!

  90. Many happy returns sir.
    I would recommend learning about fibonacci sequencing in Your 55th year.
    Thank You for all You have done, and will do, well done.

  91. Just a curious sidetrack into the realm of probability. I don’t know how well known this is, but for those who are unaware,

    You only need to gather 23 people in a room, for it to be a 50% chance, that at least two people of those 23, will actually have the same birthday.

  92. “FBI foils FBI plot, says FBI”

    At least the comments on this story in the Guardian show that not everyone is a gullible idiot:

    “New York Federal Reserve ‘bomb’ plotter ensnared in FBI sting”

    I take the time to read comments (when I can) as they are often quite heartening. I suspect, though, that I’m referring to British ones, and not the American ones. The IDs don’t always make clear.

  93. …learning about fibonacci sequencing in Your 55th year

    You can leave it till you’re 89. Trust me.

  94. “You can leave it till you’re 89. Trust me.”

    But you probably shouldn’t leave it any longer…

  95. I had the foresight to learn about it when I was one. It was a very eventful year as I recall.

  96. ^ +1…

  97. Happy Birthday Craig!

    Question Time from Glasgow

    David Dimbleby (Unionist)

    Ruth Davidson (Tory, Unionist)
    Margaret Curran (Labour, Unionist)
    Alan Cochrane (Tory, Unionist)
    Mark Serwotka (Socialist,Unionist?)

    Nicola Sturgeon (SNP Nationalist)

    Media making shure everyone in Scotland hears how dreadfully bad
    Scotland is doing relative to England in employment figures.
    However it’s the usual scaremongeriong bollocks

    The Office of National Statistics – Labour Market Statistics for Oct 2012 (UK Gov’s own figures) have the following unemployment figures:
    North-East England 9.9%
    The Humber 9.3%
    London 8.9%
    West Midlands 8.6%
    North-West England 8.4%
    Wales 8.3%
    Scotland 8.2%

  98. Some of those on the green benches are now slow to work out how to rip us off.

    MPs’ expenses scandal: bid to block details of expenses scandal ‘doomed to failure’
    The Speaker of the House of Commons’ attempt to block details about MPs’ expenses is “doomed to failure,” according to the former Home Secretary.



    Dozens of MPs have moved into new rented accommodation in the past two years. According to official records, Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, rented out his home in south London in September last year, and is now claiming £1,900 a month to rent accommodation in London.

    Chris Bryant, a shadow minister for borders and immigration, has rented out his mansion flat in Bloomsbury and claimed £2,050 for a month’s rent in the last period for which data have been published.

    Recent figures showed that a quarter of Conservative MPs were renting out properties.

    MPs’ expenses are rising again after the 2009 scandal.

    The bill went up by a quarter to nearly £90 million last year, which means that it is only slightly lower than before the scandal.

  99. …..not slow….

  100. Nicely picked up Nuid – yes a ‘sting’ is very close to a false-flag – it just takes a few whispers to cross the line into deception.

    We have seen this kind of things many times before. Back in 2009,Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19 year old Jordanian immigrant was arrested in connection with a plot to bomb a Dallas skyscraper. In October 2010, a Pakistani born American citizen was arrested forplotting to carry out terror attacks on the D.C. subway system, also as the result of an FBI sting operation. The following month, the FBI nabbed 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-American who thought he was engaging in a conspiracy to detonate a bomb during the lighting of the public Christmas Tree in Portland, Oregon thanks to a sting operation. And, last September, an FBI sting operation ensnared Rezwan Ferdaus in a plot to bomb targets in the Washington, D.C. area.

  101. LibDem candidate in 2001 and 2005 general elections for Coventry South, Vincent McKee, is convicted of fraud. Sentencing tomorrow.


  102. I was on a trip to Uzbekistan, October two years ago. Lots of people toiling in the cotton fields including lots of children – you can’t ignore it….adjacent to the main road with tourist buses passing all the time. These kids looked about 10-12 years old.

  103. All the blood has dried into the sand and dust by now and the body parts disintegrated so the delegates will not have anything upsetting to see.

    Middle East open for business

    Gulf Oil & Gas Cruise

    3rd Basra Oil & Gas Conference

  104. I do not think anybody is stupid enough to walk into a terrorist sting. Islam is full of people who sell people. They find people to fight proxy wars = so-called Al Qaida. They find people who will play a role in a sting-drama for cash. They find people whose private lives are recorded by spying who feel obliged to prove their Islamic credentials by doing dangerous things.

    If the Muslims didn’t trade in other Muslims, it would be very hard for [Hollywood] the White House to stage these stings.

  105. “Presenter
    David Dimbleby (Unionist)/Ruth Davidson (Tory, Unionist)/Margaret Curran (Labour, Unionist)/Alan Cochrane (Tory, Unionist)/Mark Serwotka (Socialist,Unionist?)/
    Nicola Sturgeon (SNP Nationalist)”

    Massive over-representation of the Separatist point of view there. I’m shocked. They don’t usually do that.

  106. Happy Birthday!

  107. PS: With Mark Serwotka, I think the question mark should be after ‘Socialist’.

  108. @Mark,

    Yes, one assumes the FBI have to justify their budget. And the American people have to be kept afraid – of ‘something’ under the bed. It’s a disgrace. Most “terrorists” arrested by the FBI in recent times were people they (FBI) set up themselves.


    Muslims walking into FBI stings recently in the U.S. give the media the opportunity to use scary “terrorist” headlines. I think many of these poor sods are “not too bright” and even sometimes mentally ill or unstable.

    This young Bangladeshi has now been charged with attempting to use a WMD – even though it was provided by the FBI and it was a dud. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad. It is morally perverse.

  109. “George Galloway claims police officer entered his home in ‘dirty tricks’ operation”


  110. happy birthday, Craig. Keep on keeping on. It matters.

  111. Happy Birthday! The news about the enslavement of children in Uzbekistan is terrible, and I have written to my MP about it.

  112. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    18 Oct, 2012 - 8:56 pm


    ” They find people who will play a role in a sting-drama for cash. ”

    Or true believers, or the Muslim who have a need for atonement. Some have been coerced with threats to their family.

    One thing is certain, like the sorcerer’s apprentice, the US can’t stop breeding more brooms of vengeance.

  113. “I have never felt so outraged as I did two years ago, when a European Commission official told me that the EU would not act on child labour in Uzbekistan as there was “no official evidence” of the preactice, only “rumour”.”

    Presumably this species of self-interested denial now has its own technical name: the “Savile Gambit”.

  114. Five new victims have come forward claiming that they were abused at the Haut de la Garenne orphanage on Jersey by Jimmy Savile. Jimmy Savile accused of Jersey abuse by a total of five people. At least one of these is male, and he says he was abused as a 10-year-old boy. So it looks like not all Savile’s pedophile acts were heterosexual.

    Meanwhile, speaking of Jersey, Greg Palast is reporting that a bunch of vulture capitalists, operating together with Mitt Romney, bought control of the Delphi auto parts company, moved all the factories to China, and moved corporate headquarters to Jersey. Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza .

  115. I’ve just watched, sickened on BBC news, William Hague celebrating “our next generation of spies” as he observes lovely bright kids in some school somewhere doing maths. The obscenity of that is gut-wrenching.
    This should probably be posted on the Malala thread – but it’s all of a piece. I’m in despair.

  116. Many happy returns I come often to listen and learn. from yourself and others. many thanks to all

  117. @ John Goss,

    ” Courtenay, I thought I’d mention because you might not know, but when I click on your web link it does not work.”

    Yep – I will have the web master deal with it in a while.



  118. Not four but twenty seven MPs are renting out their homes and claiming for another. Bercow has been attempting a cover up on the pretext that he is worried about MPs’ security!


  119. ‘PS: With Mark Serwotka, I think the question mark should be after ‘Socialist’.’

    There’s not much doubt,after tonight’s performance on QT, that the Unionist tag that Vronsky initially gave him was misplaced.

    ‘Greg Palast is reporting that a bunch of vulture capitalists, operating together with Mitt Romney, bought control of the Delphi auto parts company, moved all the factories to China, and moved corporate headquarters to Jersey.’

    Lysias- Romney is the global overclass personified; God help us if he gets elected next month. Matt Taibbi has this excellent article in Rolling Stone about the asset stripping bastard-


    Oh, and a belated happy birthday to Craig.

  120. Number 10: Speech at Annual dinner of United Jewish Israel Appeal
    This is a written version of the speech given by David Cameron
    Yes, you can love this country, take pride in its history, celebrate its Olympics, even cry with its football fans every other year. There is no contradiction between being a proud Jew, a committed Zionist and a loyal British citizen…

  121. Totally off-topic (and already wished you Happy Birthday on Facebook) but some links for people who aren’t on facebook, very topical with the SNP conference vote on whether to change their policy to backing NATO membership today

    First my blog post with lots of sources and points on why an Independent Scotland joining NATO would be likely to draw it into more unwinnable (and morally dubious) wars like Afghanistan ; and on why it might force us to keep paying for Trident nuclear weapons and submarines and upgrades for them as the price of membership

  122. Second the No to NATO Scotland website. You can sign up to a statement opposing NATO membership for an Independent Scotland on it. Click the link below, then scroll down till you see an orange button on the right saying ‘Sign the Statement’ on it. Click the button fill in your details etc.

  123. p.s doesn’t matter if the conference vote’s over when you see this – still 2 years till the independence referendum anyway – and there’ll still likely be votes in the Scottish parliament on it after that, maybe even a referendum on it, if we do get a Yes vote for independence

  124. The US ambassador to Turkey has revealed that Washington secretly offered Ankara to have an “anti-bin Laden” type of joint operation against a number of military leaders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

    What this ambassador should have revealed is that America has made addition promises of military equipment and $billion aid to Turkey in exchange for support and services to bring down the Assad government of Syria. (inshallah) – they will not succeed.


  125. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 3:09 am


    Press TV is the source. A search found NO US stories, (surprises aplenty from Narcissists) but this piece from BBC. No mention of the lede in PTV. Did I miss something?


  126. @ Rose,

    Don’t despair Rose.

    All evil,at end,undoes itself…:.)

  127. I’m pretty dubious about Press TV as a source in general , given that they’ve shown public “confessions” of dissidents to having been criticising the Iranian government because they were agents of foreign powers (with what it didn’t show being that they had been tortured into making these “confessions”).

    (and before you tell me that’s western media bias and misreporting , Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report torture of dissidents by the Iranian government is common – and they report constantly on Israeli, US and British military and intelligence torture, war crimes , targeting civilians and ambulances etc, so they are not biased – and they’ve proven their reliability over decades)

    I could believe that the US government might well offer Turkey assistance to crush the PKK in return for aiding the FSA to overthrow Assad, but without other sources, i’m treating it as a credible sounding rumour at the moment – might well be true, but no evidence from any reliable source that it is true.

  128. Good Will Hunting

    “why I shouldn`t work for the NSA.” Matt Damon as Will Hunting.

    With American Policy so dominant, a poignant film clip showing the sum of it and the young actors who wrote the film understanding it.


  129. Regardless of whether PressTV is credible (sometimes is, sometimes isn’t, sometimes the shocking headline is unsupported by anything in the text), I have no trouble believing that the US is assisting Turkey against PKK leaders while simultaneously working with closely related Kurdish groups further east to destabilise Iran. The drone strikes may be a little selective as a result.

    There will obviously be a quid-pro-quo, and that may have involved the Turks inviting NATO to help defend it against the occasional artillery round coming across the border. (Who fired it? Evil Syrian Regimists, obviously. Obviously.)

  130. This cartoon about the racist Home Secretary, Theresa May, is about to go global and you can help it. More than 200 hits in its first day.


  131. @ John Goss

    Theresa May peels them with her metal knifes: HA…HA…HA…

  132. Duncan McFarlane,

    The American main stream media will not expose a fissure in the US ‘hookup’ with Turkey. Erdogen is of course between a rock and a NATO hard place in its bargaining with American aid, certainly out of step with the Turkish people.

    Putting the pieces of the jig-saw together it was clear to me when Erdogen prepared a bill giving him war powers the day after after my source suggested the FSA insurgents captured the border crossing point Tal Abyad right next to the town Akçakale to build a supply line for their attack on the city of al-Raqqa.

    Erdogen in his grab for support failed to predict the damage to Turkey’s economy; the influx of over 100,000 refugees brought increasing problems and the resurgence of the PKK in Turkey led to several spectacular attacks. The Turkish public continues to be against Erdogan’s interventionist policy in Syria.

    Who would support America’s twisted foreign policy that smashed Iraq on lies and deceit, has left Libya in a mess and destroyed so many young lives?

    Who would support a US foreign policy that subjected the world to industrial cyber attacks, the murder of innocent scientists in Iran and false-flag attempts to subvert a sovereign nation’s election? Iran is self-centered for survival – is that a crime?

    The answer is of course no it is not.

    Translated from the Turkish media:

    “If Francis Ricciardone, the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, had not revealed that there had been a secret offer to the Turkish government to have an “Anti-bin Laden” type joint operation against Murat Karayılan and other military leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based in the north of Iraq, it would possibly have remained a secret for many more years.

    Responding to questions from Turkish journalists, Ricciardone said on Oct. 16 that the U.S. had offered the Turkish government its state of the art military technology to hunt down the military leaders of the PKK. However, the Turkish government declined, saying it would continue fighting the PKK “on the basis of its laws and experiences.”

    English version here:


  133. Hurriyet is respectable. Certainly believe that.

  134. Ricciardone said on Oct. 16 that the U.S. had offered the Turkish government its state of the art military technology to hunt down the military leaders of the PKK. However, the Turkish government declined, saying it would continue fighting the PKK “on the basis of its laws and experiences.”

    This may be about drones as much as anything else. Turkey would really like some Predators. Its homegrown drone, the Anka, is still under development, and it is currently relying on its 10 Israeli drones* for extraterritorial assassinations…


    Note that Turkeys “laws and experiences” do not exclude using drones.

    *Evenly matched with the PKK’s Israeli drones, I assume:

  135. Happy Birthday Craig! :-D

  136. There is absolutely no mention of the voyage of this ship to Gaza in the corporate media except in the Israeli press with reports of plans by the Israeli navy to disrupt the voyage and a plea from Prosor to the UN to attack it.

    Africa to Gaza Aid Convoy

    11 minutes ago.

    ESTELLE is approaching GAZA, expected time of arrival – SATURDAY
    She’s getting closer …
    Eye on Estelle 11.55am Friday

    Via : David Mitchell
    Africa to Gaza Aid Convoy

  137. Duncan McFarlane is speaking of the old models of AI and HRW when we all invited to send postcards to political prisoners. Now they are part of the war machine.

    It took AI 8 years to get round to accuse Bush and Cheney of torture. AI is now run by Suzanne Nossel late of Clinton’s state department and have a terrible reputation for supporting the US Nato attacks on Libya and now Syria. It was described as ‘humanitarian intervention’.

    Suzanne Nossel – the capture of Amnesty International USA

    email to Independent re James Bloodworth article on Venezuela {http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1350399468.html}

    Syria: Amnesty International, Regime Change and an Ambassador

    etc etc

  138. That should actually be “9 Israeli drones”, above. The Kurds shot one down….maybe using an Israeli missile?

  139. Uzbek in the UK

    19 Oct, 2012 - 3:49 pm

    Happy Birthday Mr Murray. I wish your really Happy Birthday come soon.
    EU/UK/US do not see things they do not want to see. As we speak over million of people in Uzbekistan are working in cotton fields. Some of those are school children as young as 10. This year cotton picking is particularly important for the government as some rumours say that karimov clan is trying to squeeze the last drop, quite possibly sensing coming end of their almighty bastard father.
    So hopefully nature will soon step in and liberate Uzbeks from this tyrant. Unfortunately he will never be tried and prosecuted.

  140. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 4:09 pm

    The Ambassadors October 16 statement is here….http://turkey.usembassy.gov/amb_ricciardone_101612.html

    Running through it, I see no such indication of what the PTV story of a secret deal propounds.

    The Deal described is repeated in three or four outlets, using the same language cut-and-pasted without additional sourcing.

    I agree Mark, something might have been offered to Turkey, but ‘Bin Laden’ methodology is no where to be found, nor is the strange rejection of such assistance by Turkey.

  141. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    I say ‘strange’ rejection because they regularly receive US monies; 21 billion in 2011.

  142. A deal to sell drones to Turkey would have to go through Congress, I believe. Now Turkey is unaligned with Israel, we can take it that the AIPAC pawns would forbid this. So I wonder if the offer was of something else, perhaps access to surveillance data, instead of the drones Turkey wanted.

    There may be some pressure to reduce US military aid to Turkey in any event. Israel is playing both ends against the middle in the region, and Turkey is in the middle. Inevitably: Turkey’s regional ties are now seen as more important than its relations with the West, and this in turn is due in no small measure to its continued rejection by the EU.

  143. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    Interesting speculations. But I think the cool relations between Barry and Bibi run contrary to the intuition. Obama is aligning with stable Islamic countries as an adjunct to drone activity against the militant factions.

    I think this trend is bolstered by events around Benghazi.

  144. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 4:54 pm

    Although he campaigned as a symbolic revolutionary, Obama is an Authoritarian. IOW, he wears suspenders as well as a belt to keep his britches up; looks both ways before crossing a one-way street. He likes order and the Rule of Law for the above reasons, but has been hampered by an obstructionist Congress and the quagmire created by the Bush Gang.

  145. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    Coincidentally, after my last comment I see this…

    “The Associated Press this week reported on the Obama administration’s current plans for Benghazi, plans that were “provided by three current and one former administration official, as well as an analyst who was approached by the White House for help”. The report described how the US “is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target”; in other words, the gun is metaphorically cocked and simply in search of someone to shoot [my emphasis]:”


    Yup. That’ll work. Take Militias who fought the Benghazi attackers and turn them into enemies.

    That’s the blowback.

  146. Mary wrote “Duncan McFarlane is speaking of the old models of AI and HRW when we all invited to send postcards to political prisoners. Now they are part of the war machine.

    It took AI 8 years to get round to accuse Bush and Cheney of torture. AI is now run by Suzanne Nossel late of Clinton’s state department and have a terrible reputation for supporting the US Nato attacks on Libya and now Syria. It was described as ‘humanitarian intervention’.”

    Nothing you’ve said there is true.
    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch criticised torture and war crimes by US and Coalition / NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002 in the case of Afghanistan and 2003 in the case of Iraq. That’s easily verifiable by just a search on their sites or a google. e.g
    They were both writing reports saying the Bush administration had a policy of torture from 2005 and Human Rights Watch wrote comprehensive reports on torture in Afghanistan well before Abu Ghraib
    e.g see all the quotes from their listed reports on this page

    They also condemned human rights abuses and war crimes by NATO and the Libyan rebel militias , as well as those by Gadaffi’s forces – and continue to condemn crimes by the militias to date as well as by NATO forces in Afghanistan , Israeli forces in the occupied territories, both Syrian rebels and Syrian government forces etc.

    The head of Amnesty International, it’s Secretary General, is not Suzanne Nossel but Salil Shetty, who was a UN official promoting aims of reducing poverty and before that worked for the charity Action Aid.

    Suzanne Nossel became head of Amnesty International USA (not of the whole organisation) in January this year and did work at the State Department under Clinton – that’s the only fact you get even half right. That did worry me a bit when i first read it – but it doesn’t seem to stop her criticising the US government in her new role e.g when the US was one of the countries that blocked the UN arms trade treaty in July Nozzel said””This was stunning cowardice by the Obama administration, which at the last minute did an about-face and scuttled progress toward a global arms treaty, just as it reached the finish line.”

    So Nozzel is clearly not making Amnesty “part of the war machine” at all, apart from the fact that she’s only the head of Amnesty USA, not the whole of Amnesty.

    So why are you spreading these lies? Are you relying on second hand claims by people who are either dishonest or haven’t bothered checking their facts at all (when a google would have told them differently)? Or are you making these false claims up yourself? Either way please stop it.

  147. Mark – thanks for the reply and the Hurriyet link – confirms you were right there

  148. Mary – and more from Suzanne Nozzel as head of Amnesty USA in March this year, on US arms shipments to Egypt.

    The United States came under fire by rights group Amnesty International on Thursday as a shipment of U.S. weapons and explosives headed towards Egypt’s shoreline….
    The organization also sent a letter to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, asking her to prevent Egypt from receiving U.S. military aid. …“The United States should not place more weapons in the hands of the Egyptian security forces that have shown ongoing disregard for the rights of the Egyptian people,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA. “It would be flat-out wrong and shameful for the United States to falsely certify that the Egyptian government is protecting human rights – and would send a dangerous signal to waive that certification requirement.”

  149. Two years ago UNICEF estimated only 0.5 million children worked in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields. Yes, the number is high, but there are ongoing efforts of Uzbek authorities to reduce it. Some districts have introduced labour mapping which allowed them to place unemployed workers where demand for labour was highest. See, Craig, it is extremely easy to criticise the country as a whole when being a bystander: if you had to really engage in change process, you will see that managing a country is not like managing an office or even a corporation.

    I am not suggesting Uzbekistan is well managed – it isn’t. But what you promote as “liberating of Uzbekistan” means actually giving it away to international corporate interests: you are very well aware that “democracy” is inherently prone to “hijacking” by those who have more money than ethics.

    Enjoy Ghana, nothing spectacular is going on in UK – David Cameron is haggling with Brussels like a Turkish bazaar trader, just for the mere fun of haggling and with little concept over what can realistically be gained. Else, boredom. Enjoy sunny Ghana!

  150. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    19 Oct, 2012 - 10:38 pm


    Expediency is the measure of most Nations. It is easier to critique others when the bar has been set for decades in your own culture. There is barb-wire around most factories in china, but is it to keep people in or prevent others who seek low-wages in the face of starvation?

  151. Hi Ben, relating to the recent discussion of autism i just wonder if this newish link to mercury contamination in corn syrup is of intrest. The reddit comments are typicaly cynical but support the research.

  152. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    Howdy, Crab.

    Genetically modified produce is creating an even greater threat to us all. As they keep making (ADM) pesticide-resistant strains, they must ramp-up. Now they are using a form of ‘Agent Orange’ to protect the patented strains from pests.

    As for mercury, yes. I believe autism is a marker. The Authoritarian, concerned about liability for government and business in the effort to vaccinate babies against disease, has insisted the form of mercury in Thimerosal is inert. I say bunk. Just as ‘depleted uranium is an oxymoron, the safety of this substance is verklempt.

    It’s primary purpose was economic. It allowed pharms to increase profit by using multiple-dose ampules, which need a preservative, namely Thimerosal. They removed it, putatively, from chilhood immunizations, but still use it in flu shots. I’ll take my chances with the flu.

  153. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:47 pm

    Spreading these links to avoid Mod.


  154. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:49 pm

  155. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:50 pm

  156. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:50 pm

  157. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    20 Oct, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    This guy is on it.

    Gary Hirshberg is the Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, founder of the “Just Label It” campaign, and author of Label It Now: What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Foods. Last month, Foodconsumer.org profiled Hirshberg’s support of California Proposition 37. The ballot initiative would require the labeling of genetically engineered food and counts Bill Maher among its supporters.

    Twitter: @Gary_Hirshberg

  158. Hi Ben, at least iirc there has been ~some impact of alarms for the safety of vacines. Heavy metal pollution and even deliberate exposure is a disgrace. And that situation in America where dangerously novel genetic manipulations and accompanying toxic tricks in foodstuffs – do not even need to be labelled, it illustrates blatant disrespect for population health and individual choice and awareness. Yet at the same time it is a far cry from the starvation and poverty maintained for the ever suffering second and third worlds. So i can feel indignant, lucky and very guilty of neglect all at once. phew.

  159. Im miffed at myself for not going to the protests about cuts to public services today. It was nice and sunny too. hmphf.

  160. Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)

    21 Oct, 2012 - 2:26 am

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Crab. After all, we’re just human beans.

  161. Yes, but a duty to at least germinate a little ^^

  162. Hi there, just became aware of your weblog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you happen to continue this in future. A lot of folks shall be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  163. Gaia Hepburn

    24 Oct, 2012 - 5:05 am

    Dear Craig, I hope you had a happy birthday. Thanks for this wonderful blog and for all its caring contributors and supporters. Reading this blog makes me feel optimistic. There are still many honest, fearless and compassionate people in this world.

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