Monthly Archives: January 2013


Amelia Hill is a Dirty Liar

The Guardian hit a new low in Amelia Hill’s report on Julian Assange’s appearance at the Oxford Union. Hill moved beyond propaganda to downright lies.

This is easy to show. Read through Hill’s “report”. Then zip to 20 minutes and 55 seconds of the recording of Assange speaking at the event Hill misreports, and simply listen to the applause from the Oxford Union after Assange stops speaking.

Just that hearty applause is sufficient to show that the entire thrust and argument of Amelia Hill’s article moves beyong distortion or misreprentation – in themselves dreadful sins in a journalist – and into the field of outright lies. Her entire piece is intended to give the impression that the event was a failure and the audience were hostile to Assange. That is completely untrue.

Much of what Hill wrote is not journalism at all. What does this actually mean?

“His critics were reasoned, those who queued for over an hour in the snow to hear him speak were thoughtful. It was Julian Assange – the man at the centre of controversy – who refused to be gracious.”

Hill manages to quote five full sentences of the organiser of the anti-Assange demonstration (which I counted at 37 people) while giving us not one single sentence of Assange’s twenty minute address. Nor a single sentence of Tom Fingar, the senior US security official who was receiving the Sam Adams award. Even more remarkably, all three students Hill could find to interview were hostile to Assange. In a hall of 450 students who applauded Assange enthusiastically and many of whom crowded round to shake my hand after the event, Hill was apparently unable to find a single person who did not share the Rusbridger line on Julian Assange.

Hill is not a journalist – she is a pathetic grovelling lickspittle who should be deeply, deeply ashamed.

Here is the answer to the question about cyber-terrorism of which Amelia Hill writes:

“A question about cyber-terrorism was greeted with verbose warmth”

As you can see, Assange’s answer is serious, detailed, thoughtful and not patronising to the student. Hill’s characterisation – again without giving a word of Assange’s actual answer – is not one that could genuinely be maintained. Can anybody – and I mean this as a real question – can anybody look at that answer and believe that “Verbose warmth” is a fair and reasonable way to communicate what had been said to an audience who had not seen it? Or is it just an appalling piece of hostile propaganda by Hill?

The night before Assange’s contribution at the union, John Bolton had been there as guest speaker. John Bolton is a war criminal whose actions deliberately and directly contributed to the launching of an illegal war which killed hundreds of thousands of people. Yet there had not been one single Oxford student picketing the hosting of John Bolton, and Amelia Hill did not turn up to vilify him. My main contribution to the Sam Adams event was to point to this as an example of the way people are manipulated by the mainstream media into adopting seriously warped moral values.

Amelia Hill is one of the warpers, the distorters of reality. The Guardian calls her a “Special Investigative Correspondent.” She is actually a degraded purveyor of lies on behalf of the establishment. Sickening.

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Whatever Happened to Craig Murray?

This blog is not closing down and will return to normal output shortly.

The heart problem that put me into hospital after New Year was “paroxysmal atrial fibrillation”. This seems likely to have been the cause of the lack of energy I had complained was afflicting me towards the end of last year. It can be controlled by drugs and I was in hospital for six days while they got it controlled.

On discharge I was ordered to rest awhile, but had three speaking engagements I was determined to honour. On 23 January was the Sam Adams Award at the Oxford Union, including a live videolink with Julian Assange, and a debate there the next day on “The American Dream”. In the daytimes I researched Burnes documents in Worcester College Library. Then the next day I flew overnight to Accra, arrived the morning of the 26 January and that night did the Immortal Memory at the Burns Night for Accra Caledonian Society.

I had picked up a sore throat in Oxford which I put down to too much public speaking. But by Sunday morning in Accra I felt absolutely terrible, and have been in bed the last four days with a flu, quite possibly swine flu (certainly the nastiest flu I can ever recall). For someone recently out of hospital with heart problems, that has been a bit scarey.

This morning I feel human again. I have quite a lot of work I simply must do in Accra, as I have no other way to feed my family, and funds are very low. But I intend to be home again on the 5th, as I have an echocardiogram appointment on the 6th.

I do intend to have the blog fully functional again as soon as I can, and stop these bloody health bulletins. I apologise for giving so much personal detail but I feel a need to explain why the blog has been cold.

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Uzbek Cotton Slavery Campaign

I am delighted that a new canpaign has started today against the state enforced child slavery in the uzbek cotton industry, especially as this campaign originates in Germany, where a significant portion of society appears to have finally woken up to the reality of the German government’s appalling complicity in the Nazi style regime and atrocities of Karimov.

However in the UK it remains the case that since the coalition government came to power, there has not been one single government statement on the human rights atrocities in Uzbekistan or – even more damning of our sham democracy – one single statement or question from New Labour.

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Tom Fingar Wins Sam Adams Award

The following press release is from the Oxford Union:

The Oxford Union will be hosting the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award presentation on 23 January 2013. The ceremony will feature several individuals well known in intelligence and related fields, including, via video-stream, remarks by Julian Assange, winner of the Sam Adams award in 2010.

The annual award presentation provides a rare occasion for accolades to “whistleblowers” — conscience-driven women and men willing to take risks to honor the public’s need to know.

This year’s Sam Adams recipient is Professor Thomas Fingar, who is now teaching at Stanford University. Dr. Fingar served from 2005 to 2008 as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

In that role, Dr. Fingar oversaw preparation of the landmark 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, in which all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded with “high confidence” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapon design and weaponization work in 2003. The Estimate’s key judgments were declassified and made public, and have been revalidated every year since.

Those pressing for an attack on Iran in 2008 found themselves fighting uphill. This time, thanks largely to Dr. Fingar and the professional intelligence analysts he led in 2007, intelligence analysis on Iran was fearlessly honest. A consummate intelligence professional, Fingar would not allow the NIE to be “fixed around the policy,” the damning phrase used in the famous “Downing St. Memo” of July 23, 2002 to describe the unconscionable process that served up fraudulent intelligence to “justify” war with Iraq.

We are delighted to be welcoming several previous Sam Adams awardees, including Coleen Rowley, Katharine Gun, Craig Murray, Thomas Drake, and Julian Assange (by video-stream) — as well as other Sam Adams associates from both sides of the Atlantic, including Ray McGovern, Brady Kiesling, Davdi McMichael, Elizabeth Murray, Todd Pierce and Ann Wright.

We feel that the Oxford Union, dedicated to upholding freedom of speech and providing a platform for all points of view, is a fitting venue. The traditional acceptance speech by Dr. Fingar will be followed by briefer remarks by a few previous Sam Adams awardees. They will be followed by Julian Assange who will speak for 20 minutes immediately before the Q&A, during which the audience will be invited to put questions on any topic to any of the presenters.

Assange is clearly a figure who generates controversy for reasons ranging from the allegations made against him in Sweden, to the perceived recklessness of some WikiLeaks activities. We would therefore encourage those who disagree with him, or with any of our other speakers, to participate in the Q&A session.

Last but not least, we are happy to note that Dr. Fingar, will be with us for the entire term. Professor Fingar has just begun teaching a course at the University of Oxford on global trends and transnational issues, as part of Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program. He will also give guest lectures and public talks while here at Oxford (January-March 2013).

Professor Fingar holds a PhD in political science from Stanford. His most recent book is Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press, 2011).

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Defend Stephen Sizer

Stephen Sizer has been active for many years in areas of humanitarian concern for the Palestinian population. I was with him on my recent trip to Baghdad, and I am convinced he is a good man.

Stephen is a Church of England vicar. He is under huge pressure at the moment as he is under a formal complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Church of England on a charge of anti-semitism. This is very serious indeed and could lead to the loss of both his job and his home.

The essence of the long complaint is that he has posted links on his website to other websites which contain anti-semitic material. It is not alleged that he has linked to material which is itself anti-semitic; but that elsewhere on websites linked to there is such material.

That may or may not be true. But in the real world, the idea that in posting a link to an article you are endorsing every other article (which in practice you cannot have seen) on a website is nonsensical and would make much current blogging practice impossible.

That Stepehn is not an anti-semite and has not knowingly endorsed anti-semitism, I have no doubt. But what worries me is the growing bravura with which all critics of Israel or supporters of the Palestinians are charged with the – rightfully – damning slur of anti-semitism.

Just as the government of Israel has lurched to the far right, so “official” Jewish institutions in the UK have abandoned their once notable liberalism. The Board of Deputies used to deserve high respect and be a pillar of reason. It is astonishing to me that it has launched this absolutely unfounded attack on an Anglican priest. The Jewish Chronicle has lurched so far to the right as to be off the scale. There seems to be such a disconnect now between these institutions and the views of the Jewish people I know that I hope this state of affairs cannot last.

A list of those who have written in support of Stephen Sizer can be found here.

The formal process in which Stephen is now enmeshed is not only extremely unpleasant, it is also extremely expensive. He has to employ lawyers for his formal defence. A cardinal rule of this blog is never to ask for money, but I ask you now to donate for the defence fund.

Electronic transfers can be made to account name J Moodey, Co-op Bank sort code 08-93-00, account number 80407856. Cheques should be made out to J Moodey and sent to Mr S Leah, c/o York PSC, PO Box 423, York YO24 4WP.

It is important that we do not allow the victimisation of those who try to defend the Palestinians to proceed apace. Please do donate anything you can; if you feel able to add a comment saying that you have done so, that might encourage others.

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The Church of Fear

I attended a launch last night for John Sweeney’s exposure of Scientology – “The Church of Fear”. Get down your bookshop and order a copy now. Carter Ruck and intense legal pressure was only the most “legitimate” form of the threats directed at John to stop this book, including a determined effort to have him sacked from the BBC. Every major UK publisher turned down the book and in the end John’s agent effectively self-published.

I met several escaped (that is the right word) Scientologists at the reception and I have to admit I had not previously realised just how vicious and dangerous this cult is.

I know that some regular commenters here are baffled at my friendship with John Sweeney, particularly after the mocking tone of some of “The Ambassador’s Last Stand”, his BBC documentary of my 2005 campaign against Jack Straw in Blackburn. On that one, no other tone would have got it on screen but after half an hour of fun at my expense, it socked you absolutely between the eyes with the harrowing truth of Jack Straw’s complicity in torture. You may recall that it was shifted at the last moment from 8pm to late night – there was a reason.

I disagree with John about quite a lot – most sharply about Julian Assange. But he is a big-hearted, passionate and honest man, which is what really matters. I have never confined my friends to those who share my political opinions – or I might not have any!

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The 3.2 Million Euro Lardon

lardon and witch

The 41 year old “starlet” in this picture is Gulnara Karimova, “the most hated woman in Uzbekistan” according to leaked US diplomatic cables, which are understated. She has had business rivals killed, forcibly taken over the assets of Uzbek and foreign entrepreneurs as well as Uzbek state concerns, been involved in trafficking girls into prostitution in Dubai, a partner of Gafur Rakhimov in the narcotics trade and she benefits financially from the open forced labour of millions of small children picking cotton in the state farms.

On the plus side she is a Professor of International Relations, International Singing Star, World Renowned Fashion Designer, Ambassador to Spain and to the United Nations, Poet, Scriptwriter and Jeweller. She is worth about 4 billion dollars. None of which “career” has been hurt by the fact that her father is the world’s most vicious dictator.

Gulnara also likes to enhance her image for domestic consumption by hobnobbing with the Soviet oligarch’s idea of important westerners. Thus she is close to Joan Laporta, until recently President of Barcelona FC, and has arranged visits and plater exchanges from that club. She has dueted with Julio Iglesias, been serenaded by Sting, and is a friend of Nat Rothschild, Oleg Deripaska and other of the Peter Mandelson holiday set.

That the 41 year old deputy dictatress likes to wear pigtails and cakes of cosmetics and pose as a young ingenue with old has-been stars is a hobby which costs the exploited Uzbeks dear. Depardieu is getting 3.2 million euros for appearing in a film officially scripted by Karimova, but in truth ghosted by Professor Akbar Hakimov of the Uzbek State Academy of Literature (I can hear Bulgakov having wild fits of laughter in his grave).

Depardieu has become an amporphous blob of animal fat; it is difficult to tell where he ends and where air starts, possibly because he is exuding a lot of gas. He looks like a particularly cheap and ill-conceived monster from a 1970’s Dr Who episode.

For someone my age, who was thrilled by Les Valseuses and still cries at Jean De Florette, what Depardieu is now, is just horrible. We tried to overlook his urinating in plane aisles or attacking fans, as evidence of wild charm. But recently his tax exile to Belgium, friendship with the Putin inner circle, adoption of Russian citizenship and now pussy-licking of old Gulnara are beyond horrible.

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Keeping up with Music Media

I have escaped from the cardiac care unit after six days. Hurray! To be fair to the QEQM hospital in Margate, they give patients individual freeview televisions with built in DVD players, rather than the ridiculous Patientline rip off, and they don’t pretend mobile phones interfere with medical equipment (or bring down low flying aircraft, which they would were the entirely fake airline warnings true). I was able to patch my laptop through by using my phone as a hotspot, though unfortunately the phone data signal was weak to vanishing.

But one thing the experience did bring home to me was a problem with the portability of my music collection. I had downloaded my CDs on to my laptop and even purchased some music online. But I would like to put the collection in a still more portable format. The difficulty is I have over 14,000 tracks comprising some 1200 hours, currently in a windows media format.

I want an MP3 player but they don’t seem to have that much storage. I want a portable music player, as small and simple as possible, not something that phones, plays videos, connects to the internet or offers nutritional advice. I have great difficulty finding what I need as on close reading it appears that most devices don’t have a very high proportion of advertised memory actually available for music storage.

Any advice? I am constantly amazed that at least one well informed person on absolutely any subject you will name reads this blog. I don’t apologise for the lack of a proper post of commentary today – I am meant to be resting!!

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The Disappearance of Craig Murray

Ian Cobain’s history of British state involvement in torture, “Cruel Britannia” – appears to have been radically censored between the review copies and publication.

This from Peter Oborne’s review of Cruel Britannia :

Some heroes do emerge from this sordid story. There is Lt Col Nicholas Mercer, the British army lawyer, who warned against the Iraqi atrocities. He was frozen out of the army and is now an Anglican priest. And Craig Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan, was horrified by what he found out and lost his job.

While Nicholas Mercer’s own review has this:

At the same time, the few good men who do speak out know what fate will befall them. Craig Murray was drummed out of the Foreign Office for revealing Foreign Office connivance with torture evidence and Ben Griffin, the former SAS Trooper who spoke out against the UK treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan, is now living under a Government injunction which prevents him from speaking any further. If he breaks the terms of the injunction he will go to jail. In Cruel Britannia you can lose your job or go to jail for revealing UK complicity in torture and rendition. Those who are complicit meanwhile remain untouched and untroubled. The only tap on the shoulder is the sword used to knight them.

Yet the book as put on sale contains not one single mention of me or my evidence, and the book’s chapters on British complicity with torture in the war on terror are extremely short and scanty, given Cobain’s genuine wide knowledge and expertise in the subject.

For a book to be radically changed between the review copies and general release is very unusual. What exactly has happened here?

UPDATE Comment from Ian Cobain below states that I was never in the book. I should be interested in any further comment he has as to why it is so thin on recent torture; there is a great deal of fascinating and directly relevant stuff that I know he knows that is not there.

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Market Madness

The first post of 2013 comes to you from the cardiac care unit of the QEQM Hospital in Margate. Three days ago I collapsed for the second time in two days; an ambulance was called and a paramedic arrived within 5 minutes, with a full ambulance arriving inside a further five minutes. The NHS at its amazing best. I am well looked after.

This is how the NHS should work; public services provided by the state quickly, efficiently and directly. Yet a couple of weeks previously I had an example of just how the NHS should not operate. I returned from Ghana with a persistent ear infection, resulting in pain, deafness and loss of balance. I went to see the GP who agreed to refer me to a consultant. A few days later, instead of an appointment, I received a letter outlining the NHS “choose and call” programme listing a number of hospitals and phone numbers, and giving me a code to use to book an appointment. This is all in the name of patient choice.

But I really do not want this choice. I want my local hospital – and every local hospital – to have an ENT consultant working to a high standard who can sort out an ear infection. Then I want an appointment to see them quickly. I am not buying a novel or a washing up liquid. The idea that every transaction involving provision of state services should be based on an expensively created and entirely artificial market mechanism is an ideological frippery. Behind that letter lies a mass of administration to record my choice and shuffle invoices and financial transfers between my GP’s practice and whichever hospital I pick. Those invoices and transfers are all entirely internal state administration yet add massively to – multiply – the cost of simply getting a man to look down my ear canal.

There is a parallel here to the private sector distortion by which the middlemen who transfer the money for transactions have contrived ways to complicate that function until they are the major beneficiaries of economic activity.

Thankfully in emergencies this craziness is not yet applied. But I do not rule out one day being stretchered into an ambulance, asked where I want to go and handed a telephone.

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