John Bolton’s Fake Applause 222

The Oxford Union has dubbed fake applause onto the videos of John Bolton’s address to the Union. It has not done this for any other speaker.

If you listen to these videos of Bolton itching for war with Iran, you can hear precisely the same burst of ultra enthusiastic applause at the start, fading “naturally” as he begins to speak.

This dubbing in of applause is not used for any other speaker on the Oxford Union website, either before or after Bolton.

Everyone else just gets the actual applause that really existed.

Contrast the presentation of these question answers from Bolton with this from Julian Assange:

One futher interesting feature of the Bolton video is that the students asking questions – who were mostly hostile – are all edited out in favour of fake applause.

I was involved in heated negotiations with the Oxford Union on the transmission of Assange’s address, against attempts not by the students but by the Board of Trustees to block it “on legal grounds”. These conversations were not pleasant. When Assange’s address was finally put out, the sound was completely messed up and remained so for a fortnight, with this comment from the Oxford Union posted underneath:

Thanks for your feedback. We are aware there are issues with the audio when playing on mobile devices and we are working on getting this fixed as quickly as possible. The audio can be heard on desktops or with headphones on laptops.

I am therefore fascinated by the skill with which the Oxford Union have merged the dying of the fake applause over the start of Bolton’s speaking, when they were technically incapable of a simple straight sound feed of the Assange address.

Bolton is not only banging the drum for neo-con war, he is a war criminal with a direct role in launching the illegal role of aggression in Iraq. His address to the Union was the day before Assange’s speech to the Sam Adams Award at the same venue. Yet not a single one of the students who demonstrated against Assange demonstrated against Bolton.

To take the issue of rape, which was ostensibly the subject of the protest, Bolton’s Iraq War directly caused innumerable rapes. Nobody can know the exact figure, but certainly tens of thousands of rapes, and very many of them were fatal or had the most devastating consequences for the women who suffered. Read this excellent article

Rape is a common weapon of any war; no one knows how many Iraqi women have been raped since the war began in 2003. Most crimes against women “are not reported because of stigma, fear of retaliation, or lack of confidence in the police,” MADRE, an international women’s rights group, wrote in its 2007 report about violence against women in Iraq. Some women, like Khalida, are raped by Iraqi security forces. A 2005 report published by the Iraqi National Association for Human Rights found that women held in Interior Ministry detention centers endure “systematic rape by the investigators.”

They did not demonstrate against Bolton because the mainstream media and establishment have whipped up no hysteria about him. But they were directed to outrage against Assange, a man who has done a great deal to expose war crimes and try to prevent war, because the mainstream media and establishment pushed the useful idiots in that direction with some extraordinarily unconvincing accusations.

I said most of this IN my owN speech to the Sam Adams awards. Strangely the Oxford Union have not posted that speech at all…..


With thanks to Herbie, there is a history of Bolton and false applause. Perhaps this is insisted upon by his minders – who presumably know he doesn’t get real applause outside the Republican Party!

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222 thoughts on “John Bolton’s Fake Applause

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  • Frazer

    Interestingly enough, through my job I meet a lot of ex Gulf war vets…inevitably the question of WMD’s comes up..I have never met anyone that has actually seen one, and these people are experts in thier field…just goes to show that the invasion of Iraq was, and is, about Big Oil..I am sure that if u you dig deep enough you will find some connection to Bolton in there somewhere..I am sure that Craig knows more on this ?

  • Mary

    Does the same happen on these other videos? I could not bear to watch them. I think he is the most evil of men.

    Terrorism in Africa | John Bolton | Oxford Unionby OxfordUnion 38 views
    Latin America | John Bolton | Oxford Unionby OxfordUnion 122 views
    UN Reform | John Bolton | Oxford Unionby OxfordUnion 38 views

    On the first YT Craig links to, towards the end Bolton says with a straight face that another 9/11 is needed to wake the people up. Wonder what he has in mind for next time?

  • Chris2

    The fake anger generated in the campaign against Assange is disturbing.
    One of the strangest examples has been in the “debate” in the “SWP” in which the dissident faction, led by Richard Seymour, have insisted that it is a mark of socialist merit to smear Assange and, indeed, George Galloway.
    The SWP has become a cheerleader for imperialism not only in this case but in Libya and Syria too.

  • daniel

    Didn’t the same Oxford Union also invite the BNP fascist, Nick Griffin, to speak? I’d like to know who within this “union” is making the decisions to give public platforms for criminals and fascists to air their views. Are these the same people involved in audio tampering? These individuals need to be publicly exposed.

  • Brendan

    I can say it: I love John Bolton. John Bolton is just the most perfect example of what is wrong with neoliberalism. Everyone should scrutinise his career. John Bolton is, quite simply, one of the dumbest men ever to have a successful political career. The man is simply not a smart man, he knows nothing much about anything, has no charisma, isn’t telegenic, has few skills, and is basically an utter, utter nobody. And yet, he was once powerful, and even now is listened to by people who should – and do – know far, far better. And that’s why I love John Bolton. He teaches us all about politics, and we should heed the lesson. Politicians often ain’t that clever, and we should often laugh at them. This is a valuable lesson.

    JB often makes me laugh. I chuckle when he gets on stage with his nonsense, or gets an article in The Gruan. Because his lack of intelligence, and his patent and obvious personality disorder are quite funny, in their way, just as Dr Strangelove is funny. Naturally, it’s deadly serious for the people of Iraq, that men whose IQ’s are barely in 3 figures can exert such power. I probably shouldn’t find JB so funny.

  • daniel

    Chris2, the notion that the SWP are cheerleaders for imperialism is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard.

  • John Goss

    Love the Fake Applause. Well spotted. But worrying. I can’t even stand fake laughter in sitcoms let alone in political programmes.

    As to rape and war you are spot on again. Thanks to Wikileaks some of these real rape stories have been released into the public domain but they are being diminished by false accusations against Assange in order to get him to the US. It is well know that Women Against Rape have expressed their concerns about the Assange accusations diminishing what action is taken in real rape cases. This is shared by individuals who have been raped. For example this is what Felicity Ruby has to say:

    “- As a feminist, a rape survivor and a former UN staffer I personally have been devastated by the utilisation of feminist goals and principles to attack Wikileaks, because Wikileaks has provided the peace and women’s movements with many gifts – troves of evidence, example after example of the crimes and culture of militarised masculinity on the battlefield, in the board room, in the Embassy.

    – I would be less worried if the epidemic of violence against women was being addressed quite as athletically by governments, the media, courts and police as it is in Assange’s case, if arrest warrants and man hunts were occurring with quite the same fervour. Because they are not, I don’t find this selective and concerted effort on one man to be a feminist victory. Rather than something being better than nothing, selectivity damages and delegitimises real efforts to address violence against women.”

  • Naomi

    @Daniel @chris2 In addition, Richard Seymour’s perspective on Assange is far more sensible than most.

  • craig Post author


    Thanks for the link and I am glad to see it – I like Richard and I was concerned by reports he was vehemently anti-Assange (which several people had suggested to me).

    My own view of the SWP is that it is an organisation containing some wonderful people it does not in the least deserve. On one level its current “rape crisis” is the kind of problem bound to arise from time to time from its Stalinist “democratic centralist” structure. On the specifics, I think all of those involved, including the alleged victim, ought to have gone to the police. The decision not to do that was a fundamental error. I don’t think you can declare the individual guilty of rape in the absence of that, though whether he has a serial history of sexual harassment is a different question.

  • Mary

    Not far away from Parliament Square, in another London Square,we sometimes chant ‘Israel is a terror state’.

    These MET types and the ones with the clipboards and pens from the City of Westminster are wasted on London. Note how they quote odd bits of law. I hear them say at one stage ‘We have the power’. How right.

    Arrest: is an Umbrella a bigger crime than GENOCIDE?!

    They have to keep Parliament Square for the tourists. Of course.

  • Richard

    All I can say is that when I was the archivist of the Cambridge Union Society (for about 3 years), we published debates in full, and unaltered(*), as a matter of record. This is actually how I met Craig, who appears in one of them.

    (*)Of course we made minor tweaks like boosting audio levels, fixing brightness, sync, file-compression etc, but we never changed anything of material importance or public record. In fairness to Oxford, I think JA’s lapel mic fell off to cause the broken sound – this has happened to me on occasion too. We also suffered the occasional technical glitch.

    [I have no idea what the current policy in Cambridge is].

  • Arbed

    Are MI5 trying to float a rumour that a man who last year told Rolling Stone that he’s bankrupt and had been put on the PEP status (Politically Exposed Person) list (how exactly does that happen, when you don’t hold any public office?) has a secret stash of £1,000,000?

    “Security sources said Assange, who is reported to have a personal fortune of £1million, would be arrested and deported if he stepped outside.”

    Well, if the intelligence services do monitor this blog – Come out and explain yourselves, yer lying bastards! We know what your game is.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    I agree the applause was suspiciously overenthusiastic for such an event (unless the audience had been served alcoholic drinks beforehand). John Bolton is one of the few politicians who is correct about Iran. It has been a revelation to me why he thinks so many Europeans are soft like Obama on Iran. I had no idea why until today and I read all the various comments here.

    No, the Iranians are not coming [to conquer us?], but the Iranian leadership can see no other way to win respect other than by projecting power through nuclear ambiguity (never allowing the world to be confident Iran does not have a nuclear bomb or isn’t one screw-turn away (Karim Sadjadpour’s expression) from having one). If there is evidence Iran does already have one (being mindful of the false intelligence on Iraq and the debacle that that led to) of course I think the West will have adequate reason to remove the weapons by force (which may later make it necessary to get rid of the regime, depending on the severity of their response to our actions – which will probably be quite severe, perhaps involving far more casualties than most people anticipate).

    In my view Iran must open up Parchin for inspection and answer the IAEA’s questions about possible non peaceful uses of nuclear technology that have hitherto gone unanswered. There is a problem with Iranian lying (they are not the only nation in the region that lies, and of course Britain has lied in the past – the MacDonald Falklands announcement – but the scale of the problem is probably quite different, which makes negotiating with them quite tricky: they probably think we are lying when we are not?)

    There are issues about whether Iran should have a nuclear bomb to counterbalance Israel’s (a fair point), whether a Western invasion of Iran is to steal or control their natural resources (as much a plausible argument to yourselves as to many Iranians, but it is an argument which I think is flawed), whether Iran will miraculously transform into a Western style parliamentary democracy (it almost certainly will not), whether the West will profit from such an invasion (in the long term it may do, but in the short term that seems very doubtful: for a start the loss of life occurs first before any benefits accrue), and finally (what seems to get you all so annoyed) is the point about those who pay the cost of a war (giving up their lives) being different to those who reap the benefits (doesn’t almost every policy have wealth and income redistribution effects, although none more so than a decision to go to war?).

    If you are thinking I am some sort of Israeli armchair war monger, nothing could be further from the truth: I am happy to offer to drop the first bomb on Natanz or Fordow myself, and I do love everything about Iran, especially the food, but not the leadership. And of course not even the exiled Nobel Peace prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, is pro attacking Iran, so of course I couldn’t be Iranian.

    With views like yours, I am surprised you haven’t all offered a new home for Lenin’s tomb.

  • Jemand

    @Richard 3.56pm

    ” In fairness to Oxford, I think JA’s lapel mic fell off to cause the broken sound – this has happened to me on occasion too. We also suffered the occasional technical glitch.”

    His microphone did not fall off, it is clearly visible throughout the interview. One of the audio channels was dimmed which is curious when we understand that the microphone is wired mono and not stereo. Interestingly, the dimmed channel is the one we heard on small devices with single speakers, like my iPad and most smart phones.

  • Anon

    The left and right channel on the broken sound JA video are out of phase (waveforms mirror images of each other) and cancel each other out when combined and played back in mono. A very basic sound error and one very easy to fix at source. With playback on mono devices try to turn one channel down so you only have the left or right channel playing and it will sound fine. Alternatively stick headphones on.

  • Cryptonym

    @KarimovaRevengeFantasist “There are issues about whether Iran should have a nuclear bomb to counterbalance Israel’s (a fair point), whether a Western invasion of Iran is to steal or control their natural resources (as much a plausible argument to yourselves as to many Iranians, but it is an argument which I think is flawed), whether Iran will miraculously transform into a Western style parliamentary democracy (it almost certainly will not) […]”

    Western governments have long coveted Iran’s natural resources, namely oil, they have a history of doing so actively, toppling legitimate governments, installing the puppet and despotic Shah, you do not say why such strong suspicions are flawed.

    In Mossadegh, they had a far more more democratic, popular, social and economic reforming leader and government, that was as close to ideal from an Iranian’s perspective and from our own, which leader we along with the US and other criminal regimes, toppled. They had a working representative democracy, which was maliciously destroyed; I should also that that this particular “Western style parliamentary democracy” of ours is dysfunctional, corrupt and atrocious, you might myopically think it great, but I wouldn’t inflict it on anyone.

    You talk of loss of life before benefits accrue, might I remind you the loss of life on the Iranian side, innocents, women, children, non-combatants, would also be high and no benefits would accrue, as you so obnoxiously put it, to those maimed of deprived of loved ones.

    Maybe not an Israeli warmonger, who knows your bestial allegiances, but a war-monger still.

  • Fred

    Neocon philosophy is based on the teachings of Leo Strauss who in turn based his philosophy on Plato. It is a class based system with a ruling, warrior and worker class. The reality of the lower classes is controlled by the ruling class.

    This is how one White House aid explained it:

    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    They make no secret of it, they know they can continue to lie to the people and that the people will continue to believe them, people will believe their false reality rather than a reality based on facts. It’s human nature.

    John Bolton will have had someone with him to ensure that the reality the people saw was the reality he wanted them to see.

  • craig Post author


    You are completely and utterly wrong.

    Both the examples you give are of actual applause; you can see they coincide with actual applause. Neither is the same as each other (the first includes whistling) and neither is the same as the much louder canned applause on the Bolton videos, which is precisely the same on each.

    The second example you post gives a good audience shot that makes it very plain the noise does coincide with the actions of the audience and fades and stops as they do. By contrast, the fake Bolton applause would have to be occurring between the question and the answer, which is pretty improbable.

    For reasons best known to yourself you continually turn up on this site and always to argue that whatever I have posted, on whatever subject, is untrue. I have no idea why you do this. But on this occasion you have made a complete fool of yourself.

  • Ex Pat



    Tony Benn encounters Neocon Nazi ‘Bonkers’ Bolton. With unfortunate results for Bonkers. Tony Benn was 82, but he looks a lot healthier than Bonkers. Bonkers showing the predictable Dorian Gray results of the hellishly debauched evil which was the Neocon PNAC project … No change there, then! –


    In addition to ‘Democracy’ (below) see his joint interview with his son, the Labour cabinet minister Hilary Benn, for the personal side of the man – “The Railway Children Story.” When Hilary Benn was elected to parliament, Tony Benn introduced him in the House, as his father had introduced him. It was an emotional moment. His family were watching from the gallery. They nudged each other, “It’s The Railway Children.” It was a standing family joke that Tony Benn would burst into tears during The Railway Children. A nice man. : )

    Family secrets – Tony Benn’s hand gestures –


    Tony Benn – ‘Big Ideas That Changed The World: Democracy’ – Tony Benn –

  • Arbed

    BBC watchers (I don’t, personally), how to interpret this?

    Calls to reduce Met Police’s 24/7 Julian Assange guard:

    A mixed bag as signals go. No word about the Ecuador elections, of course, but I suppose gritted teeth is not thought very telegenic. Maybe they’ve heard that the peasants are tweeting and making v. angry noises about the bloody waste of taxpayers’ money?

  • Herbie

    Craig says, of Kempe:

    “For reasons best known to yourself you continually turn up on this site and always to argue that whatever I have posted, on whatever subject, is untrue. I have no idea why you do this.”

    Fred points out above that the central tactic of neoconism is the idea of “noble lies”.

    These are discussed here:

    but the central idea is of:

    “a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda”

    This is in contrast to a more rationalist approach involving critical realism and a search for truth.

    You, Craig, represent the latter approach and Kempe the former, and never the twain shall meet.

    We could say then that you find nobility in exposing lies or finding truth whereas Kempe feels it’s noble to create lies and suppress inconvenient truths. It really is that simple, but still it’s something that many people have difficulty grasping.

    There’s much that can be said about these respective positions and the real philosophical meat is in the detail of that discussion, but suffice it to say, noble lies are the reason why many of us find corporate media to have that spooky unreal quality about it.

  • Herbie


    I’d interpret it as another way of attacking Assange.

    The argument will become one in which he is costing us this money and that’s another reason why he should just off himself to Sweden. It’s all his fault.

    It certainly won’t be about a rational questioning of the use of police resources. It never is, but they’ll attempt to present it as such.

  • KarimovaRevengeFantasist

    Coveting (desiring strongly) is not a crime. Stealing their natural resources is. Substituting “coveting” for “stealing” switches off further thought about how you actually steal the oil and maintain a long term benefit from theft. Yes, when you read history BACKWARDS, the behaviour of the Anglo-Persian Oil company (now called BP) does not look good, but there are reasons (if you read history forwards, while shutting out knowledge of what subsequently happened why BP’s behaviour in Persia may not have been as high handed as it now seems. For a start oil is a far more valuable commodity today than it was then: its utility has since multiplied. Also Iran was not then the plentiful place full of oil and gas we now know it to be: the exploration risk taken was arguably bigger then, so the rewards may have needed to be bigger. There was maybe little reason to be optimistic finding oil then?

    I don’t know much about Mossadegh, except he was a nationalist and that he expropriated BP’s oil fields, and that that may have had a lot to do with our interference in Iranian politics at the time (“malicious” seems a bit harsh given the facts at the time, although I accept many Iranians are justifiably irritated about it (we did not kill him?) but our high-handed behaviour on that one occasion seems a mere trifle compared with the mess Iranians have inflicted on Iranians over the last 33 years.

    I reject the guilt dump about loss of life and the unflattering view of the value of human life you wish me to have. Most people in my experience have a variety of contradictory views on the value of life and they flip effortlessly between them all in the same day often without noticing it. It is perfectly okay to have different contradictory views all in the same day depending on what you are doing? Also the West only seeks to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon, so the amount of killing that subsequently occurs is partly in the hands of the Iranian leadership: it is not all the West’s fault? Sometimes overwhelming force is the only answer: it worked with Japan and Germany (nobody seriously objects to them knowing how to make nuclear weapons now?) Iran, on the other hand, has a leadership that seeks to preserve a dogma and it is a dogma the leadership refuses to de-construct. I accept Iran has never declared war on anyone in modern times, but I am in no doubt they are on the path to acquire nuclear weapon-making know-how, and that they are not a suitable country, with the current leadership, to possess such knowledge.

  • craig Post author


    Good Lord – for you to repeat it is not a mistake, it is a lie.

    The two examples you give are very clearly actual applause from the audience, the start of which is overlapped with the Oxford Union banner – the “ident”. The two examples are clearly different applause – one has whistling and one doesn’t – and close study of the audience after the banner goes and the picture comes shows the applause really is the sound of the audience.

    The Bolton case is completely different. The Bolton videos have the same identical run of canned applause on each and it bears no relation to the audience.

    The applause on the links you post is the natural applause for a speaker who has just been introduced.

    By contrast the Bolton links show him answering questions – and the applause would therefore be between the unseen questioner and his answer – a most improbable spot for such rapturous acclaim.

    The analagous videos are other question answers, of which I posted one from Assange and there are plenty on the site. None of them have this canned applause at the start. In fact only Bolton on the whole site has non-existent canned applause.

    Your attempts to blow smoke in the eyes and obfuscate this very clear picture is really weird. Kindly fuck off.

    Now go away.

  • Fred

    “Fred points out above that the central tactic of neoconism is the idea of “noble lies”.”

    And the greatest threat to the tactic is the truth, web sites where people can leak the truth to the general public are their worst enemy.

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