That Mitchell & Webb Crook 132

Robert Webb gave the following highly revealing answers to a Guardian interview in 2005:

Which living person do you most admire and why?
Christopher Hitchens

What makes you depressed?
Suicide bombers and their apologists

Which living person do you most despise?
George Galloway

he has now found a way to channel his hatred of the anti-necon movement into “comedy”, by making a sitcom poking fun at me, and making light of our government’s alliance with the Uzbek dictatorship.

Our Men, commissioned by the BBC, is a hilarious comedy about the drunken and incompetent British Ambassador in Tazbekistan [which the BBC says does not represent Tashkent, Uzbekistan] and the jolly despot President Kairat [No relation, says the BBC, to President Karimov].

Let us remind ourselves about the Uzbek regime with which the UK has a close military alliance. There are over 11,000 political prisoners held in terrible conditions. Thousands are tortured every year. There is absolutely zero freedom of speech, media, religion or assembly. All opposition parties are banned. Millions are forced into slave Labour in the state cotton plantations, including many thousands of children as young as eight years old.

Over 800 pro-democracy demonstrators were killed in a massacre at Andijan in 2005. Routine torture includes beating with rifle butts, smashing of knees and elbows with hammers, suffocation by gas mask with closed vent, electrocution,
mutilation of genitals, rape, both homosexual and heterosexual, rape with objects, and torture of children in front of their parents. There are properly documented instances of the most extreme torture imaginable, including Mr Avazov, on whom whilst Ambassador there, I obtained a pathology report from the University of Glasgow which said he had died of immersion in boiling liquid.

(Click for full size)

Good for a laugh, that, isn’t it?

But something is happening with Mitchell & Webb more sinister than an argument about the limits of comedy. World War 1 was terrible, but Blackadder Goes Forth is still funny and legitimate, while Mash and Catch 22 undermined war with humour. But this Mitchell & Webb vehicle is being written with the active cooperation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Because the Uzbek government, the fifth most corrupt in the world according to Transparency International, is being sustained and protected by its alliance with the United Kingdom. Just last week the Defence Secretary announced to Parliament a new partnership with this vicious ductatorship which will see most of the equipment of British forces from Afghanistan leaving through Uzbekistan:

The Republic of Uzbekistan has already played a constructive role in helping to secure Afghanistan’s stability but will face increased security challenges once ISAF has withdrawn from Afghanistan. We have therefore been examining options for gifting surplus UK equipment to help meet those challenges. The departmental minute which I have today laid before Parliament describes a gifting package to the Republic of Uzbekistan of surplus Leyland DAF trucks and Land Rover spares that is intended to contribute to this. Both items have been examined and cleared against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, which include an assessment of whether the equipment might be used for human rights violations or internal repression.

The last sentence is as breathtakingly tendentious as anything that has ever been said to parliament, but it is only about Uzbekistan, so nobody cares. In the last three years nobody, on any side of the House, has ever said anything about the appalling human rights record of the Uzbek government.

There is certainly huge room for satire in the British government’s support of this despotism – Bremner, Bird & Fortune did it to great effect. But the Mitchell and Webb comedy is coming from quite a different direction.

The comedy in “Our Men” comes from the exposure not of the hypocrisy of foreign policy, but from the exposure of our drunken and incompetent Ambassador. That is exactly what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has put a huge media effort into telling everybody I was, ever since I blew the whistle on the Uzbek regime and our complicity with it.

The comedy also aims to defuse the horror of our alliance with Uzbekistan and make it banal, accepted and safe.

There is an obvious issue of copyright here, as the substance and themes of Our Men are clearly taken from my book Murder in Samarkand. My literary agent therefore contacted the man of business at Mitchell & Webb’s production company, Big Talk. He said that the series is completely different from Murder in Samarkand ; it has nothing to do with human rights and “the writers have researched the project with the diplomatic service“. That is a direct quote from my agent’s record of the conversation.

Talk about comedy at the service of the establishment. Big Talk also deny having heard of me or Murder in Samarkand, and say that Tazbekistan is not meant to be Uzbekistan. They lie. Here is a quote from their advice to actors, issued through the actors’ website Spotlight:

The accent is mild Russian. Perhaps have a listen to an Uzbek national speaking English to get an idea.

When David Hare went to Tashkent to research his adaptation of Murder in Samarkand, (which became the radio play starring David Tennant), which strongly attacks the government stance, he was not allowed even to enter the grounds of the Embassy to discuss it. Sir David Hare was left standing outside a locked gate. Yet the Diplomatic Service has been working with the writers of Our Men. The reason why lies in the quotes from Robert Webb right at the start of this article.

This is comedy in the service of the state; where the victims are the butt.

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132 thoughts on “That Mitchell & Webb Crook

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  • lysias

    Of the “notable prisoners” listed at the end of the Wikipedia “Nacht und Nebel” article, some two-thirds survived until long after the war. So our current “Nacht und Nebel” policy would appear to be worse than the original Nazi one.

  • OldMark

    ‘Jon Taylor has been immersed in the tv world all his life’

    Quelle surprise. No wonder Craig @5.33pm rightly detected his BBC snootiness & swarm; that’s been in the air he’s imbibed since he arrived on the planet. Truly a pompous prick to the manner born.

  • Jives

    Fuck ’em all.

    All their cosy BBC/ITV/C4 “comedy” laugh-ins and “quizzes” and fake cut and paste “100 Best TV Comedy Moments” and insider Oxbridge shite.

    So sick of them all…Jimmy Carr,Alan Davies,Ian Hyslop,Stephen Fry,Mitchell and Webb et al..

    They are all patsies and slaves to the spookdom game of propaganda and brainwashing.

    We all know how long TV shows,especially Big Productions,take to get rolling through commissioning and planning etc.

    Funny how Spooks and 24,both massive production jobs,just suddenly seemed to arrive so soon on our screens after 9/11.It musta been a world record for such major productions to get on air so swiftly.Almost like someone expected,or even staged,the paradigm shift towards total espiocratic paranoia in our TV schedules,and ultimately,our collective consciousness.

    Thanks for this really really important post Craig.

    Nauseating that some people will seek to make comedy,or other value,out of people being boiled alive.

    Evil twisted bastards.

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    Ben Franklin, 5.35p re Final decision on extradtions from Sweden

    Greenwald; “This is completely and unquestionably false. It is simply untrue that it is Swedish courts, rather than the Swedish government, who are the final decision- makers in extradition requests. It is equally untrue that the Swedish government has no final decision-making power regarding extradition requests that are legally sanctioned by the Swedish judiciary. These are not matters for reasonable debate. The law is clear. Green’s claim is false.”

    – – –

    For those who argue that the courts have the final decision on extradition matters, they simply do not understand the nature of law and politics.

    It is the government who makes the laws and on a matter as important as sending a person into a foreign jurisdiction in which they have no further say, the govt would never surrender their power of veto. To do so would provide a foreign power with the means of seriously disrupting the internal affairs of a country. The terms of extradition treaties make provision for these considerations. Any other arrangement simply does not make sense.

    Sweden, despite its history of compliance, will not surrender their fundamental sovereign powers to the US or anybody else. Instead, they negotiate deals and there can be no doubt that they have already made a deal with the US to facilitate Assange’s tranfer into US DoJ custody. If the courts have any say, it would be to say ‘no’, but I doubt that there would be any objection on the basis of legal technicalities or human rights considerations.

    The US is going all out to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ to prevent any embarrassment to their friends in compliant governments. If he is eventually sent to Sweden, he will be tied up in legal processes for years and denied freedom to continue his work. The Swedes will inch him ever closer to eventual extradition until we have all got used to the idea that he’s on his way to the US where he will be tied up again in legal processes for 10 years while incarcerated on remand.

    Lastly, I want to point out the long demonstrated fact that the police and governments can, and do, selectively apply the law and invent pretexts to prosecute or drop investigations when it suits their political agendas. It’s all in the manipulation of language. The unlawful leaking of police reports to the Swedish media without any subsequent investigation is but one glaring example. Put simply, the law is often irrelevant.

  • BrianFujisan

    This is all Disgusting… The lying Bastards… So even if they HAD claimed to Know nothing of Murder in Samarakand, and Craig’s Treatment by the evil Pinstriped Rags as it were.. They Know Now….And they have been on this Blog…They have seen Craig’s most recent foto of the tortured to death soul… I will be sick if this project airs after the activity on Craig’s Blog… But It’s Nothing new, regards intelligence using hollywood, bbc, ect, as tools… –

    Nice lively post jives..exelent

  • crab

    “Nauseating that some people will seek to make comedy,or other value,out of people being boiled alive.”

    Thats not the issue, as blackadder goes forth was comedy about millions of people getting shot to bits. Difference is it wasn’t written in consultation with the ministry-of-arranging-for-people-to-be-shot-to-bits.

    The apparent problem with this production is the enthusiastic consultation with the FCO, the very government agency responsible for attacking the real ambassador for acting on the grave problems which are undeniably referenced in the comedies description along with other crucial associative details. And there is no other even slightly well known ambassador in half similar circumstances to relate the story to, which makes the claims of irrelevance absurd deceits.

    Anyway, it is open bets on what the result will be – whether the FCO will approve of the results. Embarassing at this stage for the team to have cosyed up to the FCO and ignored, even denied Craig. But there is a slim chance that their work will defy its tainted origin.

    Will Mitchell Webb and Co be “marching under the banner of a rats anus” ?

    Time will tell

  • Mary

    I thought the comment underneath and the canned laughter were good. Do production companies run to the expense of having a live audience? Probably not. Bring back the BBC Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, once the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Live everything then. It is now part of the O2 empire.

    In March 2003 the Dixie Chicks were performing there. Good for Natalie.

    ‘”Just so you know,” says singer Natalie Maines, “we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” It gets the audience cheering – at a time when country stars are rushing to release pro-war anthems, this is practically punk rock.’

  • Arbed

    Jemand, 2.49am

    Great post. Two things I thought you might be interested in (I think I’d better do these as separate posts as they are so long).

    1) Sir Menzies Campbell made clear during the Parliamentary debate on the UK’s extradition treaties (both US and European ones) in December 2011 that Theresa May’s plan to remove the final say on individual extraditions from the UK Home Secretary “fails to understand the nature of extradition… Extradition is diplomatic in the first instance. It becomes judicial and ultimately it is political.” Yes, that’s spot-on, extradition is ALWAYS a government decision.

    I found that quote from an open letter to David Cameron, reproduced on the Justice4Assange site. It covers a lot of ground so I’ll paste it in full below; hopefully the embedded links in the letter will survive the transposition. If not, check out the original here:

    Dear Prime Minister,

    I have been discussing the recent Supreme Court Assange extradition verdict with friends, work colleagues and neighbours and want to share with you how ordinary British voters view its implications.

    The Supreme Court judgment is stunning in its overreach. It has effectively annulled parts of the UK Extradition Act 2003 and undermined Parliamentary sovereignty, on the basis that Parliament was misled or that it didn’t know what it was doing when drafting the Act. Here’s a good article that explains what’s wrong better than I can. Here’s another (read the comments for a flavour of how UK citizens view what’s just happened). As I understand it, the judges say the decision to implement a treaty overrides any intention Parliament had to vary its terms (ie the 2003 Act), based on an obscure clause of the 1957 Vienna Convention not discussed during the appeal hearing. Oh, and that French is now the ‘preferred’ language of our courts.

    At the heart of the matter is where the legal sovereignty to enact the laws which affect the British nation lies. The EU Framework Directive on which our UK Extradition Act is based says that every Member State has the right to choose whom they call a ‘judicial authority’ – except the UK, it now seems. We would say ‘a judge’ under our Common Law system, but the Supreme Court disagrees and says the European Civil Law system takes precedence over ours.

    We’ve been told that a successful appeal by Mr Assange would throw the EU justice system into turmoil as 11 Member States use prosecutorial figures in some form of judicial capacity, but I believe there are only 2 out of the 47 Member States where there is no proper separation between executive and judiciary and prosecutors are part of the executive (Sweden being one of them), a point of Mr Assange’s appeal which seems to have received little attention in the judgment. To jettison 800 years of Common Law legal heritage – solely to avoid inconveniencing two European Member States – would, at one point, have required the agreement of the nation in a referendum. In fact, in light of this judgment, a referendum now on extradition reform would be a very good – and popular – idea.

    In view of the above, I sincerely hope this case is re-opened – and not via written submissions studied behind closed doors, but in a full hearing televised by the Supreme Court so that the British public can see what is happening to a law which Parliament had intended would protect their rights.

    I am aware Home Secretary Theresa May wishes to offload the legal and human rights responsibilities of her office as regards extradition entirely into the hands of the judiciary. This judgment is a perfect illustration of why that is such a bad idea; Ms May’s plan too subverts the primacy of Parliament and “fails to understand the nature of extradition… Extradition is diplomatic in the first instance. It becomes judicial and ultimately it is political.” Sir Menzies Campbell MP

    There is a suspicion among people I’ve spoken to that long-promised extradition reform is being delayed until after Mr Assange has left these shores, perhaps because of this, which shows high-level US involvement in the Scott Baker extradition review – itself suffering from excessive secrecy (along with other FOI requests concerning Mr Assange, which have all been denied). What good will reform do at that stage if, thanks to the Supreme Court verdict in his case, anything Parliament enacts in future is deemed automatically superseded by the European Civil Law system?

    I will be asking my local MP to sign Caroline Lucas’ Early Day Motion 128 calling for an end to these delays to urgent extradition reform, a halt to all US extraditions meanwhile, and the publication of the Baker Review evidence.

    The allegations against Mr Assange have NOT been brought by the women; the allegations have been levelled by the Swedish State. That was the whole point of his Supreme Court appeal. The women are as much victims of the Swedish State as Mr Assange himself is, as they went to police for advice about HIV testing and have publicly stated that he is not violent and they did not wish to file a complaint. One of the women has stated she felt “railroaded” by police and did not sign her witness statement, which was later amended by a politician acting as the women’s lawyer. After reviewing the police file, a senior Stockholm prosecutor dismissed all the allegations bar one (non-extraditable) molestation offence for further investigation, then closed the case entirely.

    The case was re-opened by a politician (same one) campaigning during an election to expand Sweden’s sex crime laws and passed by him to an investigating prosecutor in another jurisdiction. That investigating prosecutor has publicly stated: “The detention time can itself be used as punishment if the offender subsequently is not convicted.”You may wish to read that sentence again. Yes, that’s right, punishment instead of conviction. Is this the level of ‘judicial impartiality’ the British public is expected to accept from now on? Ms Ny’s comment reads more like self-appointed judge, jury and executioner to me. I thought we disapproved of that sort of thing in the UK.

    People ask “If he’s innocent, what’s he afraid of? Why doesn’t he go to Sweden to clear his name?” without realising that the only venue being offered to argue his innocence is incommunicado solitary confinement under Sweden’s heavily criticised pre-trial detention regime. Despite nearly two years of requests to be interviewed, the Swedish prosecutor refuses to use standard Mutual Legal Assistance channels to question Mr Assange in the UK, without giving any reason. The Swedish authorities say they are seeking to extradite him for questioning (there are no charges) and yet it’s the one thing they seem least keen on doing.

    It is time for Britain to formally request that Sweden does what it claims it wants to do: question him – here, on British soil – before we start dismantling Britain’s Common Law justice system in order to facilitate the extradition of one man. I ask that this formal request be lodged with the Swedish Ambassador as a matter of urgency.

    Or do you agree that a foreign prison cell is the only suitable place for someone to answer an investigating prosecutor’s questions about not using a condom during consensual sexual encounters? Because if you agree that for Mr Assange then, due to the precedents set by his case, you agree it for us all, and for the next set of McCanns labelled arguidos by a European investigating prosecutor.

    The shadow hanging over this whole case from the very beginning, of course, is the looming threat of Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, which would like to see him prosecuted for espionage for his journalistic activities. This can be facilitated very easily through Sweden’s “temporary surrender” arrangements in its bilateral treaty with the US, a clause not available in Britain’s own US treaty. Some of us see that shadow again in the announcement a few days before the Supreme Court’s judgment was due that the US Secretary of State would be visiting Sweden four days after the verdict, for the first time in 36 years – “a very long time” as Swedish FM Carl Bildt proudly tweeted (and I hope the Supreme Court’s communications system doesn’t fall within the ambit of the government’s forthcoming total surveillance for intelligence services bill).

    For how much longer can Britain’s senior politicians remain wilfully blind to that shadow when it is becoming more and more visible to their constituents and there is justifiable anger that so many of our rights are being thrown away in subservience to it?

    Please answer the questions raised in this letter. You are the Prime Minister. You are expected to care about the laws Parliament enacts to protect the legal rights of people in this country.

    Yours sincerely,

    [Name] UK Citizen

  • N_


    “Nauseating that some people will seek to make comedy,or other value,out of people being boiled alive.”

    Thats not the issue, as blackadder goes forth was comedy about millions of people getting shot to bits. Difference is it wasn’t written in consultation with the ministry-of-arranging-for-people-to-be-shot-to-bits.

    Yes it is the issue. Do you think they’d run a comedy that encouraged the view that WW1, like WW2, was principally and essentially about rich bastards murdering large numbers of poor people for profit, using nationalism as their main lie, just as they do today? Do you think if any such comedy or other form of TV programme (and it’s all bullshit, exactly as Crab describes it) would get anywhere near to being shown if it did anything like this?

    Of course it wouldn’t. Someone with a ‘safe pair of hands’, whether at the Foreign Office or somewhere else – maybe just some worthy who knows what the masters want and don’t want – would step in and boot it into the bin, and a note would be made in the offenders’ personal files.

    It doesn’t really matter much that this person said blah blah blah to that person, or there’s a formal channel, or whatever. That’s unless you think the system can be made clean by having a decent culture among its executives, or by somehow having rich and influential people who sincerely believe they have a duty towards the oiks they’d rather eat shit than breathe the same air with…which wonderful ‘reform’ would doubtless involving lots of jobs for decent middle class representatives of the public who had loads of ‘conscience’.

    The whole system stinks, and there really is no solution other than revolution. And no, I don’t know how to get there.

    Don’t watch TV. If that isn’t voting with your feet, what is?

  • N_

    @Jives @Crab

    I wrote

    and it’s all bullshit, exactly as Crab describes it

    Sorry – I meant to type:

    and it’s all bullshit, exactly as Jives describes it

    (I wish we could edit our posts, or even just preview them before posting)

  • Arbed

    Jemand, 2.49am

    Second thing, this one only tangentially related to your post, but very relevant in a thread discussing state-sponsored propaganda, imv.

    There have been a couple of news reports that Julian Assange has refused to meet with Benedict Cumberbatch, who will be playing him in the forthcoming Hollywood movie – working title now “The Fifth Estate” but previously “The Man Who Sold the World” – despite Cumberbatch’s publicly stated support for Wikileaks’ cause and desire to meet with the man himself. Some commentators have called this Assange ‘sulking’ about a film he doesn’t like the sound of – despite the fact he read out sections of the script he’d got hold of in his Oxford Union address detailing all sorts of nonsense about Iranian nuclear sites, Wikileaks’ releasing the names of US informants, etc, etc. These commentators say Assange should meet Cumberbatch because he will then be able to bring a more favourable ‘nuance’ to what seems on the face of it a pretty biased script.

    This is naive in the extreme. The script is based on two books written by a couple of Assange’s biggest detractors: Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s “WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” and David Leigh/Luke Harding’s “Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”. ‘Nuanced’ lies based on the contents of two books with titles like that? Those lies will just seem all the more believable then, won’t they? And what can Wikileaks do about it once the damage is done, sue Hollywood? Where’s the money for that?

    Also, what people miss about the dangers of a Hollywood film misleading the public based on lies in a script produced from these two books is the specifics. For example, in one of those books a lie is told that “Assange said informants deserve to die”. According to the Congressional Research Service (and Stratfor head Fred Burton), this is a valid basis for prosecution of JA for USC 794(a) – conspiracy to espionage/aiding the enemy charge – FOR WHICH THE DEATH PENALTY EXISTS if any US HUMINT asset (ie informant) dies as a result of the espionage ‘conspiracy’. There are Stratfor emails existing in which Fred Burton advises (and remember his VERY close contacts with the Washington national security services) that Assange should be prosecuted on “political/conspiracy” charges THEN “declassify the death of an asset, someone we could link to Wiki”. Of course, the plan is to get Sweden to lay copyright charges to get around the initial bar to extradition on political/conspiracy/espionage grounds (that’s why they’re holding Anakata without charges – these ‘copyright’ charges against WL they’ve got lined up). Once they’ve got him on US soil, of course, everything changes and Fred Burton’s Plan A will be instigated and there will be fuck all the rest of the world – no matter how big the outcry – can do about it.

    Congressional Research Service 31/1/13: Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information:

    (pages 17/18 and footnote 95)

    Stratfor email: Email ID 1074383 on this page:

    I think it’s wise to assume that Assange knows a great deal more about both this film, its script and the US prosecution than we do, and that he’ll have thought through his decision not to meet Benedict Cumberbatch very carefully indeed, based on that knowledge.

  • crab

    N and Jives,
    Blackadder goes forth may not have set out specific blame, but it was anti-war. Comments are getting into the realm of condeming arts, condemning everything except.. protest?

    I think Craig has a perfect right to be concerned and attack this process which has excluded him, as it clearly involves him in a better way than it involves FCO and it involves guilt and a situation of great suffering. But i dont think it is supportive to go beyond Craigs complaint and expectations, and simply condemn all modern comedy involving grave themes.

  • John Goss

    Arbed at 11.29 AM. It’s a good letter. I will sign it. But my gut-feeling is it needs something simpler, less wordy, that busy people will read and sign. Just an observation not a criticism of the letter. The prime minister’s address is:

    David Cameron, Prime Minister, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

  • Arbed

    John Goss,

    I think it’s an old letter and now a bit outdated. I was only dropping it in here because of its relevance to the arguments about government vs judicial decision-making on extradition, and that what needs to happen now – as Rafael Correa told RT yesterday – is for the Swedes to question Assange in London.

    The letter could be updated and simplified a bit and sent again, I suppose. Better addressed to William Hague now, of course, and at least some of the embedded hyperlinks in the original letter retained.

  • Ian Drummond

    I’m absolutely shocked to see this, as I’ve always found Mitchell and Webbs comedy, the likes of Peep Show, very funny, and my sister is a particular fan of David Mitchell. Ironically I think I was in a car with you Craig during the Norfolk by-election and Mitchell was being interviewed on the radio, at least one of the campaign team exclaimed he was much more boring there than in his act! I have know vaguley for years that one of them (I thought it was Mitchell actually not Webb) hated George, but thought little more about it and was starting to think it might have been misreported, especially as Mitchell’s satire on Channel 4’s 10 O’clock Live seemed to show him as a good man of the left. His new bride, Victoria Coren, has impressed me even more, in her panel appearances and Guardian columns she really seems to be a clever and clued up leftist. So I wonder what Mitchell, and his Mrs, think of this “government satire” as someone above brilliantly called it; is Webb the bad apple; are they just in it for a quick buck; or are they, like some other “liberals”, good on opposing austerity but terrible on foreign policy?

  • John Goss


    Thanks for explanation. The links in fact are inaccessible by letter. The other thing is that most M.P.s, especially front benchers and those with ambition, which includes mine, do not sign EDMs. He gets a lot of letters from me. Many he answers.

    I’ve just written a letter to Cameron and Hague.

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    Arbed 11.29am, 12.03pm

    Thanks for the links, Arbed.

    I find it exasperating that so many people who advocate on behalf of Sweden’s now discreditable justice system have such a poor understanding of political reality. History should be their teacher on the disparity between theory and practice. Even workplace experiences teach us that.

    Regarding the film, which represents the start of a new genre of cinema, namely ‘Wixploitation’, it was cursed before it was even conceived with the involvement of the diabolically ambitious trojan, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Why should Assange meet the cast of a film instigated by this extortionist and digital vandal? DDB, or Dumbshit to those who know him best, could have been charged with serious crimes had Wikileaks been a pro-establishment collaborator.

    I’m glad you raised the issue of copyright infringement. Whenever there is a police raid on a target, all computing equipment and digital media is scooped up for analysis. It doesn’t matter if a warrant does not specify offenses against copyright laws. If you have in your possession a 2 minute video of some cute asian chick blowing an old guy, you can be nailed for copyright infringement. Getting the cooperation of the American producers of porn wouldn’t be hard. It doesn’t even have to be porn, it could be a funny youtube video or photos of scenic beauty.

    And with that you have a holding charge for the many other charges that surely follow and used to intimidate you into cooperating and informing on your friends. That’s why copyright treaties between the US and compliant states represent an insidious extension of the US arm of political harrassment across international jurisdictions. If someon has breached copyright, let the matter be tried in the jurisdiction in which the person committed the offence, not in the US.

  • doug scorgie

    19 Feb, 2013 – 12:33 pm

    “Consider this, regarding the politicization of BBC ‘comedy’, Ben Elton could hardly be removed from our screens, then suddenly he is a none-person, like some Soviet dissident undergoing internal exile. What happened?”

    He became a capitalist money sponge.

  • doug scorgie

    Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)
    19 Feb, 2013 – 4:01 pm

    “This blog is gutsy and evidence that faithful Englishmen do exist.”

    Hey I’m Scottish ye Sassenach!

  • Jemand - Keep Speech Free

    Ben Elton produced a (live?) show in Oz that got cancelled after a couple of episodes. I didn’t see it but read that it was dreadful and awkward. Maybe he just got too comfortable. I think the best art comes from hungry, desperate artists. We need an Arts Gulag filled with angry, depressed, hungry, confused, hurt young people who venture beyond the intellectual envelope to produce the great works of art that we yearn to hang on our loungeroom wall and fill the voids in our bookcase between Moby Dick and Triumph Repair manuals.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Arbed @11:29

    ” Speculate on possible reasons for the discrepancies between what happened, how the case has been prosecuted, and how it has been presented in the press.I taught my students to distinguish between”

    Cui Bono……

    A rationale for proceeding….imagine that.

    Did you see my link on Aaron Schwartz? If they’ve got a bun-on for such a minor series of non-events, imagine their eagerness to reign in Assange.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Jemand; HST once stated that politics is the art of manipulating your environment, and Law is often the result of those elected leaders who are masters of manipulation. But the interpretation of those laws is with the courts which are ostensibly independent, but we know how that works.


    Here is a pretty comprehensive micro-bio of Aaron Scwartz. Unlike the Industrialists of code and hardware, like Steve Jobs or even Dotcom, Aaron was far from their for-profit ventures.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Ratzinger was a young Theologian at the Second Vatican Council, and he was quite Progressive there; he complained about the Curia and all the rest. But then in 1968, when he was a professor at Tubingen University in Germany, the student riots were happening there (as they were in Paris in Berkeley and every place else), and the students invaded a faculty meeting and were honored to be heard, ranted and raved; and all the faculty at the [incoherent word] stayed except one guy, and that was Ratzinger, who stood up and walked out. People said the next time they saw him, he was an arch-Conservative.

    Then he made his way up the Ecclesial ladder, but meanwhile, he brought the Inquisition back. That’s how History will remember him. And he didn’t do it alone: his boss John Paul II gave him complete carte blanche to do that. And it’s scary, because when you dumb down the church, which is what has happened the last forty-two [42] years, deliberately dumb it down, it’s like General Motors firing all it’s engineers!

    That’s really what the Vatican has done: they fired all their Theologians, and they destroyed Liberation Theology, which was the most vibrant and justice-oriented movement on the planet after the Civil Rights Movement. They replaced the heroic Bishops, including people like Oscar Romero, who was actually martyred for his work with the poor in El Salvador, they replaced him with an Opus Dei Bishop; and they’ve done this all over South America. Opus Dei is a Radical, Fascist, Right-wing Catholic movement begun by a Fascist Priest, Escriva, who actually praised Hitler. And Ratzinger and John Paul II rushed him into canonization! They made a saint of him faster than anyone in the history of the church, and they destroyed the whole process of canonization to do it. They did away with the Devil’s Advocate tradition, where you have someone there representing the “shadow side” of the guy — they had none of that. Anyway, the guy is leaving a very dirty footprint behind.”

    Will there be another Pope? If Nostradamus is correct, the new one could be from France.

  • craig Post author

    Ben Franklin

    The genral policy of this blog is to let people witter away as they will – and what you say about Ratzinger and Opus Dei is very valid. But please tell me that reference to Nostradamus was tongue in cheek.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Craig; Snark is a difficult task with texted comments, and I often fail. Nostradamus, like Galileo had to hide his ideas from the Inquisitors. That was my only point of reference.

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