Gordon Brown 822

I have a guilty political secret.  I do not detest Gordon Brown.  That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it.  And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast.  And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.

And yet I cannot dislike him.  Probably because I just know too many people who have  known him through decades, who are themselves good people, and who like him.  Around Edinburgh and Fife you will find it hard to find people who actually know him who share the hatred and contempt he seems to arouse among the political and media classes of London.

As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them.  I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.

There are one nation Tories who seem to me perfectly decent people, genuinely trying to do good.  I don’t hate them because their political conclusions on the best way to do good are different to mine.  Gordon Brown I put rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.

Blair is in a whole different category again – insincere, absolutely focused on attaining personal power, and with a Messianic belief that what is good for him must be good for the World.  The Guardian is publishing some emails around the Blair Brown rivalry this week.  I don’t care and won’t read them.  But while I see Blair as quite properly damned for eternity to the seventh pit of hell, I don’t think Brown deserves anything worse than North Queensferry.

I have been in Ghana the last 20 days living in a house with no internet connection and working (extremely hard) in an office with virtually no internet connection – not enough to load WordPress.  I hope to get more chance to blog shortly.



822 thoughts on “Gordon Brown

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  • oddie

    whilst this says “partly executed” by just four gunmen, if u read it all, it would look like four might have carried out the whole attack. does any of the following sound like the MSM reporting?

    28 Sept – The Nation, Kenya: 48 minutes of Westgate terror captured on camera
    Video footage captured by closed circuit television cameras shows that the Westgate massacre was partly executed by four individuals, all of who appear to be men wearing bandanas.
    The time recorded by the security cameras when the terrorists struck on September 21 was 12.30 pm and the next 48 minutes of footage that the Sunday Nation viewed are probably the worst firearms carnage Kenya’s capital city has ever experienced…
    The CCTV footage shows the four armed men blasting their way into the mall…
    The killers then split into two groups: One pair heading to the main entrance where those on foot walk in and another to the main entrance used by motorists.
    All four appear from the grainy CCTV footage to be lanky men with conspicuous magazine pouches and carrying rifles…
    The attackers saunter, almost casually, as they spray bullets and pause to talk to each other. In the initial stages, they do not bother to find those hiding, but just shoot in the direction of anybody they see moving.
    At one point, the attackers come under fire from people dressed in civilian clothes, most probably licensed gun holders, and police officers in uniform. But they take cover behind a pillar…
    The other pair of attackers, who appear from the footage to have killed more people, are seen at 12.30 launching their attack through the entrance used by motorists to the parking lot.
    They shoot their way past the guard house and checkpoint. They then spray two cars with bullets. The fate of their occupants is not clear…
    The two terrorists, one in a whitish shirt and another in pink, also have their arsenal secured in magazine pouches belted around the waist.
    After launching the carnage at the gate, the duo walks towards the basement, shooting at anyone in sight. They then go towards the ramp, headed to the top floor and continue shooting…
    One little girl who escaped miraculously would later tell her parents that the attackers stopped spraying bullets at one point and tried to separate Muslims from non-Muslims. However, it is now known that the slaughter had no particular pattern as people of all religions, including those who proved they were Muslims, were killed.
    When the guns fall silent, the duo in the top floor parking area then make their way into the building and walk around shooting anyone in sight…
    Finally, at 1.18 pm, satisfied with their evil handiwork, they amble into Nakumatt. Once inside the mammoth store they are out of CCTV range…
    Security experts are now analysing the footage to get clear images of the suspected al-Shabaab terrorists.

  • oddie

    Nation: Kenyan anti-tank rocket ended Westgate siege
    The final stand of Islamist fighters who laid siege to Kenya’s Westgate mall ended when Kenyan soldiers fired an anti-tank shell that sparked a fierce fire, soldiers who fought in the battle told AFP…
    They fired 84-millimetre shells from a recoilless rifle — or shoulder-held bazooka — whose sharply pointed tips are designed to piece armour plating, before exploding and causing a fire.
    A few minutes later, thick black smoke rose above the rooftop car park, above the first floor of the supermarket.
    At the time, government officials said the fire had been caused by burning mattresses torched by the gunmen to provide a distraction.
    About 24 hours later and weakened by the flames the rear part collapsed, with several cars tumbling down into the gaping hole created…

  • oddie

    with UK, US, Israel etc involved, who knows what happened & what will be covered up?

    28 Sept – Nation: Hard questions emerge over handling of terror attack
    Did the masterminds of the Westgate terror escape within an hour of launching the attack? Could the terrorists who remained behind to continue the senseless killing and repulse security forces also slip away unnoticed? …
    What about the destruction of the mall, did the military bomb it? And who looted the shops?…
    Multiple sources, including some police officers who made the initial response to the distress call, confirmed that the first group of terrorists may have escaped within an hour into the attack.
    Some are said to have changed their clothes, dropped their weapons, and ran out alongside terrified civilians. The government has repeatedly denied that any of the attackers escaped despite eyewitness accounts and confirmation by police officers, who spoke to the Sunday Nation in confidence.
    The terrorists believed to have been left behind also remain unaccounted for — days after the siege ended. This brings to question the exact number of those involved in the deadly assault…
    Also unclear is the fate of the remaining terrorists, who should be at least 10 based on the figures provided…
    The government is also yet to release details of a suspected terrorist, who reportedly died in hospital from bullet wounds last Saturday, a few hours after the attack began…
    Security officials who spoke to the Sunday Nation suspect the al-Shabaab killer gang that repulsed an elite military squad may have escaped through an underground tunnel that connects the mall and an adjacent building — about 100 metres away.
    “The tunnel is big enough for an adult to walk through comfortably,” said our source, who declined to be named for his own safety…
    Interpol has now issued a “red alert” notice for the capture of the “White Widow” at the request of the Kenyan authorities. The woman is, however, not seen in the CCTV footage of the attack viewed by the Sunday Nation…
    On Monday, the Interior minister explained that billowing smoke was from burning mattresses lit by the terrorists to distract the security forces. However, sources within the military later said the fire was started by the Kenyan security forces…
    Forensic and ballistic experts —including some from US, Israeli, Britain, Germany and Canada — are combing through the rubble to establish the nature of weapons used as well as identity of attackers and hostages…
    Last week, there were reports that at least 11 people were in custody, including a Briton arrested at the airport.
    ***No evidence has so far been found to link him with the attack. Three had, however, been released.
    Well placed security sources said only two suspects were arrested in the mall. One of them, Mr Gitonga Ali, is being treated at the Forces Memorial Hospital while the other is said to have died from gunshot wounds at the Aga Khan Hospital…

  • oddie

    Briton held over Kenya carnage ‘had map of mall on his laptop’: Stunning new evidence as six from UK confirmed dead… and report shows Kenya was tipped off
    Sharif Ahmed Abdirizak was arrested as he tried to flee Kenya
    The British citizen allegedly had downloaded maps of shopping mall
    Refused to give up password and pretended not to know his phone number
    His aunt, who lives nearby, explained he was visiting his dying mother, Fatuma Abdirahman, in Nairobi. Abdirizak told detectives she was being treated for cancer in the Salama Hospital in Eastleigh, the mainly Somali residential suburb of the capital, and was unable to move or speak.
    But enquiries by The Mail on Sunday revealed no one of his mother’s name had ever been admitted.
    In fact, sources said yesterday that, along with other family members, she had been ‘picked up’ by police at an address in Eastleigh and was being questioned by detectives…
    On September 10, 2003, he flew to England and applied for asylum on arrival ‘citing the predicament that befell his family’. He was eventually given a British passport in 2011. The Home Office in London yesterday declined to discuss his case.
    Soon after, he arrived in Manchester he began studying English and in 2006 enrolled on a basic computer skills course at Trafford College.
    That ended in 2007 and he has not worked or studied since. He told police he lives on benefits and saves money, supplemented by funds from ‘well-wishers’, which he uses to travel to and from Kenya to see his mother…

    Secret husband of the White Widow who holds key to her terror network: Samantha Lewthwaite wed ex-naval officer and turned their home into a bomb factory… and her 42 calls to a mystery ‘aunt’ in England
    Samantha Lewthwaite is married to a former officer in the Kenyan Navy
    Abdi Wahid was in Afghanistan protecting westerners from the Taliban

  • oddie

    so totally expected & perfect that Fox/BBC appear to be first to carry this “development” about an unnamed Brit!

    30 Sept: Fox News: Briton freed without charge after Kenya mall attack
    “We can confirm that a British national has been released from custody in Nairobi,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said.
    A diplomatic source added: “As far as we’re aware he’s free to go.”
    British media reported that the man was aged 35 and of Somali origin. He was reportedly arrested while trying to fly out of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport a week ago, as the siege continued…

    30 Sept: BBC: British man detained in Kenyan capital Nairobi released
    British High Commissioner to Kenya Dr Christian Turner said the man, who has not been named, was not connected to the four-day siege…

  • oddie

    Times of Israel, 30 Sept:

    ‘Four Israelis held in Guinea for plotting coup’
    French newspaper says quartet were allegedly involved in inciting political unrest in the African republic ahead of elections last Saturday
    The newspaper based its findings on intelligence documents from the CIA and DSGE (the French General Directorate for External Security) showing that Israeli, French and South African mercenaries had been involved in planning a coup to overthrow Condé…

  • oddie

    even more oddities in this report if u link:

    1 Oct: People Kenya: Questions over missing people after mall attack
    Meanwhile, the Government has confirmed it is not holding any of the bodies of terrorists behind Westgate attack amid fears they might have escaped through an underground tunnel.
    Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said that it does not have custody of bodies of the five terrorists allegedly gunned down in the siege. He made the re- marks in an interview with one of the local television stations on Sunday night. Forensic investigation are being spearheaded by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit detectives in collaboration with Interpol, FBI, agents from Israel, UK Metropolitan Police, German and Italian agents…

  • oddie

    Venezuela expels top U.S. diplomat for fomenting ‘sabotage’
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday he was expelling the top U.S. diplomat in the South American nation and two others, accusing them of meeting with opposition leaders and encouraging “acts of sabotage” against his country…
    “We detected a group of U.S. embassy officials dedicated to meeting the far-right and to financing and encouraging acts of sabotage against the electrical system and Venezuela’s economy,” the president said in a televised speech.
    “I have the proof here in my hands,” Maduro added. “… Yankees go home! Get out of Venezuela! Get out of here! I don’t care what actions the government of Barack Obama takes.”
    He said Venezuela was expelling Kelly Keiderling, who as U.S. chargé d’affaires is the senior American diplomat in Venezuela because the United States has no ambassador to the country…
    Venezuela identified the other two diplomats as Elizabeth Hunderland and David Mutt..
    “I’m not going to allow any action that stirs violence in this country,” Maduro added….

  • oddie

    in case Craig is still in Ghana, i will continue to post Nairobi links here, so that they are all on the same thread. his friends in Ghana need to see beyond what they get via bbc & such-like:

    29 Sept: Nation: Embassy warned of attack against Israeli targets
    This could have informed the decision of the owner of the shopping mall, Mr Alex Trachtenberg, to relocate his family to Spain two months before the terrorist attack.
    He also moved the operations of his businesses from Westgate mall to a new location in Lavington…

    tweet of El Mundo Africa Desk journo:

    22 sept: Last time I called Alex Trachtenberg, owner of #westgate, he made it clear that he doesnt like media.dont expect any info from him …

  • oddie

    because there are websites making baseless claims australia’s Frank Lowy is connected to Westgate Mall – here are the owners, Sony (Trachtenberg), Nakumatt (John Harun Mwau)plus Knight Frank:

    KenyaLaw: Court of Appeal:
    By an application brought under Rule 5 (2) (b) of the Court of Appeal Rules, the applicants ask this Court to “stay the orders” made by the superior court (Sitati J) on 2nd February, 2009 extending the exparte interim orders of injunction issued on 19th January, 2007 restraining the applicants from evicting the respondent or interfering with the respondents enjoyment of L.R. No. 1879/1/557 unit G8 Westgate shopping Mall and any further extension of those orders pending the hearing and determination of the applicants’ intended appeal…

    UK Insurer Faces $75.9m Bill For Westgate Damages
    Lloyd’s market, a UK insurance firm, is facing a potential Sh6.6 billion ($75.9 million) bill in damages claim, following the catastrophic attack by terrorists on Kenya’s Westgate Mall.
    The status symbol for the East African country was insured by Alex Techenberg’s led real estate investment firm, Sony Holdings limited, in a Sh6.6 billion ($75.9 million) deal which included cover for political attacks or acts of terrorism…

    the insurance piece says techenberg & previously we’ve had israeli press trajtenberg, then we were seeing tachenberg. trachtenberg, as in my previous comment, has been useful as a search term.

    & for those websites who are carrying rubbish about no-one died & it was all fake:

    8 gut-wrenching images as Kenya mourns Westgate attack victims

  • oddie

    4 Oct: Standard: Westgate rumours mill in overdrive as State remains guarded
    The secrecy that has shrouded the handling of the Westgate terrorist attack continues to raise eyebrows in the public sphere…
    Journalists were kept away in the early stages of the operation – ostensibly for their own safety – but days after the siege ended, access is still denied. Among the worst kept secrets is the massive looting of businesses inside the mall…
    For instance, Kenyans expected to be informed about the identities of the attackers, but this is yet to be done. Police say they are still investigating the incident.
    The authorities have also not explained the whereabouts of the bodies of the five terrorists said to have been killed by security agencies. Police informed the public that the first suspect died in hospital as he received treatment from gunshot wounds.
    An AK47 rifle was recovered from him during the Saturday evening clash, hours after the attack was staged.
    Details of the said weapon are yet to be made public but there are claims that it belongs to one of the Kenyan security agencies…

    4 Oct: Standard: Source reveals that lack of unified command led to confusion that even claimed the life of a police officer
    At some point, the Recce unit was ordered to leave and hand over to the military, but not before losing at least one member to “friendly fire”. It is also not clear if they had time to share valuable intelligence with the military.
    It is also unclear why an army unit that lacks training in urban warfare, hostage rescue and counter terrorism was rushed to the site, complete with armoured personnel carriers and rocket propelled grenades powerful enough to bring down a building, but without intelligence…
    ***The latest suggestion by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo that gunmen who attacked the shopping complex were probably between four and six added to the twist…
    The soldier who spoke to The Standard on condition of anonymity claimed security forces relied on an incomplete plan of the complex in the early stages of the operation.
    The initial building’s blueprints that security forces obtained did not show an underground tunnel now feared to have offered an escape route for some terrorists, the KDF soldier claimed…
    Mobile phone video footage from one of the soldiers shows blurred images of the charred aftermath of the attack.
    At one point, the soldiers speak in hushed tones and one wonders aloud in Kiswahili; “Walitoroka?” (Did they flee?) The reply is inaudible…

    ***The revised number of “terrorists” fits with the earlier descriptions of CCTV footage, which it would be good to see:

    28 Sept: The Nation, Kenya: 48 minutes of Westgate terror captured on camera
    The CCTV footage shows the four armed men blasting their way into the mall…
    The killers then split into two groups: One pair heading to the main entrance where those on foot walk in and another to the main entrance used by motorists.
    All four appear from the grainy CCTV footage to be lanky men with conspicuous magazine pouches and carrying rifles…
    The attackers saunter, almost casually, as they spray bullets and pause to talk to each other. In the initial stages, they do not bother to find those hiding, but just shoot in the direction of anybody they see moving.
    At one point, the attackers come under fire from people dressed in civilian clothes, most probably licensed gun holders, and police officers in uniform…

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