OK, Now You Sue Me!

by craig on October 10, 2013 2:59 pm in Uncategorized


With grateful thanks to ANode – and to the others who submitted designs.

I repeat, that the producers of The Ambassadors, Big Tal, contacted me about acquiring the rights to Murder in Samarkand and hled a meeting with me in their office to discuss it at length.  They did not get the rights.  The concept of The Ambassadors, the series Big Talk subsequently produced, is very plainly based on Murder in Samarkand.  Big Talk are copyright thieves.

That is without the issue of making a state-sponsored satire with FCO approval and participation designed to justify and make light of our disgraceful collusion with the vicious Karimov regime.

This is the last correspondence I had from my solicitor on the subject – it would cost me £10,000 just to apply to see the scripts:

(a)    Application for pre-action disclosure

This is the next step highlighted in our letter of 6 March 2013.  This is an application to the court to order Big Talk to disclose certain information to you, namely, the treatment and the scripts.  This information would then enable us to understand if their show will infringe your book (or defame you).


The likely costs of proceeding with the application will depend somewhat on how the other side approach it, but at a minimum we will need to prepare a witness statement setting out the evidence to support your application, pay the court fee to issue the application, correspond with the other side and prepare for documents for the application and to appear at court to represent you.   Estimated costs for this application are likely to be in the region of £10,000 (plus VAT).

I don’t have money.  There is no access to justice for ordinary people against companies in this country.  So the copyright thieves of Big Talk can now sue me.  I would welcome any solidarity postings of the above image from other bloggers and media!

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  1. Im more than happy to put something together about this for The Cultural Thing website.

    Doing a bit of a site, re-vamp at the mo.

  2. I hope you are able to use the media interest surrounding this new series to draw attention to the real and important story.

  3. Craig,
    I will do my best to publicise this.

  4. The key question is whether the series is based on your BOOK or on your LIFE. Book is copyrightable, life is not. Ever thought of taking a legal advice?

  5. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    10 Oct, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    Craig; Don’t know much about UK legal system, but in the US if you have a good case, plenty of lawyers will take it on contingency. That means all costs are borne by the solicitor, and if you win he takes 1/3 of settlement.

  6. Excellent. As you so rightly say the law is against those without money to burn. The poorer you are the less chance of having a fair hearing under British law. The FCO is a disgrace for ever getting involved in this. Big Talk likewise. BBC 2 likewise.

    Great image from Anode. A good time to really step up the campaign against Big Talk would be when the series starts. Will do my bit. Good luck.

  7. It occurs to me that there’s a lot you’re not letting on here, Craig. You must be pretty certain that this series (Tazbek Spring/Our Man/Ambassador – it seems to have been called all of these) either defames you or infringes your copyright. How you know this is of course your business; but it’s not likely to be from someone willing to testify, so it’s probably not evidence.

    If you were able to pay the furred lawcats (tip of the hat to Rabelais, there) to act now, you might be able to stop it showing. On the other hand, if it gets released unhindered, you will then have the evidence you need without paying said lawcats to get it. You might then bring a private prosecution. And you’d avoid any sly suggestions that you were trying to hinder free expression.

    It occurs to me, though, that the most likely opponents arising out of a poster campaign would be Mitchell and Webb, their agent, or the photographer, for alleged breach of copyright in their images. Whose connection with any alleged breach of your copyright is tenuous, and with your alleged defamation is nonexistent; such an action would not highlight your complaint.

    So I don’t, with great respect, think this is a terrific idea at all.

  8. John Goss:

    “Will do my bit”

    Yes, this is your chance to do something concrete for once, rather than writing pointless articles on the website where you’re an “editor” and posting even more pointless comments about the Rothschilds, Bilderbergers and freemasons on here.

    Share with us, in slightly more specific terms, what “your bit” will be?

    PS to Craig – good luck to you and I hope you get satisfaction. But one thought occurs : if you get your day in court through them suing you, won’t you need (expensive) lawyers then as well?

  9. Craig,

    Please understand that in the TV/movie business, yours is not an unusual situation. This sort of thing happens quite often, and often even more egregiously.

    10K to apply to look at a script? I’ve never heard of such a thing. If you want to see a script, it’s not hard to get your hands on one as scripts get sent around to various agencies and even circulate via fans. Trying to keep a script secret is (1) nearly impossible even at the highest levels and (2) not worth anyone’s time or effort.

    I could probably help steer you in a better direction. If you would like me to contact you directly, let me know.

  10. @ Ben,

    Q: Craig; Don’t know much about UK legal system, but in the US if you have a good case, plenty of lawyers will take it on contingency.

    R: It took some prolonged arm wrestling to get my lawyer on board my judicial plans 9 years ago, but ever since that day, out of the 50/50 and 20/20 he triggered, he’s made a ff-ing windfall.

    Money does talk [provided you have it].

    3 strikes and you are out.

  11. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    10 Oct, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    Daniel; I take it ‘contingency’ in the UK legal system means ‘let the buyer beware’.

  12. The hasbaric Red Robbo Habbakuk has taken this new post as an opportunity to attack John Goss in his usual manner, solely with that hackneyed Chapter Three hasbara tactic of denigration in mind. Sometimes I think Jon might just be a bit intellectually short sighted not to see through such posts and delete them on sight, no need even to explain. Sooner or later the DIY devil will realise all his time and effort is to no avail and desist.

  13. Thank you O/T, alias English Knight, alias Krishnamurky, alias several others…..thought you’d been asked to desist?

  14. ” ..the most likely opponents arising out of a poster campaign would be Mitchell and Webb, ”

    They’ll probably be cook-a-hoop over the free publicity. I don’t like to pre-judge such things without seeing them first but this is a new BBC sit-com and will most likely sink without trace after one series, if that.

  15. Would a ‘writers guild’ or ‘writers union’ etc do the decent thing and represent you? What about Broadcasting ethics committees?

  16. “Sometimes I think Jon might just be a bit intellectually short sighted…” (signed O/T)

    On the contrary. His recent longish posts on (1) China (do not set up as a new false God) and (2) Palestinians meeting Israeli violence with violence (is this the right way?) were two of the best I’ve read on this blog – outstandingly thoughtful and well-argued.

    Thanks, O/T, for having given me the opportunity to say so!

  17. Well done and well said Craig. Also well done to A Node. A picture says a thousand words!

    Danger – knaves and crooks at work.

  18. Erm….if posting photoshopped images on blogs could get you nicked then half the web could be shut down. Even publishing a fake pic in the tabloid press wouldn’t cause a murmur….The Sun has got away with much worse.

    You could sue if Big Talk adapted your book scene-for-scene or lifted your dialogue word-for-word. Otherwise you cant touch ‘em….even if the show turns out to be a pisstake of actual scenes from the book, because parodies don’t infringe copyright and satire doesn’t defame.

    Producers don’t get sued for misrepresenting personal experiences in docudramas even when the person is named and protrayed. Julian Assange isn’t happy about the Fifth Estate and that doctor bloke in the Diana film seems annoyed too, but what can they do? You can have a moan about it in the papers if you like. Why not seize the media buzz and tell people what its really like for our men in central asia? But bear in mind that sounding indignant or desperate won’t do you any favours at all.

  19. Just to point out (to everyone) that I haven’t mentioned defamation – I think the UK’s defamation laws are an appalling restriction on free speech, and have no intention of using them in this case.

  20. I agree verbatim with your first two paragraphs Ann Thrope. I have already posted my earlier image design on a number of social networks where an image is possible.

    My intention is to create an intuitive link between Craig’s book and the Big Talk series. That is why the main characters in the series and the series logo are juxtaposed within the confines of the book cover in my image.

    In that way Craig’s experiences defined by his book and the Big Talk series are merged within the minds of viewers, eventually allowing truth rather than satire to precipitate as principal and in which Craig Murray is imbued in awareness and appreciation.


  21. Big Talk probably a spook front anyway.

    Hand in glove with the FCO and BBC.

    How cosy.

  22. “Danger – knaves and crooks at work.”


    Old trout preservation area – swimming forbidden.

  23. Monty’s Blog – Independence for Scotland has put up a link.

    Craig Murray

    OK, Now You Sue Me! – With grateful thanks to ANode – and to the others who submitted designs. I repeat, that the producers of The Ambassadors, Big Tal, contacted me about acqui…

    http://theveiledsun.blogspot.co.uk/5 hours ago

  24. Good of Villager to duplicate my post! Perhaps he/she has not heard of Sir Francis Bacon’s saying ‘Knowledge is power’ from the C16.

    Who is lurking behind the name of Anon1? Own up. Sounds just like my old ‘mate’.

  25. “Who is lurking behind the name of Anon1? Own up. Sounds just like my old ‘mate’.”

    Wreckers! The Shachty trial and the trial of the Engineers! Soviet generals as agents of the imperialist Japanese and fascist Germans! Jewish doctors plotting to murder the Little Father! Little green men dancing around my bed!

    Oh, when will it all end?

  26. I feel like I’m missing something. If you haven’t even seen the script, how do you know it infringes copyright or plagiarizes your book? So far all you’ve said is that they once expressed an interest in your book, and that they’re now making a TV series about the same subject, but so what? There are often many dozens or hundreds of books and films about a given subject – writing a story on a subject that others have also written about would hardly be an infringement of any copyright by any stretch. ???

    Though I suppose maybe you’ve heard rumours or have some inside sources that describe the series in more detail or something… I suppose I can understand that you might not feel comfortable sharing that.

    But so far, as it stands, I feel like in terms of publicity you’d do better to keep quiet about your suspicions until you can gather some solid evidence that you are able to show the public, otherwise people just won’t see it and will just dismiss you entirely, and it will just end up drawing attention from your other concern, about educating people about the politics and ethics of Uzbekistan. If they plagiarized you it will be obvious anyway when the show airs. To be honest I’m skeptical that they would have plagiarized it given that it would be so incredibly easy to check. It’s not like it’s something they could hide once it was broadcast.

    I do think, though, you might have more success using this show as a way of drawing publicity to the history and current events of this part of the world. That seems to me to be an area that has some possibility.

  27. TO

    Yes, you are missing something. You say:

    “There are often many dozens or hundreds of books and films about a given subject – writing a story on a subject that others have also written about would hardly be an infringement of any copyright by any stretch. ???”

    Perhaps you would care to name some of those dozens or hundreds of books about the British Ambassador in Tashkent, Uzbekistan? They tried and failed to buy the rights to my book about that. They failed, and then they make the series anyway about the British Ambassador in “Tazbekistan” which they claim is ooincidental and has no relationship.

    Either you are inordinately thick or linked to the production. I suspect the latter as I refuse to believe anybody is that thick.

  28. kedem forever

    10 Oct, 2013 - 10:27 pm

    @Giles “Oh, when will it all end?”

    Ask our mad occupiers in the West Bank,enticed with free housing, why they are planting Gharkad trees? They seem to know something we dont.

  29. What a great picture.

    It would be so much more pleasant to read the comment threads here, and it would be much more inviting to actually post, if so many of the existing posts and posters weren’t sniping at other posts and posters, and sometimes indulging in deliberate provocation. While it may be in part the nature of the topics under discussion, I doubt I’m the only one put off participation by the general air of antagonism that hangs over here sometimes. Well done to those who can ignore it and get on with what they have to say.

  30. Maybe I am thick, or just too ignorant of how TV is made, or maybe copyright law is far far stricter than I thought it was, I still don’t really get it. It seems like the argument is that it’s an uncommon topic rather than a common one? OK, but what does that change one way or another regarding plagiarism? It’s not as if one can copyright a topic, or a country, or a job title, can they? So I still am not sure how you can know they plagiarized you without seeing the script?

    And while it’s plausible that someone could try to buy the rights to something, be refused, and then plagiarize it, I’m not sure how one would know that was the case rather than that they tried to buy the rights, were refused, and went ahead and wrote their own script about the subject instead. Could be either, so without specific evidence how would one know? I tend to favour the second explanation, just because plagiarizing seems really stupid when you could instead write your own script, but I don’t actually know, that’s just my personal impression.

    So it’s all possible, and for all I know it was plagiarized, it’s just that I think if you presented this story to the public as is, they’d want more than a ‘possible’ story, they’d want some specific evidence.

    In any case if it is, it’ll all come out in a few weeks when it’s broadcast and people can compare for themselves the show and the book. And if it isn’t, no reason you can’t use the show to draw attention to your book anyway.

  31. Glad you like the poster, Craig. I’ts nice to be able to give a little back.
    It might be useful to re-name it to something more descriptive than the working title I gave it.

  32. Here’s an alternative version of the Ambassadors logo, which might be a useful addition to another graphic. It’s an early export from a high-resolution multilayered Gimp file, which facilitates tweaking and replacing of the various components as required so changes can be made to order.

  33. @ Craig Murray,

    This is a bit of a sidestep, but as a proper and fair solution is needed [one in which justice prevails for once], have you considered to contact either Assange or Wikileaks, explain your situation and see if if they have someone in their lawyer pool whose willing to step up to the plate without lining his pockets first?

  34. The holders of 70% of the Royal Mail share issue, that is hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds of Kuwait and Qatar and financial institutions, have made an initial killing. The shares have opened in the conditional market at a premium of £1 on issue price of £3.30.

    Royal Mail Shares Soar In First Trades
    The value of the Royal Mail has jumped more than £1.2bn as conditional trading begins on the London Stock Exchange.

    Joe Public is left holding the baby, ie the pension fund liabilities.

    ‘The Royal Mail is to be privatised and self-evidently no buyer would wish to assume sponsor responsibility for its £40 billion of liabilities.’

    There is also a £500m RM property windfall awaiting the vultures.

  35. The attack on Edward Snowden continues. Worse than the Cambridge spy ring according to the Times. They are quoting B.Liar’s mate Onand.

    Snowden leak ‘worst blow to British spies’
    Sean O’Neill Security Editor
    Last updated at 12:01AM, October 11 2013

    The theft and leak of tens of thousands of “top secret” files by the former CIA employee Edward Snowden eclipses the Cambridge spy ring as the most catastrophic loss suffered by British intelligence, one of Whitehall’s senior security experts said yesterday. Sir David Omand, the former head of GCHQ……. paywall


    ‘After working for the Ministry of Defence for a number of years, Oman was appointed director of GCHQ from 1996 to 1997. His next post was Permanent Secretary at the Home Office…..
    In 2002 he became the first Permanent Secretary and Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator in the Cabinet Office. Omand was among those who decided that David Kelly should be pursued for talking to the media about the Government’s dossier on Iraq’s alleged WMD.[4] Omand and Sir Kevin Tebbit, then permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, recommended to Jack Straw and Tony Blair that John Scarlett head MI6.[4]


    Aaronovitch is on Any Questions tonight at 8pm. Await more of the same from him.

  36. Congratulations to all the previous Sam Adams Award winners including Craig who is in good company. Edward Snowden is the latest recipient and received his award on Wednesday.

    2002: Coleen Rowley
    2003: Katharine Gun
    2004: Sibel Edmonds
    2005: Craig Murray
    2006: Samuel Provance
    2007: Andrew Wilkie
    2008: Frank Grevil[1]
    2009: Larry Wilkerson
    2010: Wikileaks and Julian Assange[2]
    2011: Thomas Andrews Drake and Jesselyn Radack
    2012: Thomas Fingar
    2013: Edward Snowden

    ‘US unchained itself from constitution': Whistleblowers on RT after secret Snowden meeting
    October 10, 2013 12:45
    Edward Snowden (3rd R) alongside UK WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison (2nd R) and the US whistleblowers (L to R) Coleen Rowley (FBI), Thomas Drake (NSA), Jesselyn Raddack (DoJ) and Ray McGovern (CIA).


  37. Oops. Omand not Onand!

  38. @ Rouge [previous thread],

    As in Craig’s case, where to turn to when justice has become a lopsided vehicle that can be abused and twisted at will by those who remain outside confined spaces [aka as Joliet]? I’m not really familiar with the exact legal shenanigans in the UK [although I do know libel is on par with what I do know], but here’s some more food for thought as to where we ‘ordinary folks’ stand within the legal framework sold to us as ‘democracy’ and ‘democratic values.’

  39. “Defamation”….think I picked that up from a much earlier post (February?) of yours which prefigured this. Sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick.

    I agree with TO that we’re missing something here. Which is I think related to the content of the series, and the information you have on it which leads you to believe your rights have been infringed. All I’m seeing from here is: “I wrote a factual account of my time in Uzbekistan and later: these people decided not to buy the rights in order to produce a fictional account of someone else’s time in ‘Tazbekistan'”.

    If it’s lifted material wholesale from your book without acknowledgement, you’ve perhaps got a case. A better case, when it’s released. If it merely takes a sideways dig at a (fictional) previous incumbent of the (fictional) Tazbek Embassy, I wouldn’t think you had. You won’t be identifiable, and let’s face it, apart from your loyal followers and trolls here, the viewing public won’t even recognise the allusion. To you, or your book.

    And as I said, those images of smirking comedians probably belong to someone. Be careful.


  40. Thanks, Daniel Rich. Another piece by Smolski here. 2011, but no less true now:


    Goes for the UK too.

  41. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if there is any legally actionable grievance in all of this – except for possible defamation.

    As I posted on previous thread prior to reading this one :

    Craig’s book tells a story which is supposed to be true, not a creative work of fiction. Any inspiration based on purported facts that do not exactly copy Craig’s choice of words cannot be considered copyright infringements. In this case, Craig’s work is that of a reporter of sorts, not an artist so the ideas that are presented in his book are free for people to re-report and rework as fiction.

    I can understand Craig’s objection to the comedic fictionalisation of his and other’s terrible experiences, but my position now is that Craig should exploit the opportunity to re-tell the real story to the public to maintain awareness of the brutality of the Karimov regime.

  42. Big Talk probably a spook front anyway.

    Hand in glove with the FCO and BBC.

    How cosy.

    It’s cosier than that. Big Talk’s now wholly owned by ITV.

  43. Erm….if posting photoshopped images on blogs could get you nicked then half the web could be shut down.

    Using copyright images to make a point against someone with access to expensive lawyers is probably not the best way of suggesting your own copyright has been infringed by that someone, though, is it?

  44. Im beginning to think this whole Snowden/NSA/Guardian scene is a charade,a fix,a psyop- call it what you will.

    Its just too smooth and linear,like a well rehearsed play.

    Are the Guardian et al revealing any great truths that most of us surmised years ago or are they and other agencies merely throwing us this story to confirm to us all just how scrutinsed- and thus subjugated- we all are now?

  45. Daniel Rich
    11 Oct, 2013 – 8:45 am

    Yes, we are all potential terrorists now, and therefore to be treated as such.

    I have no problem in understanding why all this has come about and its ultimate purpose, particularly after listening to Aaron Russo’s recounting of a discussion with Nicholas Rockefeller –


    I believe the prime aim is chaos, and out of that oppression of the populace (ie serfdom).

  46. Well said Haemoglobin.

  47. So what were the reasons for big Talk to invite Craig to talk about copyrights? Were they ever going to buy them? for a penny or a million pounds? or were they just going through the motions?

    Why, if they were going to go ahead with their script anyway, did they approach Craig and wasted his time? to shake his clean hands and compare them to Jack Straws wet and rather weak handshake? To tease out morsels of genuine facts, which they then will discard and rewrite to make them sound funny? or did they just wanted to have a coffee morning with Craig.

    Fact is that these two comedians are part of a successfull BBC possee that can steer and direct humour on our screens, king pins indeed.

    I do not think that David Mitchell is funny, he’s just trying to be clever and get away with sunning himself in the afterglow of blooted bodies, oh what a laugh we all had…

    The PR value of this hyst has the capacity to overshadow the one hand clapping from the FCO, batboy Hague and those gullible TV execs who think they can run roughshot over anyone they like.

    Big Talk are the producers of highly successfull ‘Shaun of the dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’, they are not short of cash and could have purchased the rights, nt only would they have been able to make it into a proper film, not a caricature of reality, but they also would have been able to stop Craig doing anything else with his experience and book.

  48. Sir David Omand needs a second look – thanks Mary.

  49. Nice artwork, what about producing some kind of wrap-around for the cover highlighting the ‘celebrity’ endorsement.

  50. Mary might have specified Omand’s (presumably lucrative) directorship of Finnmeccanica – but Wiki doesn’t:


    That ol’ revolving door again. Wonder what Snowden has on Finnmeccanica?


    Getcha drones here. Getcha luvvley drones…

  51. “The Nobel peace prize goes to ‘global chemical watchdog OPCW’.”

    The truth is that the committee couldn’t decide whether to give this year’s Peace prize to Prince Bandar or Netanyahu so they had to fall back on this rather wishy washy compromise

  52. pete 11 Oct, 2013 – 12:23 pm

    ” ….. what about producing some kind of wrap-around for the cover highlighting the ‘celebrity’ endorsement.”

    I could add this if you want, Craig. Could put the ‘Ambassadors’ logo on it. Up to you.

  53. BrianFujisan

    11 Oct, 2013 - 2:52 pm


    Here’s more on Roger Waters and his position of support for peoples of Palestine and apartheid In the occupied territories,

    “But the fact is that there are different rules of law for Arabs and Jews. Completely different. In the occupied territories, Jews are governed under a civil law and have completely different rules in terms of their movement and so on and so forth … and the occupied people, the Palestinians and the Arabs, are under martial law. And it’s a completely different set of laws. They also have completely different sets of documents.

    It’s just like the old pass laws in South Africa. It is apartheid. Clear and simple. If you go and look at the definition of what the crime of apartheid is, then it describes perfectly what’s going on in the West Bank. And not quite so perfectly, but also, Gaza, which is under siege, it’s completely surrounded. They have no freedom. When one race or ethnic group subjugates another race or ethnic group, to its power and control, that is the crime of apartheid”.

    Waters does not limit his criticism to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, noting that “It’s also going on in Israel itself. There are different laws depending on if you’re Jewish or if you’re Arab.”


  54. Presumably they were at some point considering using his book, but then changed their minds, either because they realised they preferred to write something themselves anyway and make their own story, or because the two parties couldn’t come to a mutual agreement on the terms so they found they had to write something themselves if they wanted to proceed with their show. Either way, to me (and I suspect to most people who hear this story knowing nothing about it previously? I got here after reading an article about the TV show and googling to learn more ) the most likely explanation that comes to my mind is that that’s exactly what they went ahead and did – wrote their own script. I can’t really think of any reason convincing to myself personally for why they would then choose in that situation to plagiarise when they could just write their own story instead.

    Doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just seems to me rather unlikely. Business deals and collaborations fall through all the time and most people don’t then turn around and commit a crime or try to steal whatever they wanted to buy (let alone steal something that couldn’t be hidden).

  55. I’d clear the floor right now. Some of you are going to be rolling on it suffering from urinary incontinence:


    That’s the FCO.
    Flogging a *secure* data server to all and sundry.
    Based in GCHQ.

    Hands up who doesn’t think they’ve built in a backdoor?


  56. You beat me to it Brian! A decent human being there who is not intimidated and who speaks out.

    The Palestinians should have had their own Sugar Man.

    Sixto Rodriguez: the Sugar Man returns
    The hero of Searching for Sugar Man made his return to the New York stage this weekend. Joy was unconfined

    Rodriguez’s was a career that, for some reason, never really took off. His songs have a Dylanesque edge: folky and occasionally psychedelic tunes underpinned by an astute lyrical acuity, protest songs that combine social commentary and critique with emotive tales of loss and love, as well as colourful depictions of the characters treading Detroit’s cracked streets. Unlike Dylan’s, however, they didn’t sell. In 1975, Rodriguez was dropped by his label, and subsequently disappeared from the radar. He spent the ensuing decades just getting on with life, working odd jobs as a manual labourer and construction worker in his hometown. He even ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor.

    Unbeknownst to him, however, through a smuggled bootleg cassette of Cold Fact, he had become a star in South Africa, his socially conscientious songs providing relief and optimism to a youth oppressed by apartheid.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=in–_OWfTd4 Many other videos

  57. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    11 Oct, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    OK, the UN finally peeks from under the covers. IAEA involved.

    Now I’m really worried…


  58. The vultures made a killing today courtesy of St Vince and his advisers.

    ‘Royal Mail Shares Soar In First Trades
    The value of the Royal Mail jumps more than £1.2bn as conditional trading begins on the London Stock Exchange’

    The advisors to HMG were Goldmans Sachs and UBS.

    ‘The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.’

    Same old. Same old.

  59. “The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.”

    If Gideon is so commited to paying off the nations credit card why on Earth did they not try and get the best possible price? It defies all logic and sense.

    Meanwhile pay-day loan companies eagerly await the next inflation busting price increase on energy, which Gideon aproves of because that increase in energy spending is counted as ‘economic growth’ by his department – the ‘recovery’ is all smoke and mirrors to hide the systematic plundering of the nations last remaining bits of wealth by foriegners for foreigners; it’s no concidence that much of the PO stock has been sold to Qatar, who will no doubt be encouraged to build more unneeded office blocks and luxury apartments that proudly advertise “No Social Housing” in big letters on the £500 million worth of land that was not factored into the share price.

  60. Komodo I remember that you said earlier that ITV had acquired Big Talk.


    I see that until that took place at the end of July, BBC Worldwide had a 25% share.

    The founder, Nira Park, Kenton Allen and Matthew Juastice all made a pile in the takeover.

    ‘But it is Park together with chief executive Kenton Allen and managing director Matthew Justice who stand to net the most – jointly owning a 65% portion valued at £8.1 million by the sale.

    The initial payment of around £12.5 million is dependent on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance, with additional payments linked to profits over the next five years.’

  61. O/T To anyone who has a helpful MEP.

    In July 2013, the European Commission announced new guidelines that aim to prevent Israeli projects in illegal Israeli settlements from receiving research grant funding and prevent Israeli companies and institutions that operate inside illegal Israeli settlements from participating in financial instruments such as loans. The new guidelines were broadly welcomed by Palestinian and European civil society organisations.

    But now Israel and its supporters are pressuring the EU to drop the new guidelines. There is a very real risk that the Commission will cave in to Israeli pressure and decide to continue the funding of, and support for, Israeli projects and organisations based in occupied Palestinian Territory. This would send a dangerous message that the EU lacks the political will to pressure Israel to end its war crimes and comply with international law.

    Take Action! Write to your Members of European Parliament
    Please use our simple e-tool to send a message to your members of the European Parliament and ask them to take action to support the new guidelines and make sure that the EU stops funding Israeli war crimes.


    Help us to spread the campaign – please share the event on facebook:



  62. Just enjoy the programme Craig for the fun that it is. Perhaps not everything in life needs to be taken so seriously. No PM or MP needed to be so devasted by Spitting Image in its day. You protest too much and undervalue the importance of freedom of expression. It seems you want money through copyright rather than righteous justice through free speech which may be why freedom of expression is not your main argument.

  63. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    11 Oct, 2013 - 10:15 pm

    Keeping Spaceweather.com honest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHwkRnYHS-Y&feature=c4-overview&list=UUTiL1q9YbrVam5nP2xzFTWQ

    4 min news chastises spaceweather for taking down video of a comet fragment crashing into the sun.

    The video is embedded in link above. Watch the fireworks. I don’t know if it’s connected but there was an X-class CME as well (not earth directed) Whew!

  64. @James Mason: I don’t think Craig’s grievance has a financial motivation. His unique story is the golden egg he salvaged from the deluge of shit that descended on him when he irked the establishment. A moral person would want to protect the moral heart of that story. There is an onus to protect it from being distorted for the purposes of propaganda or mass entertainment. If a production company says “We love your story and we want to turn it into a comedy”, it’s a fair bet that human rights aren’t high on their agenda.

    Viewed from another perspective, this TV series might be the opportunity he’s been waiting for: i.e. a hook to interest Joe Public in the trials and tribulations of representing British interests in the context of corrupt ex-Soviet dictatorships. I think the next two weeks could be pivotal. A well-aimed, measured article in the Sunday papers could reignite interest in the horrors committed abroad in to advance the so-called ‘war on terror’.

  65. James Mason,

    I think youre wrong.

    I believe Craig’s focus is on the very serious issue of torture and the creation of a “market for torture’ that the War On Terror has inculcated.

    Id be angry too if some persons and/ or agency had used my work/experience as the basis for making light of/satirising an extremely serious issue.

  66. “The TV business is a cruel and shallow
    money trench, a long plastic hallway where
    thieves and pimps run free and good men
    die like dogs.
    There’s also a negative side.”

    To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson

  67. @ Craig
    “Daniel Rich @ Craig Murray: … have you considered to contact either Assange or Wikileaks, explain your situation and see if if they have someone in their lawyer pool whose willing to step up to the plate without lining his pockets first?”

    Or have you consulted with your US agent and parties who optioned/own the TV/Movie rights? They may have a financial interest in copyright violations, or refer you to a US law firm that would pursue the matter on a contingency basis.

    Under US law, particularly the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, there are sometimes surprising outcomes, such as an award of US$17,000,000 including treble punitive damages, though that was for a straight, small-time copyright violation involving pirated DVDs.

    The other technique is the lawyers make claims that the defendant or its insurer finds it cheaper to settle than defend in court or risk a jury verdict.

    Though on the surface I think Komodo has a point: “If it’s lifted material wholesale from your book without acknowledgement, you’ve perhaps got a case. A better case, when it’s released. If it merely takes a sideways dig at a (fictional) previous incumbent of the (fictional) Tazbek Embassy, I wouldn’t think you had. You won’t be identifiable, and let’s face it, apart from your loyal followers and trolls here, the viewing public won’t even recognise the allusion. To you, or your book. And as I said, those images of smirking comedians probably belong to someone. Be careful.”

    Don’t forget, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.* If you stir up a stink, it should increase book sales.

    * Have you considered an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” partnering the charming Gulnara?

  68. Using history or someone’s personal experience or even their writing as a basis for your own satire isn’t a crime, though, copyright or other. It’s a normal part of the tradition of art and literature, though I can see why a person at the centre of it might in some cases find it very unpleasant.

    I’m hopeful that this show will present a more interesting and complex view than Craig fears (in my experience satire is sometimes the most effective way of making serious points), but even if he does turn out to be right that their portrayal is ethically problematic and misleading, I really think the most effective way to address that is by engaging directly with the public – for a few weeks while this show is on, central Asia will be in people’s thoughts far more than it usually is, and it seems to me like the perfect opportunity to try to bring people’s attention towards the area in a more serious way.

    This show is fiction and comedy anyway and doesn’t appear to make any claim otherwise, so it should be easy enough to remind people that it’s just fiction, while inviting them to look at some more accurate and serious information.

  69. charlie tiberius drake

    13 Oct, 2013 - 4:40 am

    these 2 flabby clowns are full on mi spooky operatives just like armstrong and miller.
    in the old days tavistock got writers to write songs for fab type bands like the beatles and the stones.
    music is not what it was so tavistock moved on to other hooks and lines.
    comic jokers fat fucking gatekeepers.
    have they killed anyone these run to fat two.
    no but they died many times but we love them what what donte you nose.

  70. Here’s a rubberstamped version of the Uzbekistan Ambassador logo. It’s rubberstamped like the one for the TV series, which it is of course “inspired by” but not copying in any way, because the words are a bit different.

  71. “The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.”

    That advice in full: “Pile it high and sell it cheap”. (Different costing principles are applied to the financial advice itself.)

    Obviously, the objectives were (1) to make sure of a healthy profit for the institutional investors whose friends Osborne would like to be and (2) to let The Markets (ie hedge funds) further into the public service sector. It was very little to do with balancing the government’s books, much more to do with ideology. Otherwise, the share price could have been double what was floated, and the pigs would still have been jostling to get at the trough.

  72. If the stuff you wrote about actually happened, and it’s now a matter of historical record, then where’s the copyright infringement in writing a fictionalised story about it? As far as I understand it, seeking the approval of people who reported real-life events is essentially a formality — they don’t legally need it in order to write their own account, especially if it’s satirical.

    As others have pointed out, once the series launches any newspaper in existence would LOVE to post the story “New BBC sitcom stole my story in order to heartlessly misrepresent the ruthless regime I wrote about” (that, er, may need to be edited for headline space). The Daily Mail in particular is always itching for muck to sling at the Beeb.

    You get your criticism of the show out there, you raise awareness of the true story, you get paid for your trouble and you get publicity for your book and your work. What’s the downside? That the TV show you object to continues to exist? Given your stated concern for free speech, that doesn’t seem like much of a downside.

  73. Komodo 14 Oct, 2013 – 9:01 am

    “Obviously, the objectives were (1) to make sure of a healthy profit for the institutional investors whose friends Osborne would like to be and (2) to let The Markets (ie hedge funds) further into the public service sector. It was very little to do with balancing the government’s books, much more to do with ideology. Otherwise, the share price could have been double what was floated, and the pigs would still have been jostling to get at the trough.”

    …. (3) ensure that only those selected institutional investors who have agreed to sell on their shares to T.N.T at a pre-agreed profit within a pre-agreed time scale are allowed to get their snouts in the trough.

  74. Just really daft thought…. have you had a look at crowd source funding ? After all if you win then presumably the program makers will have to pay you significant amounts of money, so in theory you could offer a return on someones “investment”

    Probably wouldnt work, but if you really want to have your day it might just be worth a look.

  75. I only visit their site for the Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn articles but I discovered that The Independent “moderates” any comment (direct or subtle) made in response to their advertorial http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/mitchell-and-webb-the-funny-old-world-of-foreign-affairs-8895178.html

    I think the closest one can get to getting a published is a reference to previous work on the subject in general.

  76. After 21 hours the comment finally appeared.
    How many more subtle or shameless plugs can be made before the comments close?
    So far two plugs for Craig’S book

    Does any one read The Independent Online these days?

  77. Will be thinking of Craig tonight as the drivel is broadcast.

    This lightweight review says all that needs to be said about the series and its participants. No images of bodies boiled alive will be shown.

    There is a bit of politics here too – the morality of arms dealing – but we need not get too bogged down in this. Ambassadors is pretty gentle and ultimately fairly throwaway, but after coasting in panel shows (well, coasting compared to the early morning location shoots and lines-learning graft of, say, Peep Show) and nice-for-the-bank-balance voiceovers this is a chance for Mitchell and Webb to stretch themselves with some proper acting and a proper script. No need to be diplomatic in this preview, Ambassadors is genuinely top quality television. Just one thing missing. I guess Olivia Colman was too busy to join in.’

    Ambassadors starts on BBC2 on October 23 at 9pm.


    It was also featured in Saturday Review.
    And in a new BBC Two comedy drama, David Mitchell and Robert Webb star as the British ambassador and his Mission deputy who are busy in Tazbekistan, trying to secure a 2 billion pound helicopter deal for the British government.

    I reckon it will bomb.

  78. The review by Sam Wollaston in today’s Guardian – see http://tinyurl.com/nfe5lou starts with the obvious linkage (“Remember Craig Murray?”) and when I looked had already attracted 108 comments. What I found most disorienting is that in height, shape of face and even a few mannerisms (and the ability to knock back the vodka and deal with the plov), David Mitchell is well cast as the Craig look-alike (Craig might not agree). However, in terms of illustrating the rare phenomenon of ethical diplomacy, that role is given to the Deputy Ambassador. The standard is way below being a “Yes, Foreign Secretary!” extension of the Jay/ Jim Hacker franchise, but is clearly aimed in that direction. The script has a few good moments but has far too much over-the-top silliness and stereotyping, which generally means it has little claim to being satire.

    I don’t see it as amounting to an infringement of copyright, more a somewhat tacky exploitation of the genuine diplomatic dilemma of how to balance human rights v commercial and political interests. In skilled hands that could produce real black comedy; this is mostly played for cheap laughs.

  79. Regrettably it has not bombed – see the following uncritical review in the D Telegraph: http://tinyurl.com/py9r6t3

  80. Having now seen the programme you may be able, Craig, to share the costs of any legal effort with a large number of serving and former Ambassadors (not only British ones perhaps) and other ranking diplomats who will have shared so many similar experiences. A lot of those have gone into print and may be able to argue copyright infringement. Mathew Parris’ Parting Shots and The Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase reproduce equally available material which might be used in your collective failure in the Courts to present a successful case. Sorry but I don’t think you have a case so sit back and enjoy or turn off the telly and focus elsewhere. JM

  81. All of the above commentators who claim this programme isn’t a direct clone of Craigs book should read the book again. I recognised every character and many of the situations in the book. The Ambassador was even a Norwich City supporter. The play on words with the rubbish battle re’enactment band was so obviously the Battlefield Band brought out for Craigs British Days he had in Tashkent. It is similar to someone doing another star wars film and calling the main character Daft Vander. If the BBC had not have had access to ltaCraigs scripts book and drafts then they may have been forgiven but to use them to toteal the story is just plain wrong. I am sure you could never win an action against the BBC but they are playing dirty by not acknowledging Craig or even offering him a consultancy fee.

  82. ‘Plagiarism’ is the word James Mason.

    ‘Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. The idea remains problematic with unclear definitions and unclear rules. The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement.

    Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like expulsion.

    Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry it is a serious ethical offense, and cases of plagiarism can constitute copyright infringement.’


  83. foolish rules

    31 Oct, 2013 - 9:32 pm

    Have you tried asking media / human rights firms and asked them if they would do a contingency / Damages Based Agreement (DBA)?

  84. Alexandra Murrell

    3 Nov, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    I have enjoyed the two episodes of the Ambassadors I have seen. It is about more than the ambassador unlike Murder in Samarkhand , after all the sheep are wrong, the city has far too many lights to really be in central Asia.

    I think it shows the dilemmas that embassy staff face, as well as putting stans on the map.
    I dont think the President in the series is based on a real person.


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