Syria and Diplomacy

by craig on January 21, 2014 11:49 am in Uncategorized

The problem with the Geneva Communique from the first Geneva round on Syria is that the government of Syria never subscribed to it.  It was jointly chaired by the League of Arab States for Syria, whatever that may mean.  Another problem is that it is, as so many diplomatic documents are, highly ambiguous.  It plainly advocates a power sharing executive formed by some of the current government plus the opposition to oversee a transition to democracy.  But it does not state which elements of the current government, and it does not mention which elements of the opposition, nor does it make plain if President Assad himself is eligible to be part of, or to head, the power-sharing executive, and whether he is eligible to be a candidate in future democratic elections.

Doubtless the British, for example, would argue that the term transition implies that he will go.  The Russians will argue there is no such implication and the text does not exclude anybody from the process.  Doubtless also diplomats on all sides were fully aware of these differing interpretations and the ambiguity is quite deliberate to enable an agreed text. I would say that the text tends much more to the “western” side, and that this reflects the apparently weak military position of the Assad regime at that time and the then extant threat of western military intervention.  There has been a radical shift in those factors against the western side in the interim. Expect Russian interpretations now to get more hardline.

Given the extreme ambiguity of the text, Iran has, as it frequently does, shot itself in the foot diplomatically by refusing to accept the communique as the basis of talks and thus getting excluded from Geneva.  Iran should have accepted the communique, and then at Geneva issued its own interpretation of it.

But that is a minor point.  The farcical thing about the Geneva conference is that it is attempting to promote into power-sharing in Syria “opposition” members who have no democratic credentials and represent a scarcely significant portion of those actually fighting the Assad regime in Syria.  What the West are trying to achieve is what the CIA and Mossad have now achieved in Egypt; replacing the head of the Mubarak regime while keeping all its power structures in place. The West don’t really want democracy in Syria, they just want a less pro-Russian leader of the power structures.

The inability of the British left to understand the Middle East is pathetic.  I recall arguing with commenters on this blog who supported the overthrow of the elected President of Egypt Morsi on the grounds that his overthrow was supporting secularism, judicial independence (missing the entirely obvious fact the Egyptian judiciary are almost all puppets of the military) and would lead to a left wing revolutionary outcome.  Similarly the demonstrations against Erdogan in Istanbul, orchestrated by very similar pro-military forces to those now in charge in Egypt, were also hailed by commenters here.  The word “secularist” seems to obviate all sins when it comes to the Middle East.

Qatar will be present at Geneva, and Qatar has just launched a pre-emptive media offensive by launching a dossier on torture and murder of detainees by the Assad regime, which is being given first headline treatment by the BBC all morning

There would be a good dossier to be issued on torture in detention in Qatar, and the lives of slave workers there, but that is another question.

I do not doubt at all that atrocities have been committed and are being committed by the Assad regime.  It is a very unpleasant regime indeed.  The fact that atrocities are also being committed by various rebel groups does not make Syrian government atrocities any better.

But whether 11,000 people really were murdered in a single detainee camp I am unsure.  What I do know is that the BBC presentation of today’s report has been a disgrace.  The report was commissioned by the government of Qatar who commissioned Carter Ruck to do it.  Both those organisations are infamous suppressors of free speech.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC are presenting the report as though it were produced by neutral experts, whereas the opposite is the case.  It is produced not by anti torture campaigners or by human rights activists, but by lawyers who are doing it purely and simply because they are being paid to do it.

The BBC are showing enormous deference to Sir Desmond De Silva, who is introduced as a former UN war crimes prosecutor.  He is indeed that, but it is not the capacity in which he is now acting.  He is acting as a barrister in private practice.  Before he was a UN prosecutor, he was for decades a criminal defence lawyer and has defended many murderers.  He has since acted to suppress the truth being published about many celebrities, including John Terry.

If the Assad regime and not the government of Qatar had instructed him and paid him, he would now be on our screens arguing the opposite case to that he is putting.  That is his job.  He probably regards that as not reprehensible.  What is reprehensible is that the BBC do not make it plain, but introduce him as a UN war crimes prosecutor as though he were acting in that capacity or out of concern for human rights.  I can find no evidence of his having an especial love for human rights in the abstract, when he is not being paid for it.  He produced an official UK government report into the murder of Pat Finucane, a murder organised by British authorities, which Pat Finucane’s widow described as a “sham”.  He was also put in charge of quietly sweeping the Israeli murders on the Gaza flotilla under the carpet at the UN.

The question any decent journalist should be asking him is “Sir Desmond De Silva, how much did the government of Qatar pay you for your part in preparing this report?  How much did it pay the other experts?  Does your fee from the Government of Qatar include this TV interview, or are you charging separately for your time in giving this interview?  In short how much are you being paid to say this?”

That is what any decent journalist would ask.  Which is why you will never hear those questions on the BBC.




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  1. “The farcical thing about the Geneva conference is that it is attempting to promote into power-sharing in Syria “opposition” members who have no democratic credentials”

    Could Craig let us know who has any democratic credentials among the various parties involved in Syria?

    The BBC report I read on their website makes it pretty clear that the torture report was commissioned by Qatar. Perhaps its contents should be addressed rather than shooting the messenger – do you wish to rubbish all the forensic scientists as well.

    I fear that the only mechanism for change in Syria will be the application of pressure on Russia whose client state Syria has now become. Yes there has to be some power sharing if only to stop the score settling. It should also be remembered that this whole conflict is now placing very significant strains on Lebanon and Jordan.

  2. ESLO

    It is plain the intention of the commissioners of the report is not to investigate atrocities in Syria, but to push again for Western military intervention. Part of a strategy which will next involve a staged breakdown of the Geneva talks.

  3. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    21 Jan, 2014 - 12:23 pm

  4. Here is one of Carter Ruck’s inquirers – a Yank

    ‘Before assuming his position in Sierra Leone, Crane worked in the federal government. He served as an officer in the U.S. army for 20 years, including serving as a paratrooper and a special operations officer. After retiring from the military, he spent 10 years as a senior intelligence officer in the U.S. Department of Defense. And if you knew what Crane did for the department, he’d have to kill you.

    No, really. It’s classified.’

    What crap. Who wrote it? Ian Fleming?.

    It was an easy move from ‘intelligence’ to law professor. He has the highest ideals for the gold and diamond coast dwellers – just like BLiar. This beautiful world gets worse by the minute – and we are funding and promoting every evil, the BBC especially.

    Note the dates when ‘Caesar’ was interviewed – supposedly. Copy written before interview. Does Caesar actually exist one asks?

  5. Craig

    We have been here before – while Qatar may have different intentions I just don’t think that there is any political appetite for military intervention in Syria among the major Western powers. I daresay you will disagree given your views of said Western powers but you were wrong last time and I think it will be the same this time. The sad truth is that change will only happen in Syria when Putin thinks it is in his interest to force change – if you want to understand Putin the works of Mario Puzo should be the starting point.

  6. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    21 Jan, 2014 - 12:30 pm

  7. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 12:32 pm

    Craig :

    As you have allowed yourself a comparison in your 9th para, I shall allow myself one as well.

    In 1941 the Germans discovered the bodies of over 4500 Polish officers and other prominent people in Katyn Forest.

    The Soviet govt attempted to discredit that finding by saying that the bestial Nazis had carried out that massacre – that is was fully consonant with Nazi practice.

    The Nazis were bestial, but the fact remains that the Soviet govt was responsible (and admitted this over 50 years afterwards.

    I think you see my point.

  8. Info on two others.

    On Radio 4 today in the 30 minute ‘news bulletins’, no mention was made that Milosevic died/was killed before the verdict. No matter, no matter the truth.

    Stuart Hamilton

    Fact or fiction?

    Silent Witness is indeed very entertaining – as much as these allegations.

  9. Hi Craig – welcome, so good to hear from you.

    Listening to grass roots activists in Turkey I cannot agree that ‘the demonstrations against Erdogan in Istanbul, [are]orchestrated by very similar pro-military forces to those now in charge in Egypt. The situation in Turkey is very different to Egypt.

  10. Mark

    There are a tiny number of genuine grass roots activists in Turkey. The combined forces of the left got 1% of the vote in the last Turkish elections. The mass protestors on the street wearing red were Kemalists. That is who are trying to overthrow Erdogan. It is the same as Egypt, and those supporting the overthrow of Morsi were saying exactly the same as you are saying now about the “grass roots activists” in Cairo.

  11. “Silent Witness is indeed very entertaining – as much as these allegations”

    It takes a strange sort of person to find entertainment from the allegations contained within the report whether they true or otherwise.

    Do you wish to deny that the Assad regime bombed Palestinian refugee camps or do I have to call George Galloway (or at least his words before he took the Assad shilling) as a witness?

  12. Rhisiart Gwilym

    21 Jan, 2014 - 12:58 pm

    Thank god you’re back in active blogging mode, Craig! Your insider understanding and contacts, plus your forthright clarity are simply indispensable. Wrestle with the Black Dog when you have to, bro., but don’t ever let it tell you that hopelessness is right. We need your insights, Craig. They’re really valuable, and things do benefit from them, however subterraneanly the work of a single individual may operate.

    PS: George Galloway ‘took the Assad shilling’? I think we know now how much discount to apply to ESLO’s input.

  13. “George Galloway ‘took the Assad shilling’? I think we know now how much discount to apply to ESLO’s input.”

    Well I’d multiply by at least a million to be precise

  14. Strangely enough George made no mention of this when he was paid to appear on Al Mayadeen TV

  15. Bang on, Craig!

    Assad’s is an unpleasant regime, for sure, but given the alternative — funded and armed, as you say, by Gulf theocracies — it has to be a case of the lesser of two evils. This ongoing attempt at regime change is also about the integrity of Syria as a nation. I think most Syrians can see that, especially given what has happened to Libya.

    The goal is the same as it’s been since the get-go which, according to this article, was as long ago as 2006:

    There was a little wobble over Ghouta, but the fork-tongued neocons in Washington, and their supporters elsewhere, simply changed tack for a while. However, Syria is still firmly on the menu, and they’ll do their level best to serve it up to their favoured corporations one way or another.

  16. “The inability of the British left to understand the Middle East is pathetic.”

    I’d say it’s more the inability of just about anybody to understand anything that can’t be boiled down to “goodies vs baddies”.

  17. Keith Crosby

    21 Jan, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Good article Craig, nice that you’re back.

  18. For information

    President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with Agence France Presse (AFP) ~January 20,2014

    AFP: Mr. President, what do you expect from the Geneva conference?

    President Assad: The most basic element, which we continuously refer too, is that the Geneva Conference should produce clear results with regard to the fight against terrorism in Syria. In particular, it needs to put pressure on countries that are exporting terrorism, – by sending terrorists, money and weapons to terrorist organisations, – especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and of course the Western countries that provide political cover for these terrorist organisations. This is the most important decision or result that the Geneva Conference could produce. Any political solution that is reached without fighting terrorism has no value. There can be no political action when there is terrorism everywhere, not only in Syria but in neighbouring countries as well. From the political side, it is possible for Geneva to contribute to a process of dialogue between Syrians. There has to be a Syrian process within Syria and whilst Geneva could support this, it cannot be a substitute for it.

    AFP: After nearly three years of devastating war and the big challenge of reconstruction in the country, is it likely that you will not be a candidate for the presidency?

    President Assad: This depends on two things: It depends on personal aspirations or a personal decision, on the one hand, and on public opinion in Syria, on the other. As far as I am concerned, I see no reason why I shouldn’t stand; as for Syrian public opinion, there is still around four months before the election date is announced. If in that time, there is public desire and a public opinion in favour of my candidacy, I will not hesitate for a second to run for election. In short, we can say that the chances for my candidacy are significant.


  19. As aside from Medialens. :)

    Craig Murray’s blog – alive and well again
    Posted by fugazi on January 21, 2014, 1:06 pm

    nice to hear – why was he down?
    Posted by emersberger on January 21, 2014, 1:14 pm

    Posted by fugazi on January 21, 2014, 1:28 pm
    Dunno – no new posts for months…. then the sight of bliar at sharons funeral kicked it off again…

  20. It’s so refreshing to hear from Craig again. I’ve missed him terribly.

    I think one needs to calmly examine and scrutinize the propaganda coming out of Syria, regardless of which side it comes from. I’m therefore sceptical and inclined to doubt the provenance of this material and the allegations about mass-murder which have so fortuitously appeared at this particular juncture. Haven’t we been here before, just before a confernace about Syria? One can hardly call the source of this story neutral, can one? Qatar is actively involved in trying to topple the Syrian regime, need one say more? This doesn’t mean the allegations are complete fabrications, only that in a war like this one needs to be cautious.

    For example; the West almost launched an attack on Syria recently, based on allegations about a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb which supposedly killed 1500 innocent civilians, and western governments led by Obama, Kerry and leading US politicians immediately blamed the Assad regime with 100% certainty. There was no doubt. Subsequently Seymour Hersh has revealed in an article in the London Review of Books, an article that has recieved scant coverage in our media, that, in reality, the US government was anything but 100% sure of the facts in this case, and manipulated the story in order to justify a military attack on Syria, they made the facts fit around the policy, does that sound familiar? Remember Iraq and WMDs? The Obama aministration was also informed that the Syrian rebels had the capability to produce nerve gas, and not just the Syrian regime, a fact they also chose to ignore in the propaganda rush towards war. Subsequently doubts have been cast over the range on the rocket involved in the attack. Put simply, the rocket had a range so short that it couldn’t have been fired from government controlled territory. Also it’s odd that when the regime provided the UN with lists of its chemical weapons and the means to deliver them, a rocket of this type was absent from the list, which is odd.

    The rebels in Syria cannot win the war and topple the Syrian regime without massive western support. It’s like Libya all over again. They want us as an airforce to tip the military balance in their favour, therefore they, and our leaders, have an obvious interest in creating war-propaganda that supports western intervention and regime change. How do we know who the people in the torture pictures are? How do we know they weren’t regime soldiers murdered and tortured by the rebels?

  21. Very interesting Mary

    To summarise: Dictator announces intention to remain in power. Anyone who opposes him is a terrorist by definition. Any problems are not his fault.

  22. The British left, whatever that really means these days, contains many revolutionary romantics, who are both arrogant, naive, ignorant, well-meaning, and credulous as hell. Their faith in the neutrality of our media is… touching, and this despite all one knows about the role of the media in spreading propaganda in wartime, and we are at war with Syria and desire regime change, only we’re using al Queda as our fighters this time around, as we did in Afghanistan when were at war with the Russians.

    The left have become bizarre, and it’s right across the West. The right want to go to war mostly on nationalistic grounds, protecting the homeland and defeat extremism, whilt the liberal/left are obsessed with ‘progress’ and crusade for freedom, and the idea of healing the world for peace, nice ideas, but as Craig said, pathetic too.

  23. Folks, I believe, in the grand scheme of things, and, considering the desecration and genocide in Iraq, the smashing of Libya, the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi and the ‘red line’ WMD plot against Syria we may be confronted by that ‘big picture’ conundram, a puzzle in which we try to formulate the ‘good versus the bad.’

    That is why I agree with Craig that Iran should have accepted the ‘communique’ to be involved in the dialogue. I do not agree with Craig when solidly and absolutely, although consistently expurgates the Assad government as a ‘very unpleasant regime indeed.’

    Did Syria attack anyone? – did Iran? did… No! ESLO speaks in terms of multiplication – can this be the way forward?

  24. Uzbek in the UK

    21 Jan, 2014 - 2:23 pm

    You are absolutely right Mr Murray. This guy will do exactly the opposite if paid to do so.

    Here are some services he provides taken from his web site

    Advising clients who are or may become the focus of investigation over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity

    Representing clients who are indicted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity

    So providing money (the amount) is right he might soon be defending very people who he is acting against now.

  25. Did Syria attack anyone?

    Yes Lebanon even if we don’t bother to count its own people.

    I agree that it is not a simple picture of good vs bad – what is? But lets not avoid calling what is bad, what it is. Assad will never be part of a peaceful solution – there can never be a reconciliation with millions of refugees.

  26. Eslo: “if you want to understand Putin the works of Mario Puzo should be the starting point.”

    This description is hardly exclusive to Russian Leaders. The Western leaders are equally as bad, if not more so, although they hide behind a faux concern for “Human Rights” and “Democracy”. It’s also fair to say that Putin has attempted to stop a wider war and more violence and destruction, which would undoubtedly happen if NATO “intervened”. While Russia’s own agenda is clearly behind this stance, this is far from as immoral a motive as the West’s continuing supply and support of the various disparate groups in Syria, some of which are Extremist to well beyond the point that they would be considered “Terrorists” were they fighting against one of the even worse pro-Western regimes in the region, many of which are worse Police States than Syria was before this war began. Like our so called free media, you appear to be inflicted with a major case of Double Standards.

  27. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 2:58 pm

    @ ESLO

    Do you not, as I do, find the idea of a “family firm”** running a country at the beginning of the 21st century totally absurd, not to say abhorrent and medieval?

    If this were the case with any Western country, the screams of anger from the denizens of this blog would be deafening. But I suppose that in this case, since Assad counts, broadly speaking, as anti-Western, it’s perfectly OK.

    I suppose that’s why there’s never a word on here about North Korea and its charming family firm either.

    (** “Assad & Sons – torture, murder and imprisonment our speciality. Gassings undertaken” )

  28. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    21 Jan, 2014 - 3:01 pm

  29. The deposed president of Eqypt, Mohammad Morsi, goes on trial again on January 28th.

    al-Sisi looks forward to becoming the next military dictator following new ‘elections’.

  30. Neocons Inc. — permanent war guaranteed. Affiliated to ZionTech, experts in olive grove removal.

  31. There is a good thread on Medialens, commencing with Peter’s blogpost on Interventions Watch, and which includes Craig’s entry above.

    A tale of two reports: Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian.

  32. General Wesley Clark said that the US was going to attack 7 countries in 5 years. We so far have Iraq and Libya and then this Syrian crisis appears to be indicating that the road to Tehran is through Damascus.

    What a world we live in.

  33. An extract from Oded Yinon’s ‘A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties’

    The foreword from the translator Israel Shahak

    The following essay represents, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East which is based on the division of the whole area into small states, and the dissolution of all the existing Arab states. I will comment on the military aspect of this plan in a concluding note. Here I want to draw the attention of the readers to several important points:

    1. The idea that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units, occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking. For example, Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz (and probably the most knowledgeable in Israel, on this topic) writes about the “best” that can happen for Israeli interests in Iraq: “The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part” (Ha’aretz 6/2/1982). Actually, this aspect of the plan is very old.

    2. The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the USA is very prominent, especially in the author’s notes. But, while lip service is paid to the idea of the “defense of the West” from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest.

    3. It is obvious that much of the relevant data, both in the notes and in the text, is garbled or omitted, such as the financial help of the U.S. to Israel. Much of it is pure fantasy. But, the plan is not to be regarded as not influential, or as not capable of realization for a short time. The plan follows faithfully the geopolitical ideas current in Germany of 1890-1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, and determined their aims for East Europe. Those aims, especially the division of the existing states, were carried out in 1939-1941, and only an alliance on the global scale prevented their consolidation for a period of time.


    The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.14

    Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization.15

  34. Quite right Courtenay. Aaron Russo was Jewish. He confirms who was responsible for the attack on 9/11. What did a dying man have to gain by telling lies about the Rockefellers.

  35. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    21 Jan, 2014 - 3:39 pm

    “Syrian” opposition delegation list.

  36. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    21 Jan, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Syrian regime delegation avoidably delayed.

  37. OrwellianUK

    “The Western leaders are equally as bad, if not more so,”

    I disagree – but then I know something about the UK, Russia and the US having lived in all three. I suggest you read a little wider.

  38. Quite right Courtenay. Aaron Russo was Jewish. He confirms who was responsible for the attack on 9/11. What did a dying man have to gain by telling lies about the Rockefellers.

    John, I suit your indefatigability combining two conspiracy theories in a single paragraph.

  39. ESLO at 12:27 pm wrote:

    “I just don’t think that there is any political appetite for military intervention in Syria among the major Western powers.”

    Really? In the UK, the Prime Minister recalled parliament for a vote on the matter, and imposed a three-line whip. They only just lost the vote, and the Prime Minister was widely described as “humiliated”. In the US:

    “August 28, 2013, 1:59 p.m. WASHINGTON – A final Western effort to win a United Nations blessing for military action against Syria appeared to collapse Wednesday, but the United States and its allies were still expected to launch a retaliatory attack in response to President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.”,0,618597.story

    Where have you been, ESLO? Watching Tellytubbies?

  40. Excellent post; the sources and provenance of those publicising the latest atrocity linked to Assad need to be scrutinised, and the Beeb have failed to conduct even an elementary smell test here.

    Desmond de Silva certainly has form here, as his whitewash of the murky Finucane assassination indicates.

    Geoffrey Nice is also a busy little bee; he was knighted shortly after leading the prosecution at the aborted Milosevic trial, and twice stood for the SDP in the 80s, at a time when the higher reaches of the party were heavily infiltrated by spooky ‘atlanticists’.

    More on him here-

    More on the Milosevic trial, in which Nice was a principal actor, here-

  41. But we don’t live in Syria or North Korea, and most of us don’t want to I imagine, so we have precious little to say about those countries. What goes on inside those countries isn’t our primary responsibility and we cannot influence what happen, we can influence what Britain does and comment on it. Essentially it’s up to the people of Syria to sort out their own problems minus foreign intervention.

    I still can’t figure out why the West wants to topple the Assad regime, it can’t be because of human rights or democracy, because our leaders don’t give a fig about these things, not at home, and they care even less about what happens to foreigners in countries we know next to nothing about. Then why are we attacking Syria with our al Queda affiliated militias? Well, it would appear that Syria is merely another bloody square on the blood-soaked chessboard in the conflict with Iran. Saudi Arabia and Quatar have begun a war with Iran and the campaign goes through Syria. Topple the regime in Syria and Iran is weakened. Topple Iran and then Russia’s soft underbelly is weakened. Then on to China, hussar!

    International politics is similar to Puso’s The Godfather, with rival Dons and gangs attempting to carve out ‘territory’ and spheres of influence for themselves, and forging unstable alliances, and murdering rivals, then taking over their rackets. Only in our territory the Dons employ smiling, smooth-talking, respectable, lawyers and judges as ‘fronts’ most of the time, men like Obama and Blair, the Clintons, Cameron. We live in Gangsterland too, a more honest label than plutocracy which most don’t even understand.

  42. Clark

    You should note we have moved on from last summer – those efforts collapsed for very good reasons i.e. a lack of public support and the lack of a clear strategy to deal with the underlying problem – nothing has changed. Of course there still exist hawks but western democracies have a way of dealing with them.

    It is almost like you would derive immense schadenfreude from a war going ahead.

  43. ESLO the conspiracy theory is that a bunch of bandits could fly planes into the twin towers without being intercepted by the mighty USA scramble force! Watch this! It names names.

  44. ESLO: You can disagree if you like. You’re entitled to your opinion, just not your own facts. Ask the people of Fallujah in Iraq, ask the people in Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Yemen. Ask the people of any number of countries who have been subject to the consequences of the Empire building of Western Governments and the corporations and banking industry they represent. Simply living in the countries in question (UK, US, Russia) has nothing whatsoever to do with their foreign policy which affects the populations of countries where for instance, the oil happens to be. I have read extremely widely. Just not as selectively as you appear to have.

    I’m not denying Putin is essentially a ruthless gangster. The point I’m making is that our supposed democratically elected leaders (and the ones who have the power but are never subject to election) are at least as bad. The US has garrisons in about 150 countries, 800+ overseas bases (not including all the secret torture sites), and spends as much on “defence” as everyone else put together. Now that is a rapacious Empire far worse than anything Putin is currently doing.

  45. Eslo,

    I hope you have got a good lawyer.

  46. ESLO, you accuse me of wanting Western war in Syria. I wrote to my MP before the UK commons vote, telling him exactly the opposite. I said that I remembered the Dodgy Dossier, the Downing St Memo and the non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. No, I oppose Western war upon Syria, and if I had any power to do so, I’d have the UK government withdraw its support for Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    ESLO, do you support Western military intervention in Syria?

  47. ‘The inability of the British left to understand the Middle East is pathetic.’
    Ah yes, but it does have the ability to know which side its bread is buttered on… in a year’s time!

  48. Uzbek in the UK

    21 Jan, 2014 - 4:44 pm


    Clearly you have never been to Russia – ever. In the last 16 years more than 100.000 Chechens have been murdered and this to add to countLESS political assassinations of political opponents INSIDE Russia. Outside, Russia with its limited (comparing to US) resources is still drugging behind (at least in terms of economic development) republic of former USSR. Postsoviet institutions and leaderships (which Russia still strongly support and promotes) are one of the main reasons of economic stagnation and underdevelopment in many post soviet republics and my native Uzbekistan included. Russian main and foremost priority in Central Asia is keep these nations reduced to the raw materials supply base. In order to achieve this Russia monopolized their economic development to simply supplying Russian gas and oil pipelines to Europe and reducing export potential of Central Asian republics by high tariffs. In case you have not noticed Russia is the only exit for Central Asia to the world market. So far Russia has successfully prevented every attempt by Central Asian republics to establish new way of exporting their goods to the world. It is doing so by various methods which include support for tyrannical regimes and open blackmail using Russian minority as in case with Kazakhstan or more brutally with Georgia.

    Considering limitness of Russian resources with its negative effect Russia delivering to the dependent nations, I can conclude that in case of growing Russian influence and ability to project its powers far outside of its national borders Russia will have much more negative impact on everywhere it is involved.

    Case with Syria is mare coincidence where Russian interests (so far) helped preventing western intervention. However again it is WORTH mentioning that this cost Syrians 200.000 lives so far, this is the price Syrians piad (so far) for the regime security of Mr Assad.

  49. I was tempted to write that war is a whore. Then I remebered that I used to have a little place in Soho, and I chatted to some of the women who worked around there and they seemed rather nice, just trying to get along and earn a living like many others. Are our politicians whores and our leading journalists too? I dunno. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh. They’re honest people doing difficult jobs, isn’t that what they say? On second thoughts calling them whores would be a insult to the working girls I used to know, at least they don’t lie countries into wars, destroy them and slaughter their people.

    It struck me that the West wants to destroy these countries and if the ordinary people get massacred in the process, then that’s just too bad. It isn’t an accident or because we are stupid and make mistakes in our urge to help. The terrible, horrible, and criminal truth is far, far, worse. If we destroy these countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria; we push their development back decades. This weakens them profoundly. Makes them dependent on us, and stops them using their own resources on themselves, forcing them to sell to us and basically do as they are told, leaving much more for us. They remain poor and powerless and that’s how we like it. Destoy, devide and rule, keep the world order the way we want it to be. Sure there are setbacks, but our trajectory is clear, smash anybody who could possibly become a rival centre of power and a threat to our interests. Nothing to do with democracy and freedom at all. Makes one so proud to be a citizen in the Great Western Empire.

  50. In what I call the dynamics of consciousness, we appear to be connected by intention. It is that intention that must advance.

    Clark puts relevance on the power of intention by invoking the British vote on Syria. I respect that moment highly. It was a defining point in our time.

    Intent is clearly visible in Mary’s posts and is our only way forward to a better environment, a preferable, worthier world where equality and truth are obvious. That is not subjective thinkin, that is reality.

  51. Daniel

    Deal with the arguments and information presented without resorting to threats please.

  52. ESLO, do you support Western military intervention in Syria?

    Not in present terms and conditions – difficult to see what it could do to improve the situation. Humanitarian intervention is clearly needed.

    Uzbek in the UK

    Thanks for point out the true nature of the Putin regime to Orwellian UK. I am not denying that Western democracies interfere where they shouldn’t – the difference is that there is some accountability and they can sometimes be dissuaded from such actions – witness what happened on Syria.

  53. Uzbek in the UK

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:02 pm


    Can I remind you that it was in fact Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (in 1979) and Soviet occupation that invoked civil war (with western meddling) that also destroyed Afghan economy and turned the country into the major heroin producer in the world. When Soviets left, civil war continued as the export of heroin and radical Islam well outside of the Afghan borders. I realise that Europe is very far from Afghanistan but living in the country which shares border with it, trust me it was not that secure when Taliban was getting deeper and deeper to the north, ethnically cleansing non-Pashtun population.

  54. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:08 pm

    From John Goss:

    “Quite right Courtenay. Aaron Russo was Jewish. He confirms who was responsible for the attack on 9/11. What did a dying man have to gain by telling lies about the Rockefellers.”

    Wow, the Rockefellers, eh?

    Thanks John, that makes a most welcome change from the Rotschilds and/or the Bilderbergers.

    Good to see that your thinking is evolving.

  55. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:11 pm

    ESLO to OrwellianUK:

    “I disagree – but then I know something about the UK, Russia and the US having lived in all three. I suggest you read a little wider.”


    “equally as”?

    I recommend not only wider reading but also a refresher course in grammar.

  56. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:15 pm

    Clark quotes:

    ““August 28, 2013, 1:59 p.m. WASHINGTON – A final Western effort to win a United Nations blessing for military action against Syria appeared to collapse Wednesday, but the United States and its allies were still expected to launch a retaliatory attack in response to President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.””

    But they didn’t, did they.

  57. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:20 pm

    @ Writeon;

    “But we don’t live in Syria or North Korea, and most of us don’t want to I imagine, so we have precious little to say about those countries. What goes on inside those countries isn’t our primary responsibility and we cannot influence what happen, we can influence what Britain does and comment on it. Essentially it’s up to the people of Syria to sort out their own problems minus foreign intervention.”

    Do you feel that the thoughts expressed in this passage of yours also apply to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians?

    If so, you must be at odds with a fair number of the commenters on this blog.

  58. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    ESLO said;

    “It is almost like you would derive immense schadenfreude from a war going ahead.


    Just Freude, I think, rather than Shadenfreude, but I do agree that thought and indeed made the same point at the time.

    And while I’m blowing my own trumpet, I would immodestly remind everyone that Habbabkuk was the first to say, on this blog, “there will be no Western attack on Syria, nor is this the start-up of WW3″!

    There will be no war this time round either.

  59. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    @ Daniel


    I hope you have got a good lawyer.”

    Grow up, Daniel.

  60. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:36 pm

    @ Writeon:

    “If we destroy these countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria; we push their development back decades. This weakens them profoundly. Makes them dependent on us, and stops them using their own resources on themselves, forcing them to sell to us and basically do as they are told, leaving much more for us.”

    The above would appear to suggest that you believe that the evil West created (note that I say “created” and not “occasionally supported”) the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Colonel Ghadaffi and the family firm of Assad & Son in order to destroy the countries you mention.

    Is that your contention?

  61. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    And to (almost) round off this little pre-prandial burst, thank you to Uzbek in the UK, whose posts are always interesting and informative because he obviously knows what he’s talking about.

    No theorizer or wooly-minded conspiracy theorist, he.

  62. Habbabkuk, I think Writeon is saying we we went into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to steal their resources. And so we did. Ask Tony Buckingham.

  63. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    End of pre-prandial burst :

    Splendid news courtesy of the IMF, whose latest forecast had upped UK growth from 1,9% to 2,4%.

    I’m certain that all here who wish the UK well will share my pleasure at this news!

  64. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 5:46 pm

    @ Goss

    “Habbabkuk, I think Writeon is saying we we went into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to steal their resources. And so we did. Ask Tony Buckingham.”

    Well, I think I’ll wait for Writeon’s own response if he feels minded to give one, but thanks all the same.

    Who is “Tony Buckingham”?

    (Sound like the BLiar weekending with The Queen, but I suppose it can’t be..)

  65. Habbabkuk a forecast is a forecast, reality is reality. Growth of what? Cabbages? If it means the growth of GDP then that is fiction.

  66. No, there hasn’t been world war over Syria. But it took a veto in the UN Security Council to prevent escalation, and that’s the last pre-arranged diplomatic safeguard against world war. The “West” obviously want to attack Syria very much.

    Habbabkuk, 5:25 pm: “There will be no war this time round either”.

    There is already war in Syria. The “West” must stop fuelling that war via Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and Qatar.

  67. Tony Buckingham describes himself as a former mercenary (Executive Outcomes) who now owns Heritage Oil. He is a big subscriber to the Conservative Party and bogus charities, if my memory serves, like Atlantic Bridge. Oilfields in Libya and Iraq protected by Tim Spicer’s (former Executive Outcomes) private armies funded by the Yanks. That’s just a summary.

  68. Eslo,

    It won’t be me threatening you after I pass on your potentially libelous remarks to Galloway’s office. Hsve a nice day.

  69. Correction, Spicer was not Executive Outlines. He was Sandline. Apols.

  70. Tony Buckingham, Heritage Oil; previously supplied mercenaries:

  71. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    @ Goss re projected UK economic growth :

    “Habbabkuk a forecast is a forecast, reality is reality. Growth of what? Cabbages? If it means the growth of GDP then that is fiction.”

    Well, I think I’d rather take the IMF’s word (and that of the British Office for Budget Responsibility) for it than yours.

    Perhaps you’re thinking of the old Soviet Five Year Plan figures when you use the word “fiction”?

  72. Hababbkuk, you did not say growth of what?

  73. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    From Daniel


    It won’t be me threatening you after I pass on your potentially libelous remarks to Galloway’s office. Hsve a nice day.”

    As Frankie Howerd might have said : ooooooooooh!

    I’m sure ESLO’s quaking.

    Be careful that you yourself don’t become of interest to the State…

  74. Habbabkuk, if you meant GDP it is a fiction. Let Dady Chery explain what it is. In brief it is all the money exchanged in a year. It means nothing to ordinary people. Why should they join you in your celebrations?

  75. Breaking:

    The United States will deploy the HW Bush Carrier Strike Group into the Black Sea off the coast of Sochi, Russia, to respond to a potential terror attack during the upcoming Olympics, ‘top officials’ said on Monday.

    The USS George HW Bush has been practicing landings by the X-47B armed assault drone which can provide lethal missile attacks on suspected terrorists…

    The positioning of the ships would also enable the rapid evacuation of Americans in the event of an attack, CNN reported. The State Department would take the lead if evacuations became necessary.

    Don Borelli, a former member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, said the terrorist threat in Sochi, Russia, is unique because officials already know terrorists are planning an attack in Sochi sometime during the Olympics…

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 6:35 pm

    “Hababbkuk, you did not say growth of what?”

    This is very revelatory, isn’t it.

    Instead of welcoming the news of accelerating economic growth – probably marking the end of the economic downturn/crisis/whatever you want to call it – the best any of the Eminences can come up is to say “you didn’t say what sort of growth”.

    Had the IMF revised its forecast downwards,I’m sure that Mary would have been first off with the breaking news, followed rapidly by some other Eminences taking pleasure in castigating the Evil Tory-Fascist-Imperialist coalition govt for further grinding the faces of the population into the dust.

    So I say again : rejoice! Or, as Uncle Joe Stalin said (ca. 1932): life is getting better, life is getting merrier!

  77. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Jan, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    “Don Borelli, a former member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, said the terrorist threat in Sochi, Russia, is unique because officials already know terrorists are planning an attack in Sochi sometime during the Olympics…”

    In which case it is surely prudent and indeed praiseworthy of all the authorities concerned to do their utmost to forestall any such event?

  78. Nice to see that some continue to ignore facts when they get in the way of the required narrative …

    Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013

  79. Re the above link …. to avoid lots of maths and stuff, skip to page 36 for the summary.

  80. Growth of GDP, growth of gold reserves, growth of trade, growth of mushrooms, cannabis, people’s income, financial markets, what? The IMF is notoriously bad at predicting anything.

  81. I wonder if the last administration realised the problem it was creating, when it lied so shamelessly and extensively in its eagerness to join America in its Iraq adventure. All state apparatus – civil service, national propaganda outlets and the armed forces – colluded to deceive the public. As a result, there is no reason to trust them again, whatever the claim. Various supposedly thwarted massive terrorist plots have only served to increase cynicism.

    This is not just unfortunate, it’s positively dangerous – if a genuine threat actually did come along, claims about it would be met with a large degree of scepticism – for good reason.

    Frankly, I don’t know whether these latest claims are real or not. But it’s quite obvious there is an agenda to launch an offensive against yet another country which does not act as a client state, and the last few times we went through this process it was based entirely on lies. It’s also clear that these “experts” who pontificate about the horrors of the Syrian regime are nothing like as independent as we were supposed to believe. One would think the BBC would make great pains to ensure partiality, after their discreditable performance on any number of recent UK/US/Israeli offensives.

    If we’re to choose a side, and if people are going to be killed in our name – as British citizens – we should require a lot more convincing than the mere say-so of government spokespeople and their paid stooges. Particularly when the BBC acts as an unquestioning cheerleader for government’s position.

  82. Who are the terrorists that pose a threat to Olympic Games?

    Is it not a case of joining the dots?

    From we learn from a leaked diplomatic cable from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that states, “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” The other terrorists we know are Chetchen from further leaks of secret meetings between Putin and Prince Bandar, the Saudi intelligence head. America backs the Saudis, they back al-Qaida, the Taliban and the Chechen terrorists, through its relationship with the House of Saud.

    A testimony from former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, talking about “Operation Gladio B being an ongoing NATO funded operation in cooperation with the Pentagon to stir up Islamic radical terrorism specifically in the North Caucasus region and the surrounding area as a type of threat to Russia and China …,”

    More than 30 people were murdered by two consecutive suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, northeast of Sochi, which will host the Winter Games on February 7-23, 2014.


    On September 1, 2004, a group of Chechen terrorists took hostage and two days later murdered at least 335 schoolchildren and parents in Beslan, a town in the Russian republic of North Ossetia.

    The main Chechen rebel leader during the first Chetchen war, Dzhokhar Dudayev, had a somewhat secular nationalist outlook.

    Alexander Iskanderyan, director of the Center for Caucasian Studies in Moscow, has notably said, “..the Chechen independence movement had no Islamic dimension at all.”

    When the conflict began to attract media coverage, Islamic jihadis migrated to Chechnya. Nearly twenty years on from independence the majority of Chechens just want peace and autonomy. However many prominent Chechnya commanders such as Shamil Basayev have become radicalised into a so called Islamic support network influenced by the West who control such stooges as British national Baba Ahmad and ‘other’ SAS trained mercenaries.

    Chechnya is the new Afghanistan and a diplomatic and military quagmire.

  83. Well, where to start, that’s the question, and, after all, it’s Craig’s blog.

    If the West effectively destroys a country, smashing it to pieces by delibrately targetting its infrastructure and the state apparatus, which leads to the disintegration of the state, a state which is often held together by a strongman and his army; this result isn’t accidental if one repeats it over and over again. It’s policy a strategy. Perhaps we’d prefer not to destroy these countries, but that’s what we do if we have to, if they don’t obey orders, if we can get away with it, and as the countries we attack are always so weak it’s tempting to just wipe them off the map. Why do we do it? Well, it’s got precious little to do with democracy or freedom, because our leaders don’t give a damn about them. Sometimes it seems like we smash them simply because we can. Empires like our, like all empires abhor a vacuum, and seem to have an urge to move into them if they can. It’s the imperial imperative I suppose.

    We don’t like countries that develop too much, because they might become rivals and stop obeying orders some day. Also if they become too independent they start to use too much of their own resources, which leaves less for us, resources which we consider to be ours. Iraq is a classic example. Saddam was on our payrole for years. A CIA thug who was ruthless and useful to us. But even thugs can get above their station and dream about becoming kings themselves, and that was his big mistake. So he, and Iraq had to be punished and an example made. So we killed our boy and killed Iraq too. Smashed countries are weak and their resources remain in the ground until we need them, and most importantly we make sure the Chinese are kept out.

    This model applies to Libya as well. Over fifty thousand Chinese worked in Libya on various projects, now they are gone, Libya has been destroyed and set back decades, and all of Africa has been weakened as well because Libya was a tremendous source of capital for numerous infra-structure initiatives. So, from our point of view smashing Libya was a strategic masterstroke.

    This is simplifying, but the West, only really accepts two sorts of states; vassals or potential enemies, and the latter are usually those that act too independently or ask to be treated as equals. Vassal states, or protectorates within the sphere of our western empire, can pretty much do they please internally, there’s room for flexabilaty, as long as they know who’s boss and don’t step out of line, obey orders, pay homage and tribute to the imperial centre. The rest had better watch out!

    There are many advantages to destroying states, not least it justifies our vast and disproportionate military expenditure. The corporations that provide for military have their greedy snouts firmly in the treasury and lap up huge profits at the taxpayers expense and a massive transfer of wealth follows from the ordinary person through taxes into the pockets of the people who own the weapons producing corporations. For them war is an eternal Christmas day. So there is an economic incentive in going to war, colossal profits for the few paid for by the many.

    Finally, empires, and ours is no exception, have to expand. It’s part of the imperial imperative. There is no equalibrium with an empire. It is either expanding, or contracting. There is no other way. Now ours is getting ready to confront Russia and China. Makes on glad to live in interesting times.

  84. “Over fifty thousand Chinese worked in Libya on various projects, now they are gone ”

    Well most if not all foreign workers in Libya left when the trouble started and the return has been slow. China still holds large contracts in the country and Libya supplies 12% of China’s oil imports.

  85. Good answer Writeon. I have a children’s schoolbook, may be quite scarce, about Lord Roberts, which demonstrates the justice of empires. Whether you’re totally right with “Perhaps we’d prefer not to destroy these countries, but that’s what we do if we have to, if they don’t obey orders, if we can get away with it, and as the countries we attack are always so weak it’s tempting to just wipe them off the map.” I’m not sure. But we definitely subjugate the natives. Roberts, the only other military man to have a state funeral, relates how when natives (India in this case) tried to take back land stolen from them their punishment was to be fired from a cannon. Let that be a lesson to them. It is a lesson to me. History they taught in schools lauding ‘great’ men like Roberts and Rhodes was the wrong way to teach children the truth. We are and were thieves. That is the truth.

  86. Resident Dissident

    21 Jan, 2014 - 9:02 pm


    It won’t be me threatening you after I pass on your potentially libelous remarks to Galloway’s office. Hsve a nice day.”

    Quite comical really – I’d beware Eslo’s Dad is probably bigger than your Dad.

    Do you really think that when the Times, Telegraph and Guardian have reported and continue to report a link between Al Mayaden and Assad, and it being a matter of public record that Galloway has received money from Al Mayaden (and Eslo’s maths is correct that at least £50,000 is over a million shillings) that Eslo has anything to worry about.

    The courts would be full of people here if reporting what is said in newspapers and on the internet constituted a libel.

    PS if you are the same Daniel I beat up yesterday, I ‘d keep quite about your other views, I somehow think that the office of the cat impersonator would be none too impressed.

    PPS perhaps I should write to the Office of Tony Blair and tell him of all the nasty things Mary is saying about him – or even better I could write to the lovely Cherie she will now what to do.

    PPPS sorry Mary only joking!

  87. Don’t worry. They are copied in.

  88. Spot on Craig!

    Your views please on “Flight 103: it was the Uranium” (

  89. The Qatar/Carter Ruck report quotes one anonymous witness “Caesar” who was interviewed on 12, 13 and 18 January, in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, for a report issued on 20 January which purported to have some analysis of 55,000 images.
    Given the current PR fog around Syria it’s difficult to take it seriously without much more information.
    On Turkey I strongly disagree with Craig’s viewpoint. But the military has traditionally been the most trusted institution in the country – a poll some years ago put its support at 80%.
    There are a number of fault lines in Turkish society. The 12 million or so Kurds obviously. Less obviously somewhere up to 20 million Alevi – a Shia sect which has been historically oppressed by the Sunni majority and which has, for example, traditionally more western attitudes to the position of women in society and indeed to the demon drink. The division has been exacerbated by Erdogan – naming the 3rd Bosphorus bridge after a sultan renowned for slaughtering 40,000 Alevis and saying – after an act of terrorism in the Syrian border town of Reyhanli – that 50 of so “Sunni brothers” had perished. No surprise really that of the half dozen protesters who died during the Gezi park inspired demonstrations around the country all were Alevi.

  90. “Tony Blair”

    “He spoke for almost two hours on his success in bringing about a lasting peace settlement amongst the warring nations of the Middle East”

  91. Might provide some momentary amusement in these trying times…

    UKIP shipping forecast

  92. Thank-you Craig for your kind reply. I am of course referring to those ‘grass root’ activists who embrace Atatürk’s reforms and who have been savagely put down by Erdogan’s thugs.

    I was searching for a Skype recording I listened to from an enchanting Turkish women who lives in Istanbul near Taksim Gezi Park. It reveals the corrupt and dominant nature of the present Turkish regime and the anguish of a mother who’s son and daughters are involved in the freedom protest.

  93. Much as I want to ‘Someone’ I cannot bring myself to listen.

  94. Just popping in to say Hi to Mark and GlennUK. Oh, and john Goss. Have I left anyone out?

  95. Hi Ben – just for you :) Jimmy Page just as I remember him… crank it up!!

  96. Thanks for the memory, Mark. I actually saw them at University of Calif at Irvine in May of ’69. I say ‘saw’ but the local underground FM station oversold and had to accept piped music outside the amphitheater. Didn’t diminish the experience one iota.

  97. Uzbek in the uk,
    Why don’t you just leave your comments using the nickname simply Uzbek? Do you understand you are compromising the security of many uzbeks who live here in the uk and visit their relatives back in uzbekistan? You know that the uzbek security henchmen watch this blog, don’t you? I had two relatives questioned recently about comments by you, asking them if they were you. Why don’t you leave your moronic comments with full grammar mistakes using just the nickname of Uzbek? Do you have to specify that you are in the uk? Or is it for show off to prove your asylum claim with the Home Office? Козел ты, не больше, не меньше того. Урод ты чокнутый, страдают простые люди из-за твоих ебанутых комментов. Подлец.

  98. Uzbstan,

    Presumably you have the sense to realise that there is something very wrong with a government whose security services interrogate the family members of random people like you, just in case you are somebody who makes some very thoughtful political comments on a blog? The fact that you turn your anger on “Uzbek in the UK” rather than the Karimov regime, is a prime example of what stops the Uzbek people from becoming free – the snivelling cowardice of wretches like you.

  99. “Козел ты, не больше, не меньше того. Урод ты чокнутый, страдают простые люди из-за твоих ебанутых комментов. Подлец.”

    “You bastard, nothing more nor less than that. You crazy freak, they make simple people suffer because of your crazy comments. Scoundrel.”

    That’s a loose kind of translation.

    I do not share all of Uzbek in the UK’s comments. But your argument Uzbstan is unworthy. I would have thought the fact that he/she is living in the UK and puts it in his pseudonym would eliminate the interrogation of anyone still living in Uzbekistan. If it does not it is a clear indication that Craig Murray’s comment is correct and you should be directing your angst at Karimov and his nasty regime.

  100. Lyse Doucet – one of the state broadcaster’s finest – hyping up Montreux.

    She even gives a nod to the now discredited McChrystal on Afghanistan.

    She can be heard on a World Service trailer talking about stories and how they tell them themselves. How true.

  101. Is this foursome rehearsing for the Hokey Cokey?

    In case you have not heard of it.

  102. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella! 21 Jan, 2014 – 5:42 pm

    In another of his discursive comments Habbabkuk asks us to join him in celebrating an IMF prediction that UK economic growth is improving.

    “Splendid news courtesy of the IMF, whose latest forecast had upped UK growth from 1,9% to 2,4%.

    I’m certain that all here who wish the UK well will share my pleasure at this news!”

    I would be happy to join him in his celebrations if I knew what his understanding of economic growth is and how it would benefit the majority of us if it turned out to be true. He seems difficult to pin down on this and does not answer my requests for his understanding of economic growth. If it was the growth in social housing I would be celebrating with him. Likewise the growth in the number of doctors, nurses, teachers. I am eager to share his joy. I have asked him if this economic growth is GDP but he does not seem to know.

  103. If anyone is interested in a war criminal’s opinion on Syria, Ms Amanpour provides the opportunity here. She is a well known stooge for the warmongers.

    Lower down the page there is another video of him grinning like an idiot when asked about the attempted citizen’s arrest. A true psychopath.

    Blair not bothered by citizen’s arrest

  104. “Much as I want to ‘Someone’ I cannot bring myself to listen.”

    mark golding

    Read it!.

  105. “As Geneva talks open, US advances trumped-up torture charges against Syria”

  106. I heard Kerry’s speech Someone. The rhetoric, the hyperbole and the lies were unbearable to hear.

    The Torygraph view of the proceedings

    Syria peace talks: live
    As the long-awaited Geneva 2 peace conference opens in Switzerland, follow our coverage of developments as they happen

  107. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:43 am

    Meanwhile, Russia keeps its shit rolling in Ukraine. Kremlin is playing on multiple fronts nowadays.

  108. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:56 am

    Meanwhile, Uzbek regime of bloody old dog karimov is getting more and more paranoid. Uzbek government has not introduced criminal liability for concealing terrorism info or training of the terrorists. Considering imperfectness of uzbek law enforcement agencies and that “this law also provides for exempting from responsibility those who voluntarily report authorities about such a training; actively help to solve a criminal case, identify others who underwent such a training and those who organize and/or finance training; help identify training location and if their actions contain no other crimes” this can be translated as opening pandora’s box of Stalin’s type ‘donos’ tip-offs or ‘anonimka’ anonymous tip-off.

  109. More on the Ghouta false flag:

    I wonder what Saudi/Mossad have up their sleeves for when the cameras roll in Sochi?

    When the latest dazzling spectacle goes down, “we” can then condemn Islamic terrorism abroad — and steal more freedoms at home, for security reasons — while supporting the same in Syria. It’s nothing an expert in doublethink can’t handle, and there’re plenty of those around.

  110. They have been arguing about how long each one speaks. Schoolyard.

  111. Uzbek in the UK

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Small correction. My last comment should read as “Uzbek government has now introduced criminal liability…”

  112. Thanks for your comment and link Mike. Christof Lehmann is a good researcher and journalist. I have read many of his articles and this one is no exception. To know that the US and Saudis were behind the chemical attack is one thing that most of us surmised. Proving it was another thing and Christof Lehmann has done a very good job.

  113. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Growth of what?
    1. House prices.
    2. Food prices.
    3. Rentals
    4. Food banks
    5. The differential between deposit and loan interest rates.
    6. Useless management.
    7. Ditto ditto’s salaries.
    8. Utility prices – and profits


  114. Also this from the great Robert Risk, John. Please note the headline and sub-heading. They don’t quite match what the man is saying!

  115. Ha. Freud etc… “Fisk”, not “Risk” of course.

  116. David Macilwain

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Very welcome perspective Craig, and specially views on the ‘killing on an industrial scale’ – which incidentally was aired breathlessly on the Australian BC yesterday morning, with Crane interviewed.
    I’m afraid though that I can’t agree on ‘the regime’s brutality’ for two reasons. First it isn’t nor ever was ‘killing its own people’ – for peaceful protests’. It is simply doing what states and armies do, and the people expect them to do, in fighting a foreign backed and engineered insurgency. It is inevitable that prisoners will be taken, and may not be treated well in this context – remember at least 27,000 Syrian soldiers have been killed by armed groups. Second is that regardless of what happened initially, the Syrian arab army now has the overwhelming support of Syrians, and so does their president. If you read the rest of the AFP interview posted above by Mary, you will understand quite a lot about what is now going on, as well as getting a feeling for the general sense and sanity of Assad.
    As far as the ‘report’ goes, I note not only the date of the last interview with ‘Caesar’ – the 18th of January, but also that in fact only 150 ‘cases’ were studied for the statistics provided, with the other 11,000 odd supposedly on a disc or computer somewhere. Also we only see a dozen photos, none of whom are identified in person, time or location. Babies in Incubators….
    I agree also that Iran should have gone to the talks – should have insisted that it attend, and Russia should have demanded that it be allowed to. We’ve had enough of this corrupt little club of ‘Friends of Syria’ setting the agenda it wants.

  117. The reason that Erdogan keeps winning elections is that the evil, gay, Zionist Attaturk, whose blown-up, stale image beams down on infants in Turkish schools, tried to extinguish Islam in Turkey and Erdogan has put it back again.

    The Taksim riots were about corruption in the construction industry. The large cost of construction attracts the banking/political classes who fail to realise that the money is for building materials and skilled labour, not just going spare for them to embezzle. We ought to be having them here.

    If Alawi protestors were hurt or killed in the protests, I would suggest that’s because they were venting their anger about Turkey’s attitude to Syria under the umbrella of anti-corruption protests. The Alawis are not any part of Islam – even Shi’a.

    The Turks love Islam, and its society now glows with Islamic faith in spite of the worst endeavours of Anglo-Saxon subterfuge and destruction of the Ottoman Empire. The UK policy towards the Middle East is to repeat the first and second world wars destructivity on others while they themselves sit back in their armchairs.

    Nice work if you can get it, WHague squeezing out crocodile tears about Syria.

  118. Thanks ‘Someone’ – I just needed the jolt.

  119. Mike yes Fisk always has something pertinent to say. Not surprised by the headline. Its independence is not what it was under Andreas Whittam Smith.

    Fisk’s comment about Al Jazeera not knowing what the Qataris were feeding London reminded me that Lord Justice Nicholas Phillips, who presided over the unsuccessful extradition appeal of Julian Assange and retired straight afterwards, is now an extortionately highly-paid legal adviser to Qatar. Wheels within wheels. Rewards for services rendered.

    Justice for immigrant slaves, over which the Nepalese ambassador was recalled during Phillips’ watch for calling Qatar an ‘open jail’, is hardly likely to be on his agenda. His agenda is more likely to be how best to promote the 2022 World Cup and make a notoriously wicked regime appear palatable to western audiences. Hence the Qatari-backed torture evidence presented in London was not shared with the NGOs Amnesty and HRW. Why. Because Qatar and human rights are antonyms.

  120. Indeed, John. I wonder how many construction workers will die to make the stadia for 2022.

  121. Uzbek in the UK,

    I just wish to offer you a few kindly words of support, to try to counter the abuse directed at you earlier. I much appreciate your comments on this blog.


    I wish to offer you my sympathy for having to live under the tyranny in Uzbekistan. Psychologically, anger is one of the common responses to threat, and it is only natural that when threatened by the overwhelming power of the Uzbek state, you turn your resulting anger away from the true aggressors and towards someone who cannot hurt you.

    I wish you strength and courage.

  122. “Mike yes Fisk always has something pertinent to say”

    It is interesting to note that Fisk sees the intention of the Qatar report as being somewhat different to that propounded by Craig in his response to me of yesterday.

  123. Uzbek in the UK

    I’d like to second Clark’s support.

    I am not sure that UzbStan is who he says he is – if he really is scared of the Uzbek authorities why include the reference to your own relatives. The abuse in Russian and the reference to the Home office application also arouse my suspicion. Sounds more reminiscent of what the KGB ( and I am sure its Uzbek subsidiary) consider to be a “subtle” hint – or what normal people call a threat.

    As for my own little threat, many thanks RD for your support. Daniel will be pleased to know that I had a good nights sleep last night and I hope his Mummy read him a nice bedtime story.

  124. @Mary

    “If anyone is interested in a war criminal’s opinion on Syria, Ms Amanpour provides the opportunity here. She is a well known stooge for the warmongers.”

    I appreciate that you may not like Ms Amanpour’s work or opinions – but last time I looked journalistic activity however distorted did not constitute a war crime. I shall not be sending a letter to her office.

  125. Craig, I feel real sympathy for UzbStan. I note that UzbStan is in the UK, and is threatened via threats against relatives rather than directly. Personal courage is one thing, but coping with indirect threat delivered via threats against loved ones must be far more difficult to cope with.

    For a society to rise up against state organised oppression, personal courage, even if widespread among members of the population, is insufficient. People have to take the terrible decision that they will continue their opposition even though their loved ones are made to suffer for it. I hope that I never have to face such a thing; I would rather die.

  126. How about this?

    ‘Mr al Muallem demanded Mr Obama stand down as president and called on the government to commit to a transition of power – an issue expected to be central to the success of the talks.

    However, Mr Kerry has rejected any discussion of Mr Obama quitting his post.’

    Not really! :) It goes like this.

    ‘In his opening exchange, opposition leader Ahmed Jarba accused the Syrian president of war crimes comparable to those committed by the Nazis during World War Two. He demanded Mr Assad stand down as president and called on the government to commit to a transition of power – an issue expected to be central to the success of the talks.
    However, Mr al Muallem has rejected any discussion of Mr Assad quitting his post.’

    How dare they. Pure chutzpah.

  127. @Guano

    “The Alawis are not any part of Islam – even Shi’a.”

    With this sort of sectarianism, I don’t think too much Anglo Saxon subterfuge is required. Don’t you think that the Caliphate might have fallen apart even without help from the UK – given that not a few diversive strains existed already. As for the pipedream of putting all back together …………. perhaps you should look at the impact on political geography of sectarianism in a slightly older religion.

  128. ESLO, I agree with you that it is possible that UzbStan is as you suspect. I do not know, and therefore wrote what I did taking the comment at face value.

    I suppose we should also remember that people part of but lower down in a structure of oppression may also be short of morally acceptable choices.

  129. Mary

    Obama will be stepping down as President in 2016 – its what happens in democracies rather than absolute monarchies. How long has the Assad dynasty been in power?

  130. Perhaps others should consider whether the activities of Jobbik constitute anti-Semitism or unacceptable behaviour

    As a rule I tend to be a little suspicious of party leaders who turn up in Parliament in a “blackshirt” uniform. Mary is obviously more relaxed on such matters.

  131. Apologies – should have been posted on the previous thread.

  132. ESLO, so what is the value of US/UK support for the absolute monarchies of the Middle East to bring down Assad’s government?

  133. John Goss
    I once had the pleasure of doing jury service in Yeovil where Lord Justice Nicholas Phillips presided in an earlier stage of his career. Okay the cases involved the police chasing a drunk man who propelled his motor car through the fences of five back gardens and into a parked vehicle, and a little bit of something that nearly rhymes with shrubbery by a local farmer.

    He definitely seemed to me to be the sort of man I wouldn’t mind owning up for: worldly-wise, completely non-judgemental and quietly spoken, without a hint of malice.

    Can we bring him back from retirement for Assad please? ” Mr Assad, Sir, I have you down for serial Category 5 statutory war crimes. I have advised the jury that the only question they need to answer is whether you in fact were President of Syria at the tine of the events recorded here. They have decided you were, which means you are guilty of offences aforementioned. Sentencing will be done sometime in the near future, session adjourned.”

    Worth their weight in gold. OohArgh!

  134. ESLO,

    so what is the value of US/UK support for the absolute monarchies of the Middle East to bring down Assad’s government?

    It would seem to be a case of replacing bad with worse. But then the West has done that so many times. Every time there’s a new call for “intervention”, people like you ask people like myself to forget this long history and just respond to “but Hussein / Assad / Current Enemy is a brutal dictator”.

    Are you sure this isn’t just the dregs of racism left in yourself? Just a hubristic belief that “our” decisions about “them” will always be superior to the decision that “they” make for themselves?

    You keep trying to change my mind. Offer me something convincing, and I’ll change it myself.

  135. “Obama will be stepping down as President in 2016 – its what happens in democracies rather than absolute monarchies. How long has the Assad dynasty been in power?”

    Another Bush? Or a Clinton maybe?

  136. The other day one of the trolls stated that families should not take power and rule undemocratically, referring to Assad.

    I thought of Her Maj and her German connections, her second son who has just been in Bahrain again selling arms, her third son beating Labrador dogs when out shooting at Sandringham (one of the family’s leisure pursuits ie killing God’s creatures for sport) and her eldest grandson William and wife setting up companies to protect their ‘brand’ in the style of the Beckhams. The younger grandson Harry has been provided with a sinecure based in the Horse Guards.

    Meanwhile the eldest son and croc wife are being wheeled in and prepared to effect the takeover when the time comes.

    1.God save our gracious Queen,
    Live long our noble Queen,
    God save the Queen!
    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to reign over us,
    God save the Queen.

    2.Thy choicest gifts in store
    On her be pleased to pour,
    Long may she reign;
    May she defend our laws,
    And ever give us cause
    To sing with heart and voice,
    God save the Queen!

    3.God bless our native land,
    May heaven’s protective hand
    Still guard our shore;
    May peace her power extend,
    Foe be transformed to friend,
    And Britain’s power depend
    On war no more.

    4.May just and righteous laws
    Uphold the public cause,
    And bless our isle.
    Home of the brave and free,
    Fair land and liberty,
    We pray that still on thee
    Kind heaven may smile.

    5.And not this land alone-
    But be thy mercies known
    From shore to shore.
    Lord, make the nations see
    That men should brothers be,
    And from one family
    The wide world o’er.

    There’s a whole lot of ‘reigning’ going on there. I cannot remember any elections or referenda on the establishment of the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas and latterly the Mountbatten Windsors (named after the castle LOL) as our rulers.

  137. Clark

    I suspect the net value goes in the opposite direction from that which you suggest i.e. the West receives net economic support in return for not upsetting the Saudis etc. That said I was always told that two wrongs do not make a right – so justifying the continuation of the Assad regime by reference to the abuses of the Gulf monarchies really has no intellectual or moral foundation.

    To equate the level of political freedom, human rights and democracy in Syria with that in the USA is otiose in the extreme.

    Mary you clearly do not understand the difference between a constitutional monarchy and an absolute one.

  138. Good article. As another remarked above, how bad is this regime, f.ex compared to the West’s destruction of Iraq and Libya?
    In Syria all peoples/faiths have found refuge.

    And Iran should have accepted Geneve 1 and then offered their own interpretation? As far as I remember this is precisely what the UN ‘chief’ criticised them for: making their own interpretation of G1 -?

  139. BrianFujisan

    22 Jan, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Some more on u.s. trumped-up Torture charges against Syria…

    And once again, a disingenuous West along with a complicit UN is going into a so-called “peace conference” with unverified allegations designed to manipulate public perception on the most visceral levels, circumventing facts, logic, and reason, to bolster their position in a conflict they themselves engineered and are still purposefully perpetrating with the hopes of achieving long-desired “regime change.”

    The ongoing conflict in Syria was engineered by the West and its regional allies as far back as 2007, revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his article, ”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” which prophetically stated (emphasis added):

    “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

    It is now admitted that Al Qaeda comprises almost entirely all of the militants fighting the Syrian government, many of whom are foreigners crossing into Syrian territory with NATO’s aid.

  140. “one of the [Royal] family’s leisure pursuits ie killing God’s creatures for sport”

    Mary, the Sandringham Estate to which you refer contains exceptional biodiversity and is home to many of Britain’s rarest bird species due to traditional land management practices. The game birds that are shot all end up on the table and enjoy a far better quality of life than your average supermarket chicken.

    I suspect your anger at the treatment of the game birds and Edward’s labrador (no evidence that it was actually beaten) is driven more by hatred of the Royals than any genuine concern for the animals.

    Please, in future, refrain from sounding off about matters of which you know so little.

  141. ESLO, I am not “justifying the continuation of the Assad regime” – please do not misrepresent my position so. But it is up to the people of Syria to change matters, and certainly not a bunch of fundamentalist armed thugs from UK ally and absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia.

    Grief, you’d change your tune if it was happening here!

    Alliances are always two-way. If they’re one-way, we don’t call them alliances, we call them client states, or occupied territory.

    So are you basically saying that the UK prime Minister and the US President wanted to send the Western military into Syria as a favour to Saudi Arabia? Sounds a bit “tail wags dog” to me.

  142. Excellent article, up to date and at a time when the western media’s rethoric, at the beginning of the peace negotiations, running concurrent with Davos’s arms dealers conference, is using negative connotations and words to talk up failure of decision making.

    Mr. Kerry seems to think that the US administartion and senate has got more to say on the make up of a future Syrian Government than the Syrian’s themselve, a recipe for disaster.

    Are they telling William Hague when and were to squeak? off course they do and he jumps to it. How come Israeli backers like him are able to speak at the negotiation table, whilst backers of Syria, such as Iran are frozen out.

    The murderous mercenaries have got more to say in these negotiations than the Syrian opposition fighting them on a daily basis? We must not forget that even the SFA is now aghast at the relentless material support to the Quatari and Saudi paid rebels, have been sidelined by western machinations.

    The refugee situation is untenable, but will all these Syrians have a vote on whatever the armsdealers/warmongers in Geneva and their mercenaries decide?

    NO, but they wi8ll feel the violence that is to be metted out. I have no allegiance to Assad, but the is the bastard in charge, just as DSheik Mohammed is in charge of his Quatari bastards, I dare not speak of the house of saud who has lost credibility a long time ago, i.e. Yamanami.

    The arms trade is in another boomtime, I see, i.e. many more unemployed had their applications refused and our canadian CEO BoE Mark Carveitalluppery is shivering with intent to raise the interest rates. Hooray another bubble helped to develop.
    ‘What a good man’ say the bankers, now watch the banks get nasty on borrowers.

  143. For anyone thinking about buying a house, about 10mins in

    “Now you know why Homeland Security purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, enough ammunition to fight the Iraq war for 12 years, has its own para-military force and 2,700 tanks. If you think the “terrorist threat” in America warrants a domestic armed force of this size, you are out of your mind. This force has been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America.”

  144. Anyone who quotes Global Research contributor and 9/11 Troofer Paul Craig Roberts approvingly needs their head examined. He and Global Research have been peddling this nonsense about “Fema camps” and tanks being used to obliterste the poor for decades.

  145. ESLO, please read this article:

    I can’t say if is a reliable source, but the article draws from articles in the UK Telegraph, New York Times, L A Times, New Yorker, etc.

    Nearly ten thousand foreign fighters in Syria, most of them Islamists, arriving through NATO country Turkey.

    ESLO, the more I look beneath the veneer supplied by our pro-war media, the more evidence I find to convince me that this is our war, the West’s war that is being inflicted upon Syria.

    You may not be convinced, but please at least answer this; if you were convinced of this argument, would you condemn such Western interference?

  146. Anon, Paul Craig Roberts or not, that ammunition and those tanks have been bought. Copies of the orders and invoices for the ammo have been published, and the tanks are simply visible.

  147. “ESLO, I am not “justifying the continuation of the Assad regime” – please do not misrepresent my position so”

    Please don’t misrepresent that I am misrepresent your position

    “But it is up to the people of Syria to change matters, and certainly not a bunch of fundamentalist armed thugs from UK ally and absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia.”

    Basically I agree – but what about the Russian weapons that do most of the killing for the regime or the support they receive from Iran and Hezbollah militia – or is that acceptable foreign involvement in Syrian affairs in your book.

  148. Yes but it has not “been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America”, Clark.

  149. Back on topic, I recently watched a short film about “barrel bombs”, the improvised explosives used by the Assad regime to terrorize civilian populations. Crudely put together by filling an oil drum or water tank with TNT, oil and shrapnel, these bombs are rolled out the back of helicopters on towns and villages where they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction.

    I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this. Please note, “Oh but Israel does this and whatabout Saudi doing that” are not acceptable answers.

  150. Clark

    I have never denied that Islamist militants are involved in Syria – or that I would prefer they were not. Perhaps if the Russians/Iran/Hezbollah could be pressured to remove support from Assad then the quid pro quo would be that pressure would be applied on those who are backing the Islamists?

  151. “I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this. Please note, “Oh but Israel does this and whatabout Saudi doing that” are not acceptable answers.”

    What about Britain? Haven’t we dropped a few bombs on people out of aeroplanes in our time? Come to think of it, didn’t we invent it?

  152. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 7:25 pm

    @ Fred

    Had ESLO thought for a minute that you would be that stupid, he would probably have added “Oh but what about Britain..etc” to his little list of unacceptable answers.

    You really are shameless. If you don’t feel like answering his legitimate question, why don’t you just keep your trap shut?

  153. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 7:30 pm

    More good news for everyone, including John Goss, to add to the good news of UK economic growth : UK unemployment rate down to 7,1% (and the biggest single drop in the rate since 1997)!

    Still too high, but all who wish the UK well will rejoice with me at this good news!


    Life is getting better, life is getting merrier! (J.Stalin, ca. 1932)

  154. Good news indeed, Habbabkuk, and I am noticing much more confidence in the economy in my line of work. Needless to say, most of the Murrayistas will be utterly miserable at the thought, preferring and perhaps secretly hoping for a collapse.

  155. “I wonder if some of the Assad supporters on here could provide justification for this.” — anon

    I wonder if you could provide some evidence of these “barrel bombs”?
    And the fact that it’s Assad’s forces that are using them?

  156. Totally predictable responses from the twisting Eslo 3.28 and Anon 5.25. They would say that wouldn’t they and both sound like mouthpieces from the newly combined press offices of Her Maj and P Charles. I know that I am living in a rotten power system when there has never been so much evil here and abroad. Wonder how the increasingly large P Andrew got on in his arms sales trip to Bahrain? He is living on the fat of the land.

    I do not hate the royal mob. I despise them as scroungers and parasites on the people.

    btw I am reliably informed that ESLO was once one of the many “Anons” here, then “I am the lizard Habbabkuk” and then “For the return of Habba and Free Speech”. Perhaps ESLO could verify that this is correct.

  157. In reply to the Tory propagandist above on the unemployment figures. Many of those jobs will be part time on the minimum wage and with zero hours contracts. Note the non response of Agent Cameron today at PMQs. All he can do is to recite the same propaganda.

    Edward Miliband:
    I want to move on to another subject. Today’s welcome fall in unemployment is good for the people concerned—[Interruption.] We welcome the fall in unemployment because whenever an individual gets back into work it is good for them and good for their family. [Interruption.] I have to say to hon. Members that just braying like that does not do anybody any good. Can the Prime Minister confirm that today’s figures also show that average wages are down by £1,600 a year since the election, meaning that for many ordinary families life is getting harder?

    The Prime Minister:
    It is worth pausing for a moment over what these statistics show today. They show youth unemployment coming down, long-term unemployment coming down, the claimant count coming down, and unemployment overall coming down—but above all, what we see today is the biggest ever quarterly increase in the number of people in work in our country. There should not be one ounce of complacency—there is still a huge amount of work to do to get Britain back to work—but there are 280,000 more people in work: that is 280,000 more people with the security of a regular pay packet coming in for themselves and their family. Now of course we are seeing a slow growth in wages—why? Because we are recovering from the longest and deepest recession in living memory. Because the Leader of the Opposition keeps quoting the figure without the tax cuts that we have put in place, he is not recognising that actually this year people are better off because we have controlled spending and cut taxes.

    Edward Miliband:
    All the Prime Minister has done is show that he is absolutely complacent about the situation, because he is trying to tell millions of families around this country that they are better off when they know they are worse off, and it does not help for him to tell them the opposite. Let me take this figure: in Britain today, there are 13 million people living in poverty—that is a shocking figure. What is scandalous is that for the first time ever the majority of those people are living not in jobless families but in working families. What is his explanation for that?

    The Prime Minister:
    The explanation is what the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said, which is that wages have increased much less quickly than inflation. As I say, that is not surprising. We have had the biggest recession in 100 years. It would be astonishing if household incomes had not fallen and earnings had not fallen. The fact is that we are recovering from the mess that Labour left us. Every week the Leader of the Opposition comes here and raises a new problem that he created. We had the betting problem, then we had the banking problem, then we had the deficit problem, and now we have the cost of living problem. He is like an arsonist who goes round setting fire after fire and then complains when the fire brigade are not putting out the fires fast enough. Why does he not start with an apology for the mess that he left us?

    Edward Miliband:
    The Prime Minister comes here every week and does his Bullingdon club routine, and all he shows is that he has absolutely no understanding of the lives of people up and down this country. That is the reality: ordinary families are working harder for longer for less; he is cutting taxes for millionaires and not helping those families; and the minimum wage is falling in value. He cannot be the solution to the cost of living crisis, because he just does not understand the problem.


    Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore) (Lab):
    A report on the food aid crisis in the UK was commissioned by the Government last February, was given to Ministers early last summer, and yet is still being suppressed. What is the Prime Minister afraid of, and why does he not now publish and be damned?

    The Prime Minister:
    What the Government are publishing today is the fact that hundreds of thousands more people are getting into work and able to provide for their families and get the peace of mind and security that people in this country want. That is what we are publishing today, and that is real progress for our nation.


    Stephen Timms:
    The Trussell Trust co-ordinates the fast-growing network, now numbering some 400, of church-based food banks, which between them provided food for half a million people, just between April and December last year. Will the Prime Minister be willing to meet representatives of the Trussell Trust to discuss the big challenges with which they are grappling?

    The Prime Minister:
    I would be happy to meet them. We have listened carefully to the Trussell Trust. One thing that it wanted to see done by this Government and the previous Government was to allow food banks to be promoted in jobcentres. We have allowed that to happen. That has increased the use of food banks, but it is important to do the right thing rather than something that might just seem politically convenient.


    No further words are necessary.

  158. As for all peoples self determination to democracy should be the realisation for their struggle.
    I think the market forces seeking control thus are simply a conglomeration of the greater force that in it’s entirety presumes the whole anyway.

    Let’s hope that normality can at some point continue to function for the poor sods involved.

  159. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 9:40 pm

    “Good news indeed, Habbabkuk, and I am noticing much more confidence in the economy in my line of work. Needless to say, most of the Murrayistas will be utterly miserable at the thought, preferring and perhaps secretly hoping for a collapse.”

    Good to hear that there is more confidence in your line of work, Anon.

    Of course, I could also have mentioned a number of other encouraging statistics, such as the increase in business confidence and investment across the board (ie, in all sectors of the economy) and the govt’s intention to raise the minimum wage above the rate of inflation (this is truly excellent news), but I didn’t want to make the Denigrators even more miserable than they already seem to be at the two bits of good news I brought yesterday and today….

  160. I was looking up Lord Norton of Louth earlier on a separate matter and discovered that he is on the advisory board of the Margaret Thatcher School of Government!!! based at the private university, The University of Buckingham. Note Bercow

    The University website
    Wikipedia here.

    This is all that comes up in a search for ‘Margaret Thatcher School of Government’.
    Note the Rothschild donation.

  161. “Unpaid workers on Jobcentre schemes are conveniently disappeared from the official tally of the unemployed.”

  162. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    @ Mary

    “In reply to the Tory propagandist above on the unemployment figures. Many of those jobs will be part time on the minimum wage and with zero hours contracts.”

    I am not a Tory – and that’s official. Would you now confirm, in return, that you are not, and have never been, a supporter of the Socialist Workers Party and Militant?

    But to the more important point. Certainly full-time jobs are better than part-time ones (except for the many people – mostly women, I suppose – who actually prefer to work part-time for a variety of reasons), the minimum wage is not necessarily a living wage (this is where various state benefits come in useful) and zero-hours contracts would probably not be many people’s first choice, but…..are such jobs nevertheless better than no jobs? Is it better – whilst awaiting better days – for some people to have jobs like those or would it be better for them to remain on the dole queue?

    I naturally don’t expect an answer from you because, apart from being deficient in debating skills, your conceit is that Habbabkuk can be wished away by not responding to him/her/it, but one of your fellow Denigrators might care to respond.

  163. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 10:05 pm

    “…based at the private university, The University of Buckingham.”

    I’ve heard of that university. Is it not the university which makes students work harder than students at public universities by having longer terms and shorter holidays, thus enabling them to graduate (or not) in 2 rather than 3 years? I believe that the cost differential between it and state universities has also narrowed considerably as a result of the increase in tuition fees to £9.000 at public universities.

    Important disclaimer – I did not attend the University of Buckingham and have no connection of any sort with that establishment. Nor am I a donor and am not related in any way to the late Baroness Thatcher or the Royal Family. Finally, my surname is not Rothschild. Hope I haven’t forgotten anything!

  164. Good to see you back, Craig. And on the money as ever.

    Also writeon at 21 Jan, 2014 – 8:15 pm – very true and well put.

  165. Resident Dissident

    Just to let you know I have replied to your posting of 20 Jan, 2014 – 10:46 pm on The War Criminals on TV thread.

    You may want to react to my views (No pressure though).

  166. “Had ESLO thought for a minute that you would be that stupid”

    Who you calling stupid shit for brains?

    I don’t think the country that invented the heavy bomber to bomb Kurd villages in Iraq as any place criticising people for dropping bombs out of helicopters.

    That’s a valid point if you weren’t too pig ignorant to see it.

    Now be a good boy and go fuck yourself.

  167. Fred I have always remembered the name of this brave officer who opposed the British bombing of the Iraqi people in 1923.

  168. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Jan, 2014 - 11:35 pm


    Feeling better now? Got relief? Did the earth move for you? :)

  169. Good to see you back Habbabkuk. Been out celebrating the IMF predictions. So what do you understand by economic growth? I want to celebrate with you?

    Mary, very astute observations about the royals.

  170. Part of –

    Minister al-Moallem said at the opening session of the conference:

    ……..”Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Syrian people, like other people of the region, aspire to more freedom, justice and human rights; they aspire to more plurality and democracy, to a better Syria, a safe, prosperous and healthy Syria. They aspire to building strong institutions not destroying them, to safeguarding our national artifacts and heritage sites not looting and demolishing them. They aspire to a strong national army, which protects our honour, our people and our national wealth, an army that defends Syria’s borders, her sovereignty and independence. They do not, Ladies and Gentlemen, aspire to a mercenary army ‘Free’ to kidnap civilians for ransom or to use them as human shields, ‘Free’ to steal humanitarian aid, extort the poor and illegally trade in the organs of living women and children, ‘Free’ to canibalise human hearts and livers, barbequing heads, recruiting child soldiers and raping women. All of this is done with the might of arms; arms provided by countries, represented here, who claim to be championing “moderate groups”. Tell us, for God’s sake, where is the moderation in everything I have described?

    Where are these vague moderate groups that you are hiding behind? Are they the same old groups that continue to be supported militarily and publicly by the West, that have undergone an even uglier face-lift in the hope of convincing us that they are fighting terrorism? We all know that no matter how hard their propaganda machine tries to polish their image under the name of moderation, their extremism and terrorism is one and the same. They know, as we all do, that under the pretext of supporting these groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates are being armed in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.

    This is the reality, Ladies and Gentlemen, so wake up to the undeniable reality that the West is supporting some Arab countries to supply lethal weapons to al-Qaeda. The West publically claims to be fighting terrorism, whilst in fact it is covertly nourishing it. Anyone who cannot see this truth is either ignorantly blind or willfully so in order to finish what they have begun”.

  171. Re my Post above of a section of Walid al-Moallem’s Opening Speech at Geneva2 conference…. i forgot the Link –

  172. ‘Back on topic, I recently watched a short film about “barrel bombs”, the improvised explosives used by the Assad regime to terrorize civilian populations. Crudely put together by filling an oil drum or water tank with TNT, oil and shrapnel, these bombs are rolled out the back of helicopters on towns and villages where they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction,’

    Yes Anon… sounds like a low tech version of ‘shock and awe’.

    If you get Assad to the ICC (which of course the US doesn’t recognise) perhaps you’d like to add breach of copyright to his charge sheet ?

  173. This is partially off topic (in that it’s about BBC bias in Scotland, not Syria), but Craig has spoken about this before, and I reckon it’s of interest to you guys here.

    John Robertson, of West of Scotland University recently published a report on bias in terrestrial Scottish Television relating to the Scottish Independence debate, by quantitatively measuring mentions of the subject on early evening news repots. It seems that anti-Independence statements tend to get about three times as much of a hearing as pro-Independence ones – for every broadcastable report of a pro-Independence view, or presentation in a pro-Independence manner, there are three reports doing the same for the anti-Independence campaign. Furthermore, despite a deafening silence from the broadcast media on the subject of this particular report, the BBC has allegedly contacted the academic concerned, and demanded his raw data, presumably so that they can prepare their hatchet job before they let anyone hear about the original report.

    The report itself is here.

    Derek Bateman’s blog commenting on the brouhaha is here.


  174. The “University of West Scotland”?

    [Once an employee of a Scottish University]

  175. “If you get Assad to the ICC (which of course the US doesn’t recognise) perhaps you’d like to add breach of copyright to his charge sheet ?”

    Russia refuses to support sending Assad to the ICC; but of course nobody wants to hear that. Nor the fact that they and the Chinese have vetoed three resolutions designed to put pressure on Assad.

    Now of course had it been the US using it’s veto….

  176. Before anyone posts a link of course I know it exists. That wasn’t the point.

  177. Kempe,

    Who is the veto king over the last 30 years say?


    Note the absence of US military bases in Syria. And Iran.

    Easy rule: in the Middle East, if a country has US bases, we hear little criticism of it. If it hasn’t, we’re repeatedly told how bad it is.

    Just a coincidence, shurely.

  179. BrianFujisan

    23 Jan, 2014 - 3:38 am


    low tech version of ‘shock and awe’.

    Low tech version of shock and awe…

    was not there a second shock n awe… Libya

    and a third averted thus far… Syria….

    if you have some Links for info…we could all look into it

  180. Thanks Brian. Omitted is the vile rhetoric and lies from Kerry. Can you possibly find a transcript?

    Then the little USUKIsNATO stooge, Mr Ban, tried to shut Mr al-Moallem up.

  181. Aim Here. What you say is completely credible and unsurprising. Terrestrial news channels and Sky News are megaphones for those in power.

  182. Snowden to hold Q & A

    Live Q&A with Edward Snowden: Thursday 23rd January, 8pm GMT, 3pm EST

    Edward Snowden will be answering questions submitted by the public on his official support site,, this Thursday 23 January at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. The support site is run by The Courage Foundation and is the only endorsed Snowden Defence Fund.

    This is the first Snowden live chat since June 2013 and will last for an hour starting at 8pm GMT, 3pm EST. Questions can be submitted on twitter on the day of the event using the #AskSnowden hashtag. Edward Snowden’s responses will appear at

    The live chat comes exactly a week after US President Barack Obama gave an address in response to the public concerns raised by Edward Snowden’s revelations about US surveillance practices. In the live chat, Edward Snowden is expected to give his first reaction to the President’s speech.

    Courage (formerly the Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund) is a trust, audited by accountants Derek Rothera & Company in the UK, for the purpose of providing legal defence and campaign aid to journalistic sources. It is overseen by an unremunerated committee of trustees. Edward Snowden is its first recipient. was commissioned by the trustees of Courage to provide information on the threats Edward Snowden faces and what can be done to support him, and details all revelations made to date in a convenient central archive.

    Hat tip to Margo Medialens

  183. Pepe Escobar

    Syria and the Geneva 2 charade

    ‘This past Sunday, it seemed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to spring out of his trademark vegetable slumber, inviting Iran to Geneva 2. The invitation lasted less than 24 hours; after the requisite ‘pressure’ by Washington – instigated by those sterling democrats of the House of Saud – it was duly rescinded.

    Thus we had Ban Ki-moon parroting the US State Department, according to which Tehran had not agreed to the principles of the Geneva 1 communiqué, which called for a sustained cessation of armed violence. Iranian diplomats strongly begged to differ, stressing how Tehran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the previous, June 2012 conference, even if Iran was not part of it.

    Ban Ki-moon also invited the Holy See, as well as Australia, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, among others, to Montreux; as if these actors had any clue about what’s going on in Syria.

    But the apex of the farce is that Iran cannot go, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar – who continue to weaponize every Syrian ‘rebel’ in sight, from young adrenaline seekers to Western-supported Takfiris and beheaders – can. And will.’

    He ends
    ‘Still, Geneva 2 won’t ‘solve’ anything. Iran and Russia will keep supporting Damascus. The desert wasteland from Syria to Iraq will keep being occupied by Bandar Bush-supported and Gulf-supported hardcore sectarian jihadis.

    The war will keep spreading deeper into Lebanon. The government in Damascus won’t collapse. The refugee crisis will soar. And the West will keep striking a pose of being concerned with ‘terror’.

    All that non-jazz in Montreux will come to nothing. And then some bureaucrat will call for a Geneva 3.

    The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.’

  184. “This is partially off topic (in that it’s about BBC bias in Scotland, not Syria), but Craig has spoken about this before, and I reckon it’s of interest to you guys here.”

    Two questions: Why is the BBC asking for a copy of the raw data unreasonable and in what way is sending a copy of the request to the Rector intimidating?

  185. Essentially, we’ve moved into the post-democratic era in the leading western coutries. Sure, the trappings and rituals of old-fashioned, liberal democracy remain, only without real content or vitality. One can go further an argue that it’s post-politics too, as the political parties have merged around some mythical middle-ground and the differences between them are ones of rhetoric, style, and factional, rather than substantive or ideological. So, I suppose politics has now become post-ideological as well. Does this mean that we actually live in what could be described as a one-party state? Yes, probably, as our politics increasingly resembles the United States. A one-party democracy? How does that add up? Can one have democracy under such a system, where real choice and alternatives are virtually non-existant? Liberals and what used to be the Left have a lot to answer for here as they have passively watched while a totalitarian form of democracy has emerged since 9/11, a totalitarian form welded to aggressive warfare and a neo-conservative, neo-imperialist agenda, a desparate lurch towards militarism and a grab for economic and strategic advantage over potential rivals for world domination, and in this foul and bloody game Syria is just another square on the chessboard.

  186. Now even the MOD admits multiculture Britain has had enough of foreign conflicts.Especially disastrous,fake and pointless ones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    No shit Sherlock.

    And the woefully biased,inept and war drum beating BBC were probably more interested in covering up Savile’s horrific abuse of over 1000 children to report fairly on any disastrous wars.

    Why did so many at the BBC who knew of Savile’s activities stay silent ?

    Never trust anything the BBC says.

  187. Ian Duncan-Smith details UK’s ‘ghetto reality’ and claims his welfare reforms can make Britain ‘great’ again…

    Great for who Ian? The 500,000 at food banks or your gangster bankster chums?

    This is a man whose grasp of facts snd reality is so tenuous he couldnt remember what university he went to…thats putting it kindly..

    Warning in link: horrific smug bastard photo of IDS.

  188. The nauseating hypocrisy of the US and UK pointing fingers at ANYONE over torture claims is truly disturbing.

  189. Uzbek in the UK

    23 Jan, 2014 - 11:00 am

    Interesting debates.

    No one here seem to give a toss about the fact that current Assad has inherited the throne from his farther and that the family has been running whole country like their private firm for the last 43 years. Yes, 43 years it is longer than some of royal dynasties in European history.

    What is more interesting is that no one seem to care that al-Assads put in charge their relative and kinsman Alawities and rule the country where over 80% of population are Sunni Muslims. And when this 80% of population suddenly decided to take matter of their lives into their own hands, and al-Assads started smashing them with Russian tanks, bomb them with Russian airplanes and shoot them with Russian bullets, most of contributors on this blog still make Putin a good guy and thank Russia for what is has done.

    Interesting moral standing of many here indeed.

  190. Despite the predicable & obvious guff from the usual suspects, the informed commentary of most posters here,make this Blog worth visting, and makes you appreciate the severity of the recent two months closing of comments; what’s the news regarding moderation now, or is it as before ?

  191. @Uzbek in the UK, all that may be true, but does that mean we should join in right now, with the demonising of the Assads, by the humanitarian bombing supporters, so that our Governments feel free to have their way, to actually increase the bloodbath in Syria, by turning it into another Iraq or Libya ?

  192. “Police chiefs say water cannon are needed because ‘austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest’”

  193. Good to see you back Macky. I think it is now ‘Moderation Lite’ but who knows as we haven’t heard from Jon. Craig has removed a post or two.

    Wonder where Sofia is? :)

  194. Ideally… I’d prefer Syria to be a beacon of anarchist, de-centralized, democracy, where everyone was wedded to the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, and superstitious religion was withering away, and a lot of other things too as Syria moved towards an anarchist utopia, showing the world what could be done once the people were freed from the shackles of the marketplace, regligion, sectarianism, militarism, and the state… in the meantime, that’ll have to wait as the country is under attack from what increasingly looks like a foreign mercenary army, trained, armed, financed, and given diplomatic cover by the West that’s determined to topple the Syrian regime, regardless of the costs to the Syrian people, who are mere pawns in the game.

    It’s bizarre and grotesque listening to Kerry pontificate about human rights, freedom, and democracy. The hypocricy, double-standards, and self-righteousness are astounding, even for an American politician. The US is using Islamists and al-Queda terrorists as its army in this war to topple Assad, how odd, and these people, who we are bombing in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and are supposed to be our deadly enemy, are on our payroll, and supposedly going to introduce democracy to Syria! Is Kerry fantasizing, or is he on drugs? Look at Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, countries we destroyed over the last thirty years as we sent our bombers and legions to help them attain democracy. All these countries were infinitely better off before we attacked them and gave them the gift of democracy. If smashing them to pieces, destroying their infrastructure, killing them in the millions, is the nobel price for democracy, democracy western-style, then, frankly, you can keep it, bring back the strongmen and stability.

    But of course it’s nonsense. Our leaders don’t give a damn about ordinary people in these countries, whether they live or die. They are just pawns in the game. Going way back, when the long war began, the Americans saw the military takeover in Afghanistan, a secular, nationalist, westernized, take-over, as a golden opportunity to drag the Russians into the mire and bleed them dry, give them a version of Vietnam. So the Americans using Pakistan and a proxy army of Islamic fighters began to attack the military regime in Afghanistan, knowing that the Russians would be forced to intervene, as the Russians are paranoid about Islamists on their borders and the threat of them spreading further. So the Russians marched into Afghanistan and were in the American trap, so the blood really began to flow as the Americans poured money and weapons into Afghanistan along with Saudi Arabia and the tiny gulf states. The Americans didn’t do this because they loved the Afghans, they did it because they hated the Russians and wanted to see them bleed big time. That hundreds of thousands of Afghans died was irrelevant, they didn’t matter, mere pawns in the game, as long as thousands of Russians died as well. And this has been the pattern repeated endlessly for the last forty years. The Americans using al-Queda and Islamists as their shock troops and private terrorist gangs to attack their enemies and gain advantage. Ordinary people slaughtered in a ghastly and cynical blood-game between great power rivals. Did ordinary Afghans get anything positive out of all this destruction and killing as the great powers played with them? Of course not, nobody cares about them, who bothers about pawns in a game of chess?

  195. Beelzebub (La Vita è Finita)

    23 Jan, 2014 - 12:07 pm

    ‘Essentially, we’ve moved into the post-democratic era in the leading western countries……’ {Writeon}

    Did democracy ever have real power, or was it always subverted by vested interests? Whatever, the power now lies with hedge funds, to which even banks defer, and which finance the amalgamation of productive and useful industries into commercial monopolies.
    Think of them as lilies:

    ‘They toil not, neither do they spin, but Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’

  196. @Mary, thanks, a quick read through tells me nothing has changed, so the enforced close-down was indeed quite pointless.

    @Writeon, I couldn’t agree more with your posts, but I do think that religion does provide an important beneficial function in most socities.

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