Daily archives: April 23, 2014

Overpaid Yet Happily Forgotten

The greatest boost ever received by Islamic fundamentalism was the invasion of Iraq.  Closely followed by extraordinary rendition, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and drones, and Israeli bombings of Gaza.  All of those things lead some Muslims to believe a violent response by terrorism is required to defend themselves.  So for Tony Blair, who has promoted huge hatred and caused unnumbered deaths through a career of deceit and self-enrichment, to warn about the dangers of Islamic terrorism is something nobody but a few Guardian and Murdoch acolytes wish to hear.

Blair of course has many tens of millions stuffed into his capacious back-pocket by oligarchs from the ex-Soviet space, so it is unsurprising to hear him call for understanding between Russia and the West.  It is even more to form that this understanding should be based on joint hatred of Muslims.

There is an alarming failure by many in the UK to understand that Russia is an Empire.  Russia’s Asian possessions were taken  by invasion from their indigenous and Muslim populations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, at precisely the same time Britain was taking its own colonies.  The Russian conquests were no less colonial from the accident of geography that they were contiguous.  Dagestan and Chechnya were only conquered in the 1830’s.  Most of Tartarstan later.  The “Islamic fundamentalist threat” Russia faces jointly with the UK, is actually the struggle of colonized peoples for their freedom.

Blair includes China, which likewise is the colonial occupier of the Uighurs and other suppressed Muslim populations.  To conflate the struggle for freedom from colonial occupation of these people with an over-reaching monster of “Islamic terrorism” is part of Blair’s trick.  His examples in Africa are again born of despair from the consequences of centuries of colonial and now neo-liberal exploitation.  I find his pronouncements on Boko Haram ironic, given that Blair’s single biggest legacy is to move the United Kingdom close to Nigerian standards of equality of wealth distribution.

The extraordinary thing is that Blair is somebody so hate-filled he wants to see yet more hatred, killing and violence.  It is worrying that the establishment media are so happy to promote his view without providing any balancing opinion. I comfort myself that the real motive of this silly speech was that, other than his media acolytes, absolutely nobody cares what he is saying.  It wasn’t so much a speech as a public display of ADD.



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Pyongyang Style Unionist Propaganda




The unionists were worried that the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn might remind Scots of their national history.  So they brilliantly have co-opted the MOD to counter any possible effect on popular perception, by holding British Armed Forces Day in the same location on the same date as the celebrations of Bannockburn (28-9 June 2014).

Armed Forces Day is held every year at Edinburgh.  It has never been held on the site outside Stirling before.  Suddenly to move it there, on the same day as a long-planned event already attracting tens of thousands of people, can hardly be a coincidence.  I just watched a live broadcast of a session of a committee of  the Scottish Parliament where officials of Stirling Council refused to answer questions as to who took the decision to hold the same events on the same day.  They did so on the grounds there will be an independent audit of this ludicrous decision.  Evidence given to the committee said that the late addition of the MOD event had caused ticket numbers for the Bannockburn event to be cut by over half.

STIRLING COUNCIL IS RUN BY A NEW LABOUR AND CONSERVATIVE COALITION of unionists aimed to keep the largest party – the SNP – out of power. A more interesting question is the decision making process in the MOD that led to this gross abuse of the army for political propaganda purposes.

This demeaning of the commemoration of Bannockburn is yet another Bitter Together initiative that will backfire spectacularly.  Nobody in Scotland was going to base their vote on a battle that happened seven hundred years ago.  But the banding together of Labour and Tories to attempt to downplay the sacrifice and cause, to offer a gross and deliberate insult to the memory of those who fought and died for their country, is going to upset an awful lot of people.

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David Aaronovitch Posts Fake Book Reviews and Lies About Why

David Aaronovitch entered into a conspiracy with others to post fake 5 star reviews of his last shoddy book on Amazon.  He now lies about why.  He has attempted to defuse the row by coming clean and making light, courtesy of his Murdoch employer.

But his explanation is a plain lie.  Aaronovitch claims that :

“almost before my book was published, the first 1-star reviews started to appear, from people who had never read it. After a week, even I wouldn’t have bought it.”

In fact, the very first eight reviews on Amazon were all five star – which by his own argument must be “from people who had never read it”.  That is very probably true, as the first two five star reviews were posted on the very day the book was released, 7 May 2009. In fact the average rating of the first reviews is very much higher than the average rating he gets from the general public overall, extremely suspiciously so.  (One remote possibility is he was getting Amazon to delete critical reviews, but that also would negate his justification for procuring the fake positive reviews).

He claims “After a week even I wouldn’t have bought it”.  In fact, after a week it was averaging a literally unbelievable five stars.  It was a full month before the first one star review arrived. Then it was from an amazon real name verified customer who Aaronovitch plainly does not think should be entitled to their opinion.

His excuse for this attempt to defraud the public by planting false reviews of his product is, quite simply, a lie.  Aaronovitch is a liar.  Which makes you worry a little about his journalistic standards otherwise, does it not? It is an interesting glimpse into the dark mind of one of the leading propagandists for the Iraq War.

It seems that Aaronovitch with others entered a conspiracy to boost book sales through fraudulent reviews.  Which as his book in question argues that pro-establishment conspiracies never have existed, is rather ironic. I do not regard this as a minor dereliction.  I believe it opens serious questions about a journalist’s integrity.  In the days when the Times was a respectable newspaper, it would have led to Aaronovitch’s dismissal.

I should say I have never asked anybody to post a positive review of one of my books on Amazon.  I am happy to say that Murder in Samarkand has a much higher star review rating than Voodoo Histories, and unlike Aaronovitch I did not have to cheat to get it.  Only one of my 49 reviews by “Biodiplomacy” is actually from a friend but I did not ask him to do it, and I am sure in any circumstances he would give his honest opinion. He often disagrees with me in comments here!

I am conscious that one probable consequence of this posting is that neo-con trolls will now bomb Murder in Samarkand with bad reviews.  I very much welcome reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, from anybody who has honestly read the book and is giving their genuine opinion.

This is an extract from the article in the Times where Aaronovitch admits to his fraud, and lies about the cause. I can’t link to it because it was behind a paywall.  To Mr Murdoch’s copyright lawyers, I am quoting a brief extract for the purpose of legitimate analysis and debate.  If you have any sense, you would realize I am also doing you a favour by exposing your star columnist as a cheat and a fraud:

Something like half of all book sales are now made through Amazon, and when you find a book on Amazon it is accompanied by reviews from “readers” who give it a 1 (lowest) to 5 star rating.  So, almost before my book was published, the first 1-star reviews started to appear, from people who had never read it. After a week, even I wouldn’t have bought it.

There is only one thing you can do in this situation. You ask every friend and family member to go onsite PDQ and 5-star your baby. You get your frauds to balance off their frauds. Ce n’est pas magnifique, mais (grâce à Amazon) c’est la guerre.

Actually, David, ce n’est pas la guerre.  La guerre is what you supported so enthusiastically in Iraq, and involves the blasting to pieces of young children, the rape of countless women, the end of hundreds of thousands of lives and the wrecking of millions more.  It involves the destruction of the infrastructure of countries and the loss of decades of economic development, and a ruinous expense to our own economy.  It involves the bombing of densely packed urban areas in Gaza, for which you are an enthusiast, and from which the terror and suffering is something you will never understand.  For you just sit here in the highly paid heart of the warmongering Murdoch establishment, and indulge in lies and cheats to further your income and your grubby little career.





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