BBC Lawbreaking 170

I despair sometimes that society as a whole has lost all sense of how a democracy ought to operate.  State abuse has become the norm.

I am astonished that there is not greater reaction to the BBC role in Obama’s statement against Scottish independence.  It is now confirmed that not only did No. 10 ask Obama to make the statement, they set up the BBC to ask the question that prompted it.

For a state broadcaster, with a legal obligation to neutrality in the referendum campaign, actively to participate in a stunt plainly aimed to boost one side in the campaign is beyond disgraceful.  There is obviously a realisation at the BBC that they have done something very wrong indeed – all of the BBC’s own coverage with unprecedented reticence omitted totally the fact that it was the BBC that asked the question.

This ought to be an absolutely huge scandal which leads to resignations at the BBC.  Yes, it is not unprecedented for officials to ask a journalist to ask a helpful question.  The Tories might well ask the Sun or Telegraph to ask them something.  But it is a completely different thing when it is a state broadcaster legally obliged to neutrality and part of a referendum or election campaign.

That the BBC truthful report that there were no WMD’s in Iraq led to forced resignations, while this twisted propaganda interference has no result, is a sign of the collapse of democratic values in society – and the expectation of them.

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170 thoughts on “BBC Lawbreaking

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    The Bulgaria story is a key entry, Mary. BRICS must not succeed at all costs to the West.

  • Herbie

    “US Ambassador Concerned With South Stream Construction Bid”

    This American ambassador, Marcie Berman, isn’t your ordinary everyday common or garden ambassador:

    # A specialist in national security issues and arms control

    # Chief of Mission in Pristina, Kosovo from 2003 to 2004

    # Minister-Counselor for Political-Military Affairs in Iraq

    # Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State

    # Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear and Strategic Policy.

    Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

    So she’s saying that Bulgaria can’t build Southstream because it goes against US sanctions against Russia.

    Barbarossa is saying that it breaches some internal EU market thing.

    The Bulgarian PM announced the step in a Sunday interview after a meeting with three US senators visiting Bulgaria – John McCain, Chris Murphy, and Ron Johnson.

    “Bulgaria’s Prime Minister explained that he had told the US Senators that Bulgaria would only proceed with the South Stream gas pipeline after achieving compliance with the recommendations of the EU and specifying clear implementation terms.”

  • Michael Robinson

    Craig – I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I have followed your coverage of the issue with some interest, and it has led me to the following inescapable conclusion:

    1. A collection of Englishmen, looking at the prospective post-depletion macro-economic environment, have determined, on balance, that it is in their national interest to unburden themselves of Scotland and the growing unfunded future liabilities attached thereto

    2. Further, they have determined that it is also in their national interest that this not appear to be the policy; that the successful execution of this policy requires that they escape all responsibility and political liability for the foreseeable hardship and deprivation caused thereby

    3. To this end, they have undertaken a covert campaign of minor, seemingly inept gaffes, affronts, and slights, which have been carefully calibrated to enrage the Scottish people whilst at the same time remain below the radar of English and international media attention

    4. All the while, their overt weak-tea campaign of “better together” propaganda provides plausible deniability, both now, and post secession, of any culpability for the consequences

    The only question, in my mind, is which side of it you’re playing.


    “It is important that the USA and the EU continue to work together and to clearly demonstrate to Russia, that its actions in Ukraine will continue to have consequences. Companies and persons who provide material support to Stroytransgaz could also be included in the US sanctions list.”

    – See more at:

    Another good find. Dem Sanctions might be a tipping point for Bulgaria. Russia won’t be adversely affected. Power as coercion wins again.


    “”We have to guarantee that internal market provisions are observed because we believe that in this case we are exposing the energy security of Bulgaria and the EU to risk,” Barroso said, stressing that the EC had been following the situation in Bulgaria for months and was fully aware of it ”

    – See more at:

    Shit a BRICS y’all. Well done Herbie.

  • mark golding

    President Putin acted quickly to protect Russia’s border security and the indispensable Southern fleet at the Black Sea naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea. By masterfully using the ballot box as a defensive move instead of a Western or American ‘exceptionalist’ pre-emptive invasion, Putin won the first move, much to the annoyance of the 2013 Yalta meeting planners who set the Putin trap.

    To extract admission from the D-Day ‘celebration’ is was crucial for America to re-project the protection or ‘veiled dominance’ of Europe in true Brzezinski fashion and smash the federal Ukraine bridge that served to connect Russian good relations with the Europe.

    President Putin warily and prudently consider his moves knowing that divide had been achieved. America buoyed by ‘fracked’ energy now attempting to squeeze the balls of Bulgaria and even Serbia to block construction of the South Stream pipeline that would bring Russian gas into the Balkans and southern Europe.

    Instinctively Putin accelerated and secured the huge $400 billion energy deal with China to check the US king; in this asymmetric death game the winner takes all.

    Vladimir Putin must now personally create the opportunity for schism between ‘good guy’ America and Europe. Hearts and minds are consistently won by truth.

    Iraq, Libya and the middle East aftermaths are key ingredients of this truth serum, combined with Edward Snowden epiphany and nuclear 911 or ‘America Attacked!’ bombshells Vladimir has, waiting exposure in his fact locker.

  • Joe Blow

    Hey ben, thanks for (10:53) the inspiring words of indispensable leadership from our Commander in Chief, President Obama. Sometimes we forget the many inspiring examples of US leadership, where the USA led the whole world, almost. We led at least 300 million American people of the world!

    Res. 36/96B 109-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/98A 95-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/187A 98-1 (USA)
    Res. 39-65B 84-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/73 111-1 (USA)
    Res. 37-78A 114-1 (USA)
    Res. 38-183M 133-1 (USA)
    Res. 39/148N 123-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/182 116-1 (USA)
    Res. 39/62 125-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/83 138-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/70 147-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/12 145-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/13 124-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/172C 136-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/172N 139-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/172O 138-1 (USA)
    Res.37/47 124-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/69E 141-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/69G 138-1 (USA)
    Res. 37/69H 134-1 (USA)
    Res.38/19 110-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/39E 149-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/39I 140-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/39K 145-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/133 135-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/199 131-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/124 132-1 (USA)
    Res. 33/137 146-1 (USA)
    Res. 41/450 146-1 (USA)
    Res. 36/19 126-1 (USA)
    Res. 38/25 131-1 (USA)
    Res.42-101 150-0-1 (USA)

    And don’t forget all the times the USA actually led somebody else in the world other than downtrodden American chumps who don’t know what’s going on,

    Res. 36/15 114-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36-73 109-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/120A 121-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/120E 139-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/146A 141-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/146C 117-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/146G 119-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/147C 111-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/147F 114-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/173 115-2 (Israel too!)
    Res. 36/226B 121-2 (Israel too!)

    So there, for all you anti-Americans who think the USofA is just an ignorant shit-kicking pariah state with no friends except for the fake ones they buy or threaten for a week at a time. Sometimes we have Israel!

  • Tony M

    @ Michael Robinson (8 Jun, 2014 – 11:45 pm):

    Few would agree with your ‘inescapable conclusion’. Escape from a torn paper bag maybe?

    It is rather a shallow analysis, an absurdly anglo-centric one, that everything must be of a Westminster/City of London design. It reminded me immediately of an American’s insistence that they brought about the fall of the Soviet Union, discounting as just dumb actors, the Russian people who resisted Communism, by a fifty year go-slow, work-to-rule and a million subtle acts of resistance. The liabilities, apart from the nuclear cleanup in Scotland and the disaster area of Cumbria and the Irish Sea, are few, the assets in oil, in water, coal, minerals, in education and business, in limitless tidal, wind and hydro electric power, in fisheries, agriculture and industry, outweigh this only liability, a liability for which vainglorious UK nuclear weapons programs bear responsibility, a liability which continuation in this abusive partnership can only increase. A crucial difference too is that Independence supporters, the Scottish National Party, the Greens even, and the small but inspiring Socialist parties see Scotland’s people as its greatest asset of all, where you see a burden to be unloaded.

    The wealthy few who’ve lived off the fat of the land and stolen the cream for far too long, can live off the loot they’ve stolen, long into the forseeable future, the real hardship and deprivation will be to the helpless victims of these elite’s ire when the golden goose that has kept the United Kingdom on life-support these last thirty years, takes off back to its nesting ground in the North, to hatch a brood of its own kind.

    In the north of England, in the Midlands, in Wales and the bit of Ireland they can still scare and convulse in groundless division, preventing all from uniting in self-determination and real democracy, a need too, to take back the power – their’s rightfully, deservedly, which they’ve unwittingly disavowed – as if not taken firmly into their own hands, they risk at the very least wildcat fracking, turning their beloved landscapes and homes into barren lifeless deserts of mud and waste. They’ll certainly get the backlash from Scotland’s great and timely escape but in time London’s writ will shrink, extending in time to just a few districts and then a few streets, then nothing.

    If you cared, if you had a dog in this fight, and you should, at bottom in some way you must, you’d split the protagonists amicably, chastise the snapping English Bulldog, comfort the bewildered faithful collie, and send each off home in opposite directions.

  • Mary

    Sky have a big push on the Scottish Referendum today, 100 days etc.

    I should imagine that Broon’s contribution for the Better Together campaign will be a turnoff.

    ‘The Sky News interview marks a move by Mr Brown, still highly regarded by Scottish voters despite his humiliating general election defeat in 2010, to step up his efforts on behalf of the Better Together “No” campaign in Scotland.

    On Monday he is due to make a speech on the Scottish referendum campaign to political journalists at Westminster.’

    :: With 100 days to go until the Scottish referendum, on Monday Sky News will have a day of special coverage on TV, online and mobile. This will include interviews with leading figures from both sides of the debate.

    ​Related Stories
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    Glaswegians Want Facts Before Vote
    The Scottish city of Glasgow
    Sky’s Joey Jones travels to Glasgow, where he finds voters are disillusioned and in desperate need of facts from both sides of the referendum debate.

    Would Independence Affect Security?
    Mark White

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    Paul Harrison

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    Alistair Bunkall

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    Poppy Trowbridge

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    Tom Cheshire

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    Information or propaganda? Infoganda/Propamation

  • Mary

    Less of it on the BBC website.

    Referendum campaigns mark milestone
    Campaigners in the Scottish independence debate mark the milestone of 100 days to go until the referendum vote.
    Salmond dismisses devolution pledges
    Reid: ‘Patriotism claim insulting’
    Check out the latest polls What are the ‘No’ parties offering?

    Financial figures
    Foreign investment into Scotland has reached its highest level for 16 years, a report from Ernst and Young shows.

    Final countdown
    Referendum campaigners enter the last 100 days

  • Tony M

    Gordon Brown is held in zero regard in Scotland, the McSky take on this is as delusional as he is. In fact I’ve read it’s a re-tread of something he cobbled together over two years ago, same corny catchphrases, same backdrops and graphics, it bombed then, amidst gales of laughter, and was followed by a upswing in Yes support, it could only get worse if he were to launch into song this time.

  • craig Post author

    Mark Golding

    Honestly. The “indispensable” Russian southern fleet. Lol. Indispensable to what purpose? OK, a question. Name a single Russian naval victory. Ever. Over anybody.

    The French could sink the Russian southern fleet in an afternoon. The Italians could give it a run for its money.

    Someone considered an “authority” by the left writes an article that points out that the utterly crap and useless Russian southern fleet sometimes, on the very rare occasions they can get a turbine to work, refuels in Syria. So then Ukraine is all about “a vital strategic link” with Syria and the Russian southern fleet. And everyone else repeats this total bullshit ad nauseam.

  • Kempe

    I never thought I’d see you turn against John Pilger Craig but then that article attracted a lot of derision and ridicule from his otherwise loyal readers when it appeared in the Guardian.

    Perhaps Mark Golding would like to explain to us what the threat to these essential naval bases was. The illegal deployment of Russian troops outside of their bases prior to the snap referendum not to mention the dodgy circumstances surrounding it and its result appear to have been forgotten.

    Interesting that the anti-war Pilger sees nothing wrong in Putin being motivated by military concerns rather than for the safety and wellbeing of the Crimean people.

  • Je

    This morning’s BBC radio 4 coverage of the discredited Islamic schools plot has convinced me that the BBC has lost its way. It sounded like it had been written by a committee drawn from 10 Downing Street and the Telegraph.

    Amongst all the Islamaphobic bandwaggon-jumping, some bits of sensible comment have appeared on the Guardian.

  • Herbie

    I thought the Black Sea port was important to Russia because it’s their only warm water port and it offers access to the Med.

    It’s also very useful for dealing with troublesome neighbours to the south.

    Things would have been very difficult for Putin in Russia had it been lost to the fascists.

    Anyway, it was certainly a target for the West, but they lost.

    Seems they’re losing in Syria too.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Dot Dot Dot)

    I listened with interst, but ultimately great disappointment, to yesterday’s recording of Any Questions, on BBC radio 4. The bias of the audience was of Ukranian proportions, with a roar of approval for anything pro-Union, and a ripple of polite applause, or even boos, for anti-union statements.

    This was particularly true in the question involving Obama, and those who dared to engage in “Obama-denial” got quite a rough ride. One thing I did learn from this programme, however. There is a very strong pro-union theme being directed through twitter. In the interests of democracy, social media ought to be subject to the same controls as public broadcasting at pre-election times. (Peacewisher)

    Yes, completely agree. The programme was recorded in Monikie (pop.~500), a place of which, though I lived in the area for years, I had never been conscious. So, why Monikie? Off the beaten track and probably conservative? Dundee or Arbroath might have been dangerously likely to throw up a “Yes” claque to rival the vocal and splendidly organised “No” cheers (and boos for any contrary point of view). Or maybe it’s just a question of prioritising local applicants for seats in the small village hall?

    Dimbleby has, over the years, moved from being a fairly unopinionated chairman and moderator of these little discussions to being an incessant intervener, a champion of received wisdom and a persistent and pestilential interrupter of the doubleplusungood enemies of Big Brother.

    It was a disgusting performance, overall.

    We might notice also the Radio 4 Serial: Barnaby Rudge. Very freely adapted from the original, for modern sensibilities,with added swearing, it deals with the consequences of a radical political movement attracting popular support by virtue of its patriotic opposition to a European threat. Nigel FarageThe leadership comes to a sticky end.

  • Mary

    If you listened to Any Answers on Saturday, there was a man called Harold Nash from Worcestershire who had served in WW11 as a navigator as a 19 year old. Do listen. He was most articulate. He brought tears to my eyes.

    His thoughts on how D Day was ‘commemorated’.

    5 days left to listen. From the beginning for 8 minutes.

  • Mary

    The BBC have had Esler on live from Dundee with ‘selected’ guests. Sky were in Oban with Holmes earlier and now in Edinburgh with Boulton. Overkill.

    Clark is up in Scotland. Perhaps he will give us his findings on what the feelings are.

  • Mary

    We get a whole year in which to listen again to Any Questions!

    Margaret Curran MP, Laurie Clark, Michael Moore MP, Keith Brown MSP
    Duration: 48 minutes
    First broadcast:Friday 06 June 2014
    Jonathan Dimbleby presents political debate and discussion from Monikie Memorial Hall, Angus, Scotland, with shadow secretary of state for Scotland Margaret Curran MP, businessman Laurie Clark who supports the Business for Scotland campaign, minister for transport and veterans in the Scottish Government Keith Brown MSP and the former secretary of state for Scotland, the Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore.

  • Mary

    Blair’s spin doctor hops into bed with Barclays
    By Sebastian Shakespeare
    9 June 2014

    In another sign of the former Prime Minister’s cosy relationship with high finance, Blair’s right-hand man Ciaran Ward has quit to join Barclays In another sign of the former Prime Minister’s cosy relationship with high finance, Blair’s right-hand man Ciaran Ward has quit to join Barclays

    Tony Blair has amassed an estimated £70 million since he was forced out of Downing Street, and poached senior Barclays banker David Lyon to help increase his fortune.

    Now, in another sign of the former Prime Minister’s cosy relationship with high finance, Blair’s right-hand man has quit — to join Barclays.
    Ciaran Ward, who has been Blair’s chief spin doctor for the past five years, was himself poached by the banking giant to be vice president of its corporate communications.


  • mark golding

    Oh dear Craig maybe Russia could do with some expert advice from a veteran artificer. Russia’s nuclear deterrent will be seriously undermined by land based missile interceptors, creating a need for more nuclear powered Borei-class SLBM carrying submarines.

    These subs and others will patrol the Southern hemisphere and in true Catherine the Great tradition will use the base at Sevastopol.

    Thus the word “indispensable” ie crucial and vital in our nuclear paradigm is proffered.

  • Abe Rene

    Obama can be expected to speak for US interests, which presumably favour Britain staying in the EU, and Scotland staying in the UK. But his pronouncements are not likely IMO to make much difference to Scottish voters.

  • fool

    According to wiki:

    The Russian Navy captured in 1780 two British cargo vessels, their cargo were hemp and iron

    Source is said to be:Adams Family Correspondence: October 1782-November 1784, page 417, Lyman Henry Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Harvard University Press, 1963.

  • Cath

    “Surely a State is not obliged to be indifferent to the question of its own future”

    If that’s the case then surely the Scottish government, as leaders of a nation aspiring to again be a proper state, should be banning the BBC entirely and issuing its own pro-independence propaganda?

    That’s a dangerous route to take, for either side. The Scottish people have democratically voted for a party offering an independence referendum. For the sake of the country generally, that needs to be handled with care and without the ridiculous level of state propaganda from the UK against us. I truly fear for the future of both Scotland and the UK if the no campaign wins with the sheer level of state controlled propaganda and lies its been punting.

  • mike

    Russian Navy: Old boats; the best missile technology on earth. Would pick them in a “square go” any day !

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