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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  • Michael Robinson

    @ Tony M

    My point isn’t about whether or not the Scots have legitimate reasons for wanting to leave.

    My point is about whether the Westminster/City axis is legitimately interested in keeping them from leaving. If you believe this is so, then you must also believe, on the basis of the evidence Craig brings here regularly, that the cream of the English sociopolitical class is the most clueless, incompetent, ineffectual and short-sighted aggregation of political actors this side of Italy. Nearly without exception, every action they have taken on this issue has had the effect of increasing electoral support for their putative opposition. How likely is that?

    If, on the other hand, they are not legitimately interested in keeping Scotland, then the evidence Craig brings here regularly is exactly what one would expect.

    The question is whether, for example, when they see data like figure 2 here ( ), their reflexive reaction is to think, “oh, yeah, we’ve got to own some of that!”, or whether they instead start thinking along the lines of the “bad bank” solution to balance sheet holes.

  • Mary

    This businessman, Keith Cochrane CEO of the Weir Group, was weighing in for a No vote this morning. He doesn’t want anything to upset his very full apple cart.
    Total Calculated Compensation £1,669,573
    As of Fiscal Year 2013

    His board relationships

    The ‘George Islay MacNeill Robertson’ in the list is of course Lord Robertson of NATO infamy. See his extensive biog! Sick bag time.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Think that the importance of the Crimea to Russia is its underground submarine pens in Balaklava which give Moscow a warm water port from which to launch its boomers if a war breaks out between Russia and the West.

    To talk about Russia’s surface fleet, its capabilities, and victories, is totally missing the point.

    When NATO wanted to get rid of the USSR and Russia at Olof Palme’s expense during the fallout from the Iran-Contra conspiracy, it was involved with what Moscow would and could do with its underwater deterrent in the Barents and White Seas, and that at Balaklava,

  • Kempe

    ” Think that the importance of the Crimea to Russia is its underground submarine pens ”

    Which the Russian navy abandoned in the 1990’s and which are now a tourist attraction.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And that is why Moscow has taken it back, and just tell me when you get a look now inside.

    Try using some creative thought rather than relying upon what Wikipedia tells you.


    It is rather superficial to talk about tactical capabilities and standard equipment failure in Russian military. It makes the nuclear threat a default mode. Remember the Doomsday Machine? Even such fictional notions give one pause; most people that is.


    US giving the rebels Russian arms because of the poor design and manufacture.

    “Ali is shown riding with a rebel supply officer as he traveled to the Turkish border to reportedly pick up American-supplied Russian weapons and ammunition, but he is not allowed to accompany the fighters to the actual meeting. When the rebels return to pick him up, they display bullets and a mortar, which are shown in the film, and tell him they have received TOW missiles; the missiles are not shown, however.

    The commander of the unit also told Ali that their American contacts had asked him to bring 80 to 90 members of his unit to Ankara for training. Once in Ankara, after a 14-hour drive from Syria, they were interrogated for days about their political leanings and their unit’s fighting history. The commander told Ali that their questioners identified themselves as belonging to “the military,” but that he believed they were from the CIA.

    On the final day, they were told that they would be flown the next day to a training camp in Qatar, a monarchy in the Persian Gulf. Then they were transported to a training facility they believed was near the border with Saudi Arabia.”

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    During recent NATO exercises two B2s were heard over Europe using callsigns “FOWL-11” and “FOWL-12”. I wonder if “DEATH-11” and “DEATH-12” are the same aircraft with updated scarier callsigns.

    They’ll be bringing the tomato plants in on the conspiracy websites if DEATH-XX is heard talking to “SKYMASTER” on the radio.

    “Skymaster, Skymaster – This is DEATH-11 on 11175”


    Are you sure they can’t see/hear/smell you listening in, AA. 🙂

  • AlcAnon/Squonk


    They’re not going to be bothered by people listening in. These B2 stealth bombers have civilian transponders and talk to civil ATC as well during peace-time and they broadcast on well known frequencies. Anything important is encrypted so all you’ll hear is a bunch of scary callsigns and strings of characters.

    websdrs and $60 shortwave/SSB receivers allow anyone to listen at home if so inclined.

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    By the way during recent B2 military exercises there were people on some sites telling radio and military enthusiasts what times, callsigns and frequencies to listen to a day in advance. During the exercise itself there were others updating with flight locations and civil ATC comms.

    My suspicion is that the advance publicity was semi-official.


    “They’re not going to be bothered by people listening in”

    “My suspicion is that the advance publicity was semi-official.”

    Hmmm. It wasn’t exactly a Press Release from the WH so who wanted the Public informed? Clearly, if meant as a veiled threat of escalation, it’s just enough information for a select number of folks and not the mainstream. You have to believe Russia is well apprised.


    BTW; AA, thanks for your role as canary-in-the-coalmine. I feel better knowing you are alert.

  • Tony M

    Michael Robinson (9 Jun, 2014 – 1:15 pm)

    I’m reading the research/report you linked now.

    Two things spring to mind immediately though.

    One is that the narrowness of the Scottish economy has resulted from the latter period of the Union especially from the Thatcher/Tory monetarist policies of the early 80s, and the lack of investment which should have come for lighter industrial production, leading to those replacements for heavier industries themselves failing both to absorb excess labour and in time themselves, as branch facilities closing amidst a general economic contraction, having shallow roots. Westminster policies did decimate manufacturing industry particularly hard here, in many cases needlesly and vindictively, there is no doubt that Tory policies sought intentionally to weaken Scottish industry and increase dependence on the south, in what was effectively a pre-emptive strike against the viability of an independent Scotland -such startup difficulties will be have to be overcome, but as these are artificially created limitations, of political rather than economic causes, they can and will be quickly, easily reversed. Much is imported that need not be, which could be competitively sourced domestically and profitably exported. The destruction of an indigenous integrated steel oil-pipeline production complex for example, of world renowned quality, in an oil producing country, made no sense whatever.

    Secondly residual-UK couldn’t stand the competition from a reviving Scottish industrial sector, as this is a certainty it could lead to further deindustrialisation in the South and more dependence on financial sector chicanery; the same criticism of the narrowness of the Scottish economic base, dependence on oil, etc, applies equally to residual-UK, it is dependent on the same oil revenues, which it certainly will lose much of, and on the highly vulnerable ‘invisibles’, funny money and casino-banking, oil and gas can only increase in value, with hardly any reverses as international supplies dwindle, the financial sector’s variability however is a far greater weakness and as we’ve seen since 2008, has turned from doubtful asset to staggering liability overnight.

    Scotland’s position economically is more secure than the UKs, or r-UKs could ever be.

  • Kempe

    Your careful analysis fails to take into consideration the facts that the whole of Great Britain was going through the same process of de-industrialisation at the same time and that this process started long before Thatcher. Jimmy Reid’s occupation and failed attempt to save the Clydeside yards in the early 70’s appears to have been quietly forgotten.

    Manufacturing in the UK failed because British industry simply couldn’t deliver the goods. It’ll take more than a reversal of monetarist politics to revive it.

  • Tony M

    The more the report is read, the more preposterous it gets, but I don’t argue that it isn’t worth reading, if only to comprehend how detached from reality academics become.

    It dismisses with a wave of the hands: “In what follows, we are not concerned with evaluating why the Scottish economy has under-performed for the past 30 years.”

    If you do not evaluate why the Scottish economy has underperformed in the last 30 years, it makes a nonsense of any attempted predictions, as stated earlier, if, as there are political reasons for this underperformance, then those will be substantially or entirely removed in an independent Scotland. Monetarism, which the Tories themselves never comprehended its grievouswrongs, even after abandoning it in blind panic and the UK economy hit rock bottom in the early-80s, coincided in Scotland with a critically important period of transition from older traditional heavy industries to a myriad of smaller scale product ventures: car/truck/bus industry branch plants, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, electronics, computers and food and drink. The rug was pulled from under these fledgling ventures ruthlessly at a time when the potentialities of the expanding European market opened out and the polar opposite policies to those actually followed were essential, to let the competitive ones find their feet and to plan beyond the short term of Thatcher’s dominant economics guru’s latest wheeze. Long-term unemployment problems began then, when whole generations left school to face nothing except make-work YOP and later YTS programs, exploited, untrained, untapped, then dumped after a year as another lot of new recruits took their place, year after year.

    The report gets siller in its counter-factual narrative, its assessment of Scotland’s post-Independence economic performance, rather crazily considers Scotland’s economic position post-independence, as if none of the revenues collectable for oil will actually ‘belong’ and accrue to Scotland. It isn’t terribly useful, except as a threat that rUK will attempt some strongarm tactics, the rallying cry: ‘It’s the City of London’s Oil’ might find some lunatic supporters, but it’s desperation and wishful thinking in the extreme. If you think I’m kidding, your Figure 2 from the report is predicated on an assumption that: “What these graphs tell us is that it would be extremely hazardous for Scotland to consider gaining greater fiscal independence without access to its geographical share of oil and gas. Attempting to do so would leave the country open to either a sovereign debt crisis (if it were to keep the sterling) or a currency crisis (if it were to issue its own currency).” I cannot conceive of any scenario in which an independent Scotland would not have access to its geographical share of oil and gas (which happens to be the majority -of existing production and future reserves), and as such a scenario is beyond the realms of possibility, why make such a invalid comparision, based on circumstances not only incredible, but impossible.

    I think this Think-Tank have been sniffing glue.

    Crucially though it doesn’t support by any stretch of the imagination your presumably humourously intended contention, that some secret powerful cabal wants to set Scotland adrift, and thus be quids/roubles in, all while no doubt cackling over a bubbling cauldron too. That the dismal No campaign is gamed to lose? No, they really are just that inept, nasty and lacking in coherent credible arguments, they can’t win, Project Fear has been an eye-opener and the Unionist parties’ regional branches final curtain.

  • Tony M

    Kempe, Monetarism lasted till about 1981, then was thrown into reverse, too late to stop the damage already done. In Scotland it was the replacements for declining heavier industries which were dashed against the wall. Your talk of a reversal of monetarist policies now, shows your total ignorance. Though we knew of that anyhow, long before now.

  • Mary

    Old Blatter uses the ‘racist’ card.

    Qatar claims are racist – Blatter
    Fifa president Sepp Blatter says allegations of corruption surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid are motivated by racism.

    No they are not Mr Blatter. Is your best mate Mr Garcia from NY going to give your outfit a whitewash?

  • Kempe

    ” Monetarism lasted till about 1981, ”

    Well most accounts have it staggering on until 1984. Point is it wasn’t the deliberate death sentence for British manufacturing that it’s popularly thought to be.

  • Tony M

    @Michael Robinson (9 Jun, 2014 – 9:28 pm)

    All the more compelling an argument for Independence, that the best years of North Sea Oil were pissed away by City of London fatcats and bankers and that they have escaped with their swagbags still bulging. Nowhere in Scotland, indeed in most of the rest of the UK was that put to good use, but it enabled successive Tory and then Labour politicians a cushion against the worst consequences of their economic ineptitude. Putting an end to that can’t come quickly enough. Osborne the Wallpaper Sales Floorwalker as Chancellor, Beaker the Lib-Dem guy, formerly experienced only as a camping/caravan site receptionist as Chief Secretary to the Treasury? Without these political muppets and ignoramuses promoted beyond their capabilities, and their coke-head SPADS, blundering and dabbling like ancient mystics and alchemists in matters they’re neither qualified or competent in, hoping against hope to get lucky, Scotland’s economy can only soar. Enough and no more, you might say. Your point whatever it might be becomes ever more obscure, for someone with ‘no dog in this fight’ you’re sure scrabbling furiously trying to make one. I find the pessimism about the North Sea reserves to be politically and short-term profit motivated, it is also an undeniable fact that slower extraction considerably increases the lifetime and final yield of fields, the UK governements rapacious demands for extraction, to bale them out of successive economic disasters, attributable only to their own ineptitude and their cronies’ greed have exhausted fields which differently managed would still be yielding profitable output a hundred or more years from now. It is the UK that is bust and bankrupt on those doom-laden projections, the same figures and projections of revenues, accruing to the Scottish Government and people instead and rightly, would result – paraphrasing the McCrone report – in embarassingly large surpluses and an impregnably strong currency. Damned, hitched to a stinking sinking UK, if you Vote No, for sure.

  • Tony M

    Incidentally Michael, thanks to the slavish subservient client state relationship the UK has with the US, the best years of North Sea production through the entire 1980s, were sold off cheap, ridiculously low prices, dumping oil on the market till a glut developed, in order to beggar the USSR, which by then was heavily dependent on oil revenues. That is the tragic cost to Scotland (and the UK) of being dirt on the soles of the US Empire’s jackboot. More of the same? Not a chance, Vote Yes.

  • Chris

    All nationalism is fascism.

    If the yes campaign succeeds we’ll be spitting on the graves of every allied serviceman who died in WW2.

  • A Node

    Chris 10 Jun, 2014 – 1:29 am : “All nationalism is fascism.”

    I challenge you to justify that statement.

  • Peacewisher

    For those suggesting boycotting the BBC….

    It was announced on BBC radio 4 this morning that the fine for non-payment of the TV licence fee is to be raised to £4000.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Freude!)

    All nationalism is fascism.

    That would appear to be the globalist consensus, yes. An easy meme to remember, and as ever-larger margins on our productive capacity disappear into the bursting wallets of internationally organised plutocrats, we all need to keep repeating it. Don’t we?

    Funny how the globalist meme echoes the Stalinist one, too. They have a lot in common. Let me suggest forced population transfers as a solution to troublesome workforces in regions with delusions of identity. It worked in the ‘Stans. It could work for you.

    “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”

  • Ba'al Zevul (Freude!)

    Peacewisher –

    They have to pay for the endless offensive and threatening license enquiries somehow.

  • Wayne Nicklin

    Mike above says “you say it’s confirmed that Downing St set up the question, and I certainly believe that, but can you point me towards this confirmation as I’d like to be able to use this further…”

    Ditto this 🙂

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