Daily Archives: October 7, 2015


Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

Young children are unlikely to recognise senior politicians. When young children are living in institutionalised “care” and suffering traumatic physical, sexual and emotional abuse they are likely to have only a very fuzzy recollection of places to which they were taken or the identities of people who were hurting them there. Thirty years on recall will be even more difficult. On top of which, people who have suffered institutionalised abuse are likely to be emotionally shaky and easily influenced.

Those are my words but I believe them to be a very fair summary of the argument which last night’s Panorama on the “VIP Paedophile Ring” was attempting to make. It was very bad journalism, with little cogent argument, merely an attempt to build up a picture that those alleging abuse are flakes. One example was the treatment of retired social worker Chris Fay who is evidently elderly and struggling in a number of ways. The camera showed his tawdry flat and furnishings and zoomed in to a tight close up shot of an apparently filthy container in which tea-bags were stored. It was a classic propaganda technique to undermine the image of a man and what he was going to say. Just an old duffer who can’t even clean his flat.

The programme built up to a climax of bad journalism with an interview of a very obviously damaged abuse victim, his voice replaced by an actor. The victim was pushed by very leading questions to say that he may have been led falsely to identify Leon Brittan. The fact the victim had apparently correctly described the birthmarks on Brittan’s face, which had led to the production of the photo he identified, was skated over. What the journalist did certainly prove is that a vulnerable victim can be led to say anything: the victim was doing it before our eyes, pushed by the BBC. But the police are expert in questioning so as not to lead, and were not pushing an agenda.

Panorama however was pushing a very obvious agenda indeed.

What was most notable was what was missing from the programme. Not all victims are such poor witnesses. There are also some other very compelling witnesses – policemen who were told to drop investigations because of VIP involvement. Panorama did not interview any of those. Nor did they interview Tom Watson, despite continually referring to his “political interference” which they implied was the only cause of the accusations. There was also a peculiar absence of Greville Janner from the story.

Nothing can excuse this amazingly biased programme. But the BBC do have a point. Those accused of sexual abuse are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and those making the accusations should not be exempt from scrutiny of the credibility of their allegations.

Except that the BBC adopts the precisely opposite principle in the case of Julian Assange. The BBC believes it would be absolutely wrong, disrespectful of the “victims” and potentially prejudicial to a trial for there to be any questioning or scrutiny of the allegations against Assange. They take an absolutely opposite view of how to treat Assange and how to treat establishment VIPs.

Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin produced a torn condom to police but police found it had no trace of Assange’s DNA – a physical impossibility if he used it. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

It would be quite wrong if the accusations are against Julian Assange. But it would be absolutely right if the accusations are against Westminster VIPs.

I do so much look forward to the Panorama on the Assange sexual abuse allegations. When do you think we will see it?

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The Disgraceful Far Right “Journalist” Stephen Daisley

I shall blog about last night’s Panorama shortly. But first I should like to draw attention to STV’s disgraceful Stephen Daisley, who I last mentioned joining in a mainstream media Twitter hatefest against me for revealing that MI5 were targeted on the SNP.

Well Daisley has been at it again, this time with a seriously nasty tweet about the mysterious murder of Hilda Murrell. It was sent to Murdoch shill David Aaronovitch, to whom Daisley tweeted

Yep. “Hilda Murrell. How the State silences dissent one elderly rose grower at a time.”

Whatever you believe about the Murrell murder, it is not something Daisley – a broadcast journalist – should be making jokes about. It is also fascinating that both Daisley’s tweet about me and his tweet about Hilda Murrell were both in defence of the security services and both sent to David Aaronovitch.

Aaronovitch found the Murrell joke so hilarious that he retweeted it at 3am on 25 September. Which is a pity for Daisley, as he apparently woke up, remembered he was a broadcast journalist, and deleted it. At any rate the retweet is on Aaronovitch’s twitter stream but the original not on Daisley’s.

It is however instructive to look at Daisley’s twitter stream. It is amazing to me that a supposed “journalist” working for a broadcaster would be so completely open about their anti-SNP, unionist, anti-Corbyn and far right agenda. Daisley is only very small beer, a stinking, sweating foot-soldier of the forces of reaction. But if you can stand it, the way the unionist establishment interacts and thinks is revealed very clearly from a study of his twitter feed. Messages are exchanged with Aaronovitch of Murdoch, Nick Cohen of the Guardian, with John McTernan of the Blairites and with J K Rowling of the 1%, and a great many others. The SNP and Corbyn are smugly derided by all. These well-paid state supporters live in a cosy Panglossian paradise and have contempt for anyone who is not “in”.

The other thing that comes out of the feed is this peculiar obsession with Israel. Of all the media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s “anti-Semitic connections”, Daisley’s attack is the most astonishing. STV should be deeply ashamed to carry this; it breaks every rule of good journalism. It is a bizarre hotch-potch of mostly deliberate lies and misrepresentation, and crucially there has not been a single attempt to contact any of the people named to obtain their side of the story.

To tackle just two of about sixty wild inaccuracies. Daisley accused Raed Saleh of a “blood libel” which Saleh has repeatedly denounced and stated that he has never said, and which a British court found there was no evidence that Saleh has ever said. Nonetheless Daisley regurgitates this Israeli propaganda.

Daisley quotes Paul Flynn as questioning the loyalties of Matthew Gould, appointed as British Ambassador to Israel. But this is gross misrepresentation by Daisley. What Flynn queried was Gould’s avowal that he was a “committed Zionist”, not his ethnicity. Would we appoint an Ambassador to Cuba who declared himself an avowed communist?

Daisley also perniciously omits what Flynn had said at the start of his remarks which sets the entire context, which was that Gould had held eight secret meetings with Liam Fox and Adam Werritty, of which the FCO refuses to disclose the subjects discussed and who else was present. Daisley knows that, and his censorship of that context is inexcusable as it completely distorts what Flynn was saying in order to portray Flynn as an anti-Semite.

The last few paragraphs of this attack on Corbyn beggar belief in their lack of balance. There is no nod whatsoever to the plight of the Palestinians, the illegality of the Israeli settlements he names, or the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Israeli government itself would not dare publish anything so unsubtle and totally one sided. That STV should do this, in the context of an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, is absolutely incredible.

I know Daisley is a very, very insignificant figure. But the humdrum media enforcers of the establishment are vital to their ability to keep the 99% working for the 1%. That such a hate-filled and crazed right-winger as Daisley should be employed by mainstream broadcast media says a huge amount about the society we live in.

UPDATE HOW THE UNIONIST ESTABLISHMENT WORKS

As if to confirm the thesis outlined below, at 10.57am today, Duncan Hothersall, Labour’s New Media Czar in Scotland, retweeted Stephen Daisley’s approving tweet of an extract from Tory Secretary of State David Mundell’s Tory Conference Speech:

Good Stat: More people voted No in Indyref than have ever voted for any party in any election in Scottish history.

The tweet carried the Conservative Party Conference hashtag, so there is no doubt Red Tory Hothersall knew he was spreading Blue Tory Propaganda. The seamless web of Red and Blue Tories and mainstream media functions as usual. It is delightful to be proved so completely right so quickly:

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