813 thoughts on “Forget Blairite Propaganda. Sierra Leone was not Blair’s “Good War”.

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  • RobG

    Craig, a very good speech, but your timing of posting it here is perhaps not good: Hillary and Donald are about to debate on live tv, and everyone will concentrate on the freak show that pretends to be modern-day American ‘democracy’.

  • Brianfujisan

    Great speech Craig..Gawd aint you been through some serious shit…” I’m the only man in the room who hasn’t killed someone”

    Heart breaking tales, Colonel Issac forced to kill his parents at 8 years old…

    and the greedy bastards in a Clamour for the Titanium, Diamonds, ect

    All the best for Tomorrows Sam Adams Award

  • Alcyone

    Thank you Craig, but no amount of skinning the dead cats of History is going to produce a World Beyond War. It has to come from each one of us, from within. We could indeed create a paradise on Earth, despite the rather high population, indeed we must if we are to survive create a fairer society. As for resources, despite the pillage and rape of our Planet, there are still adequate resources to feed, clothe and shelter the global population. However autocratic, one has to credit China for her achievements, as much as China remains, in my opinion, one of the greatest political experiments ever.

    At any rate, as long as we are unwilling to change inwardly, we cannot express a peaceful world externally. Mark my words we are going to continue to burn. Say what you will.

    Here’s another silver-grey-haired man spouting Wisdom over 30 years ago, though at age 89 then, he didn’t show a double chin, and impeccably dressed. ( I think both you and Julian Assange need a new tailor. ) Trying not to be personal but if Corbyn can learn and show greater awareness, the rest of us lefties can too?

    J. Krishnamurti – New York 1985 – United Nations Talk – Why can’t man live peacefully on the earth?

    (But I know nobody will bother watching this. We are all on here just to spout hot air and as Habby says have a bit of fun. Though, personally, I don’t see the contradiction.)

    • Brianfujisan


      I firmly Believe most on here are Concerned, And whilst Not everyone here have the Power..or even a voice upon the Grand scale of things, we don’t claim to, But as well as Craig’s insights.. the Blog is very often awash with great points from commenters.. Knowledge, and Links

      Many of us try.. even when getting half drowned in Glasgow Green…For indy 2… and the very day before Toasted in George Square,

      And once I froze almost to death protesting Pedophiles cover up..outside the bbC in Glasgow

      another time it was Half Drowned outside bbC in Glasgow over Palestine Bias..

      Then we Had Nevermind and Craig taking on War criminal Jack Straw… where the Police ignored Straw’s Food for Votes Crimes.

      And John Goss Big Bike Ride for Palestine.. Macky , Mary, Node, B’aal Ros.. Alcy Tony.O ..Courteny, Clark, Squonk, Ben, Rose, Manda, Bevin.. Sorry i cant mention everyone apologies to those i missed..

      Well, We mostly all support a Good man..out there Trying his heart out for us

      P.s the list of Whistle Blowers is Long ..Craig is mentioned for 2004 here –


      pps Whilst Thinking About Nevermind.. i have noted an unusually Quite period..I hope all is ok Nevermind.

  • Manda

    Thank you Craig.

    Great speech. Even though I have an overview of what is really going on, each time I hear first hand accounts I am shocked, angered and revolted once again at the utter inhumanity and greed causing unspeakable human tragedy via the colonial mechanisms that still have a blood soaked grip on much of the world.

  • fwl

    That is a great speech. I hope everyone watches. Wild Geese was not only not fiction its still here. It’s a shame Craig that you are still not in the FO even if you are then used for negative purposes. You make a difference. Just trying and caring makes a difference. At the conclusion you say solutions will never work if power remains in the same western hands. Yes of course local hands are best. But if the West does lose worldwide power what makes you think local hands will have any chance and will not be exploited as badly if not worse by others. So, I would just disagree on the concluding premise that the West must be run down for the greater good. Running down or destroying a system to rebuild is never a great idea as into the vacuum will usually step someone even worse i.e. he who has not yet put on their cloak of respectability. So ultimately, it is better just to slog on wit the system, but doing what is right, speaking out and doing that which is right even when you you will suffer and that is so difficult that it is more than enough because in truth we do not really do it on a micro personal level and that is where it counts. Craig has done it. So I put him in a different category to the rest of us, but we others have not and for others it is too easy to hear a call to undermine the West and attack, but not do those little things on a daily personal basis that we know are important but which we would rather not do.

    Some people point to a summer here – 1979 and how a national psyche changed. In the US people talk of 1963, but what seems to have happened is a narrowing of minds, a specialisation and a growth in fear. A little example, if you look at an alternative student prospectus these days they are bland without edge. There is no confidence in being free and of challenging and speaking out. That needs to be cultivated. ironically you get some traders and hedgies who do because their egos can’t contemplate that its not done to challenge or that there could be a repurcusion for them, but amongst others there is a timidity. This doesn’t mean you have to join Momentum or campaign, but you should have some courage to do whatever you think is right. There endeth the lesson (inspired by listening to Craig). Anyway – thanks for the video and for making the speech.

  • Alan

    Craig, not so long ago you discussed Grammar Schools. I got sent to one in 1962 and by 1964 had decided that the British Government was the most corrupt organisation in the world. What took you so long to wake up?

  • Roger

    Hmmm Baroness Amos, well she was Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN from 2010 up until 2015 and also, and rather upsetting, is that she’s now Director of SOAS in London. A great institution with alumni like the great Paul Robeson.

    If it’s any comfort she not popular with many of the students, and they are aware of her Blairite tendencies, though probably not this story.

    It’s actually shocking that these people are supposedly working for humanitarian aims and doing precisely the opposite to line their pockets.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig – You are looking Brilliant and in Fine Form..I am listening to your speech and watching you – and thank God there are People in This World like You.

    It’s rare courage in the face of battle.

    Just lay it down – the truth as much as you know it – but what you know to be true from your own personal experience…

    You are a Fine man – and You are invited to Our Party Too (After The Fireworks Display in our Local Park)

    Saturday November 5th 2016 – In Our House.

    Tony xx

  • jives

    Yeah but all surely is forgiven now he’s given it all up to focus on his charideeee works…

    Ho hum.

  • Kempe

    Craig how do you respond to critics who dismiss the Lome Accord as “basically an appeasement of the RUF by West African leaders and an international community that had wearied of a protracted eight-year conflict” and consequently doomed to fail?

    • Habbabkuk

      To avoid any confusion it should perhaps be pointed out that the reference to the Lome Accord is not to the first EC – ACP Agreement finalised at Lome and commonly known as the Lome Agreement.

    • Node


      As one who defended Western military action in Libya on the grounds that it was ethically motivated, would you care to comment on Craig’s assertion ……

      “that there will never be a peaceful resolution of disputes all round the world as long as Western countries retain their current political and economic power structures, because the only thing that’s going to stop this is removing the concentration of capital and the concentration of political power […] in the tiny number of hands of rather evil people who truly do aspire to global domination of the world’s resources.

      • Kempe

        Simplistic. What of the evil people within places like Sierra Leone who want to concentrate power and capital? The RUF leader and former child soldier initially wanted to be vice-president and have control of all the diamond mining. Naturally he’d have made sure the profits filtered down to the impoverished citizens and not been syphoned off into a Swiss bank account…

        Incidentally the “British invasion” of Sierra Leone was part of a UN peacekeeping force (UNAMSIL) which involved the forces of 38 other nations (including the Russian Federation) the requirement for which was part of the Lome Accord.


        • Habbabkuk

          Good for you, Kempe.

          I was going to say in reply to Node : those are fine words…..but what do they actually mean?

        • Node


          So you don’t dispute that the West is controlled by greedy evil people but you justify military intervention on the grounds that the locals are evil and greedy too. What then is the ethical basis of your belief that “our” evil people have more right to control Sierra Leone than local evil people?

          • Kempe

            Where did I say that? My point was that removing the west’s greedy evil people as you put it won’t stop wars in places like Sierra Leone because they have no shortage of their own greedy evil people. At least our greedy evil people aren’t chopping people’s arms off.

          • Node

            My point was that removing the west’s greedy evil people as you put it won’t stop wars in places like Sierra Leone because they have no shortage of their own greedy evil people.

            I didn’t ask you how to stop wars in Sierra Leone. I asked you to “What then is the ethical basis of your belief that “our” evil people have more right to control Sierra Leone than local evil people?”

            You say “At least our greedy evil people aren’t chopping people’s arms off. Really? Are you claiming ‘we’ are less violent in exerting control over foreigners? Ask a Libyan.

          • Kempe

            What then is the ethical basis of your belief that “our” evil people have more right to control Sierra Leone than local evil people?”

            I ever said that. You did.

  • Tom Kane

    Excellent, Craig. If a little bit heart-breaking.

    The case of the 19-year old soldier, commander and mass-murderer… And the story of the governmental politics of control that destroyed his family, brutalised his childhood and made him a child-soldier… That’s one to haunt a lifetime.

    • Rose

      One of the best Craig; hope it gets shared widely. Testimony like this is powerful when it comes from direct personal experience.

  • Paul Barbara

    Great speech, as usual, Craig….but that shirt! Why on earth didn’t you buy a new one, if you couldn’t get it properly laundered in time?
    By the way, do you know which side ‘Colonel Issac’ was sold by Liberia to fight for in Namibia?

  • Sharp Ears

    The Colonel Isaac to whom Craig refers.

    Isaac Mongor Alleges Charles Taylor Planned 1999 Freetown Invasion with Sam Bockarie

    Craig referred to ‘Blood Diamonds’. Remember Naomi Campbell and Taylor
    Charles Taylor ‘gave Naomi Campbell diamonds’
    9 August 2010

    He also mentioned Amos. Some links.

    Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

    Labour Arch Hypocrites Over Lansley

    Stating the Obvious

    NuLab Freeloaders Steal From The Starving https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/05/nulab_freeloade/

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Further to the rutile trade, Mark Curtis on the scale and national cost of tax exemptions awarded by SL to the miners at the behest of international finance::

    Sometimes, the scale of losses is nearly unbelievable. In 2013, I worked with a colleague in Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, to analyse tax data provided by the country’s main tax body, the National Revenue Authority. The aim was to establish, for the first time, how much revenue the country was ‘spending’ by giving large tax incentives to the major mining companies (then British-owned) investing in the country. The figures were truly shocking – in 2012, Sierra Leone lost revenues from customs duty and sales tax exemptions alone worth $224 million – this was equivalent to 8.3 per cent of GDP. In 2011, losses were even higher – 13.7 per cent of GDP. In 2012, the lost tax revenues amounted to an astonishing 59 per cent of the entire government budget. Put another way, Sierra Leone gave away revenues amounting to over eight times the health budget and seven times the education budget. This is in a country where nearly 1 in 5 children die before age 5.


    (A long way down the page – edit/find/ Sierra Leone gets it quickly)

  • Mick McNulty

    Nice speech Craig, especially when you ended on evil people wanting war and global domination for resources. It goes to prove Lenin was right when he said, “Wait another eighty years until you get to the gangster stage of capitalism.”

    If Al Capone was alive today he wouldn’t go into organized crime and bribe officials, he’d go into Wall Street and own them. Today their bootleg liquor is oil, the boys they send round are armies and their drive-by shootings are A-10 strafings. People like the Bush clan have realized crime is for mugs, politics is where the real money is. And it makes them untouchable because they become the government.

  • James lake

    Excellent informative about how the world really works.

    It really is a window into how those at the top operate

    While we ordinary people are told things are being done on the name of human rights and democracy when it’s all for money for the 1%
    Our Western govts are truly evil

  • deepgreenpuddock

    Do you have any contact with Hugh Stuart? As i understand, he was once the Guardian correspondent for West Africa and was rather familiar with the situation there. He had also at one time been an officer in the (i think) the West African Rifles or some regiment of a somewhat similar name and which recruited largely from the interior population.
    He had been acquainted with some of the key actors that you described, through their service in the British army, at various times.
    At the time of the Sierra Leone business you describe he was no longer with the Guardian but he must still have had contacts. I used to stand on my side of the garden wall and listen to his description of the less reported aspects of the situation there, some of which resonated with your own descriptions.

  • Sharp Ears

    Wonder which set of renegotiations our friend @ 06.57 below is familiar with/was involved in.

    The first Lomé Convention (Lomé I), which came into force in April 1976, was designed to provide a new framework of cooperation between the then European Economic Community (EEC) and developing ACP countries, in particular former British, Dutch, Belgian and French colonies. It had two main aspects. It provided for most ACP agricultural and mineral exports to enter the EEC free of duty. Preferential access based on a quota system was agreed for products, such as sugar and beef, in competition with EEC agriculture. Secondly, the EEC committed ECU 3 billion for aid and investment in the ACP countries.

    The convention was renegotiated and renewed three times. Lomé II (January 1981 to February 1985) increased aid and investment expenditure to ECU 5.5 billion. Lomé III came into force in March 1985 (trade provisions) and May 1986 (aid), and expired in 1990; it increased commitments to ECU 8.5 billion. Lomé IV was signed in December 1989. Its trade provisions cover the ten years, 1990 to 1999. Aid and investment commitments for the first five years amounted to ECU 12 billion. In all, some 70 ACP countries are party to Lomé IV, compared with 46 signatories of Lomé I.


    • Habbabkuk

      “Wonder which set of renegotiations our friend @ 06.57 below…etc”

      The name’s Habbabkuk, dear girl.

  • JKick

    Meaningful narrative Craig, however, whilst all well and good speaking before a few academics about the ill fortunes that befall Third World Countries initiated by colonial corporate interests, I fear this is not going to raise sufficient public awareness / grievance in order to facilitate change.

    Sadly, those citizens that are in position to bring about change, wage earners / working class belonging to states that exert their capitalistic values onto fellow subordinate people’s in places such as Sierra Leone, do not give a jot about these far away happenings,

    Unfortunately, their main concerns are typically focussed / directed around closer to home predicament, such as the fortunes of Wayne Rooney or ‘Fat Sam’ type exposures.

    Only when there is a realisation amongst these folk that they themselves are on a similar level of subordination, as to those in Sierra Leone, and have also been conned / exploited big time, for example, in relation to fighting World Wars that have killed millions of their fellows in order for corporations to maintain control of natural resources (oil) and profit banks / arm manufacturers, that there is any realistic chance of change of current policy.

    Maybe, if we focus our energies in exposing the real reasons / people behind the outbreak of World Wars 1 / 2 (still relevant to present day wars), and bringing them to the attention of the working class of the countries whose kinfolk contributed to numbers needlessly killed, we can go to some length into exposing the con to the majority.

    I realise it it is not going to be easy, as stated by Twain “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”, but once folk start realising what they taught in history lessons at school ‘ain’t necessary so’, it may stoke feelings of resentment when those who govern and oversee the con are observed laying wreaths on remembrance day, and facilitate an urge to make a stand against the hypocrisy of it all.

    • Habbabkuk


      “…have also been conned / exploited big time, for example, in relation to fighting World Wars that have killed millions of their fellows in order for corporations to maintain control of natural resources (oil) and profit banks / arm manufacturers”

      Ah, at last I understand what WWI and WW2 were fought for.

  • Peter C

    Good speech Craig enjoyed it very much. Also instructive on the kinds of corrupt sharks that will game the system every which way they can. Also glad to see that the Real News is involved – love that channel, they do some really good work.

    On a different topic the EU parliament is due, within the next couple of days, to vote on allowing the EU to start funding research into weapons research. As far as I know this would be money to give to corporate interests to develop more destructive weapons systems. The long-term objective is to set up a programme worth 3.5 billion euros per year. Obviously this should be resisted. There is a petition on the go to try to counteract this. If anyone is interested please do sign it.


    • bevin

      Got that book you recommended Trowbridge. I disagree with its conclusions but-between the cliometric nonsense- there is some fine scholarship. As to Lenin and Hobson, after more than a century both age well. The world they were mapping, though, has been built over, demolished and re-designed more than once.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          cliometrics = comparing the unreliable historical with the unverifiable hypothetical. Pretend science in the service of historians.
          Happy to help.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Sounds like anything between the obvious and the ridiculous, something for which one could get the Nobel Prize in Economics for or an F on a paper,

            Little wonder that Bevin did not supply an example from the book of.

        • bevin

          Sorry, the authors themselves, in the introduction, use the word. I won’t make the mistake of being courteous to you again, Mr Ford.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            So you didn’t even get beyond the short preface, the usual ass=kissing exercise which no real researcher bothers with.

            Still no example of cliometric exposure.

            One down, and many more to follow, thank goodness.

          • bevin

            I’ve read the book.
            Look at this description of the principal author:
            “Lance Edwin Davis (November 3, 1928[1] – January 20, 2014) was the Mary Stillman Harkness Professor of Social Science at the California Institute of Technology. He researched the economic history of financial markets and institutional and technological change. His work has been recognised by The Cliometric Society via their awarding him a Clio Can in recognition his of exceptional support of cliometrics.[2][3]…”
            OK ?

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            No, absolutely not satisfied.

            You claimed that the book is filled with cliometric nonsense, though you refuse to provide even one example of it, providing instead the word from the preface, and info from the dustcover about one of the authors.

            You remind me of one of the participants in a panel on Hobbes who claimed the he was really a democrat because the inside printing of the cover was a scene from one of the Brugaels (sp?) paintings of a winter gathering of the common folk to which my long-time friend MM Goldsmith replied: “One should always read beyond a book’s cover.”

          • bevin

            The “cliometric nonsense” consists of the authors use of statistics to ‘prove’ a thesis which is nothing more than an apology for imperialism.
            The statistics in question prove nothing, at best they are mathematical anecdotes, interesting only because they are unfamiliar, being extracted from the accounts of trading companies.
            In previous essays cliometricians proved that slavery was about to be dropped when critics turned the owners stubborn and that western farmers had no grounds of complaint against railroad companies.
            These exercises are entirely ideological although-as I said- the hard work they put into a bad cause is far from being wasted.
            It is Bruegel, though which one I’m not sure.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Still not a single example of where cliometrics in the book produced a nonsensical result, just more of your trying to justify your own nonsense, especially since no history PROVES anything, only court decisions do.

            It took the Civil War and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to still end slavery in the USA. Another friend of mine, Professor Robert Brandfon, though, showed that it was doomed economically.

            Thanks for the spelling of the Bruegels

  • bevin

    Excellent, indeed and very informative. Craig’s remarks upon the nature of “history” in our society are profoundly true- history, as taught and, even worse, as people ‘discover’ from received knowledge in all its forms, is so thoroughly marinated with ideology that every assumption requires close questioning, beginning with the idea of history itself.
    It struck me at the time of the Sierra Leone crises in which Craig played a part that there were many parallels not just between the former slave refuge run by Clapham Group Evangelicals (eg Zachariah Macauley) in 1800 and the successor regimes there but also between the Pitt government, in which the crudest financial corruption was cheek and jowl with, inter alia, Wilberforce’s canting ‘humanitarianism’ which, in its domestic form, consisted of full blooded support for the dispossession and pauperisation of the labouring people, and the very similar regime over which, that Pitt parody, Blair presided. It too warbled constantly about humanitarian matters while bombing millions into unimaginable ruination. It too was in bed with finance into whose coffers large streams of the taxes were diverted. It too formed a bridge between the two major parties- a Whig government that called itself Tory. It too was, in the final analysis, incompetent in every aspect but its self publicity. It corrupted society so thoroughly, that two centuries later, the lies it surrounded itself with still dominate our historiography.

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