Daily Archives: January 11, 2017


Bella Caledonia Continues

I am genuinely delighted that the Bella Caledonia website is continuing and my offer to take it over is not needed. We need all the resources arguing for independence that we currently have and more.

We are however entitled to be somewhat perplexed by their statement today that

“Bella is not in debt, there is no prospect of bankruptcy, and there is no immediate appeal planned for cash. Any new donations will be transferred into the new company.”

This appears completely incompatible with an entire series of desperate appeals for cash immediately prior to the apparent closure, which stated in terms that unless large and urgent amounts of cash were stumped up the website would have to close. Just three days ago they published:

“The Advisory Board of Bella Caledonia confirms we are going to have to make the decision to close, unless an urgent fundraising appeal can be met. Mike Small has advised that despite his commitment to Bella, he will have to step down as editor as the position is too financially precarious and he is actively seeking other work. The Board is looking at other funding models.”

These two statements do not match. One of them is untrue.

My friendly advice is this. Folk are extremely committed to Independence, and many folk in Scotland are extremely committed to radical politics. Committed to the extent they will put their hands in their pockets to support you. But if you give the impression you are not being entirely straight whilst asking them for money, you are in great danger of seeing future funds dry up, especially where the money is being asked to pay your own salary.

If the “other funding models” means a search for state or institutional sources of cash, you will soon find that he who pays the piper…

Anyway, best of luck to Bella and I hope it goes serenely on and from strength to strength. I also hope that this episode has taught a little humility and a little less antagonism in their attitude to other independence campaigners and independence websites who do not share their precise viewpoint. No fellow campaigner for Independence anywhere in the broad range – including Stuart Campbell, James Kelly, Tommy Sheridan, Angus Robertson or even just me – should be attacked until we have defeated our real enemies.

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International Observation for Indyref2

I believe international observation to be absolutely essential to another independence referendum. This is the submission I just submitted to the Scottish government’s consultation on rules for the next referendum. I do urge everyone to contact their MSP and support it.

I believe it is essential to add an element of independent international observation of the referendum process.

The referendum is about the creation of a new nation state. Neither the referendum itself can create a nation state, nor the subsequent negotiation between Scotland and Westminster. The nation state is only created by recognition by the United Nations. The international community therefore has a strong interest in the process.

There was a great deal of disquiet in Scotland over the fairness of the referendum campaign in 2014, and particularly the role played by the broadcast and print media, and especially the state media. There is significant public perception of BBC bias against Independence.

Electoral monitoring of the referendum should be undertaken by the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Scottish Government should write to ODIHR and OSCE and request such monitoring, and at the same time write to the UK government and ask them to support such request. The request must be supported by the UK government to be accepted by OSCE, but it would be politically very difficult, and look suspicious to members of the international community, if the UK government refused it when the Scottish government believed it to be necessary.

Not only will the OSCE send a large team to observe the conduct of the campaign and physical balloting and counting process, they will send an advance team of experts with international experience in monitoring media bias in campaign situations, with a particular emphasis on state media. These experts will produce a careful and scientific quantitative and qualitative analysis of the extent of media bias, and this analysis will be presented to all the member states of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe. The very presence of the international monitoring team will be a strong deterrent to bad media behaviour, and will boost public confidence in the process.

I wish to strongly commend this work by the ODIHR and I believe this proposal is essential to another referendum campaign.

http://www.osce.org/odihr/92057?download=true

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The Steele Dossier or the Hitler Diaries Mark II

The mainstream media’s extreme enthusiasm for the Hitler Diaries shows their rush to embrace any forgery if it is big and astonishing enough. For the Guardian to lead with such an obvious forgery as the Trump “commercial intelligence reports” is the final evidence of the demise of that newspaper’s journalistic values.

We are now told that the reports were written by Mr Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 man, for Orbis Business Intelligence. Here are a short list of six impossible things we are asked to believe before breakfast:

1) Vladimir Putin had a five year (later stated as eight year) plan to run Donald Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” for President and Trump was an active and knowing partner in Putin’s scheme.
2) Hillary Clinton is so stupid and unaware that she held compromising conversations over telephone lines whilst in Russia itself.
3) Trump’s lawyer/adviser Mr Cohen was so stupid he held meetings in Prague with the hacker/groups themselves in person to arrange payment, along with senior officials of the Russian security services. The NSA, CIA and FBI are so incompetent they did not monitor this meeting, and somehow the NSA failed to pick up on the electronic and telephone communications involved in organising it. Therefore Mr Cohen was never questioned over this alleged and improbable serious criminal activity.
4) A private company had minute by minute intelligence on the Manchurian Candidate scheme and all the indictable illegal activity that was going on, which the CIA/NSA/GCHQ/MI6 did not have, despite their specific tasking and enormous technical, staff and financial resources amounting between them to over 150,000 staff and the availability of hundreds of billons of dollars to do nothing but this.
5) A private western company is able to run a state level intelligence operation in Russia for years, continually interviewing senior security sources and people personally close to Putin, without being caught by the Russian security services – despite the fact the latter are brilliant enough to install a Manchurian candidate as President of the USA. This private western company can for example secretly interview staff in top Moscow hotels – which they themselves say are Russian security service controlled – without the staff being too scared to speak to them or ending up dead. They can continually pump Putin’s friends for information and get it.
6) Donald Trump’s real interest is his vast financial commitment in China, and he has little investment in Russia, according to the reports. Yet he spent the entire election campaign advocating closer ties with Russia and demonising and antagonising China.

Michael Cohen has now stated he has never been to Prague in his life. If that is true the extremely weak credibility of the entire forgery collapses in total. What is more, contrary to the claims of the Guardian and Washington Post that the material is “unverifiable”, the veracity of it could be tested extremely easily by the most basic journalism, ie asking Mr Cohen who has produced his passport. The editors of the Washington Post and the Guardian are guilty of pushing as blazing front page news the most blatant forgery to serve their own political ends, without carrying out the absolutely basic journalistic checks which would easily prove the forgery. Those editors must resign.

The Guardian has published a hagiography in which it clarifies he cannot travel to Russia himself and that he depends on second party contacts to interview third parties. It also confirms that much of the “information” is bought. Contacts who sell you information will of course invent the kind of thing you want to hear to increase their income. That was the fundamental problem with much of the intelligence on Iraqi WMD. Highly paid contacts, through also paid third parties, were inventing intelligence to sell.

There is of course an extra level of venial inaccuracy here because unlike an MI6 officer, Steele himself was then flogging the information for cash. Nobody in the mainstream media has asked the most important question of all. What was the charlatan Christopher Steele paid for this dossier?

As forgeries go, this is really not in the least convincing. It was very obviously not written seriatim on the dates stated but forged as a collection and with hindsight. I might add I do not include the golden showers among the impossible aspects. I have no idea if it is true and neither do I care. Given Trump’s wealth and history, I think we can say with confidence that he has indulged whatever his sexual preferences might be all over the world and not just in Russia. It seems most improbable he would succumb to blackmail over it and not brazen it out. I suppose it could be taken as the sole example of trickledown theory actually working.

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