The Noisy Frenchman 166

In the summer of 1975 I was sixteen years old and sitting on the edge of the fountain in the Aviemore Centre, waiting to fix a kiddie kart when it broke down or the coin mechanism jammed, and reading a Penguin edition of The Quiet American by Graham Greene. It detailed the origin of the US entry into the Vietnam conflict as the French colonial hold weakened, and of course the plot revolved around a false flag bombing incident designed to facilitate American intervention. The introduction to that edition made very clear that the novel was closely based on true events by Greene – who was there in Vietnam at the time – and in my memory across 43 years it actually named and discussed the real life false flag bomb incident on which the book was based. I do not think the existence of the real false flag bombing at the heart of the story has ever been seriously disputed. The novel was quite startling to a sixteen year old boy.

It was impossible not to recall The Quiet American while watching Trump and Macron give their presser at the White House yesterday. Reinstating the role of France, the former colonial power, in Syria though a continuing US/French military presence was the main theme, under the guise of “preventing hegemony” – clearly aimed at Iran. The haunting parallels to Indo-China are striking. So too is the fact that Graham Greene was a deservedly admired figure in British culture and society. The BBC and the Times never attacked him as a “conspiracy theorist” or a lunatic for writing passionately of a false flag attack. This was partly because everybody understood these things actually do happen, and partly because in the early part of my life political dissent was permitted without social ostracism. The latter is no longer the case and an orchestrated media is trying to eradicate the former knowledge.

My personal dislike of Harvey Weinstein dates from 2002, when he acted successfully to minimise the release and the publicity for the excellent film of The Quiet American starring Michael Caine. Weinstein thought the film was anti-American. It was perhaps Caine’s greatest performance and he was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars, but Weinstein helped ensure he did not get it.

The reason that I know this is interesting. The film rights to my own memoir, Murder in Samarkand, have been continuously owned by a series of major producers for twelve years. In that time film scripts have been written of Murder in Samarkand by some very big names. There have been four finished scripts including one by Sir David Hare (which is still owned by Paramount) and one by Michael Winterbottom. But a film producer sat me down and explained to me that a film about the “War on Terror”, in which the Americans are the bad guys and the main protagonist is nowadays known as a pro-Palestinian campaigner, is never going to get financed. And he cited what happened to The Quiet American as an example.

Macron is frequently described as a French Tony Blair, but to me he seems more a French Margaret Thatcher, seeking to use a jingoistic military policy to distract from very unpopular neo-liberal destruction of worker protections at home. It is hard to believe his peculiar love-in with Trump is going down well in France. The danger is that he will feel obliged to commit to more military adventurism to live up to the hype. I know that those close to Merkel look on all this posing with dour disapproval.


Finally, a change of policy on this blog.

For thirteen years now it has operated with a policy of not accepting donations, except for occasional legal funds. It has now reached a size and cost, not least because of continual attacks, that make income essential. It is also the case that due to change in personal circumstance I am no longer in a position to devote my time to it without income – the need to earn a living caused the blog to go dark for almost five months last year, and the last six weeks this journalism has stopped me doing anything else to pay the rent. So, with a certain amount of pride swallowed, here is your chance to subscribe:

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166 thoughts on “The Noisy Frenchman

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  • reel guid

    Didn’t Graham Green write a novel called The Bomb Party? That would do as a description of today’s Tories.

  • Merkin Scot

    John le Carré writing about The Pigeon Tunnel is recommended as showing part of what actually goes on.

    • reel guid

      The British security services are now more like Graham Greene’s character Pinkie Brown than they are like Le Carre’s George Smiley.

  • Mist001

    I’ve lived in France for the past 10 years, not as a well off person moving in certain circles but as an ordinary guy, going about the mundane daily chores of getting on with life and I can say that it’s NOT hard to believe his peculiar love-in with Trump is going down well in France. Your normal everyday French people absolutely adore America and they admire Macron for his relationship with Trump. He can mess with workers rights and the economy and people will dislike him for it but with this American relationship with Trump, he can do no wrong. What the French are unable to grasp though is that when America says ‘jump’, the French government will ALWAYS say ‘How high?’ and that’s exactly what’s happening here. Many of us can see that Macron is out of his depth and being strung along but the French will never see nor understand that. “Yoo-Ess-Ayy!!’

    • Codcarton

      And yet, the funny thing is the French had an enviable reputation for “third way”, and admirably deep anti-americanism, which persisting long, long after de Gaulle, all the way through Pompaadour, d’Estang, Mitterand and Chriac (for all the faults of this bunch of rascals, they at least managed to maintain a certain independence. The rot set in with Sarkoszy.

    • rototo

      not sure where you lived, but apart from some very rich neighbourhood à la Neuilly or Nice, we frenchies mock americans since long before I was born (and swiss do the same to us, that’s fair ^^ ) and I’m close to 50… Not that it’s always deserved obviously, especially since we mimick everything they do 15-25 years later, but even after 35 years of media propaganfa, there’s still A LOT of discrepancy between pro-american views from french media/elites & the rest of the country (we’re maybe not “the 99%” but certainly more than 75% on that count)

    • Codcarton

      France, it has to be recalled, witnessed at close hand what the USA did to Italy after the war and would have done to Germany, had it not been for the purely fortuitous cleaving of that country by the speedy arrival of the Red Army in the east, ahead of USA expectations.

      Remember, also, that there is deep aggrievement over the power-games played (and still being) between France and the USA in Rwanda-Burundi-CongoDR.

  • Codcarton

    Craig Murray, in your recent pieces, many people have been requesting an option for one-off payments or irregular payments or custom amounts. Please see to this. It is an easy fix.

    • craig Post author

      Yes, I am very grateful to all those who have offered. But I am not offering a one-off payment option at the moment. I am seeking a regular and secure income for the blog for planning purposes, rather than ad hoc funding. Secondly I do very much understand some people cannot commit because their finances are very precarious. I would prefer people in that situation to continue to read for free.

      • Paul

        I’ve subscribed a modest amount for the time being. I wonder what your thoughts are on publishing the subscription income you receive from your blogging? Is that taking transparency a step too far?

      • Codcarton

        Thank you for your response, Craig. It does sound as if you have thought this through, at least.
        It is to be hoped that a one-off payment option will be added in time, once a steady stream of subscribers have signed up and the income stream is dependable. Any one-off donations thereafter will become a nice, unplanned extra.

      • Captain Pugwash

        It seems very unfair not to offer the single payment option. You could still have regular subscribers but by not offering it, you’re denying some people the opportunity to support you….also those that support you at a regular small rate (because they worry about monthly commitments), might sometimes wish to give these contributions a boost in one off payments as their finances intermittently allow, which again you’re not allowing them to do.

        These additional payments in a fund could be useful to help maintain your work/the site if anything unexpected arises/unforeseen costs etc.

      • Conall Boyle

        Hi Craig, of course we’ll chip in. I have. But can you give some indication of how the fund-raiser is going?
        p.s. I fear for your safety. Make sure you don’t get ‘suicided’ during your next time-out session.

      • nevermind

        what is irregular in a one off payment every year? to a post box or, god beware, to your secret address in the royal mile?
        Pay pal is one of the moneylenders in the temple, if there ever was one, it needs kicking over, not feeding.
        ah well.

    • Andrew Wilson

      [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter ]

      It is not hard to cancel a subscription in PayPal. Click, click, gone.
      Set up a payment, make a single payment and cancel.

      However, Craig’s point about planning based upon regular income is very valid. Rather than making a single larger payment, what about a regular small one? The latter is probably of more use to him than a larger, one-off, donation.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        I have used Paypal a lot for over 10 years, and was once subjected to serious Fraud. This was when highly unusually, I had a lot of money in my current account, which I was in the process of distributing as an executor of a will. Suddenly on a Sunday on afternoon, 3 payments were made serially of £100, £1000 & £10,000. I would have immediately known nothing about it, except I actually happenned to be at home, and Paypal phoned me up querying if this was legitimate. If I hadn’t have answered the call, and said no, I very much doubt, if that money would have been stopped. Even then it wasn’t returned for several days. Neither Paypal my bank , nor me had any idea, how this fraud was done. How did the person who committed the fraud, know that I had that money in my account, in order to attempt the fraud?

        I have since been subjected to minor fraud of much smaller amounts, and after trying everything possible over several weeks, found it impossible to get a full refund from Paypal. It is extremely difficult to contact them, except via their web menu system, which fails to adequately address all potential fraud scenarios. I have never had a problem with my British Bank in such situations, nor for that matter with Amazon.

        Whilst Paypal is convienient for web transactions, it is far from foolproof, and seems specifically designed to make contacting Paypal, extremely difficult to resolve disputed transactions.

        I have found one particular British Bank, even worse, when they were acting as an intermediary, when I was not actually a direct customer. The situation reminded me of an old film, where someone was on the phone talking to what was in theory a real live human being, and he eventally gave up, and said can you put me through to your computer please. Not that , that would have worked either.

        In most situations now, customer service is very much worse, than it was before computers came into regular use. Then most people actually tried to be really helpful. Now, almost no one gives a shit, and that’s even if you can understand a word they are saying.


        • N_

          Paypal intersects with organised crime. The same is true of British Telecom, Vodafone, the high street banks, etc. Might a solicitor have been involved in the attempted theft from you? Most of them are as bent as nine-bob notes or benter.

          • N_

            Or the manager of a bank branch might have had something to do with it. They tend to be in it with the solicitors, big landlords, secondhand car dealers, surveyors, local authority officers, and assorted commercial scum of an area.

          • N_

            It’s certainly very solicitory to think “Oh, a lot of money is passing through somewhere unusually; I’ll help myself to some of it“. They steal whatever they can.

            Give a crook a chance. The same goes for medics and dentists, surveyors, etc., who are in the same category as estate agents and car-repair garage owners but without the hair gel. Another difference is that medics tend to prefer heroin.

            Up against the wall with the fucking lot of them.

        • N_

          Sorry to multiple post, but you are talking about very interesting stuff. We’d be surprised if we knew just where information we give Paypal can end up. Carole Cadwalladr recently wrote something about this with reference to car insurance. Software is running, all the time, to bell up “unusual transactions that provide professional robbery opportunities”. Seriously what else could the situation be?

  • Fleur S

    Thanks again Craig. Any progress with adding a one-off donation option for those of us with erratic incomes?

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Fleur S,

      This is merely a suggestion, which Craig may or may not approve. He regularly quite openly publishes on his blog, his real name and address. I am almost certain his real name is Craig Murray, and he lives in a little flat in Edinburgh.

      However, from Craig’s point of view, he might not be too impressed. He would have to take all these pieces of paper out of envelopes, and take them to the bank. He would also, I suspect, feel compelled to send you a letter back to thank you.


  • TheBiggerTheLie

    I think Merkel would approve of anything Macron does foreign policy-wise if she thinks he needs it to ensure “neo-liberal destruction of worker protections at home”. France is the last serious obstacle to the untrammeled hegemony of Capital across Europe. Under Macron, the great prize now finally seems to be within reach.

  • Enquirer

    Could there be an alternative to Paypal for subscribing please – or one-off payments if that’s not possible. I don’t want to get into direct debits via Paypal.

      • Lawrence Anderson Burley

        Agreed. As posted elsewhere I would like to commit to annual payments- say minimum 3 years renewable- but certainly not through PayPal

  • Martinned

    Surely the better view – by the same logic – is that France and America are trying to prevent the former colonial power in Syria, Turkey, from re-establishing regional hegemony? I mean why go back to the 1920s when you can also go back to the 1420s? (Unless of course you’re just looking for an excuse to bash the French…)

    • Laguerre

      In 1420 Syria was under the Mamluks of Egypt, not the Ottomans. It wasn’t a national colonialism, as you suggest, because the Mamluks were as alien to Egypt as to Syria. National colonialism didn’t even happen until the beginning of the 20th century, when the Ottomans became a Turkish empire rather than a multiethnic Muslim one.

      • Martinned

        You’re right, I couldn’t be bothered to look up when exactly the Ottomans conquered present-day Syria. But it seems arbitrary to date colonialism from some point in the early 20th century, as if the previous period involved blissful Muslim equality rather than Ottoman/Turkic domination.

    • Sohail

      That does not make sense given how power in the region is arranged, the most obvious of that being Syria having clear Russian support. In fact western involvement in Syria if anything has had the effect of strengthening the position of Turkey in relation to the current Syrian state.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I am sure ‘anti-American’ films will not get financed in Hollywood. Perhaps there are more independent sources of finance in other global centres?

      • Kempe

        Yes it’s not uncommon for producers to sit on film rights just to stop other producers getting hold of them.

  • Dieter

    French geopolitical ambitions have always been a problem to the Germans. I think Macron is driven by a number of different motives:

    – distract from domestic problems,
    – score higher in the poll (the one time Hollande’s ratings in the polls increased was when he decided to intervene in Mail. The French like their presidents to be presidential),
    – save the Iran deal,
    – demonstrate French missile technology as export promotion measure,
    – keep a foot in the door in their former sphere of influence in Lebanon and Syria.

  • Antony

    Is Macron going to surpass Sarkozy as French president with the worst foreign policies? A hard act to follow but he might manage: Syria is an indication. The French voters rejected to non-establishment Le Pen and are now stuck with the opposite: the American voters are again a step ahead of them, as with the Revolutions at the end of the 18th century. The money flow though is in reverse this time around.

  • Geoffrey

    Based on your story of “The quiet American” above, I am surprised that the excellent Rendition got made it really was a good film, with Jake Gyllenhall,and Meryl Streep. Did anyone see it ?

    • FranzB

      Yes – saw it when it came out. It ties in with Craig’s Murder in Samarkand quite well.

  • mark golding

    Noisy frenchman indeed. Interestingly according to my source (encrypted Morse code from Jordon) French special forces in Syria will direct a campaign to undermine the Syrian/Iranian presence. To me it smells like the extraordinary Trump/Macron love affair has one main purpose, that is to embolden, psych up and push a patriotic future world leader Macron to spend a few hundred million dollars on covert operations to ‘expose’ Hezbollah’s use of chemical weapons. Sorry Trump you have been busted – good try!

    • bj

      And they have apparently agreed that the Iran deal needs to be ripped apart. I think that would mean the end of the NPT.

    • bj

      Also, the ripping up of the Iran deal might split up Europe. From the US perspective that might be a collateral benefit.
      The posturing of the repulsive narcissistic megalomaniac Macron leads to interesting times.

    • MJ

      He only got a Companion Of Honour, the lowest accolade and even then only in his eighties.

  • bj

    Off topic (though it should be HOT Topic):
    I wonder if Ecuador will now be pressured by the US to extradite Julian Assange, for him to be prosecuted for publishing DNC documents.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well the noisy French man, is the flavour of the month as he gives a speech in the US Congress right now.

    Emmanuel Macron the French president, has received several standing ovations and cheers, in scenes I can only describe as very unusual.

    Listening to the subject matters of his speech, conservation, personal data privacy etc, it strikes me that the very country in which he’s lauded for this oration, is in fact one of the worst offenders in those areas.

    Macron now stating that Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons, strong words from the French president, again he’s given a rousing applause from the packed out Congress.

    Macron, now explaining to the Congress that an expansion of the 2015 Iran Accord is the way forward, and not to break the nuclear accord, again he receives another lively applause, and a standing ovation.

    For now Macron is the the darling of Washington.

    • bj

      I suppose said ‘expansion’ is non-optional, and will in fact have the flavor of a punishment.

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes I think that was the tone of the remark.

        Macron added that France and the US have a very special relationship, now where have I heard that one before?

    • Antony

      France gifted Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1979 by chartered Air France plane. Jimmy Carter and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing were presidents.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I have read Murder in Samarkand, seen The Quiet American, and I like Michael Winterbottom. Isn’t your Missus in the film business? Surely it can’t be that hard. Maybe you could get the Russians to finance it, though you have probably pissed them off too on occasion. It might be a big hit in Russia, Europe, and much of the World, though its hardly likely The Americans would like it, nor promote it.

    Meanwhile, Andre Vltchek is one of these people who can write extremely well. He is also one of these people who occasionally intensely annoys me, because sometimes he seems so much up his own arse, actually slagging off his own cultures Russian/American he grew up in and annoyed and surprised, that when he lands back in The USA, he is not treated like a Rock Star.

    Craig Murray, quite obviously does not have Andre’s problems, and I have bought 2 of Craig’s books, but none yet of Andre’s (though I might yet)

    I rather like his latest effort. In fact if he has a blog, I may ask him some questions about it. This is really strong. A bit like heavy rock. He may have some solutions. You don’t know unless you ask.


    “Diagnosing the West with Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD)”


    “…And humanity is right now clearly at the crossroads, facing annihilation, not only a ‘medical emergency’. The world may soon have to literally fight for its survival. It is because of the SPD of the West and its Empire.
    So, what is in store for us now; for instance, for Syria?
    What will the sadistic psychopath do to a country that refused to kneel, to prostitute itself, to beg for mercy, to sacrifice its people?

    How horrible will the “punishment” be?

    We have just witnessed 103 missiles being fired towards Damascus and Homs. But that is only what the Empire did to entertain its masses. It has been doing much more evil and cruel things to the nation which constantly refuses to glorify the Western imperialist and its neocon dogmas. For instance, the Empire’s ‘professionals’ have been manufacturing, training and arming the most atrocious terrorist groups and injecting them into the body of Syria.

    The torture will, of course, continue. It clearly appears that this time the script will be based on some latter adaptation of the Marquise de Sade’s work, on his novel Juliette, not Justine. You see, in Justine, women were ‘only’ tied up, slapped and raped. In Juliette, they were cut to pieces, alive; they were burned and mutilated.

    While Justine can still be read, no normal human being could go through the 700 pages of pure gore that is Juliette.

    But our planet has somehow got used to the horrors that have been administered by the sick Western Empire.

    People watch occurrences in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Libya as ‘news’, not as the medical record of a severely ill psychiatric patient.

    The most terrible ‘novel’ in the history of our Planet has been written, for centuries, by the appalling brutality and sadism of first Europe and then by its younger co-author – the United States.

    And the human beings in many parts of our Planet have gotten so used to the carnage which surrounds them that they do not throw up anymore; they do not feel horrified, do not revolt against their fate. They just watch, as one country after another falls; is violated publicly, gets ravaged.

    The mental illness of the perpetrator is undeniable. And it is contagious.

    In turn, the extreme violence that has been engulfing the world has triggered various neuroses and mental conditions (masochism, extreme forms of submission, to name just two of many) among the victims.*

    Exposure to the constant and extreme violence ‘prescribed’ and administered by the West, has left most of the world in a neurotic lethargy.

    Like a woman locked in a marriage with a brutal religious fanatic husband in some oppressive society, the world has eventually stopped resisting against the Western dictates and tyranny, and ‘accepted its fate’.

    Many parts of the planet have developed ‘Stockholm Syndrome’: after being kidnapped, imprisoned, tormented, raped and humiliated, the victims have ‘fallen in love’ with their tyrant, adopting his worldview, while serving him full-heartedly and obediently.

    This arrangement, of course, has nothing to do with the healthy or natural state of things!

    In Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, bizarre things are happening! People from those nations that have been robbed and devastated for centuries by the European and North American despots, have been flying happily and proudly to Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, New York and other Western cities, in order to ‘learn’, to ‘study’ how to govern their own countries. There is usually no shame, and no stigma attached to such obvious intellectual prostitution.”

  • reel guid

    The question about Carwyn Jones’ capitulation over devolution is, in what way and to what extent was he pushed towards his decision by Corbyn?

    Sturgeon isn’t answerable to any politician in London. But a Labour Welsh FM is answerable to the Labour Party leader in London. Not on day to day running of the Welsh Government, but on constitutional matters yes, very much so.

      • reel guid

        Maybe he does. But he’ll still take certain orders from London and so will his Labour successor as FM. Especially on constitutional matters. It’s really just dodging the question to say there’s personal antipathy between Jones and Corbyn so therefore Corbyn had no hand in Jones’ volte face capitulation.

          • reel guid


            What with David Torrance going off to be a librarian or something at Westminster and now Gardham boarding Mundell’s overloaded Scotland Office flagship there’s a real sense that the scribe tribe know that the MSM is just about finished north of the border.

            A few years ago Gardham claimed that the BBC was biased in favour of the SNP. Definitely in a different yooniverse.

        • Christopher Dale Rogers

          @reel guid,

          If you think the Wales Labour Party under Carwyn Jones & the Red Tory faction take instruction from London, then i have a bridge in Wales to sell you.

          In the past two years we’ve had stitch-up and stitch up imposed from Labour HQ in Cardiff, not in London. Indeed, we don’t have OMOV is Wales, unlike England and Scotland and the reason for this is simple. With OMOV the power of the Welsh Labour raffia will be broken, and they ain’t about to allow that i can assure you.

  • jazza

    so no more ‘freedom fries’ – ‘french fries’ are definitely back on the menu – the french are going to replace the us of a in syria whilst amereeka runs back home to mama – and let’s everybody else clear up their mess like the cowardy custard they always are – and this is good news? Amereeka should be permanently crippled for their criminal misdeeds never to rise again – and its little satellite britain should never again be let out of its kennel.

  • JK

    Macron is like a wimp trying to cozy up to a bully to make himself look more powerful than he really is. It’s pathetic, but Trump is welcoming it so as to look less isolated on Syria. Unfortuntely for Trump, letting Macron get close like this hurts the masculine image that Trump wants to portray. RT mocked him today for how Macron provided Trump with physical contact and warmth that he’s missing from Melania – who is visibly keeping her distance.

    • J Galt

      Cue may jumping up and down shouting “look we can do pathetic – pathetic is our middle name , please, please let us be your favourite lackey again!”

  • Monster

    For me Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana is the archetype of an MI6 agent . A bumbling vacuum cleaner salesman in the mould of Christopher Steele perpetuating a massive fraud which all his enemies can see through. We must not forget MI6’s masterpiece in 2006; a fake rock listening in to Moscow gossip..

  • N_

    in the early part of my life political dissent was permitted without social ostracism

    Agreed it’s worse today, but Bertrand Russell was booted out of Trinity College for opposing WW1. No more high table for him – at least not until he was allowed back in later.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Hardly surprising that you, a conspiracy denier, have a hang-up about noisy Westerners.

    Graham Greene would not have proven so prescient about the US and Vietnam if it had not been for the plotters who assassinated JFK in the hope of blaming it on the commies, and had to settle on Vietnam when it went belly up when Governor Connally was shot too and suspected that he had been apparently double crossed.

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