Philip Cross Madness Part IV 510

Mike Barson, keyboard player of the great ska group Madness, had his Wikipedia entry amended by “Philip Cross” to delete his membership of Momentum and interview with The Canary.

This apparently trivial incident raises an important question. How does the “Philip Cross” Wikipedia monitoring operation work? “Cross”‘s systematic attack on Momentum and The Canary is a matter of record, and his twitter feed proves it is motivated by a visceral hatred of the anti-war movement. But how would “Cross” discover that a reference to Momentum had turned up somewhere as improbable as the page of a member of Madness?

To get this by Google just would not work – try it yourself if you don’t know it relates to Barson, to Madness, or anything about them. To do a daily Wikipedia site specific Google search for the word Momentum might get you there after hours of effort. Are there tools within Wikipedia itself that could alert “Cross” to this sort of reference being added anywhere on Wikipedia, and if so are they available to the general public?

A number of people have opined in reply to my posts that the time spent to make all of Cross’s daily edits, as per the number of keystrokes, is not great. That ignores the colossal effort that goes into research and above all monitoring of Wikipedia by the “Philip Cross” operation.

Finally, this is an excellent example of the bias of Wikipedia. The information about Barson is totally true. He is a proud member of Momentum. It is also quite interesting and an important bit of his life. But according to Wikipedia’s pro-MSM rules, “Philip Cross” can indeed delete it because the information is not from an MSM source. In the unlikely event of the Times or Telegraph ever writing about Barson’s Momentum membership, it would of course be in a hostile attack to which “Philip Cross” could then link.

I hope you are understanding the Jimmy Wales methodology by now.

So, to add to the mysteries of how “Philip Cross” works every waking hour, never takes a single day off and is followed on Twitter by few people but including half of Fleet Street, we can add the mystery of how he has omniscience of left wing references appearing in unlikely places on Wikipedia. Go figure.

510 thoughts on “Philip Cross Madness Part IV

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  • giyane

    I’d like to flag up the Iraqi elections again because I see no discussion in the MSM. Last fortmight’s elections have been completely rigged. Even Al Abadi is complaining. In Kurdistan very few would have voted for the old president because he never paid any wages and he’s been pocketing black gold through criminal Erdogan.
    Barzani and Yaketi parties were returned to power with an increased majority , which is actually impossible by any regular means of voting. They succeeded in losing a third of Kurdish territory , Kirkuk area, which was over-run by Iranian forces after they had helped to destroy Mosul. The concensus of opinion / speculation is that Iran rigged the electronic voting program.

    Question is, whether the decision to put sanctions on Iran is because the US was unable to prevent Iran from rigging these elections, or whether the US told them to swing it against the Iraqi people’s wishes for them.
    The fact that the BBC kept on advertising the election as very secure because it was electronic is suspicious. Kenya had to do a recount on a similar system last time. If the electoral system can be subverted so easily, is nobody talking about it because of what that means to western democracies? Looks like Philip Cross is very small fry.

    • Antonyl

      India has a mature electronic voting culture using their own non networked devices Every person who voted also gets marked on a finger nail with inedible ink. The outcomes are unexpected till today, so no rigging in the electronic part or counting. See the Karnataka state election recently where the national ruling BJP did not secure a maJority:

    • SA

      You make serious but completely unsourced allegations.
      “The concensus of opinion / speculation is that Iran rigged the electronic voting program.”
      Where is this consensus from? We need sources to discuss this in a calm way.

      • Andyoldlabour

        I totally agree SA. El Sadr whose party won the election is actually being courted by the US. He is a nationalist who does not like either Iran or the US.
        So, therefore if Iran rigged the Iraqi elections then they didn’t do a very good job.
        One must not forget that Iraq is a majority Shia country and is home to some of the most important shrines in Shia Islam.

    • Laguerre

      That’s very wild, giyane. The problem with the theory that Iran rigged the Iraqi elections is that Iran didn’t win them. Normally, if you rig an election, you expect to win it. Muqtada al-Sadr is not pro-Iranian, more like an Iraqi Kipper. Abbadi is the pro-Iranian one, belonging to the Da’wa party. Barzani in KRG is not pro-Iranian either – he’s the Israeli agent. He did not “lose” Kurdish territory – that was Iraqi territory with a minority Kurdish population stolen by KRG (because it has oil-fields), and recovered by Baghdad, not by Iranian troops, but by Iraqi Shi’a militias.

      I don’t suppose for a moment that the election was perfectly carried out, but you shouldn’t believe so much the demonising of Iran in the MSM.

  • Gerald Fox

    Craig asks: “Are there tools within Wikipedia itself that could alert “Cross” to this sort of reference being added anywhere on Wikipedia, and if so are they available to the general public?”

    The article entitled “Hook into Wikipedia information using PHP and the MediaWiki API”, published on IBM’s developerWorks pages in 2011, answers both questions in the affirmative.

    “Most people don’t know one thing about Wikipedia. Hidden behind the scenes is a strong web service API, which allows developers to access, search, and integrate Wikipedia content into custom web applications. This API, which works over HTTP and returns data in a variety of different formats, including XML, is freely available to the programming public and makes it possible to create all kinds of custom web applications powered by Wikipedia’s huge content database.”

    • Hatuey

      Yes. And it’s designed to facilitate that. And you can no doubt find plenty of free scripts for filtering Wikipedia data. The google API is the same.

      But let’s be honest. Most of us knew that Wikipedia was an iffy source years ago.

      99% of history books, newspapers, politics books, economics books, current affairs magazines, are the same; it’s like a parallel universe of lies, mistruths, spin, deliberate omissions.

      These creations aren’t totally useless. They’re handy if you want to know the name of some foreign misnister or on what day a war started… that sort of junk.

      As far as providing substance and explaining what is actually going on is concerned, well, naturally that’s going to create problems for those that don’t want to discuss the disgraceful truth.

      And what is the disgraceful truth? The last 500 years are 500 years of murderous industrial theft. You can’t justify that so you hide it, play it down, twist it, call it the ‘white man’s burden’ and talk about how we built railways, etc.

      Needless to say, the system of murderous industrial theft continues — today we call it capitalism. Very little has changed, not only in terms of what drives it (greed) but also in terms of how it is explained (or hidden as the case me be).

      It was as shameful and embarrassing in the days of Cortez as it is now. They hid it then too. Morally it’s on a par with attacking an old lady with a meat cleaver and taking her purse. And you can’t argue for that because not only is it shameful but, if you argue for it, you basically justify others doing it to you.

      So you hide it and fuck about with things like Wikipedia to try and stop the masses understanding any of this. They think it’s all about teeth whitening and football and crap like that. And that’s where we are.

      • Hmmm

        Please confirm you are a real person and that I haven’t, Tyler Durden style, written this myself during an insomniac phase. In short beautifully put and I couldn’t agree more.

      • Rod Rench

        not entirely sure why API access & automated tools being available for Wikipedia–and they certainly are, and many more than are listed here, and widely used by automated scripts within Wikipedia and by external contributors–has anything to do with its being an iffy source.

        I think it *is* an iffy source, though in different ways than you appear to, but I just don’t see any particular connection between the automating tools and the iffiness. the automating tools are used to monitor mass edits as much as to perform them, and so a lot of vandalism–from what I’ve read, I’m not involved with the project other than very occasionally doing minor manual edits–is prevented by using them.

        • Hatuey

          I didn’t suggest the open api or the tools made it iffy. But php isn’t rocket science and I would guess there’s a lot of flexibility there in terms of what is possible. It’s easy to imagine tools with filtering and alerts that would help nefarious forces.

          The reason I think Wikipedia is iffy is because it is open to general public manipulation and, as has been shown here, more sinister forces.

          I’m not the biggest fan of the web and social media. About 90% of the information flow is needless and pointless crap.

          I’ve also postulated that the net effect of the internet as far as activism and progress is concerned has been negative. The last 15 years in the UK shows that if anything we have gone backwards in terms of rights, pay, working conditions, democracy and freedom of speech, etc.

          Is it coincidence that this malaise occurred and unfolded just as social media and the internet took hold? It’s quite tragic that people think posting comments on blogs is political activism.

          And it’s tragic that these technologies which are so full of promise and potential are actually draining otherwise productive and progressive energy from the general population.

    • Neil

      Cross is hopeless on technical stuff within Wikipedia. There is no possible way that he could or would master it.

      The API is well documented on Wikipedia itself (no need to go to IBM). Learning it has been on my bucket list of things to do, but I haven’t got round to it yet (I’m old and slow). I’ve recently downloaded the whole of Cross’s contributions to my own computer for further analysis, and will post details if and when I find anything interesting. I’m sure the job of downloading those contributions would have been a lot easier if I had known the API.

      Of course, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that someone else, more tech-savvy, might be doing it for him. My gut “feeling” is that that is not the case, but it’s impossible to be sure.

  • Tom Smythe

    That lively Cornell professor of synthetic organic chemistry, Dr. David Collum, posted a question taken off his final exam given to first year grad students, namely propose a 3-step synthetic route to the novichok put — with lethal effect — on the handset of the Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary Zara Ismailova. Fourteen students out of fifteen got it correct.

    Let’s just say it isn’t too hard: starting from phosphoryl chloride POCl3 ( $96.90 per kilogram online unrestrictedfrom Sigma Aldrich), just add ethanol then dimethyl amine (only 5 left in stock (more on the way) – 1 kg for $333.00, then dimethylaminoethanol ( a liter for $53) in any order.

    The final compound, called substance-33 in the West, is quite distinct from anything proposed for Salisbury in that the central phosphate has a direct nitrogen-phosphate bond, rather than fluorine-phosphate linkage

    Wikipedia struggled a great deal internally with their Novichok article which was very frustrating for the science-literate editors who were shouted down by illiterate über-patriots on some issues. The article has some good information and 84 cites but overall is biased and inaccurate in many of its details. We did a lot better here.

    • Tom Smythe

      I should have mentioned that Dr. Collum’s point (“uniquely Russian technology my ass”) from day one has been that any idiot can synthesize novichoks from cheap unrestricted ubiquitous industrial chemicals — and safely too with a $20 glove box. I concur. The one here might have left-over reagents and side reactions if stoichiometry was not followed or reaction stages did not go to completion but that would provide zero clues as to provenance and not materially affect toxicity which is already in the over-kill domain for a few milligrams of product.

      Also a well-intentioned poster here has twittered wrongly elsewhere that ‘inverse methods’ can be used to identify the 3D structure of a novichok from its mass spectra, that is, guess at the structure, spend months synthesizing and purifying it, then check if the mass spec peaks match. Then if it doesn’t make, make a second guess, spend months making and purifying that… That doesn’t work even in theory because the original spectrum may not even have the mass ion, whole subgroups may never generate peaks, the stereochemistry will get lost, there are misleading rearrangements in flight, and so on. Read the Iranian article to see how mass spectra are interpreted in the real world.

      • Rod Rench

        fascinating use of plurals in your piece, your exam, and your tweet.

        even the Wikipedia page you point to, even your own comment, clearly indicates that Novichok is a class of agentS, not one chemical.

        the fact that some, or even many, agents in this class can be readily synthesized and that their formulas are known does not in any way rebut the statement that a particular agent was used in a particular case. The Wikipedia page certainly makes it sound as if the formulas for only some of the agents have been published. The idea that a specific, potentially still-classified, Novichok agent was used in the recent poisoning is not contradicted by the fact that some of the better-known agents can be synthesized. Further, the statements from the relevant authorities at least make it sound as if it is an agent whose formula is not public.

        your argument is very close to saying something like, “they said X was accomplished with a salt, and look I made NaCl in a lab”! Novichok is obviously a smaller class than “salt,” but the logic is the same.

        • Tom Smythe

          Hello? I don’t have a twitter account. Perhaps read the only peer-reviewed Iranian article to learn the basics on the five main novichoks — even the worst are easily made by anyone with minimal chemistry training. That is Dr. Collum’s point: here is nothing that suggests a Russian origin for whatever was used at Salisbury, which incidentally has never been disclosed. “A-234” is ambiguous structurally and there are perhaps reasons (non-proliferation) for keeping it that way. Wikiipedia has it wrong which is just as well.

          Overall, the whole grab bag of chemicals termed novichoks by the press do not form a coherent chemical class (in the sense of aliphatic alcohols or secondary amines or fatty acids etc). The only common denominator really is organophosphate inhibitor of acetylcholine esterase. However a great many insecticides, early versions of nerve gases, and common lab reagents like iisopropylfluorophosphate fit this classification as well as structurally but are never called novichoks. DFP is the only one of these I have personally handled; a safer alternative inhibitor is phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride.

          We do not have a list of several hundred compounds known to have been synthesized under the Foliant program. These were pursued to various degrees before settling on the big five. The Russians involved never used ‘Novichok’ to reference this program or specific chemicals made during Foliant. The US dismantled that lab and took samples (and its supervisor) back; again we do not have a comprehensive list of all the variants subsequently made at Edgewood Arsenal nor know what became of them.

          Overall we have too many certifiably chemical illiterate begin from a Russian-bashing perspective (opinion) and follow up with complete gibberish on the factual and historical sides. Opinions are up for grabs; chemistry is not.

  • Keith McClary

    As I have mentioned before, Jimmy Wales can make sure Wikipedia presents the Judaeo-Christian historical worldview (which underpins The Narrative) simply by adding one sentence to the definition of “Neutral Point of View”:

    “Wikipedia articles on history and religion draw from a religion’s sacred texts as well as from modern archaeological, historical, and scientific sources.”
    (It once said “scriptures”, but I guess that was a bit too obvious.)

    The activities of the likes of “Phillip Cross” and “slimvirgin” seem insignificant compared to Wales’ executive powers.

  • quasi_verbatim

    I fear there is a Part V, yet to come. After that, may we revert to the ScotNats, to have a good laugh?

    • glenn_nl

      I noticed that one too. Being such an esteemed contributor to the whole wikipedia project, surely PC deserves a page to acknowledge his efforts?

  • Sharp Ears

    Third time lucky for the Police Federation. Will Sajid pull the rabbit out of the hat for them?

    He must have watched THE wedding. He is using the lyrics* from one of the songs performed in the ‘service’.

    Sajid Javid pledges he is ‘standing with’ police in first speech
    Sajid Javid hopes to draw a line under the Home Office’s fractious relationship with the Police Federation in his first speech to the body.

    Mr Javid, whose brother is a chief superintendent in West Midlands Police, will pledge to provide the tools and back-up needed for frontline officers. In the speech taking place in Birmingham, he will say: “I’ve seen the impact the job has had on family life.” Theresa May was heckled at a previous meeting in 2012 over government cuts’
    Mr Javid became home secretary in April, after Amber Rudd resigned her position amid the Windrush revelations.

    * I prefer the Ben E King version
    The version performed by the gospel choir at THE wedding has been viewed 1,076,298 times! It has been put on YT by the BBC. Handy that.

    PS This is how Javid and other Tories ‘stand’. LOL and even Theresa most inelegantly. Silly woman.

    • Hatuey

      Funny how those opposed to the left within Labour are called Blairites. They’ve basically controlled the party since day 1, well before Blair.

      Labour has always positioned itself firmly in the conservative centre ground of British politics. In the early days the poles were farther apart than the are today so that it was easy to mistake them for a left wing party; but they weren’t ever.

      Scotland sees right through the scam where, for some inexplicable reason, England and the English Left think Labour offers hope of change and progress. But that’s like hoping the Boys Scouts will colonise Jupiter or something, it isn’t going to happen, and that isn’t what they’re geared towards doing.

      Time for Corbyn and Labour to dump principles and get behind the war on terror, etc., etc., etc.


      • Shatnersrug

        The history of the Party isn’t much talked about, funnily enough. I’ve been a member for so long now I’ve seen the old fights rattle on, when Blair was driving membership away deliberately. Ironically Blair’s true damage to the party and therefore I believe the future of the UK was actually committed by the NEC via Mandelson’s conivience.

        2010 was a black day for Britain. Not because as we believed at the time the coalition was the Tories in disguise(which it was) No it was the on mass retirement of senior Labour MPs, to be replaced by endless Blairite clones and in effect remove the left from political congress. Blair and Mandy were 70% to their goal of turning the Labour Party into the uk Democrats, then the ‘wrong’ Miliband got then ticket, leading to the open leadership election and what we have now, a large popular revolt.

        As I have said many times, I believe it’s all too late, this should have come 15 years ago but the public didn’t care enough, were too busy, whatever.

        I support JC because I believe it’s the last chance we have and it’s a very small one.

        If you’re interested in the Labour right it’s worth reading Robin Ramsay’s a Cladestine Caucus there’s a powerbase on it here

        • Hatuey

          Shatner, I’m struggling to be civil here but I will do my best. Please forgive the tone which I can do little about. Just about everything you say above is diabolically wrong.

          The one thing that stands out is the idea that 2010 was a black day for Britain. Then you go on to talk about the coalition — it’s all their fault. Well, sorry, but Labour refused to even explore a coalition which could have avoided all this austerity and Brexit crap.

          When you say the wrong Miliband, I presume you mean the right one from a pseudo-left wing perspective. But Ed Miliband was hardly left wing. Have a look at the “Ed stone” and see what he carved on it — the most wishy-washy pish imaginable.

          I’m not in the least interested in the Labour Right. I think they’re a bunch of unconvincing snake oil salesmen, just like the Labour Left. If JC is the last chance you have then you have no chance.

          • SA

            If you are not interested in the right or the left of the labour party, then I do not understand why you are angry. And if not Labour then what?
            As to the Milibands, of course Ed was not exactly very left wing but more so than his very Blairite brother. As to 2010 it was Brown who acted with pique and rejected any coalitions, and the biggest problem in 2010 for Labour was exactly the rather strange character of its then leader who played a big part in the defeat of labour.
            Yes Corbyn is the only hope that we have that we can have an alternative system because all those on the right of the party espouse the same policies as the Tories but just with a sprinkling of mild compassion.

          • Shatnersrug

            Hauty, you are running away with your emotions which has left you unable to read what I said. You’re obsessed with Brexit and I can’t help you with that, there are 5 stages of grief and youll have to get through them on your own, it’s very sad but it’s a part of life

          • Hatuey

            Shatner, you couldn’t be more wrong. I think Brexit is hilarious and I look forward to seeing The English pay a hefty price for their hubris.

            If you go on to say The Telegraph forums, you’ll see that England has it coming… they seem to genuinely believe there that England is going to return to days of globalism and empire.

            And let me say this as clearly as possible… the Brexit result hinged on English racism. Without that racist element, they would never have gotten over the line with it.

            You’ve sowed, now it’s time to reap..

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Shatnersrug May 23, 2018 at 10:54
          Lenin Moreno has pulled a ‘Bliar on Steroids’ on the Left in Ecuador, has actually been quoted saying he hates the people who voted for him, and has filled his ‘Regime’ with right-wingers from the Party which stood against him.

          • Shatnersrug


            Moreno is a F*cker it’s true, I cannot for the life of me understand why of Earth the Ecuadorians put an 2 term presidential limit it was an insane decision, after all the 2 term limit was enacted by the Republicans in order to prevent another FDR, the idea being that a truly progressive popular president would be decapitated before he did too much damage, and so it has been since.

      • Clydebuilt

        Does England and the Left in England believe /
        hope that Labour offers change and progress . . . . Because they don’t have any other option unlike Scotland.
        Kilfoyl and Bragg believe the only hope for the Left in England is for Scotland to become independent and flourish.mtgen English voters wake up and vote for change.

        • Shatnersrug


          I think that is the truth of it. I think Corbyn is the last sputter of progressivism the world will see, as far as Scots Indy goes, I think unless there is a progressive government in power then even if Indy were achieved then the Scottish Parliament would be nobbled by CIA/MI5(6?) and run as a puppet regime. Like every other small western country. I do not agree with craig that Scottish Indy will collapse the British Establishment, I also believe that the Tories would exact extreme revenge and enforce poverty on Scotland.

      • Jo Dominich

        Hatuey, Labour hasn’t always positioned itself firmly in the conservative centre ground of British Politics. Harold Wilson, Michael Foot, Tony Benn and James Callaghan were what I call real democratic socialists. Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air as the Leader of the Labour Party and is certainly not a ‘centrists’ – I am afraid to say that his critics are the ‘Blairite’ wing of the Party, no question.

        • Hatuey

          Okay, let’s go through them. It shouldn’t take long.

          I’ll leave Wilson to last since he’s the more complicated.

          Michael Foot and Tony Benn could hardly be described as defining the heart and soul of the Labour Party — neither of them really achieved a thing and in fact were more or less ostracised and ridiculed by their own party. The part they played is similar to that played by Dennis Skinner today (lovingly referred to as the Beast of Bolsover by his friends in the party).

          To suggest Callaghan was on the left is really taking the piss, to be honest. He’ll go down in history as a man who declared war on the Unions and lost, effectively destroying Labour in the process. Amongst other achievements, he escalated in Northern Ireland (sent in the military to help the RUC) and essentially robbed Scotland of devolution with the most underhand tactics.

          Wilson was firmly in the centre ground of British politics. That sounds nice, but the centre ground of English (not British) politics (which is really what we mean when we talk of the composition of parliament) is and always has been quite a rancid little place. Let’s not forget the endemic racism that played such a part in English politics over the period of Wilson’s administrations in the 1960s and 1970s.

          So, in order to establish what left, right, and centre meant throughout the post-war period, you need to look at the whole picture and what was offered by the other parties. The centre doesn’t exist in isolation.

          In the 1945 election, for example, the Tory manifesto outlined plans for a Welfare State, NHS, commitment to full employment, and a bunch of stuff that people for some reason (and mistakenly) attribute exclusively to Labour today. And a lot of people think that these great achievements in some way uniquely represent Labour’s leftist values, it’s heart and soul.

          Wilson in that context was just doing what Tory leaders were doing when they were in office. All the big stuff had been more or less decided in terms of the balance of the mixed economy, public spending and ownership, industrial policy, Trident, etc. And the Tories were as committed to all that stuff as Labour.

          There was friction with the Unions constantly pressing for wage rises but given the inflation crisis that’s not unusual and the Labour party was every bit as at odds with the Unions as the Tories were in those days.

          Maybe you can point to policies where the Labour Party (post 1945) stood in stark distinction to what was being offered by the Tories and the rest. I couldn’t.

          • SA

            “In the 1945 election, for example, the Tory manifesto outlined plans for a Welfare State, NHS, commitment to full employment, and a bunch of stuff that people for some reason (and mistakenly) attribute exclusively to Labour today. And a lot of people think that these great achievements in some way uniquely represent Labour’s leftist values, it’s heart and soul.”

            I have to disagree totally with your analysis. Yes the manifesto copied the labour policies but that was an attempt to steal the elections not through a genuine belief in the welfare state. The following gives some background to this.


          • Hatuey

            Lol. You send me a BBC link, zat it?

            FYI I have read up in the 1945 election. The drive for the welfare state etc., came largely from below. Noted economists also promoted demand oriented stimulation theories, Keynes etc., so that by 1945 it was accepted across the spectrum as the way to go. I could bore the pants off you with that stuff.

            The conservatives didn’t steal labour’s policies because they weren’t labour’s in the first place. I know the left love to pat themselves on the back and talk about this as their finest hour but even without Labour the U.K. would have had a welfare state, just as other Europeans countries created similar structures.

          • Iain Stewart

            Like your style, Hatuey. Polaris, obviously, but apart from that spot on.

          • Skyblaze

            You do have issues.

            Corbyn is probably the most left wing party leader for a long time…and that’s a good thing

          • Hatuey

            Iain Stewart, good call on Polaris. How could I forget? And how could any of us forget that it was the Labour Party that developed Britain’s nuclear bombs with taxpayers money that could have spent elsewhere (the British population at the time was totally malnourished too).

            If that’s Labour socialism, they can keep it.

  • John Goss

    Phillip Cross cannot possibly be one person. There is too much activity. I suggest a team effort.

    Meanwhile there is an interesting video from Persian TV which came into my inbox discussing the grievances of business-people who lost their livelihoods in the Plasco demolition allegedly caused by fire. Some interesting big-money connections too. But most interesting I found was the molten metal at the base of the demolished building still burning a week later. Now where have I seen that before?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Goss May 23, 2018 at 09:18
      I can’t imagine! Interesting; Ididn’t know about the molten steel and the explosions that mimic controlled demolition explosions, though I did of course suspect that to be the case.
      Your Petition is up to 1,071; there was a nearly 17-hour gap between the last two signers.
      I’ll keep pushing it on online ‘newspaper’ comments and blogs.

  • Sharp Ears

    Way off topic I’m afraid but it is an illustration of man’s inhumanity, this time to pigs, sentient and captive animals, rather than to their fellow man.

    Horrific footage shows pigs being beaten on a British farm
    Pigs at a Lincolnshire farm can be seen being kicked in the head repeatedly and jabbed with pitchforks in the undercover footage.

    The workers have been sacked. So that’s OK then. They are doing a disgusting job and probably get little monetary reward.

    ‘The Godfrey family, who own the farm, along with the company Elsham Linc LTD, have now dismissed the members of staff shown in the footage.’ Shame on them. I could only watch a few seconds of it. I do not eat meat.

    • glenn_nl

      Such abuse is endemic in the meat industry, anyone eating it is guilty of participation by proxy in these hideous practices. How people can carry on like this and convince themselves they are not being cruel to animals is beyond me, and we laughingly call ourselves “a nation of animal lovers”. Unbelievable.

      • Hatuey

        If we didn’t eat meat, those animals wouldn’t exist. Look at how the millions of horses we exploited disappeared when we stopped exploiting them in favour of exploiting the combustion engine.

        That isn’t a moral argument. It’s a fact.

        I suspect if you could somehow discuss this stuff with the pigs the discussion would veer towards moral considerations but I wonder if those poor animals would — like the horses — prefer that they didn’t exist at all.

        I see the abuse of those animals as a metaphor. It’s tragic.

        • marvellousMRchops

          “If we didn’t eat meat, those animals wouldn’t exist. ………That isn’t a moral argument. It’s a fact.”

          It’s only presented as a fact – according to you………and to your reality. Pray tell…. who made you the master?
          Ever heard of Buddhist philosophy?
          You are entitled to your view but don’t mistake it for facts that others should follow.

          • Hatuey

            Are you arguing that England today would have almost 4 million pigs if people stopped eating them?

            That’s a simple question.

            Assuming you don’t, how many do you think England would have?

        • glenn_nl

          Hatuey, with all respects that is the most ridiculous argument.

          Do you really think a factory-farmed animal – which never sees the light of natural day, spends its entire miserable existence with countless thousands of others in a cramped, fetid cage, where they never get to roam or interact with others, before being bundled off to slaughter – has a worthwhile life?

          Multiply this up millions of times over, is the world a better place that they existed (however briefly) under such ghastly, unnatural conditions?

          It’s astonishing how people can deceive themselves into thinking any good whatsoever comes out of it (apart from those lining their pockets in such exploitation, of course).

          • Hatuey

            glenn, you ought to read more carefully.

            “Do you really think a factory-farmed animal … has a worthwhile life?”

            I didn’t say a thing about the “worthwhileness” of their lives. I suggested that it would be interesting to ask the pigs themselves, if only they could talk.

            If pigs could talk, based on what I know of most humans, I think most would prefer to live even in those dire conditions.

            You then talk about what would make the world a “better place” and treat us to some of your lofty morals. But I didn’t talk about that stuff or invite you to.

            You seem to be arguing for the decimation of the pig population which is what would happen to them if people stopped eating them. Using that argument, you could argue for wiping out half of mankind who also survive in the most miserable conditions. Last time I looked, 52% of humans were malnourished.

            I don’t have the confidence of a God to make a call on these things.

          • King of Welsh Noir

            Hatuey: “If pigs could talk, based on what I know of most humans, I think most would prefer to live even in those dire conditions.”

            I disagree. I think the reason humans can endure intolerable conditions is there exists always the faint hope that circumstances might change. If they were told they would live the life of a factory farmed pig, with no chance of escape, for as long as it took to be fattened up and then slaughtered, most people I suspect would choose the exit.

          • Hatuey

            Welsh noir, there’s always the hope of escape, though. We have testimony from people who endured much worse conditions than those pigs. 99% of people seem to do what they can to survive, even when the chances are stacked against them.

            And at the end of the day, we are all terminally ill and destined to die. We know this and yet we strive on.

            Better to have lived and lost than not to have lived at all.

        • Hmmm

          More to the point would we exist if we didn’t eat those animals. I’m more than happy for pigs and cows to join the dodo.

          • Skyblaze

            Eating meat is probably the biggest cause of poor land utilisation and will be illegal in a few years time I guess

  • giyane


    Please can you tell me how the Kurdish electorate can vote for a Party that has not paid any salaries for years. People are starving because of corruption: This is what they have to put up with:
    There are pages and pages of corruption stories on the same site. Our government pumps the economy with billions of pounds through working tax credit. The corrupt regimes of Muslim proxy stooges embezzle the vast wealth from oil, and run up debts. They live in millionaire houses in London and round the world.
    How come they got voted in again?

    • laguerre

      The corruption is very bad in Baghdad too – there were lots of complaints during the elections – but corruption is not the point. The problem is that the KRG economy doesn’t work as an independent state (as indeed nor does that of Rojava). The KRG had a very favourable oil agreement with Baghdad, whereby they had the right to 17% of overall Iraqi oil revenues (mainly from the south), and then, in their folly, they ruined it by breaking the agreement (on US and Israeli advice) and exported oil separately. Not surprisingly Baghdad stopped paying. That’s why the financial famine in Erbil, and the salaries not being paid. The corruption is just a supplementary problem.

      Now that Erbil is much more aligned with Baghdad again, I wouldn’t be surprised if the oil agreement is reinstated. It’s very much in KRG’s interests.

  • reel guid

    [email protected]:14

    If Richard Leonard has voted for a right wing candidate in an NEC decision then the likeliest explanation is that he’s sending a message to Corbyn not to lean on him to get him to drop opposition to the Tory devolution power grab. Corbyn was so publicly unconcerned by the Labour capitulation in the Senedd that he must have had some influence in bringing about that abject surrender.

  • Duane Renault

    This is how I would search in Wikipedia efficiently for pages that reference concepts which have Wikipedia pages devoted to them, like Momentum (the UK political organisation), The Canary (the news website), or Michael Jackson (the radio commentator, not the massively famous pop musician) using relatively accessible Wikipedia search tools:

    I would go to this page,

    and in the search box found there I would enter search strings like the following (including the double quotation marks indicated below):

    “[[Momentum (organisation)]]”
    “[[The Canary (website)]]”
    “[[Michael Jackson (radio commentator)]]”

    The results obtained from those terms are more tractable (as in, fewer results, and more relevant) than merely entering “The Canary”, “Momentum”, or “Michael Jackson”.

    This works because double square brackets are a delimiter, in Wiki source markup, for a Wikipedia-internal link to the page on the concept named by the bracketed text. (The straight double quotes—don’t leave them out—are required if your search term contains spaces, as these do, and you want a strict search on that term as entered.)

    This page has more information:

    I have not read that page in full, but the “Search string syntax” section was brief and informative, and the information in that section is what suggested to me that one could include Wiki source markup in search terms (like double square brackets).

    (Hopefully I have not just duplicated information already mentioned here. I looked briefly through the comments on this post to check, and failed to find anything as specific as what I have tried to say.)

    • Duane Renault

      In the search terms above, the double quotes ought to be straight double quotes, instead of the directional kind our host’s comment-processing software has replaced them with.

      ie, "This kind", instead of “this kind”.

      (unless, of course, I’ve misjudged the comment-processing software once again.)

  • Saira Monizir

    Actually every page on Wikipedia has a “What links here” page, easily and publicly accessible from the left of the page, so it’s easy to see what pages links to the Momentum page. Good way of noticing if astroturfing is going on, eg people trying to post an article by linking less relevant pages to it. So not really a mystery if you actually take the time to understand Wikipedia’s checks and balances.

    • Duane Renault

      “What links here” is indeed a great feature. I hadn’t ever thought to look at it. Very useful, like you say.

      As for Wikipedia’s checks and balances, however: To “take the time to understand” them all will take a person quite a long time. The dispute resolution processes alone are quite varied and complex (as one must expect for an organisation that so heavily relies on consensus).

      An experienced and dedicated page-squatting editor can substantially affect the content of a chosen set of articles. I think that to deny this fact would be about as misguided as to assert that the project is doomed due to this same fact. Indeed, it is why some articles are as good as they are, and it is equally why some articles are not as good as they might be.

      But, far more harmful than any distortion of article content, encounters with editors of less-than-good-faith reduce the morale of other editors. When a well-resourced organisation sponsors conflicted Wikipedia editors, it does not merely practice propaganda in a novel “free-to-me” medium. It also sickens the vital cells of a beloved public institution; it drains Wikipedia of its editors.

      I consider Wikipedia’s development on the whole, over time, to be a great collective achievement. But insofar as it fails to develop into “The encyclopedia that everybody edits”, instead of merely “The encyclopedia that everybody can edit”, I am concerned for its health.

      • Tom Smythe

        Duane, you have captured my frustrating experiences at editing wikipedia perfectly: editors of less-than-good-faith … obstinate editors lacking competence in the subject at hand … belligerent editors who prevail wrongly via mastery of arcane bureaucratic rules.

        I would contrast my experience at wikipedia with peer-review (a form of editing) at scientific journals (eg PNAS). Here the authors are supposed to respond substantively to issues raised by reviewers. Often, like the annoying wikipedian, they don’t but an overall qualified journal editor is there to serve as referee. You know who and what you signed up for.

        The better European journals today publish reviewer comment and author response for all to see (along with the article), so it’s not a waste of effort from the reviewer’s perspective: you get the space to make your case. Wikipedia just buries your effort — limited to one-liners — in a pile of gibberish revision history that’s invisible (not indexed by google).

        One big difference is you don’t have a professor vetted with highly-cited publications on the topic arguing with an ignorant undergraduate who nonetheless prevails quoting wikipedia’s obscure variant of Robert’s Rules of Order, which the managing editor totally worships. People who are poorly informed are often not aware of it.

        I think that is what draws people into editing wikipedia: total nobodies get all this power without the bother of proving themselves via a productive track record in the academic system. The net effect is professional people don’t come back and the editing process is dominated by mediocrities.

        Agree overall, nice volunteer effort: “I consider Wikipedia, over time, is a great collective achievement.” My view is to wait for articles to settle down (a lot of science ones do) , then mirror the whole enchilada and limit editing to people of demonstrated competence (eg researchGate page) in the subject matter at hand, still with an overall supervising editor.

        • Duane Renault


          Had Gandalf attempted to improve the article “Witch-King_of_Angmar” on Middle Earth’s Wikipedia (common-tongue variant), I expect instead he would have soon found himself debating supercilious hobbits and jumped-up hitchhikers in some hopelessly obscure corner of its talk page (namely “Talk:Witch-King_of_Angmar#Conspiracy_theories”), confronted with policy citations with shorthand names like WP:BLP, WP:GNG, WP:NPOV, etc and contesting painfully contorted interpretations thereof.

          But Gandalf, sensibly enough, did not (to my knowledge) spend his millennia on Middle Earth authoring the Everyman’s encyclopedia, fact-checking popular ballads, etc. Never enough time for everything.

          One could argue that it is the regrettably low ratio of wizards to hitchhikers that explains not only the title of the fictional Guide that lends its name to Douglas Adams’ trilogy, but also its expansive coverage, its durability as an institution and not least its dubious reliability.

          Your suggestion to create Wikipedia hybrids is interesting. The page Reusing Wikipedia content and the licenses it cites look mostly encouraging.

          Enjoy the weekend, however you spend it.

  • giyane

    May 23, 2018 at 11:05

    Yes, that would definitely happen if Barzani , who betrayed the agreement set up by Talebani, had not taken USUKIS advice and stuffed Erdogan oil dollars in his pockets. This election by rights should have eliminated him once and for all. The Kurdish have been told it’s Iran’s fault, but from what you’re saying it sounds like the Churchill dream of Kurdish oil is stuck fast in the imaginations of USUKIS. That makes much more sense.
    Did you like the photo of Brett McGurk parlying with Daesh from voltairenet? Trouble is Thierry Myessan doesn’t much like the Kurds so all he’s produced is this:

    barzani and yaketi were supplying the Islamic State openly. It’s a rum old world where the leaders of the country are inviting the aggressors into their country and helping them out , then crying crocodile tears for all the martyred dead.. Can anyone prove a secret vote is rigged? Yes, by the result.

    • laguerre

      “Can anyone prove a secret vote is rigged? Yes, by the result.” Yes indeed. Iran didn’t win.

      You haven’t quite “got” voting in KRG. People vote tribally, or feudally. You vote for the leader you’re attached to. That is, Barzani or Talebani. Even Goran is geographically based in Sulaimaniyya. Until the Kurds get past these medieval loyalties, you won’t have democracy chez les Kurdes.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Heil is going large on the occupants of the HoL today.

    Dinosaurs in Ermine.

    They have that front page and a double page spread inside. The latter names some they consider to have abused their position and thumbnail photos are shown.. Lords Rennard and Taylor feature. They have also been the subject of Craig’s blog.
    1583 comments so far!

    It’s all about Brexit of course.

    • Jo Dominich

      Sharp Ears – it shows you how the MSM really is Tory propaganda doesn’t it? May is after the HoL because they have stuffed her Brexit Plans for now, anyway. Bingo, the MSM immediately springs into action and starts discrediting the second House What do the 1583 comments say so far – are they for the HoL or pro the Heil?

        • Republicofscotland

          Well it’s undemocratic for a start, and all the major parties at Westminster have been making noises to reduce the amount of troughers, however it appears more will be stuffed in.

          Only China has more troughers than Westminster, however they have over a billion people to govern.

  • Sharp Ears

    Afraid to say I didn’t read them. Just noticed the quantity. Under that link!

  • Sharp Ears

    The BBC’s report on this morning’s PMQs is Theresa May friendly. They are anxious to report her responses and her jibes at Labour.

    Prime Minister’s Questions: The key bits and the verdict
    By Brian Wheeler Political reporter

    cf Sky’s version. Less nuanced and more factual

    . Read from the bottom up.

    LIVE: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn face off at PMQs

    • Mochyn69

      Don’t bother with the BBC news any more.

      Just switch it off and refuse to pay the licence fee.

      • Republicofscotland

        Yip good advice, new BBC propaganda channel coming to Scotland in Feb next year, just in time for the next indyref.

      • Jane

        Do you know how to go about not paying the license fee? After many years of paying it I feel that now I am paying for a service that is almost completely against my interests. I still think the bbc model is wonderful….but now I find its news coverage undermines our democracy and it is against my conscience to pay for it. However I am not sure if I would be breaking the law to refuse to renew the licence. Do you know? Also is it possible to take a year out and then reconsider?

        • Dave Price

          You need to pay the license fee to legally watch live broadcast TV from any channel and to use iPlayer.

          If your conscience (quite correctly in my opinion) is telling you that the BBC’s news coverage is undermining our democracy then stop paying the license. Your conscience should be enough to wean yourself off the thin gruel of live TV and BBC re-runs.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I really hope that this site goes down or i stop posting when there is so much to debate about today’s crazy world than what happens to narcissists on wikipedia.

    • lysias

      This subject is not trivial. It’s about one of the mechanisms the Deep State uses to maintain its power.

      • Tatyana

        This subject is not trivial. It’s about the last time I’ve met a peson resembing Neo, I’ve married him.
        Not trivial at all !

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Why not expose the deep state itself rather than mechanisms it uses to stay in power, like killing the al-Hillis et al., covering up its downing of MH370, and the US government making it look like North Korea and Iran a nuclear danger to the USA?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Or American Nazi Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that China, like Cuba previously, may be using some kind of sonic ray gun to injure its consular employees in Guangzhou, southern China, when it is just because its employees, like those living in the American Embassy in Havana, get too little fresh air, by not going out occasionally, suffering from a dangerous forrm of menigitis consequently?

          • Tatyana

            @Trowbridge H. Ford, that part somehow slipped off my attention.
            But I didn’t miss:
            ‘Make no mistake: America is uniquely blessed, and with those blessings comes a duty to lead… No other nation is equipped with the same blend of power and principle.’

            ‘We are arming brave young men and women resisting Russian expansionism in Ukraine and Georgia’

            from his speech issued on: April 11, 2018

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Russia is protecting fellow Russians now in other countries after the collapse of the USSR and the Soviet bloc, like in Georgia and the Ukraine, while USA is trying to break it up still. Your brave Yanks fought its bloodiest war over the same.

      • Garth Carthy

        Absolutely right. I’m surprised Trowbridge H. Ford finds it trivial.

  • Robert Graham

    Maybe Cross is a agent and is actively undermining a source of many people’s information , for there is no better way of destroying a platform of information than by actively substituting information with edited rubbish.
    As was observed one person is physically incapable of round the clock surveillance ,it’s impossible .

      • Tom Smythe

        “Wales is protecting Cross.”

        Sure, where else are they going to get a like-minded person to third-party their political perspective day in and day out, with such a mastery of wikipedia revision protocols that there’s no hope of ever reverting the targeted articles. Andrew Philip Cross is providing near-real time historical revisionism for free on the grand scale that they want — and permanent in many instances too. The journalists there are on notice to provide backup: wiki-citable sources supporting the agenda. The average joe has no way of generating such an article

        You can see what happened to Wales just from the NY Times profile a while back. Bitter that he could not monetize the volunteer effort like google or facebook, vulnerable to the $70,000 fee for a brief speech (nobody pays that without a quid pro quo expectation), Davos invites, marriage to a well-connected English socialite, living in an exclusive neighborhood where people of consequence drop in … humble origins in small town Alabama is best forgotten in the current company. Where you are uniquely positioned to win their approval.

  • Sharp Ears

    In the Commons, Jonathan Ashworth is going strong at the moment on ‘Outsourcing and Privatisation in the NHS’. Mr Unt is waiting his turn. Tories like Soubry, Dunne and Soames are making interventions aka interruptions. Ashworth is not browbeaten. He is very competent and well informed. He keeps going.

    The troughers are off tomorrow until 4 June. They had a week off following the last May bank holiday. Next week is described as Whitsun. Then they have six weeks off from 4 July until 25 September. They also seem to have several Fridays off lately.

    Nice work if you can get it.

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