The Philip Cross Affair 772


UPDATE “Philip Cross” has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. “He” has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

133,612 edits to Wikpedia have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years. That’s over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for “Philip Cross’s” Wikipedia activity is astonishing is astonishing if it is one individual:

The operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen. I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross”. My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

There are three options here. “Philip Cross” is either a very strange person indeed, or is a false persona disguising a paid operation to control wikipedia content, or is a real front person for such an operation in his name.

Why does this – to take the official explanation – sad obsessive no friends nutter, matter?

Because the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative. particularly in foreign affairs. “Philip Cross” also systematically seeks to burnish the reputations of mainstream media journalists and other figures who are particularly prominent in pushing neo-con propaganda and in promoting the interests of Israel.

This matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article. Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger, they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

The “Philip Cross” treatment is meted out not just to left wingers, but to all sceptical of neo-conservatism and who oppose “wars of intervention”. A list of Cross’s victims includes Alex Salmond, Peter Oborne, John Pilger, Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Hayward, Diane Abbott, Neil Clark, Lindsey German, Vanessa Beeley, and George Galloway. As you would expect “Philip Cross” is particularly active in making amendments to the Wikipedia articles of alternative media, and of MSM critique sites. “Philip Cross” has made 36 edits to the Wikipedia entry of The Canary and, staggeringly, over 800 edits on Media Lens. George Galloway remains the “Philip Cross” operation’s favourite target with a quite incredible 1,800 edits.

Just as revealing are the people who “Philip Cross” seeks to protect and promote. Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland’s uber-unionist, has had “Philip Cross” kindly delete references from her Wikipedia entry to family ties that (ahem) may have helped her career. Labour Friends of Israel’s Ruth Smeeth MP has had reference to the Wikileaks released US diplomatic cable that showed she was an informer to the US Embassy on the secrets of the Labour Party, deleted by “Philip Cross”. Right wing columnist Melanie Phillips had her embarrassing climate change denial excised by Cross.

“Philip Cross” not only carefully tends and protects the Wikipedia entry of Guardian editor Katherine Viner, who has taken the paper four square into the neo-con camp, Philip Cross actually wrote the original hagiographic entry. The Guardian’s MI6 contact, Luke Harding, is particularly looked after by Cross, as are their anti-Corbyn obsessives Nick Cohen and Jonathon Freedland. So are Murdoch hacks David Aaronovitch and Oliver Kamm.

There is no doubt that Kamm, leader wirter of Murdoch’s Times, is close the the “Philip Cross” operation. Many people believe that Kamm and Cross are the same person, or that Kamm is part of a multiple persona. Six times I have personally had hostile edits to my Wikipedia page by “Philip Cross” made in precise conjunction with attacks on me by Kamm, either on Twitter, in a Times editorial or in Prospect magazine. Altogether “Philip Cross” has made 275 edits to my Wikipedia page. These include calling my wife a stripper, deleting my photo, removing my reply to attacks made on me by Kamm and Harding among others, and deleting my refusal of all honours while a British diplomat.

Neil Clark and Peter Oborne are among many others who have suffered attacks on them by Philip Cross on Wikipedia simultaneously with attacks by Kamm on other media. Clark is taking Kamm to court for stalking – and “Philip Cross” has deleted all reference to that fact from Kamm’s Wikipedia page.

What is plain is that Kamm and Cross have extremely similar political views, and that the dividing line of those they attack and those they defend is based squarely on the principles of the Euston Manifesto. This may be obscure, but is in fact an important Blairite declaration of support for Israel and for neo-con wars of intervention, and was linked to the foundation of the Henry Jackson Society. Who do we find editing the Wikipedia entry for the Euston Manifesto? “Philip Cross”.

What is particularly interesting is that “Philip Cross”‘s views happen to be precisely the same political views as those of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales has been on twitter the last three days being actively rude and unpleasant to anybody questioning the activities of Philip Cross. His commitment to Cross’s freedom to operate on Wikipedia would be rather more impressive if the Cross operation were not promoting Wales’ own opinions. Jimmy Wales has actively spoken against Jeremy Corbyn, supports the bombing of Syria, supports Israel, is so much of a Blairite he married Blair’s secretary, and sits on the board of Guardian Media Group Ltd alongside Katherine Viner.

The extreme defensiveness and surliness of Wales’ twitter responses on the “Philip Cross” operation is very revealing. Why do you think he reacts like this? Interestingly enough. Wikipedia’s UK begging arm, Wikimedia UK, joined in with equal hostile responses to anyone questioning Cross.

In response many people sent Jimmy Wales evidence, which he ignored, while his “charity” got very upset with those questioning the Philip Cross operation.

Wikimedia had arrived uninvited into a twitter thread discussing the “Philip Cross” operation and had immediately started attacking people questioning Cross’s legitimacy. Can anybody else see anything “insulting” in my tweet?

I repeat, the coincidence of Philip Cross’s political views with those of Jimmy Wales, allied to Wales’ and Wikimedia’s immediate hostility to anybody questioning the Cross operation – without needing to look at any evidence – raises a large number of questions.

“Philip Cross” does not attempt to hide his motive or his hatred of those whose Wikipedia entries he attacks. He openly taunts them on twitter. The obvious unbalance of his edits is plain for anybody to see.

I have in the past exchanged messages with “Philip Cross”. He says he is a person, and that he edits in conjunction with Oliver Kamm tweets because he follows Kamm and his tweets inspire him to edit. He says he has met Kamm and admits to being in electronic communication with him. That excjange I had with Cross was some years ago. More recent communication with Cross (who has now changed his twitter ID to “Julian”

has been less forthcoming and he has not replied:

George Galloway has offered a reward of £1,000 for the name and address of “Cross” so he may also take legal action.

My view is that Philip Cross probably is a real person, but that he fronts for a group acting under his name. It is undeniably true, in fact the government has boasted, that both the MOD and GCHQ have “cyber-war” ops aiming to defend the “official” narrative against alternative news media, and that is precisely the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation on Wikipedia. The extreme regularity of output argues against “Philip Cross” being either a one man or volunteer operation. I do not rule out however the possibility he genuinely is just a single extremely obsessed right wing fanatic.

Finally, it is worth noting that on Wikipedia, an operation to boost the mainstream media narrative and denigrate alternative sources has the massive advantage that only information from mainstream media sources is permitted in political articles.

In conclusion, some images from the edit pages of Wikipedia articles to give just a little flavour of what I am talking about:

I am slightly concerned lest I am myself getting obsessed. Do you find this as fascinating as I do?


772 thoughts on “The Philip Cross Affair

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  • Dave

    Well all this really only shows what we already know – you’re a fool if you rely on Wikipedia for anything, especially of a political nature.

    • Tom Welsh

      A major exception to Dave’s statement – I find Wikipedia usually quite accurate and reliable on anything that isn’t controversial. As I would never rely on such a source for information about, for example, John Pilger, it hasn’t caused me any problems. (I form my views of John Pilger by reading his work, which leads me to conclude that he is an excellent person, very knowledgeable indeed, and right about most things).

      It stands to reason that, since Wikipedia is so immense, most of it must be contributed by people who are not demented political groupies – they simply wouldn’t have a millionth of the time. So I blithely read it about mathematics, science, history (most), art, sport, etc. And very good indeed it is on those topics.

      • Shatnersrug

        Well, Wikipedia is good for knowing how old Towns Van Zandt was when he died I suppose 🤔

        Even then I noticed for several years that Paul Stanley the Kiss front man age seem to stay the same every year, first born in ‘50 then 51 then 52.

        To the matter at hand, the obvious question to ask is how does Cross’s time card compare on different entries, was he editing Craig at exactly the same time? Is that even possible, or would there have to be more than one person. There are plenty of PR companies that offer Wiki editing as a service, and crosses actions do seem industrial. Without getting SIS involved, and Murdoch does have the money to spend on it, I seem to recall one of his children has a company that does this type of internet PR work

        I do love the idea that Mr Whale sits at home grinding his jaw whilst furtively editing away all night 🤪🤪🤪😂😂. “Goddamn Murray, when will he learn to love Blair!!”🤪🤪🤪

        Did Wikipedia strike anyone else as a stupid idea when it started?

      • Colin Wright

        ‘A major exception to Dave’s statement – I find Wikipedia usually quite accurate and reliable on anything that isn’t controversial…’

        Yeah — that’s about my take on it. Fine for Malaysian tree frogs — not so trustworthy if it comes to current events in Iran.

    • Tim W

      It’s easy to make yourself feel clever by calling strangers stupid. But it’s actually a stupid thing to do.

    • Neil

      That’s a bizarre comment, Sharp Ears. In my reply I gave you a link to my Wikipedia user page. Here it is again:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:NSH001

      Please read it. I have nothing to hide, and if you bothered to actually read that page, it says exactly who I am.

      Moreover, I think you would agree very strongly with almost everything I have written there. I hope you will find many of the links there very useful.

      If necessary, Craig will confirm that I gave generously to his appeal for the libel case, and similarly for Nadira’s appeal.

      You’d have to be brain-dead if you think I would support “Philip Cross”.

      Read again what I said in that comment. Wikipedia has to have rules, and the same rules have to apply to everybody. That’s a basic principle of fairness and justice.

      You can’t have it both ways. In my opinion, “Philip Cross” probably is stretching the rules of Wikipedia, but very cleverly and very subtly. So yes, he should be made to follow the rules like anyone else. If you argue that everyone should be subject to the same rules, then you have to accept them even when they “benefit” someone you don’t like.

      But much more important than stretching the letter of Wikipedia rules, is obeying their +++spirit+++. There is no way that “Philip Cross” can possibly be said to be doing that.

      Regards, Neil

      • MrTuvok

        Neil,
        in a case like “Philip Cross” where one editor “hijacks” a certain page, how is this supposed to be solved according to wikipedia?

        • Neil

          MrTuvok,

          In theory, any other editor can come along and change it. But that depends on there being someone willing and able to do it.If you just want to correct, say, a spelling mistake, then you’re unlikely to have any problems, and it really is “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit”. Just hit the edit button and type away.

          Because anyone really can edit it, there have to be rules as to what you can put in. You can’t just make stuff up, it has to be sourced to a “reliable source” (RS). The thing just wouldn’t work otherwise.

          See .

          Trouble is, it is much harder for sources outside the mainstream to qualify as RS. This automatically results in a bias towards the Establishment viewpoint.

          Not always, though. For example, on Israel/Palestine (I/P), there is plenty of good scholarship covering events more than about 5-10 years ago. So it is quite possible to write unbiased articles, within the rules, on the history of the conflict. User:Nishidani has been quite exceptional in doing this sort of thing: . Over the years, he’s made a huge improvement to I/P articles. There are several other good editors, of course. Huldra, Nableezy, Zero0000, Malik Shabbaz (another actuary! – and he’s Jewish) plus others. There are even a few Zionist editors (not many) who are willing to work within the spirit of the rules.

          But it does depend on people being available and willing to invest the time and effort to do it. For example, I think Craig’s entry needs a top-to-bottom re-write of the whole article, and I estimate it would take me about 3 weeks of full-time effort to do it properly. It might be a bit easier if “Philip Cross” stays away, but there are worrying signs that he’s creeping back already.

          So, yes, it’s possible to deal with it, but you need to be prepared to put the time and effort in. But it’s much harder if you’re working against the establishment viewpoint.

      • Ian

        I just don’t get how Wiki can allow this kind of free-for-all, which clearly damages their product. How can you trust a thing that is written there, and how can an individual refuse to be listed by them, when anybody can distort their entry and insert false information?

  • Chometha

    It is always worth reminding oneself that never in human history have non-establishment figures been able to provide a counter narrative to such a large audience (via the internet/social media).

    It is obviously in the establishments interest to ensure these voices are marginalised otherwise everything they have said for centuries comes falling down like a stack of cards.

    There is no proof of course but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to find out Cross is working for some government or other. All nations have teams dedicated to narrative control on the internet, this is widely documented.

    What is truly galling about all this, assuming he is some sock puppet account, is we are technically paying for it ourselves. Paying to have our history manipulated and to be trolled on the internet.

    • Dan

      Given the amount of time “Philip Cross” spends on Wiki and Twitter, surely it’s far more likely that there’s a team of people using those accounts?

      • Chometha

        Certainly, but there is no definitive evidence as yet. I was wondering how this can be ascertained, and it may prove to be difficult unfortunately.

        • Yalt

          Truly definitive evidence is unlikely but I think a careful examination of the timeline would probably shed light. A single person, however obsessed, will take clear breaks at some point for meals or illness or whatnot. If it’s a dozen people all working under the same name these effects would be smeared.

          But 30 posts per day maybe isn’t enough data to show any of that. Here’s another idea: are there ever simultaneous edits on different subjects?

      • Tim W

        If Philip Cross edits all those hours of the day he would have no time to actually read and learn anything on all the many subjects he edits. He is therefore a fake account fronting a wikipedia editing operation beyond any doubt. Wikipedia needs to speak and to act.

    • Ian

      If Wiki was a reputable organisation, which conformed to basic transparencey rules, then it would not be possible for people to set up anonymous accounts, sock puppets or propaganda outfits. They would have to be verified as to who they are. That seems utterly basic to me, if they want to be trusted as some kind of reference. They are just destroying any possibility of that.

      • Skyblaze

        Isnt it transparent that we can see who and when edits are made. For me the real issue is not the edits but the quantity and frequency by one user

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Philip Cross has paid some attention to the Wikipedia page of the former Conservative MP Matthew Gordon-Banks. I am unlikely to agree a great deal with Mr Gordon-Banks politically, but what Cross has done with his Wikipedia page is worth studying. Apart from some minor and cosmetic edits, the only purpose for which Cross visited Mr Gordon-Banks page was to insert material (from media reports) accusing Mr Gordon-Banks of being anti-Semitic. Rightly, or wrongly, but that was apparently his only interest in Mr Gordon-Banks.

    Another editor removed this material on the grounds that it was “sub judice…subject of legal action”. Without comment, Cross reinserted it within six hours of removal.

    By contrast, Philip Cross has removed the mention of the bare fact, without any adverse comment, that Neil Clark has filed a Claim in the High Court against Oliver Kamm (giving the case reference number) and that Kamm has filed a Defence, thirty-eight times to date from Kamm’s Wikipedia page.

  • Anon1

    Can’t say I’m that bothered. Wikipedia is full of leftist editors with too much time on their hands distorting articles towards a more left-wing perspective.

    • Republicofscotland

      Anon1.

      Nice disavow, almost believable, does the manual teach you that as well. 😀

      • Charles Bostock

        There you go, you see.

        Philip Cross is attacked for his internet activity and for – it is claimed – attempting to subvert the reputation of certain people.

        But it’s perfectly fine for Republicofscotland to suggest that contributer Anon1 is working on behalf of some organisation.

        I shan’t comment on the hypocrisy – even cowardice – of those who protest about Philip Cross bnut themselves fill up the internet with stuff that is usually as unsubstantiated as it is poisonous (not to say deranged).

        Those that live by the internet must expect to die by the internet.

        • Ian

          Whatever they are doing, they are not setting themselves as a neutral reference point, which Wiki falsely is.

          • Charles Bostock

            As Spencer-Davis said the other day, neutrality is subjective and very much in the eye of the beholder.

            Anyway, what does neutrality mean in the Wiki context? I should have thought it means that as many facts as possible about the person should be allowed to appear – both facts which reflect well on the person and those that don’t. I get the impression from a good number of the comments that an editor such as Philip Cross gets accused of not being neutral when he adds something which might not redound to the credit of a person admired by the generality on here (rg Galloway, Neil Clark, Pilger, etc, etc).

          • oldyella

            ”I should have thought it means that as many facts as possible about the person should be allowed to appear – both facts which reflect well on the person and those that don’t.”

            Intriguing Mr Bostock. If this is a genuine thought on your behalf you would logically have an issue, like many do, with Mr Cross acting in such a vindictive manner as to delete facts on the ‘Honours and awards” list from a Mr John Pilgers
            wikipedia page.

            Are you genuine? Do you have an issue with Mr Cross’ behaviour in this regard?

          • Charles Bostock

            Oldyella

            Yes indeed. It should have been fairly clear from my comments that deletions of the sort you mentioned should not occur.

            It would be interesting to learn if, in cases like that of Pilger and some of the better-known alleged targets, deletions outnumber additions,

            Again, judgement us handicapped by the absence of a couple of concrete examples which the indignados on here seems curiously reluctant to offer.

        • Republicofscotland

          “But it’s perfectly fine for Republicofscotland to suggest that contributer Anon1 is working on behalf of some organisation.”

          I know a spade when I see one, if you don’t, that’s your problem not mine.

          • Charles Bostock

            Perhaps Philip Cross is as capable of seeing a spade as you are? And probably as convinced he’s right as you seem to be. Motes and beams, stones and glasshouses come to mind, RoS.

          • Jan Brooker

            I usually work on the *duck* principle. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then probably …… I’m actually a registered Wikipedia editor ~ though my edits are few and far between.

            Really enjoyed the above article, though. Having cancelled my £5p.m. supporters ‘sub’ to The Guardian, may get round to supporting Craig instead. He [on the *novichoks*] and Jonathan Cook on Palestine have been added to my regular news sources.

  • Morton Subotnick

    Just cancelled my monthly ‘bung’ to the Wikimedia Foundation. The Internet Archive similarly lost my financial support this time last year when the “Trump is a fascist” begging emails started arriving. Too bad, so sad, bye bye!

    • Tom Welsh

      Ye – es. My reaction too. There are so many deserving causes desperately needing money these days, that I certainly see no need to give it to someone as arrogant and rude (and perhaps far worse) as Mr Wales. Who is presumably a multi-millionaire anyway (since he knows Blair to speak to).

  • Mark in Mayenne

    Well I find it interesting. Hard to know where truth is to be found these days.

  • Chris

    You really couldn’t make this stuff up, but it’s the old battle to control the narrative and flow of information. .Easy to do years ago, before the rise of the internet, the greatest force for democracy in hundreds of years, but the only way now is to spread disinformation and smear. I’ve had a Guardian subscription for years. It annoys me often and forces me to question my own assumptions, but becomes more and more a shill for the official line, discarding all it’s former values. Tragic, but what decent and honest daily papers reman to read over the breakfast coffee and toast ?. Anyway, keep up the good work, most people are honest and decent, but you really have to watch your back these days…

    • Tom Welsh

      Now, what was classic Bernays quotation? Ah yes, here it is…

      “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

      ― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

    • Muscleguy

      I fled the Graun for the Independent after noting its Scottish coverage and opinion articles were much more balanced. I note the Graun of late has gotten even more shrill on that subject, afraid the Brexit farago will push more Scots towards Independence.

      The comment system at the Indy is still primitive in comparison but I have not regretted my move on iota since making it.

      Post Independence I shall likely restrict myself to Scottish, New Zealand and scientific sources of news and comment, according to how I see my citizenships. I intend to be first in line for a Scottish passport after which I shall invalidate my UK passport and never get another. Then my passports will reflect my status as a Scottish New Zealander and I shall be content.

      Well as content as I can be under a monarchy. Projects for other days . . .

  • Rob James

    Yes, fascinating but also sinister… this is how fascism begins… one public database edit at a time… keep investigating Craig, you are an inspiration to us all.

    • Tom Ratliff

      Yes, reminds me of the Records Department in 1984’s Ministry of Truth.

          • Charles Bostock

            And from a number of other sources, to be rather more accurate. Including from those with some practical experience of Soviet Union theory ….and practice.

          • Shatnersrug

            That’s the thing with 1984, most of what Orwell described he seen a version of happening in real life, he merely exaggerated the technology, but there were certainly discussions about personal surveillance in the future

        • Jan Brooker

          …. and The Guardian. I cancelled my regular supporters sub, because [as captainbeefheart] my posts on CiF were *memory hole’d* so often. Agree with observation above that The Guardian is now part of the neo-con mainstream, their constant attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-semitism spin became the final straw.

  • CLAYTON BRADT

    This amount and frquency of editing can’t be the work of a single person. Looks to be a propaganda shop, possibly run by Wikipedia itself.

    • Tom Welsh

      Which has the interesting implication that all the mugs who donate in response to Mr Wales’ impassioned pleas are actually paying for their own brainwashing!

      Bernays is smiling.

      • Shatnersrug

        Like the Beeb! As I say, though, there are plenty of companies that offer this service not just to politicians but actors and celebrities, CEOs, anyone with a past to hide, it’s not much of a leap to attacking other public figures.

        Still this type of obbsessiveness so obviously targeted is certainly malicious and probably illegal under harassment laws

  • Republicofscotland

    Cross, has been a busy bee, too busy for person by the sounds of it. It’s probably a group of bodies posting and editing to suit their employers narrative.

    I’m sure Anon1 will know.

  • saluspopuli.org

    Yes, fascinating. Guven volume and pacing, seems like a group effort; org or government op direct or via cut out.

    The Neoconnish profile interesting. Suggests links to Hasbara?

    Targets noted are UK. Any known targets in US, Europe, Middle East?

    Languages other than English?

    • Charles Bostock

      Just as a matter of interest, have you any information on Mr Wales’s first and second wives and their connections? Everything would help to build up a completer picture of the man.

  • Elena Blue

    It is fascinating, but it’s more horrific than fascinating.
    That he’s allowed to get away with this, just brings Wikipedia into total disrepute.
    I’m going to #Boycott it.
    In fact since learning years ago, Jimmy Wales is a very good friend of Tony Blair, I’ve been sceptical of it.
    Proves my gut’s always right.
    Thanks for your painstaking research.
    #BoycottWikipedia till it gets honest; or it’s just another outlet for #Warmongering #Neoliberal #Neocon #Propaganda.

    • Tom Welsh

      I don’t think there is any good reason to boycott Wikipedia. As I have said before, 99.9% of it (perhaps) is good solid stuff, contributed by real experts who would be horrified to read this article and thread.

      Think of it as like a helpful polymath who knows almost everything, but who just happens to be fanatically weird about one narrow topic.

      You just keep off that topic.

  • Spencer Eagle

    If anyone is thinking about contributing to or editing a Wikipedia article, then do it under the name of ‘Philip Cross’. That way who ever or what ever Philip Cross actually is will become rather confused over time.

    • Jan Brooker

      You have to register and log in [so long ago, can’t remember what I had to do to be recognised as an *editor*]. Wikipedia WILL know who the person[s] behing the edits is/are. So Wales’ defensiveness says a lot.

      • Clark

        No, you can make an account with any username that isn’t already taken, or you can edit without an account. All Wikipedia knows about you is your IP address; your ISP can match your IP address to the identity you gave your ISP, but Wikipedia can’t.

    • Clark

      You can’t edit as “Philip Cross”. To do so you’d have to create a user account called “Philip Cross”, and I assume the software would tell you that that username was already in use.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    The more one looks into Philip Cross’s Wikipedia antics, the more fascinating they become.

    On 14th April 2018, The Times published an article called “Apologists for Assad working in British Universities.” It was tweeted on the 13th of April (I think that can be done easily) by Oliver Kamm with accompanying text: “This is an extraordinary story of UK academics who parrot the crackpot conspiracy theories of pro-Assad propagandists.”

    The article cited (among others, but these were the principals) Professor Tim Hayward, Professor Piers Robinson and Dr Tara McCormack. On the 15th and 16th of April 2018, stub Wikipedia articles were set up for these three academics by editor “Philafrenzy”. (Despite the similarity of name, “Philafrenzy”, examining his or her Wikipedia activity, seems be someone who specialises in setting up stub (short and template) articles, possibly at the request of other editors). On the 19th of April, along comes Philip Cross to fill these articles in with damaging information and very little attempt at balance. Tim Hayward’s article had to be seen to be believed. Philip Cross was obviously monitoring me on Twitter (with his sock puppet account that he accidentally disclosed a day or two later), because after I requested a Wikipedia editor to volunteer to report the Hayward article as an attack page, Cross returned to it and made adjustments to it which rather mitigated the overall effect. Dr Tara McCormack did not even know that her article had been set up. Cross boasted on the edit history that her views on the Milosevic trial would stay in because they were reported by The Times, an unimpeachable source for Wikipedia. He quoted views of hers that he regarded as discreditable from the radical online magazine “Spiked”. Had anyone opposed to him quoted from “Spiked”, there is no doubt that Cross would have immediately booted such a reference from Wikipedia as an unreliable source. He clearly regards himself as licensed to breach Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines when it suits him to do so.

    Despite clear warnings in Wikipedia rules against quoting from personal blogs, rightly regarded as wholly unreliable sources, one of the very few quotations Cross has given directly from Craig Murray’s blog is one almost universally regarded as one of the most discreditable things Murray has ever said. I won’t repeat it here. Cross’s motivation could not be clearer.

    It just goes on, and on. The more you look into Philip Cross, the more of this stuff you find. I am certain I have barely scratched the surface. J

  • Resident Dissident

    May I take this opportunity to congratulate our democracy on allowing such a plurality of obsessives – one sure sign of an unhealthy society is when all the obsessives who are allowed to practice pull in the same direction. Live and let live!

    • Republicofscotland

      ResDis.

      Very well said indeed, glad to see that you’ve noticed the way the media works theses days.
      Thankfully we have a few good sites left such as Craig’s, who let us a peek down the rabbit hole.

  • Casual Observer

    Interesting, but most users should be aware that Shonkypedia is totally unreliable for information on anything that is remotely contentious ?
    Added to which, many other topics are squatted upon by inveterate Hobby Horse riders 🙂

    Those with a functioning memory may remember the ‘Slimvirgin’ affair from the late 90’s http://encyc.org/wiki/SlimVirgin_scandal

  • Joe Griffin

    I shall tell Jimmy Wales exactly what I think next time he comes begging. I always had a slight suspicion that somebody like Mr Wales had set up wikepedia for altruistic reasons.

  • Ross

    So here’s my take on Wikipedia.

    I think a very grubby cabal of the worst neoliberal ghouls saw the Wikipedia concept as a great way to control and subvert how people view certain issues, people, and institutions. Because for the most part (where there is no contention or where there is nothing to be gained by attempting to subvert facts) Wikipedia articles are a solid source of information, it has sadly become a go to resource for almost everything, and this has allowed it to push a particular right-wing world view.

    As to Philip Cross, I wonder if there isn’t a bit of play-to-play at work. Jimmy Wales being a fawning Blairite and incorrigible money grubber (his claims of not being personally very wealthy don’t stack up), I see the Philip Cross thing as being a sort of editorial back channel to which ideologically aligned individuals and groups are offered access to for the right price.

  • Ingwe

    Craig, I sure as hell don’t understand enough about the internet, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. But I do find Philp Cross’s activities both sinister and alarming and the response from Wikipedia so concerning that next time they send out their begging email, I shall no longer contribute and tell them to fuck right off.
    Let the neocons and their hangers on do all the funding. I’m abandoning Wikipedia in future as source for anything to be relied on.

  • Richard C

    Mr Cross also spread his protective wings over Luke Harding’s page, by removing the episode when the Guardian printed a Luke Harding article plagiarised in part from The Exile and had to apologise.

    On the question of Philip Cross’s possible multiplicity, I suggest that his revealed daily and weekly schedule is more consistent with a solitary, obsessive individual, an early riser who goes to bed by midnight but occasionally doesn’t sleep, someone whose employer approves their Wikipedia activity and who sadly lives online just the same on weekends.

    If Philip Cross is a team it would likely include members with real life interests and activities and would show more variation in work performance, one would think. You would also expect to see strong evidence of parallelism in Philip Cross’s edit-stream when team members worked concurrently, whereas Mr Cross’s editing work seems more single-threaded, even single-minded.

    Finally, Mr Cross exhibits a dramatic unity of character that would do credit to the finest team of government spooks. His superciliousness, his meticulousness, his pet hatreds, even his little tendernesses towards the pages of loved ones, and especially his encyclopedic knowledge of which Wikipedia rule or abbreviation to use in defence of an edict … all these character traits seem to appear in turn but equally day and night.

    Going with the obsessive individual hypothesis, I believe that quitting Wikipedia cold turkey, as Philip Cross has promised, will immediately do him no end of good, even if he only manages to stay off it for a week or so as he seems to expect. Philip should get outdoors more, maybe exercise more too. He should chill out and purge himself of the built-up rage and bile so evident in his work as a senior Wikipedia denigrator and censor. It’s a career that is doing him psychic harm.

    Twitter is also not a healthy place for such as he.

    Philip, for your own sake, delete your accounts.

  • WJ

    I think the issue is very important for you to discuss both for the reason you state and one additional one: namely, that the Philip Cross affair, similar to the (still unretracted?) Russian Bot Guardian article from weeks past, demonstrates the increasing aggressiveness of corporate media against alternative sources. In each case, moreover, the aggression backfires, further eroding the public’s trust in the official gatekeepers even further than before.

    It is good that Wikipedia be exposed for what it is. One irony: the unretracted Guardian piece on the Russian Bots, because it remains published in a mainstream source, would count as valid documentary evidence for a Wiki entry identifying @Ian56 and @partisangirl as Russian automated scripts. The testimonies of @Ian56 and @partisangirl to the contrary, however, would not.

    • WJ

      @raymond delauney points out that Oliver Kamm’s parents’ wiki entries also benefitted from the edits of Philip Cross.

      “As an update it’s worth bearing in mind that Antony Kamm and Anthea Bell, Mr and Mrs Kamm – the parents of young Oliver, benefit from the revisionary touch of that kindly ‘Phillip Cross’ touch.”

  • Peter

    It really does require this much attention to detail to expose this ubiquitous trend. The effectiveness of these types of propaganda activities is that very few people will do the work required to verify its really. I recognise that question about obsession. My wife thinks I am obsessed and I mostly just read the article that you brave and focused souls write for our education.

  • Stephen Hildon

    I determined his location back in 2012 when he was attacking Neil Clark. Andrew Philip Cross is his real name. He left enough clues in his anti-illiberal blog (basically 90% of it is attacking Neil Clark!) to cross reference with information from the GRO to determine where he was born. This has lead me to identify his probable address.

    One of his few breaks from editing Wikipedia (by break I mean several days of not editing) occurred when his mother passed away in 2010. He death was reported by his local newspaper.

    What I am not sure of is his exact connections to Oliver Kamm other than inject OK’s views into Wikipedia. Particularly of people OK doesn’t like or objects to. That they have met is very interesting.

    His basic MO on Wikipedia is to introduce negative information about someone as it was published in a “reliable source” and when this is refuted in a blog other website he doesn’t allow it as it is “not a reliable source”.

    I am surprised this has not blown up sooner as he has been doing this for years as basically a full time occupation. Whether he is being is again something I do not know.

    • WJ

      Did you see @raymond delauney’s tweet about his editing the wiki entries for Oliver Kamm’s parents?

      How likely is it that this would this be, in your opinion, were Andrew Philip Cross not directly in the employ of Kamm (and possibly other figures like him)? It strikes me as being very very unlikely, but you clearly have a much better sense of how Cross operates than do most. What is your take?

  • alasdair Galloway

    Re cyber warfare, not really surprised. There was a warning about this in the run up to the Scottish Referendum in an article by a former civil servant published in Scottish Review. I have been active on the Herald website since about 2012, and there were two characters there who were suspicious.
    One was a bit of a joke – John something or other OBE (known to us all as OBE) from Worthing. Hated Salmond with a passion, but not to be taken too seriously – more disparaging than anything else. But must have spent a heck of a time at his keyboard (even if he did claim to be retired)
    The other one was Rosa something who claimed to be from Slovenia, but whose English didn’t come across as anyone who had learned ESL. More like someone trying to disguise being from the UK but not wanting to seem like it. “She” was more vituperative – much more so. Her comments were consistently negative, and always highly abusive. But the thing about her was the way in which she posted at all times of the day and night, so much so it was hard to imagine “her” being a single person. More than one person was suspended from the Herald site for trying to identify “her” true identity – Callum McDonald (former husband of Christine Jardine MP), who was in charge of the site at the time, was really very anxious that this should not happen

    • Charles Bostock

      “The other one was Rosa something who claimed to be from Slovenia, but whose English didn’t come across as anyone who had learned ESL. More like someone trying to disguise being from the UK but not wanting to seem like it.”

      Now who on earth does that remind me of, I wonder……

      • Muscleguy

        Indeed, I am suspicious of ANYONE online who claims to be from Slovenia yet writes with impeccable English.

  • wonky

    Same here in German Wikipedia.. Different names, but same agenda and zeal.
    These people operate full-time, which most likely means, that’s their job.
    It wouldn’t be a surprise, if their boss has her office in a military strategic communications department in Tel Aviv..

    • Charles Bostock

      Yes of course, it has to be in Israel, doesn’t it.

      What was that what Mr Murray was saying about sad obsessives?

      • wonky

        It’s a guess, as good as any, but General Sima Vaknin-Gil’s office seems to be involved in promoting exactly such activities. Considering her words and her logic, I’m willing to bet a crisp fiver (euro that is..)

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