Imagine if the BBC Were Honest 433

The BBC refuses to answer my Skripal questions to Mark Urban on the grounds they have no legal obligation, instead giving a “statement”. That correspondence follows below. But I want you first to imagine a World in which the BBC and Mark Urban were honest and independent, and imagine these were the answers to my questions:

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
My interviews with Sergei Skripal were on a strictly off the record basis and I felt honour bound not to mention them until I could obtain his permission.

2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
I had not heard from Pablo Miller for decades, since I left the army.

3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
I did not meet Miller.

4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
Yes, with Skripal.

5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
A book on Russian intelligence.

6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
I don’t know.

7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?

8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?

9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.
That was my only contact with the intelligence services on this matter.

Does anybody imagine that, if those were indeed the answers, Mark Urban and the BBC would not freely give those answers, and show up their accusers as “conspiracy theorists” with no foundation?

If those were the answers, they would be shouting them from the rooftops.

And indeed the BBC statement, while refusing to answer the questions directly, does give responses to questions 1, 4 and 5 which are along the lines of this outcome were they behaving honestly, though their phrasing does not carry conviction, especially on 1.

The questions the BBC has refused to address at all are all those related to Pablo Miller, UK intelligence services and the Steele Orbis dossier on Trump/Russia. That is an extremely telling omission. Their attempt to issue a statement rather than address the questions individually, is a deliberate ruse to disguise that.

On a balance of probabilities measure, I am willing to take the BBC’s refusal to answer these very specific questions as strong evidence that the Skripal case is indeed about Miller, Steele, Orbis and the Trump/Russia dossier. Furthermore the BBC knows that and is deliberately concealing the truth, and instead broadcasting evidence free nonsense about Russian agents, knowing that to be untrue. If that were not the case, it would take the BBC quite literally two minutes to give the answers above. There would be no downside for the BBC in giving those answers; indeed they would be vindicated to a sceptical public.

I asked you to imagine those answers were true. In asking us to imagine a better world, John Lennon told us “its easy if you try”. Sadly I find it is not easy. It is not easy to imagine a world in which Mark Urban is not a morally repugnant lying shill for the security services, that takes a very great deal of effort.

Here is the BBC statement and ensuing correspondence:

From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 09:42
To: ‘is’
Subject: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Murray,

Matt Hunter in the BBC News Press Team.

I understand you contacted Mark Urban on Monday with regards to meetings he had with Sergei Skripal. Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism, but I can provide you with a more general response regarding Mark’s meetings with Mr Skripal.

Mark Urban met with Sergei Skripal on a number of occasions last Summer in Salisbury and last spoke to him on the phone in August, 7 months before the poisoning. Mr Skripal agreed to speak to Mark to assist with his research for his latest book on post-Cold War espionage, it was not discussed with Mr Skripal whether the information would be used for the BBC ahead of the book being published. The relevant information gained from these interviews informed Newsnight’s coverage during the early days after the poisoning. Mr Urban reported his meetings with Mr Skripal on BBC Newsnight once the details of the book were made public in keeping with the understood terms of the interview. Mark Urban’s line managers were aware last year that he was working on a book and more specifically from 5th March this year that this work had included interviews with Mr Skripal.

I hope these details help clarify the situation.

Please note that all future journalistic enquiries should be made through the BBC Press Office ([email protected]).

Thank you for your enquiry.

Best wishes

Matt Hunter – Publicist
BBC News & Current Affairs


From: craig murray [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 29 August 2018 14:23
To: Matthew Hunter; Mark Urban
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Hunter,

Thank you for your email. This is an important matter, which interests a great many people, as I am sure you are aware, and which has caused some damage to the reputation of the BBC.

You state that ” Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism”. My questions were not couched as an FOI request so that is a redundant provision, even if your broad interpretation of the FOIA were correct, which I dispute.

Your email then proceeds on the basis that you should not reveal anything unless you are legally obliged to do so. That seems a very strange stance for a public broadcast body to take. Whether or not you are legally obliged to do so, can I ask you to give the answer to these questions to Mr Urban, or in each case an explanation for why you refuse to give an answer voluntarily, even if legally unobliged.

What is at stake here is the BBC’s reputation for open and honest reporting, and this particular case has done a great deal to increase public distrust in the BBC. All of these are fair and relevant questions which have simple answers. Kindly address them individually.

My questions to Mark Urban:

1. When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2. You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3. When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4. Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5. When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6. Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7. Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8. Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9. In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to your response,

Craig Murray


From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 15:09
To: ‘craig murray’
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

I’m afraid we have no further comment beyond the statement provided earlier.

Many thanks,


From: craig murray
Sent: 29 August 2018 18:22
To: Matthew Hunter
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Oh, so it was a “statement” rather than a reply to my questions.

May I ask you who drafted the statement, who approved it, and who was consulted on it? The statement, incidentally, does not constitute journalism, so you do have a legal obligation to answer those questions.



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433 thoughts on “Imagine if the BBC Were Honest

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  • Brendan

    BBC wrote to Craig Murray on 29 August 2018:
    “Mr Urban reported his meetings with Mr Skripal on BBC Newsnight once the details of the book were made public in keeping with the understood terms of the interview.”

    That seems like a reasonable reply, although not very explicit, and is a little bit like the imaginary answer from Mark Urban to question no. 1.

    But if that statement from BBC is correct, then why was Mark Urban much more vague in his explanation on 4 July for the long delay in the disclosure?:
    “I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion.”

    Why didn’t Urban say exactly what is was about an earlier acknowledgement that he had not felt ready for until July? Why didn’t he just say something like what the BBC told Craig – that he was acting “in keeping with the understood terms of the interview”?

    It’s like the way that a lot of other information in the Skripal case gets drip-fed to the public – in such a very vague form and after a long delay, that it’s hard not to wonder if some people are making the narrative up as they go along.

    • Paul Greenwood

      How did Mark Urban gain access to the retiring ex-GRU officer living quietly in Salisbury ? Surely he would want to keep a low profile or was Mark Urban’s access “facilitated” ?

      • Twostime

        Errr… see above Urban – “You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?” . Does that help?

  • Tony_0pmoc


    Some people speed read, and occasionally miss a vital word, which completely changes the entire meaning. The word is this case was “imagine”. I was about to congratulate you as a brilliant interrogator/interviewer, getting at least some response, then I read it again, and realised you got absolutely nothing back – but good effort and don’t resign from the NUJ. You are one of the best real journalists we have got.

    Thank You,

    You are a brave man.


  • PleaseBeleafMe

    While your e-mail was directed at Mark Urban c/o the BBC I see no reason why they should of offered a response. Meaning that if Urban was doing research for a book then what does that have to do with the BBC? He may have acknowledged interviewing Skripal on the BBC but this was in reference to his private book research. Is this journalism? Is a book journalism? Is the BBC obligated somehow (like an agent) to defend it’s journalists private endeavours. Is the BBC funding his book?
    The BBC imo should of just sent u an e-mail saying that they forwarded your questions to Urban as they don’t concern the BBC. Why refuse to do so? Why act as a gatekeeper to the info requested?

  • mdroy

    It is all covered by a D-notice – which Craig brought to our attention some months ago.

    Of course the Steele links are hugely important. But you can’t blame the BBC for refusing to help on matters covered by a D-Notice.
    What you should be complaining about is the BBC’s complete failure to report on the massive implications of the Steele dossier for the DOJ, FBI and Democrats, and the massive collusion by Russians (Deripskaya) and MI6 and DOJ/FBI with the Democrats to influence the result of the US 2016 election.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Not sure about the “massive implications” of the dossier. The work by Judicial Watch to reveal that Steele was actively talking to the FBI in very early 2016, if not late 2015 is interesting but the dossier is gossip and trash and it wasn’t used (before polling day).
      Much more interesting for MSM and BBC to start asking who Mifsud is and who he works for.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      The BBC is in the same bed, as the DOJ, most of The FBI, almost all The remaining Democrats, most of The Republicans, most of the CIA, most of MI5/MI6, and probably all of Mossad.

      However, you may well be an expert on such relationships, but it seems likely that Deripskaya, should be happy about “The effect of the sanctions, which Deripaska called “groundless, ridiculous, and absurd,” “was immediate, driving up global aluminum prices and cutting the legs out from under Rusal’s shares”

      Hasn’t he got loads of aluminium to flog? Shouldn’t Deripskaya be happy about the price going up? There’s a World Market out there.

      As regards the Steele dossier, and “Golden Showers” – it is all quite obviously a load of complete and utter bollocks.

      The only people who had a significant effect on the result of the US 2016 election, were on The Hillary Clinton team. The fact that they blatantly bent the nomination to exclude Bernie Sanders was completely obvious to ordinary American people who wanted to vote for him. They were so disgusted at this betrayal of their democratic vote, that many of them voted for Trump, whilst gritting their teeth, as the least worse bad option.

      All the rest is cover-up, whitewash and projection.


      • mdroy

        Yes yes. Certainly Trump is much less bad than Killary.
        See above – it was the use of a faked dossier to justify spying on the Trump campaign that will be the cause of the prosecutions in the next year or two if ever Mueller finishes his charade (and is why the charade still continues).
        I’d assumed that people here would have known all this, but I guess you have to read alt-right sites* or watch FoxNews to find out what is actually happening in Washington. The Steele dossier is a large part of it all (and Skripal’s role in researching/imagining/giving it credibilty).
        Deripskaya was using Steele as a contact with the Democrats to get a US visa – hence genuine collusion with a Russian to affect 2016 election – by democrats.

        One has to read alt-right and alt-left sites now, only those who refuse to believe the main stream press can have a hope of having sensible opinions.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I think the fact that Stefan Halper was paid from DoD funds and Loving has been fired for exposing misuse of public funds explains why Steele was writing to wring money out of DoJ and FBI by peddling Ukrainian mock-up news in a so-called dossier which makes Alistair Campbell’s efforts look like an academic treatise

    • Twostime

      mdroy thank you for spawning this thread 🙂 mostly non-trolls replied – good job.

  • Valerian

    “Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism”
    What is the purpose of journalism, if not to share information? (Don’t answer that.)

    • N_

      The “journalism” and “art” get-outs don’t mean shit. “Sorry, I can’t tell you.” (Touches side of nose.) “It’s art. And if it isn’t art, it’s journalism.”

      They are being totally in-your-face ridiculous and they know it.

      Basically the BBC lost in a few FOI cases and they got pissed off and an adjustment was made to turn the tables. This happened a few years ago. Many who have made even innocuous FOI requests to the BBC have found themselves in communication with contemptuous snot-nosed officials who think they’re walking 10 feet high. They know they are protected when they tell you to shove your FOI request up your craphole. That’s what the adjustment was about.

    • Deb O'Nair

      This is along the same lines of “it’s not in the public interest”, when the public demonstrates an interest in gaining information from public bodies, pure newspeak.

  • Valerian

    I notice that it’s a common technique in response to questioning emails and FOI requests to selectively answer one or two of the questions, while utterly ignoring the others, and pretend that the result is a complete answer to the query. Might it be more practical to ‘force’ a response to each question by submitting them individually, one question per email, sent by different people to ensure that each one receives a reply? Of course the replies would be mostly excuses rather than actual answers, but at least it would mean a response to each point with no weaseling out of the difficult ones. I’m sure your many readers, Craig, would be happy to help in this.

    • Borncynical

      “…selectively answer one or two of the questions”. Precisely the technique employed by May in PM’s Questions etc I’m sure everyone will recall the list of at least seven or eight reasonable and substantive questions raised in the House of Commons by Jeremy Corbyn following the Skripal incident and the accusations levelled at Russia. I can’t recall her exact reply but it was certainly a smug, curt reply, with the familiar contemptuous sneering, to the effect of ‘How dare you have the audacity to suggest we don’t have evidence’. None of the technical questions was answered and no attempt was made to give an explanation as to why she wasn’t answering the questions.

  • oah

    Craig. I get an extended intervies on RT about this. The bbc will obviously not cooperate

    • N_

      Why can’t Alex Salmond say

      The allegations that I have ever engaged in harassment or abuse of a sexual or any other kind are false. I urge my accusers to seek a prosecution in which they can bring all of their claimed evidence to the attention of a jury. I will assist in any unbiased investigation and in the unlikely event that prosecutors believe there is a case to answer I shall defend myself in court against accusations that I know to be untrue. For the time being I have nothing more to say about these false allegations or this matter.

      But oh no. His asking ordinary people to give him money is a massive error of judgement.

      When Britain voted to leave the EU, Alex Salmond spoke of “stars” having aligned in his party’s favour.
      Has he now paid a second visit to the witches on the heath?
      Is he troubled by an image of prison bars?

      • Sharp Ears

        Sky News are reporting that his crowd funding is attracting much criticism. They had Rhoda Grant MSP Lab Highlands and Islands online for her two penn’orth.

        This is their editorial in which Grant is quoted, as is McConnell, Adonis et al. Nasty ad hominem stuff. Strangely they criticize the crowd funding but put a link to it within the piece.

        Alex Salmond accused of ‘dragging Scotland into gutter’ as crowdfunding bid passes target
        The ex-first minister is slammed for seeking help to fund a review into the handling of sexual harassment allegations against him.

      • Laguerre

        “His asking ordinary people to give him money is a massive error of judgement.”

        Probably, as he is not poor, but at least he did get a massive response. What was it? Budget achieved in a day?

      • giyane


        One of the most revolting hypocrisies of modern Torydom is their selective use of moral indignation as a political tool. They support violent terrorists who have made many millions of innocent people homeless in Libya, Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine, Myanmar, Yemen. Apparently these crimes against humanity are nothing compared to the SNP joking with a female colleague.
        Because these war crimes serve the interests , as they see them of the UK, the Tories see nothing wrong with them. Foreigners do not exist; only their land exists and they want to appropriate it for themselves.

        It is futile disputing with the mentally deranged. Salmond is right, he has had to draw a line between the foaming madness of the Tories and the facts by removing his presence from the SNP. We know Thatcher was spending weekends with Jimmy Saville. We do not assume that Mrs May abides different rules from the arch-destroyer of family life in the ’80s Thatcher. We assume that May has bought into the whole package of Thatcherism including the swinging at chequers. In the face of a total melt=down of the Thatcher economic system nobody on the Tory side has capitulated or drawn breath or paused to reflect about where Thatcherism went wrong.

        Thatcher was an assistant to a paedophile and necrophile. If they want to blacken Salmond’s name they are playing a very dangerous game. Plenty of skeletons in Tory cupboards, not least Lord Soames whose lover described him as a large cupboard falling on her with the key sticking out the door.
        What goes around , comes around. But May being a vicar’s daughter would be rebelling against that rule.

        • AntonyI

          Tory indignation has a now a negative market value. Anybody performing it will be seen as a total tool.

    • N_

      The former leader of the Scottish government gets accused of sexual abuse.
      A man on the internet responds by in effect singing “When you hear the noise of The Tartan Army Boys / We’ll be Coming Down the Road” .

      Sexual abuse is serious. There is an obvious reason why when the perpetrator is a senior government figure a victim may not be too keen on coming forward. If this ever gets to a jury trial, I hope you’re not on the jury, @Grafter.

      • Hatuey

        N, nobody has accused him of sexual abuse. Stop being thick.

        Also, the police are making enquiries and it isn’t clear if they will seek to press any charges.

        As it stands right now, since the report’s finding into the issue have not been publicised, he hasn’t been formally accused of anything.

        His civil court action concerns procedure.

        It’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup.

        • N_

          Well Alex Salmond says people have accused of him sexual abuse. He should have asked you, eh, @Hatuey? You could have told him they haven’t.

    • Ishmael

      The man is minted. & he’s antithetical to supporting the people in Scotland.

      He already has plenty.

      • MJ

        “he’s antithetical to supporting the people in Scotland”

        He certainly knew how to scupper the referendum.

          • Jo1

            Who politicised it Ishmael?

            Let’s hear it!

            Because from where I’m sitting the media politicised it.

            I have no problem with complaints being followed up no matter who they’re made against. What I do have a problem with, however, is seeing confidential paperwork from a Civil Service investigation by the Permanent Secretary, including witness statements, being leaked straight to a tabloid!

            Let me ask you, do you think that’s ok?

            Every single Party Leader in Scotland, including Sturgeon, should be demanding to know how that happened! The Permanent Secretary herself should want to know how it happened and should already be facing tough questions about that.

            BBC Scotland should be asking questions. Scottish Television News should be asking questions. Why are they ignoring the real scandal of these leaks?

            As soon as those leaks started this was politicised. As soon as the Permanent Secretary publicly accused Salmond of trying to “gag” her, it was politicised. As soon as people ignored the serious questions raised by this circus of leaked highly confidential documents, because it was Salmond, it was politicised.

  • Sharp Ears

    This is the word according to the former Ambassador to Poland. We can see where he’s coming from! Stirrer.

    ‘Likewise Israel and the Palestinians. The Israelis suspect (not without reason) that the basic aim of the Palestinians and their wider Arab supporters (and Iran) is that Israel as the one internationally recognised homeland for Jews should cease to exist. Israel sees itself confronted with Hamlet’s security question of questions: To be or not to be? As Israel chooses to be, what can be the basis for any deal with those who want Israel not to be?’
    26th August 2018

    • N_

      An “internationally recognised homeland for J__s”? Then we get told it’s “anti-Semitic” to say that any British J__s aren’t always in all circumstances loyal to Britain first. That can only be true if all of the said individuals have no other “homeland”. But squares equal circles in the mouths of shouty liars.

    • bj

      Note that in this reading, Isr4el would be basing political decisions on fiction, evoked upon suspicions.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Does this internationally recognised homeland have actual borders ? I believe the claimed borders are not in fact “internationally recognised” !

    • Laguerre

      It’s curious, isn’t it, that our former ambassador to Poland, thinks that J_s have a right to their own homeland (in someone else’s country, by the way). So many other ethnicities don’t have their own “homeland” – e.g. Kurds, Scots. Why should this lot have a right to better?

      Even I am losing my homeland (Britain), as it’s being taken over by a cabal of rabid extremists. I’m thinking of applying for political asylum in France. It’s got to that.

    • Charles Bostock

      Is Charles Crawford, a former ambassador to Poland, more of a “stirrer” than Craig Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, and if so, how?

  • Sharp Ears

    BBC stonewalls ex-ambassador over Newsnight editor’s links to Sergei Skripal
    Published time: 30 Aug, 2018 11:43
    UK diplomat turned journalist, Craig Murray, has taken on the BBC over their Salisbury poisonings reporting, seeking answers over links between Newsnight’s diplomatic editor Mark Urban, Sergei Skripal and his alleged MI6 handler.
    Murray’s queries followed a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to the BBC from an individual named Kirsty Eccles. The request asked the corporation for answers over links between BBC2’s Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban and Sergei Skripal – who was poisoned along with his daughter, Yulia, in April 2018.

    In early July, Urban admitted that he had met with the ex-Russian double agent “a few times in 2017 while working on a book project.” His revelation prompted Eccles’ request, in which she asked: “Why did BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban keep secret from the license payers that he had been having meetings with Sergei Skripal only last summer.”


    • Paul Greenwood

      Why is Christopher Steele the man who claimed Litvinenko was eliminated by the Russian State ? Surely Berezhovsky had good reason to be rid of him ?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Trowbridge H. Ford,

    Your conspiracy theories are even worse than mine.

    At least most of mine are almost certainly true, backed by physics, maths, motivation, money and deep analysis, rather than just bullshit. Who serves to gain?

    However, I do find you highly entertaining.

    Have you seen Trump’s live interview on the *redacted* date.

    It’s not hard to find, even if you don’t like him.

    Why would he make it up?

    Unlike Dick Cheney, He seemed as shocked as me and Norman Mineta.


    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      I think that my views on nutty Trump are quite clear, who lost the popular vote to Hillary by around 4,000,000 ones, and is able to modify weather, like tropical storms into deadly, unpredictable hurricanes like Maria. another 9/11.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Last time I looked the “popular vote” was not a constitutional means of electing a US President !

        The Founding Fathers in their wisdom wanted a REPUBLIC and not a democracy: they did not want mob rule. The English used an Electoral College to appoint a Prime Minister – it is called House of Commons – until c 1840 it was House of Lords – the King’s First Minister has to command a majority to pass a budget. Voters elect a Member in constituencies to select a Prime Minister who appoints a Cabinet – Voters do not choose a Prime Minister.

        Between 1935 and 1945 two Prime Ministers came to office without an electoral mandate – Neville Chamberlain 1937 and Winston Spencer-Churchill 1940. the only reason for an election in 1945 was because Attlee wanted one and Churchill did not.

        • N_

          Frank Field has just followed in the footsteps of Oswald Mosley and resigned the Labour whip.

          In preparation for further MPs doing the same, and in recognition of how much praise they can expect from the Daily Mail, I suggest that this act be called “Oswalding”.

          • Casual Observer

            Beg to differ, Mosley was by all accounts a politician who was considered to be a future leader of both the Tory’s, and Labour. His impatience led to his misreading the times, and taking a course which proved disastrous for his political ambitions.

            Frank Field on the other hand has little leadership potential, and has made his name by being a whinger 🙂

            Field must be well past retirement age, and his long years in Parliament will see him assured of a significant MP’s pension. But like all finger waggers, he imagines the world will go to blazes if he’s not there to highlight peoples errors.

          • Twostime

            Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats:founder of the British Union of Fascists … Same one?
            A casual observation: Frank Field is a real Labour MP and a critic of the neo-liberal centrist PLP. CLP probably more than happy he’s told the whips where to go. A thought.

          • N_

            @Twostime – Yes, that’s the Oswald Mosley we’re talking about. Up to 1931 he was a leading figure in the Labour Party and a member of the Labour government, in which he was the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Before he was Labour he had been a Tory and an Independent.

            @Casual Observer – The idea that Mosley could have been the leader of either Labour or the Tories (and for some reason, it has been stated, also the Liberals) started to be proclaimed in a big way in the publicity for his 1968 autobiography as I understand it. He was only in the Tories for a short period of time when he was very young. I totally agree that when he flounced out of Labour he was impatient, had misread the times, and screwed up his own chances. Throughout his life he always seemd to think he was something close to God Almighty. You are quite right too that a comparison of Mosley and Frank Field shouldn’t be given too much weight, but I do like mentioning Mosley in the context of Labour MPs who exit stage right.

            In 1975 Mosley believed he had a good chance of returning from his French exile to lead a corporatist British government. The interview is on Youtube, and the interviewer clearly realised Mosley was bonkers.

          • frank

            Field was the “benefits czar” for the rightwing regime of Cameron. He oversaw the demonisation of the disabled.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        And to cloud your mind, Tony.. I agree with Trump attackting legendary reporter Carl Bernstein as sloppy and not to be believed,

        Bernstein and Woodward were most sloppy in dealing with ‘Deep Throat’ aka General Al Haig, using him as a single source for bring down Nixon for The Plumbers, led by the CIA’s William King Harvey almost assassinating Alabama Governor George Wallace to reassure’ Tricky Dick’s re-elecltion.

        Read their All The President’s Men about the single source who certainly wasn’t the Bureau Assistant Director Mark Felt who was working with Nixon to follow Hoover as Director, though they wrote a book about him in his dying old age about him being ‘Deep Throat’ who he was quite willing to be, the legendary leaker.

        No one should trust a word they say, even Trump.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Trowbridge H. Ford,

        We had actually paid to go Cozumel, where Kirsty MacColl was killed whilst diving, in a boating accident. (We have since met her Mum)…

        Then they cancelled the entire holiday,and merely offered us Cancun, where the beach had just been washed away. Whilst we were hoping to see The Mayan Temples, we didn’t particularly want to stay in Cancun with a load of Americans.

        At very short notice, we went instead to an island in the Indian Ocean. We knew there had been a Tsunami – caused by an underwater eathquake. It also affected a friend of mine who was there at the time in Sri-Lanka, where it devastated much of the coastline much the same as it did in Thailand.

        This from memory was on Boxing Day.

        We went to this Island at Easter…

        After 25 hours getting there, we were woken at about 1:00 am all completely exhausted…”You must come to the centre of the island…there is a Tsunami coming”

        I said don’t be ridiculous, you have already had your Tsunami at Christmas, Lightening doesn’t strike twice, within such a short period of time, and even if it has, what am I supposed to do – climb up a Palm Tree?, so I turned over and went back to sleep…

        They came banging on our door again – quite terrified. So we all got up, inc kids and went to reception at the centre of the island, and absolutely nothing happenned. I thought what a load of bollocks..

        Then two weeks later, after we had got home, I checked the news. There had indeed been another enormous earthquake in the Indian Ocean, but this time it did not result in a Tsunami…

        You may think your American friends did both, but I am convinced, they simply are not that powerful, and all the major earthquakes are natural events.

        I accept that minor earthquakes are probably caused by extraction of natural earth mineral oils, that are formed deep under the earth’s crust. I also accept, that letting off an extremely powerful nuclear bomb, in one of the earth’s fault lines, may artifically create a major earthquake that was likely to happen anyway.

        But despite all that, I am still here and healthy, and hope to live at least as long as you.

        We have no current plans to visit California, though I have been invited several times.

        I suggest, it is not a good idea to annoy the Russians too much.

        They think you have all gone mad.


        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Just your expected irrelevant rubbish which gives no basis for the Russians being annoyed.

          I only wonder what the Anglo-Americans are planning.

    • giyane


      Frank Field was offended that 30 Momentum activists tried to get him deselected against the wishes of his many thousands of democratic supporters. Like Cliff Richards, his popularity might be powerful enough to stop momentum in its tracks. Field seemed frustrated at Corbyn’s strategy of allowing his Zionist accusers to hang themselves. A difference of personality, Frank Filed always proactive and campaigning, Corbyn whizzing past the traffic on his bike and leaving the car drivers to their road rage.

      • MAB

        The vote of no confidence was unanimous, including those to the right of the party.

        He represents a constituency where 7 Hillsborough victims lived, and he wrote for the sun – including a column on the very day the inquest started.

        He not only did not represent his constituents, he went out of his way to annoy them.

    • laguerre

      I have never seen a comment, in all the articles which permit comments, where the accusation of anti-semitism against JC is agreed with. The popular view is that JC is innocent. The traditional technique is being used. It is called “palace politics”, where you whisper in the ear of important people, and suggest some reasons why they should agree.

  • Old person

    The more answers that are given to Craig, the more questions they spawn.

    The answer to question 1 is a corker.

    “My interviews with Sergei Skripal were on a strictly off the record basis and I felt honour bound not to mention them until I could obtain his permission.”

    And, in the eMail from Matthew Hunter,
    “and more specifically from 5th March this year that this work had included interviews with Mr Skripal.”

    So, when did Mark Urban talk to Skripal to get this permission?
    MH said
    “… and last spoke to him on the phone in August, 7 months before the poisoning”

    Mark Urban is not the first person to mention Sergei Skripal in a book.
    Nikolai Luzan wrote a book in The World of Espionage series mentioning Sergei Skripal.

    You can read the lengthy preview pages 3 and 4 for free.

    Use Google translate. It makes a reasonably readable translation.
    Note: The violinist and fiddler is Skripal. The old confusion with gender pops up as in most Russian translations.

    • N_

      @Old Person – In the above piece, Craig is imagining that Mark Urban gave those answers, not saying that he did.

    • giyane

      Old person

      Urban obviously didn’t want to incriminate himself, or Israel, in the public eye as a suspect in the Skripal false flag poisoning.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Bye, I’m leaving, and this time I DELETING my name and email in the hope it sticks.

      • Tony_0pmoc


        Don’t be soppy. You will be back for your 90th birthday. It can’t be long now.


        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Not a bad loser, just pissed for my work being deleted, and now restored after I complained about leaving.

          Will take me awhile to recover when Craig says he supports free discussion.

          • laguerre

            I’ve always enjoyed your comments. As with any comment column, you have to choose your words.

        • giyane

          Bad winner more like. Trowbridge reckons Trump will cave in to the forthcoming chemical false flag in Syria like all the swamp neo-cons. The tension is un-bearable. Will Trump start WW3? I must admit I listened eagerly for 8 years to find out if USUKIS proxies would get defeated in Syria. Now that they have been it’s somewhat frustrating that public schoolboy prankster Hubris Johnson let out such a massive fart of lies with Skripal-gate.

          I don’t think Donald Trump’s going to get his eyebrows blown off for a spoilt Tory retard like Boris. Far from it Boris’s stink-bomb has lost him his job and his Brexit argument. Must remember to stop eating Scottish muesli.

    • James

      When I was at College in 1986, there was mathematics undergraduate who lived in the set on the floor below mine. I recall his name as Mr Ford: Matthew as I remember.
      I enjoyed playing my diverse LP collection (from 19th century organ music, via Syd Barrett, Osric Tentacles, Madonna and Scritti Politi, back to Messiaen and Ravel) at an unconscionably high output, though never after dark, and Mr Ford regularly kicked off, not unreasonably.
      When I tried to engage him over a gimlet, it became apparent that he was a humourless social leper. It all ended badly when I crafted a “sonic pipe” into his rooms (so only he would suffer from Nicholas Kynaston at the console of Westminster Cathedral one fine afternoon).
      He went mad, pretty much literally. I was obviously neither implicated (nor to blame). Sad on reflection; he was a gifted mathematician-to-be, with an early interest in Penrose’s (intriguing) new twistor theory.
      Any relation Trowbridge H, or is your moniker based more on onanism and mass production, a kind of evincing of your inate “wittiness”? Not much Penrose evidenced in your output, but plenty madness, so perhaps no relation.
      Like Matthew, you will I hope be gone yet not forgotten.

  • Ishmael

    The moral of this story. At lest I can convey that.

    Never trust any institution that presents itself as public service. Just think about the reality of these bodies. They are people with jobs who want to keep them going. It always becomes about sustaining the institution in a world, a system, where walking away means destitution.

    We, through mutual aid, can make it not like that. Be it immigrants, whistleblowers, or any corporate slave. (And eternal shame to those who actively demonise these people)

    The states fiction has always been to see this never happens so people can be controlled TOTALLY by the capitalist class that mantains anarchy for all but them, or the “free” market, as opposed to Anarchist Order.

    Or as reflected in the film The Devils Advocate, “It’s a little late in the game to buy out now, you’re all alone eddy, your gods special little creature”

    & Despite JC the corporate state, all the interests that make it up, will never without internal & external force submit to ANY civil humain state of affairs being brought about. It’s all against all for their benefit, the land owners & oligarchs who tear humanity apart.

    It’s up to us to overcome their constant domination. Start acting like human beings.

    • laguerre

      As with any institution, you have to make a choice between power in that institution, or telling the truth. You can have power, if you go along with the current view, even if you don’t believe it. If you go for truth, you will certainly be sidelined, at the minimum. I went for for truth, and got sidelined. As an academic, I had the luxury of doing so. I thought it was worthwhile, as I wanted to advance my field. Whether recognition will occur in my lifetime, I don’t know.

      • Ishmael

        Great. Well done.

        Though it’s a funny thing, power. IMO those who go along, are they powerful? Do institutions that conform to substan themselves, are they actors or zombies?

        In a way Craig for instance, a far more powerful player (including helpers) than any in the BBC.

        & I like to think a life is far greater than a lifetime. As you say, it advances the field. These forms of external superficial validation are trivial things.

        • laguerre

          Going along with power is a necessary prerequisite for attaining power, but it is not a sufficient condition. Most employees are in that situation. They do it in order to survive.

          Craig is a good example of a truth-teller. As far as I can see, he was on line to become a major British ambassador. From what I’ve read of his works (actually all of them), I think he could have become an ambassador to a major country, if he’d been willing to keep his mouth shut.

          Keeping your mouth shut normally works, unless you’re Peter Ford, former British ambassador to Syria, who gets shitted upon for telling the truth about the war in Syria.

          • Ishmael

            I was trying to illustrate the nature of actual power more, as in the ability to effect things.

            I say these institutions are relatively impotent. As many people as are involved, & all they “reach” do they have power?

            No, the power to go along isn’t power.

      • AntonyI

        Indeed, power vs truth.
        Let’s just keep realizing that Truth has many facets like a diamond, and we might see only 3/4 of them.
        Still I would also favor (my) truth over “power”, as to evoke additions to reach a more complete Truth.
        Power is a drug worse than crack cocaine, one can never get enough of it so one always stays unhappy.

    • Sharp Ears

      I have never thought of the BBC as providing a public service.

      It is purely and simply the state broadcaster.

      • AntonyI

        20,000 people for a state megaphone; might have worked in the Middle Ages but today can be done with 4 people in shifts and a bunch of electronics.

  • Sharp Ears

    Someone was asking who controls Urban.

    At Newsnight on which he appears as ‘Diplomatic Editor’ it would be Esme Wren.

    ‘Wren will take over from Ian Katz, a former deputy editor of the Guardian who joined the BBC in 2013. He was paid £151,600 a year while editor of Newsnight.12 Feb 2018
    BBC appoints Esme Wren as editor of Newsnight…/bbc-appoints-esme-wren-as-editor-of-newsnight ‘

    Overall, probably Nick Watt, another ex Guardian refugee. He is the BBC Political Editor.

    Ultimately Milord Hall of course, he of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden etc. £half a million squid pa. His wife was head of the very upmarket girls’ school, Wycombe Abbey.,_Baron_Hall_of_Birkenhead

    Urban has been a director of this property management company since 2011. He doesn’t state his occupation.

  • cricket

    Frank Fields resigns the whip.

    So a zionist who has in the passed written expensively on Enoch Powells good points resigns from Labour a few days after a dodgy ex-Rabbi connected to the Blair/Brown years accuses lifetime anti racist Jeremy Corbyn with an Enoch Powell slur. How convenient. And the MSM remain silent on this fact while handing Frank the airwaves.

    I see an pattern. Who ever they accuse JC of being the rebirth of, go look for an actual Blarite MP in the Labour party who supports such despicable people because they’re about to make an announcement screaming ”wacist”.

  • Sharp Ears

    David Rosenberg on Sacks. Chapter and verse.

    You were never my Chief Rabbi, bruv.
    August 29, 2018

    He concludes:
    ‘When asked last year what were his four favourite books of 2017, Sacks included Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, which the “respected rabbi” described as “unsettling” and “disturbing”. Sacks continued: “Murray weaves a tale of uncontrolled immigration, failed multiculturalism, systemic self-doubt, cultural suicide and disingenuous political leadership. Accurate, insightful and devastating.” Lots of Powellite themes there, which Sacks found strangely attractive. Needless to say Murray included an apologia for and re-interpretation of Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech.

    But then again it wasn’t the likes of Rabbi Sacks, and the cushioned middle classes who experienced on the streets the fallout from Powell’s hate speech. It was predominantly the Asian and Caribbean communities facing vicious racial violence, including racial murders, and the anti-racist movements, abused and attacked by the far right forces Powell encouraged. Those communities, the anti-racist movements, the refugee communities today, in the face of brutal attacks, have continued to resist. And through those years of resistance they have known they can rely on solidarity from allies beyond their own communities. One absolutely constant and ever-present ally, at their side then and now, is Jeremy Corbyn.’


    • N_

      Nice article by David Rosenberg. I think he’s right that a snap general election may be coming.

      • Shatnersrug

        I don’t know why people think this. There is absolutely no advantage for May to call an election. She’s seen off Bozza and Rees-Mogg is a joke who only gets press in the silly season along with Corbyn AS smears. (Why? It’s cheap to buy column inches in the summer)

        As long as the Tories keep the sponsors rich and protected they’re doing their job, why would they even risk the chance of a labour majority? It just doesn’t make sense.

        • laguerre

          May conceivably may not have a choice. The way things are going collapse may be what comes, rather than the ERG coup d’état, which is what one supposes is going to happen.

  • N_

    The Daily Heil – get this: the Daily Heil – has paid for an exclusive story about an 82-year-old “British J__ish gran” who in 2013 was one of a group of Zionist barrackers who intervened at a meeting hosted by Jeremy Corbyn in the Palace of Westminster. She had “tried to make a point” in support of the Nazi-style regime of I__ael.

    “We love the Queen and we absolutely love being British,” she says.

    I’m very engaged with community issues and politics and I’m interested in I__aeli history. (…) I couldn’t believe (what happened at the meeting). It was the most undemocratic, unbalanced meeting I’d ever attended. I__el was compared to Nazi Germany, and there was talk of the ‘J__ish lobby’.

    The meeting was held for the Palestine Return Centre. Why is Mrs Vine so devoted to the cause of opposing millions of refugees’ right to return to the country that a fascist army terrorised them out of?

    • Anon1

      “She was called a ‘Zionist traitor piece of sh**’ by jeering anti-Semitic mob in Parliament”

      It’s the kinder, gentler politics.

        • Shatnersrug

          Does anyone read Anon1’s comments I see his name and scroll past it, haven’t noticed what he’s said for months. Bostock is the other one I suggest everyone try it, it’s amazingly refreshing – just skip over it

          • George

            I’m with you there Srug. It’s a pity you can’t do that thing you can do on Amazon where you can just block a poster’s comments from your own personal view. It’s like freshening up the air!

  • Baalbek

    Righteous indignation about the stream of lies and distortions from the BBC is about as effective as a 1984 era Soviet citizen grumbling about Pravda’s proclivity for propaganda. When will we begin to explore creating alternatives to the BBC, Guardian, NYT, CNN, FOX, SKY and the rest of the terminally compromised mainstream media?

    We need an internet that isn’t ruled by the advertising model of funding and beholden to the whims of big tech and their spook overseers, a system that has corrupted journalism to its core and given sinister Silicon Valley billionaire social engineers and the “deep state” immense power over our lives. Impotent griping about the unfairness of it all and liberal values is hardly going make a difference.

    So long as it is buffered by rhetoric about protection from terrorists, right-wing crazies or evil Russian spies threatening “our democracy”, and the c-word is never mentioned, a majority of citizens easily accept the outright censorship “of a kind developed by totalitarians” that is presently being normalized into the fabric of our society.

    Not so long ago warnings about the west becoming a hybrid of 1984 and Brave New World could be dismissed as hyperbole dreamt up by paranoid fantasists, but today it has become a reality and it will take a lot of work to wake up fellow citizens and take back power. The days of the all-powerful elected representative with the ability to represent the electorate’s interests are over. Witness the savage flaying of Jeremy Corbyn and the pathetic capitulation of Bernie Sanders.

    I apologize for my frustrated belligerent tone at times. I get the sense the full implications of what is happening today hasn’t really sunk in yet, that many people who are otherwise aware still believe salvation is only a general election away. We are already in the post-democratic era and the likes of the Atlantic Council and pro-establishment forces, in conjunction with billionaire oligarchs, have veto power over elected politicians whose job it is to uphold the empty illusion that we still live in democracies.

    • laguerre

      You should be grateful that we have free access to the internet. We should be very grateful to Tim Berners-Lee for his invention of the World-Wide Web. The ancient French Minitel wasn’t like that.

      It is obvious that the The Powers That Be are going to want to shut down freedom of expression, as they have succeeded with war journalism by embedding journalists in their armies. What is remarkable with the Internet is that they haven’t succeeded. You are still able to post whatever you think to this blog. The free model of Berners-Lee still works.

      I notice that in the latest model of Microsoft Windows you can only install programmes from their website. Ok, you can get around it, but it takes time and effort.

      • Radar O’Reilly

        Interestingly, TimBL did use Minitel to remotely access the CERN Vax cluster, as you could ignore the sex chat lines and telephone book content and use it as a dumb terminal. It was one of the small building blocks of his remote-procedure-call based WWW.

        Tim deliberately wanted , I think, in a non subversive way, that users of his free and open WWW would create their own content and become their own ‘BBC’

    • Ishmael

      Democratic ? When ?

      Sorry I must have been asleep during that period…

      I think we’ve seen a clear narrowing lately, of what never was very democratic. But at the same time more awareness of what is among many. These two things are surley linked. Control would react this way to sunlight. Cower in the bushes.

    • DissidentX

      Yes indeed. Become the media. (© Jello Biafra 2001). Or occupy and take control of their media (© first step in any revolution). I feel your frustration there.

  • Sharp Ears

    Alex Salmond Show.

    Alex Salmond gets the inside story on Britain’s rail network
    30 Aug, 2018
    This week’s Alex Salmond Show explores the case for and against renationalization of Britain’s rail service, as millions of passengers become increasingly more disgruntled with price hikes and poor service.
    26 mins

    I can’t imagine anyone being able to make a case against re-nationalization.

    • Ishmael

      It is pretty awful these kinds of input, however lack lustre IMO, (bit pointless debate) are reduced to RT and not given mainstream broadcast time.

      The thing is I imagine both resistant to a more intergrated arrangement. Not that debate should be among prominent privileged figures. But it really speaks to the input people up north get. Or don’t.

      Bless him, looks like he’s trying at least.

  • Den Lille Abe

    Thanks for the blog Craig, your contribution helps keep me sane. I contribute what I can spare monthly.
    Your take on matters, international and British are very much appreciated, otherwise only the Off Guardian is reliable.
    Thank you.

  • giyane

    Few here will know the story of Moses pbuh and Firaun / Pharaoh in the Qur’an.
    That was a time in which magic was the highest art and Pharaoh had coerced a large number of magicians to serve his fraudulent plan to claim to be God. He used astronomers to calculate the release of water from the Sudan to the Nile. Thus he was able to persuade his people of his omnipotence.

    We live now in a technological age in which at the push of a small button the entire world could be engulfed in fire and literally melt us into obliteration. The modern Pharaoh has coerced an army of Islamists by torture rendition- brainwashing to fight against Islam, arming them, funding them, covering them diplomatically in the United nations and parliaments. We live in an age where an automatic weapon sends so many bullets it can cut through anything.

    We were led to believe by our Pharaoh USUKIS that our firepower was invincible, and yet Russia and china have developed weapons that disable our radar, and direct missiles at their targets accurately , unlike our cruise missiles that tried to attack Florida.

    My point being that the whole Skrollopgate story is pure baloney, like Pharaoh’s baloney about the Nile. The antics of USUKIS’s ISIS were filmed for pure terror effect to heighten the baloney still further. We have had a beautiful summer full of drivel about anti-Semitism, and now sexual abuse of power. The emperor has no clothes on. We can all see it. Boris Johnson’s smoke and mirrors about Russia has convinced nobody although the EU has tried very hard to hide its naked boobs behind the emperor’s bare balls.

    We are not at a point of crisis because 90% of USUKIS bullying neo-imperialism is, thanks to brave whistleblowers exposed. We know we have universal spying. We know we have fake money. We know we are lied to everyday by the MSM. We know our country uses proxy terrorists to circumvent the laws it lays down for everyone else to be governed by. We know our prime minister is bonkers and we know what to do about it. Kick out the Tories at the next election and next time don’t let the Liberals form a majority which gets them back into power. Just do it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Speak of the devil!

    Tonight at 10pm on BBC Four Ch 9 Freeview until 11pm

    1/2 Tank Heroes of WW11
    Historian and former tank commander Mark Urban tells the story of six remarkable men from the Fifth Royal Tank Regiment in World War 11.

  • Jack

    Frank Field, Labour veteran and ardently pro-israel, whine about antisemitism and quite and hurt Labour in the making. Well good riddance,

  • Ian

    Seen it have you? Or are you just making some stuff up? Degenerate – that made me laugh. What is this – the 1930’s?

    • Jo

      Utter crap.

      Nobody wants a nuclear war to stop Russia becoming closer to America.

      Literally nobody is that nuts.

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