Gdansk 1781

Writing about your personal demons for the public is seldom a good idea, and it is a particularly bad idea when you are starting at 3.40am as they are haunting you. We are spending Hogmanay in the beautiful city of Gdansk. It is my first time here for over twenty years, but the city has remarkable memories for me.

In November 1994 I was newly arrived as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw when a fatal fire occurred at the famous shipyard, in a hall being used for a rock concert tied in to a MTV transmission. The fire doors were all padlocked shut, and the heat had reached such intensity that a flash fire had occurred right across the hall. Miraculously only five people had died immediately, but hundreds had been horrifically burnt or suffered fume inhalation and the hospitals were completely overwhelmed.

Within hours of the fire I was dispatched to Gdansk by our dynamic Ambassador and found myself on a train heading North with only a Motorola mobile phone the size of a large brick (1994) and a phone number for DFID, in those days a part of the FCO and known as ODA. I roused from his London bed the official in charge of emergency assistance, Mukesh Kapila, and he instructed me to get a list from the medical authorities of all the supplies required. He explained that major burns required large volumes of consumables by way of ointments and special gauzes and bandages.

Arriving in Gdansk I very soon discovered that the victims were dispersed round several hospitals and there was no central authority able to produce a list of requirements. Poland was still in the early stages of a shock transition from communism and elements of administration were shaky at the best of times, let alone in a large scale emergency. The only way to make any progress was for me physically to go to every hospital and every concerned ward, buttonhole the doctors there and ask them what they needed.

To say they were swamped would be ridiculous understatement. Victims were everywhere, very many critical, and in some places bleary-eyed doctors literally had nothing – creams, bandages, painkillers, saline drips all exhausted. Meeting many doctors, when I told them I could get anything sent out instantly, the reaction ranged from angrily incredulous to massive bear hugs.

It was of course difficult. In 1994 Polish medical practice differed quite sharply from British. There were language barriers; my as yet basic Polish lacked medical vocabulary. And I had to keep interrupting incredibly busy people. But after the first couple of hospitals I was able to extrapolate and phone through to Mukesh the most obviously urgent items, and by the end of the day I was clutching 16 handwritten lists and could sit down to consolidate them.

But I have not described to you what it was like to go round those wards. I really cannot – it was indescribable. Horribly disfigured people screaming and writhing in pain, begging and pleading for any relief, even asking to die. And the worst thing is, they were all teenagers – the average age seemed about 16. One image I shall never forget was of a girl sitting bolt upright in bed, looking calm, and I recall thinking that at least this one is OK. But I had seen her right profile and as I passed her, the left side of her face was literally skeletal, with a yellow blob for an eye, no skin and just the odd sinew attached to the bone. Her calm was catatonic.

But in a way still worse were two girls who looked perfectly healthy, lying on top of their beds apparently in an untroubled sleep. The doctor told me that they were already brain dead, having inhaled cyanide gas from the combustion of plastic seating. The mother of one of them was there and she pleaded with me to tell the doctor not to turn off the ventilator; the poor woman was crazed with grief and pulling at her hair, which was dyed red. I can still recall every detail of the faces of both mother and her still daughter.

I called in every day for a week or so and sat with the mother a few minutes, in silence. Then one day they were gone; the doctors had switched off the ventilator.

Andrze Kanthak, our Honorary Consul, was a fantastic support and worked extremely hard throughout this period – but as we walked together into the first ward, Andrze simply fainted straight out at the sight of it all. That evening we had hardly finished consolidating my 16 lists and sending them off to Mukesh when news arrived that the first shipment of most urgent supplies was arriving at Gdansk airport, and we dashed off there with a lorry from the City Council.

It was a bitter disappointment. Customs refused to release the medicines until duty had been paid and, still worse, everything would need to be checked and certified by the food and drug administration, which could take weeks. All my fury at the self-satisfied officials was of no avail, and we returned temporarily baffled.

A phone call now came that DFID had chartered a flight to arrive the next day with 20 tons of medical supplies, so the situation was now critical. Walesa was now President and I suggested we contact his office, but Andrze advised we should rather recruit Father Jankowski.

Jankowski was the parish priest in Gdansk who had been integral to the Solidarnosc movement, and at that time he wielded enormous political influence. His home was extraordinary for a parish priest – literally palatial – and when I met him there the next day he readily agreed to help. He came to the airport with us as the chartered cargo flight arrived, and supervised the loading into the council lorries which I dispatched to the various hospitals. A tall imposing figure in a flowing black cassock, the customs officials who had blocked us obeyed him without question.

Things calmed down over the next few days, Mukesh Kapila himself came out, and the hospitals once supplied performed brilliantly. Astonishingly, from hundreds of cases of severe and extensive burns, with scores in intensive care, we lost nobody except the two girls who were already brain dead, bringing the final death toll to seven. The incredible survival rate was viewed as a miracle, and perhaps it was, but it was a miracle assisted by some fantastic doctors, by Mukesh Kapila and his staff, by Father Jankowski, by Andrze Kanthak and by the Secretary of Gdansk Council whose name (Janowski?) has slipped my mind, embarrassingly as the experience made us firm friends for a long while.

But I am afraid to say the personal impact on me was quite severe. It is no secret that I struggle against bipolar disorder, and the sheer horror of those days in the wards undoubtedly triggered me for quite a while. I also suffered recurrent nightmares for more than a decade, about the horrific burns but also about the brain dead child and the mother tearing her hair. Worse than the nightmares were the waking flashbacks, not so much visual as emotional, experiencing the feeling of it happening again.

When I got back to the Embassy nobody was very interested in what I had been doing. I was ticked off for returning a day late and also for not obtaining much media publicity for the UK’s role. I have written before that one of my frequent duties in Poland was to conduct high profile visitors around the concentration camps, a visit all British politicians wish to make. Those places filled me with horror, which resonated on the same emotional frequency as the Gdansk trauma. Those frequent visits made my time in Poland difficult to me, which is a shame as it is a delightful country and people.

Back here now as a tourist, with my family and at a festive time, no troubling memories are assailing me. I find I can now be proud of what we did, rather than ashamed at my emotional reaction afterwards. And I can’t quite tell you why, but I felt it should be recorded.

Finally, it is worth noting that this Gdansk experience was one of a number which led me immediately to understand that the famous BBC report on “Saving Syria’s Children” was faked. The alleged footage of burns victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.


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1,781 thoughts on “Gdansk

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  • Magpie68

    All the very best Craig for reporting what others feel is of little value; the experiences of the “ normal people” whose hardship could never experienced by those lofty individuals who’d are often the cause of such cruelty and pain. Keep reporting and a happy new year

  • able

    Now we have a group of 14 migrants, including a mother and children, attempting to steal a French fishing trawler at the port of Boulogne in order to reach the UK

    Isn’t it extraordinary that these migrants will passed through the whole of Europe and do literally anything to get to the land of austerity, child poverty, foodbanks, and slashed benefits?

        • able

          What do you mean “your” trawler? It’s everyone’s trawler, just like it’s everyone’s country. These people should be allowed to to take anyone’s trawler and choose to live where they want.

        • Dungroanin

          Sure. No problem.

          Imagine you want to go and live somewhere else.

          Then do it.

          Many people across the planet do it daily.

    • Doc_Holliday

      3.5 million refugees from Syria in Turkey, 14,000 arrived in Munich late last year. Stands to reason a few will make their way to us. It’s not that extraordinary if, for instance, their second language is English. All Syrians learn English from 1st grade. So do many other middle eastern or African children.

    • Paul Greenwood

      So punish Serbia for not requiring Iranians to obtain visas. Communists paid for Europe’s border guards until 1990………after that Ukraine and Serbia and Bulgaria became staging posts for illegals entering the EU.

      If you want to stop it simply introduce a “Solidarity Tax” of say 5-10% on all incomes (including dividends) > £150,000 pa. to fund local authorities and NHS and reduce Council Tax

      • MaryPau!

        it wasn’t a case of Serbia not requiring Iranians to have visas, it was intentional as a “special promotion” for a fixed period to improve trade/ tourism between their two countries.

  • able

    In a startling revelation that will shock everyone, the knife-wielding jihadist arrested in Manchester turns out to have been from Somalia. Via Holland.

    • Bayard

      Of course, that’s why we heard about it. If he had been white and non-Muslim, it wouldn’t have got further than the local paper, unless, of course, he was Russian.

      • able

        In case you hadn’t noticed, it doesn’t tend to be non-Muslims carrying out the spontaneous terrorist attacks all across Europe, but if you had been paying attention, you’d know that the media have, as instructed, been doing everything possible to avoid calling it an Islamic terrorist attack. Hence their clinging to “motive unknown”, despite the jihadist shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “Long live the Caliphate”.

        • Sharp Ears

          Ask Mr Anthony Charles Lynton Blair and Mr George W Bush about the Muslims they killed, shredded and burned and whose homes they turned to rubble.

          • able

            I dont see what the 2003 Iraq War has to so with the beheading of Norwegian and Danish backpackers in Morocoo, for example. Or driving a truck into German pedestrians. Or opening fire with automatic weapons on revellers in a French concert hall.

            But do carry on with your ever more deranged form of denial.

          • pretzelattack

            the connection between the iraq war and the blowback from that war and numerous other interventions by the west is obvious.

          • Clark

            Able: “I dont see what the 2003 Iraq War has to so with the beheading of Norwegian and Danish backpackers in Morocoo, for example” etc…

            I agree that it’s not immediately obvious, and I wish other commenters would attempt explanation rather than being dismissive.

            We’re looking at connections across vastly different scales; on one hand the behaviour of individuals mostly in early adulthood, and on the other the behaviour of multiple nation states and empires across the course of many decades. A particular set of ideologies indoctrinate the individuals, but the nation states cultivate, encourage, support and exploit the ideologies for geopolitical objectives.

            But the ideologies have internal contradictions; a good place to start is Saudi Arabia, and the internal tension between its puritanical state religion, and its obscenely wealthy, obscenely corrupt and outright murderous monarchical power structure, supported by the West’s addiction to hydrocarbons. Rather like the UK’s constitution, the religious hierarchy teach that the al Saud family rule by divine decree, and in return the al Saud power structure guarantee the power of the religious hierarchy. The leading families from each camp have been intermarrying for generations.

            So what happens to a young, fierce devotee of the highly aggressive state religion when he discovers that his royal rulers are actually the biggest hypocrites in the world? If he deepens his religious devotion he has to turn against the leaders, but down that road he ends up defined as a “terrorist”. This is almost exactly the story of Osama bin Laden, and likewise, our young devotee can still be useful to state powers, as Osama bin Laden was to US power in Afghanistan.

            That’s just one example; others take other forms. Fiercely indoctrinated young fighters are extraordinarily useful to state secret services, as we have seen time and time again; compare the British secret services’ “Covenant of Security” that contributed to the 7/7 London bombings.

          • sc

            Nice explanation Clark. There is also the way things are reported. If a petty criminal involved in drugs does a senseless violent attack on innocent people, the description may be terrorism or unhinged loner, depending on circumstances and who we are overreacting to at the time. Far right and other terrorist organisations probably influence and use such people, with them needing money or needing a feeling of belonging and the excitement of having a mission …. but I wonder whether it would be better to treat most of this as crime rather than terrorism.

          • sc

            It’s a simple old fashioned distinction. In an unjust situation, more people will be drawn to violence. That doesn’t mean they are justified and not responsible for their actions, but shouldn’t we be trying to make the world safer by limiting the injustice as well as attacking the terrorists? Even here at home, it’s in the interests of the rich to make sure the less rich don’t have too many grievances.

          • pretzelattack

            we produce the terrorists. look at bin ladin’s list of reasons for 911, it’s all based on reactions to the west’s war on muslims. look at the underwear bomber who explicitly stated that motivation. amazing that muslims react the same way that americans reacted after 911!! who can possibly explain reacting to attacks and barbarity with violence?

          • letthatslip

            It’s important to factor in the likelihood of these events being false flag operations. It is extremely likely, based on the evidence, that 7/7 and 9/11 were false flag operations, carried out by “the West”. This has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt, especially in the case of 9/11 where the evidence is so thorough and broad in its range that it is a true wonder how they have managed to keep the lid on it. A remarkable achievement for the scum, they are verrrrry intelligent and know how to get deep into our souls. We are ruled by some very sick and twisted people with very fucked up ideas about how the population should be managed. These assholes have been carrying out false flag operations in one form or another for centuries. It’s nothing new. Basically, you are much easier to control and manipulate when you are fearful They can pull all sorts of voodoo shit on you when you’re scared, it’s all for your own safety and it’s all done in the name of national security. Actually it’s all just good old fashioned trickery and illusion. Just a big fuck off puppet show

          • Clark

            “A remarkable achievement for the scum, they are verrrrry intelligent and know how to get deep into our souls. We are ruled by some very sick and twisted people with very fucked up ideas about how the population should be managed. These assholes have been carrying out false flag operations in one form or another for centuries”

            Exactly who are “these assholes”, letthatslip?

            “Just a big fuck off puppet show”

            You can talk, “letthatslip”, “SpicyFingers”:


            Have you also commented as Moocho?

        • Bayard

          “In case you hadn’t noticed, it doesn’t tend to be non-Muslims carrying out the spontaneous terrorist attacks all across Europe”

          Yes, but that’s only because such knifings aren’t considered “terror attacks” when carried out by non-Muslims. People get knifed in the cities of the UK almost every day, but when it’s a white bloke knifing a black bloke or a black bloke knifing another black bloke, it’s not reported as a “terror attack”. It’s just “knife crime”.

      • Andyoldlabour


        So, when was the last time a random terrorist attack against civilians in Europe was carried out by a white non Muslim person?

        • Dom

          @ Andyoldlabour

          Imagine if non-white Muslims were instead dropping 10s of 1000s of bombs on civilians across Europe from 20,000 ft. The sense of victimhood among old white geezers would go off the charts.

          • Geoffrey

            Would agree with you Dom, not surprising that Muslim’s want to attack Western targets though not sure what the significance of their colour is ? Not sure what the significance is of the age or colour of the perpetrators is either.
            I suppose the principal war criminals Blair/Campbell et al were old and white.

        • laguerre

          I thought there was supposed to be a crisis of knife crime in London. It’s just that if it’s a brown Muslim it’s called terrorism, and if it’s a white, it’s called knife crime. Anyway, this one turns out to be a nutter, unsurprisingly, and has now been restrained in a suitable establishment.

          • able

            “This one turns out to be a nutter”

            Don’t they all !!

            There’s a big problem with gang-related knife crime among young black men in London (2 dead already this year).

            When a Muslim performs sudden jihad on random people with a weapon whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and “Long live the Caliphate!”, I think it’s fair to say its terrorism.

          • MaryPau!

            it is terrorism if it is done with a religious or political motive e.g. In the name of Allah, makes it terrorism. Personal vendetta by a gang member makes it a knife crime.

          • Clark

            I think it’s very dubious to call it terrorism when it’s just an individual and there’s no paramilitary organisation behind it.

            The Western powers have supported these violent ideologies for their own objectives.

          • letthatslip

            Bin Laden denied any involvement in 9/11. A few fake video tapes of him confessing did the round sbut were all exposed as fakes. FBI never listed bin Laden as a suspect because they have and had no evidence that he had anything to do with it. Stop peddling lies

          • MaryPau!

            So Clark you are saying it can only be terrorism if there is a para military organization behind. There have been plenty of examples of a very small group, even an individual, of religious fanatics getting hold of weapons or explosives and killing people, complete strangers, ,”in the name of Allah”. Knife crime in London is driven by inter-gang rivalry, drugs, vendettas, revenge and bravado. That is not terrorism.

          • Clark

            MaryPau!, terrorism is defined as an attack against civilians, for a political objective. ”In the name of Allah” makes no demands, and expresses no political objectives.

        • Bayard

          The most recent time someone got knifed in, say, London? Unless of course, if it is only a “terrorist attack” if it is carried out by a Muslim, then, by definition, there hasn’t been one, well, not since Irish = terrorist morphed into Muslim = terrorist, anyway.

      • Ken Kenn

        The best thing to note from this ” Terrorist! ” panic is that despite efforts by the mainstream media this bloke ( like many other white ” terrorists ” do from Norway to the US ) has took it upon himself to take revenge on the world.

        Excuses go from – God told me to do it – Armageddon’s coming – the price of electricity has risen for the fourth time etc etc.

        What is isn’t is some kind of guided precise attack by so called ISIS ( who called them that? – the so called media -that’s who) for these attackers to all come out and do their thing.

        The media seem to think that the boss of ISIS gets on the blower or the net and puts in an order to do these things – they don’t.

        For the simple reason that they are a creation of the CIA and others and the money will stop coming if they don’t do as they are told.

        What they are allowed to do however, is become surrounded and then are allowed to escape to Idlib and other areas. Possibly ex members of The White Helmets are residing in Surrey at this point in time – who knows?

        But I’ll tell you what – if ever there is a chemical attack in Surrey – they’ll know what to do as they will possibly cause it.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Somalis left Netherlands en-masse for UK once Dutch began cracking down on benefit fraud

  • Monteverdi

    A moving story from Craig but amazingly so few deaths. Which leads me to medical supplies and health systems struggling to cope. The story above [ in a newspaper I cease to respect ] outlines the desperate situation in Gaza where a superbug is threatening an already overwhelmed health system and may cause many deaths. But this is not caused by a logistical problems or the unavailability of drugs to fight it. This is a man made problem directly attributable to Israel’s inhuman blockade. When deaths occur as they will, they will not be just medical deaths, but premeditated murders.

    • Sharp Ears

      Very true Monteverdi. A doctor from el Shifa hospital who came to Oxford before Christmas to collect his Masters degree (which he undertook with only a mobile phone with intermittent electricity supplies!) had to undergo atrocious behaviour from the el Sisi brigade in Egypt, through the desert, his only way out of Gaza.

    • laguerre

      So we’ve got another hasbarist on the blog. Well-paid, I hope. It’s just a story coming from one of those organisations that hunt down and force the firing of anyone that says anything in public against Israel. What the person tweeted was not anti-semitic, but anti-Israel, but was hunted down nevertheless.

      • able

        Hold on, let me just get this straight. A doctor boasting on social media about how they plan to give Jewish patients the wrong meds is not anti-Semitic??

        Are you alright in the head?

        • laguerre

          It’s what she was accused of, not what she actually did. Apparently you are unable to distinguish between the two, as is common with people who have an agenda.

    • Clark

      She’s Palestinian:

      “Palestinians will not try to expel all Jews. We have no problem with Jews…”

      So at the very least, her family have lost land and rights, and almost certainly, members of her family have been killed, injured and persecuted.

      Able, we each have a choice. We can fan the flames, amplify the tension and conflict, or…

  • nevermind

    Maybe able can tell us the name of the driver in Bottrop who was seen to deliberately drive into a crowd of foreigners, not shouting anything?

    As yet the name has not been released, but we will soon get to course if able is able to lecture us on terror incidents? Some carried out on our own behest, maybe able could be so kind and say which German citizen has done this.
    Im sure that the to fear subjected subjects here would appreciate it.

    • nevermind

      The incidence was carried out by a 50 year old German shouting obcenities and racial slurs? Injuring 5 people.

      Off course, like in so many ‘native’ lone wolf attacks, this comes with the usual explanation that he might have mental instabilities….
      Remember Kahane and his followers? all raving bonkers apparently.

      • Sharp Ears

        As with the stabbings in Manchester. This BBC report goes on to identify the perpetrator as a member of a Somali family who came to the city from the Netherlands 12 years ago

        ‘Manchester stabbings suspect detained under mental health laws
        01 January 2019 Manchester

        Video caption Manchester stabbing: Police restrain suspect

        A terror suspect arrested over a “frenzied” knife attack on three people in Manchester has been detained under mental health laws.

        The 25-year-old is being held on suspicion of attempted murder after the stabbings on New Year’s Eve at the city’s Victoria railway station .

        Police said there was “nothing to suggest” others were involved.

        Officers have been praised for their “fearless” response in containing the attacker with pepper spray and Tasers.

        In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said the suspect had “been assessed by specialist staff and detained under the Mental Health Act”.’

      • Paul Greenwood

        He drove a silver Mercedes and apparently shouted no racial slurs or other but seemingly was known to be mentally disturbed whatever that means. I prefer FACT to Speculation

  • Willem

    Hi Craig,

    I really liked that story, thanks for sharing.

    I also write this at a late time, after a late New Year, where fire works kept me awake and reminded me of the Balibombings in 2002. I was there at time of the bombings, lost a friend, was very lucky to escape the Sari Club with only scratches.

    I saw a lot of young people (I was young too then) who were less lucky than I was, with glass wounds on the street and screams in the Sari Club of people who were burning, including my friend.

    Next day I immediately went home (Netherlands), I was psychologically not capable to stay and look for my friend who was either burned and in hospital, or burnt to death. And at the same time see all other victims and death people. I was so lucky, and I felt so guilty for something that I did not have to feel guilty of…

    Anyway, the reason I respond is

    A) some of my friends stayed to look for my friend who went (with only me) to the Sari club that fatal evening. They were accompanied by the Dutch consul of Bali. He was completely unhelpful and I am sure you would have done a much better job than he did at the time

    B) every opportunity that gives me a chance to speak about this terrible event, helps me fighting the demons. I assume that’s why you wrote above piece and that is why C

    C) I wrote this response, as sharing pain, halves pain (Dutch saying, ‘gedeelde smart is halve smart’)

    So thanks for sharing your story

    • craig Post author

      Thank you very much Willem. Yes, sharing it has been a huge relief, and it is even more helpful to hear from those with similar experience. I am sorry to hear of the unhelpful Dutch consul. In truth, I genuinely believe that none of my own colleagues would have done what I did either.

  • Blunderbuss

    People are not going to like this but I think the Ultima Thule story is fake news.

    If Ultima Thule is a billion miles away, how on earth can we receive radio signals from the spacecraft? By the time the signals get to earth they will be vanishingly weak and they will be completely drowned out by noise. It will be like trying to hear a pin drop in the middle of a busy street.

    • Clark

      “how on earth can we receive radio signals from the spacecraft?”

      I expect the spacecraft transmits through a directional antenna, so that its signal does not decrease so much with increasing distance – ie. less like a broadcast and more like a beam. Plus reception will be by directional antenna as well, cutting down much of the RF noise, most of which will originate from Earth.

    • Mighty Drunken

      New Horizon’s main antenna is a 2.1-meter high gain Cassegrain antenna. Data is received by NASA’s Deep Space Network which has three main stations evenly placed around the globe. Each includes a 70m Cassegrain antenna, more like a radio telescope than a TV aerial. As Clark said these are parabolic so the beams are directed.
      Noise would be a big problem only because of how weak these signals are, as the antenna’s are directed, they will be pointing in a place which will be very quiet at the expected frequencies.

      “Because I don’t understand something, therefore it is fake” is a bad argument. Especially when up against Science which is less prone than other human endeavours in trickery. Science relies on criticism so if something didn’t make sense many experts would be saying so.

      • Blunderbuss

        “Because I don’t understand something, therefore it is fake” is a bad argument.

        Yes, but it’s a good way of extracting information from people.

      • Clark

        Mighty Drunken, thanks for the additional information.

        “Science […] is less prone than other human endeavours in trickery”

        Yes, people don’t get it. They see propaganda in coverage of politics especially foreign policy, and outright lies from governments, particularly when secret services are involved, and they don’t seem to realise that the same approach would not work for distorting scientific matters. Which is a shame, because they remain ignorant of how science really gets distorted.

        • TroutMaskReplica

          ““Science […] is less prone than other human endeavours in trickery”
          Has this been scientifically prove?

          • Clark

            Suddenly your path is obstructed by a wall in which there are two Doors, attended by two Guardians. But your Ancient Book has forewarned you of this obstacle; one Door leads to Success, the other to Failure. One Guardian always lies, the other is always truthful. But of Doors and Guardians, neither you nor the Book can tell you which is which. All your Book tells you is that you may ask one Question, of whichever Guardian you choose.

            Can you think of a good question?

    • letthatslip

      NASA is far more involved in trickery and the occult than science. You’re right to be skeptical, it’s utter BS. But believe it, because……SCIENCE. The NASA link someone posted is just laughable, some digits on a computer screen and voila, 41 years in space and still going strong! Hilarious and tragic, for the human race

      • Clark

        Letthatslip, I don’t “believe science”. I try not to believe anything. Science is a system of organised disbelief; of scepticism. I provisionally accept scientific positions because (1) all the science I have myself used has shown the theories to correctly account for facts, and (2) I understand the processes of verification and testing used by the scientific community.

        Of you and me, it seems to be you that’s doing the believing. I accept the things I do because they are consistent with things I can check for myself. For instance I can watch the ISS pass overhead. I can see the other spacecraft that service it. Sometimes, when conditions are right, I can see multiple passes of the ISS, about an hour and a half apart, confirming orbital mechanics, which in turn confirms gravitational theory.

        Is there any science that you accept?

  • Clark

    Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday:

    “The book is split into two parts: the first explains why blogs matter, how they drive the news, and how they can be manipulated, and the second shows what happens when this is done, how it backfires, and the consequences of the current media system.”

    • sc

      Are you recommending it? I nearly bought it and then thought what if I’m being manipulated ….. is it good?

      • Clark

        I don’t know. I saw a recommendation; I hadn’t heard of it before, so I posted it up here because it’s on-topic for this blog. Also because someone who has read it might post comments about it.

  • BrianFujisan

    When we Last herd from the Voyager Space crafts.. The were tens of Billions of miles away

    • BrianFujisan

      Caitlin Johnstone – –

      …” The US war machine pours an immense amount of energy into perception management, making sure that ordinary Americans either (A) ignore the horrific things that are being done in their name or (B) think that those things are awesome and patriotic. The offending post w*
      as clearly attempting to accomplish (B). A team of paid social media propagandists simply did not understand that ordinary human beings wouldn’t resonate with a message that amounts to “Hey I see you’re all preparing to bring in the new year, so watch how good we are at killing large numbers of people!”, and some damage control became necessary when everyone got freaked out. Can’t have people opening their eyes to how insane America’s relentless military expansionism has gotten, after all….”

      Sometimes it’s the Simplicity… Poetry From OOr Caitlin.

  • Mark B

    Another pompous and self-aggrandizing blog piece from Craig…with the reason for writing it revealed at the end. Got to keep those roubles coming.

    • craig Post author

      Interesting bit of Integrity Initiative technique there, Mark B. “Got to keep those roubles coming”. You are entitled to insinuate I only write for money if you wish, but why would it be roubles? The blog has three Russian subscribers, contributing £9 per month in total. By comparison it has 14 subscribers in Cupar, Angus alone. Why did you say “roubles”?

          • able

            I’m not trolling anyone. I’m saying that when Mark B refers to roubles coming in, I don’t think he’s talking about Russian subscribers to the blog!

          • Mistress Pliddy


            As Steph said, not very able.
            Still, keep trying. You’ll pick it up. Maybe ask for morning shift, when the brain is more alert.

      • Jack

        Quite vile to attack and smear someone talking about their mental health.
        Just IP ban people like this.

      • Goose

        These days, it’s become routine for anyone posting anything remotely Russian worldview sympathetic to be leapt upon and called a paid Russian bot – the post then held up as ‘evidence’ of Russian interference. These morons never substantiate their outlandish claims.

        It really is akin to a new McCarthyism gripping the west. In their paranoia I’m sure these self-appointed ‘patriots’ imagine Russia funding thousands of western propagandists, they ignore the fact many of those they’re accusing have been critical of Russia/Putin in many other areas eg. democracy and human rights. Although, banging on about the state of Russian democracy or Russian /Chinese human rights would be pretty idiotic for any westerner, considering we don’t live there and there is bugger all we can do about it We can only highlight are own govt’s hypocrisy, democratic failings and secrecy and they seem to take umbrage at that.

        • Blunderbuss

          “These days, it’s become routine for anyone posting anything remotely Russian worldview sympathetic to be leapt upon and called a paid Russian bot”

          Yes, just as anyone questioning anthropogenic global warming is leapt upon and called a paid coal/oil industry stooge.

          • Blunderbuss

            Funnily enough, I’m not advocating fracking. I want to return to making coal gas.

          • Clark

            Blunderbuss, you claim to disagree with the science of global warming. However, when discussing the matter with you, it becomes completely obvious that you don’t even know the science. You can’t have a scientific disagreement unless and until you know what science you’re disagreeing with.

            I therefore say that your behaviour is indistinguishable from that of a paid coal/oil industry stooge. This says nothing about you personally, because stooges are where such material originates.

            However, you also claim to be a scientist. You should therefore know what a scientific argument consists of, but you don’t seem to. But do enlighten me as to how this comes about.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 18:34

            “However, when discussing the matter with you, it becomes completely obvious that you don’t even know the science”.

            What is it that you know that I don’t?

          • Blunderbuss

            @Clark 18:34

            I think what you mean is that, if I did “know the science”, I would agree with you. That is not a scientific argument. It is perfectly possible for two scientists to look at the same data and draw different conclusions from it.

          • Clark

            “What is it that you know that I don’t?”

            Well I know that water, including vapour, is in the climate models – in fact central to them. I know there’s a whole section of the latest IPCC report concerning solar variation. So both those claims, which you repeated, are false.

            “It is perfectly possible for two scientists to look at the same data and draw different conclusions from it.”

            Yes but that’s not what you do. You just repeat stuff off dodgy websites. How else could you take an article whose own figures show ten times as much warming as cooling, and endorse its conclusion that there’s no consistent pattern of warming? How else could you simply, unquestioningly promote an article alleging that warming is actually data fraud, while the icecaps are melting before our very eyes? How else could you claim the polar ice will be back next winter, and in the very next comment claim it doesn’t matter if it disappears for the fist time in thirty million years? This scattershot, blunderbuss approach suggests you’re performing farce.

            Look, if you really want to have a good conversation about this, I strongly recommend that you read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. All the tools are there.

          • Bayard

            “You just repeat stuff off dodgy websites.”

            Please define “dodgy”. Does it mean “websites with an agenda with which I disagree”?
            If not the internet, from where do you get your information? Anyone can publish anything they like on the internet, and make it look as respectable. This cuts both ways.

            “Look, if you really want to have a good conversation about this, I strongly recommend that you read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. All the tools are there.”

            I’ve read it and applied “the tools” to AGW. It doesn’t come out well, AFAICS.

          • Clark

            Bayard, the arguments Blunderbuss and Dave have presented me with are dodgy, and that is why I expect they came from dodgy websites. I doubt I can remember them all, but here are some that I do:

            “The concentration of CO2 is too low to be significant”

            But as the major gasses O2 and N2 are not greenhouse gases, it’s the absolute quantity that matters, not the concentration.

            “Such-and-such temperature figures across about a century do not show consistent warming” (accompanied by four misleading graphs.)

            But those figures did show around ten times as much warming as cooling.

            “The anthropogenic CO2 contribution is much less than the natural CO2 flux” / “Plants will take up extra CO2”

            But it must be the imbalance that matters, because we see the CO2 concentration rising.

            “Sea level is not rising. Water in boilers expands, but water in oceans does not”


            “Anthropogenic CO2 contribution is a fraction that from volcanoes”


            “Arctic ice is lost, but it reforms over winter”

            Arctic ice loss has been cumulative for two decades.

            “Earth has been without icecaps before”

            But that was twenty-eight million years before humans even existed and Earth was totally different then! You really think we should risk that much change to the only planet we have? Plus we’re currently increasing the CO2 concentration a hundred times faster than it has ever increased before; we have no precedent to compare to.

            “The IPCC consider only CO2. They don’t consider solar variation at all”

            False, and false. Then, when I point out the relevant section of the IPCC report:

            “OK, I see solar variation mentioned, but there’s nothing more than that”

            That’s because my link was only the table of contents!

            “The climate models do not include water vapour”


            “The Arctic ice is being lost, but Antarctic ice is increasing”

            False. Antarctic ice loss lagged arctic ice loss, but Antarctic loss is clear now.

            “The NOAA temperature record has been tampered with to show non-existent warming”

            But the icecaps are melting, so there’s definitely warming. Probably it’s just another false claim, and the adjustments NOAA document are justified.

            – – – – – –

            Bayard: – “I’ve read [Bad Science] and applied “the tools” to AGW. It doesn’t come out well, AFAICS.”

            Well go on then, summarise…

      • Goose

        On the subject of the ‘UK Integrity’ Initiative. It’s kinda understandable the UK security services would see Scottish Independence as a threat to UK integrity. But The SNP have someone on the ISC in the form of Ian Blackford MP, so rather cheeky setting it up under his nose? Maybe he ‘s never asked?

    • BrianFujisan

      That’s Called Indy – 2.. Sharp Ears..They are Terrfied of losing us..Our Resources.

    • giyane

      There is an increase in government false flags for paid nutters to troll about. Take able. He has planted his /her white supremacist flag on a massive dump of brexit-informed fake news.

      Is that coincidence? Of course not. Mrs May is trying to deliver a total dismantling of British rights, won through centuries of struggle, when they repatriate UK law from the EU.

      All she has got to sell the British public and our representatives in parliament is junk of dubiou origin, life or usefulness. A pile of 20th hand junk on a Sunday market junk stall.

      able has a stall selling mouldy diseased smelly shoes without soles or heels, a pile of prejudice, arrogance and bigotry. Get rid of these grubby Tories and able will have to put his grimy used dead people’s shoes in the bin.

  • Shugsrug

    Sharp Ears
    I think you are right about trolls. You can tell by the cold greedy and mean style.

    • BrianFujisan

      i Was Thinking.. But We Mean It..we are Booked for Cottage for ellenabeich – for indy march.. Sleep s Five..Six.

  • Dungroanin

    After a week off, looks like the trolls are reprogrammed and getting going again.
    So what is their new angle?
    Erm … the russkies are still coming!

    That now undenied statecraft initiative thug Cadwalladr also resurfaced, after a week, with a completely bonkers set of tweets – Putin doing karaoke witg some hollywood royalty nearly a decade ago. And another of the red army choir doing a james bond theme song – again from years ago, without acknowledging the tragic death of that choir in an air crash, a few years ago.

    Laughing at dead people. Way to go Carole. Tch tch.

    Tin eared and no change. Glad to see that along with sick sycophantic mindless followers there, she is getting plenty of ‘what for’. She is keen to tie Fartage to Putin but ignores his connection with Murdoch. As much as she is keen to tie Banks and Breitbart to brexit – she ignores completely Cummings and his billiion facebook ads using the advanced SCL techniques to snatch brexit from a guaranteed remain polling.

    That Orwell prize should be rescinded immediately from Cadwalladr – or they too will be seen to be state stooges. She has no integrity left.

    There is still no comment from the likes of Carole and other named ‘journalists’ on the Integrity Initiative and it’s blatant interference in other countries. I guess the Guerrilla hackers will be forced to reveal even more? Or is the whole thing a grand whizz, to catch us out?

    Meanwhile I see it is gong season and hope CM is shortlisted somewhere for any number of his writings last year.

    The Liam O’Hare article on SCL – “who’s the daddy?”- is currently top at BellaCaledonia

    It is brilliant and names names and shows the DS happily stomping on democracy and free elections across the world for years.

    DS=SCL >>CA/AIQ/Palantir types>> Leave.EU>> IoS/II >>Steele/Skripal – there are some more dots that will join to reveal the whole ugly picture.

    As we enter the critical few days that will show if the British parliamentry system collapses under its self delusion or succeeds in a General Election, let us hope, for a great year for social democracy across the world.

    • craig Post author

      I am sorry to say that – irrespective of who downed MH17, I really don’t know the answer – that is a terrible article. I read it yesterday keen to see the irrefutable case. It is a load of absolute bollocks and terribly written.

      • Node

        The Zereohedge article is badly written and doesn’t reveal anything new. However, the Youtube link at the heart of it documents errors and frauds in the ‘evidence’ cited by the Dutch investigation The Briefing on newly discovered evidence pertaining to the crash of the MH17 flight uploaded to Youtube by the Russian Defence Ministry in September is convincing. The ball is back in the court of Russia’s accusers, and until/unless someone refutes this video, I would say Russia has proved its innocence.

        • JohninMK

          Pretty much. Could have been shortened to a couple of paras basically saying:

          – the investigation was rigged as one potential guilty party PGP, Ukraine, has a veto over results
          – PGP shoots itself in the foot by publishing too much detail (serial numbers) in a report
          – main GP, Russia, then, like a good lawyer, pulls said details apart and adds damning details
          – so evidence by PGP proves PGP did the dead
          – but as conclusion not suiting the US/EU tits ignored by MSM.

          • Ingwe

            Phew, thanks JohninM for the précis. I’d started to read the Zerohedge article but, it was so badly written, I feared for my mental health if I continued reading!

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Eric Zeuess’s article is appallingly awful. It does however contain many well documented truths, that other people wrote, who were very much closer to the events, shortly after the time that it happenned. These people included extremely detailed photographic evidence, that was comprehensively analysed, by well documented explosive experts in the field.

        Eric uses far too many of his own words to unsuccessfully plagiarise other people’s work. This merely has the effect of obscuring, what actually happenned.

        Eric used to be really good. I used to be an avid reader of his articles.


      • SA

        I agree the article is very badly written and the anti-climax after all the build up is therefore even greater. However it does bring to light somethings discussed by others elsewhere which suggests that from the beginning the BUK story was a distraction and even then the Russians appear to have refuted the finding that that particular BUK was theirs. Her are two articles by John Helmer which go into details of why it was not A BUK. They are both from 2015.

        Anyway it seems the truth will never be known but Obama achieved two aims, the bringing of Ukraine closer to Europe and NATO and the sanctions against Russia.

        • Kempe

          Very unconvincing details, he seems obsessed by the lack of shrapnel injuries, and doesn’t present us with any alternatives except vaguely suggesting the explosion was not external.

    • michael norton

      The cutting off of gas, water, electricity, consequentially provided cause for the construction of the Kerch Bridge.
      The building of the Kerch Bridge has made the Ukraine coastal ports cutt off.
      As I keep suggesting Putin is a major stratistician, it is as if he is able to calculate multiple moves in advance.

    • pete

      The Zero hedge article is by Tyler Durden, a rehash of a piece by Eric Zuesse of the Strategic Culture Foundation, according to Wikispooks the Strategic Culture Foundation is a “Moscow based anti-zionist think tank and web publishing organisation” Giving various clues about them by citing articles, details here: I know nothing of the finances of the SCF. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next audited financial report to find out who funds them.

    • JMF

      I agree with the article that the ‘buk theory’ is just a distraction. Too many people saw military aircraft in the vicinity.
      Besides, with all the shenanigans going on these days, it would be naive to believe the ‘official version’
      It’s a hideous crime that probably marks the beginning of the end for some.

      • Kempe

        You’re clearly not on message. The military aircraft theories were KremlinBollox V2.0 and V3.0, rapidly demolished and now non-theories. We’re back with V1.0, or V1.1, now; that it was a Ukrainian Buk but after all the other lies we’ve had from Russia on this tragedy (see above) nobody but Putin’s Useful Idiots believe it. It would be necessary to accept their questionable “analysis” that the video footage gathered by the JIT was faked by person or persons unknown.

        • giyane

          After a recent episode of israeli violation of Syrian airspace and the loss of a Russian spy plane it is clear that military aircraft can be deliberately led astray , pursued and shot down from the ground.

          May’s failed junta is clutching at any fantasy that could possibly be utilised for propaganda against the adults in the room. A corbyn government would immediately retake the moral high ground from the Tory children and join Putin with the adults.

          Tory panic is destabilising this country. May should resign.

        • SA

          Why is it that the black box findings were never released and why have Ukraine and US withheld what information they have ? Also why divert an airliner deliberately towards a dangerous war zone?

      • Clark

        Blunderbuss linked to an article by Donna Laframboise, which criticised the following New York Times opinion piece by Paul Krugman:

        Krugman’s piece does not criticise ordinary people who have been deceived by the sort of anti-scientific claims which Blunderbuss et al have repeated on this blog. Its criticism of “depravity” is very clearly targetted at the small minority of scientists promoting denial on behalf of the fossil fuel companies, and the US Republican party, eg:

        Why would anyone go along with such things? Money is still the main answer: Almost all prominent climate deniers are on the fossil-fuel take. However, ideology is also a factor: If you take environmental issues seriously, you are led to the need for government regulation of some kind, so rigid free-market ideologues don’t want to believe that environmental concerns are real (although apparently forcing consumers to subsidize coal is fine).

        – Finally, I have the impression that there’s an element of tough-guy posturing involved — real men don’t use renewable energy, or something.

        – And these motives matter. If important players opposed climate action out of good-faith disagreement with the science, that would be a shame but not a sin, calling for better efforts at persuasion. As it is, however, climate denial is rooted in greed, opportunism, and ego. And opposing action for those reasons is a sin.

        – Indeed, it’s depravity, on a scale that makes cancer denial seem trivial. Smoking kills people, and tobacco companies that tried to confuse the public about that reality were being evil. But climate change isn’t just killing people; it may well kill civilization. Trying to confuse the public about that is evil on a whole different level. Don’t some of these people have children? [My bold].

        I agree with this argument by Krugman. It is depravity precisely because it is designed to mislead, and succeeds in misleading, people such as Blunderbuss, Dave and Bayard.

        My irritations with Blunderbuss in particular are that (1) Blunderbuss claims to be a scientist, attempting to use scientific authority to advance arguments that are clearly anti-scientific, and (2) arguing from authority is unscientific in itself.

  • Sharp Ears

    Hunt, recently i/c of running down OUR NHS, in Singapore making a speech for the Int’l Institute of Strategic Studies (another of those spooky think tanks), is lining himself up to replace Theresa. He sees Singapore as a ‘bastion of democracy’!!

    Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says UK ‘can learn lessons’ from Singapore

    Having had a father who was a Commander in Chief of the Fleet and a god father who was Admiral Dunt, he invoked the name of another admiral of the fleet, Admiral Kelly from WW1.

    General derision about him on Twitter.

  • King of Welsh Noir

    The conspiracy theory goes mainstream. The phantom Gatwick drone is being discussed on the Jeremy Vine show, and the view being taken is, the whole thing was a case of mass hysteria.

  • Sharp Ears

    I assume Javid’s father was ‘a genuine migrant’.

    Sajid Javid questions whether cross-Channel migrants are ‘genuine’ asylum seekers
    On a visit to Dover, the home secretary suggests those picked up by the UK authorities could have their asylum requests denied.

    14 April 2014
    Sajid Javid’s father would never have made it into Cameron’s Britain
    The new Culture Secretary’s Pakistani father was welcomed in 1961. But the migration cap means his successors are being turned away today.

    • ProfessorPlum

      He makes a valid point. If they were genuine asylum seekers than they would be happy to seek asylum as refugee’s in the first available safe country. And whatever country that was France is still a safe country for refugees.

      That the likes of members of parliament are supporting people willfully breaking the law before they have even arrived in this country perfectly illustrates how much contempt they have for ordinary people and the law they are supposed to represent and expect us to obey. Regardless of what you may think of any individual case merits.

    • Old Mark

      Sajid Javid’s father would never have made it into Cameron’s Britain

      A statement of the bleedin’ obvious if ever there was one; until 1 January 1963 Commonwealth citizens enjoyed total ‘freedom of movement ‘ into the UK courtesy of the ‘welcome’ inadvertently implicit in the 1948 Nationality Act. By the early 60s, by which time over 100,000 Commonwealth nationals were entering annually, the ‘welcome’ mat began to be progressively withdrawn- until the Blair years when it was dusted down and, sotto voce, so as not to alarm the ‘natives’, rolled out again.

  • mike

    Netanyahu gives Bolsanaro a big hug (see Twitter) and calls him a good friend. Does that mean the Guardian and state broadcaster will be nice to Bolsanaro now? Watch the language – “neo-fascist” might well morph into “controversial”.

    PS Pardon me if this has already been aired, but is the Scottish Government curiously silent on the presence on Scottish soil of the Institute of Statecraft?

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile as China’s president Xi Jingping, aims veiled threats at Taiwan’s leader on how the country is part of China and not a sovereign state in itself.

    China quietly activates a thirteen year project.

    “China has constructed a massive radio antenna facility covering more than 1,000 square miles at a secret location inside the country’s borders.”

    “Russia, the United States and India were previously the only countries believed to have established ELF facilities for communicating with submarines lurking at extraordinary depths.”

    • JohninMK

      No, no, no, its nothing to do with submarines, its all about detecting mineral deposits and earthquakes, apparently said China Today over a very crackly Short Wave transmission!

      The US stopped operating their ELF system 20 or so years ago as it was too crude and only one way. China diesn’t have the reach to copy what the US now has but needs something to communicate with their rapidly expanding submarine fleet, already about the size of the US’s in numbers but a different mix.

    • michael norton

      RoS I would not say the threats to Taiwan were subtle, I thought they were blaringly loud, China is going to take control of Taiwan – no mater what.

    • letthatslip

      that people are still sold on this myth speaks volumes about how successfully brainwashed about this issue so many people are

      • BrianFujisan

        Look It’s the New Year..Still a Big Thing In Scotland..I have go over to Squonk for a wee concert..or Two.

  • giyane

    There are far too many t’s in issisufosakearse for the decrepit Tory sasemen to pronounce.
    when are these outdated outmoded sizzles and senile old thacher… sassanachs going to move over for younger minds?

  • michael norton

    It looks like America and friends are actually starting to withdraw from Northern Syria.

    US-backed Kurdish militia has begun to withdraw from Manbij in northern Syria, inviting the Syrian army to move in as Turkey masses troops on the border. Kurdish presence in the city was a major irritant for Erdogan.
    It is unclear whether the proof of a Kurdish pullout will deter Turkey from launching another military operation in Syria, but the government in Damascus has repeatedly said it views Turkish troops as invaders and will fight the Turks if necessary.

    Turkey has been a bad actor, all through this war, but why did they start being a bad actor?

    I do not know the answer but I expect America dropped hints as what might befall Turkey if it did not do its bidding.

    • JohninMK

      There are reports today of 200/400 (depending on report) YPG in a convoy heading over into Syria east of the Euphrates. So it does look as if down at the coalface the word is out to go home. No reports on the movements of the US SF that would have been with them uo at the front. There are however confirmed reports that a US patrol told a SAA checkpoint to lower their Syrian flag, you can imagine the answer they got and it nearly came to blows. Still plenty of chances for a flare-up out there.

      Turkey probably started being a bad actor at the behest of their US/NATO buddies trying to oust Assad. An obvious interest to Erdogan who has made no secret in wanting to expand his country south and to curb the Kurds. He also seems to have made good money allowing tens of thousands of terrorist recruits through and off the back of stolen Syrian oil.

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