The Darroch Affair 1152

I am amused when I hear the resignation of Kim Darroch mooted as an attack on an apolitical civil service. Darroch’s rise to the top of the FCO was in fact a startling example of the politicisation of the civil service – there is no doubt that his enthusiastic support for the Iraq War, and for every neo-con war of aggression since, is what endeared him so strongly to the people who make the decisions on the top posts (and do not believe the fiction that ministers have no influence on them).

Kim Darroch and Tony Blair

I have annoyed quite a few people – including regular readers – for refusing to endorse any of the more baroque conspiracy theories involving Trump and Johnson conspiring to get rid of Darroch. These have the attraction of simplicity, with the evil Johnson and Trump on one side and the angelic Darroch on the other.

But many things do not easily make sense. The notion it is a plot to make Farage Ambassador to Washington is bizarre. If Johnson wishes to appoint Farage as Ambassador to Washington, after the summer break he could do it on Darroch’s retirement – which could have been if desired quietly brought forward two months with no fuss.

More to the point, the Brexit Party like UKIP is nothing without Farage. The idea that, at this crucial point, he would voluntarily lose his political leverage by going off to be a diplomat in Washington is a nonsense. And – crucially for Farage – there is just as much cash in being an MEP.

We do not know who leaked the telegrams and why. One overlooked possibility is the intention was to damage Trump himself, by releasing Darroch’s criticisms of him. As I pointed out, Darroch is an abrasive character with many disaffected people who have worked for him around, and I still think that is a likely source for the leak.

We just don’t know. But what I do know is that the idea that Darroch is an apolitical civil servant is a nonsense. I would remind you also that my objections to torture and extraordinary rendition were entirely in internal highly classified communications at the time the FCO first decided to try to move to sack me. I only leaked afterwards. So the idea that the FCO encourages honest and candid reporting is still more of the hypocritical nonsense being talked around Darroch’s resignation.

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1,152 thoughts on “The Darroch Affair

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  • David

    leaks, like the Darroch ones, may soon be more illegal as intelligence types are writing memos to Congress

    So lets follow that heartening news with an accurate story about Edward Heath, varied ex & serving MI6 officers, The Rothschilds, and chaos (as usual) in UK government

  • lysias

    This thread is now a week old. If at this point off-topic postings to reflect more recent events are not allowed, that amounts to terminating the blog. Nobody is going to look at older threads.

    [ Mod: Craig will be otherwise occupied for the next few days. You’re welcome to raise ongoing political issues in the meantime. And you can always create a new thread in the discussion forum, and link to it from here. ]

    • nevermind

      He is splitting Labpurs vote to get himself to another trough. Would he give up his Sputnik show for a paid seat in the house?

      • Xavi

        An unsplit Labour vote would simply reelect a person who works day and night to sabotage Labour. As regards troughing, Galloway’s expense claims were always among the lowest in the HoC (zero apparently). He probably won’t win but I hope he does.

      • Wikikettle

        It will be interesting to learn who funds Watson. GG is going for fund me. Everyone is trying to silence him because they don’t like what he says and importantly what policies he highlights. It would be great having him back as an MP, speaking out for Palestine and many other issues. I think he can win against Watson, especially when details come out about Watson’s sponsors.

        • Jo1

          There are plenty of details out already about Watson’s donors… nobody seems interested, especially in the media.

    • Dungroanin

      Aachh… GG is just forcing Corbyn to come support Fatboy Slims re-election in that case. I often times wonder just what the Galloping Galloway tries to achieve? Like in Tower Hamlets?

  • Wikikettle

    Labour should be miles ahead in the polls. The 5th column of Blairite war mongers within have done everything to undermine JC. Watson is the deputy leader, the official Labour candidate for the next GE ?! The cartoon of him by Steve Bell says it all for me. Many dislike GG for his stand against Scottish Independence. He is however powerful, in the tradition of Tony Benn and Michael Foot. Its about time the Blairites are challenged. Their so called antisemitism distraction is designed to remove JC. Its going to be great having traditional Labour supporters vote for GG, an Independent, over Watson, a Blairite Official Labour. Go for it GG.

  • Wikikettle

    I also hope that the likes Chris Williamson and even Craig stand as Independents. White summer suits not necessary…

  • Tatyana

    Here is the fresh meme on Mr. Trump’s politics 🙂

    Area 51 is the US military base and is the target of alien conspiracy theories. Currently millions of people are signing up to ‘storm the base’ on September 20, to see them aliens 🙂 you can join the flashmob by signing up on Facebook. *** That caused another funny joke: “Mark Zuckerberg sponsoring Area 51 raid to free his dad from captivity”

    Enjoy your Friday 🙂

  • N_

    There was a remarkable LIE by Jacob Rees-Mogg on BBC Radio 4 a few moments a go. He claimed that proroguing Parliament was not a sensible idea and that he has never supported it to achieve No Deal.

    That is a lie. Rees-Mogg certainly has supported it to achieve that aim. Not only that, but as I understand it he was the FIRST TO ADVOCATE IT if necessary to allow a crashout Brexit against the will of Parliament. That was back in January, in a speech to the Tory Bruges group.

    • Deb O'Nair

      JRM can only lie, it’s a congenital predisposition. You may recall he was on QT sometime ago defending British concentration camps in South Africa during the Boer War with a complete inversion of the documented facts; i.e. claiming the British were putting the Boers in the camps to feed them, whereas the British were actually conducting a razed earth policy, including the indiscriminate killing of farmers, to deny the guerrilla forces food and leading to mass starvation. Many 10,000s died of starvation in British concentration camps

      • Sharp Ears

        The ex UK Ambassador to various Central and Eastern European countries is only advertising his ‘blogoir’ and his services as a ‘communications consultant’.

        • Observer

          Why, do you consider yourself to be a potential target client? If not, very dumb comment. Sharp ears maybe but plainly dull otherwise, I’d say.

      • Garth W. Carthy

        No, I think Bostock in his pompous, superior manner, would have referred to Craig as ‘Murray’.

        Of course, I could be wrong and your fears could prove to be justified, aTony.

          • Garth W. Carthy

            Yep. He’s said to have served in the UK Foreign Office for 28 years, rising to become British Ambassador in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Warsaw. His diplomatic work was highly praised.

          • Ian

            He has his own business, some kind of PR outfit, coincidentally available by clicking on his name. What a surprise.

          • Deb O'Nair

            Should CM be sitting on a pavement with an empty coffee cup asking passers-by for some change? Although that is now “illegal” in most parts of the UK. Perhaps he should be wearing a loin cloth that he made on his own spinning wheel, or perhaps you would prefer it if he immolated himself on the steps of the FCO? Why shouldn’t CM earn a crust or two? At least he’s not taking bungs stuffed into an offshore bank account by foreign interests like so many Tories do these days

          • Deb O'Nair

            It was a misunderstanding based on your response to Sharp Ears being posted under a different post via Garth W. Carthy going ‘off thread’ and me not reading the response from Garth W. Carthy more carefully.

          • Deb O'Nair

            Actually, looking at it again, it’s all your fault for going ‘off thread’. 🙂

        • Tatyana

          uhh…. excuse me for asking, am I a foreigner. I use to write “Mr. Murray” – is that wrong? We were taught that this is a normal neutral address to a person.

          • Borncynical


            What you were taught is correct – you can’t go wrong with that. Addressing someone by their surname in everyday use, omitting their title, is a form of address adopted by a very small % of people with specific connotations. There are different situations where such usage most often occurs – certain ‘highbrow’ (another word to look up!) educational establishments, or where there is a strict ranking system e.g. military, or upper class households where there are servants. The underlying purpose is to denote status.

            In education it is an affectation largely used by male students in reference to or addressing fellow students, denoting equal (‘high’) status. Conversely in households of esteem (have you ever seen the TV series Downton Abbey?) it is used to address servants to denote and emphasise their inferior status. In the armed forces it is a hybrid usage – it may be used by officers addressing equal ranking fellow officers, or it is used by officers to address inferior lower ranking personnel. Used by someone in everyday situations (e.g. ‘Charles Bostock’ usage) it is regarded by the user as indicative of their ‘superior’ status in the world order or, at the very least, their equal status to whomever they’re addressing!

            As you’re not male, and presuming you don’t have servants, I wouldn’t advise you to address anyone by their surname only, if you don’t want to risk angering them!

            Hope this helps!


          • Ian

            Tatyana, You are quite correct, that is a perfectly polite and normal designation. You can call him Craig, if you feel like being more personal, as many do, but just ‘Murray’ is rude.

          • SA

            The subtlety here is that Bostock addresses Craig not as ‘Mr Murray’ but just plain ‘Murray’ a mannerism common in certain classes to denote condescending familiarity.

          • Tatyana

            thank you! it is nearly the same in Russia.
            We use ‘господин N’ or ‘госпожа N’. The word ‘господин’ has been replaced with the word ‘товарищ’ in the USSR, now it is back and in wide use again. For semi-formal addressing we use name+patronim, for non-formal we use names.
            Mr. Murray is older than me and we never met pesonally, I feel “Craig” is wrong.

          • nevermind

            “Mr. Murray” is perfectly ok to use, Tatyana, as for myself addressing him as Craig is due to the fact that we have a fairly long friendship together.

            A lttle feedback on the Doune the rabbit hole festival is in order. Lee Scratch Perry, the Damned and Steve Davis spinning the vinyl were all well received. Lots of families, children of all ages were not deterred by the rain, but today it is said to get better. Met up with Brian and shall have a chat with him today. Looking forward to hear/see Sister Sledge today and the Cobalts look interesting as well.

        • Observer

          It’s a public school thing.

          And I hope Bostock is not still banned. If so, Mods please, kindly review; I thought it was temporary but it has now been quite awhile.

          And even the comment which triggered it, did elicit a valuable response from Arbed at that time.

          Important to have diverse views, am sure you would all doubtless agree!

          • Deb O'Nair

            “Important to have diverse views”

            People parroting political propaganda and promoting hard right-wing ideologies as continually pumped out by the corporate media and various government departments can hardly be described as diverse.

          • Observer

            Yes, given that it is a very unfair and highly-conflicted world, how would you like to describe it?

          • Observer

            Now somebody is going to have to explain to Taty why public schools aren’t very public.

          • Deb O'Nair

            It’s a “very unfair and highly-conflicted world” by design and not just because that’s the natural order. Highlighting the lies and hypocrisy, greed and self-serving ambition of those responsible is a worthy pastime as opposed to defending the status quo.

    • James Callaghan

      I’d say it was more supercharged than turbocharged, CC! The nuance is in the modus operandi by which the inflammatory/inflammable material is “forced in”.

      Glad to see you wading in here when needed! How are you, by the way? I remember you (and your cirkus and six-pack) with great fondness from a different world for us both populated by Caro, Ant and Pippa, et al.

      I find a soubriquet advisible in these parts, but best wishes from the good old days!

    • giyane

      My allergy to Tory posh arseholes is entirely satisfied by the prospect of Boris Johnson, rah rah supporter of Al Qaida, and betrayer of Iranian women and others, shortly being undemocratically parachuted into no 10.

      Hello Charles you are so much more welcome than the fat head who surpasses all your pomposity by a mile.

      • Observer

        Can’t wait to see the back of May(hem). And thank God we haven’t had to put up with Gove for all these weeks.

      • Deb O'Nair

        Wait until you see the cabinet he puts together – the very worst of the very worst are almost, quite literally, queuing up to stick their tongue up his sphincter.

    • Observer

      We should be helping the US set up it’s own NHS, diverting some of the money that is poured into their military-industrial complex. For being *the* Leader of the free world, it’s not very free is it?

  • Dungroanin

    The slow-mo can of worms explosion just keeps getting more entertaining.

    The Epstein case – the guy who set up the Clinton foundation …ooh, the man who ran the Lolita Express’, his whore madam, Ghislain Maxwell, his eminent err ‘customers’.. (think i got a glimpse of rent-a-prince Andy at Lords the other day? – seemed as no one else wanted to be sitting close to him ) and the plea bargain that got him off dozens of charges of child sex, rape, kidnap… by getting away with the claim that the kids were prostitutes and he was only being a pimp!

    So who was in charge of making all that go away, it wasn’t just the lowly Acosta at the time a State Attorney, he claimed in his resignation that the deal was approved throughout the DoJ, including therefore the head of the FBI during that time… Mueller!!!
    As the accusations of Russian State meddling in the Trump election are shown to be mere opinion without PROOF, as confirmed by a judge last week; The Clinton emails were not hacked by Russians but released by Seth Rich as confirmed by his brother; and closer to home the Skripal/Fusion dodgy dossiers links are confirmed by the leaks of the ‘spreadsheet’

    We are surely moving towards a wholesale classic farce of the stage variety, no clothes, no underwear, no closets to hide in…

    Try this on the legalities

    I ran out of popcorn and we haven’t even yet the announcement on our very own ‘chosen’ PM!

    • Wikikettle

      Dungroanin. I hope it does all come out. The funny thing is that its Trump that will expose the rot, not the media or the Democrats. We are certainly not going to come out of it looking good. No doubt our 007 boys will be trying to help their Langley mates stop the fan….

    • David

      Palantir is in the frame too, I seem to remember one of the Maxwell daughters was involved in security databases (not the ‘pimp’ as she is being described but a younger sibling, Elisabeth?) so a quick search led to an apparently ranting scurrilous blog, which then published at its end a raft of sources and references….certainly pop-corn time before PM Boris….I wouldn’t treat it as fact but an opinion

    • N_

      I ran out of popcorn and we haven’t even yet the announcement on our very own ‘chosen’ PM!”

      Tom Edgington of BBC News says “As long as the Conservatives remain in power, the new party leader becomes prime minister automatically, assuming they continue to have support from most MPs.” He clearly has little or no understanding of what he’s talking about.

      I won’t be surprised if there’s a general election in August or September. It won’t be that difficult to get a leader bounce from either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt.

      It’s worth noting it was Zionist interests who ruined Boris Johnson’s opponent Ken Livingstone in the London mayoral elections of 2008 and 2012, and the same interests are currently seeking to ruin Jeremy Corbyn, who looks as though he will be the Tory leader’s main opponent if a general election is held in the near future. (The truth is that Johnson has a racist record whereas neither Livingstone nor Corbyn are in the slightest bit racist, but the truth isn’t what this is about.)

      • giyane

        The truth is that Tories claim that their populism is a tool for electoral success , not racism while Corbyn’s principled defence of the Palestinians is racism.

        This is my pit bull. It is free to do what it likes , not my fault it shredded your baby .
        Why didn’t you take care of your baby better?

        An disgusting politics from which Tory Home Secretary has to carry a large banner reading ” There is no Zionist conspiracy ” written in daubs of Palestinian blood.

        No British voter is fooled by this Tory exceptionalism, except neo-Nazis like the Tories themselves.

    • Northern

      Every time you think this case has reached it’s weird and lurid end another establishment connection or unsubstantiated rumour appears online. It’s fascinating.

      Interesting to compare the online discourse. The Alt Rite seems to have decided this has anointed Trump as patron saint of children and is firmly ignoring any suggestions to the contrary, the establishment democrats have finally found circumstantial evidence of Trump being an unsavoury character but seem to be hoping the whole thing will go away without claiming the Clinton’s as collateral damage and the media who seem to be acutely aware there’s a story here but haven’t quite figured out what to do with it yet. Given we’ve had 3 years of the evidence free Russian collusion narrative, why are they treating this story with such a light hand?

      Wild claims about child sacrifice and occult rituals aside, the best real politik explanation I’ve seen thus far is that Epstein was running a vast honey trap/blackmail operation for either the CIA or Mossad (hence Acosta being told to back off) and this has been brought back out of the wood work to pressure Trump due to his apparent unwillingness to engage the Iranians. In this context Bill’s dalliance with Monica and the NATO campaign in Eastern Europe at the time start to look a little suspect as well.

      Nothing to blow over an underage sex scandal like starting a war, eh?

      On a slightly less related note, looking at the calibre and scale of names on his lists, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is how a huge portion of the media/celebrity/politics bubble actually operates. Powerful broker offers to make you successful in exchange for compromising material to be used for influence at a later date.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Northern July 19, 2019 at 17:34
        ‘…Wild claims about child sacrifice and occult rituals aside…’
        The only reason you think there were ‘wild claims’ is probably because you are unaware of the history of MK-Ultra and Project Paperclip’s relationship to it. Of course it is a blackmail stunt; MI5 did the same in Kincora.
        Hundreds of thousands of children go missing in the US each year – sure, many later turn up, having run away.
        Read about the Johnny Gosch case:

    • RandomComment

      Perhaps Mr Murray is keeping his tinder dry, but if he were genuinely an opponent of the British Empire, Epstein & Co seem like easy nuts to crack 😉

    • Observer

      What’s wrong with 18+ year old girls? Why 13, 15 or 17? Idiot, now he’ll rot for the rest of his life. Or, Lysias what do you think: will some top-dog lawyer be able to successfully argue his freedom?

      Talking about lawyer’s people interested in Trump (non) impeachment/legal issues might find Ross Garber’s twitter feed of interest. Garber is a top impeachment lawyer in the US, a balanced and interesting personality to boot.

      An article linked by him written by the spurned axe-grinder Comey:

      • lysias

        I think springing Epstein now is beyond the talents of the cleverest lawyers. I expect him to be suicided shortly.

  • Gary

    As a “regular reader” I do not feel “annoyed” at all. But, regardless of his character, the government has ‘appeared’ to give into pressure as Darroch resigned his post.

    This is less about the character and effectiveness of Darroch himself, rather than looking like the leader of another country ie Trump, can dictate who he wishes us to send as diplomats. In other words the UK now looks weak and stupid internationally.

    Perhaps in diplomatic circles this is less of an issue, I really don’t know. But from the point of view of an interested member of the public this is exactly how it appears.

    I do realise that those at the highest levels in the Civil Service are not always as impartial as they could be (everyone has their own opinions and biases) and the perfect example was how far the Civil Service Code was ‘stretched’ during the Scottish Independence Referendum and how David Cameron actually thanked those Civil Servants for doing exactly that.

    I was much further down the scale than that and at that level certainly there IS genuine neutrality more often than not.

  • N_

    On-topic: Kim Darroch was critical of Donald Trump’s reneging on the agreement concerning Iran’s nuclear programme known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed by all five UNSC veto countries, Germany, and Iran itself. As far as all the other signatories other than the US are concerned, this agreement remains in force under international law. Any guesses for what the next British prime minister’s position might be?

    On 4 July, British forces seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar. On 10 July, Darroch resigned. That was only nine days ago. Four days later, MI6 mouthpiece Charles Moore, writing in the MI6 house journal, lambasted the “establishment” for “(loving)” the Iran deal. (Moore went to Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. His academic career at Cambridge wasn’t much to write home about, so you’ve got to wonder how he managed to get the various positions he got if he dislikes the “establishment” so much.) Britain has now sent three warships to the Gulf. The US claims to have shot down an Iranian drone, while Iran claims it has no knowledge of any drone in the area. And today, the British regime claims that Iran has seized two British tankers (or “UK tankers” as the regime-linked BBC describes them) – the Stena Impero (British flagged and, as far as I can make out, British-owned too, meaning owned by a company, Stena Bulk, that is registered in Britain) and the Mesdar (Liberian flagged and British-owned). Iran claims that it seized the former which was breaching maritime regulations. I am not sure whether Iran has said anything yet about the Mesdar. Jeremy Hunt has said that no British citizens are “understood” to be on either vessel.

    • Goose

      His removal, in the context of all that’s going on in the Gulf currently, does make sense. The British position seems to be to publicly state a pro de-escalation position and remain pro-JCPOA , whilst in reality, being in lockstep with the hawkish elements in the US.

      Any joint military action there, would, I imagine, require a very close working relationship with the whole UK diplomatic team and anti-Trump, pro-JCPOA Darroch couldn’t have been at the core of that.

      It’s rumoured Mark Sedwill may be being lined up as the new UK ambassador’s role. I know he’s a high level securocrat , but I’ve no idea where he stands on a crazy idea of war with 84m strong Iran.

      Given Boris and a hard Brexit , then throw in a messy, wholly unnecessary war, and the UK establishment could breaking point with the UK population.

    • Goose


      It’s reported that in all three incidents to date, the ships involved bizarrely turned off their AIS (Automatic identification systems) for varying lengths of time(hrs) and in the case of two, veered well off course. This is reported as highly unusual behaviour for tankers in such vital marine traffic area where tracking is crucial. If true, it sounds almost the Iranians are being goaded into investigating.

      • N_

        Yes, the Stena Impero is alleged to have attempted to enter the Gulf in the exit lane rather than the entry lane, ignored warnings, and then headed north towards an Iranian island that houses a base of the Revolutionary Guards. Combined with the prior sending of British warships this does look like a provocation. The vessel is now being described as Swedish owned.

        • Kempe

          The Iranians are now saying the ship was seized after a collision with a fishing boat!

          They’re nothing if not inventive.

        • Goose

          All the BBC reports can manage is to repeat the line, “the vessels owners say they were obeying maritime law.” As if they can’t find out.

          This isn’t good enough when many suspect the UK is trying to create a pretext for action by the US involving the UK.

          The BBC really is a lousy, stinking news outlet.

        • Goose

          I still think(hope) it might not come to war.

          Iran has Russian and possibly Chinese support. It’s a huge country with huge influence across the region. It’s 84 million strong alone then there the Iraq Shia plus other communities. And who’d want to be involved with military action with impulsive Donald ‘ we’ll obliterate you’ Trump as Commander-in-Chief? What would the end game be? Regime change is far from certain to be the outcome, populations tend to rally when unjustly attacked. And Trump can kiss his 2020 electoral chances away if he embroils the US in a messy war that leading Democrats will oppose.

          The UK elite got away with lying us into the Iraq war. I don’t think they’d get away with Iran. All these facts should mitigate against war.

          And as for Jeremy Hunt, the guy seems totally devoid of humanity.

  • Dungroanin

    On the anniversary of the moon landing and after the scare stories of dodgy Chinese space station crashing, it is good to read ‘China’s first space lab, the Tiangong-2 (“Heavenly Palace”) space station, was successfully deorbited Friday’
    Thats according to Sputnik web site (lol).

    The only way I would have known that was because that site has an update on the tanker seizures by Iran. Actually only one is claimed to be detained. The other one apparently had 3 Russian crew.

    Ho hum.

      • Wikikettle

        Admiral Lord West says we should sink Iranian naval boats in the Straits if they threaten our tankers. So was that the plan all along, when we seized theirs first ? Its either poking the Bear, blockading Iran, Venezuela and Syria and generally looking for a fight with everyone. The Tories are no doubt looking for another Falklands Factor with Iran, before JC can become PM. I suppose they could send in the SAS to retake the tanker and get a few points back in the polls.

        • David

          as regular readers will know, this was at one point a hard policy of UKUSA ….he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

          The situation *might* have changed, but apart from timescale slippage, ” finishing off with Iran ” would seem to still be on the cards

        • Dungroanin

          A shut down of traffic through the Strait would spike the spot prices, which would trigget all sorts of financial instruments, cdf’s and the like, which would trigger a meltdown like 2008…all within minutes.

          Playing with fire rather than negotiating an end to the never ending pressure on Iran.
          It is a no-win scenario for us.

          Its over, we the fukus, lost, in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, even the Sudan, and Iran is safe.

          Just pack it in and prosecute the turd buckets who still cling on to some fabled supremacy.

          • Deb O'Nair

            With many predicting another financial meltdown anyway it may serve a useful purpose for some to provoke military action in order to set-up Iran to take the blame; which would be typical British behaviour.

        • Michael McNulty

          In the post-9/11 political climate which has been purposely created by western reactionaries, is it not now possible a major war could be enough for the British establishment to claim Corbyn is a risk to national security and ban him from political activity? Instead of arresting him they could just bar him from parliament. They don’t need a precedent, they can create it. A new war will be another tragedy but if it ends Corbyn’s and Sanders’ resurgent socialism that alone would make it a victory for them.

    • N_

      According to the Fars news agency the Mesdar was stopped after it started oil leaks and then allowed to continue on its way.

      Are there any more details of the Panamanian-flagged vessel Riah allegedly seized by Iran on Thursday for smuggling oil, or alternatively given assistance when it sent out a distress signal, depending on source? A UAE official has denied that it is owned or operated by the UAE, although that may mean only that it is not owned or operated by the state.

      • John Goss

        W should never have impounded the Iranian vessel in the first place. Jeremy Hunt, jockeying to become prime minister, has shown how inept he is in creating this international issue by pretending we are still an empire. We are actually part of another empire and if just over 50% of those who voted get their way will be leaving yet another empire of which we are a part, Some idiots in power still have the imperialist mindset.

        Unfortunately the alternative is bumbling Bullingdon Boris also an imperialist.

        • Sharp Ears

          The word according to Trump before he left the WH for New Jersey yesterday.*
          Note the boast about warships.

          ‘Trump has said the US and the UK will be working together to find a solution to the worsening tanker row.
          “Well, as you know we have a very close alliance with the UK and we always have,” Trump said.
          “We don’t have very many tankers going in but we have a lot of warships there and we’ll talk to the UK.
          “We have no written agreement but we have an agreement but they’ve been a very great ally of ours.”
          Trump then branded Iran “nothing but trouble”.
          “And remember this, the agreement, the ridiculous agreement made by President Obama, expires in a very short period of time. It was a short term agreement. When you’re dealing in countries, you have to deal in 50 years and 100 years.”’

          * ‘President Donald Trump is heading to his Bedminster golf club on Friday. Republican donors will join him later.
          Trump is scheduled to depart from Washington Friday afternoon, according to a schedule released by the White House.

          That evening, he will participate in a roundtable with supporters and then speak at a dinner that will raise money for the president’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to that schedule. The president’s campaign committee did not respond to a request for details about the fundraiser. The Trump campaign raised $124.4 million through June 30 and entered July with $56.7 million in the bank.’

          Got to have money in the bank Frank! All that red, white and blue propaganda to pay for in November 2020. What unpleasant set ups in both the US and UK where the political systems depend on ‘donors’.

        • Doodlebug

          Is it not ironic that the UK should go out of its way to impound an Iranian tanker for contravening EU sanctions, when we’re still struggling, after two years, to find our way out of the European theatre? Presumably we’ll be submitting our invoice for the capture to Brussels prior to October.

          • Deb O'Nair

            EU sanctions do no prohibit Syria from importing crude oil or Iran exporting it, more HMG bullshit repeated without question by the war-mongering cheerleaders in the media.

        • giyane


          Exactly. It was totally inappropriate for Hunt to seize an Iranian vessel
          .and Iran has copy catted Hunt’s stupidity. His idiotic grin when debating on TV was an appalling example of condoning Boris’ stream of conscious lies in order to keep his chances for cabinet office under gobshite sloaneson.

          Not talking truth to power. Talking Shite to the Toilet. I’m looking forward to working closely with you.

  • Wikikettle

    But then of course, Colonel Richard Kemp has said we would not allow JC to become PM, so that’s that then…

    • Garth W. Carthy

      From what I’ve read on Wikipedia and elsewhere, Kemp comes across as one of the most bigoted right wing nutters on the planet.
      He doesn’t accept Anthropomorphic Climate change.
      He supports Breitbart.
      He is a “Friend of Israel” no surprise there!
      He’s libelled Baroness Warsi in ‘Jewish News’ and they had to pay £20.000 in costs.

      And this ghastly man was awarded an OBE!

      • Doghouse

        “….Kemp comes across as one of the most bigoted right wing nutters on the planet. He doesn’t accept Anthropomorphic Climate change.”

        Eh? How does the second sentence equate to the one it immediately follows? He may be all those things, I don’t know, but …. heck!?

        • Garth Carthy

          To Doghouse:
          I don’t understand your query.
          I wasn’t really trying to equate anything – My points are a list of typical right wing dogmas that Kemp subscribes to.

          If you happen to be querying my linking of right wing ideology to Anthropomorphic climate change, I accept that it is not uniquely a right wing belief among the masses. However, the denial of Anthropomorphic climate change is actually driven in the first place by the right wing.

          • glenn_nl

            – A point illustrated by the fact that not one US Republican representative is willing to admit that climate change is even happening, less still anything to do with us. The crazed Xian right (which largely features in Republican politics) also wants endless population growth and denies that Gaawd would ever allow anything to happen to the Earth.

            But there are a remarkable number of useful idiots on the left who will deny climate change too.

  • Garth W. Carthy

    I see Gloria de Piero is to quit over Labour Party “intolerance”.
    I reckon Corbyn’s team have tolerated her and her pals for far too long.

    Good riddance!

  • Olaf S

    An easy solution, in principle: The EU removes the Syria-sanctions (outdated anyway) in some kind of express procedure. The UK must release the Grace 1. Iran will then automatically release the Stena Impero. (Escalation avoided).

    Hunt would be happy with this, saving him of further embarrassment. Even on the BBC site one can read the following: “Given the highly fragile and volatile situation in the Gulf, together with the desperate need to bolster the flagging Iran nuclear deal, was it sensible to detain the vessel carrying Iranian oil off Gibraltar?” (Jonathan Marcus). This is what everybody thinks, except using much stronger words.

  • Dungroanin

    Hello… some more leekage from the tanker kerfuffle.

    ‘A Royal Navy warship escorting the Stena Impero tanker before its Friday detention by the IRGC attempted to put up “resistance and interference” to stop the Iranian military from bringing the tanker to shore’—irgc/

    So … our sailors didn’t manage to get sunk as they were supposed to. Smart guys.

      • Observer

        Afterthought: May be difficult for you to accept, but in all likelihood, they know something that you don’t.

          • Observer

            Not really, when you consider that some have a hardened belief that Knowledge is King. It’s not–Wisdom is. But that is a discussion for another day. Over and out; enjoy this lovely summer’s* evening.

            * Is that correct, or should it be summer evening?

          • Sharp Ears

            Quite so J. That came out of the school of thought that if something doesn’t harm you, there’s nothing for you to worry about.

            God bless GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, Integrity Initiative and the 77th Brigade operatives.

      • Wikikettle

        Observer. Are these security services really doing a good job ? They seem to be highly political and responsible for huge mistakes.
        Using jihadists, allowing Steele dossier, (don’t tell me they didn’t know). It seems their main job is to support the Government in their agenda to destroy this country and call it Patriotism ! Discuss….

  • Goose

    Don’t always agree with Simon Tisdall’s columns for the Guardian, but on the issue of Iran he’s knocking it out of the park; critical of Trump, Bolton and Pompeo over ripping up the JCPOA and their moves with the UK – as a willing proxy – towards confrontation. I’ve read every article he’s produced on the subject and can’t disagree with a word of it. It’s like the guardian we remember. No wonder they’re somewhat hiding his articles. This today:

    • Andyoldlabour


      They are only printing what we have known for years about – Neocons, New American Century, New World Order, Seven countries in five years.
      Weapons and ammuntion all have sell by dates, and that expensive ammo is looking a bit old and mouldy.
      Need another war to keep the profits churning for the MIC.

      • Goose

        I find Jeremy Hunt deeply untrustworthy. I don’t believe for a second he’s acting in good faith here. He’s like a man straddling two horses: doing Bolton’s bidding while pretending to be trying to keep the JCPOA afloat. Straddling two horses rarely ends well

        They don’t seem to realise the US hasn’t got a viable plan beyond simply bombing. Bolton assumes the Iranian people will overthrow the Iranian regime, that they’ll ‘rise up’ , he’s stated this belief on many occasions. If they don’t, he hasn’t got a plan B. Despicable really that one unelected official has so much power in the US.. Is that what the Founders intended?

        • Pyewacket

          I agree Goose. Hunt is as shifty as can be. I’ve seen him in a couple of interviews recently, and his eyes are all over the place, practitioners of NLP could certainly use him as a case study. The only real time he makes eye contact with the interviewer, is when he uses his zombie death stare, when he thinks he’s scored a point, and delivered a clever riposte. He’s very unnerving to watch, and clearly not to be trusted. With regards to America’s plan for the region, as espoused by Team Trump, it gets really scary, if an article currently in Global Research about the influence of Christian Zionism is to be believed. It reports that 60 million Trump voters have absolute faith that there has to be a major, major conflict to herald the second coming of the Lord pbuh, the conversion of all Jews to Christianity, the Rapture etc etc. These beliefs, the article asserts are widely held by Bolton, Pompeo & Pence. Not sure about puppet Trump, whom I don’t think has a religious bone in his body, but it’s those others who are pulling his strings.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          The American’s is not only to force regime change through sanctions but also to use proxy armies of jihadists and others to destabalise Iran along the lines of Syria and Libya. Terrorists are currently being relocated from Syria to Afghanistan for this purpose.

        • Andyoldlabour


          Hunt is a completely reprehensible person. He defended Trump’s tweets attacking Sadiq Khan, he tried to destroy the NHS.
          As for Bolton, he is the devil incarnate. He doesn’t care about citizens in other countries, it is simply about the acquisition of resources and wealth, of imposing US domination over them.

          • Goose

            Hunt was Head Boy at Charterhouse the boarding school in Surrey. Former boarder George Monbiot of the guardian has written extensively about how many who board end up with abandonment and other psychological issues. As a result they are often highly unsuited to roles that require empathy. Given the number who’ve become PM it says much about the UK.

            Our schooling system largely defines the country due to the privately educated dominating politics and the judiciary – they’re usually profoundly out of touch. Andrew Neil’s programme on class in the UK, revealed how Etonians are almost indoctrinated into a belief it is their destiny to rule the UK. Eton churns out plenty of people who are indeed ultra-confident to the point of delusions of grandeur. Which is great , for them, if they stick to a private professional life and leave ordinary citizens alone. But the fact the private schooled alumni dominate the senior echelons of the army, agencies; govt and quangos in the UK is downright scary. It’s believed Cameron’s cocksureness was in large part responsible for his belief he couldn’t possibly lose the Scottish or EU referendums, what he thought he was doing in Libya and Syria is anyone’s guess.

          • J

            You’re assuming he ever made a decision. I’m not sure contemporary politicians do anything but tinker at the edges of their remit. They are the apex of a sales team, what they’re selling are narratives for policies, themselves instruments with ends far removed from the stories which accompany them. The director of a public relations team has little control over his product. One of many reasons Jeremy Corbyn is such an oddity in these times. Never intended for high office, uncorrupted, not blackmailed, capable of independent thought.

            We can’t and we won’t survive system maintenance, those within the system who already understand that need to start pulling their weight right now as if it matters, because it really does.

          • Goose


            There’s clearly a belief that Corbyn will soon be gone; his ambiguity over Brexit and the incessant antisemitism nonsense, fanned by the MSM incl. theguardian, has undoubtedly taken its toll, as those pushing it intended, it’s hurt his popularity, as the membership are sick and tired of the whole MSM psychodrama that surrounds the issue. They joined a political party to support its policies, not endlessly defend it from those alleging,absurdly, it’s an institutionally racist organisation. The fact it’s RW sections of the PLP leading the charge, means the membership’s morale is low.

            The underlying bedrock of support for a more discernibly left-wing ‘Labour’ party that brought Corbyn to the leadership is still there. But all that’s under threat if Corbyn is ousted. There is little doubt a large section of the PLP would prefer a decimated membership and a return to New Labour’s hawkish, pro-market business as usual approach.

            But ultimately, and I’m repeating myself here, Corbyn is responsible; for not understanding the political war he’s in. When in 2016, under a year after being overwhelmingly elected leader, 172 Labour MPs voted no-confidence in his leadership, forcing another leadership contest. He should have realised, then and there, he needed different MPs. There is little hope for Corbyn with this PLP still largely in place.

          • S

            Goose, As for Corbyn, He should either have somehow radically changed the PLP, as you suggest, or alternatively he should have sucked up to the media and vested interests like crazy, to satisfy the PLP, as Blair did and now Johnson is. Corbyn didn’t manage to do either, and so we are where we are. He shouldn’t have had to do either of these things, but that’s beside the point.

            As for boarding school, I never understood why parents are send their children away unless they really have to. Maybe it is because the sense of emotional detachment will be beneficial for their future careers.

          • Goose


            George Monbiot – a boarder himself – explores this subject better:

            It should be obvious that this system could also inflict wider damage. A repressed, traumatised elite, unable to connect emotionally with others, is a danger to society: look at the men who started the first world war.

            – from his piece in the guardian.

          • michael norton

            Daniel Janner QC, son of Lord Janner, who was smeared in the trial, says Tom Watson is a hypocrite.

            Well, no one is going to disagree, with that statement.

            Tom Watson today refused to apologise for his role in bringing convicted liar Carl Beech’s false claims to prominence.

          • N_

            @J, @S, @Goose

            Recommended viewing on British boarding schools: “The Making of Them.” Brilliant title too. Anyone who doesn’t get the double meaning should think about it.

            Boarding school goes to the heart of the peculiar cruelty which pervades the British caste system. The ruling class in Russia, in Germany, in France, in the United States, doesn’t put anywhere near so much energy as the ruling class in Britain does into believing that members of the lower orders are principally entities who get given far too much for nothing. The older colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, the professional fraternities in medicine and the law, the “traditional” bodies in the City of London, the upper reaches of the civil service – they all reek of the private boarding school.

            The Nobel Prize Committee awarded William Golding the Nobel Prize for literature for his book Lord of the Flies – a rare instance of its giving the prize for a single book. But anybody who went to a British boarding school doesn’t think the book is particularly imaginative. It’s a case of “Oh – he’s described a boarding school”.

            Some survivors of those places would rather chop off their own limbs than send their own offspring to a place of that kind. Others who come through them always assume their offspring will go there – because that’s the place to go to and they can’t imagine anything else. It’s what “we” do. They are totally institutionalised and practically completely without human compassion. There are also hypocrites like David Cornwell aka John Le Carré (sorry, Dave) who condemn the places, who denounce them as “the Tory party in the nursery” (Cornwell has never been a Tory), and yet who still send their own sons there. (Cornwell admits he is a hypocrite on this score, but that’s not good enough.)

            @J – “As for boarding school, I never understood why parents are send their children away unless they really have to. Maybe it is because the sense of emotional detachment will be beneficial for their future careers.

            Nobody has to. You will get some more insight into the most common parental attitude if you watch the film I linked to. It is about more than career.

            I’ve said it before, but three key points in a proper leftwing platform for Labour would be the private schools (abolish them now – and don’t say it’s impossible – of course it’s possible); NATO membership (withdraw); and the monarchy (abolish). And if I had to pick one, one policy which really sticks it to the ruling class in this country, it’s got to be the first of these. (The third would soon follow anyway. Guess who’s top of the caste system.)

          • AnCan

            @Goose, @S, @J, @michael norton, @N_
            Really appreciate the comments in this thread. About abolishing the monarchy, I’d like to add a comment as a Canadian. In our country we rely on the raw power, the sheer heft, of the Windsors to counteract the “might makes right” machinations of the American elite. (The name Rockefeller comes to mind.) Conveniently, the House of Windsor is located across the Atlantic, so we are not involved in the day-to-day realities that come with maintaining a monarchy. But we rely on them, and I suspect other nations in the former Commonwealth do too, as a counter-balance to other super-powerful elites who are far more threatening and dangerous. In other words, there are significant global implications for removing England’s most powerful from power.

      • Merkin Scot

        Goose : ” It’s like the guardian we remember”
        Andyoldlabour :”They are only printing what we have known for years about – Neocons, New American Century, New World Order, Seven countries in five years.
        Weapons and ammuntion all have sell by dates, and that expensive ammo is looking a bit old and mouldy.
        Need another war to keep the profits churning for the MIC.”
        More like the Guardian of Agitpapa, PikeBishop, Anticant and Szwagier. Nothing bad about that.

  • Hatuey

    The news of flights to Cairo/Egypt being cancelled is quite interesting. And it’s interesting that an Iranian ship had to pass through the straits of Gibraltar in order to get to Syria. I wonder why they took the scenic route.

    Of course, they could bomb Iran back to the stone-age but there are huge risks in doing that. The whole region is sick to the back teeth of us meddling in their affairs and slaughtering people. The fake borders and puppet governments won’t stop a thing if the people rise up. And who could blame them?

    Iran could do a lot to destabilise the delicate political balances that exist in neighbouring countries. How easy would it be to make the case that those rich Saudi rulers are completely illegitimate? It’s all hanging by a thread in political terms.

    It’s one thing to contain a country militarily but quite another to contain it politically — especially when you are as morally and politically bankrupt as “the west” and its puppets are in the region.

    • Herbie

      “The news of flights to Cairo/Egypt being cancelled is quite interesting.”

      Isn’t it. That’s BA and Lufthansa, so far. Is Egypt joining the dance.

      “And it’s interesting that an Iranian ship had to pass through the straits of Gibraltar in order to get to Syria. I wonder why they took the scenic route.”

      I read it was headed for Italy, which would make sense in terms of EU sanctions-busting. Zarif, in a longer interview, wouldn’t say where the ship was headed, but did say that Iran had to sell its product to market, sanctions or not.

      He also said he would be happy to do a swap of all Westerners held in Iran for all Iranians held in Western countries, immediately, once the issue was transferred to the diplomatic realm.

      Some hope there for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

      Is Hunt pursuing this offer, with urgency? Is Johnson?

      “Of course, they could bomb Iran back to the stone-age but there are huge risks in doing that.”

      Nah. They can’t do that. That’s their problem really. They can’t do that.

      “Iran could do a lot to destabilise the delicate political balances that exist in neighbouring countries. How easy would it be to make the case that those rich Saudi rulers are completely illegitimate? It’s all hanging by a thread in political terms.”

      The GCC is already divided. The “Arab NATO” stillborn.

      Qatar is now an Iranian ally, both Kuwait and Oman in a positive relationship.

      Iran has real friends in the region where Saudi and UAE have only those that money can buy.

      • Hatuey

        Didn’t reports suggest the Iranian ship was transporting oil to Syria? The obvious route from Iran to Syria by sea would be through Suez… if that’s true, it suggests Egypt is barring Iran from using the canal which would explain the route through the straits of Gibraltar and suggest Egypt had already joined the dance.

        Your idea, that the ship was heading for Italy, raises all the same questions and suggestions; either way, Iran had to go around the long way which implicates Egypt.

        • Kempe

          Maximum draught for ships using the Suez canal is 20 metres.

          Grace 1, the tanker held at Gib, is currently drawing 22.1 metres.

          • Hatuey

            Yes, kempe, but if they knew they weren’t going to be allowed through the canal, and we can assume they did, they would have been incentivised to fill the ship to the max.

            Of course, you are aware that load-weight would have a direct bearing on draught.

        • Herbie

          I see.

          Very good.

          So, Egypt blocked Iran from the usual international passageway, necessitating a trip through England’s Pirate Bay, where they promptly got nabbed.

          So, I suppose the idea is that Iran is pissed with Egypt and so on.

          How does this relate to flights to Cairo being cancelled?

          • Hatuey

            If you assume Iran is pissed with Egypt, as you say, I don’t think it takes too much imagination to join the dots with regards to flights being cancelled.

            From Iran’s perspective, it’s economic retaliation.

            We can only guess what sort of influence Iran has in that region outside of the more formal levers etc.

            For what it’s worth, I would guess the risk/threat is very real and it wouldn’t surprise me if we heard of some sort of terrorist incident in the days ahead involving flights over Egypt. Needless to say, the threat in itself is enough though to do harm to Egypt’s economic interests.

          • SA

            Enab Baladi is a ‘soft power’ outfit associated with NED and against the Syrian Government and now published in Istanbul. Just saying.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        It took the scenic route because its too big to go through the Suez Canal and also to big to dock in Syria so Italy looks favourite.

        • Hatuey

          You clearly don’t know how the canal works. It’s common for ships to unload some cargo at one end and re-load at the other when they exceed the draught limits. Or, as I said, reduce their loads to begin with.

      • Laguerre

        Nobody’s said what the security concerns BA had for cancelling flights to Egypt. Lufthansa followed suit for a few hours, and then restored their flights. Obviously they were not impressed with the reasoning.

        • michael norton

          Five years ago Russian aircraft Metrojet Flight 9268
          was brought down over Egypt, 224 people died.
          It was only last year that Russia resumed flights to Egypt.

          • Laguerre

            Cairo is a different matter from Sharm el-Sheikh, a provincial holiday airport with few controls.

          • michael norton

            Iran is a belligerent in Yemen, Egypt is a belligerent in Yemen but on the opposite side.
            The Mistral Assault ships that were constructed by France for Russia, were sold to Egypt.
            Egypt in now firmly under the influence of the Americans.

            What I am suggesting is that it might be the Iranians who have made intimations of aircraft safety over Egypt.

          • Laguerre

            Iran is a belligerent in Yemen?! You read too many propaganda sheets. I thought you were an independent thinker. Even the role of Egypt in Yemen this time around is minor.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      “Of course, they could bomb Iran back to the stone-age but there are huge risks in doing that.”
      One of the risks is that Iran would wipe out the US fleet and all its allies in the middle east.

      • Laguerre

        Iran won’t be able to knock out the US fleet, but they can block the Strait of Hormuz enough to reduce Gulf oil exports to a trickle. And bombard Israel enough to frighten Israelis into getting their second passports out, and head for the airport for the next plane to the US.

          • Laguerre

            I doubt very much if the US would use nuclear weapons, and I think it can be discounted. They’d be getting into a completely different ball game, unlikely to have the support of Trump’s electorate. In any case, my point was what Iran is capable of doing, not what they would choose to do. Trump, unlike the warmongers around him, is unlikely to want to go to serious war, too much hard work.

          • Hatuey

            Laguerre, it’s because so many people like you think Trump is harmless that he is so dangerous. And if you think being attacked with nuclear weapons isn’t a concern for the Iranians or an option for Israel and/or the US, you live on a different planet from me.

            I’m not suggesting anyone would casually “nuke” Iran. But there is the potential for escalation here and if Iran lashed out at a US warship and sunk it, I think there would be a range of options on the table for the Americans and those options would include the use of tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons.

            As for Israel, I think it would take even less to provoke a nuclear response from the crackpots running that country. And we can rule out right now any possibility of them being too squeamish — they’ve been cruelly slaughtering innocents for decades now, right under all of our noses…

          • Laguerre

            I by no means think Trump is harmless – why would I think that? He’s surrounded himself with warmongering psychopaths, but that doesn’t mean that underneath the bellicose bluster, other political calculations don’t take precedence. He’s hung back at least twice already from going to war when the entourage wanted it.

            As for Israel, you shouldn’t believe their bluster either. The Israeli armed forces are in a very poor state, except for the airforce, only capable now of shooting unarmed Palestinians, but even they couldn’t use nuclear weapons without a provable imminent threat of Israel being wiped off the map. This last I was not talking about in my previous comment. Israeli civilians/reservists are so unwilling to fight nowadays that even a moderately successful bombardment of Israeli cities would get them running for the airport. Iran doesn’t need to threaten the elimination of Israel, and certainly won’t do so as part of their official policy.

          • Jo1

            I think it’s you who has to do that, not me.

            I think you also need to stop falsely accusing me of spreading “Israeli propaganda”. At least one other poster has challenged your claims on Israel, just as I did, and you didn’t dismiss that challenge as propaganda.

            I won’t reply further to you.

        • Jo1


          “frighten Israelis”

          You frighten me that you ignore what the response of Israel would be!

          • Laguerre

            You’re a fool, Jo1, just putting out standard Israeli propaganda, without apparently the least awareness of what actually happened the last time. Still, I suppose telling the truth would not get you paid. The Israelis are touch-paper ready to run if faced with a real war, if they can’t just fire stand-off missiles.

          • Jo1


            “…. telling the truth would not get you paid.”

            Excuse me? No one is “paying” me. I’m expressing my personal dismay that you so casually dismiss Israel’s capabilities.

            I’m also the very last person who would spout propaganda on behalf of the state of Israel, I assure you. I have nothing good to say about that state and have long opposed its policies and its appalling treatment of Palestine.

            It’s one thing to be irritated by someone disagreeing with you, Laguerre, but it’s quite another to hurl damaging and untrue insults at them.

          • Laguerre

            Learn a bit more about Israel’s real situation then, I suggest, instead of spouting Israeli propaganda.

          • Jo1

            “Learn a bit more about Israel’s real situation.”

            I think it’s you who has to do that, Laguerre, not me.

            I think you also need to stop falsely accusing me of spreading “Israeli propaganda”. At least one other poster has challenged your claims about Israel, just as I did, and you didn’t dismiss that challenge as propaganda.

            There’s clearly little point in trying to reason with you.

      • N_

        One certain result of a large-scale military attack on Iran would be a global financial crash. The crash of 1987 was triggered precisely by the rumour that the US, which had attacked the Iranian navy, had also launched a land invasion.

    • Rowan Berkeley

      @Hatuey: ” it’s interesting that an Iranian ship had to pass through the straits of Gibraltar in order to get to Syria. I wonder why they took the scenic route.” This is the explanation. El Pais, citing official sources, said the supertanker, full to the brim with crude oil, was too big for the Suez Canal, and so it sailed around the Cape of Good Hope before heading for the Mediterranean. According to the CIA, it was headed for the refinery at Banias, the operator of which is under an individually-named sanction as an Assad collaborator.

      • Hatuey

        Rowan, I have already addressed this above. It’s common for ships to unload cargo weight on the way into the canal then to re-load that cargo once through the draught.

        You might also consider seriously the likelihood that the Iranians knew they would be denied access to the canal and loaded accordingly, to the maximum. If you were going to make a 20,000 KM trip (rather than a 5,000 KM trip), wouldn’t you want to take as much as you could? It’s not a one-off shipment btw — Syria is totally dependent on oil from Iran and very short right now.

        Incidentally, after my initial suspicions were raised about Gibraltar, I have looked into this and there are articles everywhere confirming that Egypt is not allowing Iranian ships through the canal. Try a simple Google search and you will see for yourself.

        Thus, we can confirm absolutely that Iran is being denied access to the Suez canal and also being blocked from entering the Med’ at Gibraltar, effectively cutting it off from one of its most important customers (Syria).

        • Rowan Berkeley

          @Hatuey: “Rowan, I have already addressed this above.” Sorry. I reacted without reading.

  • SA

    The charade that is the protracted leadership contest for the Tory party has drawn first blood. Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero as retaliation for seizure of the Iranian tanker by Britain is a major challenge for any decent prime minister let alone a Buffoon. And for those who cheered Brexit from the left, rejoice we will now become a de facto colony of the US under a dangerous President.

    • giyane


      Too right. While Boris and Jeremy have been spiffing and spaffing like Wimbledon, Iran has drawn the world’s attention to the wholesale squandering of oil by the West which will collapse if the oil artery is restricted or blocked.

      That’s what No Deal should look like.
      We hold Barnier to ransom. Trump looks pretty pathetic threatening Iran when he has no cards, no pants and no hair. Why should Iran stop to pick up this drowned migrant rat any more than Barnier throw a rubber ring to blubbermouth Johnson?

    • Laguerre

      Johnson has multiple major crises on his hands, and he’s not even kissed hands yet. In my view it’s beyond him to cope with all that, in spite of his admiration for a man who would have been able to cope with it all (Churchill). He’s too lazy, and lying to please his electoral base isn’t enough to deal with people who can’t just be sweet-talked. There’s a serious risk of him being overwhelmed.

      • N_

        Jeremy Corbyn needs to no-confidence Johnson in the Commons (assuming Johnson gets appointed) on Thursday. He and John and Seumas will also need all their wits about them, because the knot of interests (with Jacob Rees-Mogg in a leadership position) that has brought down the Theresa May Tory government will not baulk for a single moment at trying to flatten Corbyn. Expect a massive attack on Corbyn this week. It will probably combine “He’s like Hitler” with “He is a traitor who supports Iran”. Corbyn should find a weak point and launch a surprise attack before Thursday.

        Recall the most recent handover of the prime ministership. On 12 July 2016, minutes after she won the Tory leadership, Theresa May signed a pledge to commemorate the victims of crimes committed mostly by French forces in Algeria British forces in Kenya US forces in Vietnam the Khmer Rouge German forces in Poland and other eastern European countries more than 70 years before. That evening she then dined with the chief rabbi at his North London home, at a “private” function in which “a number of other [unidentified] guests were present”, breaking off from her appointment of her cabinet (and presumably also of quango chiefs) to attend. (Source: the Jewish Chronicle, here and here.)

        The Eugenics Trio of Roger Scruton (housing), Toby Young (education), and Dominic Cummings (overarching government strategy) – filthy eugenics fanatics the lot of them – are all likely to be back in favour. The balloon will then be well and truly up.

    • David

      UK is calmly assessing all belgrano options, according to the Daily Record

      it is possible that Iran used a pesky russki drone to meacon the fragile commercial GPS signal (trivial attack, costs about ‘thruppence, from a drone) (strangely, Galileo was a bit poorly this week, too)

      Britain is to send a nuclear-powered attacksubmarine to the Gulf.

      Sources stressed that the Astute-class submarine would perform a purely defensive role.

      remind me why the Spanish navy broke-off some of their ships from a ‘routine’ NATO exercise last month, and went home. At least our string and stubble PM, whoever it is today, will take frim and duckcisive action?

      • Hatuey

        When all you can muster is a couple of frigates and a tug boat, 3 is your max. The aircraft carrier which runs on windows ME is full of holes… and it still doesn’t have planes.

        Rest assured, though, they’re sending a nuclear sub. That’ll be handy.

    • Republicofscotland

      From what I can tell, the Stena Impero currently impounded by Iran is operated by Stena Bulk XIII Cyprus a subsidiary company registered in Limassol of the Stena Group whose head office is in Göteborg, Sweden.
      The 23 crew are Russian, Indian, Latvian and Filipino.Yet it flies a Union Jack flag, sounds like Britain is running a protection racket.

      Of course the English flag of St George, is actually the flag of Genoa, which English ships flew to gain protection from the Genoese in order to trade. History more often than not repeats itself.

      • John2o2o

        The English flag of St George is ALSO the flag of Genoa RoS.

        We half breeds down here are allowed a cultural identity too. If only the wretched Tories had not near destroyed it.

        • Republicofscotland

          “We half breeds down here are allowed a cultural identity too.”


          No need to demean yourself John, there’s a lot I admire about England and its ingenuity through the ages.

          I’m sure there must be many local cultural events that take place all over England daily, where you won’t hear the word British spoken at all.

  • David

    Steven now has random middle aged spooks taking his picture and accessing Instagram accounts, as if?

    On Topic: Darroch taken down by a nice kid as a homework project: Brexit was only tangentially involved in UK Forn & Cabn Offices downward spiral of doom.

    It was a statement that could have been written in North Korea. I think it is punitive, it’s intrusive and it’s an attack on free speech…

    Does the Civil Service need reform?
    I was shocked by what I was told about how some Whitehall departments are run – by the waste, the incompetence and the lack of accountability. I learnt of an atmosphere of fear gripping the Civil Service. 

    Facing the possibility of arrest at any minute, I texted my father with a simple message on Thursday: ‘Prepare for the worst.’
    I have constantly tried to distract myself by working hard during the day and then immersing myself in music and movies when I am at home.
    But the knowledge that the state’s security apparatus is stretching every sinew to identify my source has left me suspicious of everything. I have been looking over my shoulder and on edge with anxiety. 

    article in MoS today

      • Tom

        It looks like another of the MoS’s fairytales in collusion with the bosses at MI6. No wonder they’re so frightened of the police investigating.

    • Laguerre

      Doesn’t sound very convincing. Anyway he doesn’t claim to be the leaker, only to being a Brexiteer journalist who did his best to convey the leaker’s message to the world. That is being an avowed Brexiteer, but denying that the leak was anything to do with advancing Brexity interests, a curious contradiction – his whole life is Brexit.

      • Hatuey

        I agree, and let’s not forget the Brexit credentials of the paper that put it on the front page.

      • Sharp Ears

        Not omitting Ms Isabel Oakeshott from the sting.

        Here she owns Edginton. She tweets:

        Isabel Oakeshott Retweeted Steven Edginton
        Incredibly proud of my protege @StevenEdginton for his role in the #WashingtonFiles #darroch scoop, which can now be revealed. Team effort, for which he deserves great credit
        Isabel Oakeshott added,
        I’ve been investigating the civil service for months.
        Tonight I can reveal I am the journalist behind the Washington Cables.
        Show this thread
        2:52 PM – 20 Jul 2019

  • Sharp Ears

    Will Johnson support the DUP MPs as May has done, financially and otherwise, to keep a majority? The DUP ‘deal’ cost us £1billion.–DUP_agreement

    As many as 50 ministers have resigned during May’s tenure as PM since July 2016, 36 of whom have gone from her ‘government’ since April 2018.

    What a disaster and not better before with Agent Cameron who bequeathed the toxicity of Brexit to us. He has finished his memoirs, written in his designer shepherd’s hut. The book titled ‘For the Record’ will be released in September £19.49 and is already on Amazon . Are the remainder bins in the book shops ready?

    • Ingwe

      Re Sharp Ears on Cameron’s memoirs; they’ll not be getting my £19.49 or indeed the £1 when in the remainder bins.

  • Republicofscotland

    So the maniacal John Bolton is salivating like Pavlovs dog, is quite pleased over the seizure of the Iranian tanker, and with Iran playing tit-for-tat in this very dangerous game.

    It would in my opinion be useful to both Trump and Johnson, if it escalated into a full blown conflict would benefit. Johnson would have his Brexit head turner, and Trump would satisfy the Industrial Military Complex, turn heads from his racist remarks, and bolster his chances of a second term in office.

    • Republicofscotland

      I should add that there would a few regional neighbours, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia that would be very pleased to see the demise of Iran.

  • Jack

    The double standard by the UK is disgusting! They can hijack a tanker but when Iran do it, it is a threat and illegal! They have no shame at all these people and MSM push their disinformation bollocks!

    • Kempe

      Same double standard by Iran then. “Piracy” when the UK does it but seemingly OK for them.

      • Ken Kenn

        It’s a bit 9/11 ish this according to the Guardian.

        Turning transponder off and maneuvering ” alarmingly ” so not surprising that the Iranians had a look.

        All’s fair in love and war.

        Depends whether you want war?

        Game playing at the moment with UK playing its part.

        Wait for Johnson and the game might get more serious.

        By the way the ‘ sanctions ‘ on Iran are also applied to the nations ( big and small ) which are also ‘ maneuvering ‘ in a strange and cowardly way.

        The Swift clearing system needs an update I think.

        • Kempe

          You’re getting confused, it was the other ship, the Mesada, which is alleged to have altered course and turned off its transponder but whether this was before or after it was boarded remains unclear. This ship was eventually released.

          The hi-jacking of the Stena Impero was clearly well planned in advance, the IRG making sure it had enough cameras on hand to maximise the propaganda potential.

          • Herbie


            There was an armed British Escort in attendance, on the scene like, the HMS Montrose, and all it did was talk legal cobblers, and the Iranians just went ahead and boarded the other vessel like it didn’t matter.

            Actually, the Iranian bloke said there was no threat to the HMS Montrose and they were just taking the other vessel for a routine “inspection”, like in the most bored call-centre way.

            Who’s scripting this drama.

            It’s crap, and wimpy.

            And where’s Ross Kemp.

    • nevermind

      Craig is busy running the most family friendly festival in Scotland for a few.more days?
      We have rely on our patience and look critically at these tanker stories.
      The question was raised already. Why would a captain want to switch off the AIS to disguise the movent of a tanker in one of the most busiest waters in the world?

      Who ordered the company to act up to this mobbing of Iran by western political/ arms interests?
      Starting a war with Iran by provocation false flag incidents or draconian sanctions will turn the thumbscrew on the whole world and can rresult in a far wider flagration and environmental destruction.

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