Jonathan Sacoolas Is Not, and Has Never Been, a Diplomat 432

UPDATE: Since I published this article the mainstream media, including at least Sky News and the Guardian, have started to report that Sacoolas does not have diplomatic immunity. This is a massive reversal in the MSM line, though to date none have published that he works for NSA or explained the NSA/GCHQ relationship. The MSM are all quoting the lawyer Mark Stephens, rather than this blog, as the source of the information. I would gently note that I can so far find no evidence of Stephens pointing out Sacoolas is not on the Diplomatic List until some hours after I broke the story, and that when he gave radio interviews yesterday Stephens was unaware of the fact.

Ultimately however it does not matter that I am not credited; what matters is my lead has in practice been followed and there is now a much stronger point of pressure available to get justice for Harry Dunn.

There is no Jonathan Sacoolas on the official Diplomatic list. Neither Sacoolas nor his wife has any right to claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

Article 31 of the Vienna Convention states that:

A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state

Article 37 extends this privilege to family members living in his household. A “diplomatic agent” is defined in article 2(d).

The “members of the diplomatic staff” are the members of the staff of the mission having diplomatic rank;

Jonathan Sacoolas does not hold, and has never held, a diplomatic rank. He has never been a member of staff of a diplomatic mission. (All those with diplomatic rank appear in the diplomatic list, see above link. That list also includes some attaches who do not have diplomatic rank (depending on the type of attache), but there is nobody with diplomatic rank not in the list).

Jonathan Sacoolas does not have, and has never had, any entitlement to diplomatic immunity in international law. Sacoolas works as an NSA technical officer at the communications interceptions post at “RAF Croughton”. His role is support to the interception of communications from British citizens. As I explained in Murder in Samarkand, the NSA and GCHQ share all intelligence reports, but each faces legal constraints on mass spying on its own citizens. So the NSA has staff here fronting the spying on British citizens, while GCHQ has staff in the US fronting the spying on US citizens, and the polite fiction is that the results are transmitted back over the Atlantic to the US or UK respectively, before being “shared” with the partner intelligence agency.

None of which has anything to do with diplomacy, and Sacoolas must be the subject of a DSMA notice given that all mainstream media are referring to him constantly as a “diplomat”, when they all know that is not true. The irony is of course that if Sacoolas actually was a real diplomat, the US would very probably have waived the diplomatic immunity of his wife, as the issues around his presence and function would be much less sensitive.

The UK has no Vienna Convention obligation to acknowledge the “immunity” of Sacoolas’ wife, contrary to all reporting to date. What does apparently exist between the UK and US is a secret, bilateral agreement to treat GCHQ and NSA staff as if they had diplomatic immunity. That is not at all the same thing as Vienna Convention protection under international law. I cannot conceive the grief of Harry Dunn’s parents, but I do hope that they are not deceived by the pretence at intervention in this case by Johnson and Raab.

I am not at all convinced, as a matter of law, that the government has the power to grant, by bilateral treaty or otherwise, immunity from criminal prosecution to foreign nationals, plainly outside the provisions of the Vienna Convention. This should be tested by the courts.


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432 thoughts on “Jonathan Sacoolas Is Not, and Has Never Been, a Diplomat

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  • Ort

    I’m curious about something that isn’t mentioned in the post or comments, as far as I can see– sorry if I missed it.

    If Sacoolas and spouse have no legitimate claim to diplomatic immunity, presumably the remedy would be to “recall” Mrs. Sacoolas to the UK for proper adjudication of her offense, or make arrangements for an equivalent adjudication.

    But if the “high road” has been precluded by custom and bad faith, do Harry Dunn’s parents have any recourse to UK or US civil law? I assume not, insofar as common sense suggests that diplomatic immunity has no exceptions that would render beneficiaries vulnerable to some secondary or lesser legal challenge.

    I’m wondering if this assumption is correct. Put the other way around, if the diplomatic immunity status is not reconsidered, could the victim’s parents file a “wrongful death” lawsuit or the like just to get some satisfaction from the legal system? In the US, there have been high-profile cases (OJ Simpson) in which a culprit is acquitted of criminal charges, but may still be successfully sued in civil court; yes, I realize that this is an “apples and oranges” comparison.

    Again, my guess is that there are no convenient “workarounds” or loopholes to contest the settled “Get Out of Jail Free” cards issued to “diplomats”, but I’d appreciate confirmation.

  • Brendan

    Reply to Mary Pau (for some reason, clicking on Reply does not work).
    Normally nothing in The Sun should be believed, but maybe that piece is worth thinking about. We might all have been misled about why Mrs Sacoolas came to the UK. Maybe not as a housewife?

    “She graduated from South Aiken High School before going on to study psychology at the University of South Carolina.

    She was working for the US State Department in Washington when she married Jonathan in 2003, but it is not clear what role she had.”

  • Sharp Ears

    No show without Trump.

    Trump tells PM they can ‘work together’ over car crash death of British teen
    Harry Dunn was killed in a car crash involving Anne Sacoolas, who has since been granted diplomatic immunity …..
    9 October 2019 21:11. Sky News

    Shutting it down?

  • Jon Musgrave

    9th October – the Guardian is now referring to a “CIA operative” – seems the truth is spilling out to the Mainstream Media…

    • Iain Stewart

      Guardian view 7 October “Asked about an American spy’s wife who has claimed diplomatic immunity after being involved in the death of a British motorcyclist, Mr Johnson could not, for once, have spoken more plainly.”
      Unfortunately this MSM reference to “an American spy” appears to have been before Craig’s post was published.

  • Laguerre

    So, according to everybody, the US has always whisked anyone at risk out of the country, diplomat or not. And without respect of the country they’re being whisked out of. What do you expect? That the US obey international law?

    What is the only reason the UN is located in New York? Because it is the only way the US could be convinced to conform to it.

    • Ken Kenn

      Would anyone care to have a stab at explaining why Julian Assange is still in prison?

      And why this woman has been allowed to leg it?

      Couldn’t the UK ‘ hold ‘ her, pending legal process?

      • Hatuey

        The answer in both cases is our special relationship with the US.

        Snapping your fingers and having a team of morally bankrupt English toffs kissing your ass, from a US perspective at least, is a very special thing.

        I can see that most people get angry watching this stuff. But I personally love watching the humiliation of British politicians at the hands of America.

        You need to put it in context. 100 years ago the toffs who are now being humiliated were top of the pile and everyone wondered how the world might rid itself of them. Now they’re shining American shoes and hoping a few crumbs fall from the table like everyone else.

        Karma is everywhere if you know how to find it.

        • ReM

          I understand and applaud your sentiments. I would also love watching the humiliation, if I were not personally affected by it.

          • Shatnersrug

            I see no humiliation whatsoever. Capital is the ruling force and it knows no borders. The British establishment handed over the control of its empire to the United States after WW2 and now profit from its wealth without so much as lifting a finger. The misdirection of “the nasty Americans made us do it,” suits the uk establishment just fine.

            If it had been a British spoke that ran over a member of the public you can be absolutely sure no one would be hearing about it now. You have to ask why this one was leaked.

          • Iain Stewart

            “The British establishment handed over the control of its empire to the United States after WW2 and now profit from its wealth without so much as lifting a finger.”

            Geopolitical historians tell us that the UK had to choose between maintaining its empire or becoming a credible nuclear power, being unable to afford both (France making exactly the same decision shortly afterwards). Hence the gradual abandonment of such strategic places as Aden, after the first humiliation of Suez; and now Hong Kong protesters waving Union Jacks at the Chinese police without the least illusion of a Royal Navy gunboat sorting things out.

        • giyane.


          Before we get humiliated by Germany in the federal EU we are sensibly pulling out.
          That will ensure Britons won’t be slaves, just homeless in a country too cheap to be refused.
          The pound is melding and Boris is the expert in bargain property sales.

          • Laguerre

            Pulling out of the EU we are joint leading members of, in order to be powerless slaves of the US? Great choice, giyane. The one thing you can say about the US is they have absolutely no interest in our future, other than mere words. Not under Trump, but also not under the Democrats either.

        • Tom Welsh

          Actually there are hardly any real “toffs” in the UK government, or even in Parliament. Time was when you could find a fairly rich source in the House of Lords, but since Tony Blair converted it to the House of Cronies, it too is full of superannuated political hacks.

          People like Boris Johnson may sound “posh” to the outsider, but they aren’t. As the writer Robin Cook (the proper English one, not the Yank) observed about 50 years ago, the only people who sound like Old Etonians nowadays are used car salesmen (like Boris, come to think of it).

          • joel

            You should apply for a writing gig at Tatler with those views, Tom. The point is, whatever the vintage or source of Tory politicians’ own wealth, they are all about accelerating the transfer of UK public wealth into the hands of the global capitalist elite. Whether they do it with a posh accent or an Ester McVey one is pretty irrelevant.

          • Node

            The point is, whatever the vintage or source of Tory politicians’ own wealth, they are all about accelerating the transfer of UK public wealth into the hands of the global capitalist elite.

            Half right – that’s what half the Tories are about. The other half are trying to accelerate the transfer of UK public wealth back into the hands of the UK Establishment capitalist elite again. That’s what the Tory party division over Europe has always been about, and it’s the truth that dare not speak its name about Brexit.

            The EEC was created to over-ride the wealth-plundering mechanisms of the established European families, and channel those riches to globalists. Boris Johnston is a figurehead installed by the Old Guard to win the money back for our home-grown parasitic elite. Trump is his US equivalent.

          • michael norton

            Jacob Rees-Mogg must be a toff, he and his wife are reportedly worth more than £150 million,
            also he has tea with the Queen and dresses and acts like a toff lounging about in the HOC

          • Tom Welsh

            My comment was in response to hatuey, joel, who specifically mentioned “toffs”. I am a relatively poor middle-class Scottish intellectual, but I did go to school and university with hundreds of real toffs, and I recognise them with ease.

            Thus your reply to my comment was rather off topic. You wrote that “Tory politicians” are “all about accelerating the transfer of UK public wealth into the hands of the global capitalist elite”. But that’s true of almost all politicians – those who have any claim to or expectation of success, at least. It has been at least 50 years since the real power behind the Labour Party had any interest in working people or their problems.

          • Hatuey

            “there are hardly any real “toffs” in the UK government”

            I didn’t realise that a term I used loosely to define rich people would be so contentious.

          • Tom Welsh

            Sorry to seem “pedantic”, Hatuey. But it seems to me that “toff” is not at all equivalent to “rich person”.

            Would you call Donald Trump a toff? Jeff Bezos? Roman Abramovich?

            To my mind, “toff” denotes someone who considers himself upper-class, aristocratic, noble, or otherwise intrinsically superior.

            If someone were to leave you a bequest of $1 billion, would you suddenly become a toff?

      • Robyn

        My stab at why Julian Assange is still in prison is that the Australian Government has not done a thing for him – in fact various Australian MPs over the years have spoken out against him, ie they stick to the Washington script.

        Some years ago, Australian David HIcks was in Guantánamo. Politicians and the national broadcaster (ABC) were running the familiar Washington line against him. It wasn’t until his indefatigable father, Terry, and his courageous US Army lawyer, Major Michael Mori (no longer serving), turned public sentiment in favour of David to the extent that the Australian (US puppet) government finally took steps to get him home.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “What is the only reason the UN is located in New York? Because it is the only way the US could be convinced to conform to it.”

      So, a fail then.

      • M.J.

        Even that didn’t work – observe the behaviour of the Amerivcans towards the UN in the presaent century. Republicans nowadays probably regard the UN as a nuisance and an invention of liberals.

        In the previous millennium I visited the Muir woods North of San Francisco, where the idea of the UN was conceived in 1944. Maybe we need people concerned about the UN’s future to organise pilgrimages to the place (possibly after Trump has departed).

    • Spencer Eagle

      It’s not the first time the US have acted this way. Following the Bhopal chemical disaster on December 3rd 1984, Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide, was arrested and released on bail by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Bhopal over the deaths of thousands of people following the Bhopal chemical plant disaster. Subsequently released on bail, he skipped out of the country on a government plane. He was eventually declared a fugitive from justice by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal on 1 February 1992 for failing to appear at the court hearings in a culpable homicide case in which he was named the chief defendant. The US then repeatedly refused his extradition up until his death, aged 92, in 2014.
      Clearly there are parallels with the RAF Croughton accident, with Bhopal the US administration was protecting Union Carbide and other US industry from class actions, in the case of Croughton, as Craig rightly aludes, they are protecting the people and relationship that allows reciprocal illegal spying on UK and US citizens.

  • Old Red Sandstone

    BBC TV News and Sky News at 10 pm both sticking to the ‘diplomatic immunity’ line. Raab apparently insisted same in meeting with parents.

    • Hatuey

      Would she be diplomatically immune if she was Iranian, Chinese, Russian, or Syrian?

      No. She’d be in jail waiting to be put in front of a judge for manslaughter.

      • TonyT12

        Jonathan Sacoolas is an officer in the NSA which is the USUK modern equivalent of the SS.
        Let us face it – neither the US nor the UK will ever draw attention to what the NSA get up to, and they will stonewall setting any legal precedent.

        They are counting on this story evaporating out of the public eye, which it will unless the family raises a huge amount of money for top lawyers. The NSA’s budget for legals to fight the family’s action will be enormous if called upon.

        US immunity to legal process in allies’ countries is well documented. A well worn issue in Japan. They can do what they hell they like, and get away with it.

        • Tom Welsh

          “Jonathan Sacoolas is an officer in the NSA which is the USUK modern equivalent of the SS”.

          More like the SD. NSA people don’t usually have to fight or get their hands dirty. They do their work behind the scenes.

          The USA doesn’t have any close equivalent of the Waffen-SS, perhaps the greatest fighting force ever (or at least since Thermopylae).

          It does have lots of successors to the Allgemeine-SS – the random thugs who ran prison camps, etc.

          • Hatuey

            You just described the Waffen-SS as the greatest fighting force ever.

            That’s a strange thing to say about an organisation steeped in the most vile views imaginable, an organisation that committed and was condemned for all sorts of war crimes at Nuremberg, and composed to a large extent by conscripts.

          • Piotr Berman

            Military term “morale” can be translated as “fighting spirit and discipline”, and should not be mistaken with “morality”.

            Comparing different military formations across the ages is unscientific, but in WWII, Waffen-SS were never described as inept.

          • Tom Welsh

            True, Hatuey; I did. As Piotr Berman points out, soldiers are not particularly known for their altruism and kindness. That applies to British and American soldiers just as much as German ones.

            The other force to which I compared the Waffen-SS was the small Spartan army, whose political views you might (if you studied them) find to be even “viler” than those of the Nazis. The Spartan community lived for centuries on the labour of slaves, who were ruthlessly killed at the first sign of resistance or even what we would consider self-respect. Spartan teenagers were encouraged to kill a few helots at random, “pour decourager les autres”.

            That said, the Waffen-SS never admitted conscripts, even when Germany was desperately short of fighting men. During most of its existence, the criteria for admission were astonishingly high: you had to be tall, very fit and strong, and in absolutely perfect health. (Men were rejected for a single filled tooth). Esprit de corps was sky-high, and everyone who fought them acknowledged their incredible efficiency and courage. The Waffen-SS (even Hitlerjugend, whose rank and file were all teenagers and whose officers were mostly in their 20s) could easily defeat almost any other force of similar size and equipment.

            To an enemy, such a fighting force might well appear detestable.

          • Hatuey

            Tom Welsh: “the Waffen-SS never admitted conscripts, even when Germany was desperately short of fighting men.”

            However: “The Waffen-SS (German pronunciation: [ˈvafn̩ʔɛsˌʔɛs]) was the military branch of the Nazi Party’s SS organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with volunteers and conscripts from both occupied and unoccupied lands…”

            You sound like one of those crackpots that can barely hide his love of the Nazis. I’ve met a few people like that in my life. They were all pseudo-Intellectual types who posed as historians.

          • Dom

            The SS were great at shooting old grannies in the head and throwing them into ravines. Still, let’s praise them anyway..

          • Tom Welsh

            In my initial comment I was careful to distinguish the Waffen-SS from “the Allgemeine-SS – the random thugs who ran prison camps, etc.”

            It’s unfair and disingenuous to imply that my admiration for the military qualities of the Waffen-SS in any way reflects my feelings about the Nazis in general. My father spent five years fighting them, at great risk to his life; and my mother was ready to die as long as she could take one German soldier with her. Nevertheless they both loved Germany and the German people, and were distressed that they had to fight.

            As for Dom’s comment, “The SS were great at shooting old grannies in the head and throwing them into ravines” – so are the US, British, French and most other armies. The USA killed far more civilians in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon – among other countries – than the Nazis ever did.

            You both stubbornly insist on missing the point: soldiers are intrinsically evil from the point of view of those they fight. And the better they are as soldiers, the more they will be hated by their enemies.

          • Iain Stewart

            “You both stubbornly insist on missing the point: soldiers are intrinsically evil from the point of view of those they fight.”

            Corollary: soldiers are intrinsically good from the point of view of those for whom they fight.
            This sounds like desperate twisting in the strands of moral relativism. Nobody is missing the point. 🙁

      • SA

        “Would she be diplomatically immune if she was Iranian, Chinese, Russian, or Syrian?”
        Silly question. Rather would she have been allowed to spy on British citizens if she was Iranian, chinense,Russian or Syrian ?

        • Hatuey

          I wasn’t talking about those who might be spying. I was talking about ordinary diplomats.

          And I think it’s a good question.

          • Hatuey

            Irrespective of that. If this was an ordinary Iranian diplomat, not a spy, do you think the British government would simply roll over like this in these sort of circumstances?

            I don’t. And if you agree then that means this has nothing to do with diplomatic immunity and everything to do with the special relationship.

          • Godolphin

            October 10, 2019 at 10:21
            “But she was only here as a spy not as a diplomat.”

            IMHO; more likely she was here as the wife of a ‘diplomat’.

          • SA

            I somewhat disagree with this extreme cynicism. In the case of the murder of Yvonne Fletcher, the Libyan ‘diplomats;’ were deported but none faced British justice.

          • Jiusito


            “In the case of the murder of Yvonne Fletcher, the Libyan ‘diplomats;’ were deported but none faced British justice.”

            I thought it was fairly well established that the murderer of Yvonne Fletcher was not a Libyan at all but someone working for a Western spy agency.

    • Mary Pau!

      I still think we should be looking at her role while here and whether she in fact had some sort of state security role? Claiming she was covered by husbands diplomatic immunity is a convenient smoke screen to prevent us enquiring about her role. Would an ordinary citizen be whisked off on a private plane?

    • Old Mark

      Old Red Sandstone

      Yes the MSM, following the lead from Raab, are behaving disgracefully on this matter- the Mirror had a mildly critical article on its website a day ago- I tried to view it again today and a 404 message about its unavailability then appeared !

      Meanwhile, yesterday the news was filled with really important stuff- such as the Instagram spat between WAGs Coleen Rooney and Vardy’s other half; today the morning news summaries on R2 this morning lead on old, non stories about the ‘obesity epidemic’ among UK school children.

      Remainers bleat about Leave voters ‘not knowing what they voted for’- excuse me, but isn’t that standard operating procedure here in the UK this century ? We have a celebrity obsessed mass media that prefers to deal in pap rather than real news across the entire spectrum; foreign news in particular in cursorily reported (hence so many Remainers having such a rose tinted view of the state of play in most EU countries).

      Craig can be a pain in the arse at times given his ardent Scottishness, but on issues like this (and the related stuff on Assange) he so often is the best source available- KBO!

      • Borncynical

        On the subject of the failure of the msm to report on significant issues – both nationally and internationally – I have just posted on this site’s discussion forum an item headed “UK’s judicial system gone mad…again” to draw attention to the weird world of the UK’s current judicial system as demonstrated by a recent murder trial. I hope readers can take the time to have a look at what, on the face of it, appears to be yet another gross injustice.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Sharp Ears October 10, 2019 at 08:20
        That’s it, then. Raab ‘has been told’, by the Pompous Pirate,, spokesperson for our ‘Partner’.
        Not a discussion – ‘he has been told’.

      • Borncynical

        “Trump says it is a complex issue”.

        Too complex for us mere mortals to understand, presumably. Well I, for one, am prepared to listen to the ‘complexities’ and do my best to understand them.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears October 10, 2019 at 07:35
      ‘….Trump is now being quoted as saying that it’s easy to find oneself on the wrong side of a road and that he has done it. No surprise there..’
      The difference is he probably did it in the States, so without the ‘excuse’ of being in a country which mandated driving on a different side.
      I also pulled out onto the wrong side of the road at least once on my motorbike in France.

  • Andrew

    Hi Craig
    As one former diplomat to another, if Jonathan Sacoolas is posted by his US Government to RAF Crighton, might he not come under the applicable Status of Forces Agreement (which I am too lazy/busy to look up) so that he, and quite possibly also his wife, in practice have a status not too far removed from diplomatic immunity, even if the latter is not an accurate way to describe it? If so, to answer your last point, this would be a form of treaty-based immunity that the government does have the power to grant. Just a thought.

  • Deb O'Nair

    The American government: “What you Brits have gotta understand is that you guys drive on the wrong side of the road so of course this kinda things gonna happen when we’re in your country, keeping you safe from terrorists and Russia.”

    The British government: “Yes sir, quite right sir, of course sir. Three bags full sir.”

    The American government: “Don’t give me that faggot shit, a simple ‘yes sir’ is fine”

    • michael norton

      There is the possibility that the named woman was not the driver of the colliding vehicle.
      What I am suggesting is that she might have had a driver-minder, bit like Princess Diana and Dodi were not the protection nor driver, yet the only one to survive was the protection man.
      If they are ALL whisked off country
      nobody does any explaining/blabbing.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    Isn’t it possible that Anne Sacoolas is simply an intelligence “official” herself?

    If she really had “diplomatic immunity” why did the police interview her at all? Why didn’t she call the US embassy to handle the matter and be present at any interview the US embassy consented to?

    Why was she rapidly “exfiltrated” from the UK on a “private” flight from a US airbase? Not just any aircraft can land at a US airbase. There would be no passport checks nothing. In fact, once at the airbase, she would have been unreachable by UK authorities (in the unlikely event they had any interest). How could an “ordinary” intelligence officer husband afford to charter a plane, when other routes would have been available (unless her passport was being held by the police)? I’m not sure how much a chartered flight from the UK to the US would cost, but I’m guessing upwards of $50,000 in a case like this. Isn’t it obvious the US government organised her “escape”?

    And if she really had diplomatic immunity, couldn’t she have just walked through passport control at Heathrow with complete diplomatic immunity possibly accompanied by embassy staff?

    This whole story would make more sense if she is simply CIA/NSA/whatever herself…

    In any case, the UK press/media coverage is a disgrace.

    • Hatuey

      It doesn’t make any difference. The issue at the core of this is the British Government’s inability to protect its own people. I’m talking about the parents.

      It’s unthinkable that an accident like this can occur and the culprit can plead diplomatic immunity and abscond. That the US seems to think that’s a possibility tells you all you need to know about our relationship with the US.

      In a more balanced relationship the host country would kick up so much of a shit-storm that the foreign country would understand in the clearest terms that playing the diplomatic immunity card would not be advisable and come at a cost.

      Incidentally, something that’s forgotten in all this, the treaties that cover diplomatic immunity arrangements spell out in great detail and with great emphasis that diplomats must respect the laws of respective host countries. There’s zero evidence of the US even paying lip service to that.

      Morally bankrupt Britain can’t even get an apology from its only friend in the world and can’t protect its own people.

      Rule Britannia.

      • OnlyHalfALooney

        I think it is rather typical US government behaviour. Quite frankly, the US government doesn’t care. Perhaps it goes with being a superpower. During empire days, the British government acted similarly.

        Part of the problem is the UK government’s desire to do almost anything to please the US government.

        According to the information in this Daily Beast article, the US embassy and government were deeply involved. The claim is also that the vehicle had diplomatic plates.

        The police went back again Sept. 15 to place Sacoolas under formal questioning in a wrongful death inquiry but she, her husband, Jonathan, and their three children had left the country, claiming diplomatic immunity. The U.S. Embassy in London said they did so on the advice of the U.S. State Department.

  • Dungroanin

    Groaniad flip flopping – Wintour of Vauxhall is the writer. So it must be lies.

    The family represents a powerful image. They may end up on TV in US (as an anti Trump attempt).

    Raab has been made to look a plonker, Bobo will too, this could wreck the Tories chances in the Shires – the simple injustice is inescapble.

  • Ingwe

    Doesn’t this incident just illustrate that the whole Brexit issue, which ever side you’re on is a load of bollocks? That either remaining or leaving would give us (the people?) back control. We the people are just bystanders in this awful system, stay or remain.
    Our government can lie to us with impunity, whether it be the Skripal bullshit, the threat of Russian, Chinese or “terrorist” invasion or the killing, in a road accident, of a 19 year old working class lad. We are incidental players that allow our unelected (in the true sense) leaders or other power brokers like Jens Stoltenberg who don’t even pretend to have any popular backing, to further their own economic and geo-political i.e. Capitalist, corporatist, agendas.
    What a giant con it all is. Taking back control, having control, believing that those we elect feel that they owe us any duties at all. Living in cloud cuckoo land.

    • Andyoldlabour


      We elect the politicians, they sneer at us and then proceed to follow orders from the highest bidder.

      • Borncynical


        Too true. I wrote to my local MP on 23 July to ask him to obtain for me the specifics of the legal basis for the detention of the (then named) Grace 1 oil tanker, albeit being fully aware that there is no legal basis. I explained that I had seen a reference to a Council Regulation quoted by “an official spokesperson” but, on studying it, found nowhere any reference to the EU having the power to prevent trade in oil between one non-EU country (Iran) and another non-EU country (Syria), only embargos on commercial activities between EU countries and Syria. I have since reminded my MP three times that I am still awaiting the information and stressed that if our government claims to be acting on our behalf they should have the courtesy to offer an explanation for their actions. My original letter and reminders have been met with a resounding silence, from which I can draw only one conclusion. This just exemplifies the disdain that the government has for the electorate – they take us for complete fools. The galling thing is, they seem to get away with it.

        • Andyoldlabour


          Unfortunately it is not just this government, look at the Bliar war years, look at Macron in France, look at the Clegg/Cameron alliance. I quite often think that Harold Wilson was our last good prime minister, despite the many attempts to get rid of him.

  • William Bowles

    The Guardian tells us this am:

    The Foreign Office said it was in no doubt that Sacoolas’s family was covered by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna convention, and that it could not challenge that fact.

    • Mary Pau!

      The FO is in no doubt about a lot of things which are simply convenient fictions. It is sad to see the Guardian become it’s official outlet for disseminating these mistruths.

  • M.J.

    If Mrs Sacoolas is not sent back to the UK that will be consistent with Trump’s America First policy. Boris won’t do much about it because he hopes to get a trade deal with the USA after Brexit.

    Perhaps, though, the PM after Boris plus the President after Trump will arrange for justice to be done.

    • Ingwe

      “Perhaps, though, the PM after Boris plus the President after Trump will arrange for justice to be done.” There you go, dreaming again. Hoping on a fairy story. You do know there’s no Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, don’t you?

    • Deb O'Nair

      I remember people saying similar about GW Bush and Blair being held to account for their crimes once they were out of office. GW Bush recently got the Liberty Medal and Blair is still raking in millions every year.

      • Michael McNulty

        And nobody radicalised more Muslims than Bush and Blair. That’s why the powers-that-be created the “Mad Mullah” guff, to account for the resistance to what those political gangsters did for oil, Wall Street and American hegemony. I hope both spend their last weeks on earth in death beds fearfully contemplating what terrors may await them on the other side, knowing that all that money they made means nothing to them now.

  • Dave

    Diplomatic immunity is an essential protection and this incident shows why those covered should be kept to a minimum as accidents will inevitably happen and people shouldn’t be allowed to escape justice. But this is where more information is needed because fleeing the country isn’t necessarily the same as fleeing justice.

    A foreign country won’t want important personnel taken into custody because it becomes a security risk, will they betray secrets to escape/reduce a sentence? But do they nevertheless face prosecution and sentencing in their own country? The fact Trump has picked up on the issue is encouraging news.

  • Gary

    UPDATE…TV news are now reporting that Sacolas “has been granted diplomatic immunity” and that “he does not appear on the diplomatic list” I am loathe to read anything into TV news reporting as it tends to paraphrase and therefore mislead. Facts tend to be flexible to suit the story. BUT, the ‘sound’ of the story was that diplomatic immunity has NOW been granted or, at least, that the diplomatic immunity had already been granted but yet not publicised due to his work in the intel community. The story was deliberately vague.

    Although no new facts were presented the wording was sufficiently different to make me believe that someone had intervened to ensure that what you had said (ie his, and therefore her, diplomatic immunity being a fallacy) was NOT the case. It’s as though someone read your blog and responded to it directly by ensuring that the news programmes changed their story to include the words ‘diplomatic immunity’ and ensure that this was in no doubt.

    Our government does not want to be SEEN to allow a potential criminal to have left the country with its full knowledge and for it to fail to retrieve her for an investigation/trial.

    If this was an ‘ordinary’ case of diplomatic immunity conflicting with an investigation (even one involving the death of a young man) I doubt they would have gone to the trouble. WHY have they intervened here, why so forcefully? They COULD have left it alone with the same result. The government will look bad in any event as will the US government. Everyone now knows that he was in intelligence – they have obviously decided to admit that after your article. But again, WHY? Why is it so important to them? She is, we are told, the wife of someone entitled to immunity and he is simply someone working in intelligence at an air base. This doesn’t ring true.

    Anyway, it’s nice to know that the government are reading your blog, isn’t it?

    • michael norton

      Could it be possible that at the time of the accident neither Mr. or Mrs. Sacoolas
      had Diplomatic Immunity.
      But after the accident they were consequently granted Diplomatic Immunity.

      If this is true, surely as she was not covered at the time of the accident, she should hand herself in to British Justice.

    • Old Mark

      Our government does not want to be SEEN to allow a potential criminal to have left the country with its full knowledge.

      Quite- because the contrast then in the treatment of Mrs Sacoolas and Julian Assange would be so blatant as to be painful. JA had to surrender his Aussie passport to the authorities here the minute news of his alleged transgressions in Sweden become known. Although details are sketchy one assumes Mrs Sacoolas didn’t flee the scene of the accident (thus adding insult to injury) on 27 August, and that Northamptonshire plods took a statement from her at the scene. Did nobody senior in the force reckon her to be a possible ‘flight from justice’ risk- as was assumed- at the outset- in JA’s case ? Could they not have set a high bail bond, and asked for her passport (not that that would have necessarily prevented her leaving on a private plane that then flew direct to a US military airfield ) ? The Telegraph report states the private flight to the US occurred ‘in September’ ie not immediately after the accident on 27/08/19. A surrender of her US passport, and a requirement to report daily to the plods, could easily have been applied- but neither of these actions took place. The double standards here stink to high heaven.

      And where are the ‘left winger’ Corbyn, and his colleagues on the shadow front bench now that this story, with its attendant and obvious attempts at official obfuscation, is now plain for anyone to see- particularly to someone like Jezza who historically has never been slow to query US motives ? Have he McDonnell and Thornberry been politically castrated over the past 3 days ?

      • michael norton

        we must assume if Americans in the U.K. have Diplomatic status that the U.K. MUST KNOW who these persons are.
        If Mrs. Sacoolas did not have Diplomatic Immunity at the time of the crash, our government would not needed to have been overly concerned but if she aquired D.I. later, our government must have been in agreement, if this is the case that are partially complicit.

    • Tom Welsh

      It’s the logical consequence of Western government policies that they should now seek to grant diplomatic immunity retrospectively.

      Which, needless to say, is an outrage against all civilized legal standards. You don’t make something legal or illegal after it’s happened – not if you have any sincere belief in the rule of law.

  • Peter

    Anticipation is building awaiting your views, thoughts and insights on the Kurds, Turkey and Trump situation Craig.

    I think words fail most of us. I, for one, can barely keep myself from descending into blasphemous expletives.

    Surely this is finally the end of Trump’s re-election chances isn’t it, or is it?

    • Northern

      I would assume the majority of Trump’s base couldn’t give a shit about the Kurds or what happens to them. The intricacies of middle eastern geo-politics is a somewhat redundant field in average Americans from my experience, so I doubt abandoning one set of ‘others’ to another will do much damage to him at home. I suppose you could say the Kurds should have seen it coming although this doesn’t excuse the dishonour. We’ve already seen the polarisation has reached such intense levels that critical thinking has been jettisoned on any real level. I’m pretty sure Trump could declare himself emperor for life and a majority of his base would still don the MAGA hats and cheer. The democrats proving to be similarly delusional in peddling this Ukrainian impeachment nonsense while trying to re-heat Hillary’s candidacy for next year. I can’t think of a more sure fire way to ensure a second Trump term than treating it as a re-run of 2016.

      If nothing else, we can be thankful for .45 being the president who at least accidentally pulled down the set dressing on the oval office and allowed everyone to glimpse the abject evil lurking back stage.

    • Dave

      No its a long awaited and sensible decision that will see him re-elected. The problem with any intervention is the intervener becomes a player and can never leave without upsetting the new balance of power. Hence why interventions go on so long and fail to bring peace, because there is never a good time to leave. This of course is the aim of those who intervene for profit under the guise of peace.

      • Peter

        Saying to Turkey:

        “Yeah, you wanna kill those Kurds, go right ahead. They did a good job for us, losing eleven and a half thousand lives into the bargain, but we’re finished with them now, do what you want, they’re yours. And anyways, where were they in 1945?”

        isn’t anybody that I know’s idea of sensible and it is no surprise that the outrage and disgust seem widely shared across the pond.

        • Deb O'Nair

          Standard M.O from the US, they were the same with ISIS. When ISIS were threatening to take control of Syria they were happy to help them (as proven by many examples of US direct assistance). Once the Russians turned up and ISIS started getting pushed back then the US started attacking ISIS (presumably to ensure that their complicity in aiding ISIS was erased). The official, and often repeated, narrative now is that the US defeated ISIS when every informed observer knows that it was the Syrians, Iranians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Russians.

    • Ken Kenn

      Aaronovich wrote a book on Conspiracy Theories which was not disimilar to a Conspiracy Theory.

      A Conspiracy Theory to debunk Conspiracy Theories and the psychological need to believe them.

      All that from an ex lefty who now believes that due to the US being a ‘ Democracy ‘ that being a democracy legitimises their right to unfail failed states.

      The funny thing is – like most people he could have just ignored them.

      I do most of the time.

      But no – he wrote a book instead.

      A psychological need if ever I saw one.

      I have always totally ignore what Anne Widdecombe says and have done for years, but I’m not going to write a book about it.

      In reference to the ‘ diplomat’

      Anyone know if a Court has asked for her to appear before them?

      Or the police wanting to interview her even?

      Secondly – is Julian Assange being kept in jail for what he might do in the future?

      Namely skip bail on the yet to be arranged new charges from the US?

      Does he therefore not have the right to break the law – if he chooses to?

      A bit like Bozo and the letter he must present – or might not?

      One’s as free as a bird despite being already a lawbreaker and the court is waiting – pending his right to break the law.

      Funny old world in the prediction business I reckon in the Courts.

        • Smiling Through

          Aaronovitch was one of the London Weekend Television group of researchers John Birt installed in senior executive positions when he became Deputy Director General (DG) and then DG of the BBC.

          He still gets regular BBC slots while being paid as a Murdoch columnist.

          Another of them, David Jordan – – remains important there and was rather caught out over the Munchetty business recently:

          Unlike Aaronovitch, Jordan, Samir Shah, and a few others of Birt’s LWT group, Peter Mandelson only became a BBC consultant between running Labour’s PR operation under Neil Kinnock and becoming an MP and all that followed:

          Mandelson’s old LWT colleague (and best man) Trevor Phillips still gets lot of BBC appearances and was Tony Blair’s preferred candidate as Mayor of London.

          Quite a little network one way and another…

          • Old Mark

            Quite a little network one way and another…

            The connections between Aaronovitch, Phillips and Madelson go back even further, to the grubby world of 1970s student politics. Both Phillips and Aaronovitch were ‘Broad Left’ ie an alliance of convenience between the CP and Left Labour, Presidents of the NUS (From recollection Phillips go there first c1977 and Aaronovitch followed c1980 after an interregnum when another CP/Broad Left President, Sue Slipman, held the post.) Mandelson was also briefly in the CP, and he and Phillips together went on a British Youth Council junket to Cuba again in the late 70s.Apparently, and contrary to stereotype, Mandelson was as nifty a mover on the dance floor as Phillips, and this helped them get along despite coming from such different backgrounds.

            Aaronovitch’s career was undoubtedly given a leg up thanks to his dad, Sam Aaronovitch – a CP stalwart and also (according to personal testimony I’ve had from people who were his students) a very good Economics lecturer at what was South Bank Poly. Despite coming from a bookish, academic household Aaronovitch failed his 1st year exams at Oxford, and had to start all over again at Manchester- the sort of knockback that could relegate someone not bought up in Hampstead Garden Suburb to a life permanently in the slow lane- but our Dave had the connections to consign this early blooper to alpha centauri, and thereafter it was onwards and upwards.

  • Ben

    How does Trump justify stabbing the Kurds in the back again?
    No doubt Edrogans Quid Pro Quo for Trump is his own Harem.

    Russia benefits from their only Winter warm water port in Syria. Europe (UK) benefits from 10,000 ISIS fighters the US washes its hands of so y’all can have more home-grown terrorists plying their trade.

    Everyone wins

    • Republicofscotland

      “How does Trump justify stabbing the Kurds in the back again?
      No doubt Edrogans Quid Pro Quo for Trump is his own Harem.”

      Trump is just head turning away from his troubles at home such as his opponents attempts to impeach him. The Kurds who handed back all the heavy artillary and german made weapons were foolish to trust the US and its allies. Erdogan has added any interference in his slaughter of the Kurds, though not in those words, said he’ll open the gates of Turkey and send to Europe the 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.

      One has to wonder why Nato, of whom Turkey is a member hasn’t taken any action against Turkey yet.

      • Ben

        By your description Trump is benign as a tumor rather than a doofus Machiavelli.

        His fiddling pyromania is more than mischief and Trumpkins are silent as though ball-gagged over their own uber Benghazi.

        • Republicofscotland

          As I’ve said in here before I think Trump is a businessman first and foremost, and a poor president and politician secondly.

          He’s on record as saying, that the US is not a police force, even though the US has been the self appointed world police force for decades.

          Pulling the troops out gains him brownie points with the US electorate for the next US election next year, it can also be used to put his opponents on the backfoot.

          However Trump was never going to side with the Kurds over Turkey and jepordise their base at Incirlik, a strategic staging post in the region. The Kurds were used by the West, and now they’ll pay a heavy price for trusting them.

      • Tom Welsh

        “How does Trump justify stabbing the Kurds in the back again?”

        In the usual way. They aren’t American, Jewish or rich. So they don’t count.

  • Republicofscotland

    It definitely looks like Trump won’t hand over Anne Sacoolas anytime soon, speaking on Wednesday, the Republican appeared to defend her, saying that driving on the wrong side of the road “can happen”.

    He said: “The woman was driving on the wrong side of the road, and that can happen. You know, those are the opposite roads, that happens.”

    Yes Mr President but she killed someone in the process.

    • Deb O'Nair

      This is what I find confusing; if Anne Sacoolas had co-operated with the police she would have been dealt with as someone involved in a terrible accident but with some degree of mitigating circumstances, and one suspects she would have been dealt with in a lenient manner. To leg it out the country has made things a whole lot worse. One would imagine that she must have sought advice at a consular level, which may suggest that there is more to the incident than making an error whilst driving.

      • Republicofscotland

        I guess you could say that the mentality is one of better to flee, than possibly end up in prison.

        I certainly don’t think that she should have fled, however, how many “diplomats” would do the same if in her place? Quite a few I should imagine.

      • giyane

        Deb O’Nair

        The mindset of the common or garden spy is necessarily that they have moral superiority over the people they are spying on. This spy couple are now in denial of having done anything morally wrong, like not concentrating on the road. If they admitted culpability, they would no longer feel entitled to be morally superior spies and would resign. The goldfish has been deemed guilty of plotting against the U S of A for so long that it is unthinkable that it might be just a goldfish swimming around minding its own business.

        The lady in question trained as a shrink and most shrink’s professional life started as some trauma of their own. I do not believe the fact that she ran is a sign that she doesn’t care. I think it is a sign that she couldn’t face the pain. There you are, propped up by an Imperial hefemony equivalent to Queen Victoria’s, telling you that you are invincible, and surely the reality of life is going to burst that bubble some time. Who are we to know what God’s purpose was to make this happen?
        Islam says that those whom God does not much like he leaves alone enjoying the routine of life.

        Those whom he loves he sends trials, to awaken in them some need to call on Him. Maybe this lady will respond to this accident with faith and compassion and become something vastly superior to being a slave to the US administration. She might decide to go out and help people in prison.
        Do you have a wire into her conscience? Craig deleted my first comment, to the effect that for all the trillions spent on spying, they haven’t invented a way of seeing the future.
        I’d rather be judged by the Knower of the seen and unseen than by the British media machine , any time.

  • Elaine

    She is disgraceful. Cant the high courts get her back here if they can prove she doesn’t have diplomatic immunity.

    • glenn_uk

      The UK Establishment is not interested in proving a lack of diplomatic immunity. Even if they did, her return would not be demanded.. And even if it was demanded, the Americans could ignore it. The US/UK extradition treaty is a one-way process – the US can demand from us, not the other way around.

      And finally, even if there was a two-way extradition treaty – Trump does not respect laws, treaties, or indeed anything except his own wishes, so it would never happen.

      • Kempe

        US/UK extradition treaty was signed in 2003 and ratified by congress in 2006. Between then and 2010 130 extradition requests were submitted from the U.S. to the UK. Of those 130 requests, the UK has refused 10. Of the remaining 120, 77 individuals were extradited from the UK to the U.S. The other 43 cases were either still pending, the individuals returned to the U.S. on their own or other circumstances made the extradition no longer necessary.

        During the same time period the UK submitted 54 extradition requests to the US none of which have been refused. Of those 54 requests 38 resulted in extradition of an individual from the U.S. to the UK. In the remaining 16 cases the individuals either returned to the UK on their own or other circumstances made extradition from the U.S. to the UK no longer necessary.

    • Goose

      She only likely faces a suspended sentence since it appears to have been an accident. The limitations on her travel (she can’t set foot in the UK) and the stress of not having this matter resolved, don’t seem to be worth it to me. Unless someone has ordered her to leave, it makes no sense at all.

      • nevermind

        I agree Goose, if she did not ring the police, but the spybase first, any action would have been decided by whoever was in xharge.
        This 19 year old did not get the best medical attention in the best/ffastest possible time, why else all this secrecy and spookiness, its not Halloween yet..
        One day, and I suppose she was breath tested and had a drugs check, she might drive out of her mansion, think back of that incident and her mistake, turning out on the left hand side, right 8nto the path of a long distance lorry doing 55mph. the legal limit. Nothing else, no law, here or over the pond, will give any thought of justice to this young man.
        A curse on both perpetuated Houses, one day they will be torn down by those wronged.

      • Andyoldlabour


        Death by dangerous driving can carry a sentance of up to 14 years and an unlimited fine. The fact that she has done a runner, should in my opinion make prison inevitable, or it will be transparent to all that some people are above the law.

  • Tom74

    Surely a vital skill of the spy is to blend into their host country unnoticed, by knowing the laws and customs. It doesn’t say much for Anne Saoolas’s spycraft that she couldn’t even remember to drive on the correct side of the road.
    A tragic situation, however. I suspect the Dunn family will be paid off somehow on the condition they agree to drop the issue – but possibly I am being cynical.

  • fwl

    Is RAF Croughton a UK base on which one drives on the left, or a US base on which one drives on the right? I don’t know the answer to this.

  • fwl

    I note that American military personnel and their spouses on US bases in the UK are required to undergo local conditions driving training within 15 days of arrival and that there appears to be a focus on how different driving conditions are in the UK to the US. We often complain that Americans are arrogant in their overreach to what extent do we seek to train our military and diplomatic personnel on local driving conditions?

    • S

      My understanding from reading around is that this training was instigated as a result of a complaint from a UK coroner regarding the number of road deaths around US bases.

      • fwl

        Maybe it looks like mandatory local driving conditions’ training was introduced in 2007, which also the year of the Coroner’s warning.

  • S

    My understanding is that the accused is not allowed to waive their own diplomatic immunity. In that case she may not have had a choice once the incident was reported to her superiors. Looking at the list of past incidents on wikipedia, it seems a civil suit is the usual way to deal with this, although it could end up more costly to the accused than taking a suspended sentence here.

  • M.J.

    Trump’s abandonment of the Syrian Kurds, together with what happened to rebels against Saddam during the first gulf war (abandoned to their fate once the USA realised that they might be too friendly to Iran), is liable to cause the USA to be regarded with distrust in general. Not even the Israelis should be complacent. If I were Benjamin Netanyahu I would make contigency plans. Someone like Trump who puts “America First” will sell anyone down the river when it suits him, including Israel. One reason why I hope that Boris’ attempts to make a deal with Varadkar will succeed – because that is better than being totally at the merrcy of “America First” that could follow a no-deal Brexit.
    I look forward to Trump being out of power within 14 months, or even earlier.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      “Not even the Israelis should be complacent.”

      Israel isn’t complacent. It’s not for nothing that Israel tops the list of countries spying on the USA. I doubt whether Trump would drop Israel though, he relies on the religious nutters who believe that supporting Israel is the path to the second coming of Jesus. Besides, the Mossad probably has all the Epstein tapes and a lot more “kompromat” besides.

  • Hatuey

    Three pieces of news dominating the news this week. At a glance it looks like a balanced media doing its job. But that never happens unless it suits the masters.

    1) The diplomatic immunity story straightforwardly puts the special relationship in a terrible light. Between the ears of ordinary people this looks like the US government spirited a killer of a British kid away in order to avoid trial.

    2) The Turkey-Kurd massacre story puts Trump and the US in an equally dim light. The Kurds must be as perplexed as the rest of us — throughout history they have been routinely betrayed and left to rot without any sympathy in the British media. 3000 Kurdish villages, for example, were systematically wiped off the map by Turkey in the 1990s and it barely got a mention in the news.

    3) Brexit. It looks like Boris has done a 180 degree turn and is serious all of a sudden about a deal and good relations with the EU. Of course, good relations with the EU negates the need for Trump’s “greatest deal in the history of the world” and encourages us to remain oriented to EU standards etc.

    I can’t be the only one who is looking at these dots and joining them like this. Nothing is coincidental when it comes to the BBC and British news.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      Contrast the coverage of Turkey’s illegal invasion of Syria to the way the MSM has portrayed Crimea and East Ukraine.

      • Hatuey

        Only, I happen to believe Russia’s annexation of Crimea was illegal. And I think the MSM is giving an unusually balanced view of Turkey’s illegal invasion of Syria. By balanced I mean condemnatory in respect of Turkey and the US/Trump.

        There’s no contrast there. They are two examples of the MSM and BBC in particular getting it right when it suits them to do so.

        We shouldn’t be surprised by that, let it skew our perception, or undermine our understanding of their bias. It makes sense that they report honestly and thoroughly when covering crimes of designated enemies and when it suits them in a more ad hoc way to do so; which I think is what they are doing here.

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          Only, I happen to believe Russia’s annexation of Crimea was illegal.

          That’s exactly it. Under international law both are illegal. I haven’t heard Turkey’s invasion called “illegal”. Russia’s annexation was constantly called illegal.

          On Dutch TV news there was a lot of explanation of Turkey’s perspective. (PKK terrorists etc.) There was very little about Russia’s perspective or the fact that most Crimeans are ethnically Russian when Russia annexed Crimea.

          • Iain Stewart

            Are you insinuating something about the Sudeten Germans not being Czechoslovakians? Out with it 🙂

      • Paul Barbara

        Or their coverage of the US, UK, France and cronies illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria. And despite Trump’s words, they still remain there.

    • Sharp Ears

      The BBC is going large on the ISIS terrrrists on the Turkey Syria border lined up in prisoner camps, commenting on their young ages. Do they ever ask who created the hell in the ME that set the terrorism in train? What horrors have these youngsters seen enacted on their family members, their homes and their friends?

      Ms Joanna Gosling is the mouthpiece on the Victoria Derbyshire programme. She was at one time married to Cameron’s mouthpiece for 18 years, SIR! Craig Oliver.

      She has two guests – Carne Ross and a Kurdish activist, Elif Saracan, Kurdish Women’s Movement.

      • Hatuey

        Sharp, in other words, they’re condemnatory of Trump’s decision to pull out and Turkey’s actions. We can all see that. It’s extremely unusual.

        Your focus should be on explaining it.

        Everyone who reads this blog should be extremely puzzled by the way this is being reported, with extremely unusual honesty and even from a moral standpoint.

        My argument is that the media is softening people up for a brexit outcome which would set Britain apart from the US and tie us more closely with the EU than had been proposed previously by people like Boris and Mogg.

        • joel

          There is no mystery. The outrage is because US troops are being withdrawn from a country they were illegally occupying in breach of international law.

          The idea that the Washington establishment, corporate media and liberals in general care about the fate of the Kurds (especially libertarian socialist Rojava Kurds) is belied by all history. But they have been obsessed with securing regime change in Syria from day one of the civil war.

  • TonyT12

    I think we have to look at both Johnson’s and Trump’s seemingly erratic decision-making in a different way. They are both uniquely obsessed with upcoming elections. Seen through that prism, their strategies make much better sense.

    Johnson is only really interested in disarming Farage and his Brexit Party, and in keeping the best possible supportive headlines in UK media. Johnson’s asinine “solutions” to the Irish border and indifference to the impact of NoDeal on business are of no interest to readers of the Daily Mail or the Sun.

    Trump is playing his own games to disarm the Democrats – seems like a series of open goals at present. Trump knows that his core supporters in the next election could not give a monkey’s about the detail of what is happening around the Turkish/Syrian border. If the US media fuss about the Northamption car accident fatality for more than another couple of days, then Trump will be much more likely to act than he will to casualties and refugee movements in Northern Syria.

    • Hatuey

      Yes, okay, but you haven’t explained how Boris is disarming Farage and the Brexit party in preparation for an election.

      You think Boris backing down and doing a deal with the EU will do that or give him positive headlines in the tabloids?

      If the rumours on Brexit are true, Boris is about to get slaughtered by the tabloids and the Brexit party’s stock will soar when hard Brexiteers realise they’ve been betrayed.

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