The Book

Swatting A Fly

Charles Crawford’s continued efforts to get someone to pay attention to his dull blog continue to centre on me. He wishes to challenge me to a public debate on diplomacy and ethics.

If you search YouTube you can find some 40 videos of me speaking at various places. Not one of the videos of me was posted by me. I have more invitations to speak than I can accept, and have regularly sold out some big venues like the Edinburgh Book Festival. I can’t see any videos of Charles on YouTube.

Charles’ repeated challenge is a bit like Sheringham FC challenging Manchester United to a match, and then complaining they won’t take them on.

Anyway, I suppose I had better humour the poor old chap. One should always respect one’s elders. We had better do it soon before he drops off the perch. But it is less simple than it sounds. “Diplomacy and Ethics” is, as he suggests, a fascinating theme, but any debate needs a defined subject which crystallises the area of disagreement so as to allow for clear choices, and reduce the chances of a dull dance around definitions. A debate between just two people also offers difficulties of format to make sure they really interact.

You also need a venue and an organisation. We have one kind offer, but the venue is somewhat small.

Maybe we should go for the room at the RGS where the Burton/Speke debate was arranged. Or – and this might be fun – the Locarno room at the FCO!

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NuLab Freeloaders Steal From The Starving

The CDC scandal is the worst of all the NuLab snouts in the trough scandals, because they are stealing from the poorest on Earth. They are diverting taxpayers’ money that was meant for poverty alleviation in the Third World, into the pockets of NuLab figures and the fattest of City fatcats. Like these.

I worked with the old Commonweatlh Development Corporation on agricultural projects in Nigeria in the 1980s. The conversion by NuLab of this £2 billion body, wholly owned by DFID, into a private equity fund which pays its chief executive £1 million a year, is a terrible disgrace even for this most despicable of governments.

I could not agree more with John Hilary, Chief Executive of War on Want: “CDC has long abandoned any interest in poverty reduction. (It] is focused instead on wealth creation for the affluent, including its own chief executive Richard Laing, who is paid close to £1 million a year. This is a travesty of the organisation’s original mandate.”

But it is much worse than even John Hilary knows. A CDC employee has contacted me after reading The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, to tell me that there are at least seventeen instances of remunerated directorships of CDC funded companies held by senior New Labour figures. I expect to receive materials in a few days time.

I broke this directorship scandal in The Catholic Orangemen when I stumbled on just one shocking instance regarding Baroness Amos. Here are the relevant extracts:

The concierge opened the door and the Nigerian detached himself from the rich leather upholstery of the sleek, silver, range-topping Mercedes. He stalked into the lounge of the Sheraton, as glossy as the sheen on his Italian silk suit and as smooth as the mirrored lenses of his designer spectacles. My heart sank as he headed towards our little group. I had taken on the chairmanship of a Ghanaian energy company to help out some Ghanaian friends. Our little venture had prospered and we were looking to expand across West Africa. In doing so I was determined to steer well clear of capital tainted with corruption or drugs. My surest guide to doing that was to avoid people who looked and dressed like this man whom my colleagues had arranged to talk with us.

West Africa is now the third largest centre in the World for money laundering and narcotics capital formation. But in terms of the percentage of total capital formation which drugs money forms, it is far ahead. Money laundering is the raison d’etre of many West African financial institutions. In Accra in March 2008 a World Bank sponsored conference held in Accra on money laundering heard an estimate that over 60% of the capital of the mushrooming private banking sector in Nigeria could be drugs money. Recently Nigerian banks have started taking out huge poster adverts all over the UK’s major airports. That is drugs money.

One consequence of this is that I have found it too easy to attract the wrong kind of capital to a legitimate business proposal in West Africa. These investors from West African banks and private equity firms are not even expecting the kind of high returns that a high risk market normally demands. With anti money-laundering regulations now so tight in the US and EU, their investors are looking to launder the money in the region before sending it to Europe. The proceeds of a legitimate energy company are accountable and clean; so we attract those wishing to put dirty money in to get clean money out. The actual bank executives and fund managers are of course not themselves necessarily involved in narcotics; they just fail to query adequately the source of their investor’s cash.

So when the new arrival introduced himself as a manager of a Nigerian private equity firm, I mentally switched off. I giggled inwardly as he named his company as “Travant”, because I thought he said “Trabant”, which given the car out of which he had just stepped, would have been wildly inappropriate. But I came to with a start when he said that his Nigerian private equity firm had access to DFID funds because Baroness Amos was a Director. To be clear, I asked whether Travant was an NGO or a governmental investment agency. He replied that it was not; it was a private, for-profit fund management company.

Baroness Amos was of course the Secretary of State for DFID until 2003 and until 2007 was Leader of the House of Lords. I though that it was impossible that DFID money would be given to a company of which she was Director. On the face of it, nobody could look further removed from the development aid ethos than the man in the designer suit. I went back to writing him off, deciding he was simply making it up about Baroness Amos and his access to DFID money. In West Africa among people who wear silk suits and are driven in Mercedes, the standards of truthfulness sadly leave in general a great deal to be desired.

I would have forgotten the incident, but in December 2008 I found myself sitting next to Baroness Amos on an airport bus heading for the plane to Accra. Once on board she moved to Business class while due to overbooking I was downgraded to Economy Plus. Baroness Amos was going out to Accra to head the Commonwealth monitoring team for the first round of the 2008 Ghanaian elections, as John Kufuor retired. Sending Baroness Amos to monitor an election seemed to me another tremendous example of British arrogance. Valerie Amos is the very antithesis of a democratic politician. One of the Blair inner circle, she rose to Cabinet rank despite never having faced the electorate. Never, ever, at any level of politics. Her entire career was based upon New Labour internal patronage after making a very good living out of complaining about discrimination against minorities in the UK. She opened up a substantial income gap between herself and those on whose behalf she was claiming to work, from a very early stage, and that gap has widened ever since.

All this came back to me as I looked at Baroness Amos quaffing champagne on that plane. So I did a bit of digging. Valerie Amos is indeed listed on their website as a non-executive director of Travant Private Equity, one of only five directors. There is nothing about developmental goals,

ethics, or the environment on the website. There is a lot about real estate opportunities in West Africa (by which they do not mean housing for the urban poor), and a boast that they have “the largest fundraising from domestic investors in sub-Saharan Africa”. Remember what I said about the sources of local capital formation? Now Travant may have the most rigorous procedures for scrutinising the origin of the domestic money deposited with them. But if they do, they do not mention it on their website. Rather they emphasise that “we are deeply immersed in the business communities in which we invest”. Mmmm.

But have Travant received DFID money? On the face of it, Travant shouldn’t even want public money ?” they are aggressive proponents of the capitalist ethos: “We believe that the private sector, with appropriate oversight and governance, is the best shepherd of Africa’s resources. We seek to empower entrepreneurs to pursue opportunities that they have identified, creating returns for investors, jobs and economic growth.” Yet in 2007 the British Government financed Travant with £15 million of funds, provided through CDC, the investment arm of DFID. CDC is owned 100% by DFID. At launch over one third of Travant’s first equity fund came from DFID. A few months afterwards Baroness Amos, ex minister in charge of DFID, joined the board of this profit-making firm.

It says everything about New Labour that CDC, which as the Commonwealth Development Corporation used to run agricultural projects to benefit the rural poor, was rebranded as CDC with a new remit to provide most of its funds to the financial services industry. It says even more about New Labour’s lack of the understanding of fundamental personal ethics, of their embrace of greed, that they see no reason why one of their former senior ministers should not move to benefit personally from the DFID money – even if through a 100% owned satellite – thus invested.

To turn this story full circle, let us turn back to Sierra Leone. 65% of the measured exports of this country come from its rutile mines. These were under guard by Sandline at the start of this memoir. Following the British invasion of Sierra Leone, it returned to its normal state of extreme corruption. Life is hard for most of its inhabitants, and UN donated food and pharmaceuticals, clearly marked “not for sale”, are only available to the local population for cash they do not have, as the result of collusion between corrupt UN officials, government officials, and mostly Lebanese traders. But the rutile mines are working full out, and extremely profitable, with armed white men again in charge of security. A major rutile miner, Titanium Resources Group of Sierra Leone says in its 2008 interim report: “the long term future of our markets is sound and the quality and scale of our mineral reserves underline our future prospects.” The Chairman of Titanium Resources Group is Walter Kansteiner III, George Bush’s former Assistant Secretary of Sate for Africa and a founding partner of the Scowcroft Group, led by Brent Scowcroft, George Bush’s National Security Adviser and architect of the CIA’s re-introduction of torture. The Scowcroft Group advisory consultancy did huge harm in Africa in the 1990s with their advocacy of privatisation and deregulation, particularly in the forestry sector, and with some influence advocated policies worldwide which contributed to the credit bubble and collapse of recent years.

But none of that prevented Kansteiner and Scowcroft from making money out of it, and Blair’s invasion secured Sierra Leone’s mineral resources to the neo-cons. Not everyone benefits. Titanium Resources’ Interim Report 2008 mentions the disruption in production as a result of the collapse of a dredger, without feeling the need even to mention the two Sierra Leoneans who

died in the incident.

But New Labour believes in profit, especially for themselves, so it was no surprise to me when Titanium Resources announced in March 2008 the appointment of Baroness Amos as a non-executive director. For me that appointment [though she later resigned] sums up the cosiness of the alliance between Bush, Blair and their acolytes. It was an alliance based on the acquisition of mineral resources by any means possible. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the most infamous example. I saw it close up operating by war in Sierra Leone, and by the diplomacy of repression in Uzbekistan.

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Good Lord!

The Independent on Sunday has named me as one of its Top Ten Alternative National Treasures. There I am, after Charlotte Church, Vivienne Westwood and Jo Brand.

I differ from the others in having no discernible talent, but also in not having appeared on broadcast media for two years now. I continue to receive invitations to appear, and then have them withdrawn almost immediately thereafter. The last was from Channel 4 News a couple of weeks ago. It is 18 months ago since I catalogued how it works here.

It must have happened over twenty times since. It appears again and again that an editor has the idea to invite me, but then it gets knocked on the head by some process.

I cannot help but put this together with the almost total news boycott of my evidence this week to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. That was really weird. Carried nowhere at all but the Today programme. Not a single mention in one newspaper.

On the other hand, to become an Alternative National Treasure armed with nothing but a keyboard…!

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Lord Jones and Kalashnikovs

Lord Jones of Cheltenham has sent me his telling of the story recounted in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo about our seeing off the security service raid on the independent radio station in Accra. It differs from mine in some details, the most important of which is that we were actually with Graham Elson on this occasion as Roger Gale was working up country.

I confess that I am always pleased to have other eye-witness accounts of the many incidents in my books where dangerous people point guns at me. David Hare told me he had spent some of his time in Uzbekistan verifying the truth of some of the more physical enounters in Murder in Samarkand, like my attempt to shield Kristina in the car crash, and had clearly been somewhat surprised to find I really did that stuff.

The truth is I was petrified much of the time – including in the following incident, as told by Lord Jones:

Craig Murray arrived at our hotel on eve of poll with news of a melee up north in Ho, or maybe Hohoe. We readily agreed to accompany him to the local radio station Joy FM to find out what had happened. You tend to be very gung-ho on these missions and the thought that the evening might turn violent was not one which entered my head. Joy FM’s sister station Love FM confirmed the disturbance and told us that fourteen people had been arrested, one of them an opposition candidate. Craig asked what Joy FM intended to do with the news. ‘Well,’ said the young, bright broadcaster,'”Rawlings is giving his final Presidential broadcast on TV. We will make the trouble the main item on our news bulletin at 8 pm which is to be followed by a phone-in programme on the election.’ We watched the presidential broadcast. It was obviously pre-recorded with cuts when Jerry Rawlings started to get agitated. The whole thing was pretty disjointed but I gained the impression that he did not relish the concept of his party losing power.

The 8 o’clock radio bulletin followed and then all hell broke loose. There was a disturbance at the door and a group of uniformed and heavily armed large men appeared, each carrying what I am assured were Kalashnikov weapons. They were from the Bureau of National Intelligence. The leader instructed the young man in charge to stop broadcasting. Then Craig stepped in.

Craig Murray is not the tallest man in the world although the leader of this group of invaders was certainly a candidate for that title. Bravely Craig looked this man in the eyes and calmly said ‘You know I am Craig Murray the Deputy British High Commissioner.’ ‘Yes, Mr Murray, we know who you are.’ ‘Yes well what you may not know is that these three gentlemen have been invited by your government’ he paused jabbing his finger at (but not touching) the chest of the large man and repeating ‘YOUR government’ with emphasis, continuing ‘to observe these elections to make sure they are free and fair, and this person’ pointing at me ‘is a Member of Parliament from the House of Commons in London.’ At this every single member of the group pointed their Kalashnikovs at me. I kept as calm as you can in these circumstances. As Craig continued I was aware of a bead of sweat forming on my brow and slowly making its way down my forehead and left cheek. ‘Now,’ Craig continued, “Are you telling me and are you telling them and in particular are you telling him’ pointing at me again (I wished he wouldn’t keep doing that), guns still at the ready, lots of trigger fingering going on, ‘that you are going to close down this radio station? Because if you do, these gentlemen, including this important Member of the British Parliament’ pointing again ‘may decide to report that these elections have NOT been free and fair.’. He paused. ‘And it will be all YOUR fault’ jabbing finger again ‘YOUR fault’. Silence reigned for some moments. The guns were still pointing at me. They were very large. I gave outward signs of being calm. What was going on inside is a different matter. Another bead of sweat formed and made its way down the other side of my face.

Graham Elson tried to be helpful. I suggested they might like to go back and get further instructions as there had obviously been a mistake. After what seemed like an age, accompanied by more trigger fingering, they turned on their heels and left. After perhaps a minute we went outside to make sure they had really gone. They had left, but had stopped at the end of the road. We thought they might be about to take a pot shot at us from there, but when they saw us they got back into their vehicles and drove off. Joy FM stayed on air. ‘Thanks Craig,’ I commented. He chuckled. ‘You look like you need a drink,’ he replied perceptively.

Now if we had not been there, that radio station would have been closed down and the 2000 Ghana elections might have joined a long list of African elections which went wrong. Diplomats, MPs and others often get a bad press. All I can say is that Craig Murray is one of the most effective diplomats I have ever met and that like others I have known, the mission to observe this election was certainly no ‘jolly’.

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David Hare on the Flinching Milliband

David Hare made an a thought provoking speech at the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards. Worth reading, and not just because I get a mention:

But hypocrisy and double standards on the left now seem over-shadowed, dwarfed, obliterated by endemic, instituional hypocrisy on the right or, to put it another way, in government. Better, I think, to be a champagne socialist than a suppository-wielding, water-boarding capitalist.

In Howard Brenton’s play Weapons of Happiness, one character looks puzzeled at another and declares: ‘You really are something of a perpetual absence, old man.’ I’m afraid this line of dialogue always pops into my mind when I catch a glimpse of our present Foreign Secretary David Milliband, a kind of flinching, nocturnal badger of human rights. Again, it’s difficult to recall that the Brown government arrived covertly flagging discontinuity. It was, we were told, full of people who in an epic act of loyalty had been willing to hide their misgivings about the supine antics of the Blair period. While nobody was going as far as to offer what Robin Cook was moved from office for suggesting ?”?” an ethical foreign policy ?”?” nevertheless there was, again, the feeling that a renewed defence of democracy might involve some public restating of absolutes. Do I need to observe no such restatement has followed? More accurately, nothing has followed, except reversion to tribal diplomatic loyalties, the old half-truths and half-lies rolled out on behalf of dodgy allies. In the last two editions of the New York Review of Books you may read Mark Danner’s authoritative accounts of systematic use of torture by the CIA. Humiliation, beatings by use of a collar, sleep deprivation, suffocation by water, kickings, confinement in a box, shackles, prolonged nudity. Strange: we await the appropriate moral outrage from Whitehall.

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Hypersexuality and Bipolar Infidelity – Is It Better For Having A Name?

It has been a hard but rewarding week for political bloggers here in the UK. I remember feeling much the same sense of relief when watching the Major government fall apart. The horrible Jonathan Aitken – who I liked marginally better as an aristocratic spiv than as a charismatic christian – was in a different style the same kind of creature as Damian McBride and the other New Labour horrors.

But then we got Blair, who was worse than a Tory. There’s a lesson there somewhere.

Anyway, today we are going to have a day off and, because you’ve all been very good, I am going to blog about sex.

I received an email from a Josh Peters accusing me of being a racist misogynist for my post yesterday on Ayesha Hazarika. I recall being attacked as “Anti-semitic” in the Times by crazed neo-con David Aaronovitch. In fact I think I am genuinely blind to race. Not just some but most of my close friends are not caucasian. I don’t think anyone who actually knows me would consider me in the least racist.

I am not, however, blind to sex. I attack people in positions of power where I feel there is an abuse, and most of the time I find I am attacking men. I don’t think yesterday’s attack on Hazarika, Toynbee and Harman was motivated because they are female, but their sex did come into it because they had indulged in a very expensive “Gender equality” jolly to Ghana funded by the taxpayer.

But while I feel there is no issue to address with the accusation of racism, I do have an issue which I need to square – with myself – over my attitude to women.

If you look through the amazing reader reviews for Murder in Samarkand on Amazon, you will find a repeated theme, even from people who loved the book. They dislike my attitude to women and the sexualised way I portray them.

All I can say in defence is that the book honestly reflects the way I think and feel. When I see a young woman, my mind instantaneously runs a sexualised check on her physical appearance and, if I find that appealing, I start acting in the way I can best calculate to enhace my chances. All that happens more or less subconsciously, or at least without any need for conscious initiation on my part.

I always rather presumed that all heterosexual men went throught the same process all the time. Apparently I may be wrong.

In a less clinical way, the process is described several times, sometimes more and sometimes less fully, in Murder in Samarkand when I describe looking at various girls, most notably of course Nadira. Plainly many people find this off-putting.

I would say this.

I accept that it may appear that I pay more attention to sexual attributes than is the accepted norm.

But I do not accept that this in any way means that I undervalue women’s other attributes.

I may find a girl very sexy. But that does not mean in any way that my perception and appreciation of her intelligence, determination, work-rate, courage, dignity, humour etc is any less. Or their opposites if appropriate. In fact in both Murder in Samarkand and The Catholic Orangemen, I give concrete examples of women whose careers I believe were unfairly held back by glass ceilings, particularly in the FCO, and write a great deal about the rights of women and my work to prevent abuses.

In short, I do not acept the thesis that it demeans women to fancy them. It demeans anyone if you only fancy them.

None of which addresses the issue of my tangled love life and the infidelity which has brought much pain to many people, most of whom did not deserve it. I also have to face the fact that I have told many lies to people in my love life, yet I am almost pathologically honest in any other context. What is that about?

I do not give the following as the answer. It is neither explanation nor excuse. It is, I think, nonetheless interesting.

My entire adult life I have suffered from what used to be called manic depression, and now is known as bipolar disorder. By and large I have struggled against it very successfully, and really major depressive episodes have only kicked in when there is a very big real world problem to act as a trigger. But there have been plenty of very bad days over the last thirty years, at both ends of the swingometer.

I took lithium as a student for a short while, but I felt that the changes to the chemical balance of the brain were making Craig Murray disappear, and were replacing him with someone much too bland. The outbreaks of incredible energy and capacity for work, of wit and intellectual vim on the highs were invaluable. I am NOT trying to put myself in their league, but if I give Winston Churchill, Spike Milligan and Stephen Fry as examples of famous manic depressives, you will get some of that feel of genius bordering on madness. A famous psychiatrist (whose name escapes me at the moment) said that if Churchill hadn’t been manic, he would have known the situation was hopeless after Dunkirk and sued for peace. Instead he had that vision and energy to lift a whole nation.

So I have lived on willpower my whole life, a feeling of intense concentration like permanently walking a tightrope of mental stability. You get tired.

I have also avoided psychiatrists as much as possible. Doubtless if I ever have to ask for unemployment benefit, I will therefore fall foul of Purnell’s reintroduction of the concept of the undeserving poor. Anyway, it is probably because of this avoidance of the medical profession that I was told this week for the very first time that my behaviour was subject to “bipolar infidelity” and “hypersexuality”. Apparently this kind of sexual behaviour is so very frequently part of bipolar disorder, that it is actually one of the diagnostic tests as to whether you are bipolar or not.

So there you are. I now know that my presumption that most men think about women just like me might well be wrong. I do not intend to use the existence of the terms to justify or even continue my behaviour. That sounds to me akin to a plea of guilty but insane (only a joke, mental illness campaigners). I am extremely happy with Nadira, with my children, and the prospect of our new baby. I am being faithful. This post does not presage a plunge into priapism.

I am not sure that I even really believe in “Bipolar infidelity”. But I will remember the phrase, “I suffer from hypersexuality.” Sounds like a brilliant chat up line…

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A Personal Reason To Hate New Labour

Darling and Beckett’s expenses scams just add to the long sorry tale of New Labour sleaze.

These people are moral and political pygmies.

I try from day to day not to dwell upon the way they ended my career as Ambassador and subjected me to an onslaught of slur and smear in what one senior Foreign Office source told the Guardian was “A campaign of systematic undermining.”

They did this to me because I queried internally their support for a vicious dictatorship in the “War on Terror” and because I was arguing in internal secret correspondence that it was illegal to obtain intelligence from torture.

They brought eighteen allegations of gross misconduct against me, and I was cleared of all charges after an internal invesitgation in which they loaded everything against me. Now you could make one or two charges of gross misconduct against someone, which turned out to be untrue, as part of a genuine process. But eighteen? All unfounded? It was a political stitch-up, overseen by Jack Straw.

They hastily added at the end of the process a nineteenth charge of disobeying an instruction to keep the false charges secret, and that was the only one I was found guilty of.

Of course, if I had not made it public, I would have been quietly stitched up on all charges.

But there was a sequel. After I was cleared and they were forced to let me return to Tashkent, they subjected the Embassy to an unscheduled “Surprise audit”. A team of three accountants was flown to Tashkent to go through every single transaction in the Embassy accounts since I arrived there, looking at every voucher.

This cost the taxpayer over £100,000.

The FCO had figured that if you went through anybody’s accounts with that fine a toothcomb, you would be bound to get them on something. But as it happens, I am pathologically honest about money. At the end of this vast exercise, it was found I owed the FCO just over 26 US dollars for a claim for which I had lost the receipt.

I paid them back.

And this was initiated by the unspeakable people who at the same time were themselves raking in to their personal accounts hundreds of thousands of pounds from the taxpayer!

New Labour are scum.

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Wishing On A Star

I have got my full fifth star back. This may mark me as a deeply sad person, but I feel just as happy as when the bell on the Christmas tree rang in Its A Wonderful Life to show that Clarence the angel had got his wings.

Murder in Samarkand now averages five stars again after 28 Amazon customer reviews.

It had been sitiing on four and a half stars for almost two years, when the 24th five star review, from a Mr Evan Hendrikse of Bombay, pushed the average up to five again. When you think about it, that really is quite a feat. Excluding children’s books, I cannot find any other book which has more than a couple of dozen reviews and which maintains an average of five stars.

OK, I admit I have been trawling, and you can think me a nerd, but it is remarkable. Of the 28 book buying reviewers, 27 are strangers to me, and the one I do know is an ex-FCO colleague who most certainly would not have given five stars if it were not his honest opinion.

I recall the agent who returned me the manuscript with the comment:

“I can understand why Mr Murray might want to write this book, but I cannot understand why he believes anyone might want to read it.”

I recall the very abrupt note from Penguin saying they would publish it only if I removed everything about my private life. I remember my horror when I discovered it was being given a publicity budget of nil, and most bookshops were not taking it. Despite all of which we have sold some 25,000 copies so far, entirely on word of mouth.

I realise, of course, this post might well prompt some trolls to put up some low rated reviews on Amazon. If they had actually read the book, I would not mind quite so much.

Which brings me to the horrors of self-publishing. My publisher backed down on publishing the prequel, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, because of libel threats from mercenary commander Lt. Col. Tim Spicer. So I had to publish it myself. You can buy a copy here – and I should be very grateful if you would!

So I decided to publish myself. I realised this would be hard work, but I thought that, with one successful book to my name already and numerous newspaper articles, it would be viable. I looked at print on demand, but found that, contrary to the claims, the resulting books were prohibitively expensive for the purchaser if bought other than through the POD company’s own site. So I set up Atholl Publishing, did all the hard work myself, and got the books printed. I had obtained an ISBN number, had it barcoded and had the book registered on Neilsen Booknet, the industry standard stock ordering system.

Then I had to get them on sale. I sold some 300 immediately direct through this website. But how to reach a wider audience? I got them sold through Amazon by enlisting Atholl on Amazon Advantage. Amazon pay me 35% of the cover price for each book – that is £6.30. They cost £6.50 to print. Other production costs such as indexing, photograph and lyrics copyright charges work out at around a further 80p per book on the number printed so far – and I have to pay for delivery to Amazon. So in fact I work out that I have lost £1.30 on each copy sold through Amazon.

Now for the bookshops. Waterstones are the dominant chain in the UK. Their branches have autonomous purchasing power – but can only purchase books which are centrally approved by Waterstones. To get approved, you have to register with Waterstones distributor, Gardners. I went through this process, which takes some weeks, but I was succesful.

Waterstones then sent me a list of all their 350 odd branches so I could mail them with details of the book. I did this. I was warned by a branch manager that the branches get several mailshots a day from self-publishers and that they go straight into the bin, so I needed to make it striking. So I had the letter done in colour on glossy unfolded A4, strikingly referencing Murder in Samarkand which had sold well in Waterstones, and the big name review quotes for that book from Harold Pinter, Noam Chomsky etc. And as my eye-catching coup I enclosed a dust jacket for The Catholic Orangemen of Togo.

As just the dust jackets cost £1.22 each, and the postage was large letter, this Waterstones mailshot cost some £710. In response, Waterstones 350 branches have ordered 28 copies of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo between them, at a marketing cost of £25 per copy sold. Except it is probably worse than that, because I suspect most of those copies were sold to people who had walked into a branch and ordered it, so my mailshot had nothing to do with it.

Part of the reason is those mailshots going straight into the bin with the other rubbish. But a major part is the pointless arrangement with Gardners. If the manager of Waterstones in Bolton wants to order a copy, I do not post it to Waterstones in Bolton but to Gardners in Bournemouth. Gardners unpack it, repack it, add a large markup and send it on to Waterstones in Bolton. With the Gardners markup added, Waterstones in Bolton can’t make sufficient profit on it to justify its taking up shelf space. Waterstones relationship with Gardners is a way of extracting still further margin for a completely unneccessary stage in the process, and effectively freezing out small publishers.

But at least Waerstones are better than Borders/Books Etc. I telephoned their headquarters to ask how I could get them to stock my book, and the receptionist replied very curtly that they did not accept telephone calls from new publishers. She referred me to their website. After a very long search around their site (so difficult I can’t now find the page again) I came across a page which stated again that they did not take calls from new publishers, and added for good measure that they did not see personal callers either. But it did say new publishers should write and send in a sample book. So I did that, on 15 January. I sent a reminder letter on 15 February and 15 March. I still have heard nothing, and I imagine the sample books go to the same place Waterstones put the flyers to their branches.

I decided that independent bookstores must be the answer. Bookmarks took 27 books, Foyles 15, Daunts and Bertram Watts 5 each and WordPower 2. Then we came to a halt. I contacted the Booksellers Association and bought a mailing list of 630 bookshops. I did a new flyer, offering books at 10.79 with a RRP of 17.99 – a 40% markup. We deliver free, sale or return; if they don’t sell, we collect free too. Three months free credit. I didn’t enclose dust jackets, but the mailshot was booklet style with a beautifully printed A5 glossy reproduction of the front cover. I posted the first 400 then paused. The result – not one single order. I decided to save the money and not post the last 250 odd.

I asked a friend in the bookselling trade what the problem was. He said independent bookshops are not in fact deluged with marketing for books. But it was generally well known in the trade that the word libel had been associated with this book, and that would scare off independents who would be put out of business by the costs of a libel suit. But more than this, there was a general presumption that if a book was self-published, it was rubbish. Bookshops would only carry self-published books by a local man if they thought his relatives might be good for a few sales!

I think the “self-published books are rubbish” maxim has also prevented newspapers from reviewing The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. Every national newspaper which carries reviews, reviewed Murder in Samarkand. I sent out review copies of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, but it has been ignored. The only major review has been in Rzeczpospolita, Poland’s equivalent of The Times. They liked it!,259781_Wylowione_w_sieci.html

Murder in Samarkand recalls more recent events, and is newsworthy again now that the mainstream media has finally caught on to New Labour’s complicity in torture. But The Catholic Orangemen of Togo to me is important because it demonstrates that Blair’s contempt for international law, hunger for military action, support of mercenaries and above all his neo-conservative policy of imperialist grab for mineral resources can all be traced right back to 1997; they did not spring from Iraq.

Several people who have read both books have told me that The Catholic Orangemen is better written and a more entertaining read. It lacks the dark intensity of Murder in Samarkand, but still deals with some pretty fundamental questions. For those who do not know Africa well, it explains a great deal on development issues which are normally grossly over-simplified. It is funnier and lighter.

I am really sad that I have not yet found how to sell it. I shall console myself for the moment by looking at my five stars on Amazon.

For both books.

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Sufi Muslim Council a Karimov/CIA Front

I have been asked to provide more proof that the Sufi Muslim Council is funded by the Karimov government and the CIA. Well, to some extent you have to take my word that as British Ambassador in Uzbekistan I had my informers and sources. But let me give you some strong supporting evidence.

The Head of the Sufi Muslim Council is Sheikh Kabbani. That is not entirely acknowledged, but is pretty clear from the SMC website.

Kabbani is also the head of the self-styled and CIA backed Islamic Supreme Council of America, a body which devotes much of its energy to propagandising for Karimov.

Fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, like praying five times a day, possessing a Koran at home or fasting at Ramadan, will bring you to the attention of the Uzbek security services as an “extremist”. Ironically religous worship is banned in the Mosque pictured in the website! There are some eleven thousand people in prison for Islamic religous observance outside the strictly controlled and limited state Mosques. They are subject to the most vile torture and frequently killed. Yet Kabbani has made numerous evidence submissions to bodies including the UN and OSCE, denying that there is any religious persecution in Uzbekistan.

The Karimov regime is strongly pro-Israel. The Israelis run Karimov’s personal security. Interestingly, Sheikh Kabbani belongs to a tiny Lebanese Muslim faction aligned to Israel and the Christian Falangists, and has been the envoy for Karimov’s dealings with Israel. This article in the Jewish Daily Forward is interesting.

Now this Karimov organisation is pro-actively promoted by New Labour, and pimped by Sky News, as the way forward for British Muslims.

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The Most Rancid Hypocrisy

It is four years now since I was sacked as Ambassador for opposing MI6’s use of intelligence gained from torture and passed to MI6 by the CIA under the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement.

Yet with incredible hypocrisy, four years after I exposed the whole evidence, David Miliband continues to trot out the barefaced lie that the UK does not support or condone torture.

even while referring to yet another case that proves beyond doubt that the UK receives torture intelligence from the CIA.

Meanwhile parliament continues to behave as though this is a terrible thing they knew nothing about. I am still furious that I was called to testify before both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, while the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee refused to accept my evidence.

None so blind as those who will not see. The stinking hypocrisy on this issue extends beyond New Labour.

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People Who Really Don’t Like Me

I had a rather peculiar happy thought today, caused by a somewhat aggressive phone call I received yesterday. The happy thought is that, while I am generally regarded as a pleasant and amusing fellow, there are a small but definite number of people who absolutely detest me.

How can that be a happy thought? Well, let me list them. I do not include people I surmise may dislike me, but only those I know for sure are aware of my existence and have said very nasty things about me:

Islam Karimov

Tony Blair

Jerry Rawlings

Gordon Brown

Tim Spicer

Jack Straw

Alisher Usmanov

Peter Mandelson

Gulnara Karimova

Baroness Amos

Lord Taylor of Blackburn

David Aaronovitch

That really is a collection of deeply unlovely people. If I have managed to do anything to protect anyone else from the effects of their relentlessly succesful and acquisitive lives, then I have achieved something in my life after all.

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Help Wanted

Self-Publishing is very hard work. I reflected on this as I packed and labelled eighty individually ordered copies yesterday, lugged them to Shepherds Bush Post Office (approx 50kg!) and stood in line for 55 minutes to reach the counter at what I contend is the worst managed post office branch in the world. Today I was doing the same thing but ran out of books, which is something of a relief, albeit temporary.

I next have to start phoning up books section editors and persuading publications to review the book, then send out the review copies. That is for all the national and major regional press, political publications, international relations publications and Africa publications. Just finding the phone numbers will be a major task. I expect to spend most of next week on it.

(On Tuesday I am giving evidence to an Uzbek immigration asylum appeal, and on Thursday evening am speaking at the Oxford Union against Oliver Kamm and others, on the motion that “This House Believes that George Bush Has Made The World a Safer Place”. On Saturday I have a meeting in Copenhagen I’ll tell you more about later.)

But the biggest single task I have is getting the book into bookshops. As of today, to my knowledge not a single bookshop is selling it. The book is registered on the computer indexes that bookshops use for ordering, and I rather presumed that given all the publicity and the Mail on Sunday extracts, orders from bookshops would start to come in. But so far, nothing.

Again, this looks like it is going to have to be a question of somehow getting together a phone list and bashing the telephone. This is where help would be particularly welcome. If any readers know their local bookstores, I should be most grateful if you spoke to them and could suggest they stock The Catholic Orangemen. It should be available through their normal ordering method.

Any feedback you can give on the response, positive or negative, would be most welcome.

It could be that the association of the dread word “Schillings” with the book has scared off booksellers (who can also be sued). If the question is raised by the bookseller, it is worth refuting any question of a libel threat to the book. Catholic Orangemen is all over the web, the key bits were published by the Mail on Sunday, and it is happily being distributed by me and by Amazon. Nobody has heard anything from lawyers since a warning letter to Mainstream 18 months ago. Nobody has received any threat relating to libel since publication.

Similar conversations with libraries would also be helpful.

I have incidentally started the extraordinarily long-winded procedure used by Waterstones to qualify as a publisher for the book to be accepted in their branches.

I feel rather guilty; bloggers aren’t really supposed to keep urging their readers to do things for them!

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Catholic Orangemen Update

In September 2007 Schillings got my website closed down by my hosting company. They threatened them with legal action on behalf of convicted blackmailer and racketeer Alisher Usmanov, who is still attempting to complete his takeover of Arsenal FC.

Then in 2008 Schillings succeeded in getting my book publication cancelled on behalf of notorious mercenary Tim Spicer, by threatening my publisher.

Not only have Schillings never taken me to court, they have never even communicated with me. They don’t want a fight with someone with a spine.

Well, having released The Catholic Orangemen free online 48 hours ago, in the last twelve hours, the number of hits on a google search for the exact phrase “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” has gone up from 1,810 to 2,390. There are now several hundred places you can download it

Schillings did try to excise the truth about Usmanov from the web internationally. Mostly they received a pretty robust response from bloggers. Here is a good example:

For now, the reptiles are quiet. Maybe they are too busy with their new contract to protect Derek Draper’s rubbish New Labour blog. They do represent the most appalling people. But then I don’t suppose nice people need them. In fact, I don’t suppose nice people would want to be in a room with anyone from Schillings.

It seems I was wrong in crediting Ten Percent with the first review of Catholic Orangemen. Babak Fakhamzadeh got there first. It is a full review and benefits from his knowing some of the people and places in the book.

Here is an excerpt:

I couldn’t find the book as important as Murder in Samarkand, but it’s an entertaining read, focussing on Murray’s time, mostly working as the British High Commissioner to Ghana, roughly from 1998 to 2001, which was publicly characterized by the Arms to Africa affair.

Part of the critique on Murray’s earlier book was the intertwining of spilling political beans with spilling private beans, mostly involving Murray’s sexual escapades. Possibly to poke fun at his critics, it’s his relationship issues he starts the first few paragraphs of this book with.

The book works for Murray’s candid approach both to himself and his experiences. Clearly, what he went through both in Ghana and, more importantly, Uzbekistan, and the emotional breakdown which followed, resulted in him getting to know himself to the fullest. And The Catholic Orangemen…, as a biography or memoir works because Murray is not full of himself. He’s aware of this, touching upon it in the preface, where he points out that contrary to typical biographies, Murder in Samarkand showed the author, warts and all, as opposed to presenting a near perfect image of himself, which autobiographies and memoirs often end up doing.

As far as revelations go, this book’s not nearly as impressive as its predecessor. It’s the small details which make it juicy. Descriptions of warlords, national leaders, politics behind politics and whatnot.

But also, Murray has clearly become a better writer since his previous book, using his tongue-in-cheek style with gusto.

I very much doubt that the mainstream media will come up with anything more perceptive – and if you read his full review he is right on all points about Adrienne, too.

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UK Libel Laws Busted

We have comprehensively blown wide apart the UK’s infamously repressive libel laws. Up until now, these have routinely been used not to prevent untruth, but to hide truth on behalf of the ultra-rich. In so doing they have spawned a whole universe of massively wealthy lawyers devoid of any moral values, dedicated only to the service and pursuit of money.

The leeches at Schillings appeared to have scored a routine victory on behalf of their client, notorious mercenary commander Tim Spicer, who has made a fortune from the war in Iraq. They threatened my publisher, Mainstream, with highly expensive legal action and Mainstream dropped my book.

Only ten years ago that would have been it – it would have been extraordinarily difficult to find a way to get the truth out to a wide public. Schillings, Spicer and the British legal system are still living in the 20th Century when English libel laws could effectiively give untold opportunity for repression.

But we are living now, so we put it free online, and published some copies privately. After just two days, a Google search on the precise phrase “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” brings up 1,810 hits. A great many of these lead to a free download of the book. 23,000 copies of Murder in Samarkand have been sold so far, and most of those have been read by more than one person. But readership of The Catholic Orangemen looks likely to overtake in two weeks the readership that Murder in Samarkand achieved in two years.

So well done Schillings! The greatest publicist I could have!

Now what of Tim Spicer? Having put the very expensive Schillings on to me, he has either discovered a new commitment to free speech, or he was bluffing. No injunctions have appeared at my home in Sinclair Gardens. So now Spicer has either to sue, or stand revealed to the World as a man who tried to bully the truth out of print.

He will not sue, no matter how much I goad him. Not even if I show him some of my own legal advice:

There is no doubt that Craig is telling the truth. I do not say this because

on any question of fact I would believe Craig over Spicer, though that is the

case. The simple fact is that Craig can corroborate his story whilst Spicer

can’t. Spicer has no witnesses who were present at his meeting with Craig and

who can confirm what he says. Craig has a witness in the person of another

Foreign Office official who not only participated in the meeting but who

actually took notes during the meeting and who Craig says was the one who

actually produced the text of the UN Resolution so that it could be read out to

Spicer. Following the meeting Craig informed his Foreign Office superiors

about his concerns about Spicer. A whole series of meetings and discussions

about the Sierra Leone situation then followed lasting many months over the

course of which Craig abundantly and exhaustively documented his views about

Sierra Leone and the conflict there. These are the diametric opposite of those

that Spicer says Craig expressed during the meeting between Spicer and Craig.

The Foreign Office obviously believes Craig over Spicer because, instead of

disciplining Craig, which it surely would have done if Craig had contrary to

official policy first given Spicer the green light to sell arms illegally to

Sierra Leone in breach of a UN embargo and then lied about it, it instead

appointed Craig to a senior diplomatic post in Accra where he was given the

important job of brokering a peace agreement to end the Sierra Leone conflict.

Since the comments Craig makes about Spicer are true I would have thought it

most unlikely that Spicer would risk bringing a libel action against Craig.

This is not just because in a situation where Craig can corroborate what he

says whilst Spicer can’t the odds overwhelmingly point to Craig winning. It is

because of the serious consequences for Spicer if he were to bring such a case

and lost. These would go far beyond damage to reputation and financial loss.

If a Court were to find that Craig had not libelled Spicer because Craig was

telling the truth, Spicer could find himself once again facing criminal charges

for illegal arms trading. His defence (that the the Foreign Office in the

person of Craig had given him the green light) would be shot to pieces since it

would already have been discredited in advance by the libel Court. The CPS

would be looking at an open goal and this time it might be difficult to do what

was done back in 1998 and simply close the prosecution down. Simply by

bringing the libel action Spicer would have given the whole matter further

publicity whilst by discrediting his own defence Spicer would deprive the CPS

of its main grounds for not bringing a prosecution. There would even be a risk

(not great but by no means negligible) that the trial judge might even

recommend to the DPP that a prosecution be brought against Spicer in which case

calls for such a prosecution would probably be irresistable.

As for Craig’s other comments about Spicer, it is a matter of public knowledge

that Spicer is a mercenary even if that is not the word he uses to describe

himself. Craig is very careful not to make his allegations about Spicer’s

activities as a mercenary too specific, so I personally can see no grounds for

a libel action there. It is again a matter of public record that Spicer (along

with lots of other mercenaries) has been involved in and made a great deal of

money from the war in Iraq. Craig makes a frankly gratuitous comment about

Spicer’s facial appearance, but this is scarcely grounds for a libel action


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The Catholic Orangemen – First Review

I think this is the first review of The Catholic Orangemen, from Ten Percent. If the reception is generally like this, I shall be pretty happy:

I enjoyed it immensely, found myself at page 100 before I knew what hit me, a testament to fascinating subject matter and an easy friendly style. It’s fascinating to learn more of how our embassies work (or don’t, it also works as a companion to le Carre’s recent books in providing more background detail to the machinations of power) and the reality of New Labour politicians (Amos!) and their far too close relationship with business all the while slickly marketing themselves as great states-people. His account of Africa and our role in it is useful and pragmatic although like me I’m sure there will be differences of opinion here and there. But as with Murder in Samarkand it is a forthright account of a man who we can recognise, with faults and weaknesses but a core determination to do his best, his pesky loyalty to democracy and human rights is the thing that tellingly makes him different from the establishment. Careerism, party/class loyalty, greed, tradition seem to have trumped all other considerations in many of the well known names who crop up. For example it’s interesting that the ‘ethical foreign policy’ that Robin Cook tried to implement was steadfastly opposed by Blair in No. 10 from the outset. And the passages where Craig, in Sierra Leone peace talks, realises he is the only one in the room who has never killed anybody, show the difficulty but necessity of peace negotiations.

I also extracted this from the comments:

Terrific read from start to finish. Before the end of the third paragraph I was forced to eagerly cancel any and all plans which would interfere with my finishing the book.

“It was possibly the worst thing I had ever done, and my conscience was bothering me. As my wife Fiona was nudging our overloaded Saab 9.3 around a Polish lake, through fog so dense it looked like solid mass, I felt uneasy. Mariola had been perhaps the nicest, kindest, gentlest mistress I ever had. Her red curls framed a face of pre-Raphaelite perfection, her lithe but well curved body was the incarnation of allure, and more precious still, her soul was deep, gentle and romantic. She was also discreet, reliable, faithful and inexpensive. Yet I was running away, leaving the country without even saying goodbye. Worse, without even telling her I was going. I hadn’t been able to face it. I just left. What a bastard I was. I reached up to the steering wheel and squeezed my wife’s hand for comfort.

What I was doing to Mariola was really, really bad. Even worse than sleeping with both her sisters. I wondered if they would tell her.

I had hugely enjoyed my time in Poland as First Secretary at the British Embassy.”

From there on it gets even more interesting!

Johan van Rooyen

It is genuinely nervewracking offering up something that was so much work, and is rather unconventional, and not knowing what the reaction will be.

If people could add reviews on Amazon that would be helpful. It might also be good if someone was able to update wikipedia with some of the information from the book – notably Tim Spicer’s carefully presented entry.

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Lawyers Schillings, acting on behalf of mercenary commander Tim Spicer, persuaded my publisher to pull out of publishing my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflcits I Have Known. Tim Spicer has made millions from the war in Iraq, and the UK has become notorious for the ability of the rich to close down criticism because of the massive costs – often hundreds of thousands of pounds – of defending a legal action.

There is access to the courts in big libel cases only for the ultra-rich. So much so that just a simple letter like this

can kill a book. This process is known in the trade as “Chilling”. Schillings are the acknowledged leaders in chilling.

But the law was formulated in an age when a limited number of printing presses were the only means of mass communication. Not only does this not apply in the digital age, but by using the “Streisland effect” we can make sure that any attempt at “Chilling” results in ten times more people actually reading the book. Eventually this will discourage clients from using firms like Schillings, and hopefully put the leeches of repression out of business.

So as a lesson to Schillings and their potential clients, here is The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. I am making it available across the internet, absolutely free to read. You can find it here:

(At midnight my platform is refusing to upload, saying the file is too large – how embarassing! I hope we will get our own hosted copy up in the morning, when I can get help).

Let me be clear: there is no libel in this book – it is all true and based on my own eye-witness account. It contains not libel, but rather truth some people wish to hide.

It is going online in the next 24 hours in over thirty jurisdictions – Schillings will have their work cut out trying to get all those taken down, and it would make a dent even in Spicer’s bank balance to try.

So please read it, pass it around, copy it and post it to your site. You will be striking a blow for freedom, and you will ultimately contribute to making libel lawyers poorer.

If you want a hard copy, I have self-published and had some privately printed. You can buy it here.

I should be most happy if people wished to buy the book – you can widen the effect by giving it as a present! My last book, Murder in Samarkand was a non-fiction bestseller, so Schillings have cost me a lot of money. It will be more than worth it if we can get the truth out more widely, and strike a blow against the libel laws.

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Buy: The Catholic Orangmen of Togo (DIRECT)

I have been obliged to self-publish my new book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, because legal threats from mercenary commander Tim Spicer scared off my publisher: I

I have accordingly decided to make it available free online from 12 January as a PDF hosted on over a hundred different websites, in almost thirty different juridictions. I have, however, had physical books printed for those who wish (and purchased carbon offset). I hope to get copies into bookstores shortly, though this is difficult. It is available from for just £11.87

You can however purchase it here, direct from me, for the cover price of £17.99. This includes postage and packing to anywhere in the World, plus a signature and message if you wish.

I should fess up that I stand to make 80p profit on every copy sold though Amazon, but about £3.60 on every copy sold direct here. So, in addition, for every copy sold direct I will make a donation of £1 to either People and Planet, Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. You can choose the nature of your donation below when you make your purchase via PayPal, and your donation choice will be confirmed by email.

If you want a signed copy, please note this in the “Special Instructions to Merchant” box when you enter the delivery address, together with any dedication you want with the signature.


The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known

Donation options

The book is an autobiographical prequel to Murder in Samarkand and covers the period 1998 to 2002. It exposes the links between blood diamonds, crime and British mercenary involvement in Africa. it argues that the disregard Tony Blair showed for both British and international law in dealing with Sierra Leone prefigured the disaster of Iraq. It also covers my role in the dawn of democracy in Ghana.

More importantly, it is intended in an entertaining way to present questions of African development, drawing on thirty year’s practical experience. I am deeply critical of current fashionable doctrines in the field of overseas aid. I hope it will inform and entertain as Murder in Samarkand did, but on a different set of issues. Here is the blurb from the book:

Craig Murray’s adventures in Africa from 1997 to 2001 are a rolliciking good read. He exposes for the first time the full truth about the “Arms to Africa” affair which was the first major scandal of the Blair Years. He lays bare the sordid facts about British mercenary involvement in Africa and its motives. This is at heart an extraordinary account of Craig Murray’s work in negotiating peace with the murderous rebels of Sierra Leone, and in acting as the midwife of Ghanaian democracy. Clearly his efforts were not only difficult but at times very dangerous indeed. Yet the story is told with great humour. Not only do we meet Charles Taylor, Olusegun Obasanjo, Jerry Rawlings and Foday Sankoh, but there are unexpected encounters with others including Roger Moore, Jamie Theakston and Bobby Charlton! Above all this book is about Africa. Craig Murray eschews the banal remedies of the left and right to share with us the deep knowledge and understanding that comes over 30 years working in or with Africa. Gems of wisdom and observation scatter the book, as does a deep sense of moral outrage at the consequences of centuries of European involvement: even though he explains that much of it was well-intentioned but disastrous.

If you wish to pay by cheque or postal order, please write with your details to Craig Murray, 31 Sinclair Gardens, West Kensington, London, W14 0AU. Cheques for £17.99 should be made payable to Craig Murray.

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Publicising the New Book

As legal sharks Schillings caused my publisher to back down, causing me to have to self-publish The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known, we have needed to think imaginatively about promoting the book. One plan will involve promoting some individual short quotes. I have been through the book and extracted some personal favourites, which I need to whittle down to about ten.

Any of these strike anyone as particularly attractive or a turn off?

Autobiography is a form in which individuals observe sharply the failings of others, but are themselves near-perfect.

It is not always the man society finds most respectable who is likely to try to do what is right.

Thousands of senior British diplomats, civil servants and members of the military knew of our policy of acceptance of torture.

You don’t have to be a saint to call torture when you see it.

Diplomats rather pride themselves on not caring.

Blair believed that he alone was the judge of right, and did not care how many had to die to prove it.

Blair’s policy of “Projection of hard power” was simply the return of formal Imperialism.

In conflict with Cook over ethical foreign policy, Blair would always overrule his Foreign Secretary, especially if the interest of the UK arms industry could be invoked.

The great fallacy of the Blair years was that foreign conflicts could be seen in black and white, as goodies versus baddies.

George Washington was fighting for the right to keep black people in chains.

Executive Outcomes ?” as enthusiastic a band of white killers as has been unleashed on Africa since King Leopold ran the Congo.

UN official, I regret to tell you, too often means corrupt and untrustworthy.

Having met Spicer, I was worried about his intentions and didn’t trust him.

A fundamental part of this new Blair doctrine was to be the ultimate privatisation ?” the privatisation of killing.

The Sandline Affair was a deeply squalid plot to corner the market in Sierra Leone’s blood diamonds.

It was the old story ?” trained white men go in, shoot up a load of Africans and gain control of key economic resources.

Sandhurst has been responsible for educating those who generated untold repression and economic ruination in Africa.

President Abacha died in bed with three hookers, from an overdose of Viagra. I quipped that it would take days to nail down the coffin lid.

The Customs and Excise team told me that the recommendation was that both Spicer and Penfold be prosecuted for breach of the embargo.

The dossier was returned to Customs and Excise from the Crown Prosecution Service the very same day it was sent. It was marked, in effect, for no further action.

The decision not to prosecute in the Sandline case was the first major instance of the corruption of the legal process that was to be the hallmark of the Blair years.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Iraq, including thousands of British and American soldiers, but some people have made huge amounts of money from the war.

Tim Spicer has made a fortune out of the Iraq War.

Tim Spicer has long been an advocate of shooting civilians in case they have bombs.

Butchering your live victims’ limbs with a machete is only more horrific in its immediacy than planting a car bomb or bombing an Iraqi town from the air in your invulnerable jet.

I realised that I was almost certainly the only person in that room who had never killed anybody.

Isaac was the product of the sores of Africa: he was a hardened killer, but he was also the little boy forced to kill his own mother.

Having led the way in African nationalism, Nkrumah was pioneering the forms of economic mismanagement that were to destroy the economies of the continent and bring starvation and immeasurable suffering to millions.

Those who did benefit, massively, were the dictators, their cronies, and the bonus-quaffing Porsche-driving bastards of the City of London.

Africans have destroyed their own regional trade, for the protection of corrupt private interests.

These first years of Rawlings in power unleashed political terror on Ghana which outstripped anything done by British colonial rule or by Nkrumah.

“That’s about the right number,” opined the Prince, “We have about six hundred and fifty MPs, and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time.”

There are some things that are too weird even for me, and the lower reaches of the Royal household are one of them.

Personally, I never understand why people accept honours, when there is so much more cachet in turning them down.

The United States, in what seemed to me an absurd example of political correctness, sent a delegation of blind election observers.

I was myself to encounter more electoral fraud in Blackburn than I ever did in Ghana.

In West Africa, among people who wear silk suits and are driven in Mercedes, the standards of truthfulness sadly leave in general a great deal to be desired.

Valerie Amos is the very antithesis of a democratic politician. One of the Blair inner circle, she rose to Cabinet level without ever having faced the electorate.

At launch over one third of Travant’s first equity fund came form DFID. A few months afterwards Baroness Amos, ex DFID minister, joined the board of this profit-making private equity firm.

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