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Zionism Is Bullshit 271

In 2009 I spoke to a demonstration of 300,000 in London against another Israeli massacre in Gaza, which coincidentally killed just over 1400 people, the same number claimed killed during the recent Hamas attacks. Strangely Western politicians did not shout out about Palestine’s right to self-defence. A lesson for those who think history began on 7 October 2023.

I am rather proud of this speech. Sadly, every word applicable today.

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Cold Blooded Killers and their Cheerleaders 385

The Guardian’s main headline today is the Israeli propaganda framing of last night’s huge massacre.

The Zionist grip on the political and media class is stark. Ordinary citizens are left with feelings ranging from rage to deep sorrow, but with a feeling of helplessness at having no power and no genuine voice in the country where they live. The bought-and-paid-for politicians intone “Israel’s right to self-defence” as justifying the slaughter of any number of Palestinian children.

They pretend they do not see the obvious genocide which is happening before their eyes. The Guardian’s framing of the death of hundreds, probably thousands, of young children last night, as destruction of Hamas tunnels, ought to be astonishing. Sadly it is entirely unsurprising.

Here is a reminder of how it works. Joan Ryan MP secretly filmed talking to Shai Masot of the Israeli Embassy in London.

Last night, well after the latest extreme massacre phase had started, the BBC 10 o’clock evening news presented a single volley of Hamas no-warhead popgun missiles – which as usual killed nobody – as equivalent to the massive Israeli high explosive bombardment. They then featured a lengthy interview with a “heroic” clean-cut Israeli soldier who fought a Hamas attack on a military base on 7 October despite being wounded, and who explained that the attacks on Gaza are justified as they will free Israel from terrorism.

All this while the massive massacre was in progress in Gaza. The strange thing is, the BBC and the Guardian, and nearly the entire rest of the MSM, pump out their propaganda as though we have no other access to information or understanding of what is happening.

More than that, there seems to be a presumption that the general population harbour the same Zionist assumptions which the journalists are paid to promote. Well, we don’t. It feels like something has snapped, not only in Palestine but in the UK and much of Europe, where the process of alienation between the governed and the ruling classes has been accelerated.

Democracy has been failing in the West for a while – to take the UK as an example, the idea that a “choice” between Sunak and Starmer offers any kind of democratic alternative is risible. There are key moments in societal breakdown, and this is one.

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Fighting the British Police State – Somebody Has To 99

I didn’t really volunteer to fight the British police state, it came after me. But here we are, and here I am, in Switzerland, seeking the protection of the United Nations. I still don’t actually know whether the terrorism investigation into me is focused on Palestine or on Wikileaks. It seems to be both and anything else they can get. My legal team is now active in Scotland seeking some kind of clarification and explanation, which will probably require a judicial review.

My experience of British airports being discouraging recently, I went by public transport from Edinburgh to Belfast. Arriving very late in Belfast due to the storm, I missed the last train to Dublin. Not wanting to stay in Belfast, I flagged down a taxi in the street and asked the driver to take me to Dublin. He did not wish to, so late at night. Then we realised we had worked in the same bar in Aviemore 45 years ago! I have always believed life is governed by forces we do not know.

We have sent a formal complaint to the UN about this bogus terrorism persecution, to add to the complaint about my imprisonment which is already under review.

Two quick points to add.

This is the third time since my imprisonment on an outrageous contempt of court finding, that I have been harassed and interviewed by the police. The first was over the leaking of Peter Murrell’s WhatsApp message to Sue Ruddick instructing her to put pressure on the police to act against Alex Salmond. The second was over Stewart MacDonald’s leaked emails. In neither of these incidents was I charged with any crime, nor could the police even tell me what offence they were investigating. And now this “terrorism” utter nonsense.

The second point is that the abuse of special anti-terrorism powers at ports in order to seize all papers and communications of journalists is becoming commonplace. Three other journalists I know personally – Vanessa Beeley, Kit Klarenberg and Johanna Ross – have suffered this. There are many other examples, most notably David Miranda. This really is police state stuff, yet there is an extraordinary lack of outrage from human rights organisations and the mainstream media.

So I now have this new fight. Or I should say we now have this new fight, because the fight can only happen at all with financial support from the amazing readers of this blog. You have seen me through so much, and I am very grateful.

But I honestly do believe that the fight is not for me, it is for freedom from an ever encroaching police state and from a political class trying to enforce a monopoly of information to the public.




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Incredibly, I Face Investigation for Terrorism – Defence Funds Appeal 355

My phone is not being returned to me by police as, astonishingly, I am now formally under investigation for terrorism. Whether this relates to support for Palestine or for Wikileaks has currently not been made clear.

What follows is, unspun and unvarnished, my account of my interview under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act as given to my lawyers:

I arrived from Keflavik airport, Iceland to Glasgow airport at about 10am on Monday 16 October. After passport control I was stopped by three police officers, two male and one female, who asked me to accompany them to a detention room.

They seated me in the room and told me:

I was detained under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act

I was not arrested but detained, and therefore had no right to a lawyer.

I had no right to remain silent. I had to give full and accurate information in response to questions. It was a criminal offence to withhold any relevant information.

I had to give up any passwords to my devices. It was a criminal offence not to do this.

They searched my baggage and my coat, going through my documents and taking my phone and laptop. They did not look at one document from Julian Assange’s lawyers that I told them was privileged.

They asked me about boarding cards for Brussels and Dublin they found and what I had been doing there. I replied I was at a debate at Trinity College in Dublin, while in Brussels I had attended a human rights meeting focused on the case of Julian Assange.

They asked me to identify the individuals from some visiting cards I had from the Brussels meeting (one was a German MP).

They asked me the purpose of my visit to Iceland. I told them that I was attending a coordinating meeting of the campaign to free Julian Assange. I said I had also attended a pro-Palestinian rally outside the Icelandic parliament, but that had not been a prior intention.

They asked how I earnt my living. I said from two sources: voluntary subscriptions to my blog, and my civil service pension.

They asked what organisations I am a member of. I said the Alba party. I said I worked with Wikileaks and the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign, but was not formally a “member” of either. I was a life member of the FDA union. No other organisations.

They asked if I received any money from Wikileaks, from Don’t Extradite Assange or from the Assange family (separate questions). I replied no, except occasional travel expenses from Don’t Extradite Assange. In December I had done a tour of Germany and received a fee from the Wau Holland Foundation, a German free speech charity.

They asked what other campaigns I had been involved in. I said many, from the Anti-Nazi League and Anti-Apartheid movement on. I had campaigned for Guantanamo inmates alongside Caged Prisoners.

They asked why I had attended the pro-Palestine demo in Iceland. I said one of the speakers had invited me, Ögmundur Jónasson. He was a former Icelandic Interior Minister. I said I did not know what the speeches said as they were all in Icelandic.

They asked whether I intended to attend any pro-Palestinian rallies in the UK. I said I had no plans but probably would.

They asked how I judged whether to speak alongside others on the same platform. I replied I depended on organisers I trusted, like the Palestine Solidarity Committee or Stop the War. It was impossible to know who everyone was at a big rally.

They asked if anyone else posted to my twitter or blog. I replied no, it was all me.

They asked how considered my tweets were. I replied that those which were links to my blog posts were my considered writing. Others were more ephemeral, and like everyone else I sometimes made mistakes and sometimes apologised. They asked if I deleted tweets and I said very seldom.

I volunteered that I thought I understood the tweet that worried them and agreed it could have been more nuanced. This was the limitation of twitter. It was intended to refer only to the current situation within Gaza and the Palestinian people’s right of self-defence from genocide.

That was more or less it. The interview was kept to exactly an hour and at one point one said to another “18 minutes left”. They did not tell me why. At one point they did mention protected journalistic material on my laptop but I was too dazed to take advantage of this and specify anything.

They took my bank account details and copies of all my bank cards.

ENDS

This is an enormous abuse of human rights. The abuse of process in refusing both a lawyer and the right to remain silent, the inquiry into perfectly legal campaigning which is in no way terrorism-associated, the political questioning, the financial snooping and the seizure of material related to my private life, were all based on an utterly fake claim that I am associated with terrorism.

I have to date not been arrested and not charged. Contempt of court is therefore not in play and you are free to comment on the case (although in the current atmosphere any kind of free thought is liable to vicious state action). I am safe and currently in Dublin. I intend next to travel to Switzerland to take this up with the United Nations.

My legal team have already made a submission against this outrage to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and are looking at the possibility of judicial review in the UK. We also have to prepare the defence against possible terrorism charges, ludicrous as that sounds.

I am afraid this all costs money. I am grateful for the unfailing generosity of people in what seems a continual history of persecution.




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Genocide Unfolding 243

Tonight has been the most violent bombardment of Gaza so far, notably concentrated on precisely the areas into which Israel ordered the population to evacuate. I find it almost impossible to believe that this genocide is under way with the active support of almost all western governments.

 

I want to look at two questions – what will happen internationally, and what is happening in western societies.

Israel plainly is on the course of further escalation and intends to kill many thousands more Palestinians. More than 2,000 Palestinian children alone have now been killed by Israeli aerial attack in the last fortnight.

Gaza has no defence from bombs and missiles, and there is no military reason why Israel cannot keep this up for months and simply rely upon aerial massacre. We are perhaps within a week of thirst, starvation and disease killing even more people per day than bombardment.

The population of Gaza are simply defenceless. Only international intervention can stop Israel from doing whatever it wishes, and those countries which have influence with Israel are actively abetting and encouraging the genocide.

The question is, what is Israel’s aim? Do they intend to reduce the Gaza Strip still further, annexing half or more of it? Will starvation and horror enable the international community to force Egypt to accept the expulsion of the population of Gaza into the Sinai Desert as a “humanitarian” move?

That appears to be the end game: expulsion of population and territorial expansion into Gaza. That would require a ground invasion, but probably not until after even more intense aerial bombardment to eliminate all resistance. This territorial ambition of course accords with the violent expansion of illegal settlement in the West Bank which is currently under way, with the world paying almost no attention.  It is very hard indeed to comprehend the passivity of Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas at the moment.

Netanyahu’s political stock within Israel is so low, that the only way he can recover is by making a major step towards the complete genocide of the Palestinian people and the achievement of Greater Israel.  Netanyahu now knows that there is no violence against Palestinians so extreme that the western political elite will not support it under the mantra of “Israel’s right to self-defence”.

I do not see any salvation for Gaza coming from Hezbollah. If Hezbollah were to employ their vaunted missile strike capabilities, the moment to do it would be now when the Israeli armour is drawn up in massive parks outside Gaza, a perfect target even for longer range missiles of limited accuracy. Once dispersed into Gaza the armour would be far harder for Hezbollah to hit at range.

Hezbollah is even better equipped now to fight a defensive war in Lebanon than it was when it defeated the Israeli advance in 2006. But it is not configured or equipped to fight an aggressive ground war into Israel, which would be a disaster. It also has to worry about hostile militias in its rear. If Hezbollah can provoke an Israeli incursion into Southern Lebanon, that would enable it to inflict substantial casualties, but Israel is not going to do that in a way that detracts from its capabilities in Gaza.

Iran has greatly improved its diplomatic position in the last year. The Chinese-brokered lessening of hostility with Saudi Arabia has potential to revolutionise Middle Eastern politics, and the benefits of this will not lightly be laid aside by Tehran. Iran had also made real progress with the Biden administration in overcoming the blind hostility of the Trump years.

Iran has no desire to throw away these gains.  That is why it seems to me extremely improbable that Iran had endorsed the 7 October attacks by Hamas. Iran is now restraining Hezbollah. But there are limits to the patience of Iran. The extraordinary truth is that Iran is probably the only state under discussion here with a genuine humanitarian concern for the lives of Palestinians. If the genocide unfolds as horribly as I anticipate, Iran can be pushed too far.

That said, I offer just a cautionary footnote that Saudi Arabia is not, under MBS, quite the reliable US/Israeli puppet it has historically been. I do not have much time for MBS, as you know, but his high opinion of the importance of the Al Saud and their leadership role among arabs, makes him a different proposition to his predecessor.

Saudi Arabia has leverage. The Biden administration has gone all in on regional domination, sending two aircraft carrier groups into a situation which should it escalate, could send oil prices to highest-ever levels, with Russia blocked from the market. Biden is risking a huge gas price hike in an election year.

Biden’s calculation, or that of his security services, is that nobody can or will intervene to save the Palestinians. They judge the genocide as containable. That is an extraordinary gamble.

There has been an extraordinary amount of vitriol aimed at Qatar by pro-Israel commentators, for hosting the Hamas office and leadership. This is extraordinarily ignorant.

Qatar hosts Hamas, just as Qatar hosted the Taliban Information Office, at the direct request of the United States. It provides a means of dialogue between the United States and Hamas (exactly as it did with the Taliban) both at deniable level, and through third parties, including of course the government of Qatar. Thus when Blinken arrived in Qatar one day and the Iranian foreign minister the next, these were in fact “proximity talks” involving Hamas.

How do I know? Well, at Julian’s request, I visited Qatar about five years ago to discuss whether Julian, and Wikileaks, might potentially relocate to Qatar, which Julian had described as “the new Switzerland” in terms of being a neutral diplomatic venue.

It was explained to me by the Qataris, at a very senior level, that Qatar hosted the Taliban Information Office and Hamas because the United States government had asked them to do so. Qatar hosted a major US military base and depended on US support against a Saudi takeover. If I could generate a request from then President Trump for Qatar to host Wikileaks, then they would do so. Otherwise, no.

So I know what I am talking about.

One tiny but good result of this brokering in Qatar was the release of two American national hostages. British diplomats have told me that discussions in Qatar have so far held back the Israeli ground offensive, but I am not convinced that Israel really wished to do this yet. They are having sadistic fun shooting children in a barrel.

Qatar has also been the origin of deals allowing in a tiny amount of aid to Gaza, but this is so small as to be almost irrelevant. It is performative humanitarianism by the West.

I have frequently praised China for the fact that their economic dominance has been unaccompanied by any aggressive desire for world hegemony, but this also has its downside. China sees no benefit in assisting the Palestinians in practice. Hopeful reports of China sending warships refer simply to pre-planned exercises, largely in the Gulf. That China is carrying out such joint exercises with Gulf states is indeed part of a long term increasing of influence, but is not relevant to the immediate reality.

Russia of course has its hands full in Ukraine. It is allowing its Syrian bases to be used as a conduit following increased Israeli bombing of Syrian airports, but there is not a great deal more that it can do. Erdoğan is genuinely furious at what is happening in Gaza, but Turkey is struggling to find any way to apply pressure, barring linkage to Ukraine shipping issues (which Erdoğan is considering).

That is a very rough and ready tour d’horizon, but the net effect is that I see no current hope for averting the atrocity which is unfolding before our horrified eyes.

Most of our eyes are indeed horrified. The gap between the western political and media elites and their people on this issue is simply enormous. Western leaders have not only failed to restrain Israel, they have almost unanimously egged Netanyahu on, with the continued repetition of the phrase “Israel’s right to self-defence” as justification for the mass bombing, removal and starvation of an entire civilian population.

The western leadership glee in vetoing every attempt at a ceasefire resolution at the UN is astonishing.

Massive demonstrations have been taking place across Europe against this unspeakable massacre, and the knee-jerk reaction of politicians at their isolation from public opinion has been to try to make such shows of dissent illegal. In the UK people have been arrested for displaying Palestinian flags. In Germany pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been entirely banned. Something similar has been attempted in France, with predictable failure.

I have myself attended pro-Palestinian demonstrations in three different countries, and the most striking thing on each occasion was the strong support of passers-by, and the number of people spontaneously coming out to join the demo as it passed.

A wave of racism has been unleashed in the UK and elsewhere. I am astonished by the Islamophobia and racial hatred released online, with no apparent comeback. UK Ministers claim to be alarmed at the “terrorist sympathies” of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, yet it is perfectly legal to call for Palestinians to be exterminated, to compare them to different types of animal and vermin, and suggest they should be driven into the sea. That does not horrify ministers at all.

I am personally now subject to a police investigation for “terrorism” merely for suggesting that the Palestinians too have a right to self-defence and may offer armed resistance to genocide – a right they enjoy beyond doubt in international law. Remember, Israel has formally declared war. Is it the position in British law that the only belief it is legal to hold and express, is that in this war the Palestinians must simply line up quietly to be killed?

The step change in western authoritarianism is likely to be met by blowback.

After 20 years, we had finally come through the vicious cycle of the “War on Terror”, where terrorism, repression and institutionalised Islamophobia all boosted each other across the western world. Outrage at the appalling genocide in Gaza is very likely to result in isolated incidences of, also appalling, Islamist-inspired violence in Western countries, including the UK, particularly because of the UK’s military support of Israel.

That consequential terrorism in itself will be cited by the political elite as justifying their stance. And so the vicious cycle will restart. This will of course be welcome to the agents of the security state, whose power, budgets and prestige will be boosted. Once again we have to be on the lookout for radicalisation and real terrorism, but also for agent-provocateur-led terrorism and for false flag terrorism.

If we descend back into that nightmare again, the direct cause will be elite support for the genocide of the Palestinian people and the Islamophobic narrative. The major cause of terrorism here is Israel, the terrorist apartheid state.

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Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Fascism in the West to Enable Genocide in Palestine 1249

The UK and the US are both sending military assistance to Israel to commit a calculated and deliberate act of genocide, which is already underway.

Over 500 children have been killed in Gaza in the last week and over 2,000 maimed, many with life changing injuries. Nobody can claim they do not know what is already happening or what is about to unfold. The cutting off of food and water to Gaza is a major international crime, which the western proponents of the “rules based order” universally refuse to condemn.

In both the UK and the US there can be no more stark illustration of the lack of any kind of meaningful democracy, than the fact that there is no major political party that opposes the genocide – despite massive public opposition.

The bought and paid for media and political class in the west are extremely nervous, throughout the western world. Now they have come to the final genocide for which zionism has always aimed, they face a good deal of popular resistance.

Throughout Europe there is a massive gap between the zionist unanimity of the politicians and the much greater understanding of the Palestinian situation among the general public. Tellingly the response by the zionist political class has been a wave of outright fascist suppression.

In France, Macron has made all pro-Palestinian demonstrations illegal, but as so often the French people are not standing for that kind of authoritarianism.

In the UK, the police have adopted the cowardly tactic of arresting a couple of individuals, one in Brighton and one in Manchester, for pro-Palestinian demonstration. Under Tony Blair’s notorious draconian “anti-terror” legislation, they could face up to 14 years in prison.

The young man in Manchester was arrested on the precise site of the famous “Peterloo massacre”, which generations of British people were taught at school was a terrible crime in breach of the rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Let the irony of that set in.

You can go out in the streets of the UK with an Israeli flag and yell that you want every Palestinian to be cleansed from Gaza. That is not illegal. If you say the Palestinians have a right to resist their genocide, that is illegal.

That appears to be a genuine analysis of the law in the UK, France and many other western countries.

That is intended to terrify all of us. It will not work.

The European Commission has been ferociously zionist and gung-ho for this Palestinian genocide. It displayed the Israeli flag on its Berlaymont headquarters. It has taken a side in the most ferocious way.

It is therefore deeply sinister that the European Commission is actively working to shut down pro-Palestinian information and comment on social media. The European Commission has written to all major social media organisations and is able to threaten them with massive fines if they do not remove information of which the European Union disapproves.

The notion is plainly nonsense that through the fog of war the European Commission – which is 100% parti pris – is qualified to say what information is true and what information is false, and what comment is legitimate.

Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner in charge of this operation, is a former chief executive of electronic companies – and defence contractors – Atos and Thomson. He has no genuine interest in freedom of speech, and is engaged in a process of silencing dissent for military aims, which is quite simply fascist.

We are witnessing almost all western governments deliberately facilitating massacre, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We are witnessing almost all western governments turning on their own people to crush dissent at that complicity in genocide.

This feels not so much like the week that western democracy died, as the week it was impossible any longer to deny that western democracy died some time ago.

————————————————

Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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Now We Have Your Attention 739

There have been decades of photos of dead Palestinian women and children, and kids being beaten, humilated and imprisoned by Israeli soldiers. The historic killing rate in this “conflict” has been fairly consistent at about 40:1.

None of this ever caused more than a raised eyebrow and a mild tut-tut from the western “liberal” Establishment. I can’t recall camera crews ever pursuing any zionist politicians down the street demanding that they use the word “condemn” of the latest Israeli atrocity.

The paroxysm of hatred in the political and media class, unleashed by a single day of the boot being on the other foot is instructive. It is particularly instructive in their near complete unanimity – what percentage of the discussion on broadcast TV or radio have you heard this last 48 hours given over to Palestinian or pro-Palestinian voices?

Yet it is very plain from social media that the public is by no means as unanimous in their support of Israel as are the political and media class.

But then the public are not bought and paid for.

Asymmetric warfare tends to be vile. Oppressed and colonised peoples don’t have the luxury of lining up soldiers in neatly pressed uniforms and polished boots, to face off against the opposing army in an equality of arms.

A colonised and oppressed people tends, given the chance, to mirror the atrocities perpetrated on them by their oppressor.

This of course feeds in, always, to the propaganda of the Imperialist. A paroxysm of resistance by the oppressed always ends up portrayed by the Imperialist as evidence of the bestiality of the colonised people and in itself justifying the “civilising mission” of the coloniser.

Thus the “Indian Mutiny” became a Victorian tale of rape and murder of British women and of the Black Hole of Calcutta. Thus the Mau Mau were evil butchers, and the IRA were terrorists, which is the modern term of art for those resisting evil and foreign rule.

The Israeli Ambassador to the UN yesterday described the Hamas fighters as “animal like”. This of course is not true. They are people, but people who have been crazed by unbearable levels of injustice and oppression.

I am extremely sorry for all those who die, as in all wars. I am sorry even for the deaths of individual Israeli soldiers, and more so for all the innocents who died and are now dying.

But I will not condemn Hamas.

For this I do not even need to delve into the backstory of Hamas’ initial sponsoring by Israel to split Fatah. They have grown well past that. I do not condemn Hamas because the resistance of the Palestinian people is a reflex response to their slow genocide.

Yes it is an inchoate and violent response. Of course I wish it did not have innocent victims.

The people I do condemn are the political class internationally who, with one voice, put out statements supporting “Israel’s right to self-defence”. A right they grant to the oppressor but deny to the oppressed.

Those are the people who need to be condemned.

————————————————

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Death Wish 2023 261

There can be few safer indicators of the views of the globalist “liberal” Establishment than reports of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, which prefers to be known as Chatham House.

Chatham House’s principal funding comes from the UK, US, Canadian, German, Swiss, Japanese, Swedish and Norwegian governments, the World Bank and the EU, and from corporate “philanthropists” including IKEA, Bill Gates, George Soros, Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation, BP, Chevron, Shell, and ExxonMobil. I could go on.

In other words, Chatham House is absolutely rolling in the dosh controlled by states and the super wealthy. It is headquartered in the palatial residence of the imperial expansionist Prime Minister William Pitt, and has expanded out over time into two great adjoining mansions.

(In 2022 it also, despite all the petroleum bungs, received its largest grant from the MAVA Foundation, a Swiss environmental charity, which was that year closing down and disbursing all its funds).

So Chatham House is a pretty infallible guide as to what those who control western “democracies” are thinking. And when it comes to Ukraine, what they are thinking is terrifying.

Chatham House has released a report which “makes the case for dramatically increased Western military assistance to Ukraine, and argues against concessions to Russia”.

The report is organised as a list of nine “fallacies” which the authors are concerned that Russian propagandists have successfully insinuated into Western thinking, and sets out to refute each of them.

This is rather a high risk approach as, taken together, the nine “fallacies” on the face of it make a cogent and convincing argument against the escalation of the war.

But, convinced of the protection of their amulets of invincible self-righteousness, the authors plunge right in to their refutations.

I do not intend to go through them all. I merely seek to illustrate the intellectual paucity of this lavishly funded enterprise.

The task of debunking the first “fallacy”, that all wars end in negotiation, is given to James Sherr OBE, an American careerist Russophobe who is currently Head of Vilification at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (I definitely got the Institute right but I may have mistranslated his title a bit).

Estonia has of course much in common with Ukraine. It gained its national freedom on the collapse of the Soviet Union and it has subsequently put state resources into honouring Nazi Holocaust participants.

Two of the three Estonian Waffen SS officers in this photo have had official plaques to them unveiled in modern Estonia, reported with approval and no sense of controversy in the state media.

I thought I might mention this in case anyone thinks it unfair that Ukrainian Nazis were spotlighted by another Waffen SS member being given a standing ovation by the Canadian parliament. It is only fair to point out that a lot of Ukraine’s closest supporters are riddled with Nazi sympathy also.

Anyway, what does Estonian state employee and US citizen Dr James Sherr, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, former Fellow of the UK Defence Academy, have to tell us about the “fallacy” that all wars end in negotiation?

The first problem is that they don’t. It is true that the majority of wars do not end in absolute victory. Ceasefire, armistice and stalemate terminate most conflicts, even if the ‘peace’ is infirm or short-lived. But where the stakes are absolute, as they were in the Napoleonic wars, the US Civil War and the Second World War, armed conflict usually ends in the victory of one side and the defeat of the other. Negotiation, compromise and reconciliation are undertaken with new regimes only after old regimes are defeated and removed. The Franco-German reconciliation invoked by Emmanuel Macron would have been inconceivable had the Nazis remained in power.

Sherr goes on to argue that the stakes in this war are absolute. It is an existential war for Ukraine because Russia seeks to destroy it entirely, and it is an existential war for Russia because, he argues, Putin believes that Kiev is the cradle of the Russian soul.

Having defined it as an existential war, he says that it follows that it must be escalated up to total war and total victory.

It is very plainly an argument to escalate the war to achieve regime change in Russia:

Negotiation, compromise and reconciliation are undertaken with new regimes only after old regimes are defeated and removed.

Sherr is perfectly happy to contemplate millions of deaths. Look at his comparisons; the Napoleonic Wars entailed 3 million combat deaths, the US civil war about 700,000 combat deaths and the Second World War about 15 million. In each case you can probably more than double that for total civilian deaths caused by those wars.

Let me be absolutely plain: Sherr is saying this is the kind of total war he wants against Russia, rather than a more limited one.

Strangely enough Sherr does not reference those more recent great western wars for regime change, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, which also resulted in the deaths of millions. Possibly even he realises the end results have not been entirely desirable.

But is this war really existential for either Ukraine or Russia? The truth is that ever since Ukraine became independent in 1991 it has been unstable, deeply divided over whether to look west to the EU or look east to Russia. The political and linguistic division broadly at the Dnieper runs deep into history.

Truce of Andrusovo 1667.PNG

Modern Ukraine is a failed state that collapsed into civil war in 2014 after twenty years of political tension between openly pro-Western and pro-Russian political forces which were remarkably evenly balanced.

Up to and including 2014, both the Western powers and Russia engaged in all forms of political interference, espionage and chicanery to try to win Ukraine. Back in 1996 when I was First Secretary in the British Embassy in Warsaw, I helped author a paper for the Cabinet Office which said that Poland was now secured to the West, but the hinge of history would be the Ukraine. I discussed it with George Soros in person (he bought me a pizza).

I cannot share the outrage of many on the left at the “colour revolution” of 2014. Both Russia and the West had been playing a dirty game. Yanukovych was more or less kidnapped by Moscow to disavow the EU Association agreement. The ensuing 2014 coup was just the US being more adept at winning the dirty game, of which I as a former player well know the rules, or lack of them.

The subsequent annexation of Crimea and reinforcement of the Donbass was the Russian counter-move. That ended the hope that a united Ukraine would ever be pro-Russian. The civil war rumbled on ever since until the larger Russian invasion. The extreme discriminatory measures against the Russian speaking population post-2014 ended the hope that a united Ukraine would ever be possible.

Chatham House itself illustrates that Ukraine was nothing but this East/West conflict playground. In 2023 the “Chatham House Prize” for international relations was awarded to Ukrainian President Zelensky. In 2005 the inaugural “Chatham House Prize” had been awarded to President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, openly for turning Ukraine from a pro-Russian to a pro-EU foreign policy.

A country where it is a prize-winning achievement to win a narrow majority for pro-western policies, against the wishes of the other half of the country which wants a pro-Russian foreign policy, is not a viable long term political entity.

At no stage in this post-Soviet story did Ukraine ever become a viable state. It was a poor, undeveloped and undeveloping, east-west power game venue.  Both sides were rigging elections and the oligarchs and their pet politicians oversaw massive corruption, on a mind boggling scale.

Which corruption has no way lessened, and has battened on vast flows of “assistance” from the west.

There has never been a Ukraine under the rule of law and proper democratic government, to which to now return. What does Sherr think will be the attitude of the Russian speaking half of the Ukrainian population if his massive, blood-drenched, total war does bring about the total defeat of Russia?

Ukraine has now banned Russian as an official language, banned all Russian speaking newspapers, banned the pro-Russian political parties, banned teaching in Russian in schools, banned Russian books in libraries and banned the Russian Orthodox Church. Yet Russian is the first language of about 40% of the population.

Is the plan that the total war will result in such genocide that Russian speakers in Ukraine will be no more? Will they all be ethnically cleansed? Or after so much death and destruction, will they just quietly live as second class citizens, and abandon resistance? Is that the plan?

In truth, the best opportunity for a functioning and more efficient Ukrainian state is, now we are in this hot war, for it to lose the Russia-leaning areas and become a more homogeneous and unified entity, with a much greater chance of being at peace with itself and of sorting out its colossal governance problems.

A smaller, better, Ukraine that quickly finds its way into the EU would benefit the great majority of pro-Ukrainians and provide a more stable future for Eastern Europe. In time, it would come to be seen as a blessing.

A negotiated land-for-peace deal, with genuinely free referenda conducted under UN supervision to determine borders, has always been possible and is now essential.

That is what diplomacy is. Yes, mankind can conduct its affairs through total war, inflicting death, maiming, rape, hunger, disease and long term poverty on a massive scale. Or compromise can be reached. That there are those who argue for the former over Eastern Ukraine is sickening to me.

The other problem with a total war is of course that it might be your side which loses. If Sherr wants total war and no negotiation, he is of course accepting the possibility that Russia will conquer all of Ukraine – and would have no right at all to complain of that outcome.

In which case what would become of the Ukrainians? One thing is for certain, a massive wave of refugees would be launched right across Europe.

The practical problem with Sherr’s call for total war is that Ukraine really does not have the population numbers to sustain to victory a total war against Russia. It is just going to run out of people, as indeed the much trumpeted counteroffensive appears to have done.

The extreme escalation of western weaponry which Chatham House proposes, might indeed get round the population problem and tip the balance by inflicting simply massive casualties on Russia, but it is an incredible gamble to believe that so much hurt could be inflicted on Russia without risking nuclear annihilation.

It is improbable that China will permit these lunatic western warhawks to risk the entire future of humankind. Sherr is not of course alone – each section of the report has a different author, and some of them are even more unhinged. Please feel free to discuss further in the comments.

A diplomatic settlement to the Ukraine war terrifies western power structures because it will underline the decline of western hegemony and the increasing influence of BRICS and other non-western voices.

The actual destruction of Russia as an independent power has become essential to the apostles of empire, as a means of maintaining a psychological ascendancy for a few more years. They really do not care how many die for that. Do we really want to follow Dr Sherrangelove and his fellow Chatham House ideologues down this path?

Remember that list above of who pays for Chatham House and who wants all this death. I can see how it benefits them. But, dear reader, how does it benefit you?

An independent Ukraine, shorn of the Eastern provinces that have never wished to look westward, is in the long term much more feasible and viable than some kind of military Valhalla created by an epic war of conquest.

A negotiated and equitable end to this conflict is perfectly viable. It always has been so. The people of Europe have to reject the military industrial complex, the war profiteers and the blazing-eyed ideologues – and look for a fair peace.

————————————————

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Meanwhile, Back in Scotland 149

I flew back from Amsterdam yesterday after a month spent campaigning for Julian Assange, much of it organisational rather than public. Seeing Scotland with perspective after a month away really brings home the astonishing state of Scottish politics, particularly around the Independence movement.

Support for Independence is as consistently high as it has ever been. Polls this last six months have varied between Yes lead and No lead, but almost all have been in the 48‒52 region for either side, i.e. a tie within the margin of error.

The Unionist vote continues to be very heavily weighted by older people – in this YouGov poll the 65+ age group are 72‒28 Unionist, and that is very much in line with the 2014 referendum and all polling since.

It is not unreasonable to conclude that the slow upward trend in the Independence vote since 2014 is a result of new 16- to 24-year-olds becoming eligible at 60% Independence support, replacing 72% Unionist voters who leave us.

It makes more sense that Unionism relates to a generation’s experience of the Second World War and its aftermath and the last days of Empire, rather than being a form of mental decline that awaits everybody as you get older – though the Project Fear pensions scare tactics of the unionists will have played a part.

I am fascinated by the volume of churn. According to this poll – and it is not an outlier in this respect – 20% of 2014 No voters have switched to Yes, but 17% of Yes voters have switched to No.

That is a remarkable level of volatility. The extraordinary campaign gain of 15 percentage points by Yes in 2014 is therefore certainly repeatable. I would argue that the overwhelmingly unionist ambient media, absent any Independence campaigning, means that a campaign by both sides could only lead to a swing in one direction.

But the paradox which is much more interesting is that there has been a very significant opinion poll swing of support away from the SNP, ostensibly the party of Independence, without any commensurate drop in support for Independence.

This has not been accompanied by any significant growth in support for other pro-Independence parties, including Alba.

The answer to this conundrum is fascinating. There remains massive support for Scottish Independence among Labour voters in Scotland.

I have this last ten years pointed out from time to time that, very consistently, opinion polls in Scotland show about a quarter of Labour Party voters in Scotland support Independence. The obvious explanation of the current surge in Labour support while support for Independence remains firm, is that this percentage has increased.

About one third of those intending to vote Labour in this recent YouGov poll, voted for Independence in 2014.

If I may be so presumptuous as to explain what you are looking at, in a sample of 1103 Scottish adults, approximately 440 both said they were intending to vote Labour at the UK General Election, and were prepared to say how they voted in the 2014 referendum.

Of these Labour voters, approximately 297 had voted No and approximately 143 had voted Yes. The Labour Party needs to accommodate itself to the Independence support in its own ranks.

In another specific question the poll shows that 40% of Labour voters in Scotland support a second referendum in the next five years. That will be difficult to manage for uber-conservative Starmer once the Establishment get him into Number 10.

The poll throws up some more interesting reflections on the complexities of Scottish politics. Only 78% of SNP voters would definitely vote for Independence, a factor which plainly looms large in the mind of their careerist MPs.

40% of Green voters oppose Independence. Independence is supported by a significantly higher proportion of Reform UK voters than Green voters. I still haven’t quite got my head round who Reform UK are, and why they feature in polls. Has anybody ever actually met one of them?

The SNP is now looking to move on from the Sturgeon debacle, with a leadership and party machine absolutely dedicated to denial that she did nothing to attempt to achieve Independence, while splitting the party by her extreme identity politics ideology.

It is interesting that the haemorrhage of party members from the SNP preceded the haemorrhage of public support – I suppose the members had a closer view of the abandonment of effort on Independence – but the public have now definitely caught up.

So the SNP are faced with an obvious strategic need to re-establish the connection between voting SNP and Independence. This has led to a very strange outcome. Firstly, the much vaunted special party convention in Dundee to debate the issue decided – nothing whatsoever. It didn’t really debate the issue, rather being a procession of leadership-directed drones.

The SNP is now sending out an entirely mixed message. It is doubling down on the Sturgeon identity politics agenda – pursuing gender recognition reform forlornly through the courts, and astonishingly pressing ahead with its crazed proposal to abolish jury trials in sexual assault cases. The rationale for this appears to be that all men are evil, so if you send some innocent ones to jail it’s all good anyway.

On top of which the SNP has suspended Angus Brendan MacNeil MP and Fergus Ewing MSP, for the crime of entering politics to further the cause of Independence, rather than to take some kind of continuous assessment programme in political correctness.

So Sturgeonite business as usual appears to be underway. Then suddenly Humza Yousaf pulled a six-foot rabbit named Harvey right out of the hat, by endorsing a plan that if the next Westminster general election returns a majority of SNP MPs, then the UK government would be invited to open negotiations on Independence.

Which is, on the face of it, quite a shock. A majority of MPs could be attained on 40% or even less of the popular vote. This linking of the inadequacies of First Past The Post elections with Independence potentially hoists the unionists with their own petard – but what does Yousaf really mean?

A fundamental question is how this is different to asking for an S30 order for a referendum. The SNP position is that, if Westminster refuses an S30, that just has to be accepted as Westminster is sovereign.

So the 600 billion dollar question is this: what does Yousaf do when Westminster simply says “no” to his request to open negotiations?

Because the truth is, without a threat of simply declaring independence and standing on Scotland’s right of self-determination, Yousaf’s new position simply amounts to stopping begging London on his knees for an S30 Order, and begging London on his knees for negotiations instead.

There is enormous distrust of Yousaf’s motives in the Independence movement. By making the criterion the election of SNP MP’s – as opposed to a majority of votes for Independence-supporting parties – Yousaf has provided, in theory, an answer to that burning question of how the SNP re-aligns the Independence vote to itself.

Not only does he provide a motive for those Independence supporting Labour voters to back the SNP, he also builds a powerful defence against other Independence supporting parties – Alba, ISP and in a lesser sense the Greens.

If Yousaf meant his new policy, this could obviously deter other Independence supporting parties from standing candidates against the SNP and splitting the vote, fatal under FPTP.

I have personally so far taken the view that Alba must stand against the SNP because the SNP has zero intention of progressing Independence, and Alba must ultimately supplant it. But if the SNP were saying a majority of SNP MPs would be taken as a mandate for Independence, I might feel compelled to support them and not split the vote; there are a number of key constituencies where even 2 or 3% to Alba could cost the SNP the seat.

But the difficulty here is that Yousaf does not seem to say an SNP majority would be a mandate for Independence: he seems to be saying that it would be a mandate for negotiations. That appears something of a straw man – hopefully the upcoming SNP conference might provide some clarity about what this means, but plainly the ambiguity to date is deliberate.

Yousaf is to be congratulated on tactical cunning. His posturing has put many of his radical pro-Independence opponents like me into a false position.

Having for years criticised the SNP for doing nothing to forward Independence, many now find themselves echoing unionist concerns that a majority of seats through FPTP is not a sufficient mandate and that the bar should be higher.

I however would be perfectly happy with the Yousaf formula – if I believed he meant it.

My conclusion from all this is that Alex Salmond is a far better political strategist than I am. That is of course obvious, but I am occasionally guilty of thinking myself more clever than I am.

While I have been pushing that genuine Independence supporters must commit to fighting the SNP everywhere, Salmond has kept his powder dry, refraining from standing in the coming by-election humiliation of the SNP in Rutherglen, and continuing to plug his proposal for an electoral alliance of pro-Independence parties, despite its contemptuous rejection by the SNP.

The advantage of this is that Salmond is not wrong-footed by Yousaf’s apparent conversion to radical pro-Independence action. He has his powder dry to move either way.

I confess I am wrong-footed. I don’t believe in Yousaf’s good faith; but it is not a convincing electoral position to tell people not to vote for the SNP as the established pro-Independence party in order to further Independence, when the SNP do actually for once take a radical Independence position.

It will be an interesting autumn.

I was talking yesterday to SNP MP Tommy Sheppard about an immigration case where I am helping one of his constituents. I found myself wishing that we were back in the halcyon days of 2014 when we were all working together in a good cause. Tommy features in the photo that is still atop my personal Facebook page.

I cannot understand what drives the SNP to expend all its energy on culture wars issues. If the SNP is serious about attaining Independence in the short term, can it not put its culture wars agenda on ice, as matters to be decided in an Independent Scotland?

But they plough on regardless. This is campaigning yesterday in the Rutherglen byelection.

The flags are not saltires. The core message does not include Independence. The SNP is simply determined to make life impossible for those of us who dearly wish to bring the Independence movement together again.

I find it impossible to believe that the SNP is not under the control of the UK security services. No other explanation of the party’s bizarre and counterproductive behaviour makes any sense.

————————————————

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Grayzone Interview with Max Blumenthal 523

This covers a lot of ground – Assange, Ellsberg, Skripal, Salmond, Taiwan and more. My highlight was getting to point out that China cannot “invade” Taiwan. Taiwan is Chinese and you cannot invade your own territory. Even Taiwan accepts it is part of China, it merely thinks its side of the Chinese Civil War should be running all of it.

On social media there have been very many comments on the poor sound quality. This is an interesting reflection on expectations.

I hear no more than mild distortion. A decade ago this would have been normal internet sound quality. And for those of us who used to strain to listen in Africa to shortwave transmissions of the test match commentary, or indeed to get Radio Luxembourg in Scotland before the BBC did “pop”, it is magnificent.

————————————————

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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The Slow Motion Execution of Julian Assange 44

Thanks entirely to the brilliance of Chris Hedges in leading me through the material, I think this is the most clear outline of the Assange case which I have ever given.

I wish to address some social media attacks:

Nobody is paying me to be here to campaign for Julian, other than the subscribers to this blog who fund in a wider sense all of my activity. Where there have been paid ticket events, the money is not for me. I have received some contributions towards expense, totaling about $850, which doesn’t even meet my initial air ticket.

I realise I should not let malicious allegations get under my skin, but I do think it is important to contradict them with facts.

————————————————

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Defend Assange US Tour 182

I am currently in Minnesota where I am speaking tonight and doing several media interviews. The primary purpose of the whole US visit is not the public appearances, but preparation for the campaign and defence in the USA should extradition go ahead.

That does not mean at all that the focus has in any way shifted from preventing extradition from the UK, and the legal defence remain fully engaged and optimistic about both the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

But I am also very buoyed by the extraordinary depth and quality of the support in the USA.

The profound resistance to the Espionage Act prosecution of a publisher is at the moment a sleeping giant, simply because nothing is visibly happening here in the USA. But in the event extradition happened, that would change overnight.

For Biden to go into the election, attempting both to jail his main political opponent, and simultaneously to jail the world’s most famous publisher, would ring some alarm bells with all but the very dimmest.

Plus while the diehard Democrats will never accept that Russiagate was a lie that has been comprehensively debunked, the diehard Democrat vote is not enough to get Biden re-elected. That fake narrative has lost its universal power, and the coverage that will inevitably result should Julian be extradited will lead to a wider understanding that the Espionage charges relate solely to the Chelsea Manning revelations.

We need to be ahead of the game. Should Julian arrive in the USA, it will be the biggest news story in the world on that day. We need the campaigning logistics all worked out in advance. We need to get ahead of the media story in ways we failed to do when Julian was removed from the Embassy.

We need to have events planned all round the States ready to go, that will provide alternative image messages from actions, for both local and national news, to counter the “perp” images.

I am extremely impressed by both the vibrant alternative media, and the highly media-experienced pool of campaigners and activists across the States on which we can draw to put up to the mainstream media for interview.

There are of course also the logistics of bringing the core crew over to get up and running in the US, at what could be very short notice.

So that is why I have disappeared. I am always incredibly grateful to the subscribers who support me even when I am off doing activism rather than writing.

Here am I at the New York lunch event, which was completely sold out and could have sold ten times over, though rather I think for Chris Hedges than me.

The sound is very bad for the first two minutes of my talk but improves radically thereafter so please stick with it. (If anyone knows how to edit out the bad sound sections and a couple of other distractions and make a new version, I should be grateful.)

Incidentally, because demand was so high we ended up using a second section of the restaurant which ended up in me speaking in two directions at once. Half of the audience are seated in a vault which was reputedly Rockefeller’s personal depository.

After Minnesota I shall be travelling to Washington DC. Organisers are panicking that nobody there is signing up to come and see me, and that everybody in DC hates me. So if you know anybody in DC who doesn’t yet hate me…

————————————————

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Submission to the United Nations 130

The complaint to the United Nations against my imprisonment for contempt of court has now been submitted. This is the first time I have been able to state the case without the compulsory use of Scottish counsel, who were astonishingly timid of criticising Lady Dorrian or detailing Sturgeon’s conspiracy, its personnel, and how it worked.

Those who followed my earlier legal submissions will note a real change of tone and emphasis.

At this stage my legal team advise I can only make public the first six pages of the forty four page complaint. These are below. The complaint also has many attached documents. I hope to make more of it public later.

I apologise but I again need to ask for your help, as the appeal fund is currently £12,000 shy of what is now owed. It has been a long, bruising and very expensive fight. I have been jailed in extreme harsh conditions, including being locked in a small cell 23 hours a day for four months.

But I do believe there has gradually been a sea change in public understanding of what happened. The fact that the exact people I accused of criminal conspiracy to fit up an innocent man, have since been arrested by police on suspicion of embezzlement and other offences, has led many people to look at my work in a new light.

I believe that every day we are closer to ultimate vindication.

I could have done none of this without the unfailing support of those who have donated large or small sums to the defence fund, and I ask you, but only if you can without hardship, to help again at this last stage. I do realise times are hard.

You can contribute to my defence fund here. I am extremely grateful to those who have and I want to stress that I absolutely do not want anybody to contribute if it causes them even the slightest financial difficulty. I am afraid to say that the need to raise huge amounts is of course all part of suppression of dissent, by “lawfare”.




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The Scottish Gestapo 91

On 28 July a gender critical woman demonstrator, Julie Marshall, was “punched in the face” by a political opponent in Aberdeen. The man who struck her was questioned and issued with a police caution not to punch people.

He was neither arrested nor charged.

A month later, Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie was giving a TV interview at the scene of the forthcoming Rutherglen byelection when a man heckled him, calling him a “deviant”. Harvie responded that the man was a “bigot”.

The heckler has now been arrested and charged, though when Stuart Campbell spoke with Police Scotland, they refused to confirm with what offence he had been charged.

Now we might conclude from this that Police Scotland believe it is not a serious criminal matter to punch a woman in the face in the street, but it is a serious matter to call someone a deviant in the street.

Or we might conclude that Police Scotland is very heavily politicised. That it is at the beck and call of ministers. That it has taken sides in the “culture wars” debate that poisons Scottish politics.

The latter explanation is obviously true. This is not an isolated incident;

  • The prosecution of Mark Hirst for saying that those who plotted to fit up Alex Salmond would “reap the whirlwind”.
  • The prosecution of David Llewellyn for a Facebook joke saying Angus Robertson should be dumped in the Water of Leith.
  • The prosecution of Marion Millar for gender critical tweets so inoffensive the Crown Office had to drop it after the case had started
  • My own jailing for “jigsaw identification clues” on the perjurers against Salmond, no greater than – and mostly identical to – many “clues” published by pro-Sturgeon journalists on much bigger platforms
  • The arrival of two senior detectives at my home just three hours after I stated that I have Stewart MacDonald MP’s leaked emails – which, as they acknowledged, is no crime
  • The three weeks warning given to SNP Ministers by Chief Constable Iain Livingstone of the progress of Operation Branchform, leading to Sturgeon’s resignation and giving ample time to dispose of evidence before the theatre of search tents

I could go on. Police Scotland, like the Crown Office, is thoroughly politicised. It is used as a personal tool against the perceived enemies of Scottish ministers. It has taken sides in the culture wars.

If you are on the “wrong” side, you will get prosecuted for an innocuous tweet or a remark in the street. If you are on the “right” side, you can punch women in the face or parade a sign calling for the decapitation of those who disagree with you, and face no legal jeopardy.

But, you say, surely it is wrong to call people “deviant”?

Well, I do not approve of yelling “deviant” at people in the street. It has unpleasant connotations. But I am absolutely opposed to the ever increasing encroachment of the power of the state into the lives of ordinary people.

The coercive power of the state is an awesome thing to set in motion, and terrifying to those it is used against. It is entirely disproportionate in a case like this.

Patrick Harvie is a government minister. He is used to the give and take. His robust reply of “Bigot” was an appropriate and sufficient response. That should have been an end to it.

Harvie is hardly a virgin in the rough and tumble of politics. Harvie was himself rebuked by Age Scotland only a week ago for dismissing the views of individuals on the grounds that they are old. Is ageism somehow a more acceptable prejudice than (alleged) homophobia?

Politicians should beware of ageism. Older people have a much higher propensity to vote.

With Scotland’s notorious Hate Crime Act due to come into force shortly and make this kind of prosecution much more common, I wish to reinforce the argument against over-use of the power of the state.

Modern discourse has lost sight of the fact that behaviour can be unpleasant and even morally wrong, without being illegal. It is thankfully impossible to involve the state in every social transgression, but its sphere is ever-widening.

Social sanction not involving the state is important. If a person is a routine adulterer, making the life of their partner a misery, they are likely to lose a number of friends and be socially shunned. We do not have them arrested for the bad behaviour.

Similarly if I come to a dinner party and make fun all evening of your big ears and bad cooking, you will presumably never invite me again and the other people present will be likely to follow suit. That is social sanction.

There is also the question of what is criminal and what is civil.

The defamation courts are open to Mr Harvie if he feels he was unfairly called a deviant. Interestingly, “vulgar abuse” has always been excluded from defamation. Just hurling silly abuse has not been taken as a legal matter, and I suspect that is how both sides of the “Deviant!”, “Bigot!” exchange would be viewed by a court.

I always turn to John Stuart Mill in these questions as a source of great wisdom, and to those who would scoff, I would add that there is no doubt that were it not for the profound influence of the philosophy of Mill on British political society, homosexuality would never have been legalised in the first place, or at least not for many more years.

In On Liberty, Mill cautions heavily against over involvement of the state in correcting actions even when they are harmful to others:

“The acts of an individual may be hurtful to others, or wanting in due consideration for their welfare, without going to the length of violating any of their constituted rights. The offender may be justly punished by opinion, though not by law. As soon as any part of a person’s conduct affects the interests of others society has jurisdiction over it, and the question of whether the general welfare will or will not be promoted by interfering with it, becomes open to discussion…

…But disinterested benevolence can find other instruments to persuade people to their good, than whips and scourges, either of the literal or the metaphorical sort.”

 

Mill also argues that the effect of speech should be viewed in context. He gives the famous example that to argue that corn merchants are thieves who starve the poor is a perfectly legitimate expression of opinion. But to yell the same thing to a howling mob armed with torches outside a corn merchant’s house at midnight might be a different thing.

This I think is useful guidance in the Harvie case. As I said, I don’t really approve of calling people deviants, but to use it to a powerful politician in his pomp, surrounded by aides and police and giving a TV interview, is one thing.

If a gang of big blokes were following a gay person at night down a dark street yelling “deviant” at them, the situation and the perceived threat would be entirely different.

Mill is absolutely right to say that context is important. The word deviant in itself has very different nuances in different contexts, not all insulting.

What should be plain to any person with any instinct for freedom and democracy is that the greatest danger to society in this particular situation is the abuse of power, by or on behalf of a powerful minister, against a member of the public attempting to make his peaceful protest known, albeit not as perfectly as we might wish.

To leave the particular for the general, this is part of the Scottish Government’s reliance on culture wars as the wedge issue which firstly, removed the fundamentalist Independence supporters from the SNP, and secondly, they hope will keep them in power on a specifically generational political platform.

The claim of various minority personal identities by Scottish government politicians has become an intrinsic part of their political culture. There has in particular been a remarkable foregrounding of sexual identity as part of political life.

Now I am entirely tolerant and non-judgmental on different sexual identities, as long as neither children nor coercion are involved.

But to me politics is about the governance of society in a way that improves the lot of those masses living in poverty, with few economic or social opportunities for advancement, condemned to lives of insecurity and struggle.

Politics is not about how middle class people choose to sexually pleasure themselves or their fashion choices.

It is now generally understood that identity politics has been used to neuter class politics on the left. That instead of focusing on the need to redistribute wealth, political power and personal agency to the working class, energy has been diverted into ending discrimination for minority groups, to the extent that putting very wealthy women in power becomes a “victory” even when, once there, the very wealthy woman does nothing to eliminate child poverty.

Humza Yousaf writes in the Guardian, not about Scottish Independence or even wealth inequality, but about “toxic masculinity“.

I am not sure I understand this subject. Would, for example, having sex with a female assistant working directly to you, then accepting large cash donations from her father to pave her way to a lucrative job, be an example of “toxic masculinity”?

In the SNP this obsession with identity politics has become institutionalised, part of the very fabric of the organisation itself.

On the ruling body, the SNP National Executive, members elected by the entire membership are substantially outnumbered by members appointed by affiliated minority groups, sometimes with only a couple of hundred members.

Any notion of selection on merit through the party’s democratic processes has been dispensed with entirely. All women shortlists, which were initiated on a firm promise they would be for one election only, have become permanent. Most pernicious of all, the effects of preference for disabled candidates – self-declared as such – gave some truly bizarre results.

In possibly the worst of these, Emma Roddick received just 3% of the vote to be selected as the MSP candidate, but was promoted top of the list due to mental illness. There are many similar examples.

Now as a lifelong sufferer from bipolar myself, I don’t think anyone should be unfairly disadvantaged from mental illness, but to be made an MSP because of poor mental health is just strange.

When I was in the FCO I never thought I should be made Ambassador to the United Nations because I was bipolar.

It would have been most amusing if, when I came second to Mike Russell in election for President of the SNP, I had been declared the winner because I am bipolar!

The result of all this is that Scotland is governed by politicians whose primary political identity is their personal victimhood, be it through gender, race, sexual orientation or disability.

They continually wave the bloodied bandages of their personal victimhood at us – and they have their own Police Scotland Gestapo ready to arrest anyone who dares to impugn it.

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Government By Uncontrolled Lunatic Racists 192

As long term readers know, I often assist with refugee and immigration cases, including representing at immigration courts, and we have occasionally over the years housed refugee families in our home for a while.

I have nowadays to add for the avoidance of trolling, no I do not get paid for any of this, by anyone.

Yesterday I was introduced to a case unlike any other I have seen.

A student arrived in the UK, with a new, valid and genuine student multiple visa in his passport. His course fees are paid and he had money to support himself.

On first arrival at the UK airport immigration desk he was told his visa was cancelled. There was no interview and no questions were asked, he was just told the computer said it had been cancelled.

He was taken aside to a holding cell, and there told they would not say why his student visa was cancelled, as it was confidential.

He was not given any paperwork. The visa was not physically cancelled in his passport – it still has not been. That is itself very strange, if it had been cancelled it should have been stamped as such at the airport.

If the student visa had been refused rather than granted, he would by law have been required to be issued with a “decision letter” giving the grounds for refusal. That letter would also by law explain his rights of appeal.

Now a visa does not give an automatic right of entry to the UK. The immigration service at the border have the right to interview the entrant and refuse entry if they are not satisfied. This might most frequently be because the person has no evidence of funds to support themselves.

It is however very unusual indeed for a person with a valid visa to be turned back.

If it happens, it should be following interview and based on evidence and would still require a letter to be issued.

None of that happened. The border staff did not claim they were making the decision, it had been made mysteriously elsewhere, explicitly with no explanation, and existed within their computer.

The student was told they would simply be deported immediately back. They therefore entered a claim of political asylum – something they had no intention whatsoever of doing when they boarded the plane with their student visa. Their grounds included that they had borrowed the money for their course fees, travel and maintenance, from people who would now kill them if they returned with no means to repay.

I find this case utterly baffling. It seems to have been handled in a manner designed to circumvent all the rights of the student and all the legal requirement for a paper trail.

If the visa had been cancelled before travel, why was the student not informed of the cancellation in their home town and a new decision letter issued, and why was the airline not informed at pre-clearance?

We now have the situation that the student is stuck here in asylum seeker limbo, not allowed to attend the course they have paid for and not allowed to work. How does this help anybody?

I have written before of the privatisation and deprofessionalisation of UK Immigration Services. What we seem to have here is the empowerment of entirely arbitrary racism. There seems a complete contempt by the “UK Border Force” for the laws they are supposed to be enforcing.

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Destitution Capitalism 189

I despair that there appears to be no discernible political debate over economic policy in the UK at all, outwith a few left websites and magazines with tiny readerships.

The Labour Party has completely abandoned the mildly social democratic platform of Jeremy Corbyn, and now actively renounces public ownership of utilities, improved workers’ rights giving greater job security, public spending to stimulate the economy and the use of taxation to redistribute wealth.

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, explicitly promotes the Thatcherite doctrine that taxation, public spending and all forms of regulation are detrimental to economic growth. She not only dismisses Modern Monetary Theory in its entirety, she also in her pronouncements makes plain that she does not accept the basic tenets of Keynesian Economics.

I am tempted to say Reeves and Starmer are Thatcherites, but that is not really correct. Their belief that wealth is created by economic giants building vast empires of monopoly, untrammelled by government, draws on something much older than Thatcher.

The social consequences of unbridled capitalism are all around us. A whole generation is growing up in which an extraordinarily high proportion have never known job security, cannot aspire to owning property, pay a huge proportion of their income just for rent and heat, are saddled with student debt and have precious little hope of self-advancement.

I cannot understand why anybody would believe that this state of affairs is healthy for society or for the economy. Nor can I understand why some of the economic giants dominating this economy are not recognised for the monopolies they are.

In what sense are Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple not monopolies in the same way that Standard Oil was? A company – and let us be frank, the individuals who own it – can reach a position of unhealthy market dominance without having done anything illegal or particularly unethical on the way.

We have been propagandised out of the belief that the state should in any way regulate economic activity for the greater good, while at the same time being propagandised into the belief that the state should become ever more intrusive in its surveillance of the lives of ordinary citizens.

Jeremy Corbyn’s modest social democratic platform, which proposed merely a few measures to ameliorate some of the worst injustices of this wildly unequal society, was very popular with the electorate. That is why he had to be eliminated using the extraordinary “anti-semite” scam.

But with Corbyn out of the way and the political “opposition” neutralised, there simply is no way that more progressive policies can ever reach the ears of the large majority of people.

The single exception is the odd media interview by Mick Lynch, who briefly became wildly popular by stating a few pro worker views plainly and articulately, something people normally are not allowed to see or hear.

You will note he is seldom on a TV screen now.

Which leads me to the unfortunate fact that most other unions have themselves become power structures manipulated to serve the career ambitions of their own highly paid leadership.

The election of Keir Starmer as Prime Minister is not going in any way to help the average worker. Why are the unions still paying over vast sums of money to a Labour Party which has utterly abandoned ordinary people, unless their leadership has also utterly abandoned ordinary people too?

In academia, there remains serious opposition to neoliberal economic doctrine, but this thought does not have any outlet into popular consciousness. Where there used to be some media which gave a slightly wider platform to left wing economic thinking – the Guardian and New Statesman would be examples in the UK – these have been entirely captured by neo-liberalism and indeed led the charge in destroying Corbynism.

This graph is from the Financial Times.

Let me add these thoughts. The graph is wrong to start its vertical scale at zero, as a substantial number of households at the bottom have negative wealth.

And if you wished to extend the vertical scale to reach the UK’s wealthiest household, the graph would have to be over 4,000 times taller than it is, without being any wider, with various members of the oligarchy sunning themselves at vertiginous heights along the way.

That is the truth of wealth inequality in the UK.
 

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Where Has all the War Porn Gone? 688

UPDATE

I no longer have a source with access to Putin’s inner circle. I did not pretend to understand the astonishing episode of the Wagner march on Moscow at the time, and plainly it was impossible, if the Russian and Belarussian official narrative were remotely true, that Prigozhin could be allowed to carry on living.

Well, at least I got that right. But I still am no closer to understanding the entire dynamic. Unless Prigozhin has been effectively a prisoner these last few months, it seems incomprehensible that he did not flee.

To move from something I do not understand to something I do.

In comments below the line here, and even more so in replies to the post of this article on twitter, I am intensely irritated by the sheer stupidity of the lines trotted out by the Putin cult.

Ukraine has not lost 400,000 dead. That is half of British Empire casualties in World War 1 – in one year? It is 80% of the size of the Ukrainian armed forces in 2021. To try to give a meaningful comparison, those units of the Iraqi Republican Guard destroyed in the initial 2003 onslaught by vastly superior forces using massive firepower, lost about 20% dead in the most extreme cases. They had broken long before that many were killed in flight.

There would be evidence of fields piled up with thousands of bodies if 400,000 were dead. In all the drone and headcam footage we have seen, there is nothing remotely like that. It is simply a quite extraordinary example of the Big Lie technique. Ukrainian casualties have been serious, but nothing like on that scale.

I wrote below in the original article that ludicrous casualty figures have been claimed by both sides. I really do not need idiots doing so here.

The “Putin is perfect” narrative claims that Russia has failed to entirely subdue Ukraine because a) it never intended to b) Ukraine had an immensely powerful army at the start of the conflict.

Both claims are utter nonsense. Russia sent a column of its finest troops and armour to Kiev from the North at the start of this stage of invasion. It also sent special forces ahead into Kiev with the object of decapitating the Ukrainian command structure. The ground had been prepared by very large sums of money paid to key Ukrainian officials and generals.

The aim was regime change.

The whole was based on very faulty intelligence that there would be little resistance and the Ukrainian people would welcome regime change. Much of the money to have been laid out in bribes had in fact been stolen within the Russian FSB (something, I would add from personal experience, MI6 is not immune from either).

The initial Russian assault on Kiev was a costly failure, with many of Russia’s best forces very badly damaged. The attempt to deny this is pathetic. We all saw it.

Elsewhere the Russian advance meant much better. This is largely because:

It is nonsense to state that Ukraine had very powerful armed forces. In 2021 the Ukrainian army was equipped almost entirely with largely outdated ex-Soviet hardware. There were huge problems in supply chains caused by quite astonishing levels of Ukrainian corruption (though this was true of both sides). A Ukrainian command structure riddled by co-option of large, supply favoured, units of Nazis, which ran on bragadaccio, was hardly efficient either.

The Russian invasion of its far smaller, weaker and corruption-riddled neighbour has been a demonstration of Russian weakness.

Of course Russia will ultimately win – Russia is a lot bigger and it is taking on a smaller, underdeveloped and scarcely functional mafia state.

But that this is all an example of Putin’s genius, and casualty rates favour Russia by ten to one, are claims so divorced from reality they can only come from those who are utterly delusional – or paid to put them out.

END OF UPDATE

For well over a decade, we were used to nightly shots on our television news of British and US forces, in heavy combat gear, storming across desert landscapes in cloud of dust or firing heavy machine guns over the top of mud walls.

These shots were provided by “embedded journalists” with the UK and US forces, swaggering around in the same kind of body armour and helmets as the troops, often distinguishable only by a blue bib with “press” written on it.

Thankfully, we see almost no such screen footage of the proxy war NATO is fighting against Russia in Ukraine. War porn has almost disappeared from our screens. We saw a lot of it when the failed Russian column to Kiev was destroyed in the early part of the war, but since then, very little.

The answer is of course not hard to find. The ratio of Iraqi dead to American dead in the second Iraq war was about 200 to 1, and in the “triumphant” early advance was still higher than that. The embedded journalists travelling as part of US or UK armed forces in their armoured vehicles were posing as heroes, but in little real danger at that stage.

The US forces were a real danger to non-embedded journalists. 16 journalists and 6 other media workers were acknowledged as killed by US forces in Iraq, while scores of other Iraqi journalists disappeared with no certainty as to who killed them. By contrast 2 “embedded” journalists were killed.

The “embedded journalists” were of course not real journalists at all, they were simply functioning as actors, presenting images of the exhilarating triumph of colonial massacre of a technologically inferior people, to a home audience that lapped it up.

By contrast, being in the front line with Ukrainian troops now would be very dangerous indeed. The very tiny number of journalists who have done it are indeed worthy of the name. Streaming along as a passenger in a glamourised turkey shoot in Iraq is much more congenial than being embedded with troops in Ukraine who are fighting where the kill ratio is somewhere close to even.

(There are utterly ludicrous enemy casualty claims by both Ukraine and Russia, which should be treated with equal contempt).

The territorial gain in the vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive is of the same order as that in the notoriously futile Battle of the Somme. It doesn’t make for glorious television.

You may have noted a repeated Western propaganda meme, that very often when a Russian missile strikes hundreds of miles from the frontline, it is frequently said to have landed close to a hotel, bar or cafe used by western journalists.

I am not sure this is the propaganda win they think this is.

The Ukraine war is going extremely well for those who are making billions from the arms sales and increases to western defence budgets that have resulted. It is going extremely badly for ordinary people all over the world, who have suffered the inflationary and other consequences of the disruption of trade and production and the population flows.

Our rulers would love it to go on like this for years – in fact a quick Ukrainian victory would be a disaster for the profiteers.

This war is going nowhere on the ground. I do not expect a Russian winter offensive will be significantly more successful than the Ukrainian spring offensive. It would be impossible to display frontline coverage that did not demonstrate both abject horror and utter futility. Which is why there is almost none.

I am grateful we are seeing so little war porn on our screens. But I know why.

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Alba Must Fight Rutherglen 75

This is one of those unusual occasions, where a little while ago I intended to write a post advocating the precise opposite, but events have changed my mind.

After long and hard thought, I had come to the conclusion that pride had to be swallowed and personal animosity set aside. For the sake of Scottish independence we all had to reunite the movement and that could only be behind the SNP. I had a few attempts at starting an article on this.

My mind was changed by Humza Yousaf stating that, unequivocally, Independence can only be achieved through a referendum sanctioned by Westminster, and that could only be obtained if polling showed the majority for Independence to be significantly over 53%.

That is an entirely fair précis of Humza’s interview found here.

As I have consistently explained, Westminster will never consent to lose Scotland’s resources. Independence will have to be taken.

Anybody who believes that we need permission from London for Independence, by definition does not believe in Scotland’s right of self-determination.

Humza Yousaf plainly has no intention whatsoever of progressing Independence.

I therefore cannot possibly suggest the Independence movement unite behind the SNP, because the SNP is de facto a unionist party, interested only in governing within the devolution arrangement of the UK.

The concomitant of that is that any real Independence party must seek not to cooperate with the SNP, but to replace it entirely.

That is a long hard slog, but there is no genuine alternative that is real about Independence. The other option is to seek an accommodation with the SNP, but that can only ultimately aim at sharing some of the fruits of office obtainable within UK institutions. That is all the SNP want.

The SNP and Independence are clean different things.

I therefore cannot any more support Alba’s campaign for a Scotland United ticket, because that would involve asking Independence supporters to vote for SNP MPs who are in it entirely for personal career and are a block on Independence, not movers towards it.

Besides, with the SNP rudely rebuffing Alba at every opportunity, there is now an extrordinary irony:

Alba repeatedly asking  the SNP for a “Scotland United” joint ticket is becoming as pointless and humiliating as the SNP repeatedly asking Westminster for an S30 referendum.

Alba has already decided, at conference, that it is a political party not just a popular movement, and therefore is not confined to the Salvo/Liberation route.

Well, you are not a political party if you do not fight elections, and Rutherglen is here.

Now I am not a complete idiot (although I would be grateful if nobody polled my household on that).  I realise that a great many genuine Independence supporters have not yet realised they are betrayed, indeed taken for fools, by the SNP.

I understand that the “Scotland United” proposal is designed to avoid Alba being blamed for loss of seats to unionists under the First Past the Post system when the Independence vote is split.

But we have passed that now. We have offered again and again, and the SNP has said no. Scotland United is a very dead parrot.

I also no longer care if the SNP does lose seats to Labour.

We have incontrovertible proof that if the SNP holds 95% of Westminster seats, it does nothing to move for Independence.

We have incontrovertible proof that if the SNP holds a majority in the Scottish Parliament, with or without the Scottish Greens, it does nothing to move for Independence.

There is simply no connection, since Alex Salmond left, between the SNP winning seats and “mandates”, and Scottish Independence.

That is an incontrovertible fact and we need to bite the bullet and start explaining it relentlessly to the electorate.

Starting in Rutherglen.

I realise this is a hard road. I realise we may convince only hundreds this time. But a long hard road starts with the first step.

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When a CIA Asset Becomes a CIA Liability 113

Fernando Villavicencio, who with the Guardian’s Luke Harding and Dan Collyns fabricated the notorious Guardian front page lie that Paul Manafort and Julian Assange held pro-Trump meetings in the Ecuadorean Embassy, has been shot dead in Ecuador.

The appalling lie, which the Guardian’s $700,000 a year editor has refused to retract or remove, despite criticism even from the Washington Post which named Villavicencio as the fabricator, was aimed to give support to Clinton’s flagging “Russiagate” invention, which was crumbling fast.

Here is a photo of CIA assets Collyns, Harding and Villavicencio together in Quito.

Villavicencio’s claim to be an anti-corruption campaigner was highly selective and aimed only at making accusations against left wing figures, including a long history of fabricating documents.

Having been elected to the National Assembly in 2021, he devoted all his energy to obstructing the impeachment for corruption of Ecuador’s current President, fellow CIA asset and banker Guillermo Lasso. That seems rather strange for an anti-corruption campaigner.

Astonishingly, Villavicencio’s Wikipedia page presents him as an anti-corruption hero. It does not refer to the Manafort fabrication at all.

The Wikipedia page states that in 2015 Villavicencio informed Wikileaks of surveillance against Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy, as well as providing other documents to Wikileaks.

What it does not say is that Wikileaks did not publish Villavicencio’s material because their checks revealed at least some of it to be forged.

I must state here, for legal reasons, that the episode of surveillance on Assange in the Embassy mentioned in Villavicencio’s Wikipedia page, occurred before and was entirely unconnected to the UC Global affair, in which court case I am a witness and victim.

The result of Villavicencio’s information on surveillance of Assange in the Embassy led in fact directly to an attempt to blackmail over intimate moment images. Villavicencio’s role in that is, to say the least, murky. He was not present at the attempted shakedown.

None of which justifies Villavicencio’s awful death. But it does explain why you should not believe anything you are reading about it in the mainstream media.

CIA assets who forge documents, or distribute CIA forged documents, and spread corruption allegations against left wing figures, are most useful working in the shadows. If they become over-ambitious, draw attention to themselves, and run for President as Villavicencio did, when the CIA already has its approved puppet in the race, it is very easy to move from CIA asset to CIA liability.

Which is very bad for your health.

My sincere condolences to Mr Villavicencio’s family and those who loved him.
 

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Imran Khan 89

Given the large population in the UK of Pakistani origin, the lack of serious media coverage of the overthrow and incarceration of Imran Khan, and the mass imprisonment of his supporters, is truly extraordinary.

Imran Khan was last week sentenced to three years in prison – and a five year ban from politics – for alleged embezzlement of official gifts. This follows his removal as Prime Minister in a CIA engineered coup, and a vicious campaign of violence and imprisonment against Khan and his supporters.

It is currently illegal in Pakistan to publish or broadcast about Khan or the thousands of new political prisoners incarcerated in appalling conditions. There have been no protests from the UK or US governments.

Imran Khan is almost certainly the least corrupt senior politician in Pakistan’s history – I admit that is not a high bar. Pakistan’s politics are, to an extent not sufficiently understood in the west, literally feudal. Two dynasties, the Sharifs and the Bhuttos, have alternated in power, in a sometimes deadly rivalry, punctuated by periods of more open military rule.

There is no genuine ideological or policy gap between the Sharifs and Bhuttos, though the latter have more intellectual pretension. It is purely about control of state resource. The arbiter of power has in reality been the military, not the electorate. They have now put the Sharifs back in power.

Imran Khan’s incredible breakthrough in the 2018 National Assembly elections shattered normal political life in Pakistan. Winning a plurality of the popular vote and the most seats, Khan’s PTI party had risen from under 1% of the vote in 2002 to 32% in 2018.

The dates are important. It was not Khan’s cricketing heroics which made him politically popular. In 2002, when his cricket genius was much fresher in the mind than it is now, he was viewed as a joke candidate.

In fact it was Khan’s outspoken opposition to the United States using Pakistan as a base, and particularly his demand to stop the hundreds of dreadful US drone strikes within Pakistan, that caused the surge in his support.

The Pakistani military went along with him. The reason is not hard to find. Given the level of hatred the USA had engendered through its drone killings, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the hideous torture excesses of the “War on terror”, it was temporarily not in the interests of the Pakistan military to foreground their deep relationship with the CIA and US military.

The Pakistan security service, ISI, had betrayed Osama Bin Laden to the USA, which hardly improved the popularity of the military and security services. Imran Khan was seen by them as a useful safety valve. It was believed he could channel the insurgent anti-Americanism and Islamic enthusiasm which was sweeping Pakistan, into a government acceptable to the West.

In power, Imran proved much more radical than the CIA, the British Tories and the Pakistani military had hoped. The belief that he was only a playboy dilettante at heart was soon shattered. A stream of Imran’s decisions upset the USA and threatened the income streams of the corrupt senior military.

Khan did not only talk about stopping the US drone programme, he actually stopped it.

Khan refused offers of large amounts of money, also linked in to US support for an IMF loan, for Pakistan to send ground forces to support the Saudi air campaign against Yemen. I was told this by one of Imran’s ministers when I visited in 2019, on condition of a confidentiality which need no longer apply.

Khan openly criticised military corruption and, in the action most guaranteed to precipitate a CIA coup, he supported the developing country movement to move trading away from the petrodollar. He accordingly sought to switch Pakistan’s oil suppliers from the Gulf states to Russia.

The Guardian, the chief neo-con mouthpiece in the UK, two days ago published an article about Khan so tendentious it took my breath away. How about this for a bit of dishonest reporting:

in November a gunman opened fire on his convoy at a rally, injuring his leg in what aides say was an assassination attempt.

“Aides say”: what is this implying?

Khan had himself shot in the legs as some kind of stunt? It was all a joke? He wasn’t actually shot but fell over and grazed a knee? It is truly disgraceful journalism.

It is hard to know whether the article’s astonishing assertion that Khan’s tenure as Prime Minister led to an increase in corruption in Pakistan, is a deliberate lie or extraordinary ignorance.

I am not sure whether Ms Graham-Harrison has ever been to Pakistan. I suspect the closest she has been to Pakistan is meeting Jemima Goldsmith at a party.

“Playboy”, “dilettante”, “misogynist”, the Guardian hit piece is relentless. It is an encapsulation of the “liberal” arguments for military intervention in Muslim states, for overthrowing Islamic governments and conquering Islamic countries, in order to install Western norms, in particular the tenets of Western feminism.

I think we have seen how that playbook has ended in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, amongst others. The use of the word “claim” to engender distrust of Khan in the Guardian article is studied. He “claimed” that his years living in the UK had inspired him to wish to create a welfare state in Pakistan.

Why is that a dubious comment from a man who spent the majority of his personal fortune on setting up and running a free cancer hospital in Pakistan?

Khan’s efforts to remove or sideline the most corrupt Generals, and those most openly in the pay of the CIA, are described by the Guardian as “he tried to take control of senior military appointments and began railing against the armed forces’ influence in politics.” How entirely unreasonable of him!

Literally thousands of members of Khan’s political party are currently in jail for the crime of having joined a new political party. The condemnation by the Western establishment has been non-existent.

It is difficult to think of a country, besides Pakistan, where thousands of largely middle class people could suddenly become political prisoners, while drawing almost no condemnation. It is of course because the UK supports the coup against Khan.

But I feel confident it also reflects in part the racism and contempt shown by the British political class towards the Pakistani immigrant community, which contrasts starkly with British ministerial enthusiasm for Modi’s India.

We should not forget New Labour have also never been a friend to democracy in Pakistan, and the Blair government was extremely comfortable with Pakistan’s last open military dictatorship under General Musharraf.

On my last visit to Pakistan I went to Karachi, Abbottabad and the Afghan border. I hope to return in the spring, should the new government let me in.

May I make the plea that all of this activity (and my coming Assange tour in the US next month) is funded entirely by your subscriptions and donations. Please do consider helping if you can, as the finances of the blog are very tight at the moment, as the cost of living crisis bites people. All the contributions, even the smallest, add up to a major cumulative difference to keep us going.
 
 
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This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

 

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