Tag Archive: News International

Craig Murray was a diplomat and worked in a number of embassies, he has over the years published books and articles expounding some of the less savoury things that have gone on in parts of the world where news appears not to filter through to the mainstream.

I have, with his permission, agreed to circulate this, along with many others, so that the numerous attempts to hack his site which have taken place over the last 3 days do not smother what he is saying.  In fact they should be seen only as confirming this is something that is part of the British government’s policy in order to railroad through the “Snooper’s Charter” giving backdoor access to pretty much everything.  

This is not a hoax, this is not about national security as it affects the general public this is about control and who exercises it and how much they wish to do so.  Orwell couldn’t have drafted it all better himself.  But this is not fiction and that should chill anyone interested in liberty and justice.

Five Reasons the MI6 Story is a Lie

by craig on June 14, 2015 10:06 am

The Sunday Times has a story claiming that Snowden’s revelations have caused danger to MI6 and disrupted their operations. Here are five reasons it is a lie.

1) The alleged Downing Street source is quoted directly in italics. Yet the schoolboy mistake is made of confusing officers and agents. MI6 is staffed by officers. Their informants are agents. In real life, James Bond would not be a secret agent. He would be an MI6 officer. Those whose knowledge comes from fiction frequently confuse the two. Nobody really working with the intelligence services would do so, as the Sunday Times source does. The story is a lie.

2) The argument that MI6 officers are at danger of being killed by the Russians or Chinese is a nonsense. No MI6 officer has been killed by the Russians or Chinese for 50 years. The worst that could happen is they would be sent home. Agents’ – generally local people, as opposed to MI6 officers – identities would not be revealed in the Snowden documents. Rule No.1 in both the CIA and MI6 is that agents’ identities are never, ever written down, neither their names nor a description that would allow them to be identified. I once got very, very severely carpeted for adding an agents’ name to my copy of an intelligence report in handwriting, suggesting he was a useless gossip and MI6 should not be wasting their money on bribing him. And that was in post communist Poland, not a high risk situation.

3) MI6 officers work under diplomatic cover 99% of the time. Their alias is as members of the British Embassy, or other diplomatic status mission. A portion are declared to the host country. The truth is that Embassies of different powers very quickly identify who are the spies in other missions. MI6 have huge dossiers on the members of the Russian security services – I have seen and handled them. The Russians have the same. In past mass expulsions, the British government has expelled 20 or 30 spies from the Russian Embassy in London. The Russians retaliated by expelling the same number of British diplomats from Moscow, all of whom were not spies! As a third of our “diplomats” in Russia are spies, this was not coincidence. This was deliberate to send the message that they knew precisely who the spies were, and they did not fear them.

4) This anti Snowden non-story – even the Sunday Times admits there is no evidence anybody has been harmed – is timed precisely to coincide with the government’s new Snooper’s Charter act, enabling the security services to access all our internet activity. Remember that GCHQ already has an archive of 800,000 perfectly innocent British people engaged in sex chats online.

5) The paper publishing the story is owned by Rupert Murdoch. It is sourced to the people who brought you the dossier on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, every single “fact” in which proved to be a fabrication. Why would you believe the liars now?

There you have five reasons the story is a lie.

You might have thought that in many respects the News Corp. story had largely run its course and that I had missed the boat in terms of jumping up and down on the dying embers of the paper and of Murdoch’s fortunes in general.  In some ways indeed the big news has already happened, the News Of The World has been closed, an act showing the utter contempt Murdoch has for his workforce, as if that were ever in doubt, additionally the bid for BSkyB has been withdrawn, and the government are talking up their new-found opposition to things that limit free speech and enterprise.  You might be forgiven for thinking that a job has been done and we are all the better for it.

I confess the closing of the News Of The World was a little bit of an initial surprise and in spite of the hatred very many of us may feel towards News Corporation and all of its publications most if not all the people who have lost their jobs have had nothing to do with the scandals and contemptible activity of the paper’s senior staff.  One must also not forget that News Of The World’s proportion of News International’s business is small, it’s £160 million turnover is far less than Sky’s £6bn so the company at large can absorb this in a blink of an eye and there has been talk for some time that News International’s intentions were to use The Sun’s branding over a 7 day period, so this could well be part of a sack all staff and get them to reapply for their old jobs on diminished pay and conditions, or am I just seeing grounds for cynicism where none exist?!

The removal of the bid for BSkyB was perhaps more of a surprise, the powers that be had done everything possible to smooth the passage of the hostile takeover bid including the removal of difficult ministers that had shown any signs of potential hostility to the deal such as Vince Cable, not usually known for his vehement opposition to this government.  They had sought every loophole to avoid OFCOM the regulator getting involved and had resisted any efforts for the case to be submitted to the Competitions Commission.  It looked for intents and purposes to be, what in fact it was, a stitch up.  The government have now done what governments do which is to quickly switch support from the side that has just lost to that which has just won and claim this was always their intention all along and how wonderful the world is with people standing up for their rights and freedoms.  These same politicians lest we forget have been the ones ceding our freedoms and control over the media at every turn for as long as I can now remember.  That the Labour Party should now be sabre rattling is only slightly less odious than the Liberal Democrats doing so, Ed Milliband has nothing to lose at the moment as he faces a minimum of several years in opposition as he looks to gloss over the past where his own party were the ones lauded by the very papers they now claim to despise.  Nick Clegg has even less shame as he is part of the current government and cannot even claim his silence was on someone else’s watch.  He is intent on making out that they have favoured for years reform to the media ownership laws, I cannot quite remember this as being at the forefront of their manifesto to be honest but then the Lib-Dems have campaigned for years for the abolition of tuition fees and the increasing of income tax to the highest earners and these seem to have been shelved mighty quickly with the merest sniff of power so one can’t really be surprised to see them as reeds blowing in the wind.  They as coalition whipping boys partners now do what they are told by work in conjunction with their Tory overlords colleagues, or perhaps you may be able to give me an example where this has not been the case?

What one must bear in mind at this point is that it is being claimed that it is the public outcry which has had the effect on News Corp and this is perhaps the most surprising of all the facts in this case.  That 150,000 voices through Avaaz and 38 Degrees should pique the conscience of the Conservative government and stymie the megalomaniacal tendencies of Rupert Murdoch is utterly astonishing and something just doesn’t sit quite right.  What also worries me is that if you look at many of the BBC pages about the scandal such as Robert Peston’s report the comments left are vitriolic, inaccurate and largely in favour of Murdoch.  Now one can never assume that such a straw poll in any way represents wider public opinion or that the voices that shout loudest are any more valid than others but it is interesting that there appears to be such a blanket whitewashing at a time when I would have expected a wholesale contempt for corporations and politicians alike and for this to be on the BBC of all places that stood to lose most is also a little unexpected.  Of course I cannot assert whether or not Peston’s report may have been subject to a reactionary viral campaign

Do not presume that there is any genuine contrition in the News International organisation, merely an awareness that something has to be seen to be done.  An example of the mopping up campaign is being done via Fox “News” in the US already, this not only seeks to portray this story very much as last year, or even last decade’s news, which it is not, but also alludes to News Corp almost as one of the victims in the hacking case rather than the actual perpetrator of it.  This is pretty low vacuous stuff but to those not at all in the know about the case and British politics in general it may fill the vacuum of their knowledge and this is precisely the insidious danger of the Murdoch empire.

Blanket media coverage remains as rife as ever, we presume we have access to much media whilst actually we have what appear to be a number of outlets that are mostly controlled by the same people and the diversity and depth of news is perhaps scanter than ever.  Sure you can find independent news if you choose to go and look at sources such as Indymedia, you can reference information from sources other than the Press Agencies such as Wikileaks, and there is a movement agains the global corporate empire that puts profit before people such as Anonymous, there are uprisings agains the oppression of governments, and here one can clearly contrast our access to genuine information.  Take that which we receive from Egypt or Tunisia or Syria where the governments are not always helpful to the West and we receive much information about the protests and condemnation of the governments now look at Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain where protesters are in some cases even more brutally repressed and the silence from the media is indeed almost deafening.  Take what you hear of the Castro regime and the actions of Hugo Chavez and compare with how much you are told about the government of Uribe in Colombia.  These actions over time suffocate the truth and force people to make up their minds and opinions based on a fraction of the facts.  Such opinions cannot be so forcefully held but are very useful to keep acquiescence, or as Chomsky put it years ago to “manufacture consent.”  Governments have been perpetrating atrocities on this consent for generations and only on the few occasions people say enough and take to the streets will they occasionally climb down before continuing the policies in less covert ways.

The same is largely true of News Corp which peddles its brand of ill-informed populist drivel wrapped in the promise of this being the news.  It’s methods of telephone hacking and deceit have led to stories that have quenched the thirst for gossip the market of which they have helped to create.  To obtain such sordid stories the methods must usually be equally contemptible, we should not be surprised it should merely highlight the wider point that the population is more often than not content with tittle tattle rather than factual information and this must be regarded as an anathema in a civilised society.  At best the Murdoch empire is wounded by recent actions but it is by no means mortally and it will like as not come back more canny, more angry and more powerful than before because people will allow it to do so.

I will leave you with this conversation from the 1890s that illustrates, at least in terms of consistency of quality, that the News Of The World managed to maintain a position of scraping the barrel for an almost admirable amount of time.  I trust it may be regarded as a fitting epitaph.

Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell, who died a few years ago, and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, `You know, I own a paper.’ `Oh, do you?’ said Greenwood, ‘what is it?’ `It’s called the News of the World—I’ll send you a copy,’ replied Riddell, and in due course did so. Next time they met Riddell said, ‘Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?’ ‘I looked at it,’ replied Greenwood, ‘and then I put it in the waste-paper basket. And then I thought, “If I leave it there the cook may read it” —so I burned it!’

Song Of The Day ~ The Jam – News Of The World