Arsenal Muse is a sock-puppeting liar

[Note – This is somewhat Usmanov-related, but as it relates primarily to the use of sock-puppets, I’m filing it here. Cheers all.]

Recently, someone using the name ‘Trat Urug’ has been making comments on Craig Murray’s website.

You can see those comments here and here.

The IP address used to make all of these comments (some 5 days apart) was

In one exchange (where I asked ‘Trat Urug’ if they wished to declare an interest) it was claimed by another commenter, who no doubt recognised the incoherent writing style, that ‘Trat Urug’ was in fact Arsenal Muse, the lone blogger who has taken it upon himself to defend Alisher Usmanov and/or attack Craig Murray. Mostly the latter. While claiming to be an oasis of balance.

It seemed to me that the fairest thing to do would be to ask Arsenal Muse about it. So I did.

Both the email I sent (to the primary contact address provided at the Arsenal Muse website) and the reply I received appear below in full:

—– Original Message —-
From: Tim Ireland
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 1:30:16 PM
Subject: comments on Craig Murray’s website

Are you the same person who has been commenting under the name ‘Trat Urug’ on Craig Murray’s website?

—– Original Message —–
From: Arsenal Muse []
To: Tim Ireland
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 11:20 PM
Subject: Re: comments on Craig Murray’s website

No. Is he another of his suck ups?

Note that in his reply, Arsenal Muse not only denies making the comments, but also appears to deny all knowledge of them… which in itself stretches things a bit, given how focused his attention has been on Murray recently.

Sadly for him, the IP address used to send this denial was exactly the same as the one used by ‘Trat Urug’ to leave those comments…

Received: from [] by via HTTP; Mon, 15 Oct 2007 15:20:39 PDT

Conclusion: Either something quite unique and magical is happening in the world of NTL, or Arsenal Muse is a sock-puppeting loser and an outright liar.

I’m betting on the latter for reasons I’ll spell out if Arsenal Muse cares or dares to deny it.

Over to you, Arsenal Muse.

UPDATE (3:30pm) – Arsenal Muse has just been in touch via email (see comments) and has also published a response on his website. Here he expands on his claim that any attempt to ensure that a debate is conducted in a fair and open fashion is an attack on free speech:

It seems to me, you can have freedom of speech on the internet but as long as you side with the majority of internet users and bloggers and if you don’t, then you enter a form of cyber guerrila warfare… So if we fire all our ammunition at one man, be it Usmanov, be it Arsenal Muse, you’re being just as hypocritical as those individuals lashing out human rights abuses around the world… We’re talking about the type of behaviour where you take advantage of the power you have, the connections you have to bring down another. A bit like being a blogger and bringing down another blogger and posting sensitive information about that as well. – Arsenal Muse

Sensitive information? My arse.

Free speech denied? Spare me.

A lone voice of balance tragically silenced in a manner that’s worth evoking “human rights abuses around the world”? Pass me a sick-bucket; this one’s full.

Arsenal Muse has not been chased from the field with unsportsmanlike tactics; he thinks that he has no choice but to retire from the field because he cheated and got caught.

He also thinks that he can somehow move on to a new field of play with no consequences if he pretends otherwise.

On both counts he’s spectacularly wrong.

Nothing is stopping Arsenal Muse from speaking his mind on his own weblog and elsewhere on the web. (Craig may choose to ban Arsenal Muse from his weblog for this abuse of the comments system, but that’s not my call.)

The only voice silenced in this exchange was that of the alternative personality Arsenal Muse used. The only thing crippled by this revelation is Arsenal Muse’s ability to do the same in the future, and his credibility when he denies it.

Of course, the reputation of his primary personality Arsenal Muse has also taken a hit, but it’s his own damn fault for cheating and he should be aware that it is only likely to be a career-ending injury if he continues to use a combination of bluster and bullshit to avoid the central issue (i.e. that he cheated and got caught).

After all, people might then get the idea that he always uses a combination of bluster and bullshit to avoid the central issue.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 12 Comments

The ‘war’ on Christmas comes earlier every year

The Sun – New laws pull plug on Xmas

They wheel this tired old nonsense out every year… but they’re disturbingly early this year.

See also: The Guardian – The phoney war on Christmas

UPDATE – Hehehehehe. Snap.

Posted in Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 3 Comments

Usmanov oozing ‘charm’ again

This Sunday Times article has been fisked here. Do let me know if I’ve missed anything.

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Blair continues his belated fact-finding mission

Independent – Blair admits he is shocked by discrimination on the West Bank

Funny… he seemed so sure of himself when making relevant policy in the past. Are we to take it from this that he did so without knowing all of the facts?

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Some of you may have missed the busy day over at the Alisher Usmanov blog yesterday.

Go see.

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Iraqi employees: the new EDM and a fresh round of letters to MPs

Dan Hardie has requested that we each write a letter to our MP, and has provided some bullet-points here.

I’m writing a letter and blogging it, and would urge you to do the same. Make sure that you push this Early Day Motion.

Oh, and when you’re done, drop by and leave a firm-but-polite comment under this entry at David Miliband’s weblog.


1) A letter, as opposed to an email, will carry more weight… but most MPs should be aware of the need for urgency during an ongoing postal dispute. However, if you want to really impress them, draw up a hand-written letter and hand-deliver it to their constituency office.

2) Use the information from Dan’s bullet-points by all means, but make your letter an original appeal.

3) Be firm, but polite.

4) Try not to follow my example beyond the suggestion that my MP talk to fellow MPs, as I have a rather (*ahem*) unique relationship with my local elected representatives.

Dear Anne,

I did not see you at Tuesday’s meeting regarding the plight of Iraqi employees, but I’m aware that you had a partially conflicting engagement and I may have missed you entering/leaving. I’m hoping that you had a researcher stay for the entire meeting and/or were there yourself just long enough to catch some or all of what Mark Brockway had to say, but reference links are provided below just in case you somehow missed this important information:

You should pay particular attention to the stories at the latter site, which is run by Brockway, and be aware that they are the tip of the iceberg.

You should also know that, while there is some satisfaction to be had from forcing the government to finally acknowledge the issue, that their initial promises are quite empty and actually counter-productive;

a) The ’12 month’ requirement is not at all fair. Many Iraqi employees at risk left service after a 6-month stint (the standard contract length) precisely because they were at risk; others may have worked an initial or additional stint with the American forces, which will not show up on our records. I’m sure you can see how easily people can slip between the cracks here.

b) Most of those at risk are only alive now because they are one step ahead of the local death squads; a public promise of an ongoing study into the possibility of maybe giving a damn does more than provide former Iraqi employees with false hope, it also lights a fire under the arses of the local death squads while doing nothing to protect their victims from harm. We would do well to instead follow the example of the Danes, who evacuated those they considered to be at risk first and worried about the paperwork later:

c) I suspect that this is part of the reason that the FCO is still bandying about their Big Scary 20,000 Number (i.e. to give the impression that this measure would be impractical or impossible):

A far more responsible way forward would be to mobilise our forces to immediately identify and locate those at risk, and remove them and their families (which so far have yet to be mentioned by our government) to safety.

I’m providing you with this information not because I doubt that you’ll raise this matter with the FCO or put your name to the following Early Day Motion…

… but because I would further request that you speak to your fellow MPs about this matter with some urgency.

Support for this needs to swift and overwhelming; if it comes in dribs and drabs, the government will have no reason to change their existing strategy (beyond the moral and practical imperatives, which appear to elude them):

The result of this malaise is sure to be more needless deaths that shame our country and further complicate our relationship with the people of the Middle East.

I strongly urge you to be part of the driving force that takes this message from MP to MP and then, in numbers, to government.

Tim Ireland

UPDATE – Here, Garry raises something that also emerged as a key point at Tuesday’s meeting; saving lives risks undermining the narrative…

BSSC – From the Pale and Downtrodden: Doing my best to see this from “the other side”, I can see that this is a tricky situation for the government. They are desperately trying to claim that the south of Iraq is a success story and that security situation has improved to the extent that British troops can withdraw. The fact that Iraqi employees of the British are in grave danger makes a mockery of this assertion and is politically embarrassing for the government. As a consequence, they’re trying to publicise a policy to deal with a problem which they don’t want to acknowledge even exists. The result is the half-hearted effort announced at the beginning of the week.

UPDATE (17 Oct) – The reply from my MP’s office, received 15 Oct:

Dear Mr Ireland,

Many thanks for your email to Anne; she did appreciate all the information and links you provided. I was present for part of the meeting and briefed Anne afterwards; as you mentioned in your email, she had another meeting in Guildford at the same time. In addition, she has since spoken to Ed Vaizey who also briefed her and she plans to raise the plight of the Iraqi translators with other MPs.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Hill

Office of Anne Milton
Member of Parliament for Guildford
Shadow Minister for Health

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 1 Comment

Too little, too late

The Times – Assistance package for Iraqi interpreters is ‘too little, too late’: Serious shortcomings have been exposed in the Government’s plan to offer compensation or resettlement to hundreds of serving and former staff in Iraq.

Davide Simonetti has a report on last night’s meeting here.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, check out and read some of the stories.

(I’d write more, but I’m still a little shell-shocked, to be honest.)

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Craig Murray is back online

I’ve just fixed one final hassle with comments. Why not drop by and say ‘hello’?

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Brown’s government delivers the bare minimum at the last minute

[WARNING: Contains some justified swearing]

Gordon Brown is a can’t.

Dan Hardie – Iraqi employees: the numbers game

Pissweak weasel-words are not enough. Further, the approach and timing (i.e. immediately before/after tomorrow’s meeting without acknowledging same) is an insult I’m all-too-familiar with…

This is exactly what happened with Tony Blair’s email address; everything was filtered through a bunch of absolute fuck-knuckles desperate to hang on to their jobs, and the end result was a government machine pushing the idea that this was their idea… plus the notion (crafted by a separate but no less spineless department) that the glorious leader had something approaching ideals.

Heaven forbid that the general public should get the idea that their leader was shamed into action by this campaign and a similar level of grass-roots support and media/political awareness that brought this belated promise in the U.S.

So, if we’re going to sort this, it’s up to the ‘leader’ to make a difference.

Is Brown up to it?

Either Brown is the can-do man or he’s an absolute can’t. Of the highest order.

In this high-stakes game, mealy-mouthed promises, hints and leaks are beyond useless… they’re downright fucking dangerous; not only for the potential victims of the death-squads, but for everyone here at home… including those who will swallow this tripe as readily as they swallow the empty call to ‘support the troops’.

For the government blog-monitors and (few) holdouts in the blogosphere, I have this to say; not dealing with this in an urgent fashion is going to cost us more than you can possibly imagine.

Brown’s senior advisers should know their history, not just what they can remember from media studies; if they’ve fought more than one local election campaign, they should be aware that the echoes of the miner’s strike pale into insignificance next to the memories of the 1991 uprisings in Iraq, and this decisive moment will have an impact far beyond local activism.

These people need to be looked after immediately.

Those in immediate danger should be shipped to a point of safety now. If Brown’s people aren’t sure who those people are, they should try doing something novel like talking to the fucking army.

Sure, they’ll have to follow this up by also making sure that our troops and the general Iraqi population have adequate post-conflict care, but that’s what they’ve been promising all along, yes?

Unless, of course, they’re all a bunch of can’ts. In which case, they can do what has always been done before; keep shovelling the platitudes while the largely uncounted death toll continues to rise.

Meanwhile, the ‘good’ war will be conducted from a safe distance by grey-faced drones with an Excel spreadsheet, and terrorism will continue to breed here and abroad.

Morals aside: smart, this isn’t.

[In the unlikely event that this message reaches Gordon Brown uncensored: You’re about to be Blaired, mate… make no mistake about it.]

UPDATE (09 Oct) – David Miliband’s statement on Iraqi Employees

UPDATE (09 Oct) – Well noted. Well said.

UPDATE (10 Oct) – BSSC – The Nasty Government

Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 2 Comments

Link of the day, week and year

Dan Hardie – Iraqi Employees: Maintain the pressure: Gordon Brown may apparently be making a statement on Iraq to the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon, sometime after 2pm. He may or may not mention Britain’s Iraqi employees and the need of some of them for asylum. The Times article of Saturday promises nothing but gave the Government a big, positive headline: classic spin. I have always said, when writing to Jacqui Smith and other Ministers, that to pre-announce asylum for Iraqi employees before they’d actually been taken to safety would increase the risks to them and to the British soldiers who would have to evacuate them. I hope desperately that this won’t happen. I also hope that we will see a genuine promise of resettlement for all who are identified as being seriously at risk for having worked for the British in Iraq.

Blog it, please. You may also want to bring attention to this small correction.

I’ll be PFB until then, but hope to see a lot of bloggers and MPs on deck on Tuesday night, regardless of whatever spoiler(s) Brown might be cooking up.

UPDATE – The meeting on Iraqi Employees will take place on the same day (Tuesday 9th October) at the same time (7-9pm) with the same speakers in a changed venue very close to the original one: the Attlee Suite in Portcullis House.

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