Hey Ma – Its Now 5 Years In Iraq

Just caught a great video from HelpForHeroes on b3ta.com/links. Worth sharing:

Hey Ma – Its Now 5 Years In Iraq
WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC SCENES

When you’re done with that, check out Justin’s exellent blogswarm post.

UPDATE – A great post on the invasion vote from Septicisle, and a shedload of Iraq-related links from Liberal Conspiracy.

UPDATE – Poons (who is also swarming today) thinks an old video/slide-show of mine Drawing The Line (which is similar in content/approach to ‘Hey Ma’) is worth a mention here, and I agree. I may as well plug Unbelievable and The Roses of Success while I’m about it, too.

UPDATE – This, from Clive. Lots.








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Video | 4 Comments

The Iraq War (according to Page 3)

The Sun newspaper, in case you’re not aware, is the British Murdoch-owned tabloid that helped Blair’s government push the 45-minute WMD lie (even suggesting at one stage that they could have been deployed in 30 minutes), dedicated more column inches to a Labrador puppy thrown off an overpass than they did to the Abu Ghraib scandal, and endorsed Tony Blair on the eve of the post-Iraq general election by declaring that he had quite an enormous penis.

One thing not a lot of people have noticed about the Sun newspaper is how editor Rebekah Wade has, since mid-2003, integrated editorial content into the topless-model feature on Page 3.

An article I wrote about this a few years ago provides some background, and there are many, many recent examples listed here in this category at Bloggerheads, but the short version is as follows:

For many years before 2003, there used to be a short bio alongside each model; just enough information to allow the reader potential masturbator to become (ahem) familiar with the model. Now, there is an editorial on most days that comes from the editor of the newspaper but is presented as the model’s own opinion; the upshot of this is that the reader potential masturbator – on a conscious or subconscious level – needs to align himself with a political view before he can imagine shagging the model (unless of course he opts for the masturbatory version of a grudge-fuck).

My entry for the 5-years-on Iraq War blogstorm is a run-down of the most audacious war-related editorials to be fed to the public via these topless models in the 18 months following the invasion of Iraq.

The post would be too top-heavy if I included scans for all of these examples, but rest assured that they are all entirely genuine and unaltered. All of the text below in red has been quoted verbatim, and each example was published/presented as the opinion of a topless model:

- | -

Date: Friday, August 15, 2003

Circumstances: The opening hearings of The Hutton Inquiry have just taken place.

Nicola T has been following the Hutton Inquiry into the death of government scientist David Kelly. She says: “The only clear thing about the inquiry is that someone is lying. Whether it’s politicians or the BBC, it is very worrying. I just hope we get to the bottom of it soon and find out the truth.”

- | -

Date: Friday, October 24, 2003

Circumstances: George Galloway has just been expelled from the Labour Party following his criticism of the Iraq war.

Joanne reckons George Galloway deserved to get the boot from Labour yesterday. She said: “He’s a disgrace. I couldn’t believe how he betrayed Our Boys during the war. They were laying down their lives and he was urging the Iraqis to rise up and kill them. He’s a traitor. I’d boot him out of the country, too.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Circumstances: George W Bush makes his controversial visit to the UK. The only British newspaper to get an interview is the Sun. The Washington Post reports that this was done “on the recommendation of Tony Blair” and that “officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to the Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq.” The interview appears on Monday the 17th, in a rare edition that does not include a topless model on Page 3. The next day, Page 3 is back… and backing Bush.

Page 3 Idol Krystle says President Bush’s visit is a boost for Britain. She adds: “He is the most powerful man in the world and it’s nice to welcome him to this country. I think his first state visit will symbolise America’s special relationship with us. I hope he enjoys Britain.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Circumstances: It is the week after Bush’s visit and the fallout continues after Blair’s use of a US-style ‘free speech zone’ in Sedgefield. On Monday (24th) Tony Blair hosts an Anglo-French summit. As part of his visit, French President Jacques Chirac inspects a guard of honour by the first Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. The Sun is notably “appalled”.

Anna, 22, saw footage of Jacques Chirac inspecting the Grenadier Guards yesterday and took this pop at the French President: “It was about time he was introduced to Our Boys – real soldiers. He shied away from Iraq. Maybe he took notes yesterday to pass on to French troops.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Circumstances: Following Operation Red Dawn, the US announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Krystle says of the capture of Saddam Hussein: “It was the news we have all waited for. That terrible man tried to crush the Iraqi people. Now they can celebrate their freedom and rebuild their country. I really hope this is the beginning of the end of the troubles in Iraq.”

- | -

Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Circumstances: It is the peak of the aftermath of the leak (to the Sun) then release of The Hutton Report. Later this same day, the government announces The Butler Review, an inquiry into the intelligence relating to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Zoe is certain Tony Blair was right to take Britain into the war with Iraq. She said: “You don’t need to be an international diplomat to realise the world is better off without Saddam. We should be proud of what has been achieved.”

Zoe on Iraq

- | -

You may need a few minutes to get over that one. I still do. Take your time.

(calm blue ocean)
(calm blue ocean)
(calm blue ocean)

OK, all done? Let’s carry on…

- | -

Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Circumstances: The insurgency in Iraq is expanding. It is one week since Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors and a mob set their bodies ablaze and dragged their bodies through the streets. It is 3 days since the resulting First Battle of Fallujah began. The message from the White House is; “Our resolve is firm… and we will prevail.”

Natasha believes it’s vital that our troops remain in Iraq. She said: “Our boys are doing a fantastic job peacekeeping. To give in to a minority of extremists would be an insult to the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting to free Iraq from its evil regime.”

- | -

Date: Friday, July 2, 2004

Circumstances: Saddam Hussein appears in court for the first time and describes Bush as “the real criminal”

Ruth hailed yesterday’s court appearance by Saddam Hussein as a triumph for Iraqis. She said: “This was a great moment for the people of Iraq. Yet many will feel a proper trial seems too good for a man who denied the same right to millions of victims.”

- | -

Date: Friday, December 10, 2004

Circumstances: It is one month since Bush secured a second term as US president. The conduct of the Bush administration in/over Iraq has been a hot topic on both sides of the Atlantic for months now following that election campaign and the Abu Ghraib scandal. In the US, it has just been declared that evidence gained through use of torture would be used against the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. In the UK, there are calls for an inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq following the release of the first Lancet survey of Iraq War casualties. In Iraq, Rumsfeld has just faced a grilling from his own troops over equipment shortages and responded with the now-infamous “You go to war with the army you have” remark. In short, it is a week where you will struggle to find an editorial in favour of the Bush administration in any newspaper bar one…

Nicola T thinks people are too keen to forget the help given to Britain by the US. She says: “People are too quick to condemn America. We’re indebted to them for the help they gave us in the war. Imagine if they had decided not to support us.”

- | -

Gosh, can you just imagine it? Without the Americans we might have been up to our necks in war-mongering fascists and their xenophobic propaganda.

(ahem)

Well, we’ve skirted far too close to fulfilment of Godwin’s Law for my liking, so I think we’ll pull up *right* there, thank you very much.

- | -

Epilogue:

Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Circumstances: It is the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Most newspapers are running features on what has come to pass and what has come to light (and have been for days now). But the Sun does not mention Iraq today. At all. I’ve checked today’s edition from cover to cover, and cannot find a single article about it. No praise for Our Boys, no mention of how jolly good it is that we took out a brutal dictator. Nothing. The nearest we get is a headline in a puff piece for chocolatier Paul A Young; “Choc and awe”. The good people at the Sun do, however, dedicate eight pages to telling us what a nasty liar Heather Mills is. Yes, Page 3 gets in on the act, too… and today’s tit-tastic editorial seems as good a note as any to go out on:

Peta on Heather Mills








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 1 Comment

Obi enters Africa

LayScience – Dr. Joseph Obi cons the President of Gambia. Seriously.

O.M.G.

I’m with LayScience… Obi is ceasing to amuse me.








Posted in UK Libel Law | 3 Comments

The master opportunists are finally on deck

Independent – Opposition push for immediate Iraq inquiry faces defeat: MPs will vote next week on whether there should be a full-scale inquiry into the Iraq war to ensure that lessons are learnt from the mistakes made. The Tories will stage a Commons debate on Iraq a week today in an attempt to force Gordon Brown to honour his pledge to hold an investigation. The Prime Minister committed himself to calling an inquiry in a letter to the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society. But he insisted the time is not yet right because the situation in Iraq remains “fragile”. The Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs who opposed the war will join the Tories in voting for an inquiry into the “origins and conduct” to be set up now. But the Government is likely to defeat the Opposition’s proposal. Many Labour MPs privately want an investigation, but are reluctant to support a Tory motion.

1. Funny how things can be hunky-dory one minute and “fragile” the next, isn’t it?

2. The solution is simple; the inquiry should – amongst other things – look into how, when and why Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition failed us before, during and after the invasion.








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely! | 3 Comments

Lords of the Blog

Clive Soley is back, and he’s brought a few mates with him. Top stuff.

See also: Clive Soley – Nine lords a’blogging

(Clive is an elder statesman of blogging. He is also a Labour Peer. Just two possible reasons why Iain ‘Carpetbagger’ Dale is willing to publish anonymous comments like this without challenge.)








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Everybody loves George Osborne

George Osborne: Hypnotoad

(Dedicated to all those Tory bloggers who take emails from Osborne’s office and repeat them without question. Hat-tip to Hopi Sen for the inspiration.)








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Blair: the job hunt

1. How many jobs does an ex-PM need?

2. I don’t mind so much myself; whatever keeps him out of trouble.

3. But I like this lots.

4. And LOL-BLAIR rocks!








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Look who’s stalking

1. Watch Iain Dale cry ‘stalker’.

2. Hey, do you remember during the recent MessageSpace affair when ‘Dizzy’ (Phil Hendren) sent these emails suggesting he might call me at home on my ex-directory number?

3. Well, he’s gone one better;

Last week, Dizzy published my ex-directory phone number on his website in a clear attempt to intimidate me.

Yes, you read that last bit right; Dizzy objected to a point I raised so much that he published one half of my home phone number under comments on his website and told me to “fuck off”. When I attempted a reply, he deleted it and published the other half of my ex-directory number (and told me to “fuck off” again).

Dizzy also called me four times on that number that same afternoon (from a withheld number, natch).

To be fair to Dizzy (who himself has a bad habit of grouping/presenting data in a way that could easily be misinterpreted) I will present that in context, rather than imply that all four calls involved or amounted to harassment:

Call #1:

Dizzy called in a highly agitated state, and was quite literally screaming down the phone at me. This is not an exaggeration. He was screaming, he was yelling, he was not a man in control. He seemed quite annoyed that I would blog about what he had blogged because “it’s only text on a web page”. My pointing out that what I had blogged was also ‘only’ text on a web page did not go down at all well. He told me that I picked a very bad day to tangle with him, because he was in “the foulest of moods and having a really shit day at work”. I was also informed that I was wasting my time with “mad conspiracy theories” and that I should “get a grip”.

Call #2:

Dizzy thought it important to call again (in a somewhat calmer state) to say that he had not received my number from Iain Dale.

Call #3:

Dizzy called later that afternoon with the following:

“OK, write your post. Claim your moral victory. Whatever. Comments are deleted. Having a bad day. [details of claims of a personal crisis censored] And whatever. Bye.”

Call #4:

Dizzy called for the fourth and final time to say that other earlier references to my phone number on his website (that I had not seen until that day) could not be removed until later that evening.

There are only two bloggers hostile to me that have been provided with my home phone number; Iain Dale (background) and Ellee Seymour (background).

Ellee isn’t saying a damn thing.

Iain denies providing ‘Dizzy’ or anyone else with my number (yes, this is what I was talking about when I said that Iain needed me to trust him) but – regardless of who revealed what to Dizzy – I think Iain’s got a damn nerve implying in his email response that I might be guilty of harassment and then following that up with this ‘stalker’ post…. don’t you?

Epilogue: Dizzy announced on Saturday that he was taking a bit of a holiday.








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments

Total Politics: the Ashcroft connection

New Statesman – Total Politics or Total Ashcroft?: Watch out Rupert Murdoch, take note Lord Rothermere – there’s a new media mogul in town. Lord Ashcroft of Belize, Tory bogeyman, is secretly bankrolling the new monthly freebie Total Politics, to be launched by the Con blogger and master of self-publicity Iain Dale. Your correspondent discovered Dale squatting in Ashcroft’s 7 Cowley Street basement lair when I paid an uninvited call to the Westminster block. Dale insisted the company was his, with Ashcroft a wealthy investor who’ll play no editorial role. Yet I suspect the involvement of the moneybags right-winger, whose tax status remains an international mystery, will hinder Dale’s attempt to present Total Ashcroft as “politically neutral”. (via)

Given 18 Doughty Street’s difficulties with neutrality, I would have thought Dale’s involvement alone would hinder any attempt to present Total Politics as “politically neutral”, but there you go.

And like Tom, I can’t help but wonder where else money has been secretly splashed about.

(Poor Iain. People might have been more inclined to believe that this was no big deal had he been up front about it, but he made no mention of Ashcroft when promoting the upcoming magazine on his blog. No wonder he’s so quiet this morning.)

UPDATE (5pm) – Lots going on. A fresh email from Dale just in. But I may have to leave you with this while he makes up his mind…

1. Do the test. Seriously, before you read any further, do the test.

(waits)

All done? With me now? Good.

2. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, yesterday, Iain Dale had cause to ask me to trust him. That had nothing to do with this Ashcroft matter and Iain knows that for reasons that will be made clear in due time (it will even me made clear in due time why due time is necessary). So the following (from one of my key emails to Iain on the subject of trust) is officially spooky (as opposed to a clear indication of a massive leftist conspiracy):

> Think about it; one day you’re going to *really* need the trust of myself or
> other members of the blogging community who have seen the way you willingly
> deceive people. Surely you can guess the rest.

3. Guardian – Ashcroft to bankroll new ‘politically neutral’ magazine: The Tory party deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, is to bankroll a new “politically neutral” magazine, it emerged today. The Tory billionaire has agreed to invest in Total Politics, a political monthly magazine being launched in May by Tory blogger and publisher Iain Dale. The revelation, made by Kevin Maguire in his New Statesman column today, will raise doubts about Dale’s pledge to take an independent editorial line… Dale said: “The fact that someone like Michael Ashcroft is interested in investing in a business like this says a lot for our business plan. The magazine will be politically neutral. Just because somebody is investing in a magazine doesn’t mean they will influence the editorial line.”

4. Iain Dale responds to Tom Watson under comments:

Shouldn’t you, er, be running the country, something?

Mr Maguire was wrong. There is no bankrolling at all. The various investors in the magazine are investing on a fully commercial basis and will be expecting a return on that investment. It really is that simple. Seeing as though fewer than ten Labour MPs out of 350 have ever run a business I wouldn’t expect that to be understood, though

5. Iain Dale’s response to me was private (perhaps he has difficulty finding the ‘comment’ button here) but – needless to say – it did not address the issue and it wasn’t entirely grown up in its approach.

6. Iain is so unbothered by this piffling matter that he hasn’t even blogged anything about it. But when I popped over to check if Iain had anything to say to his readers (“Look! I’m in the newspapers again!” would have done) I saw something pass by in the background. I’ve highlighted it, just in case you happen to miss it:

MessageSpace ad for lordashcroft.com on Iain Dale's website

Obviously, Iain shouldn’t be automatically blamed for the ads served by MessageSpace, so just to clear things up:

To: Jag Singh

From: Tim Ireland

Subject: MessageSpace ads for Lord Ashcroft

Dear Jag,

For the sake of clarity and to avoid uncertainty:

Was the full going rate for MessageSpace banner ads paid for the lordashcroft.com banner campaign and, if so, by which individual or organisation?

Any details you can provide would be appreciated.

Cheers

Tim Ireland

7. Oh, I’d love to… but let’s wait for the response from MessageSpace first. I want to be as fair as possible to these people.

[Jag? When you’re ready. I’d ask Paul, but he’s still not talking to me.]

UPDATE (5:39pm) – The official response from MessageSpace:

“We don’t divulge any commercially sensitive info.”

Oh, how sweet. Now they expect you to trust them.

UPDATE (6pm) – Opportunity knocks: Tonight, 11.30pm News 24 with Alex Hilton on Question Time Extra

I invite you to watch it, even if it’s only to watch an opportunity pass by.

UPDATE (12 midnight) – Alex Hilton never tires of being Iain’s bitch, does he? Oh, and David Cameron does knowingly whore his family out and I have proof; watch David Cameron ‘unscripted’ and caught ‘unawares’ in his home.

UPDATE (14 April) – That last sentence only makes sense if you can see the interview, which has since been taken offline, so I’ve scrubbed it. Oh, and here’s a special something for every elected official in the UK who does not want to receive a ‘politically neutral’ magazine from Dale/Ashcroft.








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Usmanov’s lawyer’s are still busy hoovering

Press Gazette – Mail on Sunday apologises to Russian billionaire over links to “rape and murder” allegations: Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the major shareholder in Arsenal FC, today accepted a formal apology at London’s High Court after The Mail on Sunday linked him to rape and murder allegations. (Usmanov) sued over the article on 2 December 2007 headlined “The corruption of football is no laughing matter Harry”

Nice to see Usmanov finally taking a case to court… but when will he challenge Craig Murray in the same manner?








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