OMFG! EXCLUSIVE!!: New Idea blows Prince Harry’s cover while Matt Drudge claims the exclusive and compounds the error

By now you’re all aware that Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan (gunning down other human beings in much the same way that most normal people do) and that there was an agreement for it not be reported by the media. You are probably also aware that the carrot that was dangled to ensure the integrity of the embargo was an appeal to media owners and editors not to complicate military operations by needlessly endangering Harry’s life and those of his fellow soldiers a steady feed of photos and interviews that they would be allowed to use at a later date.

This morning, there is an undignified rush to use that material in almost every newspaper. Classy.

The Independent, by contrast, uses a single image on page 3 alongside this article:

Independent – Prince’s cover in Afghanistan blown by Drudge Report: An American website, the Drudge Report, broke a news blackout yesterday by revealing that Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan for more than two months. To the fury of the Ministry of Defence and condemnation from the head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, the website announced a “world exclusive” and proclaimed: “They’re calling him ‘Harry the Hero!”… It is thought the source for the Drudge Report article was a story printed last month in an Australian women’s magazine, New Idea.

Back-pats to the Indy for this, and for not falsely describing Drudge as a ‘blogger’.

Brick-bats to New Idea and Matt Drudge… oh, and well-known Drudge-wannabe Paul Staines*.

What Drudge did was take something that had been previously reported by regional ragsters who claimed to be unaware of the embargo, and used that to knowingly break the embargo… while screaming ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

And now the eyes of the world are upon him, Matt Drudge is getting greedy. Below is the article published by Drudge yesterday. The text in bold is the paragraph that he has since deleted:

PRINCE HARRY FIGHTS ON FRONTLINES IN AFGHANISTAN; 3 MONTH TOUR
Thu Feb 28 2008 11:37:52 ET

They’re calling him “Harry the Hero!”

British Royal Prince Harry has been fighting in Afghanistan since late December–and has been directly involved in battle.

Australian magazine NEW IDEA and the German daily BILD have broken world embargoes on the development. CNN has debated internally on the merits of reporting Harry at war.

The prince, a junior officer in the Blues and Royals, and third in line to the throne, has been a “magnificent soldier” and an “inspiration to all of Briton.”

Prince Harry is talking part in a new offensive against the Taliban.

Ministry of Defense and Clarence House refuse all comment. Army chiefs have managed to keep the prince away from media and have encourage fellow soldiers in his squadron to stay quiet.

Developing…

Not that the people at New Idea have any complaints; they themselves are busy rewriting history today…. and here’s why:

The Australian – New Idea, no idea of Harry embargo: New Idea had no idea it was breaking an embargo when it revealed on its website that Prince Harry was fighting in Afghanistan. The weekly magazine has been criticised by a British army chief for leaking the news of the young royal’s frontline deployment, which was subject to a strict media blackout. A German newspaper and then US website the Drudge report picked up the story this week. With the ban broken, the story has received intensive coverage in Britain and around the world. The story was published on New Idea’s website on January 7, said editor-in-chief Robyn Foyster.

SMH – No idea: New Idea in the dark about Harry blackout: An Australian women’s magazine has denied deliberately breaching a media news blackout about Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. New Idea is at the centre of a storm in Britain, accused of leaking the news the 23-year-old prince is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and potentially putting his life in danger. The magazine published a story about Harry’s secret tour of duty on its website in January in an apparent breach of a strict media blackout on the story. It appears few noticed the story. It was only after US website the Drudge Report picked up the story and broadcast it around the world, after a German newspaper ran a piece yesterday, that the storm blew up.

[Psst! “Woman’s magazine” is putting it kindly; New Idea (nicknamed ‘No Idea’ long before this debacle) is a trashy supermarket tabloid.]

Now, while everyone else is revelling in their ability to use material that was previously embargoed until April, New Idea has decided to ‘disappear’ the items in question. If you visit either of these URLs, the original teaser and article will not appear; instead, on both pages, you’ll get a bog-standard bio of Prince Harry (that’s been put together so hurriedly that the picture fails to load)…
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/9210/prince-harry-war-lord/

So now, +++ EXCLUSIVELY +++ at Bloggerheads (via the cached pages stored by Google and Live Search), I present the two original items in full:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry Goes to War in Afghanistan
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 07 at 04:33pm EDT at:

http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/

Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

Not seen in public since the middle of December, New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry now joins his uncle Prince Andrew as a royal who has been to war.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance’ said a friend ‘but Harry threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw’.

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

No idea there was an embargo? What does the word ‘covert’ mean to these people?

Here’s the article that followed that teaser a week later:

NEW IDEA: Prince Harry: War Lord
Originally published by New Idea on Jan 15 at 12:07pm EDT at:

http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/new-idea/8771/prince-harry-goes-to-war-in-afghanistan/

Maverick Prince Harry has joined his regiment on a covert mission to Afghanistan and his unit has already seen front line action.

New Idea can exclusively reveal that despite opposition from senior members of the British government and the royal family itself, Harry flew out with his regiment and joined the troops on the front line. He spent Christmas with his men at the sharp end of the action.

‘Harry found members of his unit were to be posted in Afghanistan for a four-month tour of duty over Christmas and the New Year,’ a close friend tells New Idea.

‘He had already begrudgingly accepted the decision to keep him off the front line in Iraq, but when he heard about the mission in Afghanistan he was insistent he would not stay at home eating Christmas dinner and living it up at the palace while his men were on the front line.

‘At first there was a lot of resistance, but Harry even threatened to resign his commission and serve as a private if he was kept from the battlefield – and that proved to be the final straw,’ the friend says.

‘He wants to be a real soldier who gets the same treatment as any other officer of his rank – and that means going to war just like everybody else.’

Prince Charles was said to be against the idea of Harry seeing active service, but sources say that with the support of his elder brother William, and uncle Prince Andrew, who flew helicopters during the Falklands war, Harry convinced Charles not to take action to prevent him from going.

The Queen is said to have sent Harry a card with her best wishes and a gift with sentimental value that he has kept private.

Before he left, Harry invited William and some of his close friends to a secret ‘godspeed’ party at Boujis nightclub in London.

Guests were under strict instruction that there was to be no mention of the real reason for the party and no toasts or public discussion of Harry’s imminent departure.

The British government is said to strongly oppose Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan. Their official reason is that his presence may put his fellow soldiers at risk, but defence commentators have been quick to suggest it may be more to do with their fear that Harry could be killed or injured fighting George Bush’s ‘war on terror’. This would doom Gordon Brown’s Labour government in the next election.

But Harry has always been insistent that he wanted to see active duty and he hated the idea of being wrapped in cotton wool while his men put their lives on the line.

He famously said: ‘There’s no way I’m going to put myself through Sandhurst and then sit on my a*** back home while my boys are out fighting for their country.’

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

Again, reading what has been published (and since ‘disappeared’), one might get the impression that – even if New Idea didn’t know of the embargo – they certainly should have noticed the alarm bells in their own damn article!

Which might be why that article and the teaser have been removed; New Idea’s statement on the matter reads as follows:

“New Idea was not issued with a press embargo and was unaware of the existence of one… The story was published on Monday, January 7. Since then New Idea has received no comment from the British Ministry of Defence. We take these matters very seriously and would never knowingly break an embargo. We regret any issues the revelation of this story in America has caused today.”

Scroll up and read the article again. Try to work out how it was planned for at least a week, researched, penned and published without anyone involved becoming aware of the merest possibility of a hint of an embargo.

And, if you’re of the opinion that New Idea knowingly breached the embargo and find yourself wondering why, there’s a subtle hint in the closing line of each item…

Full details on this breaking story in this week’s New Idea

For more Royal Watch, check out the latest issue of New Idea – on sale now!

So now it’s New Idea with a secret they’d rather the media didn’t report.

Share at will.

[*Paul Staines happily ran with the outing and there are suggestions from anonymous readers (or from Staines himself; sometimes it’s hard to tell) that Staines knew all about it, and even dropped hints. What a guy. He inspires me to drop hints myself from time to time because, as Staines notes here, if you dish it out…]

UPDATE – Hahahahahaha! Great input from Anorak.

UPDATE – Many comments under this ABC article. New Idea gets a repeated kicking.

UPDATE – Staines nearly trips over himself trying to get in on the action.

UPDATE – PM on Radio 4 this afternoon (from 5pm); “Tonight on the programme, we’ll trace the origins of the story. “ Top stuff.

UPDATE – That programme tracked the earliest press mention back to the ever-reliable News Of The World (on June 3, 2007 IIRC). Indigo Red has documented some of the reports that followed that, and it would appear that The Observer also carried an item on that same day. I don’t have confirmation on this, but my gut is telling me that this early coverage (published long before Harry went to Afghanistan) is pre-embargo, and may even have triggered the embargo.








Posted in It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement | 10 Comments

Joseph Obi and bits and bobs

Yesterday (27 Feb), Joseph Chikelue Obi uploaded these nude(!) photos of himself on Flickr [sfw], presenting them as a slide show via one of his many, many domain names.

One can only assume that this is part of the PR push for… his new Hollywood movie!

Abolish the GMC – General Medical Council Goes To Hollywood

We are exceedingly pleased to announce that previous pages of particular blog have just been sold to a Budding Hollywood Movie Producer .

Please kindly visit us during the latter part of the year 2012 to view the Film Trailer.

In the interim , all future pages will be solely used for the Public Awareness Purposes ; for serious matters relating to Institutional Racism at the General Medical Council.

Thank You for all your wonderful support.

Best Wishes,

Joseph Chikelue Obi
General Medical Council Opposition Leader

Every other entry from the ‘Abolish the GMC’ blog has been deleted (but I did what I could to preserve some of the wonderful hat-standery via Google’s cache and you can do the same if you’re quick).

Meanwhile, LayScience has an excellent post about one of Grand Master Obi’s many, many products and publications.

He’s like a gift from heaven, this man; a perfect example of shameless blogging fraud in action, and much more fun than Iain Dale.

Speaking of that neck of the woods, Garry has been discussing a few things with our chum Donal Blaney and Iain has popped by to have a word under this post. A great follow-up post can be found here.

You may also care to spend a cuppa pondering on this post by Richard Bartholomew on the subject of the UK Libertarian Right.

[Psst! Sorry I haven’t been around lately. I’m off the fags, and for good this time. My body’s not sure what to do with all the extra oxygen it’s getting, so for most of the last couple of days my brain has been a bit… thingy. Email backlog will be dealt with tomorrow.]








Posted in Teh Interwebs, The Political Weblog Movement, UK Libel Law | 9 Comments

Thought Crime night at the Manifesto Club

Via Poons and Justin:

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) will be speaking at the Manifesto Club tonight as ‘a supporter of free speech’.

I had a question about an outgoing fella with a colourful past who lived and worked in Britain, but based his business in Ireland; I wanted to ask if this person undermining his critics with sock-puppetry and/or intimidating them with baseless legal threats amounted to an attack on free speech…

… but I’m not entirely sure how Paul would take such a question, so I think I’ll leave it alone.

[If you attend, please consider recording the event. I’d love to hear Paul’s side of this story.]








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

Brown government still dragging its heels on Iraqi employees issue

As you’re probably aware from watching the latest WMD and torture developments, the Brown government is becoming increasingly convinced of its ability to sweep some outstanding matters under the rug after a perfunctory dusting.

In fact, they appear to think that they can also let the small matter of Iraqi employees slip by without anyone at home making too much fuss…

Dan Hardie – Iraqi Employees: Fine words, shabby deeds: A small number of Iraqis – fewer than a dozen, according to people close to the operation who are in contact with me- were removed from Iraq in the early autumn of 2007. Since the Prime Minister’s admirable declaration of October, how many Iraqi ex-employees have been evacuated from Iraq? According to all the Iraqis that I am in contact with: none.

I’ve tried to get something more than words out of my MP, with little luck.

You may do better:
Please try. Then please share.

Cheers all.








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

Meet Tanja Suessenbach of Lexcity.org Ltd

Joseph Chikelue Obi (aka The Obi One) continues to delight us with fantastic testimonials (via) and even more fantastic stat-porn, but this morning I’d like to focus on another main player in this battle for justice; Tanja Suessenbach.

Tanja Suessenbach is named by The Register as the legal representative of Grand Master Joseph Chikelue Obi.

She is billed as a former student of King’s College London here and here and you can see a photo of this feisty fighter for freedom in action here. As you can see, she is a very presentable young lady (and no doubt a very charismatic one also).

So you may be interested to know that this ‘want’ ad and this ‘want’ ad and this ‘want’ ad were all posted by Tanja Suessenbach, who appears to be starting a fashion school in London.

This might be why she took on the case of this most controversial of doctors; they have similar edu-entrepreneurial instincts (The Obi One used to run a language school).

Tanja Suessenbach makes it clear on her website that she is NOT a solicitor, but rather a legal consultant (who can “provide cost-effective legal assistance to all those who cannot afford the often very high legal costs”).

(And you can clearly see via comparing lexcity.org to ittrainingcenter.ro how very serious Tanja Suessenbach is about cutting costs.)

Primary URL: http://www.lexcity.org/

WHOIS: lexcity.org is registered in the name of Andre Alexander Gottshalk, Flat 9, Beaumont Court, 5 Streatham Place, SW2 4PY

Company details: According to main website Lexcity.org; Lexcity.org Ltd, registered in England and Wales, No. 6064790 – registered address: 147 B Knights Hill, London, SE27 0SP

Business listings: Here and here, business address listed as; 44 Oakdale Road, London, SW16 2HL

[Psst! I want to make it clear that – since the authorities moved in on a dodgy builder at the Beaumont Court address – the property appears to have changed hands (it was sold on 26/09/2005 for 150k).]

I wanted to find out more about this Andre chap, so by using his telephone number (also provided by the WHOIS) I quickly managed to find out that he was also the man behind ‘Accent Softening’. Remember what I was saying about language schools?

Primary URLs: http://accentsoftening.lexcity.org/, http://www.accentsoftening.com/, http://www.accentsoftening.co.uk/

WHOIS: accentsoftening.co.uk is registered in the name of Andre Alexander Gottshalk, Flat 3, 44 Oakdale Road, Streatham, SW16 2HL

Business listings: According to this local business listing, the company is/was based at Knights Hill, London, SE27 0SP

As you can see, Tanja Suessenbach and Andre Alexander Gottshalk appear to intersect at two common addresses (just over a mile apart).

They also intersect at this Blogger-hosted weblog, which carries promotional links to lexcity.org and accentsoftening.com

Both that blog and Lexcity.org offer useful descriptions of the services provided by Tanja Suessenbach (yes, ‘civil litigation’ is listed), but with all of this confusion over past/present addresses and what not, I thought I’d try to find the very latest details, just in case any of these sites were outdated in any way… and I found them in this recent submission to CraigsList:

Affordable Employment Law Advice and Cheap Represenattion

Reply to: serv-582741644@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-02-22, 4:36PM GMT

We are legal consultants, who specialise in Employment Law.

We provide advice to employees and companies in claims for race or sex discrimination, unfair dismissal, disability, redundancy, unpaid wages and equal pay and provide cheap representation at Employment Tribunals.

We also advise companies on a wide range of employment issues.

Our rates are extremely competitive.

[snip numbers]

Email: info@lexcity.org
Or visit our webpage at www.lexcity.org

So, what have we learned from all this?

Well, we’ve learned that if you’re poor and vulnerable – and even if you struggle with English – then Tanja Suessenbach stands ready to offer you legal consultation and even some forms of representation at bargain-basement prices (when she’s not busy working on her new fashion school).

Warms the heart, doesn’t it?

What an angel of mercy she is.

And I’m especially impressed that Netcetera caved so readily to her. This, surely, is a testament to her great skill as a solicitor provider of limited forms of legal consultation and fashion tuition.








Posted in Teh Interwebs, UK Libel Law | 17 Comments

Meet Joseph Chikelue Obi and his army of supporters

The Register would have you believe that another ISP has cowardly caved to ridiculous legal threats, but I know better because I’ve read and heard the personal testimony of Doctor Joseph Chikelue Obi…

Dr Joseph Chikelue Obi Sensationally Appears On YouTube !

professorjosephchikelueobi.com – Dr Joseph Obi Wins Again !:

Financier of the Alternative Medicine Fights Back Campaign , Dr Joseph Obi , has maverickly brushed aside recent attempts to discredit him based on GMC Sponsored News Articles.

Speaking in Belfast where he is currently enjoying a wonderful weekend he said :

” When I was told that the Enemies of Alternative Medicine had recruited 5000 (Five Thousand) Bloggers to write rubbish about me 24 hours a day , ( every single day of the year ) , I said OK . . . Let’s wait and see precisely what they will say . . . (Because in my view , it is a perfectly Good Military Tactic to sit back and watch them all come creeping out of the woodwork , so that I know precisely what their capabilities are).

Well, I must say, he’s won me over… that is an *excellent* strategy, and I for one can’t wait to try it myself now that the supporters of Doctor Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi have had a chance to ‘come out of the woodwork’ (so to speak).

Let’s begin with the video linked above, brought to YouTube by WellnessFM:

Primary external website link: http://www.royalcam.org/

WHOIS: royalcam.org is registered in the name of the Royal College of Alternative Medicine (RCAM), 18-19 College Green, Dublin

[Psst! This address is one provided by this call centre provider.]

Like this video @ WellnessFM and this video @ WellnessFM, Obi’s appeal has been posted as a video reply to a largely unrelated but also largely popular video; this means that we cannot even reliably guesstimate how many interested parties there are (for or against), as an unknown amount of traffic has originated from the resulting referral link. The ‘links’ has been turned off, so we can’t see where any other inbound links are coming from. Finally, the only positive comment allowed under this video (so far) is this one:

However, it’s a start. Nice official-sounding and reassuring name, too. Following the profile link takes us to the YouTube Channel of MedicalDoctors:

Primary external website link: http://www.MedLC.org

WHOIS: medlc.org is registered in the name of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, 18-19 College Green, Dublin

Oh dear.

That’s not good.

But let’s press on. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for all of this, and it would be wrong of me to obsess over a possible sock-puppeting when there are real issues to be dealt with.

Looking up more about MedLC.org, I find this announcement from the General Medical Council Opposition Network:

General Medical Council Opposition Network – General Medical Council (GMC) fails bid to block Government Registration of Medical Licensing Commission (MLC):

Newsflash : It has just been revealed that Medical Licensing Commission has been duly incorporated as a lawful entity by the Government of the United Kingdom.

This comes after many months of Bitter Legal Wrangling whereby the General Medical Council (a ‘Registered Charity’) tried desperately to block State Recognition for the New Voluntary Regulatory Body (MLC).

The Official Registration Number of the Medical Licensing Commission is 05953931 , and it is billed to start lawful operations sometime next year , thereby offering Medical Graduates (Worldwide) the radical opportunity to obtain a hitherto unforseen additional form of Licensure which would allow them to still put their Medical Training to good use – even if they do not have (or find themselves suddenly losing) the Statutory Medical License to Practise in any chosen Jurisdiction.

The General Medical Council Opposition Network (run by someone who describes himself as ‘only a Sidekick of this Eminent Medical Rebel’ (i.e. Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi) urges its readers not to send them money directly to support their ‘Abolish The GMC’ campaign; they instead request that you direct money to the (third-party-provided) bookstore of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, the (third-party-provided) merchandise store of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi or royalcam.org (see above).

But it wouldn’t do to assume that the General Medical Council Opposition Network is run by Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, as some Wikipedia editors have recklessly claimed while discussing edits like this one from someone else with an official-sounding and reassuring username; MedicalNews.

Besides, the General Medical Council Opposition Network has received this shining endorsement from someone who also wishes us to know that we should Apply4Cash.co.uk

Primary external website link: http://www.Apply4Cash.co.uk

WHOIS: apply4cash.co.uk is registered in the name of Dr Joseph C. Obi, 7 Mersey Place, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 3ST

[Psst! This is a residential address, but not a current one for The Obi One. See comments.]

Erm, let’s move on, shall we?

What I’m going to do is take these endorsements for Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi and the Medical Licensing Commission at face value and see what else I can learn from these non-poisonous websites.

Appearing on the above website and on the MLC website is a (third-party-provided) animated Flash ad. The full script for this ad is below:

This is Maria your medically qualified wellness consultant speaking. The Grand Master of the Medical Licensing Commission has kindly asked me to put you through your professional registration paces. Thankfully, he will be passing by from time to time to see how well we are getting on. We really do have so many administrative formalities to cover in such little time, so I must publicly request all qualified medical graduates to email all of the necessary documentation and fees without delay to enable us to duly induct them into a brand new clinical profession.

A brand new clinical profession, you say? Headed by Professor Grand Master Joseph Chikelue Obi, no less?

And it sounds like they have a *lot* of work to do.

Wow, no wonder Grand Master Joseph Chikelue Obi is so concerned that some bloggers are colluding with the GMC in a clear attempt to undermine his reputation!

Thankfully, now that I look closely, I can also see some bloggers batting for him:

The British Loans weblog carries a supportive article entitled ‘Royal College of Alternative Medicine Boss Defeats General Medical Council’.

Primary weblog URL: http://www.north-east.org.uk/ (formerly used to promote an english school by ‘DrJCObi@aol.com’)

WHOIS: north-east.org.uk is registered in the name of Dr Joseph Chikelue Obi, 7 Mersey Place, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 3ST

Erm, moving on, Grand Master Obi also enjoys the support of the NHS Alternative Medicine weblog, and…

Primary weblog URL: http://www.nhsalternativemedicine.com/

WHOIS: nhsalternativemedicine.com is registered in the name of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, 18-19 College Green, Dublin

Profile: Same blogger profile used for nhsalternativemedicine.com and professorjosephchikelueobi.com includes email address ProfessorJCObi@aim.com and primary link to clinicalschool.org (also registered in the name of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, 18-19 College Green, Dublin)

Erm… well, there are lots of other weblogs supporting him, too. Look:

The UK Credit weblog
The Irish Loans weblog
The Self Care Clinic weblog
The Cancer Care Clinic weblog
The Self Medication Clinic weblog
The Irish Doctor weblog

Profile: Same Blogger profile used for UK Credit, Irish Loans, Self Care Clinic, Cancer Care Clinic, Self Medication Clinic, Irish Doctor … and the Medical Licensing Commission (M L C)

Primary external website link: http://www.MedLC.org

WHOIS: medlc.org is registered in the name of Professor Joseph Chikelue Obi, 18-19 College Green, Dublin

Erm…

No, I’m sorry, but you cannot shake my love for this man, his mission to protect other human beings, and his downright adorable desire to give punctuation the breathing space it deserves.

I’ll carry no truck with any blogger who dares to question his credentials, mock his entrepreneurial leanings or suggest that he is such an irrepressible quack that he now seeks to begin an independent accreditation system for all quacks, because – while he may not have an army of supporters – he’s still got *me*.

And the worst that I’ll say about him is that I think it *might* be fair to say that he *may* be projecting a little when he claims to be the victim of ‘Internet Spamming Technology’.

Related bloggage:
The Quackometer – Ethical Quackery, the Monarchy and Kate Moss
The Quackometer – More Threats to the Quackometer

Related articles:
The Evening Chronicle – Shamed doctor probe (see also; ‘avoid at all costs‘)
icTeeside – Probe Doc says ‘I’m the victim’ [at 31 quid a minute!]
Independent.ie – Banned doctor claims to head college that does not exist








Posted in UK Libel Law | 11 Comments

Rebekah Wade offers a masterclass in mob control

Page 3 editorialThe Sun – Death penalty: Your verdict: Almost 100,000 Sun readers unite today to call for the return of the death penalty. Monster Mark Dixie, Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright and the teenage killers of hero dad Garry Newlove have sickened the nation in recent weeks as details emerged of their vile crimes. All received jail sentences. But as the clamour grew for the return of capital punishment, The Sun on Saturday dared to ask the burning question: “Do we really want it back?” And a staggering 99 per cent of the 95,000 readers who responded to our You The Jury poll said the Government SHOULD reintroduce it.

OK, let’s start by generously accepting the following; every time the Sun runs a high-profile phone poll, roughly 100,000 of their 3 million readers vote (another e.g.). Let’s also classify this result as a 3% ‘voter turnout’ (rather than a vote involving 2,900,000 ‘undecideds’).

1. If the best The Sun can manage is a 3% turnout on a bloody phone-in poll, then I may have to start rethinking my position on compulsory ballot casting.

2. There’s been a clear attempt to skew the debate… and not in the way that you might expect. On Saturday, the poll was announced using an entire colour page dominated by a menacing set of gallows (i.e. a single scarified option). The poll question was; “Do we really want it back?”

3. Today’s front page and editorial pretty much scream; “No, wait… think about it!”

4. That same editorial also says; “(Capital punishment) will not be brought back on a wave of public emotion, however much we sympathise with it.” which isn’t entirely in keeping with Rebekah Wade’s position in past crusades for justice… but perhaps she’s starting to cotton on to this whole 3% turnout thing.

5. Of those readers who bothered to turn out for a phone poll, 99% of them are in such an emotional state that they are calling for a return to the death penalty, and some of them were even calling for a return to *public hanging* before the poll had started. In that case (and in most other cases not involving treason), the primary trigger/justification for bloodlust is the paedo-monster.

6. The kind of paedo-monster The Sun taunts its readers with all too often.

7. Lost control of the mob again, have we, Rebekah?

8. Rebekah Wade is so desperate to calm her readers, she’s even using her secret weapon, the Page 3 girl, and there’s some lovely spin on this boobtastic editorial; it’s because of the terrible things that we make you afraid of that we need a stronger alternative to the death penalty!

Amy D can understand why victims are calling for the return of the death penalty. But Amy says: “There are so many terrible people stalking the streets, that there has to be a stronger deterrent. They should be locked way forever.”

9. Locked away forever? At great expense to the taxpayer? Am I really reading this in the Sun newspaper? No wonder Rebekah is having trouble reigning in readers like xms, who had this to say on the subject of capital punishment:

Not only should we bring back hanging, we should also bring back the “Birch” for unruly thugs. Our prison are full of psychopathic killers who should have been executed years ago. Instead, it costs the taxpayers billions of pounds to keep these killers in a life of luxury for the rest of their miserable life’s.

By bring back hanging we reduce over populated prisons, and save money that could go on hospitals, medical research etc. It’s about time politicians did their jobs, and started listening to the people they are supposed to represent. Forget the religious leaders, and the goody-goody brigade who are against hanging, and use common sense. If you deliberately kill someone you hang. If you steal, mug someone, burgle someones home, you get the Birch.

10. How can Rebekah Wade possibly hope to turn this round (or at least keep things down to a dull roar)? Well, by being a little smarter about which buttons she pushes, of course:

Achtung! Ze Germans!

UPDATE (26 Feb) – Septicisle – Scum-watch: A lesson in attempting to puncture its own emotional balloon








Posted in Page 3 - News in Briefs, Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch | 2 Comments

That must have been torture…

Guardian – Miliband admits US rendition flights stopped on UK soil: Britain acknowledged today for the first time that US planes on “extraordinary rendition” flights stopped on British soil twice. The admission came from the foreign secretary, David Miliband, who apologised to MPs for wrong information given by his predecessor Jack Straw and former prime minister Tony Blair.

Some homegrown background if you need it:
Bloggerheads – Torture: Brown and the boy Miliband each need to grow a pair

More here on another honest mistake:
Bloggerheads – Smells like… election victory

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… Brown can go stuff himself while Straw’s in the cabinet and the torture issue remains largely in the closet.

UPDATE (22 Feb) – More from Justin, Garry and Beau Bo d’Or.








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

Paul Staines: And we’re done.

It’s 4pm. And we’re done.

[This post will get bigger in a bit.]

UPDATE (4:30pm)

Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) was told to put up or shut up… and he chose the latter option.

Didn’t stop Dizzy from trying to pick a fight, though. Iain Dale had a bit of a go, too… but it was so pathetic an effort it’s barely worth mentioning.

Tch. No self control, these people. Everybody saw the role misleading and personal attacks from right-wing blogs played in this and how Iain Dale completely stalled matters last week with this ‘axe killer’ comment*. For Staines’ sake, they only had to keep their heads down for ONE day.

Oh well.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was:

1. Thank you.

I’ll make the time to include a linky-list of support posts from during the dispute here later (not a smart idea right now with a shaky database on a busy afternoon):

[OK, here you go. Do let me know if I’ve missed anyone.]

Matt Buck, Justin McKeating, Garry Smith, Jim Bliss, Dave Cole, D-Notice, Septicisle, Political Hack, John Hirst, Sim-O, Tom Watson, Bob Piper, Blairwatch, Back off, man; I’m a scientist, Never Trust a Hippy, Richard Bartholomew, Drink Soaked Popinjays for War, Henry North London, The Yorkshire Ranter, Zinzine, SF Diplomat, Larry Teabag, Francis Sedgemore, Chris Paul, Mike Ion, Freeborn John, Media Watch Watch, Anorak, Bananas in the Falklands, Blood & Treasure, Unity, Our Man in Newcastle, Curly, RickB, Peter Gasston, Hopi Sen, Sunny Hundal, tyger, sbalb, Quinn, Poons.

2. Please bear witness.

You all saw what happened; MessageSpace played nicey-nice and/or ‘no comment’ after Staines set his lawyer onto me. Staines made no mention of this on his website, but when I refused to roll over, I was subjected to a series of increasingly vicious personal attacks from his mates (and a great many of those personal attacks attempted to portray my side of it as a personal attack).

We wouldn’t stand for this kind of bullying and disinformation in old media, so why the hell should we put up with it in new media?

This kind of crap does not work if more than a few bloggers stand up, say they’re not going to stand for it… and bloody well mean it. And that’s the only way to stop this kind of behaviour from spreading so far and fast that it overwhelms us before the next general election.

We have to individually lead by example… and not be afraid to challenge bloggers who present themselves as the leaders of blogging when they set a very poor example.

Otherwise no-one will take any of us seriously, and old media will continue to get away with dismissing personal contributions to the blogosphere while they themselves try to muscle in on the action while following the poorer example themselves. (Take, just for example, the rather self-serving comment moderation policies of most major newspapers.)

Sorry, I’ll get off the mount now.

(ahem)

When the time came to thinking about how cats should be released from bags if such an act were necessary, I thought some drama was called for… and perhaps a bit of music. A script was written for a video. That video won’t be made now, and I can’t share the script with you, but you can enjoy the bitchin’ soundtrack (if it helps, close your eyes and picture a bit of background in two main chapters, each ending with a series of increasingly alarming screengrabs and document scans, with a few soundgrabs to take us through the guitar solo):

Sherbet – Howzat

Cheers all.

[*I’m now sure it was Iain, even though he still refuses to be grown-up enough to confirm or deny it himself: Shane Greer once guested on Iain’s blog. Shane Greer hosts this comment. Case closed. This comment and all the others submitted by ‘Iain Dale’ under it are from our Iain. I look forward to discussing the use of bad language and abuse that he says that he won’t stand for on his own site (while appearing to suggest that I was banned for being sweary/abusive).]








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 20 Comments

Anne Milton, Dr Graham Henderson, and declarations of interest

Dr Graham Henderson, husband of Anne Milton MP, was Director of Public Health for the East Surrey PCT until late 2006 (i.e. until the formation of the Surrey mega-PCT, a move his wife opposed, BTW).

While in that position, Dr Graham Henderson was subject to the NHS Code of Conduct. I draw your attention to the following extract from that code:

NHS Code of Conduct – Declaration of Interests
It is a requirement that chairs and all board directors should declare any conflict of interest that arises in the course of conducting NHS business. All NHS organisations maintain a register of member’s interests to avoid any danger of board directors being influenced, or appearing to be influenced, by their private interests in the exercise of their public duties. All board members are therefore expected to declare any personal or business interest which may influence, or may be perceived to influence, their judgement. This should include, as a minimum, personal direct and indirect financial interests, and should normally also include such interests of close family members. Indirect financial interests arise from connections with bodies which have a direct financial interest, or from being a business partner of, or being employed by, a person with such an interest.

So if Dr Graham Henderson was employed in any way that would influence, or may be perceived to influence, his judgement, he should have declared it.

I now draw your attention to this entry from the East Surrey PCT Register of Members’ Interests from July 2006:

East Surrey PCT Register of Members’ Interests (July 2006):

Graham Henderson, Director of Public Health:
Wife is Member of Parliament for Guildford

And now, finally, I draw your attention to this extract from an article about Anne Milton’s expenses:

The Tory shadow minister for health has hired spouse Graham Henderson in each of her first two years in Westminster. Between 2005 and 2006, he earned £6,500 from Ms Milton’s expenses as a researcher while the former nurse was setting up her office. – (Surrey Ad – February 8, 2008)

Oh dear.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Dr Graham Henderson should have declared that period of employment, yes?

Dr Henderson may not be in a position where he can be held accountable for this oversight, but (as David Cameron and Anne Milton have made clear) the Conway matter and its fallout is an issue of public trust… and this does not look good.

[Tch. When people keep me waiting or jerk me around, I get bored and start to poke around. They only have themselves to blame.]








Posted in Anne Milton | 1 Comment