Posted by Tim Ireland at October 9, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

Independent – Campbell unspun: Spin-doctor reveals battle with depression: Alastair Campbell, one of the chief architects of New Labour and Tony Blair’s trusted communications chief, has revealed for the first time the depths of his struggle with depression – and how he suffered bouts throughout his time working at Downing Street.

Y’know… I’d have a lot more sympathy for the guy if he weren’t responsible for repeated use of the off-the-record “he/she is mentally unbalanced” brief against anyone who falls out with Tony Blair. Yet in this further article he actually has the cheek to claim that he’s concerned about ‘the portrayal of mental illness, especially in the media’… there’s a nice reinforcement of his version of history here, too:

Independent – Exclusive: Campbell on the couch: The whole period of the Hutton inquiry and the tragic death of Dr David Kelly put him under intense strain, which he describes as the “worst period”. “I did feel if the inquiry had gone against us that it would have been grim, really bad. Part of me was thinking about that a lot. Again it was one of those episodes where things spiralled out of control. “Let’s be brutally frank: if it had gone against us… it wasn’t just me who was out of a job, it was Tony. It was a phenomenal pressure. The blood they smelled was mine. “I felt completely confident in relation to the facts. But during the whole period it was a nightmare. And also you are thinking, ‘There’s this guy for whom it’s been such a nightmare he’s killed himself’. The day he died was without doubt the worst day. It was about the sadness that someone felt driven to do this.”

Spare me.

Campbell was out to fuck Gilligan and he fucked him. A man died as a result. Perhaps Alastair Campbell’s path to recovery can begin with accepting some small amount of responsibility for that.

After all, Blair let slip last year that the name was deliberately disclosed (more).

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 9, 2006

Category: Rupert 'The Evil One' Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun ‘news’ paper has – not once, but twice – on the eve of an election informed voters that what really matters when you cast your ballot is cock size.

Also, today, only Murdoch’s titles lead with the veil issue raised by Jack Straw on the front page, with both articles ever-so-subtly tying the use of veils to terrorism…

The Sun – Hidden danger: veiled Sun girl waved through UK airport
The Times – Suspect in terror hunt used veil to evade arrest

… so I think it’s fair to say that Rupert Murdoch has delivered his verdict on veils as well.

But he remains remarkably coy about who he plans to back at the next election, and I think I know why…

He hasn’t seen David Cameron’s cock yet.

My MP (also a Conservative) won’t show me her cock, which I think is typical of her evasive attitude.

How can we as voters know how much weight any given MP carries if we don’t know what they’re packing in their lunch-boxes? It’s a significant barrier to communication.

More importantly, how can we trust these people to put their balls on the table when they won’t even show us their cocks?

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 5, 2006

Category: Page 3 - News in Briefs

David Cameron: the boobs have spokenForget all that broadsheet chatter… today’s Page 3 girl has delivered her verdict on David Cameron:

Danni (19, from Conventry) thinks that “David’s Cameron’s” [sic] first keynote speech as Tory leader showed promise, but – after pausing to have ice-cubes applied to her nipples – she added; “I think the public needs to hear him focus more on policies and less on presentation if the Tories are going to realistically challenge Labour at the next election.”

And… surprise, surprise, today’s editorial by Rebekah Wade backs her to the hilt:

The Sun – Where is the beef, David?: WE ASKED for beef. We were offered cloudy, lukewarm soup. It was no surprise that David Cameron’s keynote speech to the Tories was devoid of new policy. That’s what he promised. But for those who want to know why they should vote Tory next time and not Labour, it was mostly hot air. Sure, he managed to get hostile Tories clapping by praising the NHS. He even wrung some applause by speaking favourably about social workers and single parents, once the hate figures of the Nasty Party. But there was nothing in this speech about immigration, legal or otherwise. There was nothing to suggest he will take on the ever-expanding EU empire. And although there were hints and nudges, there was precious little about the need to do something serious about organised crime. We know from Shadow Chancellor George Osborne that the Tories will never join the euro. And we’ve heard from Home Affairs spokesman David Davis that there would be more new prisons. But it would have been nice to hear the leader of the party put some flesh on the bones of issues like these which are so important to Sun readers. Nobody expected a great speech. Mr Cameron is wise not to try matching Tony Blair’s carefully polished rhetoric. But even a workmanlike speech like this should contain some material on which voters can get a grip. The Conservatives may no longer be the Nasty Party. But they cannot hope to win power just by positioning themselves a quarter of an inch to the right of everything Labour suggests. Nor can they simply hope for an automatic surge in support when Tony Blair finally steps down. We know from Mr Osborne that the party wants lower taxes. His promise of “sound money” is fine, but we need to know more about the way they would manage the economy. We need to know what they intend to do about gridlocked roads, chaotic classrooms, growing unemployment, organised crime. It’s no use waiting almost two years while think tanks come up with the answers in case Labour steals them. Voters will give the Tories their support only when they know what they are backing. And Mr Cameron gave them precious little to go on yesterday.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Tories and conferences… Anne Milton is currently blogging from the front lines, but something appears to have escaped her attention.

UPDATE – Yo! ‘Nother Webcameron vid. Check it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 3, 2006

Category: Humanity

John Lucas PrestonMeet John Lucas Preston. He was born in Britain in 1970 and grew up in Leeds.

At the age of 18, he visited Pakistan… and since then he has been battling for his life.

On 17 December 1988, while travelling from Rawalpindi to the village of Bhubar, John claims that Jamshid Khan (the taxi driver he had hired for this journey) attempted to physically/sexually assault him and – in the scuffle that followed – Khan produced a gun which then discharged, fatally injuring him.

John immediately drove to the nearest police station, reported the incident, handed over the weapon, and led police to the scene.

He was later charged with murder.

(According to one judge who heard his case – and there were many, as you’ll soon learn – police planted evidence on John at this time and later doctored witness statements “when all negotiations had failed” – a clear reference to attempts to elicit bribes.)

In 1989 the local secular court convicted John of murder and sentenced him to death. John appealed, and a high court dismissed the case saying there had been discrepancies.

In 1994, a lower court then found John guilty again, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. John appealed this new conviction again at the high court, which in 1996 again dismissed the case and acquitted him.

The case was then referred to the Federal Sharia Court, which convicted John of murder and robbery and sentenced him to death; this conviction was upheld even though:

1. The court conceded there had been no theft (it could be shown John paid for the taxi)
2. There were no witnesses (as is usually required for such a charge and sentence)

On appeal in the religious courts this conviction was again overturned. In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and a subsequent appeal to that court failed.

In 2005 an appeal for clemency to President Musharraf was declined.

Under Islamic provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code relating to murder, family members of a murder victim have the right waive the punishment and accept blood money as compensation. Despite extended negotiations, Jamshid Khan’s family continue to call for John’s execution.

And that pretty much brings us up to date.

John has spent close to 18 years – almost half of his life and his entire adult life – sitting in a foreign cell or any one of a number of foreign courts. For most of that time, he has lived under a sentence of death.

His execution has been postponed a number of times following a variety of protests, interventions and negotiations throughout 2006. Most recently the date for his execution was moved to last Sunday, which was handy for John and President Musharraf, as this date fell during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Handy for John, because – if the tradition of not executing prisoners during Ramadan holds up – he gets to live until at least late October.

Handy for President Musharraf, because this gave him the elbow room required to keep scheduled appointments with leaders in Europe and Britain and see what pressure he would be put under to (finally) intervene in this case.

As it turns out, that pressure was not sufficient to warrant intervention, but President Musharraf did feel compelled to make this face-saving claim:

“I am not a dictator. I cannot violate a court judgement, whether you like the court or not.” – General Pervez Musharraf – President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Oh, really?

“The President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.” – Article 45 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Blair meets MusharrafAnd this is all we get – even after a direct one-hour meeting with our glorious PM?

Well, in a word, yes…

10 Downing Street (28 September 2006): Tony Blair has welcomed President Musharraf of Pakistan to Chequers for talks on terrorism, Afghanistan and relations with India. The two leaders talked for over an hour in a private meeting. The PM thanked President Musharraf for Pakistan’s help in the investigations following the 7/7 attacks and its assistance in foiling foil the transatlantic terror plot over the summer. [Ed note – I just bet he did.] They also both reiterated their commitment to ensuring that the Taliban and Al Qaida are never able to re-establish a foothold in Afghanistan. The UK is the biggest foreign investor in Pakistan, and is Pakistan’s 5th largest export market.

No mention of a certain Briton about to be executed. At all.

Still, at least that last sentence goes some way to explaining why. Too bad they didn’t include other important market forces (for reasons of space, natch).

So why isn’t Blair under pressure to do more?

[Psst! Newbies! Trust me on this; it’s an important question. Our government is inclined to give valuable trading partners and/or allies in the glorious war on terror a hell of a lot of leeway… but only when it’s worth it and/or if they think they can get away with it.]

Specifically, why isn’t John Lucas Preston’s face splashed all over the front page of the Sun newspaper?

Why isn’t Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade screaming for the blood of those who would dare to allow a fellow countryman to suffer such a blatant and disgraceful miscarriage of justice?

Well, let me give you a clue:

Everything you’ve read above is true… apart from the name.

Mirza Tahir HussainJohn Lucas Preston is really Mirza Tahir Hussain.

He was born in Britain and raised in Leeds, but – when it comes down to it – Mirza is a bloody darkie, and simply not worth the bother.

And it’s not just overt racism at work here…

Attention all whities! Do me a favour, and read the following:

– John Lucas Preston
– Mirza Tahir Hussain

Now turn away from the screen and see which name you can best remember.


Mirza Tahir Hussain? Tch! His name may as well be Mumbo-Jumbo Something-Something (or perhaps even Jean Charles de Menezes).

Still, let’s be charitable and see if the good people at The Sun are – at the very least – granting John Mirza a passing mention. After all, they’re constantly reminding us that we have no choice but to back Bush and Blair’s war on terror, as the only alternative is the worldwide imposition of Islamic law. Seems to me that a pro-war angle goes begging. Let’s see:

Nope. Not a sausage. Let’s try the shorter version:

Nope. Still no joy. Looks like Mirza is shit out of luck on three fronts:

Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong race.

[Please note: If you or your loved ones suffer from a short attention span, this post can be summed up with a single image. Thank you for your time.]

UPDATE – See also: under|progress – The damning silence over Mirza Tahir Hussein

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 3, 2006

Category: Tony 'King Blair

As you might expect, The Scum have gone completely OTT on this story.

Here’s my view.

PS – OMG… they weren’t kidding! Tony Blair appears on Blue Peter this afternoon. I hope they’ve beefed up security in their garden…

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 3, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tom’s done made himself a vidcast! I can’t say that I agree with all of it (particularly the bit about politics “getting more decent the more local it gets”… *cough*), but at least he has a video… and that means he’s now officially ‘weblogging’ at last.

(That is right, isn’t it? It gets a little bit confusing with so many experts about.)

Also, Will Howells has issued a 2nd edition of Webcameraon. (Warning: the closing statement may upset some vegetarians.)

Oh, and I’ve been busy on the video front myself…

I suspect that the video embedded below is the one that will give you the biggest laugh (shame on you), but I urge you to also check out this humble offering:

Webcameron: unscripted and in stereo – this is a straight mix of the opening segments in this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ at the kitchen table and this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ doing the washing up. All totally unscripted, of course.

(One can only wonder how many takes this ‘natural’ exchange took… and if the unseen contributor was a driver who should have been paying more attention to the road than his script.)

There’s no editing to speak of; it’s simply a matter of one video being laid over the other. Very educational.

Anyway, lecture’s over. I promised you the possibility of a laugh, and here it comes… enjoy:

PS – Two messages for regulars of a certain age:


2. Whore my link, you bastards!

UPDATE – Psst! Got a spare £20?

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2006

Category: Inneresting

Special Friendships #1: The Foley scandal
Special Friendships #2: Peerage probe police quiz Tories
Special Friendships #3: White House in crisis over ‘Iraq lies’ claims

Fireworks? Already? Tch. And I’ve only just started on this year’s guy.

UPDATE – An extra-special Foley video. Enjoy.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2006

Category: Flash Music Video, Games and Objects

The latest New Tory Labour video is now online:

New Tory Labour Transmission #2 – Delivering Promises

And, just in case there’s any confusion among those who wish to one day make the tea (and perhaps be caught unawares by a film crew when doing so)….

This is a broadcast.
This is a weblog.
Many of these are also weblogs.
This is a broadcast.
This is a weblog.
This is a broadcast.
This is not a weblog.

Got that? Good. Mine’s a black tea with one sugar… and two milk-chocolate digestives, thanks.

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

What is blogging? Sam Roake explains...Sam Roake, who has been regularly name-checked for 3 months now as the head of the Conservatives’ web strategy, used to work for Google…. but what he actually did for Google is addressed almost universally as a throwaway line (in fact, here it is again).

Myself, I think it deserves a little bit of focus:

As a Google ‘maximiser’, Sam Roake wrote the copy for users of AdWords who did not feel that they were able to string a dozen words together.

He. Wrote. Ads.

Fair enough, this does require some skill, but it has sweet bugger all to do with Google’s central database – and knowing what you’re doing in this particular game requires knowledge not only of this database, but how its users interact with it (and each other).

When you’re about to go to the coal face and mine those rich seams, you want to make sure you have someone at the helm who knows what they’re doing; someone who has actually worked at the face and knows the potential risks and rewards inside-out.

Instead, the Conservatives have hired the chap from the tea-room who sold the biscuits (i.e. he was not considered responsible enough to make the tea).

The results so far speak for themselves:

1. In what universe do you have to live where you don’t realise that an “Oh, hello… you’ve caught me doing the washing up (with eco-liquid, no less)!” video is going to – quite rightly – get mocked again and again?

2. Comments? Until a few minutes ago, the only comments going live that related specifically to individual videos were going live under an unofficial mirror of the launch video on YouTube. The comments that were going live on the official site failed to raise a single response from David Cameron and/or his chosen ambassador(s). This. Is. Not. A. Conversation.

3. The response? A video interview with Sam Roake, who explains that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and proposes a brilliant solution; he wants to ask the users how they think the comments ‘problem’ can be addressed. Presumably because he has no ideas himself aside from a brilliant wheeze involving carefully ghost-written 12-word responses on behalf of David Cameron (that also double as ads for generic Viagra).

[UPDATE (1:30pm) – The video interview with Sam Roake has now been removed. How odd.]

4. And here’s the bit that really gets up my nose… David Cameron ‘caught in the middle of dinner’ and explaining away his lack of policies by stating that he has to clean up politics first. I sought to clean up politics in my local area (1, 2, 3, 4) and was recently rewarded with a very personal smear campaign run by local Tories. When I brought this to the attention of Conservative Central Office, they referred it back to this same group of Tories (1, 2) for ‘action’. (I also emailed David Cameron’s office about it, but have yet to receive a reply. Perhaps the evidence was ‘a bit technical’.)

So far, I’ve watched a number of Conservatives (and Blairites) have a go at this incredibly new ‘conversation’ idea, but – with very few exceptions – their approaches have been marked by desperation, dishonesty, arrogance, ignorance… or a mind-bending combination of all four.

I’m not seeing anything new here… and Sam Roake can’t prove me wrong without first delivering Anne Milton’s head on a stick.

UPDATE – And here’s a picture, boys and girls…

Posted by Tim Ireland at October 2, 2006

Category: George W. Bush, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid

Belfast Telegraph – Bush claims victory as Senate approves terror suspects bill: Both sides are claiming victory from the compromise. But human rights groups say the final version allows the President too much discretion in deciding what interrogation methods are legitimate, and in providing immunity for CIA interrogators from prosecution for war crimes. The Bill, passed by a 253-168 vote in the House, sets up military tribunals to try suspects. It thus complies with June’s Supreme Court ruling that any such system must be approved by Congress, and cannot merely be imposed by the Pentagon, as were the tribunals set up at Guantanamo Bay. But defendants’ rights will still fall well short of those guaranteed by civilian and most military courts. It also defines war crimes including torture, rape and biological experiments on detainees. But Mr Bush will have wide authority to decide which other interrogation techniques are legal. The legislation also fulfils a vital political purpose. With party ranks reunited, the White House is again trying to manoeuvre Democrats in a corner, in which it can depict the latter’s opposition to anti-terror legislation as proof of weakness on national security. Republicans are counting on the issue to retain control of Congress in November. After the House vote, Dennis Hastert, the Speaker, accused the 168 Congressmen who opposed it (all but eight of them Democrats) of “voting in favour of more rights for terrorists”. If Democrats had their way, he said, they would “coddle” the very people who were trying to harm Americans around the world.

Please note that – at the core of that latter deception – is the absolute certainty that all suspected terrorist are terrorists.

Some further reading for you below. Me, I’m rendered all-but-speechless right now, and have nothing to add beyond the one thing that is a certainty… America is now a rogue state.

Ian MacLeod’s Blog – They Passed the Torture Bill, Gave Bush Wiretapping, and America is Dead
The Existentialist Cowboy – The Week in Review from Republican Occupied America
Kurt Nimmo – Habeas Corpus Murdered, Few Notice
Amnesty International – USA: Congress rubber stamps torture and other abuses
Juan Cole – Craig Murray on Manufacturing Terror (Oil, Lily Pad Bases and Torture)
The UK Today – You may like to think that the following couldn’t happen here

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