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Craig Murray
Writer and broadcaster


Craig Murray is a Scottish dissident, human rights
activist, writer, and former British Ambassador. He is
currently Rector of the University of Dundee and an
Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster
School of Law.

Click to buy The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known

Click to find out more about Murder in Samarkand and other books that may be of interest

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February 5, 2009

The Most Rancid Hypocrisy

It is four years now since I was sacked as Ambassador for opposing MI6's use of intelligence gained from torture and passed to MI6 by the CIA under the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Telegram.pdf

Yet with incredible hypocrisy, four years after I exposed the whole evidence, David Miliband continues to trot out the barefaced lie that the UK does not support or condone torture.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/05/guantanamo-miliband-torture
even while referring to yet another case that proves beyond doubt that the UK receives torture intelligence from the CIA.

Meanwhile parliament continues to behave as though this is a terrible thing they knew nothing about. I am still furious that I was called to testify before both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, while the British parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee refused to accept my evidence.

None so blind as those who will not see. The stinking hypocrisy on this issue extends beyond New Labour.

Posted by craig on 3:33 PM 05/02/09 under The Book | Comments (25)

February 1, 2009

Fiddling While Rome Burns

The nauseating smugness of the Davos gathering is sickening enough at the best of times. In these very bad times, it is unbearable. The idea that we just need to recover confidence and get credit moving again, was precisely what the promoters of the South Seas and Darien schemes said when those schemes collapsed. The Church of England were quite right to characterise New Labour's proposed remedies as "An addict returning to his drug".

Brown's extraordinary reliance on paid advisers from the merchant banks themselves to devise the way forward is laughable - not to mention the hideously unpleasant Baroness Vedera, one of the endless stream of democratically unaccountable Brown cronies parachuted into the Lords as ministers. And if one more penny of public money gets put into the banks without all bank bosses and staff being put on civil service pay rates, I am organising a tax strike.

Am in the middle of moving house, so no more from me until the end of the week.

Posted by craig on 6:20 PM 01/02/09 under UK Policy | Comments (143)

January 31, 2009

People Who Really Don't Like Me

I had a rather peculiar happy thought today, caused by a somewhat aggressive phone call I received yesterday. The happy thought is that, while I am generally regarded as a pleasant and amusing fellow, there are a small but definite number of people who absolutely detest me.

How can that be a happy thought? Well, let me list them. I do not include people I surmise may dislike me, but only those I know for sure are aware of my existence and have said very nasty things about me:

Islam Karimov
Tony Blair
Jerry Rawlings
Gordon Brown
Tim Spicer
Jack Straw
Alisher Usmanov
Peter Mandelson
Gulnara Karimova
Baroness Amos
Lord Taylor of Blackburn
David Aaronovitch


That really is a collection of deeply unlovely people. If I have managed to do anything to protect anyone else from the effects of their relentlessly succesful and acquisitive lives, then I have achieved something in my life after all.

Posted by craig on 10:15 AM 31/01/09 under The Book | Comments (41)

January 27, 2009

New Labour's Britain and The Silencing of Dissent

We all need to take a step back and see what kind of society we have become; in particular the Stalinist silencing of voices of dissent - even within our universities.

I have seen my past server host pull this website and my publisher pull my book, in attempts to silence my dissenting opinions. We overcame those, but they should never have happened. Now I have been telephoned by the University of Cambridge to be told that security staff will physically prevent me from entering the University of Cambridge to give a talk there.

What have we become? I have responded thus and am now off to Cambridge.

Dear Dr Elliott,

As I told you on the telephone, I was invited some weeks ago to speak this evening in a debate on the merits of the Afghan War. I learnt this morning that plans had changed due to a student occupation of a university building over University policy towards Gaza, and as the organisers of my debate were involved in the occupation, I was requested to switch my talk to the Law Faculty. I agreed to do so.

I then heard from you that the authorities had decided to exclude non-University members from the law faculty, and should I arrive to give my talk I will not be admitted; and indeed be physically prevented from entering.

I have given this some thought, and I have decided that the threat not to admit me to the University building is unwarranted.

As you may realise, I am Rector of the University of Dundee (and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law). I am not personally intending to occupy your building for longer than it takes to give a talk, and certainly intend to cause no damage. I am not a health and safety risk.

I am invited to lecture at Universities and other prestigious institutions worldwide; normally universities are urging me to come, not seeking to turn me away! I understand that a number of people are looking forward to hearing me this evening. To threaten to exclude me is a denial of freedom of speech which I find very peculiar behaviour for the University of Cambridge.

Student occupations are hardly a new phenomenon, and normally can easily be resolved through amicable negotiation. I was quite astonished to learn that Cambridge University had responded by attempting to starve the students out. To try also to ban a guest speaker seems to me likely to inflame and prolong, rather than resolve, the dispute.

It seems to me that the easiest way out of the current difficulty of my visit is for you to extend to me an invitation to speak this evening on behalf of the Faculty.

With all best wishes,

Craig Murray

Posted by craig on 3:47 PM 27/01/09 under Dundee Uni | Comments (144)

January 26, 2009

Jack Straw's Corrupt Partner, Lord Taylor of Blackburn, Demands £120,000 to "Bend the Rules"

The disgusting Lord Taylor of Blackburn, who together with Justice Secretary Jack Straw forms the chief parliamentary support for the stinkingly corrupt BAE arms company, has been caught out demanding £120,000 to peddle his New Labour influence in the House of Lords.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/4339198/Labour-Lords-how-peer-allegedly-offered-to-bend-the-rules-for-120000-fee.html

As ever, this blog was there first - eighteen months ago. We have in fact been all over Lord Scumbag like a rash. These are essential reading as background to the current scandal:
http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/08/theres_good_mon.html#comments


http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/08/more_lord_scumb.html

I think this passage I wrote in 2007 has been roundly vindicated:

Straw's links with BAE are partly conducted through Lord Taylor of Blackburn, the former leader of the Blackburn with Darwen Council that includes Straw's Blackburn constituency. Lord Taylor, an archetypal New Labour apparatchik from Straw's constituency machine, has lived off the taxpayer in Labour Party appointed posts all his life. He is now chiefly known as the second highest claimer of expenses in the House of Lords. In 2005 Lord Taylor claimed over �57,000 of tax-free expenses, over three times the average claim of under �19,000. he spoke 15 times in the year.
But he doesn't really need that public money anymore, as the grasping creep Taylor is the primary conduit between the defence industry and New Labour. He has been a highly paid "Consultant" to BAE for over a decade. He also has used some of that money to make major contributions to Jack Straw's election expenses in his Blackburn constituency, declared by Straw in the Register of Member's interests. Lord Taylor also regularly makes large contributions to fund Blackburn New Labour. When I stood against Straw in Blackburn at the last election, Taylor was present with Straw at a black tie event hosted by BAE in the constituency said to be "unrelated to the election".
Interestingly, this year in the House of Lords' Register of Members' interests, BAE has disappeared from Taylor's list of eleven paid consultancies and two paid directorships. It might be interesting to dig for links between these companies and BAE. Some are certainly arms firms - including the highly sinister Electronic Data Systems.
EDS is another of the arms companies that has made many billions from the Iraq war. Among their many current defence contracts is a $12 billion project on electronic systems for the US armed forces. Presumably a well-plugged in New Labour apparatchik like Lord Taylor was of no hindrance to EDS in March 2005 when they landed a �2.5 billion contract from the UK MOD for a similar project. Indeed, if Lord Taylor cannot help swing that kind of contract, why are EDS paying him?
I do not have power of words sufficiently to condemn the institutional sleaze of a system where a scumbag like Lord Taylor can be put, unelected, by Labour into a seat for life in the national legislature. There, while a legislator, he can act as a well paid and highly connected lobbyist for the arms industry. As someone who has been deeply patriotic, I must now say that I find myself unable to have any pride in my own country any longer.

I do hope the old war profiteer finally gets put away behind bars. But with his long term partner Jack Straw as so-called Minister of Justice...


Allowing influence to party hacks like Taylor is of course exactly why New Labour is 100% against democratic reform of the House of Lords. Now your essay question: examine the facts about Lord Taylor in the light of the analysis of the control of policy by specific interests by J A Hobson in the blog entry below.

Posted by craig on 3:33 AM 26/01/09 under UK Policy | Comments (53)

January 25, 2009

The Consequences of Imperialism

One of the purposes of this blog is to reconnect my readers with our heritage of British radical thought. These ideas were very much part of the intellectual mainstream, but in my lifetime that mainstream has been drastically narrowed by the control of media and of education by the very interests and methods that will be described in this entry.

Since I posted this extract two years ago the readership of this blog has expanded greatly, and those who were with me two years ago will benefit from a refresh. This is an extract from Imperialism: A Study (written in 1901) by the great and sadly neglected Liberal economist J A Hobson. Since my teens he has been one of the most profound influences on my own thinking.

Those who have read The Catholic Orangemen will understand that a consistent Hobsonian analysis underpinned my actions in Africa regarding both mercenary and British military and financial involvement there.

More fundamentally, Hobson's profound and clear analysis is simply applied to Cheney and Halliburton, BAE and most of the other evils against which we are still struggling today.

Seeing that the Imperialism of the last three decades is clearly condemned as a business policy, in that at enormous expense it has procured a small, bad, unsafe increase of markets, and has jeopardised the entire wealth of the nation in rousing the strong resentment of other nations, we may ask, "How is the British nation induced to embark upon such unsound business?" The only possible answer is that the business interests of the nation as a whole are subordinated to those of certain sectional interests that usurp control of the national resources and use them for their private gain. This is no strange or monstrous charge to bring; it is the commonest disease of all forms of government. The famous words of Sir Thomas More are as true now as when he wrote them: "Everywhere do I perceive a certain conspiracy of rich men seeking their own advantage under the name and pretext of the commonwealth."
I.IV.1 Although the new Imperialism has been bad business for the nation, it has been good business for certain classes and certain trades within the nation. The vast expenditure on armaments, the costly wars, the grave risks and embarrassments of foreign policy, the stoppage of political and social reforms within Great Britain, though fraught with great injury to the nation, have served well the present business interests of certain industries and professions.
I.IV.2 It is idle to meddle with politics unless we clearly recognise this central fact and understand what these sectional interests are which are the enemies of national safety and the commonwealth. We must put aside the merely sentimental diagnosis which explains wars or other national blunders by outbursts of patriotic animosity or errors of statecraft. Doubtless at every outbreak of war not only the man in the street but the man at the helm is often duped by the cunning with which aggressive motives and greedy purposes dress themselves in defensive clothing. There is, it may be safely asserted, no war within memory, however nakedly aggressive it may seem to the dispassionate historian, which has not been presented to the people who were called upon to fight as a necessary defensive policy, in which the honour, perhaps the very existence, of the State was involved.
I.IV.3 The disastrous folly of these wars, the material and moral damage inflicted even on the victor, appear so plain to the disinterested spectator that he is apt to despair of any State attaining years of discretion, and inclines to regard these natural cataclysms as implying some ultimate irrationalism in politics. But careful analysis of the existing relations between business and politics shows that the aggressive Imperialism which we seek to understand is not in the main the product of blind passions of races or of the mixed folly and ambition of politicians. It is far more rational than at first sight appears. Irrational from the standpoint of the whole nation, it is rational enough from the standpoint of certain classes in the nation. A completely socialist State which kept good books and presented regular balance-sheets of expenditure and assets would soon discard Imperialism; an intelligent laissez-faire democracy which gave duly proportionate weight in its policy to all economic interests alike would do the same. But a State in which certain well-organised business interests are able to outweigh the weak, diffused interest of the community is bound to pursue a policy which accords with the pressure of the former interests.
I.IV.4 In order to explain Imperialism on this hypothesis we have to answer two questions. Do we find in Great Britain to-day any well-organised group of special commercial and social interests which stand to gain by aggressive Imperialism and the militarism it involves? If such a combination of interests exists, has it the power to work its will in the arena of politics?
I.IV.5 What is the direct economic outcome of Imperialism? A great expenditure of public money upon ships, guns, military and naval equipment and stores, growing and productive of enormous profits when a war, or an alarm of war, occurs; new public loans and important fluctuations in the home and foreign Bourses; more posts for soldiers and sailors and in the diplomatic and consular services; improvement of foreign investments by the substitution of the British flag for a foreign flag; acquisition of markets for certain classes of exports, and some protection and assistance for trades representing British houses in these manufactures; employment for engineers, missionaries, speculative miners, ranchers and other emigrants.
I.IV.6 Certain definite business and professional interests feeding upon imperialistic expenditure, or upon the results of that expenditure, are thus set up in opposition to the common good, and, instinctively feeling their way to one another, are found united in strong sympathy to support every new imperialist exploit.
How do they do it?


In view of the part which the non-economic factors of patriotism, adventure, military enterprise, political ambition, and philanthropy play in imperial expansion, it may appear that to impute to financiers so much power is to take a too narrowly economic view of history. And it is true that the motor-power of Imperialism is not chiefly financial: finance is rather the governor of the imperial engine, directing the energy and determining its work: it does not constitute the fuel of the engine, nor does it directly generate the power. Finance manipulates the patriotic forces which politicians, soldiers, philanthropists, and traders generate; the enthusiasm for expansion which issues from these sources, though strong and genuine, is irregular and blind; the financial interest has those qualities of concentration and clear-sighted calculation which are needed to set Imperialism to work. An ambitious statesman, a frontier soldier, an overzealous missionary, a pushing trader, may suggest or even initiate a step of imperial expansion, may assist in educating patriotic public opinion to the urgent need of some fresh advance, but the final determination rests with the financial power. The direct influence exercised by great financial houses in "high politics" is supported by the control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the Press, which, in every "civilised" country, is becoming more and more their obedient instrument. While the specifically financial newspaper imposes "facts" and "opinions" on the business classes, the general body of the Press comes more and more under the conscious or unconscious domination of financiers. The case of the South African Press, whose agents and correspondents fanned the martial flames in this country, was one of open ownership on the part of South African financiers, and this policy of owning newspapers for the sake of manufacturing public opinion is common in the great European cities. In Berlin, Vienna, and Paris many of the influential newspapers are held by financial houses, which use them, not primarily to make direct profits out of them, but in order to put into the public mind beliefs and sentiments which will influence public policy and thus affect the money market. In Great Britain this policy has not gone so far, but the alliance with finance grows closer every year, either by financiers purchasing a controlling share of newspapers, or by newspaper proprietors being tempted into finance. Apart from the financial Press, and financial ownership of the general Press, the City notoriously exercises a subtle and abiding influence upon leading London newspapers, and through them upon the body of the provincial Press, while the entire dependence of the Press for its business profits upon its advertising columns involves a peculiar reluctance to oppose the organised financial classes with whom rests the control of so much advertising business. Add to this the natural sympathy with a sensational policy which a cheap Press always manifests, and it becomes evident that the Press is strongly biassed towards Imperialism, and lends itself with great facility to the suggestion of financial or political Imperialists who desire to work up patriotism for some new piece of expansion.

I.IV.40 Such is the array of distinctively economic forces making for Imperialism, a large loose group of trades and professions seeking profitable business and lucrative employment from the expansion of military and civil services, from the expenditure on military operations, the opening up of new tracts of territory and trade with the same, and the provision of new capital which these operations require, all these finding their central guiding and directing force in the power of the general financier.
I.IV.41 The play of these forces does not openly appear. They are essentially parasites upon patriotism, and they adapt themselves to its protecting colours. In the mouths of their representatives are noble phrase, expressive of their desire to extend the area of civilisation, to establish good government, promote Christianity, extirpate slavery, and elevate the lower races. Some of the business men who hold such language may entertain a genuine, though usually a vague, desire to accomplish these ends, but they are primarily engaged in business, and they are not unaware of the utility of the more unselfish forces in furthering their ends. Their true attitude of mind is expressed by Mr. Rhodes in his famous description of "Her Majesty's Flag" as "the greatest commercial asset in the world."*20

The entire book is available online.
http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/Hobson/hbsnImp.html
It is deeply saddening to me how much of the great heritage of Liberal thought is now neglected. I do hope you will take a look and see just how little we have learnt in the ensuing 100 years.


Posted by craig on 9:55 AM 25/01/09 under UK Policy | Comments (11)

January 24, 2009

Biased Broadcasting Corporation

I am hopeful the public outcry caused by the BBC's refusal to broadcast the joint appeal for Gaza, will open more eyes to the immense bias in the BBC's News coverage.

As it has slipped off the front page, I think it is worth reproducing this from my blog for 6 January:

What is Really Happening
I watched BBC World News for a timed hour yesterday. In that time I saw:
Pro-Israeli (including US government) speakers - 17
Pro-Palestinian speakers - 2

Mentions of Hamas Rockets as reason for war - 37
Mentions of illegal Israeli settlements - 0
Mentions of Palestinians killed by Israel during "ceasefire" - 2
Mentions of Sderot - 12
Mentions Sderot used to be Palestinian - 0

If you don't believe me, try it yourself.

The BBC took being banned from Gaza by the Israelis as the excuse to focus a wildly disproportionate attention on the Hamas threat to Israel. Their choice of Sderot as their base of operations was in itself a factor of bias - and their failure to say, even once, that Sderot was once Palestinian was inexcusable.

Now journalists can get into Gaza there has been nothing by the BBC that comes close to matching the searing explorations by Channel 4, ITN and yes, Sky News, on the atrocities that happened there.

I am particularly outraged by the pusillanimity of my Dundee University and Tashkent colleague Alan Johnston, on whose behalf in his kidnapping I had been attempting to exert what little influence I have to its utmost limit (to no avail, I fear). He appears to have exhausted all his compassion on himself.

But what is truly extraordinary is the way that New Labour careerists like Alexander and Bradshaw, who have come out to ask for the appeal to be broadcast, now that Bush has gone are so instantly re-orienting themselves slavishly to follow a slightly different direction.

Do not be fooled by New Labour; they have no core beliefs but in their own careers. Stand by for them to explain they were against extraordinary rendition all along. Do not believe an of our Ministers on anything. And should you get close to any of them, I believe personal violence may be justified in this instance.


Note added 26.01.09

If you have not complained to the BBC yet, you can do so at:
PHONE: 03700 100 222
TEXT: 03700 100 212
ONLINE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml

You can donate to the appeal that the BBC is denying a
broadcast here: https://www.donate.bt.com/bt_form_gaza.html

Posted by craig on 6:54 PM 24/01/09 under UK Policy | Comments (33)

January 23, 2009

Reasons to Believe

I have been firmly in the camp of Obama sceptics, viewing the adulation with distaste and seeing little substance in his famed rhetoric. But in just 48 hours I fnd myself warming very considerably to the man. The priority he has given to reversing the worst excesses of the Bush regime in the "War on Terror" has been extraordinary. All the indications are that it is genuine. He is not just closing Guantanamo as a blind under which to continue the torture and extraordinary rendition, but is closing down the whole system.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/23/secret-prisons-closure-obama-cia

I cannot tell you how much emotion I feel that the US will no longer be flying people to Uzbekistan, to be tortured and often buried there. I lost my livelihood trying to stop it.
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Telegram.pdf
This "Intelligence cooperation" continued after the US withdrew from K2 airbase in 2005, though recently at a much lower level of intensity.

Obama seems genuinely to understand that the major thrust of preventing political violence must be not to give people genuine cause to hate you. But it must go further. Obama's moves to restore legality are an acknowledgement that what went before was illegal. There must be full openness and investigation. America's reputation will not be restored until all of those who unleashed systematic kidnapping, torture and murder round the world are brought to justice.

Posted by craig on 11:49 AM 23/01/09 under Other | Comments (69)

Petition Gordon Brown Over Israeli War Crimes

Two important petitions to Gordon Brown are on the official government 'Number 10' website.

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to do everything in his power to impose an arms embargo on Israel in light of the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip and to apply pressure on countries supplying Israel with arms that breach international agreements with the intention of restoring lasting peace to the region."

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Arms-embargo/

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Introduce sanctions against Israel. Israeli must be punished for its failure to adhere to the Geneva convention concerning the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza. Israeli tactics are cruel, malicious and demonstrate that Israel is not interested in the peace process or a Palestinian State. They are creating the ideal breeding ground for extremism, sabotaging peace efforts and squandering the good will they have been given."

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Israel-Sanctions/

Both of these petitions are entitled to an official government response. They are currently the third and fourth biggest open petitions on the site...

Petitions' deadline is 27th January.

Posted by andrew on 11:04 AM 23/01/09 under Palestine | Comments (5)

January 19, 2009

British Academics Slam Israel

On the war:

"...Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides... against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions."

Full letter and signatories...

On the humanitarian consequences:

"...casualty data are indicative of a military campaign being waged in an indiscriminate, disproportionate, and therefore under International Humanitarian Law, illegal fashion. Failure of the international community to ensure legal culpability would provide military forces around the world with a clear message that the Geneva Conventions can be discarded with impunity, as in Gaza today. If this happens, children and women will continue to pay heavily in future conflicts."
University College London, CIHD


Update 22.01.09: British students are also taking action in at least eight Universities, adopting various protest tactics.

Protests over Gaza spread to eight English universities
Students stage university protest

Oxford University
Birmingham University
Essex University
Kings College London
London School of Economics
SOAS
Sussex University
Warwick University

Update 25.01.09:
Cambridge University joins the protests

17+ Universities have now taken action

The Cambridge University Gaza solidarity blog can be read at: http://cambridgegazasolidarity.blogspot.com/

Update 29.01.09:

http://queenmaryoccupation.blogspot.com/
http://shuoccupation.blogspot.com/

Update 03.02.09:
Nottingham University has forcibly evicted students engaged in a sit-in. Security guards manhandled and apparently assaulted students last night to force an end to the protest. A video is available here
More details at: http://occupationnottingham.wordpress.com/

A blog with news on all the different university protests can be read at: http://occupations.org.uk/

Posted by andrew on 10:53 AM 19/01/09 under Palestine | Comments (40)

Lies, Damn Lies, White Phosphorus and Israel

"Israel military forces only use munitions that are acceptable under international law and international convention," Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

22nd March 1995 - Israel signs the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Protocol III, Article 2 states: 1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons. 2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.

wpgaza.jpg

17 January 2009 - "... a number of white phosphorous shells struck the yard of an UNRWA school in Beit Lahia, causing panic among the 1,600 civilians who had taken refuge there. While evacuating the shelter, an explosive shell struck the third floor of the school, killing two brothers, aged five and seven, and injuring 14 others including the boys' mother. UNRWA has demanded an independent investigation into this incident."

"...Where you have a direct hit on an UNRWA school where about 1,600 people had taken refuge, where the Israeli army knows the coordinates and knows who's there, where this comes as the latest in a catalogue of direct and indirect attacks on UNRWA facilities, there have to be investigations to establish whether war crimes have been committed." - Christopher Gunness, UNRWA spokesperson" [UN OCHA]

Posted by andrew on 9:37 AM 19/01/09 under Palestine | Comments (9)

January 18, 2009

Rakesh Saxena

This German article about the Catholic Orangemen is interesting because it appears to focus on Rakesh Saxena, the financier of the blood diamond Sandline plot. Unfortunately I don't understand German - can anyone enlighten me on why it takes that angle and what is the general focus of the site?

http://oraclesyndicate.twoday.net/stories/5453373/

Posted by craig on 11:17 AM 18/01/09 under The Book | Comments (18)

January 17, 2009

Help Wanted

Self-Publishing is very hard work. I reflected on this as I packed and labelled eighty individually ordered copies yesterday, lugged them to Shepherds Bush Post Office (approx 50kg!) and stood in line for 55 minutes to reach the counter at what I contend is the worst managed post office branch in the world. Today I was doing the same thing but ran out of books, which is something of a relief, albeit temporary.

I next have to start phoning up books section editors and persuading publications to review the book, then send out the review copies. That is for all the national and major regional press, political publications, international relations publications and Africa publications. Just finding the phone numbers will be a major task. I expect to spend most of next week on it.

(On Tuesday I am giving evidence to an Uzbek immigration asylum appeal, and on Thursday evening am speaking at the Oxford Union against Oliver Kamm and others, on the motion that "This House Believes that George Bush Has Made The World a Safer Place". On Saturday I have a meeting in Copenhagen I'll tell you more about later.)

But the biggest single task I have is getting the book into bookshops. As of today, to my knowledge not a single bookshop is selling it. The book is registered on the computer indexes that bookshops use for ordering, and I rather presumed that given all the publicity and the Mail on Sunday extracts, orders from bookshops would start to come in. But so far, nothing.

Again, this looks like it is going to have to be a question of somehow getting together a phone list and bashing the telephone. This is where help would be particularly welcome. If any readers know their local bookstores, I should be most grateful if you spoke to them and could suggest they stock The Catholic Orangemen. It should be available through their normal ordering method.

Any feedback you can give on the response, positive or negative, would be most welcome.

It could be that the association of the dread word "Schillings" with the book has scared off booksellers (who can also be sued). If the question is raised by the bookseller, it is worth refuting any question of a libel threat to the book. Catholic Orangemen is all over the web, the key bits were published by the Mail on Sunday, and it is happily being distributed by me and by Amazon. Nobody has heard anything from lawyers since a warning letter to Mainstream 18 months ago. Nobody has received any threat relating to libel since publication.

Similar conversations with libraries would also be helpful.

I have incidentally started the extraordinarily long-winded procedure used by Waterstones to qualify as a publisher for the book to be accepted in their branches.

I feel rather guilty; bloggers aren't really supposed to keep urging their readers to do things for them!

Posted by craig on 12:49 PM 17/01/09 under The Book | Comments (13)

3rd National Demonstration For Gaza (updated 23.01.09)

DEMONSTRATE FOR GAZA: SATURDAY 24 JANUARY
END THE BLOCKADE: STOP ALL ARMS SALES
BRING THE WAR CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE
Assemble 2.00pm BBC Broadcasting House for rally
Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
Nearest tubes: Great Portland Street or Regents park.
March starts at 3.00 pm. Ends with rally in Trafalgar Square
4.30 pm.

MARCH ROUTE:
Assemble and rally Portland Place, March to Regent Street,
Piccadilly, Lower Regent Street, Trafalgar Square,
Northumberland Avenue, Embankment, Parliament, Downing Street,
Trafalgar Square (End rally)

For details and updates: http://www.stopwar.org.uk

Posted by andrew on 11:46 AM 17/01/09 under Palestine | Comments (2)

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