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18 March 2017


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Edward Amame

Sam Peralta

McClatchy is the only news org that got it right in the runup to GWB's Iraq war.

Eric Newhill

It appears that Trump communications probably were scooped up http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/22/trump-team-communications-captured-by-intelligence-community-surveillance-nunes-says.html

Then we get the BS about masking, which I am quite sure doesn't really prevent joining to a name a la Flynn as opposed to US Person 1.

Comey says no reason to question Assange's statement that Russia was not the source. So FBI and IC not coordinating?

"IC key judgments" - Same IC that had Saddam getting all that yellow cake for nukes? Same IC that looked Americans right in the eye and said it doesn't collect data on US citizens, and then had to admit it does?

Forgive me if I don't just reflexively accept the IC assessment, "high confidence" or otherwise. Sorry, you guys have blown your trust worthiness too many times.

David Habakkuk


The world has changed. When my SWMBO and I were starting out in life, much of the time you began at the bottom. (And, however uncomfortable it could feel when one was at the bottom, it could do one a lot of good.)

Both my SWMBO and her oldest friend – whose mother got her family out from Vienna shortly before the outbreak of the war, and was a wise and witty lady, who massacred the English language until the day she died – started out as secretaries in BBC drama. They came a long way since, but both know the world depicted in the series backwards.

I have not watched it, but my SWMBO has, and really liked it. An actress called Jessica Haynes, who apparently has done a lot of work for my wife’s oldest friend – she thought absolutely brilliant.

What seems unclear is why the BBC – who is now run by precisely the kind of lunatics depicted in the series – allowed it.

But perhaps that might indicate that there are some grounds for optimism.


David & EO

I'd like to echo the question that Sam Peralta raised. What has happened in Britain that media has become Ingsoc? Britain always had the institutional ethos of transparency.

I'm reminded of this story in the Telegraph from our recent election season.


English Outsider

Lee A. Arnold - yours was one of the most difficult posts I've read on this site. Not in itself but because it stirred dormant historical memories that still for many older Englishmen exert a pull irrespective of rationality or of our own experience.

Empire. The unending line of low grey ships barely visible in the sleet. The unbroken square in some near hopeless action under foreign skies. And the constant flow of dedicated colonial administrators bringing prosperity and order to regions that were like, under the brutal impact of first contact with the Western commercial and cultural powerhouse, to otherwise fall into ruin.

But that vision was long ago exploded and in modern times is only summoned up by the chancers and the cronies who wish to con us yet again into some ersatz colonial adventure. And that last and most unexceptionable aspect of the vision is dead; however genuine the intentions of those dedicated colonial administrators, in serving empire they served neither their own people nor the peoples they were ruling. All we can say of that is that it happened so, and there was much good in it. It is impossible to assert that any good came out of it.

This is not the place to expand upon that thesis although it will seem to many of us self-evident. We might observe, however, that Switzerland was pretty backward and underdeveloped in the nineteenth century but seems to have done OK since, at least until recently, without the benefit of imperial intervention. It would take Babak Makkinejad to compare the fate of non-Western countries that didn't have that benefit with the fate of similar countries that did; but to an outside observer they all seem to end up in much the same sort of mess. We might also observe that Switzerland didn't go in for empire itself, but that doesn't seem to have disadvantaged the Swiss much. Even had we and the other former colonial powers taken up the White Man's Burden with impeccably disinterested motives it can't honestly be said to have done the white man or the burden much good. Profitable for the various sets of cronies of course, as always, but they tend to fall on their feet whatever happens.

And now, this late in the day and after all this experience, we hear siren voices attempting to convert the transparently false doctrine of R2P into the more seductive doctrine of Responsibility to Assist - these uninstructed savages do savage things and we can make the world better by coaxing them into better ways. Leaving aside the question of motes and beams I am firmly convinced that no nation can help another nation by attempting to impose its own culture or its own values on that other nation. It is a pretence for the pursuit of Realpolitik, whatever that Realpolitik hopes to achieve, and is seen as such, accurately, by those unfortunate countries that are the target of such assistance.

As you are perhaps saying, we should attempt to clean up the mess we have created. History, both ancient and modern, warns us against trying to do more.

English Outsider

Thanks. Complex indeed. I share your mixed feelings about Waugh. A highly gifted fake. And he should have shared those bananas with the children.

So how does this background you have been kind enough to set out translate into the sad stuff I hear on my radio or see on the BBC internet site? When, for example, major fighting was occurring in the Donbass did they simply not know about it, or would there have been some editorial decision to fail to report it? Same quite often in Syria. Same when Putin or Lavrov makes a major statement. Slanted news is at least news, but a complete blank is another matter. How does that happen?


The bigger question, of course, would be if he ordered such information be delivered to him, why didn't he use any of it?

Edward Amame

David Habakkuk

Oh please. The tell was "Far better an alignment with Christian Russians."

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