Thursday, 13 July 2017

Labour and Assange

Sir_Max‏ @Sir_Max points out on Twitter that the real significance of the recent exposĂ© on Seumas Milne is that the mystery blonde he was spotted 'nuzzling' in public was none other than the lawyer for Julian Assange, a young woman called Jennifer Robinson.

Now I'm not normally one to take the moral high ground in these matters - I'll leave that to Mrs Seumas Milne (Cristina Montanari) who presumably will have plenty to say, in private, about her husband's behaviour.

Apparently Seumas, the Labour leader's official spokesperson, previously met Julian Assange inside the the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been holed up for the past 5 years, a fugitive from justice.

In any event, the two of them deserve each other, Julian and Seumas that is, and it just goes to show what kind of company the Labour leadership keeps these days. …

Morally Pure (11/07/17)

Image result for morally pure

Former Labour MP Simon Danczuk was barred from standing for the party in the 2017 general election after some spectacularly poor judgment in his personal life.  

But Simona Danczuk has not been slow to extend the hand of friendship to Seumas Milne, the Labour leader's official spokesperson, who has run into a spot of bother of his own as the report below from the Guido Fawkes web site explains.

All we need now is for the old Labour warhorse Lord John Prescott to offer his own expertise on the subject!


Simon Danczuk – hounded by the Corbyn wing of the Labour Party on account of his love life – has seen this morning’s revelations about Seumas Milne, and he has some words of advice for the spin chief who worked against him. Simon tells Guido:
“I see Jeremy Corbyn’s right hand man has been photographed with a young lady who is not his wife. I was under the impression that dating younger women wasn’t permitted in Corbyn’s morally pure Labour Party. But for those at the top of the party machine it seems it’s fine to have a colourful love life – just as long as it’s conducted in secret. I’m sure when browsing his morning copy of The Sun Jeremy will have been offended by Seumas’s conduct, will have called him in for a quiet word this morning and will sack him by this evening. If Seumas needs any advice on how to handle these situations he can always give me a call.”
He has a very fair point…

Arrogant Tosser (25/10/17)

I've long regarded Seumas Milne as an 'arrogant tosser' and my enmity towards Labour's new 'spinmeister' goes back to the days when he was the comment editor at The Guardian.

In wrote an opinion piece for the newspaper, in September 2000 if I recall correctly, which argued that the trade unions, particularly in Scotland, were becoming increasingly out of touch with ordinary union members through their continued love affair with the Labour Party.

I was in favour of breaking the institutional links between the unions and Labour on the basis that Britain's union bosses (the Bubs) invariably put their own pro-Labour views and interests above those of rank and file union members.

I said so in a similar article I had written for The Herald newspaper in Scotland I was was pleased to hear from the deputy comment editor (a woman) that my piece for the Guardian would be published in the run up to that year's TUC annual congress which had previously presented me with the TUC's Youth Award in 1983.

But soon afterwards the deputy editor contacted me to say that her editor (one Seamus Milne) had come back from holiday and decided to 'spike' my column, presumably because he disagreed with the politics involved rather than the quality of the writing.

At the time I had no idea that Seamus was an arch-Stalinist and the former editor of a peculiar 'left-wing' journal called Straight Left which was used as an organising vehicle by a small sect of ridiculously pro-Soviet members of Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).

Now I had some experience of dealing with these Straight Left comrades who, in my experience, were politically sectarian and firmly stuck in the past, obsessed by notions of class war and using the trade unions as a 'vanguard' movement to promote social and political change.

The concept of vanguardism is well-known in political circles and involves small groups of unrepresentative individuals working together, in an highly organised and ideological way, with the aim of influencing and controlling much larger groups or organisations - trade unions, normally.

The fact that Jeremy Corbyn has appointed such a person to be his 'spinmeister' in chief just goes to show the extent to which the Labour Party has lost its way. 

Imaginary Prison (21/06/14)

'If Julian Assange is in a prison, then it's one of his own making' - is the nub of this leader recent article from The Times which I completely agree with I have to say.
I read somewhere the other day that during a press conference in the Ecuadorean Embassy  Mr Assange said that the thing that caused him most grief was being unable to see his children - which encouraged me to do some research.

Apparently, the WikiLeaks founder has fathered at least four children in different parts of the world (presumably to different mothers) but according to this comment from a former WikiLeaks colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, they didn't seem to feature too prominently in his life:

"Often I sat in large groups and listened to Julian boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world. He seemed to enjoy the idea of lots and lots of Julians, one on every continent. Whether he took care of any of these alleged children, or whether they existed at all, was another question."

Now Daniel Domscheit-Berg fell out with Assange over the direction of WikiLeaks which may explain his rather scathing comment, but I know one thing - any parent who really misses their children would do anything to see them again, even if that meant walking out of their own self-imposed prison.   

Assange is shabbily avoiding justice. He deserves no tears

The WikiLeaker is costing this country a fortune and he has no right to complain

By Stephen Pollard - The Times

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s incarceration in London. Under 24-hour police guard 365 days a year, the WikiLeaks founder has been prevented from leaving what one friend call his “prison cell”.

As his friend Vaughan Smith puts it: “He craves freedom, he can’t buy his own food and he would love the chance to have a normal walk in the fresh air.”

Who would have thought that this could happen in a democracy? What an outrage! Except, of course, that it is all utter nonsense. Far from preventing Assange from leaving, the British state is desperate for him to depart our shores.

Since he arrived at the Ecuadorean Embassy, he has cost the British taxpayer £6.5 million — an average of £9,000 a day. The police operation outside his “prison” is not designed to keep him in but to make sure if and when he does eventually leave that he never goes back in. And then put him on a plane to Sweden as swiftly as legally possible.

Assange is no prisoner of conscience or victim of despotism. He is nothing more than a fugitive from justice who fled to Ecuadorean soil (albeit in London) to avoid a possible trial in Sweden for rape and sexual assault.

For a while, Assange’s supporters — who should surely win the Gullible Idiots of the Century award — maintained that the Swedish allegations were a red herring; that his enemies were intent on having him extradited to the US, where he would rot for the rest of his life in prison.

But that fiction was exposed last year when the US Justice Department said that there was almost no possibility he would ever be charged over WikiLeaks. Any action against Assange would also have to include those newspapers that printed the intelligence leaks, and that is simply never going to happen. Far from acting dishourably, the Swedish authorities are merely seeking to speak to Assange about the serious allegations against him.

So don’t fall for the idea that this is some Fidelio-like story of a hero imprisoned for his role in exposing the crimes of an oppressive authority. It is nothing more than a grubby attempt, by a man who appears to have taken narcissism to new heights, to evade justice.

If Julian Assange wants to end his “imprisonment” then all he has to do is turn the door handle. And the rest of us will say good riddance.

Weirdo and Narcissist (5 May 2014)

Hugo Rifkind hit a few nails on the head with this humorous piece about the ongoing saga of Julian Assange, the major league weirdo and narcissist, and founder of WikiLeaks. 

The American authorities would do us all a favour by saying they have better things to do than to try and prosecute Assange which would leave him with no excuse for not jumping on the next flight to Sweden.

A word from America will let Assange out

By Hugo Rifkind - The Times

His two-year embassy stay is costing Britain a fortune. We need to know if his fears of extradition are justified or not

Oh, Julian. How you need a walk in the sunshine. “£6 million spent on 24/7 police surveillance of #Assange inside Ecuadorean Embassy,” tweeted his WikiLeaks organisation last week, perhaps confusing “inside” with “outside” and “surveillance” with “kinda standing there”.

And yet. Six million pounds? Seems a lot. Long ago, remember, the supermodel Linda Evangelista said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000. Another six weeks, and the WikiLeaks founder will have been inside Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, SW1X for two whole years, at a cost of £11,000 every day. So possibly the Met Police could have saved quite a lot of money by just employing her.

Obviously, the person best placed to resolve this ludicrous, costly stand-off is the man himself, who remains free to pop out the door and fly to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning on sex offence charges. Had he done so in 2010, and even been convicted, he’d doubtless be out by now. And maybe even missing it, because Swedish prisons look bloody lovely. Last year, according to AFP, an inmate broke out of one to go to the dentist and then went back. True story.

Granted, it may be that Assange does not want to stand trial for rape. This is not, however, his stated reason for remaining in his cupboard. If he did go to Sweden, he claims, the US might seek to extradite him from there. And American prisons aren’t terribly nice at all. Although the dentistry might be better. Not sure.

This is not a wholly reasonable fear, in part for boring legal details about the relative ease of extraditing somebody from Stockholm v one from London, albeit with the obvious proviso in the latter case that they aren’t hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy. Also, American authorities have never actually said that they want him.

They still could, though, and there’s the rub. Team Assange point to the 2010 disclosure by Eric Holder, the US attorney general, that WikiLeaks was at that time under criminal investigation. Since then the US has consistently denied that any indictment has been brought, both before, during and after the trial of Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks source. What the US has never done, however, is rule out the prospect that one could be. And all of our sakes, I think that they should.

It’s not that I am any great WikiLeaks defender. Far from it. Assange is the troubling flaw in the concept of free speech. Believe in it and he is the bit that makes you question your principles. The Manning revelations (of hordes of diplomatic and military cables) today often find themselves lumped together with those of the NSA leaker Edward Snowden (of western intelligence practices). In fact, though, there is a difference. Snowden went to the newspapers. His leaks, as a result, were published by people who agonised over the effects this might have. Warnings were given, names were redacted. This is how journalism is supposed to work.

Manning went to Assange, who blurted all. Witnesses against the Taliban, opposition activists in Belarus, wavering Zimbabwean generals, all saw their names thrust abruptly into the public domain. It was a terrible, terrible thing to do, and I’m happy to see Assange condemned and shamed for doing it. Although that’s not the same thing as saying I’d be happy to see him prosecuted.

If the distinction seems moot, then I’d make the same argument about some of the most vicious sorts of tabloid journalism and why none of them warrant state regulation of the press. Make the practitioners into pariahs, by all means, but not criminals. The former, if it helps, is the action of a moral people, whereas the latter is the act of an oppressive state. In the case of Assange, pariah status should encourage the next Manning to make a better decision, as Snowden (who was the next Manning) in fact did. Ultimately Assange deserves the same protections as any other journalist. And, simultaneously, he deserves disdain for being such an appallingly, dangerously crap one.

Most likely, America never will charge him, anyway. Much as some US lawmakers would clearly like to, the First Amendment gets in the way. Leakers are easy; they have privileged access to material and often break specific laws in sharing it. Plus they tend to be actually American. Assange, as well as being Australian, merely published what he had. How do you prosecute him without also prosecuting all the newspapers who followed him?

You can’t. Also you shouldn’t, and the US seems to accept this. Snowden, after all, has already been charged, whereas the newspapers he leaked to have been merely complained about and glowered at. Yet at the same time, there seems to be a sly satisfaction in leaving WikiLeaks in limbo. No wonder. With minimal expense the US has managed to persuade Assange to lock himself in a room for two years.

Except it costs us a packet. Worse, it’s woolly and vague, and all the things that justice shouldn’t be. The danger with Assange is that his many grim attributes begin to blur. I like neither what he did with WikiLeaks nor what he denies having done with two Swedish women, but I’m increasingly of the view that only the latter should be considered a crime. US justice, which seems to quietly agree, should say so. Then there would be nothing stopping him from going to Sweden and he would doubtless be on the next flight. Right, Julian?

Weirdo and Narcissist (11 February 2014)

I'm not sure how long the ridiculous Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, but I thought it worthwhile reminding readers that this whole saga goes back a number of years - and that the Wikileaks founder is, in fact, a fugitive from justice in both the UK and Sweden.

To my mind the behaviour of the Ecuador Government is outrageous because Assange is clearly a not a refugee, political or otherwise, so why not suspend diplomatic relations with Ecuador and close its embassy in London?

And as Julian Assange is not a diplomat, but someone who is effectively on the run from the authorities in Sweden and the UK, he would have not alternative but to give himself up or face arrest, but either way he deserves to face his accusers in Sweden and the courts in the UK for breaking his solemn promise not to jump bail.  

As Monty Python might have said - 'He's not the Messiah, you know. He's just a very naughty boy!'. 

WikiWars (9 February 2011)

The WikiWars saga continues.

Julian Assange is back in court trying desperately to prevent his extradition to that widely despised rogue state - with a supposedly weak legal system and poor track record on human rights - more commonly known as Sweden.

The celebrity legal team defending Julian Assange has flown over a retired Swedish judge - Brita Sundberg-Weitman (a woman) - to give evidence against the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny.

The retired judge reportedly criticised the prosecutor for being a "radical feminist" and described her behaviour as "malicious", "peculiar" and displaying a "bias against men".

But when cross-examined - the retired judge admitted that she had no direct knowledge of Ms Ny's (the prosecutor's) conduct.

Confused - because if so, you're in good company?

Instead of this ridiculous legal circus - Mr Assange should do us all a favour and hop on the next plane to Stockholm.

Where he can deal with the case allegations made against him - in a proper manner.

Narcissist and Weirdo

The BBC caused something of a fuss the other day when it handed editorial control of the flagship Today (Radio 4) programme over to a guest editor, PJ Harvey, who is apparently a successful, famous and very left-wing musician - whose work an career I know nothing about, I have to concede.  
Now I don't really care whether PJ Harvey's political views are left-wing, right-wing or a bit AC/DC, if you know what I mean - because as a public service, public funded broadcaster the BBC is supposed to reflect all walks of life. 

But where I'm at odds with PJ Bailey is her decision to give the ridiculous Julian Assange a platform to spout his views - because the man is a wanted fugitive who has escaped justice by sloping off to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in an effort to evade questioning by the authorities in Sweden for alleged sexual offences against two separate women. 

Not only that Assange gave his word to the courts in this country and various friends and acquaintances in this country that he would abide by the legal process and not jump bail while the judicial process considered a properly made request for his extradition to Sweden.

Yet he lied and jumped bail anyway, so I would say he is a dishonest and scheming little man who is completely lacking in integrity - which is why PJ was daft to allow this weirdo and narcissist to present himself to the world as some kind of martyr.

Anyway, maybe PJ's music is better than her politics - I must find out.

Narcissist and Weirdo (18 October 2013)

The narcissist and weirdo also known as Julian Assange has had a complete 'hissy fit'  with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch - because he has apparently been portrayed in a not very flattering light in the new film 'The Fifth Estate' which tells the story, so far, of WikiLeaks.

Here's an extract of Julian's angry letter to Benedict Cumberbatch whom he refused to meet, according to news reports, while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy to prevent his extradition to Sweden where Assange is wanted on charges of sexual assault. 

Extracts: Assange’s letter

“You will be used, as a hired gun, to assume the appearance of the truth in order to assassinate it. To present me as someone morally compromised and to place me in a falsified history. To create a work, not of fiction, but of debased truth. Not because you want to, of course you don’t, but because, in the end, you are a jobbing actor who gets paid to follow the script, no matter how debauched.

Your skills play into the hands of people who are out to remove me and WikiLeaks from the world. I believe you should reconsider your involvement in this enterprise. Consider the consequences of your cooperation with a project that… marginalises a living political refugee to the benefit of an entrenched, corrupt and dangerous state.”

In other words the only real truth is the truth according to Julian Assange and if that's not a perfect description of a 'narcissist' - then I'm the Foreign Minister of Ecuador.  

Escaping Justice (25 June 2013)

The increasingly ridiculous Julian Assagne - founder of Wikileaks - is still holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London - having fled there a year ago to escape being extradited to Sweden where he faces two separate charges of sexual assault.  

A meeting was held recently between the UK Foreign Secretary - William Hague - and Ecuadorean officials following which Ecuadorean foreign minister - Ricardo Patino - announced that Assange is prepared to stay in his bolt hole for at least five years.

For some reason, Ecuador seems to believe that Assange is entitled to claim asylum when - in fact - he jumped bail in the UK, having lied about his intentions to abide by a court ruling to face the music - if his extradition to Sweden was subsequently found to be lawful and justified. 
Which it duly was, but instead of justice for the two women in Sweden who have complained about Assange - what we have is a complete farce with a supposedly friendly country in Ecuador thumbing its nose, diplomatically speaking, at both Sweden and the UK. 

Offering asylum to people in need of protection has a noble history down the ages - but it was never intended as a safe sanctuary for people suspected of criminal behaviour.

Sweden, of course, has a good track record on upholding human rights that would compare favourably with most countries in the world.

For example I'm pretty sure Sweden would knock Ecuador into a cocked hat over human rights - yet Foreign Minister Patino is prepared to make a fool of himself by arguing that the whole business represents a "total injustice" to Julian Assange.

If I were the UK Government I would let Mr Assange stew in his little hideaway for as long as he likes - because he's bound to get fed up sooner or later.

In the meantime I can't imagine it's a whole lot of fun - and I suspect that in some strange way Ricardo and Julian probably deserve each other.

New Assange Lawsuit (9 October 2011)

The latest edition of Private Eye does a great hatchet job on the notorious narcissist and weirdo - Julian Assange.

The magazine pokes fun at the self-serving comments made by Assange in his auto-biography - in which he suggests that the two Swedish women who acccused him of sexual assault - did so out of spite.

Because he is - or was - a chauvinist pig and not a thoughtful boyfriend.

What a nutter!


by Our Media Correspondent

Jonathan Wikileake

"Julian Assange today announced his determination to sue the author of the new book about him, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography.

A spokesman for Assange, who looked very similar to himself, told journalists, "Mr Assange has had enoughof these vile slurs against his charatcer and to say that women accused him of rape because he didn't phone them is clearly the mark of a diseased mind.

"I - by which I mean my client, Mr Assange - will be suing JUlian Assange as aggresivelky as possible, to show that the good name of Assange will not stand for these vile slurs about himself."

The author, Julian Assange, is said to be considering a counter-suit based on his allegations that Assange is part of a Jewish conspiracy.

If found guilty of defamation and bearing false witness, Mr Assange will either have to pay himself £10 million for loss of earnings and emotional damge, or go on a four month journalism course in AMerica, depending on whether he is judged by the Crown or Andreas Whittam-Smith."