Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seumas Milne Despairs at Fall of Berlin Wall

Given the incredible footage of the mass protests coming out of Egypt against an Islamist leader who has betrayed his country’s transition to democracy, you might have thought our metropolitan liberal elite would come down on the right side for once. As ever, the strongest defence of a terrible regime comes from the Guardian’s former Stalinist Seumas Milne. In Milne’s warped world, apparently tearing down the Berlin Wall was a bad thing:

“The tumultuous Paris upheaval of May 1968 was followed by the electoral victory of the French right. Those who marched for democratic socialism in east Berlin in 1989 ended up with mass privatisation and unemployment. The western-sponsored colour revolutions of the last decade used protesters as a stage army for the transfer of power to favoured oligarchs and elites. The indignados movement against austerity in Spain was powerless to prevent the return of the right and a plunge into even deeper austerity.

In the era of neoliberalism, when the ruling elite has hollowed out democracy and ensured that whoever you vote for you get the same, politically inchoate protest movements are bound to flourish. They have crucial strengths: they can change moods, ditch policies and topple governments. But without socially rooted organisation and clear political agendas, they can flare and fizzle, or be vulnerable to hijacking or diversion by more entrenched and powerful forces.”

Bonkers…

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Observer Pulls Splash After Source Turns Out to Be 9/11 Truther
Read Pulled Story in Full Here

Today’s Observer first and second editions look very different:

A quick Google of Wayne Madsen, their source for a series of serious allegations made against the National Security Agency, would have told them he is a conspiracy theorist who believes Mossad were involved in 9/11 and that President Obama is gay. Here is the Observer story that was humiliatingly pulled late last night:

“At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s National Security Agency, who said the public should not be “kept in the dark”.

Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.

Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.”

You can read the full pulled story here. Guardian journalists are this morning frantically distancing their paper from the Observer, despite them sharing a website and a boss. Google is your friend…

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wake Up and Smell the Losses

Guido has done his best to provide free advertising for the Guardian’s ill-fated coffee shop, yet it all seems to have been in vain. This is the scene in Shoreditch sent in by a reader this afternoon:

At the time of going to pixel just 41 cups have been sold today, well short of the 270-a-day they need to flog to break even. Perhaps they are being put out of business by all those fake GCHQ coffee shops they’ve been telling us about…

Friday, June 14, 2013

Glenn Greenwald: In His Readers’ (Predictably Unkind) Words

The award for the stupidest idea of the week goes to the Guardian, who are encouraging readers to fill out a template offering their opinions on Glenn Greenwald and publishing the results without moderation. Cue the predictable:

Fair to say there are lot in a similar vein. Read them and share your own thoughts here. Why do they do it?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guardian Will Give Your Data to Intelligence Agencies

Google, Microsoft, Apple et al denying Glenn Greenwald’s claim that they allowed the National Security Agency “direct access” to their servers was pretty awkward for the Guardian. Obviously the last brave freedom fighters defending us against an omnipotent surveillance would never do that, right? Here is the Guardian’s own privacy policy:

“Please note that we reserve the right to access and disclose personal data to comply with applicable laws and lawful government requests, to operate our systems properly and to protect both ourselves and our users.”

The same rule the software giants say they play by. Is this “direct access”?

H/T @guywalters

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Guardian “Deleted Voicemail” Moment

As Putin winds up Obama by offering whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Russia, the wheels are beginning to come off of the Glenn Greenwald global gloating tour. Yesterday, in his usual tetchy style, he let slip that he had been working with Snowden in February, before he started working for private NSA contractors Booz Allen in March. As Guy Walters notes it could look like Greenwald and Snowden planned to look for abuses, quite plausibly to serve their own agenda.

David Allen Green notes that no evidence has yet been produced that anyone working for the NSA or GCHQ breached any law whatsoever, or that any information was obtained without a court order. Anyone except Snowden; who likes to type under a hood so satellites cannot see his screen.

Bob Cesca raises real questions over the veracity of Greenwald’s journalism. First, his assertion – repeated four times in his original article – that the NSA has “direct access” to the Google, Apple, Microsoft etc servers, is contested by the companies themselves. They insist the NSA had to pass the safeguard of agreeing consent. Unless they are not telling the truth, the phrase “direct access” is an exaggeration. Guido is still sceptical of their denials, but the Guardian accused them of “direct access” without evidence.

Secondly, the Washington Post has amended its own original story, now saying that PRISM was used to “track foreign targets” and not US citizens. Greenwald has not changed his own story that US citizens were targeted. Why the change from WaPo; why the sudden, unexplained discrepancy?

Once again the Guardian have lit the touch-paper only for it to emerge that the most damning part of the story is evidence free. Maybe it was the NSA that deleted those Milly Dowler text messages? Guido understands that Alan Rusbridger is in New York at the moment. He should be mopping up not boasting…

See also: More Questions for Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: This, according to the Mail, is the girlfriend Snowden left in Hawaii:

Monday, June 10, 2013

How Political Journalism Works
Puff Piece Pulled

pulled-lab-article

Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor for the Guardian, appears to have prematurely ejaculated over Miliband’s welfare speech.

It began:

The Labour leader’s speech has implanted into the public’s mind that his party ‘gets it’ on the economy and welfare…

Blah, blah, blah… odd that it was pulled… wonder why?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guardian’s Hugh Muir Falls For Nick Boles Twitter Spoof

A classic Hugh Muir diary piece in today’s Guardian, recounting a speech by Nick Boles to the Institute for Government. All well and good, until blundering Muir went on to talk about Boles’ alleged extra-curricular activities:

“But there is a waspish side to Boles, who, when ministerial duties allow, likes to create mocking photoshopped pictures of Labour politicians.”

The ‘General Boles’ twitter account he references is, of course, a spoof. Oops.

SMOG* of the year.

*Social Media Own Goal

Monday, June 3, 2013

When Rawnsley Was Wrapped in the Tentacles of Lobbyists

Andrew Rawnsley really went for the lobbying industry in his Observer column yesterday. “Too many MPs are wrapped in the tentacles of the lobbyists” he warned, laying into “the murky world of lobbying”, describing it as an “industry that too often distorts and subverts democratic decision-making” and gagging at “the pungent smell given off by the whole business”.

He must have held his nose when he picked up the Public Affairs News award for Political Journalist of the Year from Warwick Smith of Citigate Public Affairs back in 2006

Friday, May 31, 2013

Check Your Privilege: True Costa #GuardianCoffee

Those free iPads, progressive decor and fair trade coffee don’t come cheap you know. Step outside from the plush white interior of hipster heaven however and you will find yourself on the mean streets of Bethnal Green, which the Guardian themselves ranked as the worst parliamentary constituency for child poverty. Isn’t that just the place to site an expensive coffee shop?  Perfect for the poverty tourism expresso… 

They even did some data led graphics:

Perhaps it could be used as a research centre to discover what life is like in the real world…


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


VOTER-RECALL
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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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