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…

Too Easy to Mocha: WiFi is Latte for #GuardianCoffee Launch

neo+guidoThe Guy Newsroom relocated to trendy Shoreditch this morning to sample Guardianista barista’d coffee in the heart of hipsterdom, where the burn rate is high and IPOs are nowhere to be seen. We planned to write our Sun column in what is effectively the Guardian’s embassy in Tech-City. One fundamental teething problem – there is no WiFi. This is doubly embarrassing given the whole venture is sponsored by EE, the 4g-mobile network formerly known as T-Mobile and Orange, slogan “Everything Everywhere”. Only the Guardian could open a coffee-shop in the digital heart of Tech-City with no WiFi…

Lonely Guardianista

The famed free iPads are locked exclusively to the Guardian app in much the same way that Winston Smith’s television only had one channel. We spotted more Guardian staff than customers while we were there, filming a publicity video. As you can see from the pictures, customers are not queuing round the block yet.  There are 150 coffee shops in the area already, most with WiFi…

Another lonely Guardinista

To be fair, the coffee was pretty good…

See also: We Grind the Numbers


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

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