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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Mail Benedict Allen War Boils Over

It’s been a fact of life for the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker ever since Geordie Greig was appointed editor of the Mail on Sunday that, on several well-publicised occasions, that title and the Daily Mail offer opposing takes on the same story. Sometimes the daily title puts out a spoiler to trip up the Sunday, but today it has been the other way around, as the MoS has left its daily stablemate covered in rather more than confusion.
Who f***ing says I'm losing my grip, c***?!?

At the heart of today’s clear attempt to raise the anger and blood pressure levels of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is the story of “explorer” Benedict Allen’s recent visit to Papua New Guinea. As the BBC has reported, “A search was mounted for the 57-year-old after his family said he had not taken planned flights home … Mr Allen was travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago”.

Sounds dramatic. And the Daily Mail certainly thought so. Soon, the Beeb was telling readers that Allen’s agent claimed “‘Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health,’ the statement added. ‘He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received’ … Mr Allen's wife, Lenka, told the Daily Mail: ‘It is such a relief. I'm so happy, it's amazing’”.

The Dacre doggies wanted the world to know that Allen was a modern-day hero: “he has eaten his dog to avoid starving in the Amazon, been shipwrecked canoeing to Australia, been shot at by drugs hitmen, sewn up a chest wound in Sumatra with a boot-mending kit, trekked more than 600 miles in the far east of Russia during the worst winter in living memory, and even more impressively still, survived sharing the bed of Jerry Hall”.
Geordie Greig, Mail on Sunday editor

They also wanted the world to know that It Was The Mail Wot Rescued Him. “Explorer Benedict Allen begged his wife’s forgiveness as the Mail rescued him from the jungle yesterday … Weak from malaria, the veteran adventurer had become trapped between warring tribes in one of the most remote spots on Earth … After the Mail found the father of three yesterday and handed him a satellite phone to call his wife Lenka, he told her: ‘I’m so sorry I’ve put you through this, Linky’”. And then came the MoS spoiler.

After the Guardian sensed disquiet at Allen’s antics by telling “Benedict Allen allies defend rescued explorer against backlash … Supporters deny disappearance in Papua New Guinea was a PR stunt”, the MoS went for their sister paper’s jugular. “The helicopter pilot who airlifted Benedict Allen from the jungle of Papua New Guinea has played down the explorer's ordeal, saying: 'He didn't really need rescuing’”. Do go on.

Craig Rose, who has flown in the country's mountainous central highlands for 12 years, said the TV adventurer had been well cared for by tribespeople and appeared to be in no danger when he was found … To the surprise of the helicopter crew, Allen filmed himself and the helicopter as it circled a remote mountain airstrip where he was waiting to be picked up on Friday. The crew waited for an hour as the explorer posed for pictures with villagers before his evacuation. 'He was lapping it up,' said Rose”.

Expect Paul Dacre to go on one of his frequent holidays, in order to calm down and avoid the possibility of simultaneously combusting at his own editorial conference, very soon. The Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street should have retired when he turned 65.

Britain First Leader NICKED AGAIN

These are not good times for the far-right in the UK. The travails of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, are legion, and included his having problems finding a venue for another of his book signing events last night - this one in Grimsby. Lennon was eventually reduced to using a local pub to meet his adoring supporters - and give away copies of his allegedly best selling book. 
No racism here, and don't you forget it

His pals at Britain First have fared even less well, especially the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen. She and Paul Golding had spent some time this year touring Europe to very little effect at all, then in September the Guardian reported thatTwo leading members of the far-right group Britain First have been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment … Paul Golding, 35, and Jayda Fransen, 31, were bailed to appear before Medway magistrates court next month. Golding has been charged with three counts, Fransen with four”. And soon it got worse.

The following month the Mail told readersBritain First's deputy leader has been arrested during a rally for violating terms of her bail, the far-right party says … Jayda Fransen was arrested yesterday at the protest in Sunderland after making a short speech among the crowd”. Why this might have been was also explained.

Both are required to present themselves weekly at a police station as part of their bail arrangements - but they have spent recent weeks touring far-right events throughout Europe … On Friday, Ms Fransen conducted a phone interview with Radio Aryan, whose tagline is 'save the fatherland’”. Radio Aryan. But they’re not racists, honestly.

And now Ms Fransen has been nicked once more, as the BBC has reported: “The deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First has been arrested in London by Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives … Jayda Fransen, 31, is being interviewed in Belfast over a speech she gave in the city during the summer … The speech was made at a ‘Northern Ireland Against Terrorism’ rally at Belfast City Hall on 6 August”.

Paul Golding was in full victimhood mode: “A large group of plain clothes police detectives from Belfast of all places jumped out of nowhere and have arrested Jayda … What have they arrested her for? Both of us addressed, made a speech, at a public demonstration outside Belfast City Hall all the way back in August … The detective I spoke to told me she is being flown to Belfast tonight to be interrogated”. Then he just took the piss.

It's absolutely ridiculous - this is non-stop with me and Jayda, non-bloody stop”. Yeah, right. The rozzers don’t just pick up folks off the street - on several occasions - and go through the process of charging them for what Golding claims is “no bloody reason”. The Police are there to keep order, and if necessary to enforce it. The Britain First leadership wants to stir up trouble, they put themselves in line to be duly nicked as a result.

Perhaps the far-right will start to get the message. But don’t bet on it.

Voter Consultancy Ltd - The Reality

After several Tory MPs signalled their opposition to some of the Government’s Brexit proposals, and the clumsy intervention by the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph naming them all on its front page, we now have a much more sinister targeting of those MPs which verges on harassment. This latest intervention has come from a company called Voter Consultancy Ltd via paid-for Facebook advertising.
The misinformation bus rolls back into town

So who is Voter Consultancy Ltd, which talks about its “grassroots efforts to make sure that we hold our MPs accountable”? There’s a clue in that line: “Grassroots” is a term bandied about by the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance to mask the reality, that it is an Astroturf lobby group with no grassroots. And there is a TPA connection with Voter Consultancy.

The firm’s sole director is Thomas Borwick. He was Chief Technical Officer of Vote Leave and before that was involved with … Cambridge Analytica. Borwick was pals with one Andrew Whitehurst: the two were co-directors in two previous companies, as Miles King pointed out. And he was one of the four people who set up WESS in 2013.
Whitehurst was the W in WESS; the others were Matthew Elliott (co-principal of Vote Leave and a founder of the TPA), Jag Singh (co-founder of MessageSpace) and the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes infamy. WESS was purported to have a database called Metis at its disposal. The Spectator magazine told at the time of “The mighty Metis machine that could save Cameron’s bacon in 2015”.
Metis would, we were told, use “Data on the supporters of issues based campaigns”. Also, “Other sources being fed into Metis include aggregated census records, social media profile data and online political advertising response data”. WESS had “the intention to gather ten million peoples’ personal information by the end of next year [2014]”.
The principals of WESS might not have been thinking this through, but many now are doing just that, and coming up with one question: just how legal is all of this hoarding of personal information? And after the 2015 General Election, what happened to all that information? Would Borwick and his pals care to confirm that none of this work has found its way to Cambridge Analytica - and Voter Consultancy Ltd? Thought not.
All those connections stack up: Singh was the one who accompanied Staines’s then gofer Harry Cole to Moscow in late 2011, following which the Fawkes blog ran adverts paid by the Russian Government and mentions of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s gangsterist régime in Moscow by The Great Guido dried up completely.
Matthew Elliott was also on the advisory board of the now-moribund Young Britons’ Foundation of Tory bullying infamy. He founded an organisation which never quite managed to answer the simple question - who pays for the TPA? Now, we find ourselves asking who is paying for Voter Consultancy Ltd to indulge in harassing Tory MPs.

So far, Sarah Woolaston and Vicky Ford have been targeted by Borwick’s latest brainchild. Their colleague Anna Soubry has called the targeting “Offensive and untrue” and called those doing it “Brexit bullies”. The Information Commissioner would have good cause to delve into Borwick, Whitehurst and their past alliances. And everyone else would have good cause to ask once again: whose money is driving this latest nasty intrusion?

Top Six - November 19

So what’s hot, and what’s not, in the past week’s blogging? Here are the six most popular posts on Zelo Street for the past seven days, counting down in reverse order, because, well, I have to be out and about later. So there.
6 BBC Promotes Fake News Failure Despite the efforts of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, the attack on Labour MP Emma Dent Coad had generated precisely zero front page column inches over two days. So why did the BBC’s Daily Politics give the exercise credibility?

5 Tommy Robinson - Get The Nanoviolin Stephen Yaxley Lennon had his Twitter blue tick removed. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

4 Guido Fawkes Russia Connection The Fawkes massive’s connections to Russia go back a long way - and Paul Staines is on record admitting he took money from the Moscow Government.

3 Tommy Robinson Charity VANISHES Stephen Yaxley Lennon was made a “goodwill ambassador” by a charity that wasn’t really a charity. Then the charity and its figurehead disappeared.

2 Alex Wickham - We Have To Talk The Fawkes blog’s teaboy is not known as “Billy Liar” for nothing. He is a complete and utter shit. So what is our free and fearless press doing giving him and his pals a seat at their table?

1 Farage Takes £100K Libel Hit Former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage settled the defamation action brought by Hope Not Hate - and as a result ended up more than £100K out of pocket.

And that’s the end of another blogtastic week, blog pickers. Not ‘arf!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Don’t Menshn Russian Printshops

While those teasing out Russian involvement with the Trump Gang, and influence on groups in and around the UK involved with the campaign to leave the EU, seek to find signs of evidence, some out there in wacko conspiracy land dispense with such niceties. If they can find real people who don’t agree with them, that is quite sufficient to provoke accusations of Kremlin fellow travelling and have GCHQ alerted.
Wibble, wibble, she's a hatstand

You think I jest? This has become a regular occurrence in the parallel universe inhabited by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, whose appetite for getting a little too excited and going running to the security agencies is at least providing them with one more name for their Twitter block lists. Ms Mensch has gone from merely unhinged to totally and absolutely gaga in her efforts to smear anyone of differing view.
This was shown to good effect earlier this week after Andrew Hickey told “All the people replying to that saying @MikeH_PR is a Russian disinformation agent... it's just absurd”. Ms Mensch immediately jumped in to the conversation, uninvited. “Why? Is he paid by Russia? Are you, Mike? ‘Russia’ to mean Russian interests directly or indirectly”. Hinde simply took the piss out of her: “FFS don't tell George Soros”.
Then, without any prompting, she lost it completely: “Making a note of Russia’s asset Party in the EU cc @gchq”. Mike Hinde was “Russia’s asset”? On the basis of what? And look - the upmarket Manhattan Walter Mitty even copied GCHQ in on the exchange. So that’s more spam they’ll have to filter out. It soon got worse - a lot worse.
By last night, the accusations were reaching paranoid proportions, and not for the first time. “Some unkind souls might note the public reporting in the UK today that @hugorifkind father Malcolm Rifkind is a member of Conservative Friends of Russia” she began, with a very smal amount of evidence indeed - evidence only by association, and even that needing a king size logic leap to stand it up.
Still, with a little straightforward lying, and another nod to GCHQ, this particular turd could be buffed up a little: “And if they were really graceless, cc @GCHQ, those same uncouth #OSINT watchers might remember Conservative Friends of Russia’s Malcolm Rifkind outing sensitive and current TS/SCI US military cyber capability on the floor of the House”. Malcolm Rifkind did WHAT? We might have noticed at the time if he had. But he hadn’t.
And then came the moment of not only venturing past Barking, but overrunning the buffer stops at Upminster. “I tend to hold grudges. You can all ask Sir Tim Hunt’s accusers about that. I haven’t forgotten Portland Media’s involvement in both Hunt and Trump Russia” declared Ms Mensch. Portland Media? Er, hello? Portland Media is a design and print business based in Clerkenwell. It offers “Cutting edge design at affordable prices”.

The company’s Twitter account has not said anything this year. The possibility of it being involved in any form of espionage is not unadjacent to zero. This is just plain ridiculous.

Louise Mensch is beyond paranoid. She needs to seek help - and do so very soon.

Tommy Robinson Charity VANISHES

It was one of the stranger media announcements of the year: Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, was announced as a “Goodwill Ambasador” for the MMBF Trust. This organisation, as Hope Not Hate pointed out, gives the impression of being a charity, and has been promoted as such. It “also trades as the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund”. There was to be an MMBF Tommy Robinson award.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

Whether this was for losing a young solicitors’ employee his job, repeatedly violating the privacy of a blogger for expressing his opinion, committing acts of contempt of court, illegally identifying a Border Force official, pushing misleading figures for book sales, throwing a mardy strop at Twitter for enforcing its terms and conditions, or any other of Lennon’s highly creative enterprises, is not yet known.

But what is known is that Matthew Martino is another who, like Lennon, likes to use a false name as a means of self-identification, if not self-promotion: he is in reality Mathetes Chihwai, a 25-year-old Zimbabwean who claims to be an entrepreneur. The problem with his so-called charity is that not only is there no record of it with the Charities Commission, its alleged £100,000 “arts fund” is matched by last filed net assets of just £16,443.

So far, so unusual, but what has happened since the announcement of Lennon’s appointment as a “Goodwill Ambassador” and HnH’s investigation has been positively bizarre. The Short Film Festival dumped MMBF as a result of Lennon’s appointment. The UnDependence Film Festival followed suit. The Mail Online report of Lennon’s appointment noted that the Charity Commission had said “The Commission has contacted the organisation [MMBF Trust] to establish on what grounds it describes itself as a charity, and why it has not submitted an application to register”.
Mathetes Chihwai aka Matthew Martino

It got worse: the involvement of Martino (or Chihwai if you prefer) with Essex TV, of which he had been a director, was terminated abruptly. CEO Tim Tiernan told “The EssexTV and EssexMagazine board has terminated Matthew Martino (Mathetes Chihwai’s) directorship of both companies and he yesterday agreed a severance deal and sold all his shareholding back to myself and Mr Alin Stacescu (our Creative Director) … We are absolutely horrified and shocked beyond belief by the decision by Mr Martino’s trust to have any degree of association with Tommy Robinson. We are now conducting an internal review into how much ‘in kind’ favours Mr Martino offered to Mr Robinson and if any of our staff were involved”. Could it get more bizarre? It certainly could.

Tiernan’s Twitter feed was taken private soon afterwards. That of Martino/Chihwai fared worse: it’s been deleted. The great entrepreneur and philanthropist has gone to ground. The web page at Essex TV for the “Matthew Martino Innovators’ Fund” has vanished. The MMBF website has been put behind a login barrier.

But there has been not a peep from Lennon about these developments. He gives the impression of having taken the free publicity and run. Not, of course, that anyone should conclude that this is a mere PR stunt with no real end product. Perish the thought!

Sun Taoiseach Smear BUSTED

The routine abuse meted out by the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun to anyone incurring their displeasure on the subject of Britain and the EU is legion: smears of Jean-Claude Juncker, Guy Verhofstadt and more recently Michel Barnier are as frequent as they are hectoring, sustained, and just plain nasly. But now the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have found a new bogeyman to put the boot in on.
Leo Varadkar

As the Guardian has reported, “Ireland has issued a stark warning that it will block progress of the Brexit negotiations in December unless the UK gives a formal written guarantee that there will be no hard border with Northern Ireland … In sharp remarks before a breakfast meeting with Theresa May, the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said Brexit-backing politicians had not ‘thought all this through’ in the years they had been pushing for the UK to leave the EU”. A statement of the bleeding obvious.

Lewis Goodall of Sky News also notedThe Irish government has made it clear that no Brexit outcome which in any way introduces any element of a hard border on the island of Ireland is acceptable to them”, and concluded “Theresa May must feel she's playing Brexit whack a mole. Every time she beats one problem, a few more appear”.

The Taoiseach was making it clear that any kind of “hard border” between the Republic and Northern Ireland was not acceptable to the Dublin Government. It would be instantly harmful to trade, and seriously disruptive to the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands in both parts of Ireland. That, though, cut no ice with the Sun, which went in with both feet.

Ireland’s naive young prime minister should shut his gob on Brexit and grow up … He is too busy disrespecting 17.4million voters of a country whose billions stopped Ireland going bust as recently as 2010 … Varadkar’s rookie diplomacy, puerile insults and threats to veto trade negotiations … the showboating obstinacy of Ireland’s Varadkar, a man increasingly out of his depth” rants today’s editorial, which also includes this seriously misleading claim: “We are Ireland’s biggest trading partner”. That’s not quite true, is it?
As Trading Economics has noted, for Ireland “The European Union accounts for 60 percent of total exports. Main export partners are: United States (23 percent), United Kingdom (16 percent)”. That means not only that the rest of the EU accounts for 44% of Irish exports, but that the USA accounts for more than the UK. So the Murdoch goons are not merely being needlessly abusive, they’re lying through their teeth (again).

The situation is different for imports, where the UK accounts for 34% of the total, as opposed to 26% for the rest of the EU, but it should be remembered that Ireland is running a trade surplus at present. And as it is the UK doing the most exporting of the two, it would be the UK that would suffer most in the event of a “no deal” Brexit being concluded.

Once again, the Murdoch press takes the legitimate concerns of other EU leaders, and turns them into a game of playground abuse. The Taoiseach is merely voicing concerns for the effect of the Brexit mayhem on his country’s economy, and therefore its people (contrast the Sun’s name-calling with the Irish Times coverage - HERE and HERE).

Anyone would think that the Murdochs don’t really care about who suffers over Brexit, so long as they get to lord it over everyone else, while not getting blamed for the mess.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Murdoch Digital Hypocrisy

On many observers’ radar yesterday was the confession by Rupert Murdoch that his print titles are having a hard time in today’s New Media age. As the Guardian reported, Murdoch “says News Corp is not looking to expand its newspaper empire, conceding digital advertising ‘has been tremendously damaging to print’ and some of his papers were struggling”. The Great Man was clearly not happy.
He told investors at News Corp’s AGM in Los Angeles “So far I think we have done pretty well in replacing lost advertising revenue in the major papers, but it continues to be a big problem … I think the big three successes we have are the three big national papers: the Wall Street Journal, the Times in London and the Australian … The other papers, a lot of them are still very viable, but they are struggling”.

So what are the Murdoch mafiosi going to do in order to turn the situation around? Will they be looking to improve their print offer? Might they look to reverse the appallingly low trust ratings that papers like the Sun now suffer in the UK - the title is less trusted than Twitter and Facebook? Will there be moves to reverse all those years of declining circulation, a push to show that print is still a force to be reckoned with?

As if you need to ask: the Murdoch strategy is, as ever, to resort to the dirtiest tricks available to them and their hangers-on, and to put the boot in on any and every new media player in order to drag them down - rather than improving what News Corp and News UK put out there. So it should have been no surprise to see the Murdoch Sun devoting editorials not to kicking the EU, but laying into the hated Web Giants instead.

More specifically, this week’s Sun target has been Facebook, with screaming headlines likeWeb giants should be fined huge sums for every damaging post they publish … Facebook has technology advanced enough to censor every ­nipple, but apparently not to spot ­political ads bought in roubles”. Er, hello? When did the Sun ever get fined for publishing something damaging? Has Rupe never done business in Russia?
Well, yes he has, hence a recent FBI investigation into those interests and their activities. Still, details, eh? Today the Sun has gone after Facebook yet again, howling “Facebook has lost control if it takes 48 hours to down rape threats and MPs need to regulate the monster the social media giant has become”. Regulation? By MPs? Can anyone remember Leveson? And can they now smell hypocrisy?

The Murdoch goons have even roped in the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - maybe Rebekah Brooks called them personally with their instructions - to slag off BuzzFeed, whose “long trumpeted IPO looks increasingly unlikely”. The source for the Fawkes massive? You don’t even need to guess - the “news, which emerged overnight” [yeah, right] comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Still the Murdoch mafiosi fails to get new media. But instead of trying to figure it out, they once again resort to putting the boot in - in the vain hope that they can turn back the digital tide. It would be laughable, were it not so pathetically sad.

Katie Hopkins Sex Hypocrisy

Still promoting the garnering of More And Bigger Paycheques For Herself Personally Now, pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins has seen an opportunity to get a few more outrage points by shooting off her North and South about underage sex, or, as many people inconveniently call it, illegal sex or even paedophilia. As so often with Hatey Katie, though, the point at which she trips herself up over her own bigotry is never far away.
Viewers may still want to look away now

Ms Hopkins has decided that what Judge Roy Moore did with a 14-year-old girl is no big deal, but only on the basis of her objective judgment you understand, and not because he’s a rabidly right-wing politician who she wants to see elected at any cost. So on seeing Moore’s poll ratings tanking after he was accused of what is a felony offence, she decided to point out how she herself was sexually aware at the age of 14.
After Moore was accused, she wanted everyone to know that 14-year-old girls were somehow “not innocent”, which may provide an interesting talking point at the school gates, provided of course that other parents give her the time of day. “Wake up people. 9th grade = age 14/15. You think 15 is innocent? Go take your heads for a wobble”. What was she trying to say? Did she think Moore would get off a felony rap?
It was looking that way. After seeing that Moore’s attorney was trying to discredit the molestation allegations - that would be as in “serious enough molestation allegations for it to be a straight felony” - she sniped “If you take 40 years to remember how upset you were at 14, you are not a victim. You are a weapon #RoyMoore”. So now the woman who complained of being molested is being attacked. But not Roy Moore, oh no.
And then she did it: Katie Hopkins told the world that 14-year-olds indulging in sexual activity was fine. As the law stands on both sides of the North Atlantic, she was ready to approve criminal behaviour, paedophilia even. Off she went: “Not all girls are innocent at 14. I was pleasuring my boyfriend harder than a Russian gymnast working a pole (Capital P optional) #RoyMoore”. Who would give her media appearances and writing gigs now?
One woman reading this was beyond outrage: “I’m physically sick reading this Tweet. From a woman no less. How can you even condone paedophilia? How the fuck can you justify an adult taking advantage of an adolescent?” Hatey Katie did not trouble herself with reason, but resorted to simply sneering “Tweeting through the vomit. Good skills. One hopes your phone is waterproof darling”. And she had forgotten the hypocrisy bit.
Because last year, she had decided that 14-year-olds being molested was A Very Bad Thing Indeed, Tweeting “More than 20 girls molested by migrants at Swedish festival. Some girls as young as 14. We need Leadsom - get us OUT”. Ah, but the acts of alleged molestation were only bad if the perpetrators were Scary Muslims (tm). For Ray Moore, and other upstanding white Christians, a quick grope was A-OK.

Racist bigotry comes all too easily to Katie Hopkins. As well as the paedophilia approval. Yes, I can just see all those media outlets queuing up for her services. Or maybe not.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Don’t Menshn Corbyn Paranoia

Some Zelo Street regulars may not agree, but this blog does not mention anyone and the Russian connection together without at least some concrete evidence that connects the two, with the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog being the latest. The act of claiming a Russia connection on a whim I leave to others, and for anyone who wants a prime example of this genre, it’s already Out There.
Has she got news for us? Er, no

Here, we encounter the wacky and not necessarily wonderful world inhabited by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who has made a whole series of highly creative claims about the Trump Gang on little more than a hunch. She then declared herself to be the foremost authority on the subject. She may even have claimed to rank as high as any in Rome. But much of what she claimed was in the realm of wacko conspiracy.
All of that need not concern politics watchers in the UK - until now. Because Ms Mensch has now declared that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is in hock to the Russians, although she is, to no surprise at all, unable to pony up any evidence (no change there, then). But she is ready to tell us “UK tweeps should know: Jeremy Corbyn also benefited from Russian propaganda in the General Election and if he knowingly cooperated, he should be arrested, like anybody in #Brexit who knowingly colluded. @ me all you want; I broke Russian bots for Brexit last year”. Yeah, course she did. Do go on.
Not only did I (and I alone) break Russian bots for #Brexit last September, I also broke the story of @Comey’s #TrumpRussia investigation on Nov 7th, thus scooping both UK and US media on both their biggest stories of the last year”. Her alone? Funny, last time I looked she was claiming to have sources in the US intelligence community.
But she’s off and running: “And I am quite used to mainstream press gnashing their teeth at my true reporting then parroting it nine months later. Russia ALSO interfered in the General Election for its asset @JeremyCorbyn. If he knew, he should be jailed. #Brexit”. Well, if he was a Russian asset, he’d know. There wouldn’t be an “if”. Think about it.
Then she starts giving MI6 instructions, and we are through the looking glass. “It’s time for MI6 to start front-facing Russian propaganda for Corbyn and I don’t mean in the bloody @FT, it might as well still be classified for all Dearlove’s warnings on @GenFlynn got noticed. Please try and be a bit less Foreign Office :)”. Wibble, wibble, she’s a hatstand.
What did her audience make of this fresh and steaming bullpucky? Matt Zarb-Cousin was short and to the point, with “Load of old cobblers. Hope you’re well”. Other replies included “Seriously what in the world is she talking about?” as well as “Basically, because she broke a few things about Trump (i.e. assumed things like everyone else did) she's now under the illusion she's a hard-hitting investigative journalist. Reality is, there's more truth in the Beano than on her twitter feed” and “The idea that the Russians had any significant influence over the election result, or that Corbyn is collaborating with them, is utterly bizarre”. But she could always set out her evidence and reasoning.

Until then, it will have to be concluded that Louise Mensch has journeyed beyond Barking and is in danger of overrunning the buffer stops at Upminster. No change there, then.

Tommy Robinson - Get The Nanoviolin

And so it came to pass that those in charge of Twitter decided they would actually do something about those who use the social media platform for what is classed as hate speech. To this end, several well-known figures have woken up today to find that their prized blue tick, the symbol of Twitter verification, had vanished. As a result, there has been much of the proverbial wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon aka Tommy Robinson

Those losing the blue tick include Richard Spencer, well known white supremacist and believed to be a real neo-Nazi. The man who organised the Charlottesville, VA white supremacist protest lost his too. Also taking the hit was Laura Loomer, whose determination not to accept a Muslim Uber driver led to her being banned by the driver and rider matching service. She was then also banned by Uber competitor Lyft.
So today, exhibitions of Olbermann’s Dictum - “The right exists in a perpetual state of victimhood” - have been in evidence across the USA. And these have extended to the UK, as Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has lost his blue tick too. This has provided excellent spectator sport as Lennon, clearly unaware of the glaringly obvious reason for his disqualification, has taken the news very badly.
Publishing Twitter’s notification to him, which confirmed that the blue tick would be “permanently removed”, Lennon told ominously “& so it begins”. What begins was not told. But his followers knew that he had been wronged. “Tommy had his verification taken away because he has a different opinion to the the globalist elite. Open our eyes people, we will not be silenced” told one, unaware that no-one had been silenced.
Another claimed “This is poor form by twitter. He’s a well-known public figure, should clearly be verified. Political correctness”. They were wrong too. And one enterprising individual sold the pass in no style at all with “Another act of punishing & attempting to silence anyone that even dares to speak the truth. What a wank world we live in”. None of them got it. So let me put these people out of their collective misery.
Twitter can remove the blue tick for behaviours that occur on their platform - this happened to appalling man-baby Milo Yiannopoulos, before he was kicked off altogether. It can also be removed for behaviours that occur off the platform. Lennon has recently abused peoples’ privacy, been found in contempt of court, and only the other week lost a man his job by constantly harassing him at his workplace.
And on top of all that, there is one thing that disqualifies Stephen Yaxley Lennon from having a Twitter blue tick: all the time he had that tick, he was using a false name. That is an instant disqualification from having a blue tick. Nothing to do with being censored. Nothing to do with speaking truth, lies, or anything in between. Nothing to do with Islam. Nothing to do with the Global Elite. Or George Soros. It’s his own fault.

[Zelo Street did not make any representation to Twitter to have Lennon’s blue tick removed. Because I’m not about to sink to his level. Hint]

Guido Fawkes Russia Connection

John le Carré’s great spymaster George Smiley said that there was no such thing as a coincidence. Le Carré’s great Smiley magnum opus, the “Karla Trilogy”, was all about how he ultimately prevailed over his opposite number in the then Soviet Union, a state which may be long gone, but whose appetite for espionage lives on in present-day Russia.
What Smiley would have made of the current rash of Russia connections is an interesting prospect. He might not have approved of the amateurish nature of so many of them, including, it now seems, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Yes, they too have a Russia connection.
Cole: tell-tale overreaction

In late 2011, Staines’ then tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, flew in to Moscow with Jag Singh, the latter being linked to Staines via MessageSpace. Cole was especially sensitive about comments made on his visit, so much so that he went off the end of the pier in no style at all when I tweaked his tail on the subject.

Why these two less than totally august individuals should feel the need to visit Moscow in the depths of the Russian winter was unclear. But we do know that in July 2012, the Fawkes blog went after Labour MP Chris Bryant because he had a column in the Independent, accusing him of taking bungs from Russians (this despite the Indy being owned by a British citizen) in an exercise of routine hypocrisy.

That was because the Fawkes blog really was taking money from the Russian Government - as witness the adverts for their embassy appearing on the same page as the attack on Bryant. But this could have been no more than a coincidence.
The Fawkes Russia hypocrisy in one screen shot

It seems it may not have been: a Zelo Street source, speaking on condition of anonymity, has joined up the dots. This person had, in early 2012, been working alongside a number of Russian and Russian speaking media people. One of those people, a young woman, also worked with Julian Assange, and took my source to meet The Great Man, who was presenting a programme for Russian state broadcaster RT.
Yes, he's here, too

It has been put to me that the young woman’s online contacts included not only Staines and Cole, but also Mark Clarke and André Walker. In the words of my contact, “they would speak to her online … as if they knew her and were a little bit frightened of her” [my emphasis]. The Fawkes blog began to take Russian ads soon afterwards.

On top of that, another account I’ve had related on the subject tells how the usually aggressive Staines became noticeably defensive and even upset when the Zelo Street post pointing out his taking Russian adverts (and therefore Russian money) was put to him. It’s as if, for once in his life, The Great Guido had developed a guilty conscience.
It wasn't a coincidence there, either

Then, in the wake of the Tory bullying scandal, in which he was heavily implicated, André Walker went off to work for the New York Observer. This move, although perhaps unexpected, did not garner too much attention at the time. But the NYO is co-owned by Jared Kushner, who is now … heavily implicated in the Trump-Russia affair.

All of this could be a series of coincidences. But George Smiley, for whom there was no such thing as a coincidence, might have concluded otherwise.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

BBC Promotes Fake News Failure

Many users of social media, especially those on the left, give broadcasters, and especially the BBC, a hard time because their reporting does not always serve up news that is acceptable to them. That the real world may bring unpalatable truths, though, is part and parcel not only of everyday life, but the Beeb’s duty to report. That is not a problem. What is a problem is when the oxygen of publicity is given to right wing fake news outlets.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears

And there is no greater bringer of - at least borderline - fake news than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. The Fawkes massive are also no strangers to failure, today bringing another flop at they try to do their press masters’ bidding by laying into independent press regulator Impress. The post is another fake news item. It is going nowhere. And it is not the only Fawkes flop.
Jo Coburn, today's Daily Politics presenter

Much more significant has been the vicious attack on Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, who represents Kensington. This has followed the usual sneering and bullying template established by the Fawkes blog’s newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, which had previously been utilised to try and unsettle new intake MP Laura Pidcock, allied to a little bullying and threatening towards her Parliamentary researcher.
Another fake story ...

The attack on Ms Dent Coad, which began two days ago, generated no front page newspaper exposure yesterday. It has generated no front page newspaper exposure today - despite the Fawkes rabble calling in their pals, notably LBC host Iain Dale and Murdoch hack Iain “a clear public interest defence” Martin, and persuading a number of Tory MPs to do their clear partisan duty and kick the Rotten Lefty (tm).
... a nasty threat ...

The use of threats was typified by Wickham telling his followers “Corbyn to have ‘a chat’ with Emma Dent Coad. That chat might take a slightly different tone after tomorrow morning’s story”. Yeah, we’re going to do her in good and proper in the morning - are we not men? WE ARE GUIDO! Sadly, there was no story “in the morning”. It was an empty threat, another attempt to scare by reputation, another slice of fake news.
... two pals roped in ...

But that did not stop the BBC Daily Politics from humouring The Great Guido and running the Dent Coad story as if it were a serious news item, rather than a nasty bunch of fake news merchants and their Press Establishment masters trying to take out an MP whose focus on the Grenfell Tower aftermath could cause the Tories significant discomfort.
... make that three pals

Why did the Beeb effectively promote the Fawkes fakers? The story, such as it was, had been promoted by the Fawkes rabble solidly since Monday and had got precisely nowhere. What interest is served by giving prime time coverage to another attempt by the Fourth Estate’s boot boys to bully and intimidate a woman Labour MP? Was there equal coverage given to Ms Dent Coad’s latest report and campaigning on the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster? And if not, why not?
And the inevitable result

Why is a respected public service broadcaster giving airtime not just to a borderline fake news site, but one so beset by failure? It would be interesting to see the answer.