Archive for the ‘Other stuff’ Category
Google’s latest piece of zoom-able 3D world-mapping wizardry has got the twitosphere all excited, and even London Mayor Boris Johnson has been enthusing. The detail is quite overwhelming – all the way down to the wording on the protest placards in Parliament Square, with Brian Haw himself sitting right in the middle:
I’ve just made a start on Craig Murray’s new book “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” (which he is making available for free via this link), and it’s certainly a page-turner. I suspect that I’m slightly more obsessive than most about what makes for a really good first paragraph, but this certainly works for me:
I spent the eve of the Millennium in my garden, on the spacious lawns of Devonshire House in Accra, hosting a seven course meal for 120 people, with dancing, fireworks and unlimited champagne. Despite the hysterical rubbish with which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had been bombarding me for weeks, the World’s computers didn’t crash, and the future looked bright.
Osama Bin Laden doesn’t use the Christian calendar so wasn’t celebrating that night. He had already accepted the idea – not originally his – of suicide attacks involving hijacked aircraft. His al-Qaida network had about 180 members. Al Gore looked pretty safe to win the democratic nomination and the Presidency. George Bush was a blip on the horizon whose record as a Vietnam draft-dodger would surely scupper his chances.
The World was on the brink of unhappier times. But we didn’t know it, and I was happily immersed in what remains my first and abiding concern…
Click here for more…
See also The Ex Labour Minister & the African Private Equity Firm for a further extract, in which Murray alleges dodgy dealings by former DFID minister Baroness Amos.
My brother-in-law Lieven, aka “Kid Fear” has been making giant steps forward with his musical career over in Belgium. Here’s the just-released (and appropriately surreal) video for his latest song, “Weekend in the Sand”
In 1988, 28-year-old Julie Ward was found dead in a game reserve in Kenya. The Kenyan authorities claimed that she had been attacked by wild animals, committed suicide or been struck by lightning. The UK Foreign Office – initially at least – supported this view, and tried to persuade Julie Ward’s family that there was nothing more to know.
For the last 20 years, Julie’s father John Ward has been campaigning for her death to be recognised as a murder, and for those responsible to be brought to justice. In the process he has exposed the efforts of the Kenyan authorities in covering up the truth – and, perhaps most shocking of all, the complicity of the UK government in these efforts, which he has described as “treachery”.
More details of this cover-up were released this week under the Freedom of Information Act – having been withheld by the UK government since 2004 on the transparently bogus pretext of “national security”. We now know that four years ago, an independent UK police inquiry concluded that the Foreign Office had been guilty of “inconsistency and contradictions, falsehoods and downright lies” and had deliberately obstructed John Ward’s attempts to reveal the truth about his daughter’s death.
The Foreign Office admits mistakes, but denies wrongdoing and claims that it has learned its lesson. The fact that the results of the internal police inquiry were withheld for four years on such obviously spurious grounds suggests that whatever lesson they have learned, it isn’t about openness and transparency…
A lot things seem to be happening at once right now: The Guardian has kindly featured an article I’ve written about the latest shenanigans with the Foreign Office, my big sister Charlotte, and the extremist group who killed her in December 2000, Palipehutu-FNL. Burundi’s bad boys recently made contact with me via a supposedly neutral intermediary called Dieudonné Haburagira.
Less than 24 hours after that article was published, the Foreign Office gave their response to the Freedom of Information Act request I made several weeks ago, asking for details of their secret (not any more) meeting with the Palipehutu-FNL leader, Agathon Rwasa. It makes for an amusing read – the letter listing their reasons for withholding most of what I’ve requested is significantly longer than the document containing the meagre information that they are prepared to give…