Dear Prime Minister, please promote Margot James

There was only one true mystery after David Cameron’s pitch-perfect reshuffle last week.

Where was Margot James?

I realise the risk in publishing a ‘please promote my mate’ blog about any MP, not least to the MP themselves, but that is not what I am doing here. Firstly, I know and like just about every Tory MP in the 2010 intake, and I understand there isn’t room in government for all of them, especially when LibDem obstructionists have a third of government seats (notice all those female and BME LibDem ministers by the way? Oh. Me neither). Secondly. Margot James had absolutely nothing to do with this blog and would never have approved of my writing it. And I know those that feed back to the PM will understand that.

Now that my interest has been properly declared, it is worth saying that the entire political lobby in the UK agrees with me on the merit of Stourbridge’s finest. “What, pray, has Margot James done wrong?” tweeted Tim Shipman of the Times, formerly the Mail, a grande dame of Fleet Street himself, being then retweeted by Jane Merrick, Political Editor of the Independent on Sunday. Prior to the reshuffle, Margot James was being tipped everywhere from the Guardian to the Belfast Telegraph – her name was on nearly every list.

And this is because, inexplicably, Margot James has not been promoted before. Every Parliament-watcher was expecting her elevation long before now. She is a hard worker, above average in both speaking and voting. She is loyal: “Hardly ever rebels against their party”. She is extremely nice, and has no enemies that I know of on either side of the house. She is well-regarded locally, and her local paper were none too pleased to find their favorite daughter overlooked yet again. 

James is that rare breed, a person who has truly succeeded before entering politics. One of Britain’s most successful female entrepreneurs, she worked as a corporate leader in PR, winning “communicator of the year” in 1997 and selling the company she founded for millions not long after that. She resigned from the Tory party after Maggie was ousted, but rejoined, and fought the safe Labour seat of St. Pancras before taking Stourbridge from Labour in the last election.  Her service to the Conservative party is not four solid Parliamentary years, it is in fact a lifetime of work.

And James, who had a life and a business before getting elected, is not as young as she looks. She is 56 with a lifetime of achievement few MPs can ever hope to match. I say this with hesitation, but somebody has to, so it may as well be me; not promoting Margot James in this Parliament is more than a mistake, it is an insult.

The PM has made Nicky Morgan Education Secretary, but also Minister for Women. Because Nicky voted against equal marriage, he has given implementation of that law to the promoted Nick Boles MP, now an education minister. This is a mistake. I have long argued in public and in private that the women and equality brief should not be an afterthought shunted as a secondary responsibility to this ministry or that ministry, distracting a SecState from her more important job (previously Maria Miller, as SoS for Culture, was also Minister for Women). Margot James would be the perfect person to be Women and Equalities Minister. She is gay, and she is a feminist, previously Vice-Chairman of the Party for Women. But more than that, she brings a Conservative, libertarian, business-minded feminism to the brief. Women and Equalities should be a Minister of State position inside the Cabinet Office, and the holder should have the right to attend Cabinet.

Margot James would do things with this brief. She would end the scandal of OFSTED guidance on Muslim schools that breaches the Equality Act (forced wearing of the veil, even for non-Muslim girls, forced segregation). She would get rid of the anomalies that favor men throughout the system. She would stand up for equality of opportunity – that was at the heart of Thatcherism.

Failing this, the PM should correct his mistake. It would be a sign of his strength and flexibility. He should either make her a senior whip or make her co-Chairman of the Party (I don’t care if there are three) and a Cabinet Minister right away. She is able, loyal, experienced, hard-working, 56, charming, and has proven ability to run a whelk stall.

Come on David – make us all happy.

David Cameron has had a lot of work and loyalty from Margot James, who because she was an entrepreneur, gay, telegenic and full of substance, was asked by CCHQ to do much extra work in 2010 on the media to win our party the election. She took on those duties unstintingly, as well as ousting a Labour MP from her marginal seat. The Prime Minister owes Margot James a debt. He too is hardworking and loyal. It is time for him to pay his debt. Margot was chosen to represent the ‘new face’ of the modern Tory party and she surely does. It’s time to show that this was not just a PR stunt, and that we believe that impressive entrepreneurs like her are exactly what the Party offers the voters to run the nation.

To my knowledge, Margot, though undoubtedly disappointed at not having been promoted up until now, has always bitten her tongue. This time, though, it clearly bothered her. To Shipman’s tweet, she replied “I don’t know Tim, but if you ever find out, let me know!”

If Margot James is lost to the party it will be a massive embarrassment. It should not happen. She should be promoted now, to give her a year in place before the election. Cameron can make it happen. We need Women to Win, is a great Conservative slogan. We also need women WHO win. And that’s Margot James, Conservative MP for Stourbridge.


Compassion Fatigue – Why The West Is Washing Its Hands


The night before the three Israeli teens were found dead, I had a particularly vivid nightmare. I have no doubt it was caused by seeing too many shots and videos of Isis barbarity; crucifixions, amputations, Muslim men lined up like cattle to be shot in a ditch by other Muslims.

I do not remember most of the dream, apart from the sequence that woke me up. Two children, around seven, were blindfolded and an ISIS terrorist was preparing to kill them. In my dream I screamed out for mercy, saying they were just children, and flung myself towards them and then I woke up, heart pounding, drenched in sweat.

Later in the same day, on Twitter, the UN posted a picture of a Syrian child reaching up for a hug. Assad and Putin are starving these children to death, operating mass torture factories. We didn’t act and now it’s too late. ISIS filled the gap left by Obama. And they spread. Evil against evil.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnapped 90 more girls. These are Christian women who will be forced at gunpoint to pretend to convert to Islam, then raped for the rest of their lives to men to whom they are sold.

In the Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim, Christian, wife of one American and mother of two more, was released from Sudanese custody after the US embassy apologised – yes, apologised – for issuing her a visa. The Sudan is currently detaining her two American children and Obama is doing nothing.

When later that same day I heard the teenagers were found dead, I could not imagine the horror of their mothers, or fathom that Hamas – who at one stage wanted to be thought legitimate – would blatantly say nothing to admit guilt in kidnapping them and shooting them. How scared they must have been.

And my dream came back to me very vividly. How I had screamed out to the man begging him for mercy. I wanted to beg a sorrowing and vengeful Israel for mercy. Please, go after the killers but only them. Please, do not storm into the West Bank and engage in collective punishment. Because then somebody else’s boys might die. I said as much on Twitter and was immediately accused of being anti-Israeli, a typical European and an Arabist.

Israel went in and blew up the houses of the suspected kidnappers. These kidnappers have not been caught or tried, but their house was blown up. A child was injured. Another teen, Yusuf was his name – Joseph, in Western parlance, a Hebrew name – aged 18 was shot in the chest in a refugee camp in Jenin. IDF forces say he threw a grenade at them. Palestinians claim he was a passer by. One thing is for sure, neither the injured child nor the dead teen played any role in murdering the three Israeli boys. But they were the ones who were hurt. If Israel invades Gaza, civiliians, probably young children too, will die. That is a fact.

But to say as much is to be anti-Israeli? No; no. And to say to the Muslim world, your silence is disgusting on ISIS, your funding of Syrian terror is disgusting; you fat bastards in your radical mosques in Bradford and elsewhere, radicalising English boys and sending them off to die while you sit at home doing sod all but get fat. Fatness is a part of it. Fatness, slovenliness, warmongering from teststerone free fuckers who would no more endanger themselves than go for a jog in the morning or get a real job. Is that Islamophobia? God no, no it is not. Who is killing more Muslims than anybody else? Is it Obama’s drones or Israeli rockets? No, it’s OTHER BLOODY MUSLIMS – ISIS are the biggest Islamophobes in the whole world.

And so when I say to Israel for the love of G-d, go after those who took your boys and no more, and am greeted by a cry of traitor, I feel like putting my head in my hands.

I think it’s time for some straight talk.

Israel, I don’t care if you are tired of the word ‘restraint’. You need to show some. Because you are losing the West. You have no idea how badly you are losing the west. Yes, Hamas are terrorists. Yes, subhuman pigs slaughtered the Fogel children, and Palestinians just as subhuman celebrated that. By all means, go after them. But if you cannot go in precisely, do not go in at all. When the IRA bombed London we did not strike Dublin. We went after individuals. Israel, I say to you with my hand on my heart; the Gaza rocket strikes have killed NO ISRAELIS. They don’t WORK. They are the weak efforts of losers. you need to understand that the West does not think it is proportionate to reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Would I stand for rockets, would I stand for my children with PTSD because of constant rocket fire, no I would not. But my answer would be just as the earlier operations in #BringBackOurBoys – go in and capture Hamas leaders and politicians. Take the individuals. Jail them. They are terrorists. Try them. In a court. Do not reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Hamas strikes do not kill Israelis but Israeli strikes do kill Palestinian civilians. And the rest of the world believes this imbalance is wrong.

‘Screw you, why the hell should you care what we think?” Well, you should care because with every settlement you build you are losing American public opinion. And that means that American Jews VOTE DEMOCRAT. And that means you get Barack Obama as your President and John Kerry as Secretary of State. That means you get Syria. And ISIS. That means you weaken Israel. Materially. In terms.

Israel is the victim of amazing hatred, the hatred that posts swastikas on Facebook pages to celebrate the death of those three kidnapped boys. And Israel was right – absolutely right – to build that giant wall. No Israeli buses or cafés have blown up since. The rockets do nor work. Israelis are safe.

But dearest Israel, you have no right to be in the settlements. Nobody thinks you have a right to be in the settlements. The 2012 film the Gatekeepers, featuring the last six heads of the Shin Bet, showed Israeli intelligence forces did not want the settlements. There will be no peace and no security until the settlements come down. You must dismantle the settlements unless you wish to live in this sick and deadly farce until the end of time.

And Palestine. You must stop your vicious attacks, your celebration of dead Israeli babies taken from their cots and decapitated, of the four year old Fogel boy who was reading his book in his bed when they slit his throat. You come across as inhuman, subhuman hatemongers when you do that. You MUST RECOGNISE THE STATE OF ISRAEL and give up this right to return crap. The land belonged to the Jews before it belonged to you. It is theirs. They are not going anywhere. You should take the occupied territories and build on them and live in a two-state solution with peace.

And Muslims need to stop looking at Israel whose crimes are so few in comparison to those of Assad, of Putin, of ISIS, of Saddam – of the Saudi secret police who burned those girls alive for being improperly veiled. Jerusalem is the least of the enemies of the Ummah. The sick Iraqi cycle of Sunni in power, oppress Shia, Shia in power, oppress Sunni – Islam now is fighting as Christianity did in the 1500s, with all the accompanying tortures and burnings at the stake. They are crucifying other Muslims in Iraq. They are gassing Muslim children in Syria. They are stoning Muslim rape victims and lashing them. They are stoning mothers for adultery. They are hanging Iranian gay Muslim men. I know one thing, I know that Allah – that HaShem, that God – is fucking pissed off with the lot of us.

And here’s the thing. Feel free to ignore all this and write comments saying how awful I am and have no idea. But I will tell you something. The appetite of the ordinary Western voter to lift a finger – even to help in Syria as Muslim children starve – it has totally evaporated. The thought of Israel invading Gaza in some sick act of collective punishment leaves American and British voters cold. Nobody gives a flying fuck anymore. The average Westerner is saying to themselves “these are a bunch of savages and who cares if they kill each other.” Iraq will get no help. Afghans will get none. Syrians will get none. We hear no cries of outrage from the Muslim world. We see no moves from Israel to move to a just peace and get out of territory that does not belong to Israel, the settlements. We see no willingness to compromise and nothing more than a bloody merry go round of torture and death by asshole adults who will throw children and families to the wind because they will never, ever back down.

And so we just don’t care.

And by “we” I mean almost all voters. Not me – I care, I care incredibly. I wanted targeted air strikes against Assad. Now instead we have ISIS crucifying Muslims and Syrian kids starving.

The Torah says, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” – that means, it is mine to take; it is not yours to take. Te Qu’ran begins “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” Say it and believe it. What is He? What is He? Is Allah the Merciful pleased as you shoot teenage boys in the head for being Jews, or Muslims in a ditch because they follow a different sect to you?

The Middle East is the cradle of civilization. If it carries on like this, it will also be its grave.

And you will all – Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs and Persians – you will all be on your own.

UPDATE: HAS Rusbridger exposed thousands of GCHQ personnel?


UPDATE: Scroll down to see video of Rusbridger admitting that he gave the GCHQ files, unredacted, to Glenn Greenwald, files Glenn Greenwald did not already have. So that his claim to Parliament to have control of the files is false.


It seems apparent that the information exchange wiki betrayed by the Guardian did not just include the odd name – the Guardian’s own descriptions imply that it included entire staff directories; which is logical as after all, this is exactly the sort of information GCWIKI would have been set up to share. We might be talking about many thousands of names. This could be a security disaster of unparalleled proportions.

Journalists have asked me on Twitter if I really want to see Alan Rusbridger arrested. Yes, I do; and here’s why.

It was always incredibly bad that he had exposed British intelligence agents to foreigners, willfully, having admitted that doing so would expose them. My prior blog below shows how he redacted all their names from the files he FedExed to ProPublica but then decided he couldn’t be arsed on the 25,000 files he sent unredacted to the NYT and Glenn Greenwald.

A comment was left on that last blog that I have to reproduce. It shows that every agent exposed by Rusbridger has had their career ruined for the duration of it; none of them can ever work in the field again. Furthermore, the writer makes the compelling case that the NSA-GCHQ wiki, which the New York Times published extracts from, and the directories of staff interests like gay and lesbian clubs, ghost hunting clubs etc, mean that Rusbridger has actually sent abroad not just a handful of names, as he claimed to Parliament “there were names on power points” but actually thousands of GCHQ names.

It is possible he has exposed the names of every person working at the agency. I checked this comment with Prof John Schindler, @20Committee on Twitter. Schindler is former NSA Top Secret plus cleared, a senior NSA officer, and currently a Professor at the Naval War college in Boston.

He says that my commenter is “very probably” right on the wiki and its directories. Here’s the comment:

As a total security imbecile, Rusbridger fails (or refuses) to grasp this basic concept: Any intelligence operative whose name is exposed to journalists, or put in a position where the likelihood of their identities being publically exposed is at greater risk, CAN NEVER BE DEPLOYED COVERTLY.
The issue here is not that ‘no names have been published’, it is that a) copying and trafficking them in a way that gives poor assurance over their long-term control and b) allowing such vast visibility of their names to unvetted journalists has had significant implications for those staff safety, deployability and careers. This also puts the Agencies operational effectiveness in peril – operational staff are difficult to recruit, train, retain and protect. To have even tens of staff blown could cause entire business areas to grind to a halt and lead to further attrocities on the streets of the UK.

Let’s take an example: we necessarily have a sizeable security presence in Northern Ireland. Therefore there were almost certainly named staff within those files who work in Northern Ireland or would have been required to do so at some point in their careers. If names were to hit wikileaks then there is a real and tangible prospect of those staff in such high risk environments being hunted down and killed. In this situation they would have to leave their homes within minutes of publication. With documents shipped extensively internationally, with hundreds of journalists given access does Rusbridger seriously think it would now be viable for such staff to remain in environments like Northern Ireland, does he think such staff who were already deployed there could remain regardless of whether the Guardian actually published the names? Is this a risk HMG can take? Of course not. This is why it is a criminal offence to communicate names and this is why HE HAS CAUSED GREAT DAMAGE.

Those staff may have been employed for another 40 years, can Rusbridger give any long-term assurances over control of those documents he shipped? Of course not.

It seems apparent that the information exchange wiki betrayed by the Guardian did not just include the odd name – the Guardian’s own descriptions imply that it included entire staff directories; which is logical as after all, this is exactly the sort of information GCWIKI would have been set up to share. We might be talking about many thousands of names. This could be a security disaster of unparalleled proportions.

In his Witness statement, Oliver Robbins stated that:

‘I am advised that information already obtained has had a direct impact on decisions taken in regards to staff deployments and is therefore impacting operational effectiveness’

So it sounds like this damage is already happening.

Lives and careers put at risk and families uprooted for Mr Rusbridger’s convenience? It is difficult to conceive of a more treacherous, reckless act.

Do I think that Rusbridger would have sent the files over if he had realised the wikis contained directories with thousands of names? No – I don’t think him as bad as that. Or that he deliberately scorched the careers of every intel officer named in the files? Again, no. I can’t think so ill of the man as that. But it’s the smugness of thinking he knows better, that he is, as he has said many times, above the law – didn’t want “judges” getting hold of the story – and the determination to secure for his financially failing paper some online traffic that led him to do this wicked thing. Time and again Rusbridger has been shown not to understand the basics of intel. He kept the files in a “secure room” with floor to ceiling windows covered with blinds, ideal for laser mikes. They could pick up any detail of conversations about those files in that room. This had to be pointed out to him by civil servants and was one reason he agreed to destroy his hard copy of the files (and this is by his own account).

He has cited this wholly false, fake figure of 850k people having access to the GCHQ documents – which is the total number of US personnel cleared Top Secret. Intelligence doesn’t work like that, there is compartmentalisation, it’s on a need to know basis only. As Prof Schindler has said he was given the topmost NSA security clearance and he did not see, have access to or know about these files.

Rusbridger is a journalist; he doesn’t know what’s safe and what’s not, or how intel works. As my commenter says (and my commenter is not using his real name) this is precisely why it is a criminal offence to communicate names. I will be writing today to Commander Cressida Dick at the Metropolitan Police to put in a complaint of a criminal offence based on this, as she has said anyone can do yesterday in Parliament. It is to be hoped that other journalists will hold Rusbridger to account on what he has done, but there is a massive amount of establishment clubbery going on. We must rely on the police not to be intimidated by a very powerful press axis. A free press under the law means just that, and it’s why hacking trials are now proceeding.


UPDATE: I had not seen the video of the brilliant Mark Reckless MP, a barrister, questioning Rusbridger. He forced him to admit that he communicated names, and that was the headline on Twitter, but I was struck by something further. In this video, Reckless gets Rusbridger to admit that he handed the GCHQ files unredacted to Greenwald (he flew them via James Ball to Rio after Ball couried the files to the NYT).

Greenwald is an insane lunatic, and has provided all kinds of GCHQ stories that even the NYT would not touch to outlets around the world. Rusbridger likely misled Parliament when he said he had not lost control of the files, as in no way whatever can he vouch for Glenn Greenwald, who played him for a total fool by dumping him and the Guardian for a $250m “new media” outlet as soon as he got the GCHQ files. Greenwald did not originally have the GCHQ files from Snowden – that is why Poitras was trying to courier them to him using Miranda at the Guardian’s expense – but Alan Rusbridger handed them to him. It is impossible to imagine anything more reckless and disgusting.

Remember, Greenwald tweeted that he didn’t have all the files, and that only the Guardian had the GCHQ files. Now he does have all the files. Because the genius of “kept control” Rusbridger handed them over.

Why did Rusbridger do it? Well, we know from Miranda’s Buzzfeed story that the Guardian published a story on command, by 5pm, when Greenwald threatened to resign. Most likely Greenwald, who was unhappy that Rusbridger sent files to the times, threatened again to resign if Rusbridger didn’t hand him the files via James Ball. Rusbridger didn’t have NSA files – only GCHQ ones. So he did the deal with Greenwald in order to have access to Greenwald’s NSA data.

Shoddy. Appalling. Something else for the police to consider. That Espresso Italy story on  the GCHQ base? Rusbridger’s responsibilty, for shipping these files to the maniac Greenwald. What a craven coward, bowing to Greenwald’s blackmail in that way. I cannot help but have a slight tinge of admiration in Greenwald’s hoodwinking him so easily and taking his GCHQ files straight to a for-profit French billionaire.

Rusbridger admits shipping agents’ names – what now?


MPs today got Alan Rusbridger to admit a number of things he, and his paper had previously denied.

Firstly, that he shipped the names of GCHQ agents abroad to newspapers and bloggers. Mr. Rusbridger was reminded that this was a criminal offence, and said he had a public interest defence. He also, however, kept arguing that he hadn’t published any names, which rather blows up his public interest defence – it’s self-evident that you don’t need the names of intelligence agents to report on GCHQ spying, so why not redact them?

The fact is, Rusbridger did acknowledge that it put GCHQ agents at risk when he first shipped files to ProPublica. He redacted the names of GCHQ agents from those files, and he promised the government he had done so, so when he claims nobody from the government asked him about shipping names, it’s possibly because they made the mistake of believing him.

Rusbridger replied that the files contained information that citizens in a democracy deserved to know, and he assured Heywood that he had scrubbed the documents so that no undercover officials were identified or put at risk.

If British papers had the guts to question members of their own club, they would ask Rusbridger why he scrubbed these documents – his answers to Parliament have said that only publication would be risky – and why he admitted to Heywood that undercover officials would be put at risk if he identified them.

In Parliament today when asked why he didn’t redact the names he said there were 58,000 documents – essentially, he could be bothered to go through the <100 files he FedExed to ProPublica, but could not be bothered to go through the entire batch he sent to the NYT.

Really? He couldn’t take a week, and black out agents’ names? There were copies of the docs in the Guardian offices in New York, so time was not an issue for Rusbridger – instead, he exposed the names.

Perhaps worst of all, Rusbridger confirmed my very worst suspicions, which were that he hadn’t even read through the top secret files before shipping them. He redacted no names; he redacted no operational details; he didn’t even read them. And by “he” I mean any employee of the Guardian. Nobody at that paper read the 58,000 documents through, not even once, before sharing them in bulk.

A solid British press would ask these questions – let’s hope I am pleasantly surprised.

Because no Guardian journalist even read the files, they do not know how many agents’ names are now out there. And I suspect that it is a lot worse than agents’ names. The Guardian’s August story about life inside GCHQ (gay and lesbian clubs, fundraisers, etc etc) revealed so much detail that it seems highly probable the 58,000 files contain the following: agents’ names, names of members of their families, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, Skype accounts and other contact details. The Guardian’s piece on sports days and teams, family days out etc implies that all this personal information is in those 58,000 files. Will any paper ask if it is in there?

Rusbridger also forced another paper, the Daily Mail, to run a “correction” of its story on names, denying that the Guardian had shipped the names, on Oct 9th:

An earlier version of this article indicated that the number of files the Guardian FedExed to America was tens of thousands; the Guardian has since indicated that it numbered less than 100.

The newspaper also said that the files it FedExed to America did not contain any names of British spies.

This was another attempt to hoodwink the British press, just like their fake reporting on the “Miranda innocent spouse” story. Today, Rusbridger admitted Miranda was paid to be a courier. He could hardly deny it, after Miranda threw him under the bus on Buzzfeed, stating that the Guardian originally wanted to use a staffer to fly the files to Brazil, had baulked at the illegality, then Rusbridger had suggested FedExing the lot, and finally chose to pay Miranda to do it.

But will other papers call them on their bullshit? It seems unlikely.

At least we now have the truth, something many of my followers on Twitter have been denying for months, ever since I first raised the spectre of the names of our agents being shipped abroad. Those names are completely unnecessary to the story, and to the reporting. With a modicum of patience Rusbridger could have followed the responsible course he took with the ProPublica scrubbing. But he chose not to bother.

Communicating, and not just publishing, the names is a clear offence under the Terrorism Act 2000. There’s a public interest defence. I would hope the police will interview Rusbridger and ask what public interest required him not to redact the names. I would hope the government, and GCHQ, ask him to tell them all the names of the agents they have shipped around the world, to more places than America – for example, they gave the GCHQ files to Glenn Greenwald, and they are responsible for whatever Greenwald publishes with them.

Lastly, what the Guardian should do is give GCHQ its own copy of the files, so they can take steps to protect national security. Thanks to the Guardian, hundreds of bloggers, journalists and all their friends and contacts have access to these files – what harm can it do to let GCHQ have them too? Of course, the exposed agents need to know. But all the security secrets need also to be known. Such a move wouldn’t prevent the NYT, or the Guardian or ProPublica from publishing, so there is no journalistic reason not to share the files. But it’s abundantly clear that the FSB control Edward Snowden and have access to all his files – and therefore the Guardian should let GCHQ know what is now in the Russians’ hands.

The government must not be afraid of the press, nor the press of the government. The Govt should seek an injunction for copies of the material to be provided to GCHQ. It could not stop the NYT publishing, and so there is no press freedom argument left; but there is a very clear national security argument. Moreover, of his own volition, Alan Rusbridger should tell GCHQ what names are out there – not just of our agents, but of their families, and if home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers or any other identifying material is in those documents. I bet that it is in there, that Alan Rusbridger knows so, and that he has failed to disclose this to the men and women in danger. And I remind readers that when it comes to what the Guardian has been covering up, I have, most unfortunately, been right every time.

P.S. – this will be the last of my blogs here. This was set up as a general holding blog after Jux shut down and before I set up a new themed site; I planned to blog on politics, but being the first person to call bullshit on the Guardian’s “Miranda wronged spouse” story I had to follow it where it led. Today’s admissions in Parliament by Rusbridger of everything I have been arguing seem like a natural place to close the account. I am grateful I have been able to expose that paper’s many lies, and the contempt they have for our agents at GCHQ. For all those of you men and women who work there, I hope you will remember that many more people are with you than against you, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for defending us, whatever millionaire editors and their media cronies are happy to expose you. Please remember that what you do is about our country, not some peacocking middle-class men from Hampstead. God bless all of you, who don’t get celebrated on Remembrance Day and who don’t wear uniforms, and who have nobody out there to speak for you. Julian Smith MP and his colleagues in Parliament, and Labour and Tory MPs on the Committee, have done their best for you today. Once again, thank you.

PPS – on that 850,000 figure, it is another lie by Alan Rusbridger. That is according to him the total number of people with Top Secret clearance in the US and UK – but as he knows, all intelligence agencies operate on a “Need to Know” basis only. Being cleared Top Secret doesn’t give you the right to view GCHQ materials or files unless you have a direct need to know about them. That is called “compartmentalization” and it is a basic principle of intelligence. Rusbridger knows this, but continues to lie and use this fake 850k figure. It fits perfectly with his paper’s pattern of lies and deceit as to their handling of this story.

The Guardian’s David Miranda is a Liar



David Miranda is a liar. So is his husband Glenn Greenwald. Thanks to @jeremyduns, investigative blogger, for this spot. Let’s hope the Home Secretary’s lawyers, and Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police, are paying attention.

In this Buzzfeed interview, Miranda claims:

After I spent several weeks with Miranda and Greenwald in and around their home in the upscale, artist-friendly Rio neighborhood of Gavea over the last month, one thing has become very clear: David Miranda knew exactly what he was doing. To believe he was played as some type of dupe or mule by Greenwald not only ignores the real nature of their relationship but also assumes that there’s some safer way to transport sensitive documents across the globe. Is there any device more fail-safe and secure than the person you love the most? Does Apple make that sort of product?

Miranda knew very well that he was traveling from Rio to Berlin to see Greenwald’s reporting partner, documentarian Laura Poitras, and that he would be returning through the U.K., all the time carrying a heavily encrypted flash drive directly related to the trove of documents that former and now notorious CIA employee Edward Snowden had vacuumed from the National Security Agency and had given to Greenwald earlier in the year.

“I have been involved in every aspect of Glenn’s life, why wouldn’t I be a part of this?” Miranda asserts over lunch at a fashion mall in Rio’s São Conrado neighborhood the next afternoon.

And Greenwald says that anybody who calls his husband an unwitting mule is just a racist. A racist, goddamnit! And a homophobe.

“David is a grown, 28-year-old man,” Greenwald says, visibly bristling at the accusation that Miranda was an exploited errand boy. “He is the most insanely willful person I have ever met; it makes me crazy sometimes. He was an orphan and had to take care of himself very early on in a way few people do. So it’s absurd to think that I could manipulate him into anything he didn’t want to do. A lot of this is pure racism, classism, and ethnocentricity: Some white Americans see a nonwhite Brazilian who grew up poor and doesn’t speak perfect English, and so disgustingly assume that he’s dumb, naïve, and easily manipulated.”

Unfortunately for both David and Glenn, that’s exactly what David Miranda claimed in his   “pants on fire” interview to Anderson Cooper of CNN after Heathrow police so correctly stopped him and removed the stolen files from him:

slide cursor to 5:05

Anderson Cooper: “David… did you know what was stored on those devices? Did you know it was classified material?”

Miranda: “I don’t know that… I was just taking the fi- … those materials back to Glenn. You know Glenn been working with a lot of stories along the years…I didn’t quite follow everything that he writes every day…I can’t follow him, because I have to have a life. I mean I can’t know everything that he’s been working with.”

So there you have it Glenn. Your husband is not only a liar, he’s a racist, classist, ethnocentrist on top of it.

There’s tons more in the Buzzfeed piece that screws the Guardian’s other lies to the wall. I have been too busy to blog much, but the paper is running scared, as well they should be. More to come on that later.

Guardian/GCHQ names: A free press must have some balls


There was some traction today on the Guardian’s trafficking of GCHQ agents’ names abroad, because the Telegraph had the guts to challenge the cosy journalists’ club.

Written by Tom Whitehead, the story printed all my facts from yesterday’s blog, including calling the Guardian out for their earlier lies.

The British newspaper has previously announced that it has shared some of its leaked GCHQ files with international partners but insisted on at least one occasion, that the identities of British spies were not included.

The sub for the online story wrote:

Guardian under fresh scrutiny as New York Times report on leaked GCHQ files contains detailed information on eavesdroppers

It went on:

Asked last night whether this suggested the files sent to the US contained the details of British spies, a spokeswoman for the Guardian said: “It is well documented that we are working in partnership with the New York Times and others to responsibly report these stories.

The development comes ahead of the latest legal battle surrounding the GCHQ files in the High Court this week.

I am truly grateful to the Telegraph for having printed this story. The more so, because it is fair to say I cordially detest its editor Tony Gallagher, (@GallagherEditor ) and he me, as our frequent spats on Twitter will attest.

But it is fairly obvious that just about every word in Tom Whitehead’s piece came from my blog yesterday. The reason that we can safely say this is, if it were a piece of original research, it would have been written up on Sunday, when the New York Times exposed that the Guardian had handed them the NSA-GCHQ wiki, and then printed on Monday.

Here’s what didn’t come from me:

 Asked last night whether this suggested the files sent to the US contained the details of British spies

You see what Tom Whitehead did, rest of the British press? He asked them the goddamned question.

A free press depends on a ballsy press. It depends on a lack of collusion. It depends on journalists showing no fear and no favour. Will Lewis (then Telegraph) went after MPs on their expenses and the whole world cheered, and now MPs who oppose the Leveson straitjacket cite that story to fight the royal charter,

But if the UK press closes ranks, acts like those few bent coppers in the Mitchell affair, declines to ask Rusbridger and Gibson any tough questions because well, they know them, they’re mates with them, they drank with James Ball in a pub once – then that really sucks. Freedom of the press totally depends on the guts of journalists and a willingness to investigate your own, your side, your mates.

I have always been against Leveson and the Royal Charter, in Parliament and out of it. My campaign against the Guardian is on a particular issue, the fact that they have very clearly sold our intelligence agents out for money. I do give a shit about the men and women in GCHQ who protect us. Those suckers the Guardian sneered at because they only make £25,000 a year to risk their lives. I don’t believe in state control of the press, and investigating whether highly paid corporate executives like Rusbridger and Gibson have broken the law is not state control of the press. I believe that existing laws are good enough. There’s a hacking trial going on right now, isn’t there? And those saying ‘hey there have been no arrests at the Guardian’ have forgotten that  the Metropolitan police have opened a criminal inquiry after the arrest of Miranda. Don’t assume they aren’t looking at that NSA-GCHQ wiki stuff.

But if there’s going to be collusion amongst papers to protect their own, then fuck it, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps Ed Miliband was right, and the press should be controlled by the government. Maybe @HackedOffHugh and the Brian Cathcart pizza party were on the right track at 3 am.

Here are exchanges today between me and the normally sensible journalist John Rentoul, of whom I am a long-standing admirer.

John Rentoul ‏‪@JohnRentoul

/‪@LouiseMensch Do you think you could make your case against The Guardian without using the words “lie”, “trafficking” & “mule”? Thank you

        ‏‪@LouiseMensch‬ 5h 

. ‪@JohnRentoul unfortunately not, since they lied, they trafficked, and they muled, and there is chapter and verse on all three.

 ‏‪@LouiseMensch‬ 5h 

. ‪@JohnRentoul it would be fantastic if a paper other than the ‪@Telegraph had the guts to challenge them on their lies. Like, say, yours.

  1. .‏‪@JohnRentoul‬ 3h 

‪@LouiseMensch Guardian statement to Daily Mail on 9 Oct may have been incomplete & misleading but it was not a lie. ‪–Fedex-Newspaper-used-public-courier-firm-post-data-country.html#ixzz2je7dOu7r …



@JohnRentoul‬ 3h 

‪@LouiseMensch I disagree. Deliberately misleading is different from lying. Distinction is important itself but also as a matter of tactics.

So here we have a senior, well-respected journalist asking me to drop the word “lie” and “mule” and “traffick”. When challenged, however, John admits that on October 9th the Guardian deliberately misled the Daily Mail when they denied to them that they sent agents names to America by FedEx (because they had sent them, according to the New Yorker, using James Ball, a 27 year old ex wikileaks activist). But Rentoul argues that “deliberately misleading” is different from “lying”.

FFS John, man up. Ask the bloody paper why they lied.

As to his objections to the very clear “mule” and “traffick”  I asked him:

‏‪@LouiseMensch ‪@JohnRentoul what is your objection to “mule”? New Yorker cites ‪@jamesrbuk and ‪@janinegibson boasts of flying people “round the world”

He didn’t answer.

That kind of clubby “they deliberately misled but they didn’t lie” and “don’t use mule and traffick even when Janine Gibson boasted online that that’s exactly what they did” is fear-and-favour journalism, the kind that looks after its own.

Earlier, John Rentoul tweeted that when Julian Smith MP raised a point of order about the Guardian shipping out GCHQ agents’ names, “the Speaker says it’s no such thing.” I hate to say it to a journalist I really do admire and like, but that was sheer bollocks. A point of order is almost always a rhetorical device in the House of Commons. John Rentoul, a political journalist, knows that full well, he knows it like the back of his hand. He was being dishonest. The Speaker condemned the Guardian’s “equivocation” on whether they had passed the names of spies to American papers. John didn’t have the guts to report that, however, because it didn’t fit his agenda. Paul Waugh of politics home did.

Look, British press, get some bloody balls. Challenge Rusbridger. Here is a British paper that has sold the names of GCHQ agents out for money, and you are closing ranks and not asking the questions. The New York Times is challenging Glenn Greenwald more effectively than any of you are doing. Don’t make a blogger (me) do all the heavy lifting. I am a columnist for the Sun on Sunday, and proud of it. I have featured this story again and again in my column. Do your part. I’m not an investigative journalist. Some of you call yourselves that. I don’t see much bloody sign of it. I see chumminess that would shame the smoke-filled rooms of a Tory selection committee circa 1954.

Here – off the top of my head –  are seventeen sample questions you could ask the paper, if any of you had even a tiny bit of shame. And by “the paper”, I mean Alan Rusbridger. And Janine Gibson. They are the editors. Any chance of holding them to account?

  1. The New Yorker story states that you used James Ball, a young ex wikileaks collaborator, to fly these files to New York and Brazil. Why didn’t you, Rusbridger, take that legal risk on yourself instead of pinning it to a 27 year old?
  2. Why did you lie to the Daily Mail on the 9th October when you stated the files you sent to America didn’t contain the names of any British agents?
  3. Why did you pass these files to bloggers at ProPublica?
  4. If the Guardian has broken the Terrorism Act 2000 should they be prosecuted, or are they above the law?
  5. What was the public interest for your story in August when you reported on GCHQ agents’ gay and lesbian clubs, recreational and charity drives, and the internal chats of GCHQ agents? Why were any of those details necessary? Didn’t they flag up to hostile actors just how much identifying info was in the Snowden files?
  6. Janine Gibson boasted online that ‘by far the hardest challenge has been the movement of materials – we’ve had to do a great deal of flying people around the world’. Given this boast why did you lie about David Miranda’s paid-for role, alleging that he was harassed just because he was Greenwald’s spouse?
  7. Why did you boast in August that the Snowden story had lifted your web traffic above the Daily Mail’s when you were giving out GCHQ agents’ names to achieve this? Kind of a shitty attitude, isn’t it?
  8. The New Yorker story states that Ball flew the files not only to America but also to Brazil, and Gibson uses the words “a great deal of flying around the world”. To how many countries have you shipped our agents’ names?
  9. How many people worldwide have you passed agents’ names to?
  10. Given that every exposed agent is in danger, have you let GCHQ know which agents and their families you have put at risk?
  11. Glenn Greenwald claimed that the Guardian US ran every story under his byline past the NSA for legal reasons, even though it then ignored their objections. Did you give GCHQ a similar chance to object?
  12. Are there any financial rewards or bonuses tied to increased web traffic for Rusbridger, Gibson or any other Guardian executives? If so, how much? And why did you not report that when selling GCHQ agents down the river and boasting of the traffic you derived from it?
  13. You talk about security for your files yet the New Yorker reports you kept them in a room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Are you aware how laser microphones work? In a story on 20 August you admit a government security expert had to explain this to you.  Shouldn’t you have asked GCHQ about secure storage of files previously yourselves?
  14. Given your hilarious “secure room” with the floor to ceiling windows, don’t you think it’s just possible GCHQ might be more aware of security risks than you are?
  15. What precisely is the point of saying – falsely – that you kept files “secure” when you then duplicate them and mule them, as you have said, all over the world?
  16. You’ve been happy enough to give the New York Times, some Brazilians, and ProPublica (at least) copies of the GCHQ files. How about giving a copy back to GCHQ so they can assess the damage you’ve done to the UK, as well as to their agents?
  17. What redactions did you make to the 50,000 GCHQ files you muled abroad to protect British intelligence officers? Did you make any redactions?

And I haven’t even started on the Tor story.

Come on, British press. Show some guts. Do your jobs. There are 6100 agents at GCHQ, so the Guardian tells us. They cannot strike. They cannot protest. They cannot email Alan Rusbridger asking why he is giving the NSA-GCHQ wiki to the New York Times. They have no voice.

You are meant to be their voice. No fear, no favour. Do your bloody job. Have some balls.

* and to those who might think this sexist, I will quote the great Sharon Osbourne: “Women have balls. They’re just higher up.”