Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

10 Reason to Cancel Your TV License and more…

January 15, 2013

BanTheBBC says:

Up until the last few years I used to be a big fan of BBC programming and would invest at least a few hours every day watching programmes like Eastenders, Top of the Pops, Only Fools & Horses, Question Time, Newsnight, Panorama, etc.

But these days I cannot bring myself to watch any BBC programmes at all. Even watching just five minutes worth makes me feel dirty. It’s not the quality of the programming that’s at issue, it’s the fact that the BBC is such a repulsive propaganda machine that seems to pay no attention to the concerns of the very people who are funding them.

The BBC has had it too good for too long. One of the major problems posed by the BBC is their lack of accountability to the very people who pay their wages — us. The BBC is never far away from controversy but nothing ever seems to change and no one in their corporation ever seems to be worse off as a result of their wrongdoing. Imagine for a moment that it was a completely different media company we were talking about, and not the BBC. For argument’s sake, let’s say it was ITV or Sky. What would happen is that the viewers would refuse to watch that TV station any longer and/or they would cancel their subscriptions. And if enough people did this, the company would go bankrupt very quickly. That’s because these company’s are directly accountable to their viewers who pay their wages via subscriptions or from watching the adverts. However, the BBC does not afford us this luxury to the people who fund them. It doesn’t matter how many people stop watching BBC programmes because the BBC will continue to receive £3.4 billion a year from our pockets. Therefore the BBC has no financial impetus to even want to change what they do. Even if a million people suddenly stopped watching the BBC, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the BBC’s annual turnover, which means that they can continue to anger people as much as they want without any fear of redundancies, pay cuts or the company going bust through lack of consumer confidence in their products.

Therefore we only have one real option available to us and that’s to cancel our TV Licence…

More on ‘The Great TV License Scam’…

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‘The Jacintha Saldanha Story Doesn’t Make Sense’ Says BBC – to Ben Fellows

December 17, 2012

Ben Fellows
Before It’s News

The BBC contacted me yesterday and sent me the following email.

This BBC journalist clearly admits that perhaps the government and media aren’t telling us the truth regarding the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha and now the massacre in the US. WTF!

The BBC have obviously taken leave of their senses, if they ever had any, and hired conspiracy theorists instead of journalists. Is this really what we should be paying our license fee for? Who knew that the BBC is a hot bed of conspiracy theorists.

Of course the darker side of this story (and of course I’m probably going to be accused of being a conspiracy theorist) is that this is an attempt by the BBC to try to draw me out into a conversation about the terrible tragedies of Jacintha Saldanha and the recent US massacre as a back door to talking about…

Read more

Video: David Icke On The Queen,The BBC, The Royal Child Catcher To The Establishment

December 6, 2012

Much worse than the knighted Jimmy Savile’s own sordid habits, is that penchant for young children was not an isolated phenomenon. The deceased disc jockey with impeccable Royal connections was also a regular visitor to the notorious Haut La Garenne Childrens’ Home in Jersey, but much less well-known, is that this fixer wasn’t just acting  solely for himself…

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RELATED: ELITE CHILD ABUSE: ‘JIMMY SAVILE… DOORMAN TO THE CESSPIT’

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Top PR Max Clifford Website Down, Following Arrest By UK Police Pedophile Unit

December 6, 2012

Tom_Myra

Clifford Was Called Into Question A Month Ago By 21st Century Wire

Nicholas Myra
21st Century Wire
Dec 6, 2012

It was reported today that PR guru Max Clifford has been arrested by special police Operation Yewtree in relation to alleged ‘sexual offenses’, and there is speculation that information held by Max Clifford about political and celebrity clients’ criminal pedophile activity has been kept hidden away from both police and the public.

As off this at least 2pm this afternoon, Max Clifford and Associates website, www.maxclifford.com has been down, but it is not yet clear whether or not this closure is in relation to the PR kingpin’s arrest today. It could be due to incredibly server traffic as a result of Clifford’s detention.

Clifford: Trafficking in filthy information for profit, could be covering for pedo clients.

Clifford, aged 69, is said to have been held this morning by the Met’s ‘Savile’ unit Yewtree, apparently on suspicion of sexual offences and taken into custody for questioning at Yewtree’s central London police operating base. The arrest was also confirmed by Clifford’s legal team, Mishcon de Reya, this afternoon.

Ironically, it was Clifford who himself said he was contacted by a number of celebrities from the 1960s and 1970s who were “frightened to death” about a Savile  ‘witch-hunt’ and feared they could be implicated in the wider scandal.

At the time Clifford said, “All kinds of things went on and I do mean young girls throwing themselves at them in their dressing rooms at concert halls, at gigs, whatever”.

Last month 21st Century posed the key question amid total silence from both BBC and the mainstream media – as to whether or not Max Clifford was fit to be the ambassador for the BBC’s charity Children in Need.

This recently leaked video of Clifford boasting about how he ‘knows where all the bodies are buried’, and how he helped cover for the late Tory MP’s Alan Clark’s violation of two underage Harkess girls in exchange for fees and successful book sales, should have been enough for the police to arrest Clifford on the spot for questioning regarding the matter. But that didn’t happen. Watch the video again here:

It’s possible that events today might have just answered that question. That said, in light of this gross oversight by the public broadcaster, the public should be questioning whether the BBC Trust itself is competent enough – or relevant enough, to be the guardians of a multi-billion dollar public institution.

Remember, you heard that question here first – and not at the Times, BBC, Telegraph, Guardian or Independent.

Will police go all they way, and find out who Clifford has been covering for and who the victims are?

Stay tuned for more revelations and exposures regarding institutional paedophilia festering in high places.

RELATED: The Trouble with BBC ‘Children in Need’ Ambassador Max Clifford and Tory MP Alan Clark

RELATED: No matter how Gov’t spins it, it’s a conspiracy to cover-up paedophilia and other crimes

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Like the Taliban, BBC Erase Banksy Artwork Which Exposed Their Internal Savile Cover-up

December 2, 2012

What Do The Taliban And The BBC Have In Common?

The Needle

Taliban

Before……. and After the Taliban

BBC

Before and……and After the BBC

Yes, that’s right, they both destroy great works of art in pursuit of their closed minded ideology.

Banksy, to my mind the UK’s greatest living artist (and actually, yes, I could justify that statement) created a piece of meaningful art outside of BBC Television Centre in central London which summed up just how disillusioned the British public, especially of my generation, feel right now. It was the poignant image of a young boy dropping his ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ medal into a drain. The BBC sent the workmen in to scrub it away.

Why ? Because it implied criticism of the corporation. All great art speaks, all great art stimulates thought, all great art, from Giotto via Manet’s ‘Olympia’ and beyond Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ to the present day, has been provocative.

The cultural philistines at the BBC can have as many Yentob inspired documentaries as they like but until they put artistic creation above managerial expediency they can never be a Corporation that Broadcasts for the British license fee paying public.

And do they own that hoarding ?

Does the BBC actually own that piece of hardboard that Banksy chose to place this artwork ?

And if the BBC are sued because a precious work of art has been destroyed and they didn’t own the hardboard hoarding opposite BBC Telivision Centre, who pays ?

Not the BBC management on their ludicrously high salaries, but all of us who pay the BBC license fee.

Just like McAlpine’s £185,000.

RELATED: THE BBC: IT’S THE VATICAN AND THE MAFIA ALL ROLLED INTO ONE

McAlpine Paedophilia Twitter Case Threatens To Expand UK Libel Law

November 24, 2012

By Erik Larson and Kristen Schweizer
Brisbane Times/Bloomberg

A former UK politician wrongly named on Twitter as a paedophile after a false report by the BBC may expand the reach of libel law with his threat to sue thousands of people over online posts.

Alastair McAlpine, 70, a former Tory party treasurer, has said he’ll take legal action against about 10,000 people who he says tweeted or retweeted defamatory posts after the BBC wrongly implied he sexually abused a boy in the 1970s.

The cases may correct the view that libel on social media isn’t as bad as in print publications, said Ruth Collard, a media lawyer at Carter-Ruck in London.

“It’s no defence to say you had no idea.”
– Ruth Collard, media lawyer

“With Twitter and the internet generally, people think it’s not the same as publishing a newspaper, book or magazine, but if you are the author, then you take responsibility for it,” said Collard, who isn’t involved in the dispute. “It’s no defence to say you had no idea.”

The BBC, the world’s biggest broadcaster, agreed to pay McAlpine £185,000 pounds ($284,096) after the November 2 error on its Newsnight report, which gave hints about the ex-politician’s identity without naming him. Before the mistake was uncovered, Twitter postings accusing McAlpine were already spreading, setting the stage for the biggest case of its kind in Britain.

McAlpine, who was deputy chairman of the UK Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher, wants Twitter users with fewer than 500 followers to apologise and donate to the BBC Children in Need charity, said Charlotte Offredi, a spokeswoman for McAlpine’s lawyers.

500 followers

Twitter users with more than 500 followers, including a journalist at The Guardian newspaper and Sally Bercow, the wife of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, should also apologise for naming him, she said, though McAlpine hasn’t decided what legal action to take against that group.

McAlpine’s libel dispute has caught the attention of the Metropolitan Police Service in London. Officers are meeting with “interested parties” to determine whether a crime may have taken place, the service’s press office said.

Until now, the highest-profile Twitter libel in Britain involved former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns suing Lalit Modi, ex-chairman of an Indian league, for tweeting that he fixed matches. Modi failed to prove the claim in court and was ordered in March to pay £90,000 ($138,202) in damages.

As McAlpine brings the threat of such legal claims to average citizens, the former politician who now lives in Puglia, Italy, may create a “tipping point” in the public’s view of defamation, including libel, said Andrew Terry, a media lawyer at Eversheds in London, who isn’t involved in the cases.

Hard time

“What the extreme nature of this situation shows is how easily reputations can be damaged by social media and why it is so important that there can be redress, whether those defamed are public figures or not,” said Terry.

While newspapers can defend mistaken reports by showing they tried to get it right, Twitter users don’t have the same standards and may have a hard time defending postings that are later proved wrong, Collard said.

Twitter limits postings to 140 characters and users can share another person’s tweet with a few clicks.

“At least if you’re writing an article you can ask the other party to comment and you can be balanced,” said Steven Heffer, a media lawyer at Collyer Bristow in London. “But in a short tweet you’re taking a risky step if you allege something, but you can’t prove it.”

Honest belief

It doesn’t matter if the Twitter users believed they were spreading correct information at the time, because the “good intention or honest belief of the publisher doesn’t help”, said Eddie Parladorio, a media lawyer with PSB Law in London.

Although tweets that name McAlpine and accuse him of crimes are clearly defamatory, Parladorio said, a tweet doesn’t even need to cite him or the word “paedophile” to give him a case if a “reasonable reader” of the post would link him to the BBC report.

After the BBC report, Bercow tweeted, “Why is Lord McApline trending? *innocent face*”. She later tweeted that the tweet wasn’t libellous.

John Bercow’s office in Parliament declined to give out Sally Bercow’s phone number and said she could only be reached through standard mail delivery. She didn’t immediately reply to an email to her husband’s office and her Twitter account has been turned off.

English law

If the threatened cases make it to court, the defendants may be helped by a provision of English law allowing judges to reduce damage awards based on how much money someone has already received from other sources, Heffer said.

McAlpine’s potential lawsuits are “an unusual approach, particularly when he’s received a large award from the BBC,” Heffer said. McAlpine may also have a hard time identifying users who don’t name themselves on their Twitter pages and may have to sue Twitter to do it, Heffer said.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, is often resistant to requests for users’ personal information. Helen Prowse, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment on McAlpine.

The scandal started when Steve Messham, a victim of abuse at a children’s home in Wrexham, north Wales, alleged involvement by an unnamed senior figure in the Tory party. He said he was “sold” to men for sexual abuse at a nearby hotel.

McAlpine issued a statement on November 9 denying subsequent internet rumours he had been part of a paedophile ring, complaining of a “media frenzy” and saying he “must publicly tackle these slurs and set the record straight.”

“A lot of people who made the allegations were just repeating what had come to them,” Collard said. The McAlpine case “may make people think more cautiously about sending on rumours or gossip without really knowing anything about it”.

Read more at Brisbane Times

RELATED: McLibel 2.0 – Why Did ITV Hand Over 125K for ‘Schofield’s List’ and Can You Sue 10,000 Twitter Users?

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BBC Trustee Anthony Fry Defending George Entwistle’s ‘Entitlement’ – The 450K Golden Parachute

November 24, 2012

By Andrew Woodcock

A BBC trustee who was involved in the decision to give George Entwistle a £450,000 payoff for resigning as director general insisted today he still believes it was the right thing to do.

Anthony Fry said that Mr Entwistle made clear he wanted a full year’s salary as a condition of resigning after just 54 days in the job – twice as much as he was entitled to under his contract and the same as he would have got for being sacked.

Mr Fry said the BBC Trust was faced with the decision of whether to draw a line under the issue immediately or face a protracted wrangle and a possible industrial tribunal, which lawyers warned could result in Mr Entwistle receiving an additional £80,000.

Despite his “irritation” over being asked for double the payout to which the director general was entitled, he told the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he decided – and Trust chairman Lord Patten agreed – it was better to accept the offer of resignation on November 10.

Mr Fry revealed that the outgoing director general also received a year’s Bupa private medical cover, as well as up to £10,000 to cover legal fees connected with his resignation, legal expenses of up to £25,000 to help Mr Entwistle give evidence to two inquiries into the Jimmy Savile affair, and £10,000 for PR.

The BBC trustee accepted that the figures involved would appear to licence fee-payers to be “in the stratosphere”, but insisted that they were not out of the ordinary for senior BBC managers.

Mr Entwistle received less than former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, who was paid £670,000 – two years’ salary – when she left earlier this year after being beaten by him in the contest for the director general’s post, he pointed out.

“The director general made it very clear to the Trust through his lawyers that the only thing that was on the table if he was to resign was a payment of £450,000,” Mr Fry told the PAC during a hostile grilling by the committee.

With an increasing sense of crisis building around the BBC following Mr Entwistle’s much-derided response to Newsnight’s inaccurate report on child sex abuse, Mr Fry said he felt that getting the matter resolved quickly was “by far and away more important than sitting on a moral high horse and trying to get the director general to change his mind about the terms under which he would leave”.

He told the committee: “That was a judgment call. If I was asked to make that judgment call again today, I would do the same thing.”

Mr Fry said he felt “a degree of substantial irritation and aggravation” at having to pay Mr Entwistle £450,000, rather than £225,000.

But he was interrupted by PAC chair Margaret Hodge, who told him: “It is not you. It is the licence fee-payer.”

Hearing the details of Mr Entwistle’s severance package, Ms Hodge told Mr Fry: “We express incredulity. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how this is viewed in the public domain, given that it is licence fee-payers’ money. That is the real shocker about this.

“He took a public job, he was hugely well remunerated, he failed in 54 days, he gets incredibly rewarded for failure… There is no understanding of what the ordinary punter turning on the telly feels about it.”

MPs on the committee expressed shock that Mr Entwistle’s contract – and his severance deal – included thousands of pounds-worth of private medical cover.

BBC chief financial officer Zarin Patel told the committee that Bupa cover was a standard part of senior managers’ packages, with 574 of them enjoying the perk at a cost of around £2 million a year, but the practice was halted for new recruits as a cost-saving measure last year.

Ms Hodge said: “I think we are shocked that the BBC feels it is appropriate to use licence fee-payers’ money to fund individuals to get private medicine. I think that is shocking as a principle.”

She urged the Trust to “reflect” on whether medical cover should also be withdrawn from existing staff.

And PAC member Richard Bacon demanded to know why licence fee-payers’ money was given to Mr Entwistle to pay for “PR or bouncers” to help him deal with “doorstepping” by the press.

Another committee member, Guto Bebb, said the director general’s severance brought to £4 million the sums paid out to 10 departing BBC executives in the past two years, adding: “It does look as though losing a job at the BBC is the same as winning the lottery.”

Mr Fry told the committee that the Trust, which acts as the BBC’s regulator and has no part in day-to-day operations, met on the afternoon of Saturday November 10 in the wake of what was widely regarded as a disastrous set of interviews by Mr Entwistle about the Newsnight affair.

The programme had been forced to apologise to Lord McAlpine after wrongly implying that he was involved in child sex abuse, but the director general admitted he had not been aware of the allegations the BBC2 show was planning to air.

At the meeting, Mr Fry said there were “serious concerns around the issue of whether the gravity of the situation had been grasped by the director general”, who told them the BBC must not “over-react” to the crisis, while trustees felt the main danger lay in under-reacting.

“It is clear from what happened subsequently that the director general left the meeting with the very clear impression that he no longer carried the full support of the BBC Trust,” said Mr Fry. “I would characterise that as a fairly accurate reading of the tone of the meeting.”

Mr Fry said Mr Entwistle contacted the BBC’s director of human resources Lucy Adams later that afternoon and asked her to tell Lord Patten that he was “minded” to discuss the terms of his resignation. His lawyers then made clear that he wanted a payout of £450,000, along with further sums to cover other expenses, some of which were refused.

But the Trust never told the director general that he must resign, revealed Mr Fry, telling the MPs: “We did not at any stage, and nor did the chairman, say ‘George, you’ve got to go’.”

There were “no reasons under the terms of the contract” under which the BBC could fire Mr Entwistle without giving him a full year’s salary as compensation, said Mr Fry. And he added: “At no stage on Saturday evening was the director general prepared to resign his position as director general of the BBC other than with the payment of £450,000.

“I expressed the very strong feeling that, in the best interests of the BBC and licence fee-payers, reaching an urgent conclusion was better than playing it long and hoping that in the next 12 or 24 hours the director general’s position would change.”

He added: “Did I feel good about it? Absolutely not. Do I still feel good about it? No. I still feel it was the right thing to do.”

Mr Fry said that compensation for resignation or dismissal was a standard feature of senior people’s contracts at the BBC and it would have been “extraordinary” for someone in a position like Mr Entwistle’s to be expected to serve a probationary period after being hired.

Ms Hodge urged the Trust to allow spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) to look at the terms of Mr Entwistle’s departure.

But Mr Fry said he was not in a position to give permission for such an inquiry, though Lord Patten made clear he was ready for the NAO to conduct a “holistic” review of the BBC’s senior management, including the issue of severance packages.

Mr Fry said he was “deeply concerned” about the number of senior managers at the BBC and the levels of pay they receive, and had taken steps since arriving at the Trust to reduce both.

He told MPs that some cuts had been made, but added: “It is still a journey, still work in progress…

“I recognise – more than sometimes people understand – how shocking some of these numbers are to licence fee-payers.”

Mr Fry said that in addition to his pay-off, Mr Entwistle had a pension pot of £833,000, which would give him an annual pension of £38,000 to £40,000…

Read more at The Independent

 

McLibel 2.0 – Why Did ITV Hand Over 125K for ‘Schofield’s List’ and Can You Sue 10,000 Twitter Users?

November 23, 2012

By Peter Sterry
21st Century Wire
Senior Editor

Extraordinary – another out of court settlement – this time by ITV over the notorious ‘Schofield’s List’. Is this getting out of hand?

Notice the pattern emerging. All deep pockets, all settling out of court. It stands to reason though, if you’re going to sue, because lawyers need to be paid and paid a lot – so it makes perfect sense from the plaintiff’s point of view to go for the fattest targets. All very sensible, wouldn’t you say?

What’s becoming very clear, very quickly here, is that this is no ordinary libel case and the media atmosphere surrounding the case is a labyrinth of smoke and mirrors, set on the background of a highly charged political and social debate involving this nation’s most prestigious and long-standing institutions.

Yesterday afternoon on the UK Column Live daily show, 21st Century Wire colleague, Patrick Henningsen, effectively re-coined the term “McLibel” as a transplant on to Lord McAlpine’s current ‘litigatorial charge of the light brigade’. But the ‘Mc’ similarity in the name is not all that draws comparison here, as we’ll explain.

Although McLibel 2.0 has been reported throughout the media, very few, if any, media moguls are challenging the technical basis of it. None seem to be able to state categorically who, and exactly how, and on which technical basis the BBC and ITV have libeled this seemingly powerful establishment figure.

Act One: ‘The Case of the Missing Leak’

Nothing about this case makes much sense.

We all watched the Newsnight broadcast that Friday night, with many viewers expecting that a ‘top Tory’ name would be revealed in relation to their investigation into the North Wales child rape and abuse scandal. The BBC’s lead investigator Iain Overton from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism(BIJ), and Channel 4’s Michael Crick – both tweeted earlier that day something to effect, ‘If all goes well…’ blah, blah etc, ‘a name will be revealed on the programme tonight..’. Wonderful. Only it wasn’t revealed on the programme. The BBC did not broadcast any name, and in the end Lord McAlpine’s name was never mentioned on Newsnight.

The current party line is that the whole fiasco began with a cock-up by the police – Lord McAlpine was not the “McAlpine” apparently identified by the police to Steven Messham, we are told that it was probably Alastair McAlpine’s cousin the late ‘Jimmie’ McAlpine, who died in 1991. Another case of ‘mistaken identity’, as it were. So why not sue the police? Hmmm.

The BBC Scotland have been asked to conduct another ‘internal investigation’ (the BBC are very adept at investigating themselves when there is any alleged wrong doing) into what actually took place, and naturally their chief snoop into this affair, a rather affable chap named Ken McQuarrie, seemed to come up with everything except the one thing the license paying public was actually interested in – who leaked McAlpine’s name?

So let’s say it wasn’t the BBC, then was it the BIJ? If not, was it Michael Crick? If not, was it the police? Can anyone actually tell us plebs who done it?!? Apparently not – and that ladies and gentlemen, is the foremost, biggest problem with the BBC rushing to pay the McLibel 2.0.

Conclusion: The BBC’s Newsnight programme in question was slapped together in just 5 days, in what has turned out to be a very elaborate smokescreen designed to externalise the issue of child abuse in high places and provide much-needed PR cover for their institutional cover-up of rancid asset Sir Jimmy Savile, and finally to distract the public from its willful failure to investigate itself properly – not that it should be ‘investigating itself’ anyway, it’s a public broadcaster. It appears here that the maligned actor in this drama, Lord McAlpine, was merely a tool used by establishment in order to save the BBC from hemorrhaging public confidence and to shield it from other emerging scandals of a similar nature.

Look at the results – it worked. The BBC did the usual ritual of paying off an outgoing DG, and hired a new safe pair of hands. No one is talking about Savile, and no one is wanting to look for skeletons in the BBC’s basement. Job done.

There is one aspect of this clever plan which will come back to bite the establishment, however. They used a child abuse victim, Steve Messham, in order to pacify their institutional desires. The public will never forgive them for that.

Remember McLibel 1.0, when McDonalds dragged that poor English couple through the courts for 20 years? We’ll get back to that in a minute…

Act Two: Scholfield’s List

This is more or less, a repeat of Act One, where the nation’s second largest British broadcaster, ITVhas agreed to pay Lord McAlpine £125,000 in damages, plus legal costs, in another out of court settlement over This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield’s alleged onscreen stunt confronting David Cameron, a stunt we are told, had linked several Conservative politicians with allegations of child sex abuse.

The only problem here is that this writer, nor anyone else I know, saw any name on ‘Schofield’s List’. Who was actually linked to child abuse? It is alleged that some could see – by freeze framing the show’s recording, names on the list handed to PM David Cameron. I still don’t know who the names were. Does anyone? I did a ‘Schofield 5 minute’ super search on the internet for those names – and I cannot find them! So how did ITV libel McAlpine then? Are we getting ridiculous?

On another legal caveat, it’s also worth pointing out that if a member of the public passes information to an elected representative listing people who may possibly be involved in serious crime – then that official, in this case David Cameron, is responsibly to then pass on this information to the police.

Did this happen? I believe it did not. What are the implications of that?

Still there is not a court in the land that has ruled yet on whether or not Lord McAlpine was libeled by both the BBC and ITV. In the end, it really does not matter whether he was, or wasn’t, because that’s how things work in the injury lawyer. Indeed, decisions were made behind closed doors in both broadcasting institutions to pay out – most likely in order to avoid a drawn out court battle that might sully the broadcasters’ media reputation somewhat, but would it really? After all these things happen in our society every day.

Conclusion: In case of ‘Schofield’s List’, again like the BBC, the public was not aware of Lord McAlpine’s name being mentioned on ITV’s This Morning program. On both counts, the public was only made aware of the name after someone within those media houses, the government, or the police – had leaked them. If a libel case is to be decided on its proper legal merits, then the police and the courts need to begin with finding out those individuals who actually leaked them.

This makes the threat to sue 10,000 Twitter users who McAlpine’s law firm RMPI believe had ‘linked’ their client’s name to the scandal, something built on a house of cards. Find out who is responsible for the leaks first. That would be the proper way to go about this.

Chasing ghosts on Twitter does nothing to find out how his name was leaked in the first place – which started that chain of events, propagating information online.

There we can achieve an accurate trail of accountability.

‘Trial By Twitter’, or echoes on Twitter?

Lord McAlpine and his legal attack team were seen to some out swinging last week, with cries of ‘Trial by Twitter‘. But before we dissect what did or didn’t happen on Twitter, it’s important to understand the nature of this particular social networking tool. It’s amazing how few people in the media and government actually do.

When it comes to news, Twitter is a long way away from a newspaper or magazine of record – it’s a hyper active forum – a 21st century digital echo chamber. In IT terms, it’s a crowd-sourced, information and headline aggregator. For members of the public who aren’t aux fait with the social networking tool, Twitter also allows users to use ‘hash tags’ or #tags in order to group conversations which are taking place within the Twitter information cloud community.

Phrases on Twitter are the lowest common denominator there is when it comes to information. Twitter functions as the online equivalent of a social info-feed, complete with zero depth, zero analysis and as is the case so often – zero credibility when it comes to any reports. Even a headline from CNN on Twitter must be clicked through to a substantial article if one is to believe the headline. It’s highly limited.

After the alleged Newsnight leak took place, and Lord McAlpine’s name was entered into the tertiary conversation surrounding the show, his name began to trend massively on Twitter. This is how Twitter works. Twitter is only limited to 160 characters, and doesn’t really quite qualify as a news publisher – more like a rumour mill.

The other peculiar aspect about Twitter which separates  from the others is how it works on highly a linear timeline, where users are almost exclusively attentive to Tweets which are less than 24 hrs old, and many users with large ‘follow’ lists only see what is less than 1 hr old. After this, it’s almost ancient history for Twitter users, because users are only reading and responding to happening, what is breaking, or is trending – in short, what is happening now. Old news, and opinion is constantly being overwritten by the cloud community of over 500 million active users, which ironically, gives very little weight in terms of public impact as to what ideas actually churn on that platform.

Sadly, it pales in comparison to a major website, newspaper, a well distributed book, or a large TV broadcaster. For any serious opinion forming information on issues, news or op-ed, all Twitter users are forced to migrate over to larger news websites who can display more than 160 characters at a time in order to test the public perception of any said news report or rumour – sites like the Independent, The Times, or even The Drudge Report.

A Tweet by a high enough profile person with many followers, like a celebrity for instance, would be picked up by many readers within a short space of time, so if a celebrity slanders another celebrity, it would move up the media tree very quickly and into the Corporate Mainstream Media sphere – here a public impact could be measured because it was large enough. Should other Twitter users actually commenting on what is actually happening in real-time be considered libel then? For banal subjects such as pop gossip, it’s taken very seriously by adolescents and teenagers who are following the movements of pop artists, Paris Hilton, and who want to know where Kim Kardashian is shopping that afternoon, or what Ronaldo did after Wednesday evening’s match.

Can a personal be slandered or libeled on Twitter? Absolutely. But what constitutes a libel with the narrow margins of Twitterland versus, let’s say, the front page of the Sun newspaper – are two very different things indeed. Firstly, there is the issue of intent. If a publication runs an article saying that Mr X is perpetrating a serious crime – like paedophilia or child abuse, going on to describe the allegations in detail, along with claims of evidence, then Mr X has the right to challenge the both the author of the article, and the publication on the veracity of the allegations in question. In this instance, the intent of publication was clear – to expose the crimes of Mr X. But if the publication does not have the evidence to support such allegations, then Mr X’s libel claim is likely to succeed, and the newspaper’s subsequent claims would then be deemed malicious and defamatory by the courts of justice. The issue of intent is much murkier with regard to mentioning someone’s name on Twitter – especially if Mr X’s guilt or innocence in relation to the media expose was inconclusive at the time. Twitter users were simply commenting in real-time on what they were seeing, without any premeditated malicious intent.

Other recent reports regarding ‘Twitter libel’ cases can be found herehere and here.

Conclusion: How information is presented and distributed on Twitter – and how society defines this, is a conversation which certainly goes hand in hand with McLibel 2.0. To equate Tweeting and ReTweeting with libeling McAlpine, not only over-rates the significance of Twitter in terms of public opinion forming, but sets a rather dangerous and slippery precedent, where we have a law firm issuing a blanket threat over the public, while the basis of the entire chain of events involving Lord McAlpine – has been hidden from public view via a series of out-of-court agreements, namely, the BBC and ITV thus far. Again, we come back to the fundamental question in all of this – who leaked the name?

Remember ‘McLibel’ 1.0?

Ahhh, those were the good old days – pre-internet, when the strong preyed upon the weak and under-resourced. It was known as the “McLibel case”,  where a lawsuit was filed in English courts by the humble McDonald’s Corp against environmental activists Helen Steel and David Morris (“The McLibel Two”) over a pamphlet critical of the company’s environmentally destructive footprints overseas. The original case lasted ten years, plus another 10 for ECHR Appeal – making it the longest-running case in English history, subsequently made famous in McLibel, by filmmaker Franny Armstrong.

Although the goliath character in this case, McDonald’s, won two hearings of the case in English courts, the drawn-out public nature of the litigation embarrassed the company. In short, it backfired in the long run. For McDonalds execs, seemed like a good idea at the time.

After Goliath’s lawyers had collected all their fees and were hence finished destroying David’s life, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) then ruled in Steel & Morris v United Kingdom – that the pair had been denied a fair trial, in breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that their conduct should have been protected by Article 10 of the Convention. The court awarded a judgment of £57,000 – against the UK government. In the end, McDonald’s itself was not involved in, or a party to, this verdict.

Conclusion: After the state’s own corrupt justice system was finished protecting the rich and powerful McDonalds, and abusing the poor free speech activist, the state ended up paying the victim in the end.

The left wing of the establishment used Leveson in order the hijack free press and speech. Now we have the right wing of the establishment using the Savile and Newsnight incident to curtail free speech and to cover-up the disgusting problem on organised institutional paedophilia, not only in the BBC, but in government, and especially within in the child care industry itself. Shame on our leadership for allowing this issue to be reversed back into the shadows through their clever spin and cover.

Wikileaks is being shut down for publishing public interest information, and it’s founder put under permanent house arrest, and now Twitter is in danger of being nothing more than a shopping guide for commercial news, shoes, and handbags – because users are being intimidated for doing nothing more than commenting. What’s next, ‘Trial by #HashTag’?

The establishment don’t like, and never have liked, the horrid internet, because of what it represents – an affordable, endless community of open source networks and information. A vulgar concept for those who have successfully monopolised and controlled media for hundreds of years.

A local carpenter named Paul, whom I often share the odd pint with at me local in Crouch End, said to me yesterday, “I think that Lord McAlpine is over cooking the pie, and that’s not on, son.”

That is the crux of the matter, as we see it.

RELATED: The Prince and the Pedophile: What Are Charles’ Connections to Jimmy Savile OBE?

RELATED: Are Secretive Cabals Keeping Us in the Dark Over UK Child Abuse?

RELATED: The BBC, Lord McAlpine and ‘The New Machiavelli’ Book

….

The BBC, Lord McAlpine and ‘The New Machiavelli’ Book

November 19, 2012

DISCLAIMER: This post is NOT a plug for Lord McAlpine’s book, although sales may receive a bounce by all the recent publicity – which isn’t a bad thing, is it? To be completely honest, after reading a few passages from this book, I am almost certain it was really written by that infamous jock Alastair, not Alistair.

This blogger below has made a very compelling argument regarding the BBC-Lord McAlpine libel scandal, based partly his own Radio 4 interview last week, an interview in which a few possible inconsistencies have been raised by the writer on his website. More interestingly, however, is McAlpine’s book – a fascinating read espousing some of the dark virtues of political spin and deception in manipulating public opinion – a revelation which could shed some new light on the present context of McApline’s snap settlement at the expense of the BBC TV license paying public…

John Ward
The Slog

I can’t claim anything approaching an exclusive on this one. I have been sent this interview with Lord Alistair McAlpine during 2000 in Australia by no fewer than nine Sloggers. It is, shall we say, incredibly revealing. And my guess is that most readers (and few if any currently terrified hacks) have read it.

The interview was to promote Lord Alistair McAlpine’s then new book, The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business. I am, by the way, repeating Lord Alistair McAlpine’s exact name ad nauseam to ensure that nobody is misled as to whether he did actually write this book, or whether one of the many other McAlpines did so, and then ran away.

Because that simply isn’t true, you see: Lord Alistair McAlpine wrote this book. No other McAlpines were involved in the writing of this book. This book was not produced in a factory making McAlpines. None of Alfred James ‘Jimmie’ McAlpine (1908-1991) who lived at Gerwyn Hall, Marchwiel, Wrexham (the son of Sir Alfred David McAlpine (1881-1944). Lord McAlpine of West Green is the son of Robert, Baron McAlpine of Moffat (1907-1990), the son of William McAlpine (1871-1951), who was the son of Sir Robert McAlpine 1st Bt. (1847-1934) played any role in the writing of the book. Not so much as a footnote.

Lord McAlpine’s Great Grandfather was the same as A.J. ‘Jimmie’ McAlpine’s Grandfather. That makes him a cousin, once removed. But nobody except Lord Alistair McAlpine played any role in the writing of this book, and you can probably rest assured that the McAlpine lawyers will vigorously pursue the entire fortune of anyone who suggests otherwise, allegedly.

Sorry, sorry. Just been on to the legals. I’d like to add that nobody involved in the writing of this book either is or ever has been a paedophile. Excellent.

Anyway, let’s first of all examine the similarities between the content of his entirely self-penned book, and Lord Alistair McAlpine’s behaviour over the last ten days. No doubt all of us can recall in graphic detail how Lord Alistair talked of the horror, dicky-heart anxiety, and utter shock of the discovery that his name was being associated with heinous sexual perversion. He had definitely been knocked to the ground and besmirched, and felt defeated, lost, beside himself, and horrified. From the Oz 2000 interview:

‘McAlpine’s advice on dealing with the media? Spread false defeat to gain public sympathy; or false accusation and then arrange for it to be exposed as such – so the accuser will forever be treated with suspicion.’

Hmm. Words like Radio Four, the Daily Mail, Boris Johnson and Steve Messham spring to mind.

Moving swiftly on, we’ve all seen, heard, and been stunned by this poor old innocent codger who’s never been anything other than scrupulously honest and straightforward. However, in 2000 Lord Alistair readily acquiesced in this description of the book:

‘A book on how to manipulate people for the greater good’

When you think ‘Machiavelli’, this is the Alastair who first comes to mind.

Well Lordy Lordy Lordy and Ali my stair. Good grief old boy, that’s a bit strong. Still, the Establishment and its mysterious ways are, I think we should all agree, worth saving. Well yes, they are. But I’m a little disturbed by one example in the book used to make his point. This we’re told is the key to successful public speaking:

‘Fake a speech impediment: a sudden stutter gets the audience’s attention like nothing else.’

(…)

‘Ignore the latest buzz about the kinder, gentler world of new age, team-based management. It’s dog-eat-dog out there, and the sooner you realize it, the better. The New Machiavelli mines Machiavelli’s The Prince for the timeless rules and stratagems that can help today’s business rulers survive and prosper in the jungle of greed and treachery that is commerce.’

Before things get any more embarrassing for Lord Alistair McAlpine, let’s move on to that article his brother Sir William McAlpine wrote in the Mail on Sunday last weekend. In it, Sir William asserts:

‘My brother is one of the most honourable people I know….We were brought up – with youngest brother David – by our father Lord McAlpine of Moffat, never to tell a lie. What was being alleged about Alistair was abhorrent.’

Read the full article here

RELATED: IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – ‘THE BLACK ARTS OF SPIN’

Doorstep Interview: DJ ‘Hairy Cornflake’ denies any and all involvement with Jimmy Savile’s empire of abuse

November 18, 2012

In a doorstep interview posted on Youtube online this weekend…

Former BBC DJ Dave Lee Travis this week told of his fury at being ‘sullied’ by association with the Jimmy Savile child abuse investigation.

The former Radio 1 DJ denied any wrongdoing after being released by police investigating accusations of sexual assault made by two women dating back to the late-1960s.

He said the case against him amounted to nothing more than allegations of ‘fumbling’, adding: ‘I do not want to be sucked into anything that talks about paedophilia.’

Standing at the gate of his £1million home, he told reporters: ‘I’ve been talking to the police about sexual — I don’t know what to call it — in the old days they called it putting your arm around someone and giving them a cuddle”.

‘I think that sometimes us guys who are a bit older are, shall we say, tactile — which is not a terrible thing to be. In the old days you put your arm round someone and gave them a kiss or a cuddle, yeah, that’s fine. Nowadays you’d have to stop to think — is this an assault?

‘Now I’m not saying that I haven’t put my arms around someone and I’m not saying that any of this is right or wrong at the moment. But I’m just trying to get the facts out…’

The 67-year-old DJ continued: ‘Things were different in those days… those were lax days.’

Several claims have already been made that Travis groped women colleagues in the 1970s and 1980s. TV and radio broadcaster Vivien Creegor claimed he ‘jiggled her breasts’ while live on Radio 4 in the 1980s.

Mrs Creegor, 55, claimed Travis clamped his hands over her jumper as she made a live announcement. Travis categorically denied any wrongdoing and said he was surprised the allegations were being made now.