Stan Rosenthal BANNED by Chris Ames’ Iraq Inquiry Digest. Will “Index on Censorship” act?

by

Comment at end

Or –

30th July 2011

Amish Inquisition Expels Its Resident Critic

Anti-Iraq war campaigner and WE All NOW KNOWer Chris Ames has a site which he presumably hopes to be taken seriously. Thus he has named it, somewhat self-importantly, “Iraq Inquiry Digest”. Not to be confused with the official Iraq Inquiry website. But of course not.

His latest offering, typed uncomfortably through clenched teeth, as it were, and echoing Downing Street reasoning/excuses, is on the Cameron apology to Alastair Campbell. It resounds with its angle on an explanation regarding confusing “dossiers”. A dodgy explanation, some might suggest. –

 No 10 reply to Campbell – “no more than political knockabout”

Mr Ames of course does not seem to see any Number 10 backtracking in this. The Cabinet Secretary’s words on David Cameron’s remark at PMQs is not a real apology to Mr Campbell, though it clearly is. Mr Ames only sees what Mr Ames wishes to see.

Occasionally I have commented at Chris Ames’s site. However, Stan Rosenthal (whose BBC/Paxman/Guardian bias report appeared here yesterday) has been the voice of reason there – aka defender of Tony Blair’s Iraq decisions – far more than any other commenter.  In a moment when Ames temporarily saw the merit in not censoring free speech Mr Rosenthal was even listed as a contributor there.

Please note: Stan Rosenthal's name is listed fourth from end as a Contributor. I wonder if Chris Ames will ever ban such as Rose Gentle, Hans Blix and Brian Jones? Click picture to see the original (& check if it has now been altered there.)

NOW STAN ROSENTHAL HAS BEEN BANNED FROM AMES’ S SITE

‘What?’ I hear you ask! ‘Did he talk about finding anyone guilty before trial or summary justice for pre-judged “war criminals” or any such illiberal thoughts?’

Not on your nellie.  Mr Rosenthal argued his pro-Blair corner too well, and has now been banned by the freedom of speech & thought lovers at The Digest because of that little failing. He wasn’t playing the Iraq Digest game, y’know, chaps. Quite indigestible.

Complaining to Index on Censorship, as my good friend Stan suggests is likely to prove as productive as complaining to Mr Ames himself.

Why?

ALL ‘CENSORSHIP’ ROADS ARE INDEXED BY JOHN KAMPFNER

The Chief Executive officer at Index on Censorship is John Kampfner whose views on the Iraq war chime in reverberating, doom-laden tune with those of Ames. It is likely to be no more neutral about “censorship” per se than I am on the good versus bad attributes of Tony Blair. A quick glance at its front page would seem to echo my conclusion.

Its only link to Israel issues? This – http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/07/israels-anti-boycott-law-a-grave-threat-to-free-expression  (Ironic, no? Free expression?) Not a word about any matters in support of what they describe as the “illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”

The Index on Censorship is listed as one of the Supporters and Partners at Mr Ames’s site, along with other names of interest.

"Index on Censorship" listed 3rd from end as Supporter/Partner of Ames' Iraq Inquiry Digest. Click picture to see original page.

______

Yesterday, Friday, I received this from Stan Rosenthal:

“Yes, Mr Ames has finally had enough of being challenged at his site. The full story is set out in the email (below) which I have sent to one of their sponsors, the Index on Censorship (enquiries@indexoncensorship.org)

It will be interesting to see whether the Index is as scrupulous about defending free speech for anti-left views as they are vis-a-vis anti-right views.

I should add that in the post that sparked all this off Ames referred to the ” increasingly laughable John Rentoul” and has also been laying into JR at his site.”

[For John Rentoul’s thoughts earlier this week on Chris Ames’s arguments, click here then click ‘Back’]

__________

Message as sent by Stan Rosenthal to Index on Censorship

E-mail subject: Censorship at the Iraq Inquiry Digest site – again.

Some time ago I emailed you about a comment that was pulled from this site on grounds that had little to with the kind of personal abuse that might provide some justification for this action.

Chris Ames who runs the site has now taken exception to my latest comments and has not only withdrawn my last ones but has actually banned me from the site.

This is significant as far as the Index is concerned since you are listed as a Supporter of the site and what he has done obviously impinges on your stance towards censorship.

I should also point out that I am listed as a contributor to the site after Mr Ames invited me to take up this role to demonstrate that the Digest was even-handed about who wrote for them. Since then I have regularly posted my views at the site (mostly in comment form) in order to show that there is another side to the stories being posted there. This has involved some long spats with Mr Ames but since my earlier complaint to you he has reluctantly allowed my commenting to continue albeit with many personally abusive responses from him which I will come to later.

However all this ended yesterday when Mr Ames told me not to bother posting my views any more and then confirmed that he was actually censoring me by pulling my responses to his action and making it clear that I had been given “a Red Card” at the site.

The relevant part of the exchange is as follows. It concerned a difference of opinion about what Alastair Campbell meant when he said

“They (the Americans) intend to produce a series of dossiers, starting with one of Saddam’s record of defiance of the UN, to be published alongside President Bush’s speech on Thursday. They will then roll out several reports in the coming weeks. I am confident we can make yours one that complements rather than conflicts with them.” Ames saw this as evidence that Campbell told Scarlett to take the same public line as the US. I had put a less sinister interpretation on the remark. I had also suggested that Campbell’s remark related to the February 2003 dossier not to the more important September 2002 dossier.

After pasting in the full extract from which Campbell’s remark was taken, including the detailed structure of the dossier proposed by Campbell, Ames said this:

‘Let’s just recap what Stan Rosenthal said:

Campbell’s remark related to the dossier produced in February 2003 relating to Iraq’s history of concealment etc not to the more crucial September 2002 dossier setting out the intelligence information which pointed to a WMD threat.

This is on a threat headed, “never mind the evidence” where Stan Rosenthal demanded to see the evidence, with no intention of doing anything other than throwing some red herring into the equation to prove everyone else wrong. This is Stan Rosenthal in a nutshell. Bluff and bluster, accuse everyone else of distortion, taking things out of context etc…

…but basically make things up that can be easily disproved.

Stan, you were completely utterly totally demonstrably wrong to claim that the dossier in question was the February 2003 dossier, you made it up. On the back of making it up, you accuse everyone else of distorting things.

Will you admit that you were wrong? Will you apologise? Will you ever stop accusing other people of distorting things on the basis of things you have just made up?’

Comment from Stan Rosenthal
Time July 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Sorry Chris but the structure proposed by Campbell suggested he was talking about the February dossier since it seemed to focus largely on the matters covered in that dossier. Knowing how the civil service works I also thought it unlikely that they could produce such a document in the two weeks up to the 24th.

If I was wrong I apologise but I stand by my assertion that in the context of a document covering the areas suggested by Campbell his remark becomes less sinister since Iraq’s history regarding repression, using WMD, attacking Kuwait, concealment, deception, sanctions and inspections and the story around that (which was to be an important part of the dossier) was widely known and thus Campbell had every reason to believe that the dossier would complement the narrative being prepared by the Americans in these areas at least.

However knowing how your mind works I have little doubt that you will now focus on Rosenthal getting it wrong in order to distract attention from the points I have made. Pitiful.

Comment from Chris Ames
Time July 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Stan, you have no shame whatsoever. After all your bluff and bluster and being proved comprehensively wrong, you offer a non-apology that says, if I was wrong… but actually I was right and then descends into abuse.

Do not bother posting on this site again.

Comment from Chris Ames
Time July 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Just to be clear Stan, that’s a RED CARD

Comment from Stan Rosenthal
Time July 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Sorry Chris, but in the interests of open debate I will continue to put the other side of the story at this site. If this sticks in your craw you can always censor me but I’m sure one of your supporters, the Index of Censorship, will have something to say about this if they live up to what they are supposed to stand for.

Comment from Stan Rosenthal
Time July 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm

The following comment has now been officially censored TWICE from this site. I urge all those who believe in free speech to note the content before it is pulled again and demand that it be reinstated – “Sorry Chris, but in the interests of open debate I will continue to put the other side of the story at this site. If this sticks in your craw you can always censor me but I’m sure one of your supporters, the Index of Censorship, will have something to say about this if they live up to what they are supposed to stand for.”

The last two comments were deleted after I had repeatedly tried to get them through. The full thread relating to this post “Never mind the evidence” can be found at http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/?p=11866 . It will be noted that although there are some colourful metaphors and analogies (carefully explained) and some personal stuff relating to how I have been treated before at this site, there is nothing from me like the flaming abuse that is tolerated at other sites (notably the Guardian’s CIF site and at John Rentoul’s site, which Chris has had a go at in this post).

The censorship here (which was done by Ames not the site’s moderator, Andrew Mason, btw) was based largely on my line of argument and on my refusal to recant (it was because I see Ames’ approach as almost a religious one brooking no dissent that I referred to it earlier in the thread as the “Amish Inquisition” Maybe this is why he has taken such umbrage this time.)

If there has been some personal abuse in our exchanges I think it has come mainly from Mr Ames as will be seen from this list of offensive remarks against me that I compiled in my first comment on this post “Desperately clutching at straws”.

  • “Bluff and bluster but never admit that you are wrong and never apologise. When in a hole, make something up.”
  • “You will never change. You will continue to talk about the inspectors being obstructed, not being given unfettered access, all that nonsense. You know no other way to argue than stretching your understanding of what happened to the point where it BEARS NO RELATION TO REALITY. Just accept that you exaggerated your point Stan. Don’t claim that I am using semantic tricks Stan. You exaggerated and I pulled you up.”
  • “There you go Stan, bluff and bluster but when you are comprehensively shown to be wrong, never admit it and never apologise.” (again)
  • “(my guess is that you will duck the question, because you know that any answer you give shows you up. My guess is that no amount of making points that do not stand up to one minute’s analysis will not deter you from making equally fatuous points in future. My money is definitely on you CONTRIVING some cowardly way of not answering the question. Quite a lot of money, in fact, based on past form. Perhaps a claim that you deserve a wider audience before you will condescend to answer…)”
  • “I do apologise for saying that you would not answer. I have as usual underestimated your ability to embarrass yourself without realising that you have done it.”
  • “Bluff and bluster but never apologise and never admit that you are wrong” (again).
  • “(I can explain the fallacies if you like Stan but it is stark staring obvious to me that you add two and two and make five and then add another two and make eight.)”
  • “All your bluff and bluster is getting you nowhere. You are quite shameless in making spurious claims and even more shameless in your bluff and bluster.” (again)
  • “Oh dear Stan, you have once again added two and two together and made five.”
  • “But what Stan will never grasp is that every time he adds two and two together and makes five, every time (again)”
  • “he shows up how weak his case is and how little he understands about basic English and basic logic.”
  • “You just make such a fool of yourself Stan”
  • “You would think that anyone who had bluffed and blustered so desperately and then shot himself in both feet would crawl away into a hole and never come out again but not Stan Rosenthal, whose modus operandi involves putting his fingers in his ears and singing very loudly when he is shown to be wrong, even when he has shown himself to be wrong”
  • “Bluff and bluster but never admit that you have shown yourself up. Certainly never apologise”(again)
  • “You would think that anyone who had bluffed and blustered so desperately and then shot himself in both feet would crawl away into a hole and never come out again but not Stan Rosenthal, whose modus operandi involves putting his fingers in his ears and singing very loudly when he is shown to be wrong, even when he has shown himself to be wrong”…(again)
  • “Bluff and bluster but never admit that you have shown yourself up. Certainly never apologise.” (again).
  • “Oh look Stan, you have bluffed and blustered but put your fingers in your ears and sung loudly rather than admitting that you were wrong or (as if!) APOLOGISING”.

So if anyone should have been given a Yellow or Red Card for flaming it should have been Mr Ames, as I said to the moderator at the end of this thread. But of course it is Mr Ames’s website so this cannot be done.

What can be done though is for the Index to live up to its ideals and intervene on my behalf (given that its position as a supporter of the site) against this gross act of censorship. Of course Mr Ames will give you his side of the story (I’m all for both sides of the story being heard, which is what all this is all about) and then you can consider whether there is a justification for censorship here. If you think there isn’t then perhaps you might also consider whether continuing to support this site is compatible with your principles.

I look forward to an early reply.

Regards,

Stan Rosenthal

__________

JOHN RENTOUL

On Monday, before this banning was in place against Stan, this was John Rentoul at his Iraq Inquiry Recap Service

To respond to all the recent elaborations of the anti-war conspiracy theory by Chris Ames at Iraq Inquiry Digest would take time. Ames is scrupulously well-versed in the textual detail, which makes it hard work to rebut his one-track interpretation.

As the Chilcot inquiry prepares to send letters to some of the people to whom it intends to refer critically in its report, though, it is worth trying to sum up some of the new material published by the Inquiry, and by the Cabinet Office in response to Ames’s Freedom of Information requests.

[…]

As with the antis’ fixation on the idea that the September dossier “made the case for war“, their reading of this depends on their prior view that Scarlett, Alastair Campbell and Blair were engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the British people. The idea that they were seeking in good faith to explain why they were so concerned about Iraq is simply not considered.

[…]

There are more important documents that have been made public recently, and many more postings at Iraq Inquiry Digest that need to be rebutted. I will return to them later.

__________

Back to Stan’s e-mails

_________

AND ANOTHER THING...  (as Blairite Tom HarrisMP used to say at his blog)

[Note: below updated and adjusted in line with Stan Rosenthal’s directions]

Ames has also deleted another of Stan’s comments in an updated version of his post headed “We need to lie about Iraq – Straw” http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/?p=11775  (another post where Stan got the better of him). Outrageous. Or some might suggest….

I-N-D-I-GE-S-T-I-B-L-E

Over to you, Index on Censorship.

__________

RELATED

Back to top

Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

_______________

Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

23 Responses to “Stan Rosenthal BANNED by Chris Ames’ Iraq Inquiry Digest. Will “Index on Censorship” act?”

  1. Andrew Mason Says:

    I am responding because my name has been mentioned here, and would like to address some of the issues raised in the above post.

    My name is Andrew Mason, I am an editing contributor at the Iraq Inquiry Digest. I also perform moderation duties at that website, as well as managing a number of the standing pages there, such as some of those found in the sidebar and below the main header.

    My first concern is that you open your piece here with the claim that Chris Ames wrote our most recent item (at the time of posting this here) at the Digest, or rather, as you put it “His latest offering, typed uncomfortably through clenched teeth…”. For the record I was the author of the post in question, my name is clearly visible in the by-line, it was entirely my own work, and it was also independently posted. I had no communication with anyone about the post prior to its publication, and likewise have not since. I was not clenching my teeth and I was quite comfortable when I wrote it. I still cannot find any direct apology in the letter concerned other than for the delayed response.

    My next concern is that you suggest to your readers that they check our contributor page to see if Stan Rosenthal’s name is still listed there. With concern for our bandwidth and also being as I edit this particular page, I can assure you that it still is. I have no intention of removing it, Stan has contributed in the past in his own way, this is a matter of record and I can see no reason to deny the fact.

    My third concern is that you claim I had no part in the removal of Stan’s posts. This is not true. I removed two of them that particular evening, including one which you have reproduced above. Having read most everything Stan has ever written at the Digest, and having personally and unilaterally issued Stan with a yellow card in the past, I telephoned Chris to recommend a ban. Shortly after this Chris issued the red card.

    My final concern (at least as far as my post here is concerned) is that you claim that some of Stan’s comments have been removed from the Digest. I am unaware that this has happened. I acknowledge that a small number of pages have been lost in their entirety due to editing software malfunction or perhaps human error, in which case all related comments no longer exist, but cannot otherwise substantiate your claim. Please forward to me (you will have my e-mail address with this comment) any evidence you have which indicates that this may have happened, and I will then investigate further and respond accordingly.

    Again just for the record, the Digest operates with a set of posting guidelines which can be found on our ‘Comment’ page, which is itself linked to from the sidebar of every page on the site. As it says there, no further discussion will be entered into about any such decisions we may make. In light of your above post I will go as far as to say that Mr Rosenthal had, as far as I was concerned, clearly and repeated breached a number of the conditions we respectfully require users of the Digest site to adhere to. He had received a yellow card in the past, and had also been made specifically aware (by me) that we do maintain certain conditions. As a last note, and as far as censorship is concerned, I believe that I do not have the right to loudly and repeatedly shout, for example, fairy-stories, through your home letterbox at any time of my choosing, no matter of your belief in them. If I did so you would rightfully have me removed. I cannot see why this principle should be any different when the situation concerns commenting on a piece of writing by any given author on any given website which, after all, is also privately owned.

    I am quite confident that Stan Rosenthal will be more than welcome to post at your own website here, and in that regard will have lost no right to express his own views in any way he so chooses. I look forward to reading both him and yourself further.

    • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      @ Andrew Mason,

      Apologies for the delay in responding. Despite the beliefs of some in my family I do not spend every hour of every day tied to this machine. If I did, and argued 24/7 alongside Stan Rosenthal that Tony Blair is not uniquely “guilty until proven innocent” I still would never balance those who believe as you do. As We All Know, as you might say, and probably frequently do.

      It seems I have upset you for confusing you with Chris Ames. It seems I didn’t notice that you and not Mr Ames, were the author of the post I alluded to here –

      Thus he has named it, somewhat self-importantly, “Iraq Inquiry Digest”. Not to be confused with the official Iraq Inquiry website. But of course not.

      His latest offering, typed uncomfortably through clenched teeth, as it were, and echoing Downing Street reasoning/excuses, is on the Cameron apology to Alastair Campbell.

      I could argue, if I were into nit-picking and/or worse that I was referring to the latest offering at Mr Ames’s site, and not to his own particular opinion pieces. But since I am not into nit-picking, I won’t offer that explanation/excuse/reason. I did, frankly assume that it was written by Mr Ames. An easy mistake to make. One (invariably) critical opinion piece on Tony Blair at the Digest is much the same as any other.

      If it upsets you to think you were confused with an ally in the let’sgetBlairbrigadeoftroofhunters I DO understand. I think. Deep sincere apologies. Oh, and sympathies.

      Associated point – I think most would see an apology, hardly even thinly veiled in the Cabinet Secretary’s letter to Alastair Campbell. Certainly Mr Campbell himself sees it that way as you can see at his own site. And probably already have, though you do not refer to his reaction. Very fair… er, unfair of you, at your so-called balanced site.

      But that’s by the by and a matter of opinion or interpretation. We need spend little more time on this.

      My reason for suggesting readers check to see if Stan Rosenthal’s name is still on your contributors list is what some might call logic. If you are banning the man from commenting there, how on earth can you still provide a platform for him? It just does not make sense.

      What you are saying is that you (and/or Chris Ames) have decided that Mr Rosenthal should be banned from commenting at the site yet he can still send in posts if he so wishes. Is that correct? If so, how could he reply to commenters at his future posts if he himself is banned from commenting? It just makes no logical sense whatsoever.

      Perhaps you can clarify this for me. I’m really at a loss as to how this would operate in practice.

      If you are just saying his name will remain there even though he is no longer permitted to contribute there, I also find this position flawed. Perhaps Stan is happy with that position. I have no idea. But it seems odd that in the light of every other name being a known ANTI-BLAIR/ANTI Iraq War opiner, that his name should be left in such company while his voice is silenced. To anyone knowing no better it seems that he is a SUPPORTER of the aims of the Digest. And the aims of the Digest are simple, though not all that obvious to those unfamilar:

      To selectively post and/or comment on any piece of opinion or “evidence” which amplifies the (obvious!) conclusion that Tony Blair is a man guilty of all sorts of misdemeanours.

      The Digest has never been anything other that that, and you, Chris Ames, Stan Rosenthal and all those supporting the site well know that to be the case.

      Your point where you say I claim you had “no part in removing Stan’s post” I can’t find anywhere that I said this. Stan may have said something to this effect. Remember, most of my post uses material he sent me. So, in the way you pulled me up for mistaken identity, perhaps I can return the favour. I do not regularly follow the Digest and have no idea who did or did not remove Stan’s posts/comments.

      But it is good of you to clarify that you are the moderator (as well as a contributor at the site), and you seem to hold control over what remains visible. Quite why everyone thinks Chris Ames has editorial control of his own blog I cannot imagine! Certainly no-one moderates my site, apart from Yours Truly. Perhaps you hoped your site would be recognised as a national mainstream press publication with all the necessary adjuncts – mods and such important stuff.

      I am not quite sure how the claim by yourself to have removed two of Stan’s comments chimes with your being unaware that this has happened. My only reference to your latest post (which I had mistaken for another Ames’ offering) was at the start of my post here. After that, thanks entirely to the material Stan sent me, and which I used, the posts he was referring to are clearly identified.

      As to you last point, the diligent reader will or should be astounded at this.

      What you are saying is that Stan Rosenthal broke the rules of posting. Any disinterested person will see that not to be the case. The fact that you have the puerility to refer to his opining being ike “fairy stories” etc whilst the DIGEST’S contributors (Stan excluded) are presumably writing common sense beyond question tells me all I need to know about the position the Digest takes. Especially when it is being beaten in the intellectual arguments. The Digest will brook no dissent on the Evil Blair (as seen through the eyes of its main names) – yourself and Chris Ames, above all.

      Of course no-one can insist that we allow everyone who wants space to abuse at our privately-owned sites and blogs. There are one or two I have also banned. But only because I do not agree with incitement to violence against people, as are the cries of some who believe, like you do, that Tony Blar did serious wrong. This is not a hanging place for politicians.

      Your site – or Chris Ames’s – whatever may be the case, should not be a banning place for politicians’ supporters.

      It is a disgrace to free speech that the Iraq Inquiry Digest seems to have become just that.

      • Andrew Mason Says:

        keeptonyblairforpm –

        No problem about the delay – we all have busy lives. In that light I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.

        … I DO understand. I think. Deep sincere apologies. Oh, and sympathies.

        You don’t really need to take the piss. Obviously if it was on the Digest it wasn’t going to be to your liking so what difference who wrote it – eh?

        We need spend little more time on this.

        I agree. Except to say that I bet Cameron wishes he hadn’t said it. No 10 must have had a fair old ponder about what to say over the course of nearly a week. As in – how do we get out of this particular hole?

        Perhaps you can clarify this for me…

        Well, it hasn’t happened before so we’re all in new territory. First up Stan is listed as a contributor rather than a supporter so it’s not like we are falsely claiming he is something that he is not, or are even making him stand in the wrong camp. Second, all his old work still stands so anyone can read where he is coming from. It’s a bit of a moot point about future posting because I don’t know if wants to in any case being as what has happened. Yes I suppose he could e-mail us a post or something similar (not that he’s done so for a long time) but we would have to then consider whether we wanted to post it anyway. Perhaps your site would be a better bet for him. Re comments, well some pages don’t have these facilities, it’s a matter of WordPress choice. Or maybe we would have to make the current position clear.

        Tell you what though, maybe I could have a word with Chris (not that I have since the night of the red card) and suggest maybe we should moderate the ban to say six months or so. That way, Stan will be free at the end of all this to come back and tell us how wrong we all were.

        Your point where you say…

        Just to clear this up – Stan was on about the post he discovered was missing – this was nothing to do with the four on the night of the ban. I simply stand by what I’ve already said about the one in the Straw thread.

        …perhaps I can return the favour.

        Yeah, thanks. I realised I’d got it slightly wrong after I posted. I should have written “your post claims” or maybe “you repeat Stan’s claim” or something similar.

        What you are saying is that Stan Rosenthal broke the rules of posting…

        We haven’t discussed the reasons behind the decision. Of course you and Stan are always going to claim that it was because he was winning and we were losing, all I’ll say is that there are always two sides to any given coin.

        There are one or two I have also banned.

        Rob over at Eine Kleine Nichtmusik seems to be saying you banned him because he called you a racist on a site other than your own. That’s not exactly the same as incitement to violence. But never mind. By the by.

        Your site – or Chris Ames’s – whatever may be the case, should not be a banning place for politicians’ supporters.

        It’s not. No-one else (and I’m talking about genuine posters here and not about the one-off spammers who seem to plague the internet), including yourself, Julie and John Rentoul, has been denied posting facilities or sanctioned in any way, shape or form at the Digest. Stan was barred, leastwise as far as I’m concerned, simply because he became a persistently annoying and frequently offensive troll.

        • Andrew Mason Says:

          (above should read ‘if he wants to’ in clarification para)

        • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

          I could pick so many holes in this, but as I said I am not a nit-picker. Not until I come face to face with one.

          Firstly, why do you call Julie, John Rentoul and I “spammers”? Just explain yourself. You can’t get away with trite, facile, wrong-headed remarks here. A spammer is someone who sends ads to sites, with no intention of engaging with such sites. Rentoul, Julie, Stan and I are selling nothing and we invariably engage in the political debate. Even with nits nitwits. For evidence of that, just keep on reading.

          As for Stan being “offensive”! You jest. For “offensive” you need to read the Silly you link to in your comment. That idiot individual does not even accept that I am British, even though I have ASSURED him I am on several occasions. He also insists I am a “racist”, which I am not, never have been and never will be. Yet, in support of his nonsensical accusations against me (for having some serious doubts about Islam) he jumps on the juvenile bandwagon of INSULTING ME – calling me “racist”. Worse than that (in his eyes) – “American”! OMG, the very thought! Heaven forfend!

          I believe I have some of his earlier, very offensive comments somewhere unpublished. If I can be bothered I might even go and dig them out. I do not publish his comments any more, so he is banned here. I have banned on or two other Blair hangers’n’floggers over the years. I tend to dislike rude, obnoxious, violence-supporting people, especially when they continue to deny that anything I say (even about myself) has any truth in it. What about you? Do you like such types?

          As for the rest of your comment – oh I can’t be bothered. Maybe later, after I’ve eaten.

          • Andrew Mason Says:

            keeptonyblairforpm –

            Just explain yourself.

            What’s the point of doing this when you misrepresent what was quite clearly written and then use it as a stick to beat me with?

            Again – outside the brackets – “No-one else (..), including yourself, Julie and John Rentoul, has been denied posting facilities or sanctioned in any way, shape or form at the Digest.”

            The brackets –

            “(and I’m talking about genuine posters here and not about the one-off spammers who seem to plague the internet)”

            As you must be able to see, I referred to the three of you as ‘genuine posters’, and not as you claim as ‘one-off spammers’, who do in fact get quite regularly denied use of the posting facilities through moderation – meaning only that I can’t claim not to have denied anyone else absolutely.

            So why twist things around?

            I tend to dislike rude, obnoxious, violence-supporting people, especially when they continue to deny that anything I say (even about myself) has any truth in it. What about you? Do you like such types?

            In essence I agree with your sentiments here. Obviously the qualifications become somewhat subjective dependent on one’s own wider viewpoint, but in general terms I don’t like extremism in any guise. Polarised debate very often isn’t debate at all. It tends to degenerate into just a bad-mouthing and point-scoring debacle, and often ends up being a complete waste of thought, time and effort for all concerned.

            For example, the (any) pro- vs anti- argument. It is very easy to paint someone, in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage, as being the very embodyment of the opposite camp. Antipathy thereafter ruins any chance of reasoned discussion, and mutual respect is almost always similarly lost.

            oh I can’t be bothered

            So why should I be?

            • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

              Andrew, you’re right. My apologies. You said this –

              “No-one else (and I’m talking about genuine posters here and not about the one-off spammers who seem to plague the internet), including yourself, Julie and John Rentoul, has been denied posting facilities or sanctioned in any way, shape or form at the Digest. Stan was barred, leastwise as far as I’m concerned, simply because he became a persistently annoying and frequently offensive troll.”

              I failed to notice your closing bracket. My mistake.

              Point 2, you said:

              “For example, the (any) pro- vs anti- argument. It is very easy to paint someone, in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage, as being the very embodyment of the opposite camp. Antipathy thereafter ruins any chance of reasoned discussion, and mutual respect is almost always similarly lost.”

              Your point here, in agreement with mine, is applicable to the site you referred to earlier. Einekle…etc

              He invariably (and even more strongly at his own blog) refers to me as both racist and not British. I take exception to his paying no attention to my denials on both these matters. He also says by implication and overtly, in fact, that I am a liar. One of the reasones I set up this site is because of the facile calls that Blair = BLiar. I am hardly going to treat people with respect if they insist on spreading such lies about me, am I?

              Point 3.

              I don’t have time to spend nitpicking. Thus sometimes I get cheesed off with the continual point-scoring some are intent on.

              Btw, I too found it somwhat intriguing that you suggested Stan might be allowed back onto the Digest in “six months”! It also rang alert bells with me. That’d be January 2012. Just after Blair has been slaughtered by the press over whatever the Chilcot Inquiry comes up with – good OR bad.

              Immaculate timing, eh?

              • Andrew Mason Says:

                (The format of the comment stream is becoming a bit unworkable so I’ll reply shortly at the bottom of the page.)

                • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

                  Yes, Andrew, WordPress has some issues when it comes to the readability of its threads. For instance I don’t know what exactly you were referring to here:

                  “Please regard the situation as ‘under review’, and bear in mind that your last paragraph here emphasises a difference of opinion which has very little to do with the serious issues that the Digest wishes to examine.”

                  I tend to do what I have just done above and scroll down to whichever comment I’m referring to and then quote it. But it isn’t ideal, I realise. Out of my hands, I’m afraid.

  2. Stan Says:

    Just to address your final concern, Andrew (since I have first-hand knowledge of the matter).

    One of my comments has certainly disappeared from the post headed “We need to lie about Iraq – Straw”. This is apparent from the fact that the Google entry for this title on 30 July referred to 17 responses as opposed to the 16 actually showing up in the thread. Later in the day the Google entry number came down to the 16 of the thread

    The comment in question was the penultimate one where I replied to the previous comment from Chris Ames. Again it is clear that a comment has been removed since Ames’ last comment obviously relates to the missing one, beginning with “No Stan” whereas his previous comment begins with “Yes Stan”.

    I find it difficult to believe that such an omission could have happened by chance, occurring as it did after I had been banned from the site and leaving Mr Ames with two last words.

    As regards your justification for issuing that red card, your posting Guidelines refer to the following misdemeanours, all of which are extremely subjective and can be used simply as an excuse for banning views you don’t like (which in itself must raise an eyebrow from a free speech point of view): rudeness, flaming, trolling, baiting, issuing unjustified challenges, offensive language.

    However, even allowing for the anomaly of a site sponsored by the Index of Censorship having this kind of discretion, there is no way in which my contributions can be regarded as so outrageously offensive as to warrant the action that you have taken. Yes my responses at times have been robust, mocking, personal when replying to distortions of what I have said and to personal abuse and have even been slightly disrespectful. But all this has gone no further than the knockabout stuff (to coin a phrase) that is typical of websites covering controversial topics.

    Indeed, as I have already pointed out, the remarks of Chris Ames listed in my email to the Index seem to fall much more into the offensive categories of your House Rules, not to mention the titles of some of the posts published at the site, like “We need to lie about Iraq – Straw”, “Concealing the truth”, “Iraq WMD dossier was changed to match Labour spin”, “MacShane loses the plot”, “Blair’s duplicity over the Options Paper”

    Certainly I consider the yellow card issued to me in the post headed “Desperately clutching at Straws” to be much more appropriate to Mr Ames’ behaviour as can be seen from this extract from the related thread.

    ———————————————————————————

    .Comment from Stan Rosenthal (in reply to Andrew’s intervention quoting the House Rules)
    Time June 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I agree with much of what you have said on this subject, Andrew. We should be playing the ball not the man (to continue your football analogy) except that when we believe the man is committing a foul I think it is fair to point this out – in a gentlemanly manner of course.

    Which brings me back to Chris. Like you I thought that there was agreement about the previous abrasive content and was ready to proceed with “a renewed sense of decorum”.

    However the latest inflammatory comment from Chris indicates that his agreement was just a ploy to confront me with what he considered to be an unanswerable question. It’s not unanswerable of course but I am not prepared to play along with this trollish form of behaviour and will wait again until questions about the interview condition of 1441 and other parts of the Foreign Office document are put to me in a more seemly way.

    Comment from andrewsimon
    Time June 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Stan –

    I haven’t really got any interest in discussing posters with other posters (or reading about it either). As far as I see it, lines have been drawn (if not set permanently in concrete) because this, shall we politely say, toing-and-froing, has been going on between you for a long long time now.

    If you don’t like the responses you get to your comments, save your own time and frustration by not bothering to comment. If you really want to comment, you can only expect that the responses you do get will be on the basis of what you’ve written.

    Simple eh?

    Comment from Stan Rosenthal
    Time June 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    No, it’s not simple, Andrew since It is not at all clear what you mean by “if you really want to comment, you can only expect that the responses you do get will be on the basis of what you’ve written”.

    I am perfectly happy to receive responses on the basis of what I have written. It is when that basis is misrepresented and ridiculed and ad hominem remarks creep in that I become concerned.

    I appreciate that as the Moderator at this site you have done
    your best to bring this nonsense to a halt and also appreciate
    that you are in a difficult position bearing in mind that the person who refuses to respond to your efforts is the person
    who set up this website.

    Notwithstanding your advice II will continue to send in my
    comments since I believe it is right and important to challenge the received wisdom here. All I am expecting from others is
    that they don’t allow their irritation about being so challenged
    to spill over into the sort of inappropriate responses I have
    drawn attention to. Those who persist with such inappropriate responses will receive an appropriate response from me.

    Comment from andrewsimon
    Time June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Stan –

    It is not at all clear what you mean by “if you really want to comment, you can only expect that the responses you do get will be on the basis of what you’ve written”.

    What this means, Stan, is that you just earned yourself a public ‘yellow card’ for the offence of ‘flaming’.

    Please see:

    http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/?page_id=26/

    ASM

    Comment from Stan Rosenthal
    Time June 8, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Quite apart from the fairness of this somewhat pompous pronouncement, the obvious answer is if for me, why not for Chris? Or does this question put me at risk of being served with a red card?”

    ———————————————————————————

    Finally on your “last note” concerning the nature of censorship I must say that I find your analogy with someone shouting fairy stories through a home letter box stories quite ridiculous, if not alarming (no doubt such an observation would be banned at your site!).

    Your website is advertised not as a private domain for putting across your views but as an open forum for debate. I took you at your word and on his basis accepted an invitation to be a regular contributor at the site, assuming that I would be able to post and comment freely.

    All my contributions have been strictly relevant to the posts in question, usually taking the form of pointing out there could be innocent explanations of the sinister allegations being made at the site. In the process I have argued that words have been taken out of context and have shown precisely how this has been done. For my pains I have been regularly accused of being stupid and of making things up.

    If you consider these actions to be akin to shouting fairy stories through someone’s letter box then I would suggest that your idea of free speech is seriously at fault and will no doubt be of interest to the Index on Censorship to whom I will be copying this exchange.

    No Andrew, your arguments are just a smokescreen for ridding the Digest of its turbulent priest in the crucial run-up to the Inquiry’s findings so that it can spread its particular kind of propaganda unchallenged.

  3. Andrew Mason Says:

    Stan –

    I have investigated your ‘missing’ posting and found it to reside in a comment spam folder currently awaiting final deletion. I can further inform you that one other post of yours has also been similarly removed and re-classified as spam because you chose to use the Digest platform to insult a third-party individual who has no relationship with the Digest.

    You are fairly correct to state that the Digest was intended to be an open forum for debate, although we actually used the word ‘dynamic’ rather than ‘open’. That same section goes on to state that (our) objective is to be constructive and to provide reasoned and well argued comment.

    keeptonyblairforpm –

    Re your updated here yesterday:

    [Note: below updated and adjusted in line with Stan Rosenthal’s directions]

    Ames has also deleted another of Stan’s comments in an updated version of his post headed “We need to lie about Iraq – Straw” http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/?p=11775 (another post where Stan got the better of him). Outrageous. Or some might suggest…. I-N-D-I-G-E-S-T-I-B-L-E

    Here is a short section of the somewhat convoluted post in question:

    “When I interpreted Straw’s words to mean that overall he considered the Iraqi WMD threat to be greater than the other countries, you accused me of “making it up” since he had not used these words. Yet I had not claimed that this is what Straw had actually said, only that it was IMPLICIT in what he had said. Much in the way that you made up what Straw would have said supposing Straw meant what I claimed, only in your case your version was not implicit in what I had claimed.”

    Frankly, we found it fairly indigestible too, which is why it ended up in the spam folder.

    Do you understand where Stan is coming from?

  4. Stan Says:

    Well, well, Andrew, it’s all coming out now. This is what you said in your original reply.

    “My final concern (at least as far as my post here is concerned) is that you claim that some of Stan’s comments have been removed from the Digest. I am unaware that this has happened.”

    Now it appears that not just one comment has been removed but another one as well. And all this has been done surreptitiously without even letting me know what has been done. Indeed you denied it until I provided you with the evidence. I like the way you reported the result of your investigation in terms of finding the missing post residing in another folder, as if it went there on its own accord. Cheeky little things these comments! Where will they get to next?

    Anyway it seems that the Rosenthal purge is well under way and no doubt more of my comments will be finding their way to other folders. Keep at it and it will seem as if Rosenthal never existed at your site. The Soviet commissars would have been proud of you.

    Nice of you to provide a truncated version of the original censored comment here. I think most sensible people would agree that it’s pretty tame stuff compared with the flaming nonsense allowed at other sites. and in a way you have proved my point nicely. Perhaps you can now provide the full version (which will make more sense of the bit you quoted) and do the same for the other comment you have pulled so that everyone can form their own judgement of offensiveness of my remarks. If you are so confident about being right on this one you should be eager to meet this request.
    .

  5. Andrew Mason Says:

    Stan –

    Just to address some of your points here:

    You reproduce some of what I wrote and immediately accuse me of denying something. As far as I’m aware the word ‘deny’ means to ‘declare as untrue’ or to ‘reject as false’. Please substantiate your suggestion here.

    You then state that I did this after you provided ‘evidence’. In fact I located your items of spam before I had read either your first post here or keeptonyblairforpm’s update providing a link.

    The spam container lists items by order of original posting and not by time of entry there, so I can’t really comment on exactly when your posts, even assuming that this was done deliberately, disappeared or were otherwise removed from the Digest website. It is possible they were directed there after you were red carded, but as I’ve already stated, I had no knowledge about this until I read about this on this website.

    Re your suggestion of a ‘purge’, I’ve already stated my position on your earlier work at the Digest. I cannot speak for anyone else who independently moderates there.

    I’ve also already stated that the Digest policy is not to further discuss any such decisions we may make. In that regard I respectfully refuse to be drawn into a further debate about what has happened or the content of any of your postings.

    I feel quite confident that anyone who wants to further inform their own judgement about your posting style at the Digest will be able to visit the site and read your contributions for themselves. We have a search facility there which will assist them to do so.

  6. Stan Says:

    So it’s not you that has been doing all the dirty work here, Andrew; it’s someone else who has been “moderating” my comments. Could that be Mr Ames I wonder as we assumed originally? Unless of course the comments took on a life of their own and decided to jump into the spam folder. Incidentally spam is usually understood to be junk mail that is put round for commercial reasons. Not sure how my stuff fits into this category.

    No Andrew, you have simply made a fool of yourself by defending the indefensible and in doing so you have shown up the true nature of the Iraq Inquiry Digest, which is simply a front for anti -Blair/Iraq war propaganda, having little connection with the ideals of free speech that those supporting the site are supposed to subscribe to.

  7. Stan Says:

    Andrew, i see that at the top of this thread in reply to KTBFPM’s comment, you have magnanimously indicated that it might be possible for me to resume posting at your site in six months or so. I wonder how you arrived at this penalty period. Is it possible that it it has something to do with the fact that the Irag inquiry is due to report in January, so having me back after that time should not cause any damage to your efforts to influence the outcome or rubbish any positive findings.

    Anyway I hope I can be brought be brought back into the fold rather sooner since I have always thought it important to the democratic process to have the other side of the argument regularly represented at sites such as yours.

    As for your calling me a troll, this term is defined as someone who regularly posts inflammatory comments on the internet. If you consider the deleted comment that you posted here to be an example of my inflammatory contributions I would respectfully suggest that this has more to do with you and Chris have a very low sensitivity threshold when it comes to having your views challenged Certainly, as I have pointed out before, the taunts that Mr Ames has constantly directed at me ( examples listed in the above post) are much more of a trolling nature than anything I have put up at your site..

    • Andrew Mason Says:

      Stan –

      We don’t really know for sure when the Inquiry will report so six months is just a ball-park figure – as it happens the period mentioned is just the general rule of the landlady at my local for non-violent first offences.

      I’ll give some thought as to your future commenting status at the Digest. I don’t necessarily make final decisions so for the time being we’ll just have to regard this as an ongoing matter.

      I don’t wish to curtail your ‘right’ to express youself in any particular way, but on the other hand I can’t allow things to continue as they were going before.

      Please regard the situation as ‘under review’, and bear in mind that your last paragraph here emphasises a difference of opinion which has very little to do with the serious issues that the Digest wishes to examine.

  8. Andrew Mason Says:

    keeptonyblairforpm-

    As I’ve just indicated to Stan, I don’t want to unreasonably restrict comment at the Digest, although I think we can all agree that mutually acceptable posting behaviour needs to be maintained.

    One thing we have been thinking about is perhaps commissioning a number of topic-specific opinion pieces for publication as the Inquiry comes to a close. I would not rule Stan out from contributing such an item if he so wished to write one.

    Obviously, the timing of the Inquiry report is not by any means certain right now, it could even be extended to well beyond January. I’m just assuming we will have a bit of notice from the Inquiry itself, and be able to publish accordingly.

    I have Stan’s contact details so will be able to inform him accordingly of anything we decide.

  9. Andrew Mason Says:

    keeptonyblairforpm –

    From the previous (narrow bit) a fair way above:

    KTBFPM – Yes, Andrew, WordPress has some issues when it comes to the readability of its threads. For instance I don’t know what exactly you were referring to here:

    “Please regard the situation as ‘under review’, and bear in mind that your last paragraph here emphasises a difference of opinion which has very little to do with the serious issues that the Digest wishes to examine.”

    I tend to do what I have just done above and scroll down to whichever comment I’m referring to and then quote it. But it isn’t ideal, I realise. Out of my hands, I’m afraid.

    Agree about WP but we had a bit of a crosspost too I think – the above bit was already there to Stan – added yours after but needed a bacon sarnie in between – hope all is clear now.

    • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      A fair way ABOVE? Andrew, can I suggest you close this post down and reload. The other day, after Stan pointd out same issue, I altered things so that latest comment appears at the top. So nothing is presently “above” this one of yours (or this comment of mine when you read it. ) Perhaps you are reading the old, cached format layout.

      Confused still? You bet I am!

  10. Stan Says:

    I’ve heard of the “squeezed middle” but the squeezing of the comments at the top right of this thread is just ridiculous.

    Which brings me back nicely to the Andrew’s (and probably AN Other’s) efforts to squeeze me out of the Digest site

    You seem to be relenting on this a little, Andrew, and I am not unappreciative of your change of tack…

    However I’m not sure whether one more (token?) posting goes far enough. The point here is that the Digest publishes a stream of completely one-sided posts on a highly controversial issue now in its final stages. Up to recently I have been able to put the other side of the story on what has been alleged thus giving visitors to the site the opportunity of making up their own minds on what makes most sense –surely a vital part of the democratic process.

    One post, such as you are apparently contemplating, obviously would not do this. So I would hope that you can extend your rethink to my returning to the site as a regular commenter rather than on the basis of just having a one post slot..

    As you know I sympathised with your efforts to bring my spat with Chris to an end and thought that there was general agreement on this, pointing out that ” I was ready to proceed with “a renewed sense of decorum”. Unfortunately Chris did not reciprocate as I clearly showed in a subsequent thread and it was my response to his continuing abrasive remarks that led to my expulsion. Of course if we can now get back to a reasoned and reasonably respectful exchange of views I will be happy to abide by the rules of “mutually acceptable posting behaviour”.

    • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      What? Right hand corner? It isn’t showing like that for me. I must have a moan to WordPress though. I did have problems once with a post and they told me to sue Mozilla and not Explorer. I tol them I already do. Are you using WExplorer by any chance?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s