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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. –
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.
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.
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.
“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 (email@example.com)
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
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.
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.
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….
Over to you, Index on Censorship.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
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)
Tags: alastair campbell, Amish Inquisition, apology, bans Blair supporter, Brian Jones, Chris Ames, David Cameron, Index on Censorship, Iraq, Iraq inquiry, Iraq Inquiry Digest, John Kampfner, John Rentoul, PMQs, Stan Rosenthal, Tony Blair