Monday, September 18, 2006

Truth ache

TRUTH-ACHEOn the fifth anniversary, SchNEWS gingerly dips a toe into the murky waters of the great 9-11 debate...
It’s the big fight over ‘the truth’. In the blue corner we have the US government’s official version of 9-11 events and in all the other corners we have proponents of various ‘conspiracy’ theories. But in these days of governments caught telling outright lies about WMDs etc, and a massive groundswell of cynicism about any official pronouncement - just what is a conspiracy theory? What happens when ‘common sense’ is hijacked and the fringe goes mainstream? And does it matter anyway?
The self-proclaimed 9-11 truth movement, in many ways a genuine grassroots movement (or cult?), is growing and its ideas are gradually filtering into the mainstream. No anti-war event is complete now without a new 9-11 conspiracy DVD and flyers to some new talk / book launch - and our inbox often overflows with new ‘revelations’. Every possible, and some quite impossible angles are covered - from the relatively mainstream question marks hanging over the US administration’s possible advance knowledge of the plot, to off-planet assertions about holograms, missiles and alien DNA. This kind of thing will always delight the ‘Elvis faked the moon landings with a black helicopter’ Internet crowd, but with polls showing that a third of Americans and nearly half of New Yorkers believing US officials either knew about the attacks or were actively involved, this represents a major uprising of disbelief. This has forced the US govt into producing a series of rebuttals, asserting their ‘truth’ and challenging the accusations.
The two main strands of theorising could be summed up as “they knew in advance” and “the whole thing was faked”. At the more plausible end we have the idea that the Neo-Cons had anticipated or were complicit in the events of 9-11. In any case, the event enabled them to put into practice an agenda for global domination hatched years before. It is all laid out in the year 2000 paper, ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’ published by the Project for a New American Century, a think-tank whose members included Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz (See SchNEWS 387). It talked about the fact that a “catastrophic and catalyzing event - a new Pearl Harbor” would be needed to transform the public’s attitude to war. Certainly there were no flies on the Cheney-Bush axis when it came to taking advantage of 9-11’s propaganda value, and even now Bush routinely invokes it as an emblem of America’s need to be militarily aggressive.
At the other end of the reality spectrum, are those that are sure that all the buildings were pre-primed with explosives, that all the Jews who worked there were given advanced warning, that the planes never existed and were in fact holograms disguising missiles etc etc. The trouble with all these theories is that they require mind-boggling numbers of people to have been ‘in on it’. It seems unlikely that the clique responsible for the disaster in Iraq could have organised something so slickly. And why would they need to go to the trouble? Two planes striking the towers would have been more than enough to serve as the big catalytic terrorist event... And if you were orchestrating the whole thing, why bother faking it with missiles or holograms anyway? Just use real planes... much simpler.
Perhaps this is why too much speculation on these points leads inevitably to a paranoiac world view where only secret cabals who control everything from behind the scenes could pull the wool over everone’s eyes in such an all-encompassing way.
The ‘truths’ arrived at by some of these theories are so way out there, we began to wonder if they’d been spread deliberately to sow confusion, making it easier for the authorities to discredit the whole 9-11 debate by association. Conspiracy on conspiracy – where does it end?
There’s no doubt that big questions about the role of the US government remain unanswered (for example, relationships with Saudi elites), but it seems they’re in danger of being drowned out by the clamour of outright lunacy.
Poster-boy of the UK branch of the 9-11 Truth movement is former MI5 agent David Shayler. An acknowledged ‘insider’, he must have seemed a great asset to the fraternity. But at the Big Green Gathering this year, SchNEWS were confronted with the spectacle of a man who appeared to have swallowed and regurgitated the entire works of David “blame the lizards” Icke. No stone was left turned, no subject demystified as Dave told us how aliens have been negotiating with our government and 500 abductees are the only people who’ve got any real idea about all this 9-11 stuff. That includes 7/7 and 11/7 (date of Mumbai bombings by the way) - all evidence of an underground plot by a ‘shadow Zionist secret government’. Amongst other interesting points conjured forth were that the Royal family is descended from multi-dimensional Annunaki lizards (and ‘flaws’ in evolutionary theory prove it!) Riveting though this stuff is, it is, unfortunately, a load of bollocks.
On the other hand, the documented existence of a shadow world of CIA mounted black-ops and coups makes the idea that 9-11 was a ‘false flag’ operation seem within the realms of possibility. American intelligence has a long and bloody history of covert operations, instigating coups and funding opposition against those that challenge their authority. Coups such as the one on the less well remembered September 11th - 1973, when the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, and usher in a brutal military dictatorship. Doubts over 9-11, the cornerstone of the US’s ideological crusade, make it easier to appreciate that it’s just all in a days work for the US to fund and arm people like Saddam and the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan, which gave rise to Al-Qaeda.
The fact that these theories are catching on so widely is partly due to the huge growth of scepticism about the role of governments in the entire War on Terror™. In this country we already know that our government plotted the war on Iraq well in advance, lied about Iraq’s WMDs and engaged in a systematic propaganda campaign to support the invasion. We know that our government, in alliance with the US, is engaged in secret renditions, torture and aggressive war. Public awareness of the true nature of power has probably never been higher - and the fact that so many are willing to believe that the US government may have slaughtered its own citizens shows how the ideological ground is shifting. It’s not, in the end, the truth of the allegations but the effect they’re having that’s important.
The 9-11 truth movement clearly sees the anti-war crowd as fertile recruiting ground (maybe we should return the compliment). They argue that proving 9-11 a hoax should be the main focus of any faction opposing the Neo-Con-men. But in reality, whether or not 9-11 was orchestrated, we should be concentrating on the broader US-led capitalist agendas, and their catastrophic consequences. 9-11 was a symptom rather than a cause of a ‘big picture’ which doesn’t need science fiction to explain it. World power is not a neat pyramid structure with aliens, Jews or a cabal of men with a secret handshake at the top. It makes more sense to see a range of competing power blocks, alliances and cartels in a shifting, perpetual power play – with governments, nationalist and business interests doing what they’ve always done, battling for control of land, resources, workforces and populations. There is one conspiracy that doesn’t lurk in smoky rooms behind closed doors – it’s called global capitalism

The Left and The Jihad

The Left and the Jihad Fred Halliday 8 - 9 - 2006
The left was once the principal enemy of radical Islamism. So how did old enemies become new friends? Fred Halliday reports.

The approaching fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States highlights an issue much in evidence in the world today, but one that receives too little historically-informed and critical analysis: the relationship between militant Islamic groups and the left.
It is evident that the attacks, and others before and since on US and allied forces around the world, have won the Islamist groups responsible considerable sympathy far beyond the Muslim world, including among those vehemently opposed from a variety of ideological perspectives to the principal manifestations of its power. It is striking, however, that - beyond such often visceral reactions – there are signs of a far more developed and politically articulated accommodation in many parts of the world between Islamism as a political force and many groups of the left.
The latter show every indication of appearing to see some combination of al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbollah, Hamas, and (not least) Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as exemplifying a new form of international anti-imperialism that matches – even completes – their own historic project. This putative combined movement may be in the eyes of such leftist groups and intellectual trends hampered by “false consciousness”, but this does not compromise the impulse to “objectively” support or at least indulge them.
The trend is unmistakable. Thus the Venezuelan leader Hugo Ch├ívez flies to Tehran to embrace the Iranian president. London’s mayor Ken Livingstone, and the vocal Respect party member of the British parliament George Galloway, welcome the visit to the city of the Egyptian cleric (and Muslim Brotherhood figurehead) Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Many in the sectarian leftist factions (and beyond) who marched against the impending Iraq war showed no qualms about their alignment with radical Muslim organisations, one that has since spiralled from a tactical cooperation to something far more elaborated. It is fascinating to see in the publications of leftist groups and commentators, for example, how history is being rewritten and the language of political argument adjusted to (as it were) accommodate this new accommodation.
The most recent manifestation of this trend arrived during the Lebanon war of July-August 2006. The Basque country militant I witnessed who waved a yellow Hizbollah flag at the head of a protest march is only the tip of a much broader phenomenon. The London demonstrators against the war saw the flourishing of many banners announcing “we are all Hizbollah now”, and the coverage of the movement in the leftwing press was notable for its uncritical tone.
All of this is – at least to those with historical awareness, sceptical political intelligence, or merely a long memory - disturbing. This is because its effect is to reinforce one of the most pernicious and inaccurate of all political claims, and one made not by the left but by the imperialist right. It is also one that underlies the US-declared “war on terror” and the policies that have resulted from 9/11: namely, that Islamism is a movement aimed against “the west”.
This claim is a classic example of how a half-truth can be more dangerous than an outright lie. For while it is true that Islamism in its diverse political and violent guises is indeed opposed to the US, to remain there omits a deeper, crucial point: that, long before the Muslim Brotherhood, the jihadis and other Islamic militants were attacking “imperialism”, they were attacking and killing the left - and acting across Asia and Africa as the accomplices of the west.

A tortured history
The modern relationship of the left to militant Islamism dates to the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution. At that time, the Soviet leadership was promoting an “anti-imperialist” movement in Asia against the British, French and Dutch colonial empires, and did indeed see militant Muslims as at least tactical allies. For example, at the second congress of the Comintern in 1920, the Soviets showed great interest towards the Islamist group led by Tan Malaka in Indonesia; following the meeting, many delegates decamped to the Azeri capital of Baku for a “Congress of the Peoples of the East”. This event, held in an ornate opera house, became famous for its fiery appeals to the oppressed masses of Asia and included calls by Bolshevik leaders, many of them either Armenian or Jewish, for a jihad against the British.
A silent-film clip recently discovered by the Iranian historian Touraj Atabaki shows the speakers excitedly appealing to the audience who then proceed to leap up and fire their guns into the air, forcing the speakers on the platform to run for cover. One of those who attended the Baku conference was the American writer John Reed, author of the classic account of the Bolshevik revolution Ten Days That Shook the World. (On his return journey from Azerbaijan he was to die after catching typhoid from a melon he bought on the way.)
For decades afterwards, the Soviet position on Islam was that it was, if not inherently progressive, then at least capable of socialist interpretation. On visits in the 1980s to the then two communist Muslim states - the now equally-forgotten “Democratic Republic of Afghanistan” and the “People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen” - I was able to study the way in which secondary school textbooks, taught by lay teachers not clerics, treated Islam as a form of early socialism.
A verse in the Qur’an stating that “water, grass and fire are common among the people” was interpreted as an early, nomadic, form of collective means of production; while Muslim concepts of ijma’ (consensus), zakat (charitable donation), and ‘adala (justice) were interpreted in line with the dictates of the “non-capitalist” road. Jihad was obviously a form of anti-imperialist struggle. A similar alignment of Islamic tradition and modern state socialism operated in the six Muslim republics of the Soviet Union.
Such forms of affinity were in the latter part of the 20th century succeeded by a far clearer alignment of Islamist groups: against communism, socialism, liberalism and all that they stood for, not least with regard to the rights of women. In essence, Islamism - the organised political trend, owing its modern origin to the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, that seeks to solve modern political problems by reference to Muslim texts - saw socialism in all its forms as another head of the western secular hydra; it had to be fought all the more bitterly because it had such a following in the Arab world, in Iran and in other Muslim countries.
In a similar way to other opponents of the left (notably the European fascist movements), Islamists learned and borrowed much from their secular rivals: styles of anti-imperialist rhetoric, systems of social reform, the organisation of the centralised party (a striking example of which is Hizbollah in Lebanon, a Shi’a copy in nationalist, organisational and military form of the Vietnamese Communist Party). This process has continued in the modern critique of globalisation and “cultural imperialism”.
The ferocious denunciations of “liberalism” by Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers are a straight crib from the Stalinist handbook. Osama bin Laden’s messages, albeit clad in Qur’anic and Arabic poetic garb, contain a straightforward, contemporary, radical political messages: our lands are occupied by imperialism, our rulers betray our interests, the west is robbing our resources, we are the victim of double standards.
The hostility of Islamism to leftwing movements, and the use of Islamists in the cold war to fight communism and the left, deserve careful study. A precedent was the Spanish civil war, when Francisco Franco recruited tens of thousands of Moroccan mercenaries to fight the Spanish republic, on the grounds that Catholicism and Islam had a shared enemy in communism. After 1945, this tendency became more widespread. In Egypt, up to the revolution of 1952, the communist and Islamist movements were in often violent conflict. In the 1960s, Saudi Arabia’s desire to oppose Nasser’s Egypt and Soviet influence in the middle east led it to promote the World Islamic League as an anti-socialist alliance, funded by Riyadh and backed by Washington. King Feisal of Saudi Arabia was often quoted as seeing communism as part of a global Jewish conspiracy and calling on his followers to oppose it. In Morocco, the leader of the socialist party, Oman bin Jalloun, was assassinated in 1975 by an Islamist militant.
A canvas of conflict
There are further striking cases of this backing of Islamism against the left: Turkey, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, and Algeria among them.
In Turkey in the 1970s, an unstable government beset by challenges from armed leftwing groups encouraged both the forces of the nationalist right (the “Grey Wolves”) and Islamists, and indulged the assassination of leftwing intellectuals. In Palestine, the Israeli authorities, concerned to counter the influence of al-Fatah in the West Bank in the late 1970s, granted permission for educational, charitable and other organisations (linked in large part to the Muslim Brotherhood) in ways that helped nurtured the emergence of Hamas in 1987; Israeli thus did not create Hamas, but it did facilitate its early growth. In Algeria too, factions within the ruling national-liberation movement (FLN) were in league with the underground Islamist group, the National Salvation Front; its French initials, FIS, gave rise to the observation that the FIS are le fils (“the son”) of the FLN.
In Egypt, from the death of Nasser in 1970 onwards, the regimes of Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak actively encouraged the Islamisation of society, in part against armed Islamist groups, but also to counter the influence of the socialist left. This was a project in which many formerly secular Egyptian intellectuals colluded, in an often theatrical embrace of Islam, tradition and cultural nationalism.
The trend culminated in the 1990s with a campaign to silence left and independent liberal voices: the writer Farag Fouda, who had called for the modernisation of Islam, was assassinated in 1992; Naguib Mahfouz, the Nobel prize-winning author, was stabbed and nearly killed in 1994 (allegedly for his open and flexible attitude to religion in his Cairo novels); the writer and philosopher Nasser Abu Zeid, who had dared to apply to the Qur’an and other classical Islamic texts the techniques of historical and literary criticism practised elsewhere in the world, was sent death-threats before being driven into exile in 1995.
There were even worse confrontations between Islamism and those of a socialist and secular liberal persuasion. The National Islamic Front in Sudan, a conspiratorial group that explicitly modelled itself on Leninist forms of organisation, took power in 1989 and proceeded to arrest, torture and kill members of the communist party, all this at a time when playing host to Osama bin Laden in Khartoum.
In Yemen, after the partial unification of the military north and socialist south in May 1990, the regime allowed assassins of the Islamist movement to kill dozens of socialist party members and army officers. This process precipitated the civil war of 1994, in which armed Islamist factions linked by ideology and political ties to bin Laden (most prominently the Abyan army) fought side-by-side with the regular army of the north to crush the socialist south. This was an echo of the war in Dhofar province in the neighbouring Arabian state of Oman during 1970s, when anti-communist government published propaganda by the British-officered intelligence corps denouncing the leftwing rebels for allowing men to have only one wife, and promised them four if they came over to the government side.
The politics of blood
The historical cycle of enmity reached an even greater pitch in two other countries where the anti-communist and rightwing orientation of the Islamists became clear. The first, little noticed in the context of Islamism, was the crushing of the left in Indonesia in 1965. There the independent and “anti-imperialist” regime of President Sukarno was supported by the communist party (PKI), the largest in non-communist Asia.
After a conflict within the military itself, a rightwing coup backed by the United States seized power and proceeded to crush the left. In rural Java especially, the new power was enthusiastically supported by Islamists, led by the Nahdat ul-Islam grouping. A convergence between the anti-communism of the military and the Islamists was one of the factors in the rampant orgy of killing which took the lives of up to a million people. The impact of this event was enormous, both for Indonesia itself and the balance of forces in southeast Asia at a time when the struggle in Vietnam was about to escalate.
The second country, Afghanistan, also had an outcome of great significance for the cold war as a whole. During the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, the most fanatical Islamist groups - funded by the CIA, Pakistan and the Saudis to overthrow the communist government in Kabul - were killing women teachers, bombing schools and forcing women back into the home in the areas they controlled.

Such enemies led the first leader of communist Afghanistan, Nur Mohammad Taraki, to refer to the opposition as ikhwan i shayatin (“the satanic brotherhood”, a play on “Muslim Brotherhood”). Bin Laden himself, in both his 1980s and post-1996 periods in Afghanistan, played a particularly active role not just in fighting Afghan communists, but also in killing Shi’a, who were, in the sectarian worldview of Saudi fundamentalism, seen as akin to communists. The consequences of this policy for the Arab and Muslim worlds, and for the world as a whole, were evident from the early 1990s onwards. It took the events of the clear morning of 11 September 2001 for them to penetrate into the global consciousness.The true and the false
This melancholy history must be supplemented by attention to what is actually happening in countries, or parts of countries, where Islamists are influential and gaining ground. The reactionary (the word is used advisedly) nature of much of their programme on women, free speech, the rights of gays and other minorities is evident.
There is also a mindset of anti-Jewish prejudice that is riven with racism and religious obscurantism. Only a few in the west noted what many in the Islamic world will have at once understood, that one of the most destructive missiles fired by Hizbollah into Israel bore the name “Khaibar” - not a benign reference to the pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the name of a victorious battle fought against the Jews by the Prophet Mohammad in the 7th century. Here it is worth recalling the saying of the German socialist leader Bebel, that anti-semitism is “the socialism of fools”. How many on the left are tolerant if not actively complicit in this foolery today is a painful question to ask.
The habit of categorising radical Islamist groups and their ideology as “fascist” is unnecessary as well as careless, since the many differences with that European model make the comparison redundant. It does not need slogans to understand that the Islamist programme, ideology and record are diametrically opposed to the left – that is, the left that has existed on the principles founded on and descended from classical socialism, the Enlightenment, the values of the revolutions of 1798 and 1848, and generations of experience. The modern embodiments of this left have no need of the “false consciousness” that drives so many so-called leftists into the arms of jihadis.

Friday, September 15, 2006

a million off incapacity benefit?

The latest figures for those claiming incapacity benefits is 2.7 million. This includes those in receipt of Incapacity Benefit itself (about 1.4m), ‘NI credits only’ for incapacity (1.0m) and Severe Disablement Allowance (0.3m). None of these people are in employment, but are not recorded as unemployed.

The figures also indicate that high rates of IB claimants are regional and local problems. The claimant rate in the North East, North West, Scotland and Wales is twice that of the South. In North East England one in nine working age adults are on incapacity benefits compared with less than one in twenty in the South East. In Easington, Co. Durham, more than 20% of the working age population are IB claimants. Nearly half of all claimants are over 50.

The government has stated its intention to reduce the number of incapacity claimants by one million within ten years. The report by Fothergill and Wilson asks the question 'how achievable is the Government’s target?' (A MILLION OFF INCAPACITY BENEFIT: How achievable is the Government’s target? Steve Fothergill and Ian Wilson, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University). Their assessment, was carried out by projecting forward current trends to establish a ‘baseline’, and then by introducing assumptions about new trends due to the government’s proposed reforms.

The baseline projections indicated no reduction in IB claimants. IB numbers will not naturally reduce as older claimants reach pension age. Many of this older group were made redundant from coal, steel and engineering jobs during the 1980s and 1990s , and have claimed IB, perhaps, since redundancy. However, the assumption that they will disappear from IB figures once in receipt of pension overlooks the tendency for the IB stock to be renewed as younger claimants replace their older counterparts.

Therefore a natural reduction of claimants will not occur. Whether the government meets its target, or not, depends upon its policies and their implementation.

There are sufficient 'hidden unemployed' within IB claimants to achieve the one million reduction target, but because of the regional nature of high claimant patterns, the majority of the reduction would have to come from the North, Scotland and Wales. Employment growth in these regions would need to accelerate enormously.

The Pathways to Work initiative has the potential to reduce the IB total by about half a million in ten years. To reach the 'one million off' target necessitates the proposed reforms doubling the effectiveness of the Pathways to Work.

The report authors conclude that the government's target is a 'tall order.' Doubling the current impact of Pathways to Work is tough enough, but the regional nature of the perceived problem makes the target achievement extremely difficult. Unless there is sustained accelerated employment growth in the North, Scotland and Wales, any reduction in IB figures will only result in an increase in unemployment.

It is very questionable whether government policies can achieve the required acceleration in regional job growth to reach their IB reduction target.

impact of bad housing

What does bad housing mean for children? The main conclusions of the Shelter Report 'Chance of a lifetime: The impact of bad housing on children’s lives' indicates a catalogue of 'robbed' future chances - due to ill-health, educational under-achievement and insecurity.

There is a 25 per cent higher risk of severe ill-health and disability, during childhood and early adulthood.

Overcrowded housing results in a tenfold greater chance of contracting meningitis, increased risk of tuberculosis and other respiratory problems such as asthma. Consequently many of the children lose sleep, have restricted physical activity and lose out at school. Overcrowding has also been seen as to cause slow childhood growth, that later increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

50% of childhood accidents can be attributed to housing conditions. There is also a greater risk of domestic fire in poor housing.

There is also greater chance of mental health and behavioural problems.

Children who are homeless are three to four times more likely to have mental health problems than other children. Anxiety and depression are linked to overcrowded and unfit housing.

Lower educational attainment, greater likelihood of unemployment, and poverty are also projected outcomes.

School absenteeism is two to three greater in homeless children due to the disruptive lifestyle caused by a life in temporary housing. Those in unfit homes suffer greater illness and consequently often miss school. Overcrowding is linked to childhood developmental problems, and homelessness to poor communication skills. The aggression and hyperactivity exhibited by some homeless children results in low academic achievement.

Opportunities in adulthood are therefore compromised.

The resultant ill health and poor education inevitably lead to increased risk of unemployment or low-paid jobs. Leisure and recreation possibilities are lessened due to poor health and no money. Behavioural problems associated with bad housing can later become offending behaviour. According to one study, almost half of the young people who had offended, had been homeless.

The Government has pledged to end child poverty by 2020 to improve life outcomes for children in areas such as health, safety, enjoyment, achievement and economic well-being, but little attention has been paid to the impact of bad housing on children’s lives.

Currently there are more than one million children living in bad housing in England. They live in homes that are so small that there is insufficient space to sleep comfortably, to enjoy normal standards of hygiene and privacy, or even room to do their homework. They also live with the constant threat of eviction, and are repeatedly moved from one temporary home to another, with no chance of permanency or security. Many of these homes are dilapidated, damp and dangerous. The results of this housing crisis, are poverty and unequal life chances that will persist throughout the lives of the children who suffer it.

One of Shelter's proposals is that an additional 20,000 affordable social rented homes should be built each year, above and beyond existing plans. This is to address urgent housing need and to meet the target to halve the numbers of people living in temporary accommodation by 2 010. Surely this is too little too late, it would still leave half a million children living in dire housing conditions that will blight their future lives.

Something Better Change.

Ref: Chance of a lifetime
The impact of bad housing on children’s lives

Dick gets promoted after Menezes gets killed

The wages of death are promotion, at least where police assassinate some poor working class bloke going about his normal daily business.

Commander Cressida Dick is to become a deputy assistant commissioner. She was the officer in charge when officers under her control pumped seven bullets into Jean Charles' head at Stockwell London Underground station in July 2005.

In 2003, she was appointed as cross-border and organised crimes commander in the Specialist Crime Directorate. Her responsibilities included the control of the 300 officers of Operation Trident. She said, "I think it's an extremely important job. It is challenging, it's always interesting. The people I work with are really interesting and fun people to work with." Not to mention happy to slaughter any poor sap whilst testing their new 'shoot to kill' policy.

The IPCC's report is supposed to be highly critical of the surveillance operation and police control room staff, but it didn't result in any police being prosecuted over the killing. Instead the Met have been charged under health and safety laws.

During the course of the IPCC investigation, a number of police officers were served with "regulation nine" notices and interviewed under caution, including Commander Cressida Dick.

She must have had a bloody good interview to end up with a promotion rather than a murder charge!