:: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 ::

G8 Spooks and Spin

G8 alternatives, originally uploaded by alister.

How to Spin the G8 is an interesting article by David Miller on the new UKWatch website. He points out the increasingly obvious strategy of the government, first co-opt the protests as much as possible and then try to paint some protestors as good and others as bad. We have already seen Tony try to portray the G8 as a meeting to help Africa out of poverty and address climate change. What won't be addressed is the neo-liberal economics that are central to both issues.

The article goes on to point out some of the shadowy figures whose pr companies have been spinning about the likelihood of trouble and then selling advice to those they have frightened.

"The spiral of panic suits some very well, since they can make money out of it. Here is how the scam works. The press have repeatedly quoted ‘Security consultants’ about the risk of trouble around the summit. Two such are Clive Fairweather and Stuart Crawford, who regularly warn about a ‘greater degree of organisation than had previously been recognised’ amongst protestors which ‘fuelled fears that violent… protests would erupt’(Crawford, Scotland on Sunday 12 December 2004) or that the protestors ‘will be most interested in publicity’ and so will focus their efforts on the ‘temptation’ of Edinburgh, Glasgow or Stirling’ (Fairweather, Scotland on Sunday, 3 April 2005) or that ‘I think it is far more likely there will be protests in cities like Edinburgh than at the summit itself’ (Fairweather, Scotland on Sunday, 8 May 2005)

In fact both men work for Stuart Crawford Associates which describes itself as ‘specialising in Scottish public affairs, security issues and media communications’ – in other words public relations. The worse the warnings, the better the business. At present they are engaged in advising the Gleneagles Estates (bordering the Gleneagles hotel and owned by seriously old money) and possibly other business interests8. Their background is in the British Army, Crawford is a former Lt Colonel and Fairweather a Colonel. He was second in command of the SAS when it raided the Iranian embassy in London in 19809, killing all but one of the hostage takers and, according to eye witnesses, executing two of them after they had surrendered10. Amongst their former clients are the ‘Scottish People’s Alliance’ a political party linked to the ‘New party’, which was condemned by the Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie as ‘fascist and undemocratic11.’ Both parties are run by Robert Durward, the Scottish business man who also runs the British Aggregates Association (also listed as a former client of Stuart Crawford Associates).

In other words trained killers with dubious connections to far right politics are posing as security experts and briefing the media on the dangers faced from protests. The more the dangers are hyped the more likely it is that they might be hired. At best this is a conflict of interest, at worst a conspiracy against democratic protest for pecuniary interest. Certainly the media do not yet seem to see a story in the fact that trained killers are advising on the security response to protests at Gleneagles. They prefer to refer to ‘military style’ training given to ‘anarchists’ whose total tally of killing of civilians or military personnel in the last decade is zero. This compares very favourably with the tally attributed to US and UK forces in Iraq in the year 2003-4 alone (over 100,000)."

We should not forget that the Scottish parliament guaranteed the right to protest at Gleneagles when the issue was debated earlier this year. They should stick to their promise.

:: Alister | 12:26 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


Well let's be honest. I think they're getting a protest, whether they like it or not. The more grudgingly it's accepted, the nastier it could turn.

By Blogger Beverley Jean Smith, at 5:20 pm  

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