Know Who Your Friends Are

I have been silent for some days following a family bereavement and will try to catch up with events.

One thing that happened was the report detailing cooperation between the British government and Libya under Gaddafi.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/22/cooperation-british-spies-gaddafi-libya-revealed-official-papers?CMP=share_btn_link

This tale of betrayal of British and American interests – as opposed to commercial advantages which was their real objective – opens up a whole area of the Blair government to exposure for its double-dealing and naked hypocrisy affecting Scotland. It also leads directly to the door of Jim Murphy and reveals an untrustworthy individual who is the enemy of justice and transparency.

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The close ties between the UK’s intelligence and security services and those of Libya are nauseating to read laced as they are with a tone of complicity, subterfuge and sadistic pleasure at rendering back into the hands of the Gaddafi regime political dissidents for torture and death.

Not only did Britain play this sordid game of spider and fly with real people and in full knowledge of the consequences, it also invited foreign agents from Tripoli to operate here in our country where they could pursue and harass Gaddafi’s opponents.

This, remember, was a Labour government, ostensibly a left-of-centre party committed to human rights and an ethical foreign policy.

At play was a desire to bring Gaddafi in from the cold by encouraging him to disown weapons of mass destruction – an initiative with a social conscience which required delicate handling.

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Like much else in the contradictory world of Blairism, this became confused with other objectives like securing oil deals in North Africa for BP, a long-time corporate friend of New Labour and benefactor to its lieutenants.

What this attempted rapprochement did not need was to engage Libyan state security as Britain’s best friends in the grubby world of kidnap, torture and kill. Little wonder that when Moussa Koussa defected in 2011 it was to the UK and his friends in the Foreign Office that he turned for sanctuary, to be spirited away unscathed to a new life.

The other link http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/feb/07/labour-government-lockerbie-bomber-release

is to the story of how the Labour government simultaneously had an undeclared policy of trying to get the Lockerbie bomber freed in order to improve relations with Gaddafi and ease the way for those oil contracts in the Deal in the Desert. Here, Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the Civil Service (the one we now we can trust courtesy of Sir Nicholas Macpherson) produced a report for the Prime Minister which proves that throughout the years of Megrahi’s imprisonment in Scotland it was the Labour government’s policy to help get him released.

 

So two things are going on…the UK is buttering up the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing to the extent that it is working hand in glove with his state security while simultaneously it is beavering away behind the scenes to free the man they agree performed the actual bombing. It is a twin-track approach to appease the sponsor of the worst terrorist atrocity on British soil.

Meanwhile what was going on in Scotland where the Pan Am flight came down? Well, another Labour member, Scottish leader Iain Gray was regularly excoriating the SNP for  releasing Megrahi – the very thing that the head of the Civil Service now says was Labour policy.

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Gray said: ‘The last time the SNP appealed to ‘moral authority’ was when they released the Lockerbie bomber. They were wrong about that and most Scots agree that was the wrong decision. That’s another example of poor judgement.’

Gray used the release as a trump card during the election in 2011. He said: ‘The SNP must provide the US with details of how it reached the decision to free Megrahi, who has always maintained his innocence. We have to make it clear to the US what the basis of the decision to release Megrahi was. I don’t believe that lobbying by BP had anything to do with his release. I think it was a decision made by Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond and a decision I think they both got wrong. If we reach the anniversary of his release and Megrahi is still alive, I think Kenny MacAskill should apologise and admit he made a mistake and should apologise to the families of the victims.’

Now you see where this is going…in London it is the secret policy of Labour to work behind the scenes for the release of Megrahi because that will open up trade links and should make Libya a safer place. But up the road at Holyrood, poor old Labour is hammering away at a cracked bell trying to get a ring. How they must have smiled at Westminster when they read of Gray’s desperate attempts to condemn the very policy they were actively supporting.

So why didn’t Gray know the truth? (He told the BBC he didn’t know and made up his own view). After all there is a Secretary of State for Scotland in Cabinet whose job is to represent Scotland and to act as intermediary between the two.

Enter Jim Murphy. For most of this time (2008 – 10) Murphy was Scottish Secretary. (Des Browne is also but more briefly culpable).

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Yet it seems Murphy did not disclose any information to Gray or his Labour colleagues to rein in their criticisms of the SNP in case the news leaked that they wanted Megrahi released all along. Why not? I contacted Murphy’s office several times through the BBC and never once received a reply, clearly indicating that he knew he was guilty of deceiving his own party and Scotland on an issue of huge emotional importance. He sided with secret deals with Gaddafi and Moussa Koussa and the torture of dissidents instead of truth and fair dealing, even when dealing with his own side.

Iain Gray’s humiliation came in the 2011 election of course but if he ever wants to revisit the issue with double-dealing Jim, well he’s in his Cabinet today…

 

 

 

 

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48 thoughts on “Know Who Your Friends Are

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    “his tale of betrayal of British and American interests – as opposed to commercial advantages which was their real objective – opens up a whole area of the Blair government to exposure for its double-dealing and naked hypocrisy affecting Scotland.

    Encapsulate the essence of New Labour.

    Thank you Derek.

    p. s.

    You should be or work with a cartoonist.

  2. That’s all perfectly true and very well expressed too. Westminster, that is the Labour government, was desperate to get Megrahi back to Libya, but when the Scottish government actually did it they hid this desire so they could whip up hatred against the SNP.

    Indeed, the mood music just before Megrahi’s release was clearly of tacit encouragement to the Scottish government to release him, up to and including granting Ronnie Biggs compassionate release in early August 2009. Only when the deed was done did the excoriation start. No wonder Alex Salmond said that was the worst part of his term as FM. He was completely blindsided by the reaction.

    See also Robert Black’s blog article. http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/dear-muammar-yours-tony.html

    The thing is, though, Gaddafi wasn’t responsible for Lockerbie, or not as far as we know. He was blamed because they pinned the crime of Megrahi, a Libyan national, and then asserted that he’d done it on the orders of Gaddafi’s regime. No doubt, if he’d done it, that would have been the case. But he didn’t do it.

    The police and the Crown Office have in their possession the evidence that Megrahi was a thousand miles away from the scene of the crime on 21st December 1988. They’ve had that evidence for nearly two years. The Crown Office are desperately obfuscating and dragging their feet and issuing misleading press statements to conceal this.

    There’s nothing beyond innuendo and dodgy CIA informants to tie Gaddafi to Lockerbie. All the concrete evidence points elsewhere. But be that as it may, Megrahi definitely didn’t do it. He had a better alibi than I have.

    The Lockerbie bombing was a crime that took place at Heathrow airport, Middlesex, at about half past four in the afternoon, not at Luqa airport, Malta, at about nine in the morning. At 4.30 pm GMT, Megrahi was verifiably at home in Tripoli.

    The Lockerbie investigation was off the rails from the start. It was never on the rails. It ignored clear and convincing evidence of the real modus operandi to chase shadows in the Mediterranean. It’s one of the worst scandals of modern times. No wonder the Crown Office is trying desperately to pretend there’s nothing to see here.

    http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2499

  3. I have no complaint about your pointing out the hypocrisy of Labour over the release of Megrahi. There is no doubt that Tony Blair & Co were striving mightily to secure his repatriation by means of prisoner transfer, but were swift to condemn Kenny MacAskill when he granted compassionate release. But what I do complain about is your reference to “the Lockerbie bomber” and “the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing”. Does anyone who has taken the trouble to study the case (and who is outside the Crown Office) still believe that Megrahi was the Lockerbie bomber?

    • Oh god. OK. Despite numerous posts pointing out Megrahi’s innocence, I do it here again. I was trying to make a different point and set in the context in which Labour saw it at the time. Talking of his guilt or otherwise muddies the water and I took it as being pretty much a universal truth that there is an alternative view. I will be more careful in future and put his innocence in quotes or in parenthesis in case somebody gets the wrong impression. The reality is that he is known as the Lockerbie bomber and all the Labour stories – and SNP – stories are base on that fact. However, thanks for the warning. The whole point I was making about duplicity and Murphy is lost. MEGRAHI IS INNOCENT!

      • Yep. I got it. You were presenting what Labour’s view was and contrasting their public pronouncements with what they were doing in private.

        Sections of the Scottish media actually believed Megrahi innocent in 2007.

        http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/is-egyptian-terrorist-abu-talb-the-real-bomber-1-1420331

      • Fair enough Derek, and I was also unclear about exactly what you meant. It’s a tricky area to navigate. I think we’re all a bit touchy because almost two years after having supplied the authorities with irrefutable proof of Megrahi’s factual innocence, we still have to put up with Frank Mulholland running to the press at regular intervals announcing that he’s had yet another review carried out into something irrelevant and proved guilt yet again.

        Only a month ago Magnus Linklater announced that Megrahi’s guilt had been proved (yet again) which would be a dreadful blow to “his supporters”, and it’s hard to know who did and who didn’t fall for that.

  4. Bugger (the Panda)

    Forgive me, as the opener, as commented above, I made my tea.

    Back and now finished I see a Murphy culpability writ large.

    Keep it up Derek, but don’t go for a long walk in the woods.

  5. Thank you very much Derek this was first class my father once said there are men in prison for doing less than some of what our politicians have done

  6. It was a major disgrace that the Labour Party retained the war criminal Blair as its leader whilst the evidence of his Immorality and dishonesty became ever more apparent. It is a similar disgrace that the Labour Party in Scotland has just appointed as its leader someone with a political past, stained by activities such as those you have described.

  7. …the UK is buttering up the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing to the extent that it is working hand in glove with his state security while simultaneously it is beavering away behind the scenes to free the man they agree performed the actual bombing.

    No, Derek. Whatever “they” agree, Mr Al-Megrahi did not perform the Lockerbie bombing, but seems to have been fitted up for reasons of political expediency. There is little evidence to link the Ghaddafi regime to the bombing; although they formally accepted responsibility for it and paid compensation, that appears to have been a device to have sanctions lifted.

    If a commentator of your experience can so casually ignore what appears to many people to be a major miscarriage of justice, it is not surprising that the politicians who lie to us get away with it so regularly.
    Professor Robert Black’s site has links to a brief introduction to the case. I suggest you read it. One of the regulars on “Wings” has a particular interest in the case, and may be along later with some questions.

  8. Murphy’s corrupt past does not surprise me for his voice and expression reek insincerity. I only hope the good Old Labour voters see through his obvious deceit.
    Thank you, Derek.

  9. I don’t know if you saw this Derek, but I recall Murphy being on TV himself trying to put the boot into the SNP. I think it was channel 4, and it was a car crash in slow motion. His arguments were undermined by revelations, that both David Miliband, and Jack Straw had admitted that labour had been seeking the release of Megrahi. I can’t recall the exact chronology of events, but it does make me wonder if even the “Secretary for State for Scotland” even knew what the official labour policy was.

    If he didn’t know, then he was kept in the dark just the Scottish party was. This of course leads right back to the labour cabinet at the time, keeping one member of that cabinet in the dark.

    The only alternative is that he did know. Also that he was trying to keep a lid on it in Scotland, then leading the charge against the SNP. All the while the labour parties role was becoming public knowledge north and south of the border.

    Being a deceitful opportunist is one thing, but if Murphy knew what the labour policy was and thought he could pin it on the SNP, then this smacks of sheer stupidity.

    If he didn’t know and it was Westminster that was keeping its own Scottish branch in the dark, (for christ knows what reason, as they would have had to engage with it at some point) then this shows how utterly irrelevant the Scottish parliament under labour was viewed by its masters in London.

    • EphemeralDeception

      It is not reasonable to give Murphy the benefit of the doubt in this case. The reason is that the Cabinet are fully responsible for all government actions and policy – collective responsibility. If Murphy was excluded he should have resigned. Certainly though, he was fully aware and fully accountable.

      • I think it comes down to a simple argument.

        If he did know and attacked the SNP anyway, he was too dishonest to be Scottish secretary and should have resigned. If he didn’t know and attacked the SNP, then he was too stupid to be Scottish secretary and should have resigned.

        Either way, when the facts emerged, he should have resigned. Not popped off to a new cabinet role in defence in 2010.

  10. Megrahi himself was treated like a pawn. Libya wanted him back for the 40th anniversary of the glorious revolution or something, and Tony wanted to oblige to keep in with Muammar. Meanwhile Megrahi himself had cancer and was desperate to see his family.

    There is a letter available online on the Scottish government web site, which he wrote to Kenny MacAskill pleading for his application for compassionate release to be given a sympathetic hearing. Knowing that the man was innocent, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

  11. I posted this above, but it’s been awaiting moderation for a long time because it has a couple of links in it. I don’t know when Derek will get back to approve it, so I’ll post it without the links.

    That’s all perfectly true and very well expressed too. Westminster, that is the Labour government, was desperate to get Megrahi back to Libya, but when the Scottish government actually did it they hid this desire so they could whip up hatred against the SNP.

    Indeed, the mood music just before Megrahi’s release was clearly of tacit encouragement to the Scottish government to release him, up to and including granting Ronnie Biggs compassionate release in early August 2009. Only when the deed was done did the excoriation start. No wonder Alex Salmond said that was the worst part of his term as FM. He was completely blindsided by the reaction.

    The thing is, though, Gaddafi wasn’t responsible for Lockerbie, or not as far as we know. He was blamed because they pinned the crime of Megrahi, a Libyan national, and then asserted that he’d done it on the orders of Gaddafi’s regime. No doubt, if he’d done it, that would have been the case. But he didn’t do it.

    The police and the Crown Office have in their possession the evidence that Megrahi was a thousand miles away from the scene of the crime on 21st December 1988. They’ve had that evidence for nearly two years. The Crown Office are desperately obfuscating and dragging their feet and issuing misleading press statements to conceal this.

    There’s nothing beyond innuendo and dodgy CIA informants to tie Gaddafi to Lockerbie. All the concrete evidence points elsewhere. But be that as it may, Megrahi definitely didn’t do it. He had a better alibi than I have.

    The Lockerbie bombing was a crime that took place at Heathrow airport, Middlesex, at about half past four in the afternoon, not at Luqa airport, Malta, at about nine in the morning. At 4.30 pm GMT, Megrahi was verifiably at home in Tripoli.

    The Lockerbie investigation was off the rails from the start. It was never on the rails. It ignored clear and convincing evidence of the real modus operandi to chase shadows in the Mediterranean. It’s one of the worst scandals of modern times. No wonder the Crown Office is trying desperately to pretend there’s nothing to see here.

    • Morag you know to much be careful, the government has a lot to hide, I know of witnesses that were blocked from giving evidence at the appeal hearing in Holland. The truth will out.

      • That would be the hundreds of witnesses that the defence listed then didn’t call? What was that all about then?

        Not, presumably, Amarjit Sidhu the baggage handler who was assumed by the court to have shuffled a stack of suitcases, so allowing the inference that the bomb suitcase had come from Malta? But if they’d called him to the witness box he would have confirmed that he didn’t move the cases, just as he said in all his police statements and at the FAI.

        Or Ray Manly, the security guard who came forward later to testify that there had been a break-in at Heathrow the night before the crash.

        The truth will only out if we all tell everything we know, as widely as possible. I wrote a bloody book that proves Megrahi had nothing to do with the atrocity. It’s way too late to stop me. They’re trying to ignore me to death instead.

  12. I’m glad someone here mentioned the doubt surrounding the conviction of Megrahi, definitely the elephant in the room whenever this episode comes up.

    Not only do the police have that evidence, but at the trial a baggage handler expressly remembers coming back from a break to see a samsonite case in the luggage holder bound for flight 102 – a case he doesn’t remember seeing before his break. Then there’s the connection with the German “Autumn leaves” operation to break a Syrian funded terrorist cell who’s specialty was bombs hidden in electrical items like radios…

    • That’s what I’m talking about. The suitcase John Bedford saw when he came back from his tea break was definitely the bomb. The evidence proves it, if it’s analysed properly. I wrote a book that proves it, and that has been submitted to the authorities along with statements and so on, and nobody has even tried to challege my analysis.

      The Crown Office is ignoring me in the hope nobody else will notice, and all the journalists on the planet are helping them by obsessing about a different piece of evidence and completely ignoring me. Story of my life. Sorry, I should shut up now.

      • Morag, don’t shut up about it, please. I realise how dispiriting it must be, but the argument you make is compelling and you never can tell who will read one of your posts from a naive p.o.v. It’s a good fight and you and Jim Swire and others have been shining moral beacons on this horrendous episode made worse by the Establishment.

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          which makes the position of the Scottish SNP Government all the more puzzling.

          Kenny MacAskill went native as Justice Minister and appeared to (re) become one of the boys. That is a bit puzzling too, as I think he and Nicola were of the left wing of the SNP?

          • I don’t understand any of that either.

          • Ah, but MacAskill had left that all left wing thinking behind. Years as an Edinburgh lawyer has made him a figure of the establishment in the same way that Blair, Brown et all very quickly became establishment figures after (our more accurately in the run up to) the ’97 election.

        • Jim. Yeah, maybe it would help if he read my book and maybe mentioned it to some of these journalists who hang on his every word. Oh well.

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          Returning to Murphy.

          I believe that a number of US Embassy communications dipped by Wkileaks implicate Murphy in briefing, no doubt other things, the US Ambassador in London.

          Somebody on another blog said they knew Jim Murphy at Langside (?) College before he mustered enough Highers to get accepted at Strathclyde. They also claimed that he disappeared during the Summers to the USA.

      • Honestly Morag, I suspect the Crown Office have a narrative that they desperately want to stick to. This isn’t just the police arresting the wrong person, but this is someone that the west (particularly the USA as they “discovered” the chip from “the timer”) er… fitted up. The Police were on their way towards the Syrian revenge plot cooked up in Iran motive and culprit before the USA “discovered” the piece from the Swiss made timer that was only sold to Libya. This is way bigger than, say the Guildford 4 or Birmingham 6.

        I would keep at it Morag. After all, it’s been a while since I put together a post on Megrahi like this one…

        http://humbug3.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/if-its-august-it-must-be-time-to.html

        • I feel that we desperately need the authorities to acknowledge in some way what has already been demonstrated, before we can move on to more of the who and the why and the how. Which may be very embarrassing indeed for some people, obviously.

          It’s now been proved that the bomb was in the case that was seen at Heathrow, before the feeder flight landed. They’ve been told, with pictures and everything, but they won’t respond. It’s no good barging on with further speculation until they’ve been made to face this. Right now every additional speculation or accusation is just one more straw man for them to attack to avoid confronting the elephant in the room.

  13. And Dr. Jim Swire is still investigating what really happened at Lockerbie. I am more likely to believe him than the Westminster lot, as he lost a daughter,

    As for Jim Murphy and his threat to become First Minister in 2016, if the DREADFUL thing happened I think I would cancel my tv licence and stop listening to the radio. Leaving the country is not an option but I would do if I had the cash.

  14. Steve Asaneilean

    Absolutely shocking stuff Derek – and an utterly depressing read.

    If I ever had any doubts before that Blair was as bad as Thatcher this piece has dispelled any such illusion.

  15. Just grim beyond words.

    I will never trust Labour again as long as I live.

    Appalling.

  16. I know it has been mentioned before. The Grand Game,the Big Birl ,the Special Relationship? Why the surprised indignation? We,the public,are living within the Grand Deception.

  17. Douglas Macdonald

    At the time of the Locherbie bombing in December, 1988, I was out in the Middle East. Within weeks, the word on the ground was that a Shi’ite group in the Lebanon, sponsored by Iran was responsible. The act was in response to the downing of an Iran Air flight in the Gulf by an American warship. In late 1990, the focus of investigation suddenly shifted to Libya for no other apparent reason than the US and, presumably, the UK were preparing for the First Gulf War and did not want any interference from Iran on their Eastern front.
    The case against the Libyans in the Netherlands was so full of holes and inconsistencies, it was a surprise that any guilty verdicts were forthcoming, given that such verdicts ought to have been based on the premise of beyond reasonable doubt. However, according to many close observers of the case, a considerable amount of vital evidence was never presented to the Scottish judges, so it is fair to say that their verdict was unsafe.

    • It’s intriguing. The evidence that caused the investigation to shift to Libya in late 1990 was present in the possession of the police for months before that. Possibly even from January 1989. The neat story about a shift in emphasis due to the Iraq was doesn’t fly. Maybe one day, when Megrahi’s conviction is quashed, we’ll be able to move on to figuring out what was going on there.

      • According to the Paul Cook stuff in PE, the US divulged the evidence that liked Libya in 1990, with this being leaked to the press in December 1990. However in the spring of 1989 Paul Channon (who was the Transport Secretary at the time) let slip at a lunch that the police were investigating PFLP-GC. When this “leak” surfaced both Thatch & Bush dampened down the stories

        • Yes, that’s all in Paul Foot’s 2001 pamphlet. He didn’t know about the provenance of the timer fragment though. He did begin to realise later that it didn’t add up, and said so in an article in the London Review of Books.

          It’s all quite complicated and quite murky, and the facts don’t fit the neat wee conspiracy theory that says the direction of the inquiry changed because of the first Gulf War.

  18. Day after day we hear more of the lies and secrets of WM. With the Labour party right in the middle. Scum is what they are. Every time i hear Labour mp’s or even the name of the party, i shout scum.

    The days are coming when Scotland rids itself from the shackles of a party that have lied and spun to keep Scotland in it’s place.

    I have no doubt that a few gullible folk will vote for them but NOW , they are a minority that have no place in Scotland.

    Tick tock indeed.

  19. They are not called the most deceitful party for nothing. This shows, as if we did not know, just how they operate.
    The facts exposed here make them even worst, of course, if worse is possible.
    An excellent, and thought provoking article. That really needs wide spread exposure.
    Well done Derek.

  20. The naked grasping for power and the need to hold on to that power regardless of any consequences/circumstances just leaves me disgusted, the only thing I find worse is the blind refusal from their supporters to even accept that. We live in sad times.

  21. This is the kind of stuff about Murphy that needs to be broadcast loud and clear to everyone. But how?

  22. I just read Mr. Ponsonby’s excellent article on Newsnet. (I can’t comment there, not since 2012.)

    Once more he explains in lucid detail exactly what we all remember happening at the time, but simply had to rage at, impotently. But then again at the end, he references John Ashton’s 2012 book as destroying the case against Megrahi. It’s an excellent book and it casts a huge amount of entirely reasonable doubt on Megrahi’s guilt. But it’s not the killer blow.

    I don’t like pushing my own work but sometimes you have to because nobody is listening.

    My 2013 book which I won’t link to again because that seems to get you two days in moderation, actually proves Megrahi’s factual innocence. Robert Black says it’s incontrovertible. It took me bloody months to persuade John Ashton I was right, but he finally changed his mind and now agrees with me.

    Of course people should refer to John’s excellent book. But how about the odd mention of the book that actually PROVES innocence? What do I have to do, strip off in Princes Street before anyone notices?

    • Well streaking made others famous so why not? Only kidding!

      I’ve read your book and passed it on to others, the truth is slow to get going sometimes..

      • I just get frustrated sometimes that everybody cites other points of evidence that don’t prove Megrahi’s innocence, and completely ignores the more recent proof that he was 1000 miles away when the crime was committed. Mulholland doesn’t want that publicised, and people like Mr. Ponsonby are helping him a lot.

  23. Derek, what’s to be done about the blatant lying from Murphy, Kez and Mags Curren?

    They are all over social media claiming credit for ‘stopping’ fracking, getting the prison in Inverclyde stopped and blaming the SNP for not reacting to the fall in oil prices, lies. lies and more lies.

    The BBC quoted Murphy – what is the SNP gov doing to stop fracking – I paraphrase – but no mention of him being in Aberdeen playing football – oh what larks – whilst missing the vote to pass ‘fracking’ laws to the SG asap, failed by a small majority, and missing the vote on having a moratorium on fracking.

    He is my MP and I had already emailed him to ask him vote in favour of Labour’s own moratorium and also replied to him on twitter asking him why he was not doing his job as my MP, he has of course not answered.

    What we are witnessing is a complete breakdown in democracy, I know it was a bit fragile anyway and the state broadcaster lying by omission. it is extremely frustrating

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