The Tory candidate in Harrow West this time, following the defeat of the sitting Tory in 92 (an ex-junior minister most famous for his adultery) was Danny Finkelstein.
Danny was once known as Yet Another Reason to Hate the SDP before he left – hmm, odd word to use that for Danny – to join the Tories. He ended up running Hague's office, and fully expected to win the seat back. Indeed, in 1992 Labour had been amazed when they won it and their candidate had to say 'sorry, I have to resign' to the school he expected to be back teaching at on Monday.
I'm delighted to say that Danny lost.
But shit floats to the surface, and he's now some assistant editor at The Times.
And clearing up some junk, I've found an article about why we should invade Iraq that he wrote in October last year. The Times website wants you to register, so thanks to google here's another link to it.
Wow, impressive stuff. Let's find out more about that shocking story about the woman journalist who was tortured and hanged for being disrespectful about Saddam's wife.
Hmmm, apart from copies of Danny's article, her name only appears once, in a book written by someone else whose story he gives.
Here's Danny's version:
Let's start with the story of Amal al-Mudarris, once the best-known personality on Baghdad radio and much admired by the educated elite. She was not, however, much admired by President Saddam Hussein's wife. Sajida Hussein began calling the presenter, complaining that she wasn't praising her husband often enough. One day at the radio station, after yet another crude call, al-Mudarris was chatting to some of her friends. 'That woman isn't fit to be Iraq's first lady,' she said. Unnoticed, one of her colleagues slipped away and phoned the Ministry of Information. Within minutes the station was surrounded and the presenter was arrested. Amal al-Mudarris was tortured until she confessed what she had said. Then she was hanged. After her execution her tongue was cut out and delivered to her family.
… and here's Khidir Hamza's original, written a year earlier:
Everyone knew the story of Amal al-Mudarris, probably the best-known personality on Baghdad radio, a woman who had covered the news in an especially clear and cultured voice that endeared her to the educated elite. Her insistence on presenting the news objectively won her a wide following, especially among those of us who were aware of the depth of Saddam's lies and repression.
Her demise was instructive. Saddam's wife, Sajida, began calling her with complaints that she wasn't covering newsworthy events mostly those extolling her husband, of course. The calls became more frequent, annoying, even crude. One day al-Mudarris, talking with some longtime friends at the station, remarked that Sajida was unfit to be Iraq's first lady. One of her colleagues slipped away from the table and called her husband at the Ministry of Information. A few minutes later the station was surrounded, and security officers hauled al-Mudarris away. After a round of torture, she confessed to what she had said and was sentenced to death. After she was hanged, her tongue was cut out and delivered to her family.
Hmmm. Spot the similarities. The story of the nuclear physicist imprisoned and beaten for ten years is in there too.
What's that phrase again? Two sources is research, but one is plagarism?
I also find it interesting that according to google, the name of someone who was supposed to be Iraq's most famous radio personality appears nowhere else on the net.
Particularly as the story that swung the US decision to send troops to "liberate" Kuwait – the Iraqi army's fatal looting of life support equipment for babies from a Kuwaiti hospital, as told by someone alledged to have been a Kuwaiti nurse – was a lie.
Yes, Saddam Hussain is a complete shit. But he isn't Iranian, which is why the US and British governments were happy to sell him weapons and the basic materials for what they then complained he used against someone else. Someone else with oil, obviously. Who cares about the Kurds?
If I have a minute over the next week, I'll post some more of the reasons why the US attitude to Iraq is curious to say the least.