Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Paul Staines is a hypocrite

Chicken Yoghurt

On Saturday last week, a Guardian article from 1986 was circulated amongst a group of bloggers which related to what Paul Staines, AKA Guido Fawkes, may or may not have got up to whilst a right-wing political activist at Hull University....
Shortly after, emails arrived from Paul Staines stating that he considered the publication of the article as defamatory. He demanded its removal from our blogs, stating he had a ‘retraction’ of the article which he would let us see. In a show of good faith, I removed the article from Chicken Yoghurt, as did the others from their blogs.

Paul Staines posted on his blog saying that the post that had appeared on Tom Watson’s blog (and only Tom Watson’s blog) was now gone and bragging that legal notices had been issued. You can no longer read that post because the next day (Monday), it was deleted.

You’ll have to draw your own conclusion as to why he might do that. I have
now seen the ‘retraction’ that Paul Staines referred to. I am unfortunately not
permitted to publish it. I am not allowed to print the ‘bane’ of the original 1986 article, nor am I allowed to print the ‘antidote’, a personal letter - written four years later - from the journalist who wrote the article, which Staines claims exonerates him. Read that again. The Guardian newspaper did not retract the article. That is why it is still available in the Lexis-Nexis database.

I will leave others to draw conclusions as to the behaviour of a person whose own blog is registered off-shore... in an attempt to avoid British libel laws...

Or the behaviour of a self-confessed libertarian drawing on the power of the state when threatened. Or the behaviour of a gossip-peddler happy to smear with innuendo and the help of anonymous commenters on his blog. Or the behaviour of a person who claims to have evidence exonerating him from allegations but refusing to allow that evidence to be published. Or why he chose to ’serve notice’ on four bloggers and not the Guardian.

Unity at the Ministry of Truth

So far as that ‘behind the scenes’ activity is concerned, the most pertinent events of this week concern an interview given by Staines to Sunny Hundal, which will appear on Pickled Politics in due course.

Sunny will, I’m sure, tell the full story as he sees it and deserves the credit for getting the ’scoop’ but what I prepared to say on the record that this interview was undertaken at Staines’s own request, that in requesting the interview he requested a ‘fair hearing’ and claimed that he would set the record straight and tell his side of the story and that Sunny, and the rest of us, took Staines at his words and accepted this ‘offer’ in good faith.

What we then discovered last night, after talking to Sunny, was that Staines’s side of the story amounted to nothing more than ‘Lawyer says no comment’ and that this was subsequently followed up by further threats of litigation including an assertion that he would seek a high court injunction to prevent publication of the 1986 article and the 1990 ‘retraction’ letter.

These folks put it far better than I can. See also The UK Today.

As I noted, the most curious thing about this whole saga is that Paul Staines hides behind the identity of Guido Fawkes and champions a libertarian agenda. He loves smearing politicians with his own brand of suggestion and salacious revelations, but when it comes down to his own past, he runs away and hides behind the lawyers, rather than offering his own explanation.

I doubt he'll ever read this, but with this behaviour, I'm reminded of Bill Hicks' line on those who do commercials...

you're off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you're a corporate whore and eh, end of story

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