Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sell Your Soul To The Company

American and UK spy agencies built close ties with their Libyan counterparts during the so-called War on Terror, according to documents discovered at the office of Colonel Gaddafi's former spy chief. The papers suggest that the CIA abducted several suspected militants between 2002 and 2004 and handed them to over Tripoli to do with them as they wished. MI6 also apparently gave the Gaddafi regime details of suspected dissidents. The documents, it should be noted, have not yet been independently verified. Meanwhile, the head of Libya's interim governing body, the National Transitional Council (whom yer actual Keith Telly Topping is thoroughly prepared to recognise in return for some oil), said its soldiers were laying siege to those towns still held by Col Gaddafi's dwindling forces. Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Sirte, Bani Walid, Jufrah and Sabha were being given humanitarian aid, but had one week to surrender. Then, they send in a special squad of one thousand armed-to-the-teeth bastards, with guns, and knives and shit, the sort it out. Thousands of pieces of correspondence from US and UK officials were uncovered by reporters and activists in an office which had apparently been used by Moussa Koussa, who served for years as Gaddafi's spy chief and torturer before becoming foreign minister ... and torturer. He defected in the early part of the rebellion, flying to the UK and then on to Qatar. Rights groups have long accused him of involvement in naughty atrocities, and had called on the UK to arrest him at the time. But, we didn't. Human Rights Watch, whose workers helped to discover the papers, accused the CIA of condoning torture. 'It wasn't just abducting suspected Islamic militants and handing them over to the Libyan intelligence,' said Peter Bouckaert of HRW. 'The CIA also sent the questions they wanted Libyan intelligence to ask and, from the files, it's very clear they were present in some of the interrogations themselves,' he said. And by 'interrogations' they mean some poor chap getting his knackers spanked with a plimsoll till he told them what they wanted to hear. The papers outline the 'rendition' (for which read illegal kidnap) of several suspects, including one that Human Rights Watch has identified as Abdel Hakim Belhaj, known in the documents as Abdullah al-Sadiq, who is now the military commander of the anti-Gaddafi forces in Tripoli. The Americans allegedly snatched him in South East Asia before flying him to Tripoli in 2004, the documents claim. And now, of course, they want to be his bestest friend. Belhaj, who was involved in an Islamist group attempting to overthrow Col Gaddafi in the early 2000s, had told the Associated Press news agency earlier this week that he had been 'rendered' by the Americans, but held no grudge against them. The CIA would not comment on the specifics of the allegations. Which is unusual as they're normally so talkative. Spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood - no, really! - said: 'It can't come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats.' Which, one imagines is certain to go down well with, for instance, families of the Lockerbie victims. The documents also reveal details about the UK's relationship with the Gaddafi regime. The British intelligence agency apparently helped to write a speech for Gaddafi in 2004, when the government of Tony Blair was encouraging the colonel to give up his weapons programme and, you know, 'be nice.' And British officials also insisted that Blair's infamous 2004 meeting with Gaddafi should be in his Bedouin tent (err ... Gaddafi's Bedouin tent, that is, not Tony Blair's. He hasn't got a Bedouin tent. Just a nice house in Sedgefield), according to the Independent, whose journalists allegedly discovered the documents. '[The prime minister's office is] keen that the prime minister meet the leader in his tent,' the paper quotes a memo from an MI6 agent as saying. 'I don't know why the English are fascinated by tents. The plain fact is the journalists would love it.' In another memo, also allegedly seen by the Independent, UK intelligence appeared to give Tripoli details of a Libyan dissident who had been freed from jail in Britain. Foreign Secretary Billy Fizz Hague played down the revelations, telling Sky News that they 'relate to a period under the previous government so I have no knowledge of those, of what was happening behind the scenes at that time.' Oh, nice bit of buck-passing there, Billy old boy. Blair and US President George W Bush lobbied hard to bring Gaddafi out of international isolation in the years after the 9/11 attacks, as Libya moved - slowly - to normalise relations with its former enemies in the West. In a press conference in Benghazi, Jalil said that four Gaddafi-held towns had one week to surrender 'to avoid further bloodshed.' The implication being that, if they failed to comply, they would be people swinging from lamp posts by their 'nads and other shenanigans. However, one anti-Gaddafi commander, Abdulrazzak Naduri, told AFP that Bani Walid had until just 08:00 on Sunday or 'face military action.' The Tripoli commander, Belhaj, said that there were 'few loyalists' in Bani Walid and that one civilian group approaching it had found checkpoints unmanned. Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unconfirmed. Naduri said that Gaddafi's son, Saadi, was still believed to be in Bani Walid but that another, Saif al-Islam, had left. The NTC is currently stepping up its efforts at reconstruction, setting up a supreme security council to protect Tripoli. Ian Martin, a special envoy to the UN secretary general, arrived in Libya's capital on Saturday to try and boost international efforts in the country's redevelopment. Jalil also announced tough measures to crack down on corruption in Libya's institutions. But he said that the leadership would not now move from Benghazi to Tripoli until next week.

Doctor Who's executive producer The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat has vented his frustration at so-called fans who 'threaten' him on Twitter. With 'friends' like these, who needs enemas? The forty nine-year-old awardw-inning screenwriter and producer tweeted that users on the social networking site had 'tormented' him over their crass and impotent frustrations with the show. '[One] wanted to beat me up,' he claimed. Personally, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's money in any potential barney mcgrew a'tween Moffat and some spotty immature fandom virgin would be, firmly, on The Moffster his very self giving the glake in question a damned good thrashing for his impertinence. Marquis of Queensbury rules, of course. No gouging, no biting. Knockout in the second round, place your odds now. 'I'm tired of being threatened and sworn at,' he said. Yeah, it's a pisser. Although, it's got to be said, if you wanna be loved, Steven, you took the wrong job there, mate! Ask Russell, he'll tell you. Or poor old JN-T for that matter. There's a thousand and one angry fanboys out there and all of them - without exception - reckon they can do the job better than you. Which would, actually, be endearing if it wasn't so ludicrous. 'Behind your back is freedom of speech. To your face is an attack.' Moffat had previously criticised - rightly - those who 'spoil' Doctor Who ahead of broadcast, a practice which he described as 'heartbreaking. You can imagine how much I hate them,' he told BBC Radio 5Live in May. 'It's only fans who do this, or they call themselves fans. I wish they could go and be fans of something else. That's a horrific thing to do.'

Last week's Doctor Who episode Let's Kill Hitler had a final consolidated rating of 8.10m with a timeshift of 1.9m in addition to the initial overnight figure of 6.2m. The full BARB top twenty figures for week ending 28 August should be available later this week.
Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, received a cash bonus of twelve and a half million dollars for the last financial year, despite the phone hacking scandal which rocked (and, indeed, rolled) his company. Nice work if you can get it. According to News Corp's annual statement to shareholders, the eighty-year-old saw his total pay packet increase by forty seven per cent year-on-year to $33.3m in the twelve months to the end of June. His son, James Murdoch the small, was also compensated well for his role as chairman and chief executive of News Corp in Europe and Asia, pocketing a six million dollar bonus as part of total remuneration of nearly eighteen million dollars, up a staggering seventy four per cent on his 2010 pay. Subsequent reported suggested that Murdoch junior had decided not to accept his bonus. Big of him. Might it be too impertinent to suggest he shouldn't be accepting his salary, either? The bonuses cover the period when News Corp's Scum of the World Sunday tabloid was engulfed in various shocking allegations of phone hacking and illegal activity. The scandal, which had rumbled on in the background for a couple of years, finally broke big-style in July, just after the company's 2010-11 financial year, and resulted in the closure of the Scum of the World and the resignation of several key executives, including News International's chief executive, the well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks. Last month, Rupert Murdoch pledged to do 'whatever is necessary' to prevent a repeat of the phone hacking scandal. He made the statement as his media giant reported operating income of just under five billion dollars in the twelve months to the end of June, against $4.46bn a year ago. The firm's revenue was up twelve per cent year-on-year, driven largely by strong performance in its TV and cable networks. Lots and lots of lovely wonga floating about the Murdoch household, then. How nice to know. But, they weren't the only ones rolling in the filthy lucre. News Corp's chief operating officer Chase Carey, widely viewed as Rupert Murdoch's right-hand man, received total pay of thirty million bucks in the year to 30 June, including a ten million dollars bonus. Roger Ailes, who runs FOX News for News Corp, saw his pay increase to fifteen and a half million dollars from $13.9m in the previous year. He also received a one and a half million cash bonus. News Corp also told shareholders that two of its longest-serving directors - Ken Crowley and Thomas Perkins - are to leave the company's board. Jim Breyer, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has stakes in Facebook, Brightcove and Legendary Pictures, will join the News Corp board in October. Separately, Rupert Murdoch and his son James are expected to be quizzed under oath by a judge at the High Court about the phone hacking scandal, and the session could potentially be broadcast live to the public to increase transparency.

Neil McKay, the writer of Appropriate Adult, has defended ITV's decision to make the controversial-before-it's-even-been-shown drama about serial killer Fred West. The drama, which has been criticised by Fred's daughter Anne Marie Davis, tells the story of Fred and Rosemary West's crimes from the point of view of trainee social worker Janet Leach - played by Emily Watson - who was manipulated by the murderer when assigned to his case. 'I work on the principle that those subjects that are the most difficult are those you should most look at,' McKay told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'That goes for all aspects of life - but it is one of the prime purposes of drama, and has been since the Greeks invented it. You hope that if you take a point of view that doesn't put you behind the murderer's eyes, that does away with the difficulty of what you wouldn't want to do, which is portray the crimes. It becomes about the consequences of the crime. It was not a journey we took lightly. He was murdering people for twenty five years and that takes a lot of doing, especially when it's so close to home. What was the reason? West was genuinely charming and plausible and able to present a version of humanity that other people found really acceptable. That's the shape of our story really, that even after he was arrested he manipulated people to get what he wanted. You're left in no doubt that West is a psychopath. But I think it would have been a massive cop-out to portray him just as an evil serial killer. Everybody who came into contact with him - even after his arrest - was in some way charmed by him. It would have been a cop-out to avoid his charm. It's the point, really.'

Ant and Dec have declared that they will never launch solo TV careers, as they couldn't bear to face the fame game alone. Or should that be wouldn't dare to face the fame game alone? Perhaps we'll never care. The Red Or Black? hosts revealed that they still rely on each other for support after twenty three years in the business and regularly get 'star-struck' by other famous faces. Asked if he would ever consider breaking up their double act, Ant told the Daily Scum Mail: 'No, I don't think so. If I was on my own going through everything - the fame, the working hard, I think it would get me down. Because there are two of us, there's always someone to talk to. It might be little things - we got out of a car the other day and bumped into Nick Hewer from The Apprentice, and when I turned to Dec later and said, "Can you believe that?," he got it - he was as star-struck as me.' The pair also shared their hopes of having children in the near future, although presumably not with each other. Declan, however, conceded that their television career may have impeded his goal of having 'seven little ones.' Yeah. I'm thinking you're probably doing to need a woman or two as well, there young Dec. 'I come from a family of seven, so growing up I always thought I'd like a big family,' he said. 'Maybe I'm lowering my sights from seven now. But yeah, a couple would be good.' Dec, who split with Sky Sports presenter husky-voiced sex machine Georgie Thompson in April, joked that he may be forced to call time on his relationship with Ant if 'the girl of his dreams' took a dislike to Ant. Which, let's face it, is perfectly possible, 'It'd depend if she was really fit,' Dec noted. 'Then I'd have to say goodbye. Or chuck [Ant] out of an aeroplane.' I think you'll probably find that's, actually, 'murder'. You get twenty years for that shit. Then, children might really be out of the question.

Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash have reportedly been spending hours watching Loose Women and The Jeremy Kyle Show to get inspiration for The Royle Family's forthcoming Christmas special.

Graffiti artist Banksy is demanding an investigation into a television documentary about a 'battle of spray cans' between him and someone whom, I must admit, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has never heard of but whom the Gruniad Morning Star describe as 'underground graffiti hero' King Robbo. Banksy says that the documentary implies he was responsible for 'putting his rival in a coma.' The film focused on the extreme rivalry between Banksy, known for his stencil-based images, and the London-based Robbo, 'famed' (apparently, because as I say, I've never heard of him) for his 'old-school style.' Banksy is outraged by what he calls 'inaccuracies and distortions' in 'a wilful and malicious attempt by the film-makers to damage [his] credibility and reputation.' The artist is so disturbed by his portrayal in Channel Four's Graffiti Wars, shown last month, that he has resorted to more conventional protests – a formal letter of complaint to the broadcaster. In the programme, Robbo claimed to have slapped Banksy at their first meeting for treating him like 'a nobody.' Later Banksy painted over the 'retired' Robbo's last surviving graffiti along the Regent's canal in London dating from his 1985 heyday. 'What started off as tit-for-tat one-upmanship ... degenerated into a wider battle of vitriol,' the narrator told viewers, as footage showing the defacing of each other's work was screened. Just after Robbo was shown setting out into the night to target another Banksy work, the film ended, reporting: 'Robbo would never get his chance to retaliate against Banksy. Just days after this filming took place, he was found unconscious in the street with life-threatening head injuries and he's been in a coma ever since.' In a statement Banksy said: 'Graffiti Wars contained some inaccuracies that I've asked to be investigated and some facts that need to be corrected. They alleged I painted over a piece by Robbo and led viewers to believe I had something to do with him being in a coma. I wish Robbo a full and speedy recovery.' The Gruniad states that 'some claim Robbo was injured in an accident.' A 'source' allegedly 'close' to Banksy said: 'He fell down stairs and hit his head, which was nothing to do with Banksy. There was no police case.' Banksy admits to painting over Robbo's Regent's Canal graffiti by stencilling a painter-decorator wallpapering over it, but he is angered by the programme's allegation that it was 'an act deemed so hostile it shocked the graffiti world.' Hang on, there's a 'graffiti world', now? Banksy argues that Robbo's twenty five-year-old canal graffiti was 'in such a poor state' that his signature was not even legible, and says the programme makers were 'biased' in using a photograph of Robbo's work in its pristine state immediately before showing Banksy's defacement of it, only later showing the deteriorated Robbo original. He also criticises the programme's filming of a reception for Robbo's first gallery exhibition, focusing on a couple who refused to be interviewed, wrongly identifying them as 'two members of Team Banksy, a business associate and Banksy's PR agent,' implying that they were 'scouting the opposition.' Banksy's official PR agent, Jo Brooks, said that she had no idea who the couple were and denied that they were in any way associated with Banksy. Channel Four has edited the couple from its website version and denies the other allegations: 'Graffiti Wars in no way suggests that Banksy was responsible for the injuries sustained by King Robbo,' they claim. 'The documentary clearly states that Banksy did not realise he was painting over Robbo's work and includes a picture of the deteriorated work.' So ... big fight, little people? You decide, dear blog reader.

The reported line-up for this year's Strictly Come Dancing has allegedly been leaked to a newspaper. Singer Lulu, Harry Judd from McFly and ex-Neighbours actor Jason Donovan and full-time wannabe Holly Valance have all allegedly agreed to take part in the show, the Sun claims. So, it's probably a load of lies, in that case. Other so-called celebrities who are allegedly to have signed up for Strictly, which launches next week, include Daybreak's sports presenter Dan Lobb, Waterloo Road actress Chelsee Healey and impressionist Rory Bremner. Ex-EastEnders actress Anita Dobson and Sven-Goran Eriksson's ex-girlfriend Nancy Dell'Olio are also said to have joined the popular BBC1 competition, as has enormous astrologer Russell Grant who recently recovered from a back injury. ONE Show presenter Alex Jones and former Tory MP Edwina Currie complete the present line-up, the Sun alleges, with 'bosses' still looking for two male stars to make the number of celebrities up to fourteen. Former boxer Audley Harrison is said to be 'one of the males in the running.' Judd won a Strictly Come Dancing Children In Need special last year with one of the show's professional dancers Ola Jordan. Producers are apparently considering pairing the couple again. Speaking of the line-up, a 'source' - nameless, of course - allegedly said: 'Lulu is lots of fun and will bring in viewers who remember her from the Sixties - but also younger fans who know her from her duet with Take That on 'Relight My Fire'. Harry will tick the heartthrob box.' The BBC will officially confirm the Strictly Come Dancing line-up on The ONE Show on Tuesday.

Downton Abbey will return later this month, ITV has confirmed. The award-winning drama will once again be broadcast after The X Factor on Sunday evenings during the autumn months. The Lord Snooty Julian Fellowes period drama, which stars Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville, begins its eight-part second series on Sunday 18 September at 9pm. Downton Abbey's seven-part first series averaged 8.8m viewers last autumn. Series two, which will conclude with a Christmas special, will explore the lives of the Crawley family during the First World War. Executive producer Gareth Neame recently predicted that Downton Abbey can last for six series.

John Cleese has claimed London is 'no longer an English city.' In an interview on Australian TV, the Fawlty Towers star said the 'parent culture' had all-but vanished from the streets of the capital. Interviewed to promote a show at Sydney Opera House, seventy one-year-old Cleese was asked about last month's riots. He replied: 'I'm not sure what's going on in Britain. I don't know what's going on in London. Because London is no longer an English city, and that's how they got the Olympics. I mean, they said, "We're the most cosmopolitan city on Earth," but it doesn't feel English. I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the Kings Road and said to me, "Well where are all the English people?" And, I mean, I love having different cultures around, but when the parent culture kind of dissipates, you're left thinking, "What's going on?"' His comments exactly echo the sentiments of BNP leader Nick Griffin who called London 'a city that is no longer British' after his controversial appearance on Question Time two years ago. It is not the first time that Cleese has made such comments, saying very much the same thing in a Sunday Torygraph interview in April, explaining why he lived in Bath. His new remarks were immediately seized upon by anti-immigration scum and other assorted right-wing bigots, morons and bastards. So, well done there, John. Jolly well played.

Keith Lemon - who is, of course, a 'character' played by Leigh Francis and not a real person at all - was picked to switch on the Blackpool Illuminations this year – but he wasn't a popular choice with everybody. 'Most people I've talked to have never heard of him,' snorted Tony Williams, a Tory group leader on Blackpool Council. Yes, that's because, he doesn't exist, Tony. 'If this is the best the council can do what can we expect next year? Paul Daniels? Or maybe Orville?' For once, I'm with the Tory.

Kelvin MacKenzie, the obnoxious, vile and odious former boss of L!ve TV and editor of the Sun at its most scummy (remember their coverage of Hillsborough, anyone?) has announced his return to broadcasting with the launch of a new sports channel on Freeview. Sports Tonight Live, first revealed in May, will debut on the digital terrestrial television platform at channel 112 at some point this month. The channel is delivered over DTT, but is only available to users with the latest IP-connected, high definition set top boxes. Billed as 'TalkSport meets Sky Sports News,' the channel will initially broadcast from 9-11pm, but there are plans to increase the transmission hours after launch. Sports Tonight Live officially launched as an online show on a dedicated website, hosted by former TalkSport presenter Mike Parry. The two-hour online programme offers a round-up of the day's sporting events with a panel including Ian Stone, Tony Dortie and Mike Osman. No, me neither, although I'm sure lots of men driving transit vans up and down the country will know exactly who they are. Viewers are encouraged to 'get involved' in the show, which mainly focuses on football but touches on other sports, via Twitter or web telephony service Skype. Where they will, no doubt, be able to bellow gormless inanities and drivel on and on about how all them foreigners they have in the back of their taxis are ruining the Premier League, guv. MacKenzie told Broadcast that taking the daily show onto Freeview would expand its reach, as around ten million UK homes currently have the service on their main set (although only a certain proportion have IP-enabled receiver equipment). 'Sky Sports News is fantastic at what it does but it still leaves a few crumbs on the table for us serfs to try to create a business,' he said. Despite the fact that Sports Tonight Live has a high channel number on the Freeview EPG, MacKenzie feels that 'if you get the right content, the viewers will find you and the figures can go through the roof.' He will also presumably be hoping to capitalise on Sky's decision to remove Sky Sports News from Freeview last year and make the channel pay-TV exclusive. Former Soccer AM producer Neil Smyth has been appointed as executive producer of Sports Tonight Live, overseeing a team of around fifteen staff. The venture has five million smackers in financing and is backed by former Conservative party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, who has a minority stake. So, financed by a Tory minister and run by the man responsible for the infamous The Truth headline. Bet that's gonna have a lot of viewers on Merseyside.

Steven Seagal is allegedly being sued for his alleged involvement in killing a puppy during a police raid on a cockfighting ring. Jesus Llovera is seeking twenty five thousand dollars from the Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff's office and a personal apology from Seagal for a March raid on his property, which saw his eleven-month old puppy killed. Seagal and police officers filmed their attempts to break up an illegal cockfighting competition at Llovera's home for the reality series Steven Seagal: Lawman. Llovera claims that one of the officers shot his dog during the scuffle. A spokesman for the Maricopa County sheriff's office has denied that police were responsible for the dog's death, reports ABC News. Police are still investigating Llovera's apparent involvement in illegal cockfighting.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, we've got a total masterpiece. Really tasty bit of early 70s German TV footage to go with it, too. Nice beard, Roger.