What Lord Ahmed actually said

April 17, 2012 7:52 am

Earlier this week Lord Ahmed was suspended from the Labour Party over claims that he had offered a “bounty” for the capture of Barack Obama and George Bush – but a video has emerged of what he actually said:

  • Peter Barnard

    Re Lord Ahmed video : as often as not, when a newspaper writes that someone said “x,” the sensible thing to do is to look for a sack of salt and a bl**dy big shovel.

    • Hugh

       Yes, fair cop, it appears you are right on this one (assuming the press guy at the university made the same sloppy mistake when he made the same comments a few days earlier).

      • Peter Barnard

        Thanks, Hugh.

        As I also remarked yesterday, it makes no difference to my reaction whether the attributed source is Labour, Conservative or anybody else, including  the secretary of the darts club at the Dog and Duck (except that I didn’t include the hon sec yesterday, but I think that you’ll get my drift …).

        I don’t think you’ll be any diferent to me in your “life experience” in that you say something to someone – perhaps an instruction that something should be done and, a few days later, the instruction has been totally mangled in the passing of?

         Which is why, in my capacity of (ex-) CLP secretary, I tried as much as possible to put things in writing. Perhaps, it was too “formal” for some people, but mangling was minimised. Don’t ask about the “-ex …”

        • Hugh

           Yes, true, though I think in this case “totally mangled” probably overstates it. Even assuming the university got it wrong in the same way the paper did, they did so at least in part because of Ahmed’s keenness to conflate Bush and Blair’s “crimes” with Saeed’s.

    • TomFairfax

      Good point Peter,

      Yesterday Hugh found a seperate report from a university that seemed more detailed, but then proceeded to use this to support the claims from the first report, when it clearly was quite different in content. (The second report he found was more interesting for a number of reasons, but not much use for a correlation with the newspaper report.)

      This second report is also different from the video. Channel 4 News at least know what they are doing.

      The video clearly wins in the veracity stakes.

      However, whether this helps his Lordship is another matter. Some of his real comments, whilst expressed by many people in this country, aren’t normally what we see from a politician.

      • Hugh

         “Yesterday Hugh found a seperate report from a university that seemed more
        detailed, but then proceeded to use this to support the claims from the
        first report, when it clearly was quite different in content.”

        Or to put it another way, yesterday Hugh found a separate report from a university which also reported Ahmed saying he would put up a bounty on Bush (though not Obama in that instance) at an event a few days earlier. Curiously he thought this seemed to support claims Ahmed might have offered a bounty on the Presidents.

        Also, it’s not clear Channel 4 News know anything about the University comments, though their video makes it seem possible the university story may have made the same mistake with sloppy translation.

        • Hugh

          “He said that the US had fixed the head money of Hafiz Saeed purposively
          to keep Pakistan in defensive position. In reverse, he said, I announce
          10 million dollars reward against Mr George W Bush. He said that he
          would collect the money whether he had to beg in the streets but Bush
          and Tony Blair should be charged with war crimes.”

           http://pu.edu.pk/home/section/seminars/1445

          Clearly totally different to and irrelevant to a discussion of whether he said this:

          “If the U.S. can announce a reward of $10 million for the captor of
          Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of 10 million pounds on President
          Obama and his predecessor George Bush,” he said, adding that he was
          prepared to do whatever was necessary to gather this sum, including
          selling his assets.”

          http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/15/207833.html

        • TomFairfax

           Hi Hugh you seem to have deliberately overlooked the ‘more interesting’ comment I made about the second report you found.

          However, like Peter, I’ve worked for along time in an environment where you write instructions down to minimise confusion (doesn’t avoid it completely, but minimises the scope.)

          I regularly have attended meetings where multiple members have understood different conclusions and decisions from the same discussions.

          Lesson,  write the minutes in real time on a board everyone can see.

          • Hugh

            I didn’t deliberately overlook it, I just took issue with the argument that it wasn’t  “not much use for a correlation with the newspaper report”.

            You are right, though, if you’re not very careful people can understand different things from the same words when spoken.

            For what it’s worth, I’d argue that’s pretty much entirely what Lord Ahmed intended. Unfortunately for him in this occasion, the newspaper report mistakenly quoted him with the meaning I’d guess he hoped to convey to the audience present – that if you can put a bounty on Saeed there’s no reason he couldn’t put one on Bush, rather than the more careful words he used, which give him sufficient wriggle room back home.

          • TomFairfax

             I don’t think he was even that careful. (Personal opinion though, nothing else.)

            However, you’ll have to allow me to not enthusiastically embrace the concept of your ability to read his mind.

            The best thing to do is wait and see, rather than, say, ‘OK I was wrong about that first thing, but nobody has dispproved the other things yet, for which I don’t have direct proof either’.

            You may be right, you may be wrong, but better to have the facts support you, than be considered a fool evermore by saying something is certain when it currently is not, and then hoping the facts eventually support you.

            There’s a few people who clearly made themselves look complete turkeys last July by blaming Anders Breivik’s activities on Islamic terrorists without waiting for the facts.

          • TomFairfax

             I don’t think he was even that careful. (Personal opinion though, nothing else.)

            However, you’ll have to allow me to not enthusiastically embrace the concept of your ability to read his mind.

            The best thing to do is wait and see, rather than, say, ‘OK I was wrong about that first thing, but nobody has dispproved the other things yet, for which I don’t have direct proof either’.

            You may be right, you may be wrong, but better to have the facts support you, than be considered a fool evermore by saying something is certain when it currently is not, and then hoping the facts eventually support you.

            There’s a few people who clearly made themselves look complete turkeys last July by blaming Anders Breivik’s activities on Islamic terrorists without waiting for the facts.

          • Hugh

            You’ll notice I preceded it by “For what it’s worth” for precisely the reason that I don’t expect those disinclined to trust in my Derren Brown impersonation. It was an opinion – one, I would argue that’s fairly well supported by his track record (although I don’t think I can be bothered) .

            And what “other things” have I claimed?  

            Finally, I didn’t say anything was “certain” either on this page or elsewhere. I argued that two independent reports noting the same statement made by the same person in different places constituted fairly strong evidence they were correctly attributed. Which it does; I’m happy to be considered a fool evermore by those who think otherwise – particularly since the alternative is to never utter an opinion of where the truth probably lies between conflicting statements unless video evidence exists.

          • TomFairfax

            lol. Read through what you wrote yesterday.

            Personally I thought the Punjabi  article you found was more important than the original press report.

            However, it seems no one else does, or maybe cares.

            Lord Ahmed may survive politically because of that.

            The reason will be because the press report said something previously unheard of, ‘dead or alive bounty for Bush/Obama’ but the section of the Punjabi report related to that  falls in the category of slagging off Bush and Blair again and demanding they be put on trial, and offering to pay for that to happen.

            The video supports that story.

            The Punjabi report says more, but I suspect it won’t get too high a profile because a load of people shot their mouths off on the bit that could be shown to be untrue, and therefore engenders a reluctance to end up with egg on their faces again.

            That’s why getting the facts straight can be effective, and demonstrably not getting them straight ends up protecting your target. Which I suspect was not the objective.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            As an aside, the demand to put Bush and Blair on trial is perfectly legitimate.
            The Davids Commission*, an independent investigation initiated by the Dutch government – the commission included a former president of the Supreme Court, a former judge of the European Court of Justice and two academic lawyers - concluded that the war was illegal.
            The list of those who have reached the same conclusion grows ever long: Richard Perle (Bush administration insider), Lord Bingham of Cornhill (former Lord Chief Justice), Nick Clegg, Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission etc. etc.

            *http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1242587/Invasion-Iraq-legal-basis-finds-damning-Dutch-report-war.html

          • TomFairfax

             I never know there was a Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

            But yes, not the most contentious of items, and certainly not one to construct a witch hunt over.

            Not sure sure about other reported comments, but they fall into the hear say category as well, and possibly fair comment as well. Certainly comments I’ve seen on LL from others, however silly I think they might be.

          • Bill Lockhart

            Kuala Lumpur Commission? Ah yes, the unofficial personal project of that famous democrat Mahathir Mohamad.
            You really shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Some of it  is, well, fibs.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            A number of eminent and distinguished persons from the legal profession assisted with the K.L.W.C. Commission, including Richard Falk, the  
             Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice at Princeton.

            No need to shoot the messenger, old chum.

          • treborc1

             They can go on trial with Jack Straw.

      • Peter Barnard

        Thanks, TF.

        I guess that we engineers have a different outlook on things, compared to operators and commentators  in the political sphere ….

    • treborc1

       More like a JCB.

      • Peter Barnard

        Thanks, treborc.

        I don’t keep a JCB in the garden shed …

  • http://twitter.com/eddyman00 Edward Anderson

    Oh …. well that makes it all better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Barker/1546990341 Paul Barker

    Theres a piece on labour uncut alleging not only that he has appeared alongside terrorists but that his support for terrorism has been known by the party leadership for a long time. That is rather more serious & demands a response from the leadership surely ?

    • AlanGiles

      Labour Uncut “alleging”. Well, what a surprise. Paul, they do that sort of thing all the time. The fact that you haven’t noticed suggests that their PR company “Fifth Column” ran by the two twits who edit Labour Uncut can’t be that good at it’s job – which in it’s turn probably explains why the testimonials which appear on the site date from 2003 and 2004.

      • Brumanuensis

        The thrust of Marchant’s piece seemed to be ‘he didn’t do what we thought he did, but, er, let’s expel him anyone because of a bunch of other stuff he’s ‘alleged’ to have done’. 

        Don’t get me wrong. Ahmed’s a cretin and his presence on the Labour benches is an embarrassment for other reasons, but this cock-up surely shows us that uncritically
        trusting news reports is a bad thing. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    As I thought – grossly misquoted. 

    He should have his suspension lifted immediately

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