The evil John Laughland
- Dear list!
Finally the clear picture of John Laughland who wrote the infamous
article "The Chechens American Friends" (where he was trying to
discredit Chechen support in America) has been unveiled. He has been
writing lies about the whole of Caucasus especially Georgia and now
he is trying to support the corrupt Putin puppet Yanukovich in
Ukraine. Read about this non-honourable man in the very good text
from The Guardian below.
Yours, Mikael Tykesson
PR man to Europe's nastiest regimes
David Aaronovitch,Tuesday November 30, 2004
Whenever, as this past week, eastern Europe is on the news, so too
is a man called John Laughland. Last Sunday he was playing Ukrainian
expert on the BBC's The World This Weekend, the day before he was
here in the Guardian defending the Ukrainian election "result", and
at the beginning of the month he was writing for the Spectator -
also on Ukraine.
Laughland's great strength is that he sees what no one else in the
west seems to. Where reporters in Kiev, including the Guardian's own
Nick Paton-Walsh, encounter a genuine democracy movement, Laughland
comes across "neo-Nazis" (Guardian), or "druggy skinheads from Lvov"
(Spectator). And where most observers report serious and specific
instances of electoral fraud and malpractice on the part of the
supporters of the current prime minister, Laughland complains only
of a systematic bias against (the presumably innocent) Mr
A quick trawl establishes this to be the Laughland pattern over the
past few years and concerning several countries. Laughland has
variously queried the idea that human rights are a problem in
Belarus, or that the Serbs behaved so very savagely in Kosovo. He
has defended Slobodan Milosevic, criticised the International
Tribunal in the Hague and generally argued that the problem in
countries normally associated with human rights abuses is, in fact,
the intervention of western agencies.
It was the British Helsinki Human Rights Group hat that he was
wearing last Sunday. On its website the BHHRG - of which Laughland
is a trustee - describes itself as a non-governmental organisation
which monitors human rights in the 57 member states of the
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Laughland is
listed as a trustee, the historian Mark Almond (to be found writing
about the Ukraine in last week's New Statesman) is its chairman.
Founded in 1992, the BHHRG sends observers to elections and writes
reports which - along Laughlandish lines - almost invariably dispute
the accounts given by better known human rights organisations. This
stance has led to the BHHRG being criticised by the International
Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (established in 1976) as
preferring "the role [is to take] PR flak for a new breed of
authoritarian rulers in Europe" to the business of actually
So what on earth is going on here? I know nothing about BHHRG's
finances, but the ideological trail is fascinating. Take the co-
founder of the group, Christine Stone. She was a lawyer before she
helped set up BHHRG. Since then she has "written for a number of
publications including the Spectator and Wall Street Journal on
eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union".
This information comes from a US website called Antiwar.com where,
for a while, Stone had a regular Thursday column. But Antiwar.com
was not a leftwing site opposing the Iraq war. It was a rightwing
site set up to oppose the Kosovo intervention in 1999.
Its "editorial director" was a man called Justin Raimondo who was
active in the small US Libertarian party before joining the
Republican party. In the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections he supported
the campaigns of Pat Buchanan, the far-right isolationist candidate.
Raimondo is also an "adjunct scholar" with the Ludwig von Mises
Institute. This is a libertarian think-tank in Auburn, Alabama,
founded by one Lew Rockwell, who describes himself as "an opponent
of the central state, its wars and its socialism". A contributor to
Rockwell's own site is Daniel McAdams, who is - in his own
words "honoured to be associated" with the British Helsinki Human
Trail 2. Laughland is also European Director of the European
Foundation (patron, Mrs M Thatcher), which - judging by its website -
seems to spend most of its time and energy sending out pamphlets by
arch-Europhobe Bill Cash. A synopsis of one of Laughland's own
books, however, notes his argument that, "Post-national
structures ... and supranational organisations such as the European
Union - are ... corrosive of liberal values (and) the author shows
the ideology as a crucial core of Nazi economic and political
Beginning to get the picture now? Trail 3 leads us to Sanders
Research Associates, a "risk consultancy" for which Laughland is,
according to their website, "a regular contributor" and to which
companies can subscribe for information and advice. The "principal"
is a Chris Sanders. The kind of steer Sanders gives his customers
can be adduced from this report on the morning of the US
presidential election. "We will be very surprised," he wrote, "if on
Wednesday John Kerry has not won a clear majority of electoral
college votes and that his supporters are not nursing substantial
post vote celebration hangovers, if not still drinking the
Lots of people got that one wrong, and some blamed their own
judgment. Not Sanders. "Our bet," he says following the results, "is
that we will soon be adding an investigation into the biggest vote
fraud in history.'"
Sanders, it seems, is not beyond the odd bit of conspiracising. In a
bulletin from June 2002 he also has something to suggest about the
Twin Towers atrocity. "It was obvious then, and it is obvious now,"
he writes, "that something besides the brilliance of a band of
terrorists or the incompetence of America's security apparatus was
responsible for the disaster of 9/11." But he doesn't tell us what
that "something" was.
Sanders on America and Laughland on Ukraine, however, are not the
most amazing features of Sanders Research Associates. That
distinction belongs to the report on Rwanda written for Sanders by a
Canadian lawyer named Chris Black. Black is the only person I have
ever seen putting the word genocide in quotation marks when applied
to Rwanda. Rwanda, you see, was all the US's fault, and wasn't
carried out by Hutus in any case. It was all got up to justify US
intervention in the region. He condemns the "demonising (of) the
Since 2000 Black has been the lead counsel representing General
Augustin Ndindiliyimana, chief of staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie,
at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He is also chair
of the legal committee for the international committee for the
defence of Slobodan Milosevic. Last year (though not for Sanders)
Black went on a delegation to North Korea. The report he wrote on
his return is full of references to happy peasants, committed
soldiers and delightful guides. The North Korean system, he
suggested, being "participatory", was in many ways more democratic
than parliamentary systems in the west.
This is weird company. And what we seem to have in Laughland and his
associates is a group of right-wing anti-state libertarians and
isolationists, suspicious of any foreign entanglements, who have
somehow morphed into apologists for the worst regimes and most
appalling dictators on the planet.
And where does it all end up? A couple of weeks ago Sanders
commended to his clients "John Laughland's series of articles
[showing that] the attack on Iraq is just the southern offensive of
a larger campaign to tighten the noose on Russia." And he
continued, "What is less well understood are the risks that the
unravelling political compact in Israel poses for the United States
and Great Britain, whose political processes, intelligence services,
military, media and financial establishments are so thoroughly
enmeshed with Israel's."
Read that last sentence again and then ask yourself: in what way are
Britain's media and financial interests "thoroughly enmeshed" with