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15 December 2008
Harry's Place smear machine in action again
"Owen Hatherley is the New Statesman's Dilpazier Aslam," ran the Harry's Place headline. As soon as anyone with a good memory saw that it was obvious that the smear machine was cranking itself up for action. For those of you who have bad memories, Dilpazier Aslam was a trainee journalist at the Guardian who lost his job as a result of a barrage of attacks that were orchestrated by a certain Scott Burgess, the unsuccessful applicant for Aslam's post. The method of attack was Aslam's membership of a small political party which had not been noted on his biography. By choosing that headline, Harry's Place was letting its bovine readership know that the hunt was on to try and get someone else sacked on similar grounds.

Hatherley had written a favourable review of The Liberal Defence of Murder, a work that HP finds intolerable and for that he had to be punished. On the basis of no evidence whatsoever, HP decided that since Hatherley had written for Socialist Worker, and since the book's author, Richard Seymour, was a party member, it followed that Hatherley was under orders to write a favourable view of Seymour's work. Since he had not mentioned his party affiliation he was as guilty as poor Dilpazier Aslam of something or other.

You could almost smell the jizm as the HP Saucers wanked themselves over the top and prepared for battle. There was only one slight problem: Owen Hatherley is not a party member and never has been. As I write these lines, some pretty ferocious backtracking has taken place and David T. sat up until at least 1.00am London time churning out post after post so that his embarrassing error would vanish from the front page. Dear, dear me.

The problem is that between the Aslam Affair in 2005 and today there have been any number of attempts by Harry's Place and its hangers on to cost people their jobs. Neil Clark came under attack from both HP and Gimlet Kamm and the fact that he managed to fend off both mongish crews is neither here nor there. As this piece shows, it was a traumatic time for both him and his wife - who also came in for the HP smear machine's attentions.

Other journalists who have earned the wrath of these maggots include Seamus Milne of the Guardian and the Independent's Johann Hari. As with Neil Clark the attacks always come via their work - the attempt being to undermine public confidence in what they write as journalists.

Then of course there have been the attacks on academics as Jenna Delich can testify as she felt the full weight of the smear machine just this August. During that month your friendly old Exile supported HP on freedom of speech grounds. Now that same friendly old Exile has to grin and accept Richard Seymour's quite justifiable taunt that:
Some websites foolishly extended their 'solidarity' to these corrupt and unscrupulous opponents of free speech. I hope that after this episode it will be obvious even to them that Harry's Place deserves no comradeship, especially from those who might themselves be the targets of such an attack if the occasion arose.
The kicker is in those final few words. HP will turn on anyone, even those who thought that they were the site's friends if that is in the greater good. The greater good in this case involves cheering on every mindless act of doomed agression that Washington and London can think up.

Fuck 'em - they are on their own from now on in as far as I am concerned.



Dipazier Aslam was fired by the Guardian because he lied on his job appication.

Neil Clark "came under attack" because he is a piss-poor journalist and an apologist for Slobodan Milosevic.

Seamus Milne "earned the wrath" because he's a Stalinist who is, furthermore, the son of Alasdair Milne, once the Director General of the BBC. How is invalid to attack such a ridiculous person?

Johann Hari looks like Harry Potter. I need say no more.

Owen Hatherley doesn't have a job, being the usual student layabout Trot, so there's really not much danger of this "costing his job".

So apart from all that, a great article. Keep up the strong stance on free speech, Ken!

15 December 2008 at 17:33  

Now not many people know this, but Aslam didn't - at least according to David T., chief of the HP Saucers. According to him it was the fact that he didn't lie that meant the payout was so vast.

For the rest, what you said is just wrong. The issue is not how good or bad these people are as writers. The issue is that Gimlet and HP tried to prevent them from earning a living via their writing, usually by writing in to commissioning editors and lying to them.

It failed, but that is not the point.

15 December 2008 at 20:01  

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