Craig Murray’s Blog Reverts to 2009

What on earth is going on?


Craig’s Blog has reverted to 2009.

All posts since May 2009 have vanished. Is there anything special about the page currently displayed?

Suggestions welcome.


Clark has been in contact with Craig (see comments below) and whatever has happened to the blog has NOT been authorised by Craig. Clark is now attempting to contact expathos hosting by email. FURTHER UPDATE: Richard at expathos has explained the situation in a comment here and will get the problem addressed on Monday. Monday: Craig’s blog is back up to date. Thanks Richard Kastelein.

Meanwhile there’s a very recent interview with Craig, originally linked by Mary, which you can find in the comments as well.

339 thoughts on “Craig Murray’s Blog Reverts to 2009

  1. Just checked – The also-still-active Al-Hilli thread on Craig’s blog seems to have a gap between Dec 5th, 2am and this morning too.

  2. PS. On Craig’s “Why I’m Convinced Anna Ardin Is A Liar” thread I have restored all the missing posts from back-up, with a note on each of their original timestamp. I’d still be interested to know why the final 18 hours’-worth of Craig’s blog wasn’t in what Richard Kastelein at expathos restored, though a perfectly innocuous explanation seems likely.

  3. I follow Jonathan Cook’s blog. He lives in Nazareth with his Palestinian wife within ‘the belly of the beast’ as I call it .

    He has written today –
    ‘While reading this piece, I kept thinking one thing: If Barack Obama had not been forced to scrap his plan to bomb Syria at the last minute, we would now be reading about these deceptions after thousands, or more likely tens of thousands, of Syrian civilians had been killed in allied bombing runs.’
    The Western war criminals are setting off for South Africa. The Obamas are just leaving in Air Force One from Andrews airforce base. The Clinton entourage is making their own way, as is Bush. Agent Cameron, B.Liar, Major and Brown are also attending the funeral. I bet Cherie goes too. No show without her.

    How many deaths are attributable to these six ‘leaders’ in their offensive wars?

  4. Big thanks to Richard Kastelein and all at his hosting company expathos for restoring Craig’s blog. If you’d like to thank Richard for all the years he’s been hosting Craig’s blog and keeping it on-line, he has a contact page here:

    Big thanks to Squonk A.K.A. AlcAnon for setting up this blog and keeping us all in communication.

  5. Mary,

    WordPress only allows registered, logged in users to edit comments by default but there is a plugin which allows ordinary users to edit their comment for up to 5 minutes afterwards to correct mistakes. I’ll try it out and also setup a page-break for comments.

    Feedback on any changes noticed welcome.

    Good to see Craig’s blog sorted out. Thanks Richard.

  6. Okay, comments are now editable for 5 minutes after they are made. 50 comments are displayed per page at the moment with latest comment page shown first (Craig’s blog shows the oldest comment page first). Is that about right for everyone?

  7. Excellent mon brave! I actually used the edit just now, once to correct a typo and then to alter the link. V useful.

  8. Edit zero – original: I’m about to try out the new facility for editing ones own comments…

    Edit one – I needed to allow Javascript from before the Edit link was displayed, and now I’m trying it…

    Edit two – it seems to work fine.

  9. Note: editing your comment doesn’t reset the five minute countdown, so you only get five minutes after posting your first submission.

  10. Jon, the moderator at Craig’s, posted the following there:

    Hi Arbed, hi all. Trust you’re all well.

    Apologies for the site hiccup – our host moved some sites around, and mis-configured ours. Oops!

    Were some posts lost? Apologies if so. We are hopefully in the process of moving to a more stable set-up, but Craig is between visits to Africa, and is pressed for time. I’ll see what can be done…

  11. Clark,

    You may well be right to rule out hosting Craig’s blog on a US site but it would certainly seem to be one of the cheapest options and probably no worse than hosting in the UK. Would be nice to have some other opinions. Arbed any thoughts? Maybe Julian Assange might have some advice. Or maybe someone can just offer suitable hosting to take over from Richard.

    Btw, The plugin I am using for comment editing is Simple Comment Editing which is a cut down version of WP Ajax Edit Comments. In the cut down version I don’t have much config options but the default 5 minute edit window from first posting seems about right to me. Would be nice to have this on Craig’s blog.

  12. Hi Squonk,

    Well, I know very little of these matters, but I’d say if you wanted to host Craig’s new site somewhere jurisdictionally safe (safe-ish? safer than average?) I’d go for Iceland, maybe Belgium.

  13. Squonk, experience with outages at Craig’s suggests that it would be good to have the site mirrored, preferably hosted in different countries to take advantage of different legal jurisdictions; one each in the US and Russian spheres, maybe 🙂 ? It’s a shame that Craig didn’t retain his domain name as it could have been used for a mirror site.

    But what is the real situation with hosting costs? Richard Kastelein wrote above: “I spent thousands of pounds of my own money hosting him on his own virtual server for years”, but at the sort of hosting prices I see advertised, even a decade would come to hundreds rather than thousands of euros or pounds.

  14. A snip – Don’t worry Mr Duncan Smith! It’s only our money.

    BREAKING NEWS:£40m written off on software and computing costs in implementing Universal Credit, says Work and Pensions Secretary

  15. Clark,

    If Richard signed up for a full featured, multi-hosting, near unlimited traffic, reseller account on dedicated server(s) with 24 hour support and ended up really only hosting Craig then I could see that reaching thousands after a few years.

    With Craig’s blog being almost entirely text based with multimedia offsite (Youtube etc), only minimal server resources are actually required. Would be good to know though what the size of the WP database is for the blog though. Seems to me the cost of hosting Craig’s blog with current requirements will be somewhere from “Free” up to say a maximum of £100/year for standard shared hosting depending on provider and support levels required.

    A small dedicated Virtual Private Server (with a dedicated IP address for Craig alone) in the UK can be had for of the order of about £150/year (or Free for a year at Amazon). Cheaper prices available in the USA.

  16. Just been looking at current special offers and there’s some astonishingly low prices available. ACE VPS have a special offer on at the moment of $4.50 month for a suitable VPS server. They have servers in the USA and Netherlands and you can pick which one.

    Of course the big disadvantage with a Virtual Private Server is that someone has to manage the Linux and Applications upgrades as well as just the blog. Most VPS providers have systems pre-configured with Hosting “Control Panels” available which simplifies this management. Still it will always require more work than just running the blog on a hosting provider and leaving them to keep the system up to date.

  17. Squonk, I made an improvised back-up of Craig’s site in Feb 2011, just before the site upgrade. I used wget to retrieve every publicly accessible page. This creates considerable duplication in the back-up in a number of ways, but on the other hand the site has grown considerably since then. My improvised 2011 back-up occupies about 330 megabyte.

    I did the same thing again more recently, but I was away from home and I didn’t bring a copy away with me. But I’m pretty sure that it was under one gigabyte in size.

  18. Ooh, bustling in here! ‘ello all.

    Yep, nothing to worry about – just a misconfiguration during a hosting cleanup, rather prolonged by its proximity to the weekend. Since the host fixed it for us, I don’t know the reason for loss of posts – I think a daily database backup may have been used rather than a live copy. Good idea Arbed, for keeping backups of own posts.

    I echo all the above thanks for Richard’s long-standing generosity, and I’ll continue to lobby to get us moved to another server. Our man in Africa is a busy chap…

    Clark/Squonk, hello. The server has been quite expensive as it has a lot of RAM to cope with traffic spikes, even though we only get a couple of those a year, and that’s only when Craig posts frequently. The amount has varied, but I think it has been switched between 4G and 8G – significantly beefier/pricier than a standard host.

  19. On my err, “executive decision” to close comments: one of the regular conservative commenters was threatening to inform the police regarding some racist posts that were not getting deleted. I felt that, given Craig’s absence and ill health, it was sensible not to risk the potential hassle.

    Anyway, I suppose the bun fight can move over here now 😉

  20. 4GB and 8GB of RAM? You should be able to support half the planet online with that amount 🙂 I reckon I should be able to handle 100 simultaneous WP users with 512MB RAM and swapfile on Squonk with intelligent page caching (the default WordPress mode of operation is very inefficient). Most VPS providers will let you spin up on a more powerful machine should the blog really be heavily loaded but that’s at extra cost of course.

    Unless the server is running Windows of course when 4GB is just about enough to boot the damned thing at a reasonable speed! But a “headless” Linux (that is no graphics/X-Windows as it’s not needed) can do a lot in under 1GB with a bit of tinkering.

  21. Hi Jon,

    “Since the host fixed it for us, I don’t know the reason for loss of posts – I think a daily database backup may have been used rather than a live copy.”

    Noted, but as I said above I’d still be interested to know more about why those final posts were not recovered by Richard/expathos. By my calculation, the comments that were lost span a time range of 33 hours. Doesn’t that exclude the reason being that only comments not yet saved on the latest “daily” database backup – presumably done once every 24 hours – were lost?

  22. Jon, I think you did the right thing when you closed comments at Craig’s. Some people have posted comments here criticising your decision; I disagree with their opinions. They should consider that when someone holds responsibility, not doing something is just as much a decision as taking action; when in the driving seat, choosing not to apply the brakes can have serious consequences.

  23. Jon Hi….

    is Craig’s Blog down again… it seems to back to Square May 2009..and it might just be me, but i can’t access comments on even that thread… Crazy going on’s


    i was thinking i would like to watch Madiba’s Memorial thing… But just don’t think i can now… all them slime bags creeping around.. Pretend sadness… Makes me sick…. But here is whats going on in the new Aparthied lands… all WELL supported by the Slime bags going to South Africa just now

    Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon is a Likudnik hardline extremist. “Americans are proposing joint control over (Jordanian) crossing points,” he said.

    “From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian presence. An (exclusive) Israeli civilian and military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.”

    In 1948, Palestinians lost 78% of historic Palestine. In 1967, they lost the rest. They’re willing to settle for 22% of what’s rightfully theirs.

    They want sovereign independence within 1967 borders. Israel categorically refuses. So does Washington.

    Earlier plans included land swaps. Israel got to keep all valued Judea and Samaria areas. Palestinians got worthless scrubland.

    Reports suggest current talks include similar mumbo jumbo. Universally recognized Palestinian sovereignty remains nowhere in sight.

    Kerry’s new plan is little different from earlier ones. It’s one way. It permits continued militarized occupation harshness.

    It ignores Palestinian rights. It denies peaceful conflict resolution. It continues business as usual.

    Peace talks are going nowhere. Kerry claims otherwise. He lied saying “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and prosperity that all the people in this region yearn for.”

  24. Clark…. yes the Blog is deffo up again.. i wonder if it was from my bookmarks… Thanks anyhoo

  25. Clark LOL

    Brian. Do you remember a funny and rather silly American series called Soap?

    Each episode used to end with a series of questions.
    ‘At the beginning of each episode, off-camera announcer Rod Roddy gives a brief description of the convoluted storyline and remarks, “Confused? You won’t be, after this week’s episode of…Soap.” At the end of each episode, he asks a series of life-or-death questions in a deliberately deadpan style—”Will Jessica discover Chester’s affair…? Will Benson discover Chester’s affair? Will Benson care?” and concludes each episode with the trademark line, “These questions—and many others—will be answered in the next episode of…Soap.”‘

    I say

    Will Obomber shake Castro by the hand or the neck?

    Will all the war criminals cold shoulder Mugabe and Rajapaksa?

    Will they (the war criminals) all fall to the ground if the rickety looking stage (which is still being built) collapses under their weight?

    When I heard that Bono, Branson, the Spice Girls and Oprah might attend, I heaved.

    Anyway when I heard that the presidents of India, Brazil and Cuba will speak and not the likes of B.Liar I was cheered up. We will get a dose from the killer-by-drone Obomber though.

    PS Squonk I do not miss Captcha. I used to get it wrong quite often by misreading the arithmetic signs!

  26. Clark @ 3.27 am Yes indeed.

    I listened to some of the speeches in the HoC yesterday.
    Tributes to Nelson Mandela

    Three hours of mostly cant and hypocrisy. Compare Cameron’s opening speech with his beliefs when as a university student and a worker in Thatcher’s partei.

    Cameron’s crocodile tears
    History tells us the PM’s tribute to Mandela is pure lies and hypocrisy
    7th December 2013

    I see that even the New Statesman has come to his defence. Incredible.

  27. The stadium is named after the First National Bank. Enough said.

    ‘The stadium has been officially known as FNB Stadium since it was opened in 1989. This was due to a naming rights deal with First National Bank.’

    Details of the First Rand Group.
    Usual suspects Anglo American etc. Probably have the South African people by the short and curlies as the bankers have us here.

  28. Hi Arbed

    By my calculation, the comments that were lost span a time range of 33 hours. Doesn’t that exclude the reason being that only comments not yet saved on the latest “daily” database backup – presumably done once every 24 hours – were lost?

    I’ll try to find out. It may be that the missing data is sitting on the decommissioned server, and just needs copying across. Merging it into the new state of the database will now be problematic, of course.

    But, for the avoidance of doubt, this is just (small) cock-up rather than anything else. Once we are on our own server – hint, hint to the boss! – this won’t happen.

    Hi Squonk

    Yep, we’ve always had a good server. When you’ve been mentioned by Wikileaks in a tweet, the server really gets to know the meaning of “busy”. 4G is easily maxed out. Our process size requirements used to be around 100M; I brought that down to around 40M though, and it could probably go further.

    The cloud thing is really good, of course – you can provision extra RAM for traffic spikes over a couple of days, whereas traditional VPS providers will charge for configurations by the month, and changing usually requires a host admin.

    Clark, thanks.

  29. Reply to Jon:

    Thanks for offering to find out how the final 33 hours-worth of commenting didn’t re-appear when the blog itself re-appeared. No need to re-merge them back in, as I’ve already re-posted the ‘lost’ ones back in from my personal back-up. I was just curious how those ones didn’t come back automatically, is all.

  30. Jon,

    Sound like the server has persistent connections enabled with reasonably long timeouts. Great if you’ve got tons of memory as you do on Craig’s current server – not a luxury I have on squonk sadly.

    I’m about to experiment with WordPress W3 Cache plugin on Squonk. They claim at least a ten fold improvement in WordPress server load handling. Anyway I plan to see if the claims are true!

  31. Hi All,

    W3 Total Cache is now turned on. I’ll be playing with the settings (it has loads of configuration options) so if anyone notices anything strange could you post it here. Sometimes it may take a little longer to load a page if I’ve just cleared the cache during testing so don’t worry about that. Any error messages or hangs on the page please let me know.


  32. Squonk, hello. I had one load of this page that was noticeably faster. Other loads of this page and others seem unchanged, so far (but of course the cache will become populated with use). No error messages.

    Not urgent, but could you add “Older Comments” and “Newer Comments” links above the top of the comment thread? At present, it isn’t obvious that the top of visible comments begins in the middle of an ongoing discussion. Numbered page selector links would also be nice.

    I also think that the thread title should be a link. It would serve as a convenient link to copy the thread URL from, such that it can be pasted into e-mails, and into comments on other blogs.

    But don’t hurry; technical stuff is more important than matters of style.

  33. @Clark, will next be in Ilford during X-mas week, so probably not very convenient; will let you know for the following time.

    @Jon, re your “executive decision”, firstly your post advising the thread closures, distincly gave the impression that you had acted because of the unproductive bickering; then on the Al Hillis thread you again referred to the reason as being due to the posts “turning into a bun-fight”, together with “I rather lost interest in daily moderation”; now here you are informing us that you acted because a (regular) Poster was threatening police action over “racist” comments, and you wanted to spare Craig any hassle. Ok, all understandable if not exactly clearly stated upfront, but this leaves us with the stark fact that a single person managed to silence a popular political Blog, and managed to silence & cut off from each other the community that has built-up around the Blog, and another worrying aspect being that the posting of racist material & then using it to complain or worse, is not an unknown troll sabotage tactic.

  34. Clark,

    Yes I’d like to change the comment page navigation in the way you suggest as well. Only it seems it can’t be done in the WordPress 2013 theme without writing some PHP code to do it. So I can either find another theme that does support it or hack the code myself. I am thinking about it though.

    At the moment I’m running in basic cache to disk mode. I should be able to configure it to cache to Amazon ElastiCache once I’ve worked it all out. Much of the static content of the site is now offloaded to Amazon Ireland S3 (hostname I could push it out even further to “Cloudfront” (Cached across all Amazon regions) but that’s not included in the free tier.

  35. Macky, Jon did not “single handedly silence a political blog”. Craig can still post at any time.

    Jon just silenced a pointless row. I’m a regular at Craig’s, but I wasn’t monitoring the blog very closely as I had other things to do. Dropping into that thread left me completely mystified. It was like walking into a bar-room brawl, and from the chaos on the floor trying to determine who was right, who wrong, who too pissed and who had started it. Long-time friends were at each others’ throats. I tried to make some peace a few times, but every time I came back it was as if I hadn’t bothered. It was damaging and not enhancing Craig’s blog, so bravo Jon for putting a stop to that and preserving the blog for the future.

    Jon’s actions did make discussion between regular blog contributors more difficult, but that isn’t Jon’s fault. I was still reachable, as was anyone who had posted contact details. What came between people was the result of their own suspicion and paranoia. Jon’s action happened to teach us a serious lesson: if the authorities or some other party were to interfere with the operation of Internet sites, most of the activists would be cut off from each other because they’ve chosen to remain unidentifiable on-line.

    That’s one of the reasons I’ve been touring around the country getting to meet people personally. People should decide upon their priorities. They can gain some (essentially illusory) sense of personal safety by remaining unidentifiable, or they can put their political objectives first, stand up and be counted, and make themselves contactable and identifiable. If Craig, Assange and Snowden can do that, why the hell are blog commenters still hiding behind pseudonyms and screen names? Maybe courage isn’t contagious after all.

    That’s the objective stuff. But Jon or any moderator is only human. As a moderator I came to feel responsible for the environment at Craig’s. So something like that row still looks like a bar-room brawl, but now it’s taking place in your own bar where you like having a relaxing drink. It’s going on when you go to bed, and they’re still at it when you wake up.

    Honestly, Macky, moderation is exceedingly demanding emotionally. Whilst trying to do justice for the issues supported at the blog, one also has to maintain their public image. Remember, anyone can go to some other forum, shout “There’s censorship [or racism, or sexism, or whatever] at Craig Murray’s!!!”, and link to whichever comment looks the most incriminating, even though it’s entirely out of context, of course. But it works. The good guys can be depicted as the bad guys. We know how this is used; it’s used by the biased media against the Palestinians nearly every day.

    Macky, I know that you were acting honestly and with genuine passion. But sometimes you just have to think “do I really need to fight back on this one? I just had a grenade lobbed at me, but should I really lob one back? If I don’t end this, will the other side? Or is the fight itself in their interests?”

    Support your local moderator!

  36. Clark; Granted, beyond all reasonable doubt, a mods job is a thankless task. But as I recall, Jon resigned just as you did. The difference was, you gave up your access, while Jon apparently retained leaving us with the impression it was a free-for-all.

    That was a period of increased trollery while the cat was absent. Res Des was the party threatening calls to the authorities, then Jon returns and shuts it down. There were many who were not rising to the bait and it was a shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think it was a fit of pique and unwarranted to leave the site fallow for a solid month. A one week cool-down probably would have been sufficient

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