Customer Reviews


7 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Labour's Sandline shame, 25 Jan 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
This riveting book contains a smoking gun. "The Sandline Affair" (Chapter 4) reveals for the first time that in 1998 the Prime Minister had no objection to British mercenaries breaching UN sanctions by selling arms to Sierra Leone. Despite a thick dossier from Customs & Excise recommending prosecutions, the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take no action - without even reading the papers. As Craig Murray notes, "this was the first major instance of the corruption of the legal process that was to be a hallmark of the Blair years." His account has authority: he was then the most senior FCO official whose sole responsibility was West Africa.
Most of this memoir, including the delightful discovery that provides the title, covers Craig's subsequent posting to Accra. He was number two in a High Commission at the centre of two key African issues: democracy and development. He also acted as midwife for the safe delivery of the Lomé peace agreement over Sierra Leone, dealing with extraordinary people like Colonel Isaac, a boy soldier forced at age eight to kill his own mother and father.
For all its vivid anecdotes, this is a thoughtful account of why effective diplomacy requires far more than mechanical implementation of directives from Whitehall. There is much here that other diplomats will recognise: why it is sometimes not wise (even if much cheaper) to entrust visa work to local employees; and concern at how UK development aid has become primarily a matter of direct budgetary support. There is valuable documentary evidence in several footnotes.
This book is for anyone for whom Africa matters - and for those drawing up the charge sheets against Blair.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth told Truly, 24 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
I cannot recommend this book highly enough as a means to get to the truth behind the Government's conniving of recent and not-so-recent years. The author was a senior Civil Servant and witnessed first-hand the goings-on and shady British Government dealings which served to bring yet more corruption to the continent of Africa. Such that there have been numerous concerted attempts to prevent publication of this book, resulting in the author having to self-publish. And what's more it's written in the down-to-earth self-deprecating style of Craig Murray who is the first to admit, describe, and entertain us with his own numerous faults and weaknesses normally kept hidden in a book of this nature. And, of course, his honesty. "The foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of Truth."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and entertaining read, 22 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
This is the book they tried to ban, from the former British Ambassador they could not silence. It is one of the most exciting books I have read in years and I was keenly awaiting the release of it following his previous book 'Murder in Samarkand'. Craig was forced to publish this book by himself as he says his publishers were scared off by legal bullying threats. Although it has an interesting title, this book could have gone under a range of headings covering many exciting topics of which the author has first hand experience, including the Arms to Africa scandal and his role in bringing democracy to Ghana. It's worth its weight in gold...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Testimony about Modern Africa, 17 Feb 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
As in his earlier book, Murray is enormously entertaining. But this is also by far the most informative book I have read about the nature of the problems modern African states tend to have. For instance he describes how many modern African countries have developed very restrictive trade agreements which allow them to accept subsidised US or EU produce, thereby bankrupting their own businesses, but won't trade with each other because so many businesses are corrupt monopolies owned by relatives of government officials and they don't want their neighbours to get the jump on them.

Murray also details a colossal level of corruption and bloodletting among all the West African countries, even the relatively stable Ghana. In the earlier part of the book Murray details his role in London having responsibilities for West Africa as a whole. Later he became Deputy High Commissioner of Ghana.

His most remarkable achievement here was in going to enormous lengths to facilitate a free election at the point when Jerry Rawlings had to give up power, having served two terms, and by virtue of incredible levels of organisation and very hard work managed to get a result.

This book is also frequently hilarious, never more so than in recounting his stage management of a Royal visit to Ghana, Duke of Edinburgh and all. At one stage the royal support team set up camp, so to speak, at an Accra hotel, at another the High Commissioner is gloriously upstaged. Some sections remind me of Evelyn Waugh's 'Black Mischief'. Murray speaks the truth and sometimes its shocking, often it confirms in glorious detail what one had often suspected, and sometimes it's hilarious.

This book is set in the 90s, before Murray went to Uzbekistan, but was written quite recently, and Murray wasn't as cynical about the morality of his own government during his stay in Africa as he later became. But what he has to tell us about the Arms for Africa affair reveals that what has shocked so many of us about Blair's involvement in the Iraq war was not a one-off, driven by some compulsion to kowtow to the Americans. Long before 9/11 he was ignoring the painstaking work of whole departments of the Foreign Office to get his mates off the hook with their massively profitable corrupt arms dealing.

To anyone who loves Africa, and to anyone who wants chapter on verse on exactly how degraded the conduct of our government has become, this is essential reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lover of Africa, 10 Oct 2010
By 
G. J. Weeks (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
Reading Craig Murray's book one is transported to the world of expatriate first class, the diplomat. It is a fascinating story from of a British diplomat who worked in Nigeria from 1986 for four years. Then in 1998 he became Deputy Head of Africa Department, (Equatorial) for the British Foreign and Commonwealth office when Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary. His story starts with his part in the Arms to Africa affair, a major incident in the Blair government as they sought to stop civil was in Sierra Leone. He exposed the unethical nature of the British supposed ethical foreign policy. The word of a former Guards officer engaged in private security was preferred to his by a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee enquiry. The government refused to prosecute a mercenary and a diplomat for breaking an arms embargo though they had all the necessary evidence. The author was transferred to become Deputy British High Commissioner in Ghana.

Murray's father had been in business in Ghana and Murray shows a real love for the country. He was instrumental in ensuring that Rawlings agreed to stand down when constitutionally obliged to and that elections were free and fair. He exposed the corruption of Rawling's regime and his wife's profiting from fraudulent business deals at the expense of British taxpayer. Negotiating a peace deal for Sierra Leone from a hotel in Togo he describes a meeting with rebel leaders where he realises he was the only person present who had not murdered anyone. He also had encounters with lethal green mambas.

There is an amusing account of the Queen's state visit to Ghana and the discomfort of the High Commissioner when he did not receive the customary knighthood. Murray always turned down offered honours. We also get insight into the character of Robin Cook and he does not emerge smelling of roses. Murray is very critical of the Blair and Bush administrations. He was subsequently removed form his post as ambassador to Uzbekistan and left the diplomatic service. He is a maverick but a good writer, full of humour. No other sort of author would choose such an non-commercial and eccentric book title. He does explain it. He comes across as a man of professional integrity and ability, honest about his own failings, especially in marital infidelity. Read and enjoy an expose of the misdeeds of New Labour and of African regimes
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, unconvincing evidence, 10 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
A wonderful read, well written. interesting and amusing.
I really want to believe the whole smoking gun account of arms shipments to Sierra Leone - but there is one very big problem.
Murray admits to cheating and lying both with his wife and mistress(es)...but qualifies this by saying that where relationships and women are concerned this is fair game.
He then of course expects us to accept his word on all other matters - and this is where I have a major problem.
What I mean is, in a court of law, once you cast doubt on the reliabilty of a witness, that doubt will extend to ALL of their evidence.
In spite of this I would highly recommend this book - as it really is an excellent read. He captures the mood and essence of Accra - in Ghana - wonderfully...writing of places and people that I myself know personally.
Whilst I do not share his almost dismissive view of Jerry Rawlings...he almost begrudingly gives him any credit for overseeing Ghana's economic progress after the wasteful excesses of previous administrations....he does at least give an interesting account of the hand over of power to Kuffour, whom he clearly favours.
Anyone with an interest in the foreign policy of the Blair government should read this book...you can form your own opinions on the evidence presented.
I myself wanted to believe the allegations, but remain not entirely convinced.
Exceelent read though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Political Revelation in Ghana., 26 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known (Hardcover)
This is a book that reveals what goes on in some African Countries. This author is an insider and has the proverbal " INSIDER INFORMATION " !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known
The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known by Craig Murray (Hardcover - 12 Jan 2009)
Used & New from: 66.95
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews