Monday, February 23, 2009

Alastair Crooke

Photo of Alastair Crooke by Osama Al Eryani (

Reportedly, Alastair Crooke has worked for MI6.

Reportedly he was sacked from MI6 for not being a Zionist.

According to the Financial Times , 2 january 2009, ( / Weekend /Middleman in the Middle East):

"In August 2002, perhaps because Crooke was seen as too sympathetic to Palestinian groups, the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv outed him as an MI6 agent, poking fun at how slight this real-life James Bond was compared with his fictional counterpart.

"In 2003, after another ceasefire collapsed, Crooke was recalled to London. In a typically English fudge, he was given a CMG in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List for services to “the advancement of the Middle East peace process” – and sacked from MI6."

Crooke talks about Hamas, Moslems and Palestine.

Crooke has been asked about al Qaeda, but seemingly he is not prepared to spill the beans about any connection it may have to MI6.

"Could he imagine negotiating with al-Qaeda, I wondered? 'Never say never,' he replied, though he couldn’t really see the point. Groups such as al-Qaeda only get a hearing, he said, because of the failure of more mainstream political Islamism to speak to the Muslim world." (Middleman in the Middle East)

Crooke worked with bin Laden's men in Afghanistan.

Crooke gives us some clues about whether or not MI6 helped put the Ayatollahs into power in Iran.

"He views the 1979 Iranian revolution as progressive and enthusiastically explained obscure theological differences between its main Islamic protagonists.

"In the past two years he has visited Iran regularly – at one point he said 'our view', before correcting himself: 'the Iranian view, I mean'." (Middleman in the Middle East)

What is Alastair Crooke doing now?

"Crooke went freelance, drawing on his intelligence and political contacts to set up Conflicts Forum, a think-tank whose aim is to help western governments understand Islamist groups and their military resistance to Israel.

"In 2005 he moved to Beirut, where he lives with his partner, Aisling Byrne, an Englishwoman who previously worked with Palestinian refugees."

Has he really left MI6?

Alastair Crooke has written (2004 Guardian) :

"The overwhelming bulk of Islamists and Muslims support elections, good governance and freedom (more so than in some European states, the polls show)...

"Muslim values do not pose a threat to the strategic values of western society. Muslims do not hate our values. They hate our policies. We need dialogue at all levels."


Christian Coulson

Christian Coulson (born 3 October 1978) was a member of the UK's National Youth Music Theatre from 1990-1997.

He attended Westminster School in London on an academic scholarship.

He went on to the University of Cambridge, where he received a degree in English from Clare College in 2000. While at university, he played the Emcee in Cabaret, Arturo Ui in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Claire in The Maids.

He is perhaps most famous for his film portrayal as Tom Marvolo Riddle - the teenage Lord Voldemort - in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second installment of the Harry Potter film franchise.

Christian has earned excellent reviews for his many stage, TV and film performances.

Christian Coulson

Christian Coulson Camp • Version 5

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Donald Friend, lover of Bali.

Donald Friend - Figures (Ceylon)

Donald Friend (1915-1989) was an Australian artist, born in New South Wales.

In London, Friend met a Nigerian, Ladipo, who became his male model and lover.

During World War II, Friend was appointed an Official War Artist.

After the war, Friend met the handsome art student Colin Brown.

Friend wrote in his diary, "My whole life is Colin. Not particularly Colin himself, but my love and appreciation and desire for the Colins of this world and my life."

In Italy, Friend fell in love with a model called Attilio Guarracino, whom he brought back to Australia.

Once more in London, Friend made figure drawings of a young Ibaden boy called Omu.

In Bali, Friend gained fame as an expatriate artist.

Donald Friend ( lived in Bali between 1966 and 1979.

Much of his art represents relationships with boys, 'some of whom remained as life-long friends'.

Friend wrote several books. The original manuscripts are archived in the major museums of Australia and in important private collections.

Friend wrote: "The artist is making a confession of his inner being, so he is really making a confession about himself. I really think that when you see a painting which expresses absolutely nothing of the artist, then you can be certain that it is a very bad painting.

"There are lots of bad paintings around. If you paint a wonderful picture, then you have put yourself into it!" (

"Friend was essentially a pagan, bereft of any sense of sin or guilt, reveling in sensuality and colour, and making no attempt to disguise the homo-eroticism which underlay much of his work - which makes the more surprising the fact that he won the Blake Prize for religious art in 1955.

"Nor did he mince words about his attractions, depicting himself in his journal as 'a middle-aged pederast who’s going to seed'. His relationships consisted in large part of a series of relations with adolescent boys, some of whom remained as life-long friends, particularly Attilio Guarracino and others who merely fleeced the artist for whom they had modeled."

John Moyle has an article about the Bali lifestyle of Donald Friend:

"There was also nothing unusual in a gay man living in the community, as there had already been a long tradition of homosexual artists taking up residence in Bali.

"Known locally as ‘The Group’, artists such as Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Auke Sonnega were to exist there for long periods, living a thin line between acceptance and scandal. In the 1930s, Bali was known in gay circles as a place tolerant to gay lifestyle and where a little money could buy a grand lifestyle...

"While Balinese culture does not officially recognise gays as a separate lifestyle, they do recognise that sexuality is fluid and manifests itself in many forms. This tolerance was historically evident in the Indo Malay courts of Java."