Monday, August 27, 2007

Times Donor Story: Does Benedict Have Insurance?

Times Online had a story about a wealthy and successful Scottish businessman who has made a tidy fortune from his software house Picsel Technologies and who is a star turn on the meet the entrepreneur circuit.

This fellow is called Imran Khand. This is he. He is a British Muslim. And he is we're told a donor to Labour by way of the Muslim Friends of Labour (MFL). The Times suggest he is donating by way of this organisation, which is not bound by the reporting rules covering a party unit, to avoid publicity.

Whereas in fact he seems to rather enjoy the limelight! How curious this all is. He's no shrinking violet that's for sure. Suggesting Mr Khand is trying to hide any donations he may make? Well that really is something from Murdoch's people and all who sail with them.

The Times also claim that Mr Khand has recently set up a whole series or businesses with someone they describe as "an arms salesman", whatever that means. They don't say. Did this mysterious fellow once work in a Walmart selling air guns? Sell machetes at the local army surplus?

Now, of course this is of interest to me as I have been investigating the donation of £58,000 from Heckling & Koch's principal to the Tories.

Now that guy is an arms manufacturer on a huge scale! No question about that. Millions of units, made by his own fair hands. Trading officially with more than half the countries in the world. And with strategically placed plants in around 15 of them. Making designer guns and knives, as well as mopping up bloody acres of the mass market.

His new assault rifle the lightweight XM8 is about to feature in a "shoot off" with other contenders for the biggest prize of all - replacing the M4 carbine in the hands of the USA's marauding military.

More on which tomorrow.

Tory Blogger Benedict White is very much on the attack though. More concerned with bashing this blogger (or his own bishop) than taking care with the actual story. But whatever, Bennie's blog banter makes the second reference I've found - the Times being the other - which links Mr Khand to the mystery arms salesman. Except Benedict White has promoted the mystery man to "arms dealer" and in his headline to "arms dealers!", plural and exclamatory. Perhaps all Muslim businessmen and/or Labour donors are now considered, by Benedict, to be arms dealers?

I do hope he knows what he is doing? This comment over at the Scotsman is quite bold in repeating other allegations but wisely does not go with the arms salesman/trader/traders line. I can see no other papers following The Times story. Perhaps it does not stack up? UPDATE: The comment is verbatim lift from The Mail who also do not carry the alleged salesman, trader. traders line.

If Benedict White is an NUJ member he will have good insurance and advice if the writs start flying.

Otherwise I do hope he has plenty of evidence of who this fella is, that he can properly be described as an arms dealer, that Mr Khand can properly be considered to have started a business or businesses with the fella, and indeed that Mr Khand is trying to hide any donation he may have made to the Labour party. Or it'll be eggs-on-face-Benedict.

Labour say: "MFL agreed to register with the Electoral Commission as a matter of best practice." They continue: "MFL was able to assure the Labour Party that all donations received by it had come from permissible donors."


Benedict White said...

Chris, I have a new article clarifying the position on my blog, but for the sake of clarity, something can only be defamitory if right minded people would see it as being wrong. I can't see that myself.

The reason I brought it up is that issues like that seem to make you hot under the collar when you perceive it as a Conservative doing it.

Chris Paul said...


It is surely libellous if you cannot prove it at the time when you publish it Bennie dear boy. What reasonable people might or might not believe is hardly the point. You are giving them cause to believe stuff that you simply cannot stack up.

I doubt the Times can stack it all up. They are prone to this halfarsedness these days.

There is no equivalence between :

(A) Tories choosing to take contributions totalling £58,000 directly from a man who is in charges of one of the biggest small arms companies in the world at the very time when they are whining and lying about gun deaths.

A company incidentally exposed - albeit just before our friend bought it - for very dubious sales strategies when it comes to getting their stuff to any market whatsoever.


(B) Labour taking contributions of unknown-for-now quantum from an IT millionaire that the Times - and one or two careless bloggers - are saying has some business connection with another man - unidentified as yet - that the Times claim has been an arms salesman (which you promote to trader or traders).

As far as I know no-one is saying the alleged arms seller is giving money to Labour?

No-one is saying Mr Imran Khand has benefitted from arms selling, arms manufacture, arms trading are they?

(AFAIK his software solutions are related to mobile telephony and multimedia content with no special military application.)

And no-one is claiming that Labour or MFL know or knew anything of or about this person of unknown identity, his current business interests, the extent of any arms selling.

But both the Times and blethering bloggers are shooting off mouths about Mr Khand and others trying to hide donations.

I don't personally think even this last charge can be considered reasonable from the information that is so far in the public domain.

Obviously I don't ever get hot under the collar.

I report stuff that I think is cool or good or uncool or bad. And actually I will say so about the LP and LP people as well as Tories. Libs, Greens and Fascists as and when things come up.

Sloppy reporting and mangling of facts and figures is something I like to point out in others and avoid myself. And I think that twisting facts to cause pain and fear e.g. ny pretending loads more people are getting shot dead or specifically loads more kids - well I think that is disgusting.

The whole tone and conduct of your argument seems (a) very personal and (b) motivated by some perceived slight on Michael Gove's prowess.

MG can no doubt look after himself.

I think it was a very bad idea for the Tories to take £58,000 off an arms manufacturer.

I'm calling for it to be returned.

If Labour do it I'll take the same approach.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Chris, when I posted the salient fact that the XM8 project was cancelled in 2005 you stated on pickled politics that you get back. Instead I find you still making capital out of a subject I have proved to be false.

You have since changed the substance of your post to say this;
“His new assault rifle the lightweight XM8 is about to feature in a "shoot off" with other contenders for the biggest prize of all - replacing the M4 carbine in the hands of the USA's marauding military.”

Actually Chris this is what the shoot off is about;
“Ten sample models of each weapon will be tested. Testers will shoot 6,000 rounds though each weapon, Lipsit said.Test data will be sent to the Infantry Center, which is involved in a Capabilities Based Assessment to decide future small-arms needs of the Army.“It may or may not result in any type of program of record,” Lipsit said. “This is an assessment of sample weapons ... in an extreme dust environment to find out how far the weapons can go.”

Devtruth Editor said...

We have updated this story on with news of lay-offs at Mr Khand's main company Picsel.