Will the real Calvin Tucker ever stand up?
05/08/09 | Got to admit, the struggle to have The Guardian admit that is has printed false information about me and Angie Bray has been unfruitful. However I want to leave a public record of all communications held between me and the Press Complaints Commission, so that people can make their own minds as to whether the views published by Calvin Tucker in his 21stcenturysocialism.com website are a true reflection of what actually happened.
Hey Mr "Anonymous" internet tough guy. You want to insult me face to face? Please email me and we can arrange to meet. Otherwise, fuck off and get a life. Twat.Not interested in having a fight over nothing I declined Tucker's challenge, however this is how Tucker referred to the debate:
My personal serial stalker doesn't even have the cojones to meet me in a London pub and back up his allegations about me having invented a court case I won.All the while I stressed that I have not been able to find any indication in the legal database about the case referred to by Tucker. But the vitriol, and the physical threats, where not only geared at me. One could understand that Tucker might have felt insulted, incensed and upset by claims about his encounter with the justice system made by a Venezuelan critical of the regime he so feverishly defends. However his vitriol, improper language and physical threats were not reserved to me only. To other participants of the debate, and in the comment section of the same blog, Tucker has written:
Example 1: Listen, Mr Internet Tough Guy, I'm not interested in your threats. If you want to fight me, let's meet. Otherwise, fuck off.These threats were were made in the midst of internet discussions about Venezuela, which needs be stressed a) is a country completely alien to Tucker and b) whose political situation does not have the slightest impact on the well being of a person who purportedly earned a living out of "investment banking executive search". But Tucker no doubt already had a soft spot for totalitarian regimes and communism, hence his passionate defense of putschist Hugo Chavez every action. In fact, Tucker's "freelance writing on Latin America and the Caribbean" includes declaring full support of the coup led by Chavez against the democratically elected administration of former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez:
Example 1: My point is that the Caracazo and the political disenfranchisement of most Venezuelans was sufficient moral justification for the insurrection of 1992. With the benefit of hindsight, i.e. from the standpoint of Chavez's election win in 1998, I think we can also say it was also a tactical success, even if at the time it appeared to be a defeat. Without 1992, as with Fidel's Moncada debacle, ultimate victory would have eluded the revolutionaries."Eventually I did find information about the legal case Tucker had mentioned. It turns that Tucker was once arrested for participating in the riots of Wapping. According to court documents of case Tucker v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, he was arrested in the early hours of Sunday, 15 June 1986, and charged with arson. Tucker would later sue the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, claiming damages for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution. Ultimately, he won the appeal and was granted damages.
On 26 July 1994, the Press Association published an article entitled "LYING POLICE PUT ME THROUGH HELL, SAYS PICKET". In it Tucker is described as a "peaceful picket who took part in the bitter Wapping dispute eight years ago". Tucker, a printer at the time, claimed that "One officer even kicked him in the head as he lay helpless on the ground..." although he clarified that the kick "didn't cause me any particular injury". Tucker also explained "how lying police officers put him through the worst six months of his life" and that the "ordeal affected him deeply and for years afterwards he would "panic" if he saw a policeman walking towards him."
Fast forward ten years and read how well has this "peaceful picket" gotten, so well in fact that he seems to get a kick out of making repeated threats to people about non-issues, perhaps in need to prove his manhood, while recruiting investment bankers. I will return to Tucker's miraculous recovery later. On 1 September 2007, The Guardian's Comment is Free published an article by Tucker entitled "Friends in Low Places". But before that, he did boast about his intentions, again in the comment section of the blog Caracas Chronicles:
Al Boyd If you don't like the Guardian now, you're gonna really hate it when they publish my next piece. I'm gonna make you famous, Alek. Or should I say infamous? Stay tuned.When I replied saying that he had no power to make me either famous or infamous this is what Tucker had to say:
As you've no reputation to lose, I guess that's true in your case. Your Tory mates on the GLA have though. Stay tuned.
By September 2007 my rate of blogging and commenting about Venezuela had decreased considerably. Tucker on the other hand appeared to have gained the sympathy of Venezuelan officials, while carrying on with his purported "extensive research and organisational mapping of the financial markets". More of Tucker's professional occupation later.
After this email I received a letter from the PCC on 13 May informing that Rebecca Hales would be dealing with my case. On 28 May I received further communication from Ms Hales, which can be seen here. It is worth noting that The Guardian continues ignoring my claims of ever having met with Angie Bray.
On 29 May I sent an email to Ms. Hales:
Alek Boyd wrote:
date: Fri, May 29, 2009 at 6:54 PM
subject: Re: ref 092120
Dear Ms Hales,
Many thanks for your letter dated 28 May, whose content I shall address.
The reason I contacted the PCC is to try and set the record straight, an opportunity The Guardian never afforded me. I did try to exercise my statutory right to reply, which The Guardian, in the person of Georgina Henry, repeatedly denied, in clear violation of the Code, which I will not cite, for both you and the journalists and editors of The Guardian ought to know by heart.
You argue in your letter that The Guardian has addressed each of my points. Begging your pardon here, but that is hardly the case. The Guardian refuses to acknowledge that it printed false statements about me, a nonexistent encounter between me and Angie Bray and Ms Bray herself. That is a breach of article 1 of the Code.
By refusing to grant me a right to reply, when I reasonably and within sensible time frame requested it, The Guardian violated article 2 of the Code.
Even though article 12 of the Code does not explicitly state politics as a reason for discrimination, this is clearly the case with respect to this issue.
So I will reiterate yet again: 1) that I have never met with Angie Bray; 2) that neither The Guardian nor Mr. Tucker have any evidence whatsoever that I travel regularly to my country to allegedly drum up support for my purportedly extremists views; 3) that I have not been consistently promoting terrorism against the government of Venezuela; 4) that the Conservative group at the GLA did not invite us, but rather accepted to meet with us, which is a completely different thing; and 5) that I refuse to accept Mr. Tucker's assumptions and innuendo regarding whatever political position I may adopt vis-a-vis the government of my country (Venezuela).
As you may gather I have very little regard for The Guardian’s stance on this particular, considering that instead of addressing the issue it is taking the side of Mr. Tucker, a man that actually has been arrested for involvement in violent protests in this country, a man who is on the record supporting Hugo Chavez’s coup d’état in 1992 against a democratically elected administration in Venezuela, stating that it was “morally justified” and a “tactical success” (loss of life notwithstanding). Since The Guardian has recourse to comments in blogs to support its untenable position, I should also mention that Mr. Tucker has publicly boasted in blogs about having beaten and disfigured someone so badly that it needed reconstructive surgery to its face, and has threatened people, me included, with physical violence in various occasions. This is what The Guardian is lending support to, alas it does so at the cost of its reputation, credibility and integrity as a serious news organization.
The resolution of this issue is really quite simple: The Guardian should just follow the letter of the Code and observe that duty to maintain the highest professional standards. One can only hope that The Guardian and especially the PCC understand that I am entitled to my opinion and my rights as much as the next person
To this, Ms Hales replied:date:Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:47 AM
subject: FW: ref 092120
Dear Mr Boyd
I write further to your email of 29 May.
The Commission has now received a further response to your complaint
from the Independent newspaper, please see below.
As you can see, the newspaper maintains that the majority of the article
was accurate and was in no way discriminatory. That said, the editor
has offered to publish a correction to set the record straight regarding
your attendance at a meeting with Ms Bray. Do let me know your thoughts
It may be worth noting that the primary aim of the Commission is the
resolution of complaints wherever possible and an added benefit of
resolving the matter is that a summary of your complaint - with your
consent and a wording agreed by you - will be published on our website
and in our bi-annual report. This will act, importantly, as a furthe
public record of your concerns and the subsequent remedial action taken
by the newspaper.
In any case, before a decision can be made as to how this matter might
be taken forward, I should be grateful to receive any further comments
you may wish to make. In particular - given that the Commission's
primary aim is the resolution of all substantive complaints wherever
possible - do please let me know any suggestions you have which would
help to resolve this matter to your satisfaction.
I should be pleased to receive your response within seven days, or
sooner, if convenient. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be
of any assistance to you.
From: Elisabeth Ribbans
Sent: 22 June 2009 18:47
To: Becky Hales
Subject: ref 092120
Dear Ms Hales
Thank you for your latest correspondence of June 1 regarding the
complaint brought by Aleksander Boyd (ref 092120).
As you know, we are always happy to set the record straight where an
error has occurred but - except in the matter of whether Mr Boyd met
Angie Bray, a point on which I requested clarification but received none
- we see no inaccuracy in the piece. Neither do we accept that the piece
was discriminatory, as Mr Boyd claims. Commentators must be allowed to
criticise the public actions and utterances of others, without that
charge being laid.
As I said before, we will issue a correction to say Mr Boyd never met Ms
Bray, if this is indeed the case. But at present I am unclear: it seems
Ms Bray was at the GLA meeting organised by Bob Neill in May 2006, which
Mr Boyd has confirmed that he attended. We believe this because it is
what Ms Bray appeared to say in an article she wrote for the Guardian:
Mr Boyd perhaps objects to Mr Tucker writing: "Angie Bray had arranged
to meet with a group including Boyd", when Mr Neill was in fact the
But if Ms Bray attended the meeting, it seems a semantic point. I would
be grateful if you could ask Mr Boyd to clarify whether he was at the
meeting attended by Neill and Bray.
My reply, Alek Boyd wrote:
date: Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 1:44 PM
subject: Re: FW: ref 092120
Dear Ms Hales,
Many thanks for your reply.
To be frank, Ms Hales, it seems to me that this is a dialogue of deaf,
where all parties keep repeating the same points time and again and no
one is actually acknowledging what the other parties are saying. In fact
this is the third occasion in which I categorically affirm to the Press
Complaints Commission, in very clear and understandable terms, that I
have never met with Angie Bray, yet The Guardian continuously refuses to
take my word for it. As stated in previous communications, The Guardian
has clearly taken the side of Mr. Tucker, taking his words at face value
without further factual corroboration. The Guardian is, as a matter of
fact, entitled to do that.
What The Guardian is not entitled to do, as far as I am aware, and is
actually a breach of the Code, is to publish false statements about a
party and then refuse to grant the aggravated party its statutory right
to reply. I should be most grateful if you could enlighten me if the
contrary were the case. Therefore Ms Ribbans' argument that The Guardian
is "As you know... always happy to set the record straight where an
error has occurred..." is disingenuous, and this communication of mine
to you, as a representative of the Press Complaint Commission, proves
the point, for had The Guardian acted responsibly and according to the
Code in the repeated instances where I respectfully requested directly
to The Guardian for my right to reply to be granted, we wouldn't be
having these exchange, would we?
The Guardian maintains that the majority of the article is accurate and
was in no way discriminatory, but I have maintained since publication of
article, as object of much of the criticism written by Mr Tucker, the
contrary: read that The Guardian, by siding with Mr. Tucker and ignoring
my plights to set the record straight, is brushing as invalid the point
of view of he who is the object of criticism. What do you think of this
Ms Hales, as representative of the Press Complaints Commission? Is it
not a generally accepted premise that there are always more than one
side to every story? Why has The Guardian, in the know of my
discontentment since days after publication, discriminated my views in
such patent way? Further, why is The Guardian so adamant in accepting my
side of the story? What's in it for them?
The Guardian does not accept my opinion, but I am meant to accept
theirs, and by extension that of Mr. Tucker. Does that seem fair to you?
On 15 May 2006, a group of Venezuelan victims of political persecution
and State-sponsored terrorism was to meet with Bob Neill at 9am at City
Hall. Among the group, there were the first Venezuelan couple ever to be
granted political asylum in the UK and a British-Venezuelan citizen who
was shot by supporters of Hugo Chavez on 16 August 2004. Former Mayor
Ken Livingstone banned the group from entering City Hall on security
grounds. As a result, Bob Neill proposed to reconvene the meeting at an
adjacent building later on in the day. That morning I arrived late to
the initial meeting at 9am, as I had been asked to comment on Hugo
Chavez's visit to London and I was moving from one BBC studio to
another. To the second, reconvened meeting, I also got in late and had
to leave before it ended, for I had to go to the BBC Daily Politics show
and, in the afternoon, I was scheduled to leave for a conference
organized by Sao Paulo's (Brazil) Chamber of Commerce, where I was to
talk about Venezuelan politics. So answering Ms Ribbans' question for
the umpteenth time, I did not meet that day, or at any subsequent one,
with Angie Bray. Needless to say that this is all in the public record,
and it would have been rather easy to establish the true nature of
events, had The Guardian done its homework. Instead, The Guardian has
decidedly chosen to blind itself to views that expose Mr. Tucker's
article as a summary of spurious allegations that have no basis in reality.
As per the resolution of this issue, I just want to set the record
straight, and by that I don't mean only a footnote or an edit of Mr
Tucker's article. Rather, I want my right to reply and equal treatment,
no more no less. People that disagree with my views about my country and
its current president have been using Mr. Tucker's article in The
Guardian as some sort of factual account, an established truth. As I can
demonstrate neither Mr. Tucker is an authoritative source on my
activities, nor are his arguments rooted in fact. Moreover, Mr. Tucker
himself is on the record making public threats to people that disagree
politically with him, and has a rather interesting record of involvement
in violent protests against perfectly legitimate business decisions. Mr.
Tucker is also on the record praising violent attempts to overthrow
democratically elected governments of my country, therefore his voice is
hardly a beacon of morality and rectitude.
Fortunately The Guardian in general seems to have changed the way in
which news about Venezuela and its president are presented, in light of
the wealth of evidence proving the totalitarian nature of that regime.
Alas in my particular case, I continue to be discriminated against for
no apparent reason, other than political or personal animosity.
To conclude, disregarding valid and timely requests for a right to
reply, when false allegations have been made, is a breach of the Code.
Discrimination is also a breach of the Code. Ergo, here's hope that the
Press Complaint Commission convinces The Guardian of the importance of
acknowledging my points of view, on a non-discriminatory basis, and
affords me my rights. Equally, I welcome your suggestion and opportunity
to have this issue published in the PCC's website and bi-annual report.
Rebecca Hales replies:
date: Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 2:53 PM
subject: FW: ref 092120
Dear Mr Boyd,
Please see below for the newspaper's final response.
Your case will now go to the Commission for its consideration. If you have anything further to add, please contact me before Wednesday 8 July.
From: Elisabeth Ribbans [mailto:elisabeth.ribbans@
Sent: 01 July 2009 21:10
To: Becky Hales
Cc: Elisabeth Ribbans
Subject: ref 092120
Dear Ms Hales
To conclude, I very much welcome any objective input into the matter by the commission.
Rebecca Hales replied:
date: Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 11:59 AM
subject: Complaint 092120
Dear Mr Boyd,
I write in response to your email of 28 July.
I am sorry you are disappointed with the Commission's decision. The Commission is always happy to reconsider its decision in cases where it has misunderstood the nature of a complaint. However, on this occasion this would not appear to be the case.
In answer to your questions:
The Commission used the term "oppositionist" to describe your website as it is written by one individual who opposes another individual or group (in the case of Vcrisis, the politicians of Venezuela).
The Commission did indeed consider your argument that you had never met with Angie Bray, nor had she, to the best of your knowledge, “arranged to meet with a group including” yourself. As the Commission's decision sets out, the article did not claim that you had met Ms Bray, merely that you both attended a meeting with GLA representatives and it decided that the reporting of this was not a breach of the Code.
I hope that this email is useful. I am sorry that the Commission cannot help you further on this occasion.
Another reply from me:
date: Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM
subject: Re: Complaint 092120
Dear Ms Hales,
thanks for your reply but this email is not as useful as you have hoped.
Your explanation of the Commission's use of "oppositionist" is appalling to be frank. Unlike me, you are all at the Commission native English speakers I presume. Yet you couldn't find a more appropriate term, such as "critical" or "disapproving", but borrowed straight from the derogatory jargon used by Hugo Chavez and his apologists to describe a perfectly legitimate position against a totalitarian regime whose links to terrorism pile up by the minute. May I invite you to point to other instances where the Commission has described websites/individuals critical of a given individual or group as "oppositionist"?* This reeks of discrimination.
The article clearly states: "Angie Bray, had arranged to meet with a group including Boyd..." Mind you read it yourself if you doubt my words, here's the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
So why, oh why, do you continue repeating the same allegation that there's no breach when, as a matter of fact, what was published is false?
The article contains no claim, as you argue, that "both [of us] attended a meeting with GLA representatives..."
To conclude, I am not expecting you/The Commission to be sorry, but rather to guarantee that my statutory rights are upheld and respected. The Guardian has printed lies about me and Angie Bray. No amount of double speak is going to change that.
So the thing ended there, until this morning, not so much to my surprise, I got a Google alert in my inbox about an article penned by, guess whom, Calvin Tucker, taking again everything out of context and being his usual thuggish self. So I got on the phone and called, for the first time, Rebecca Hales, just to ask whether the PCC had shared communications and information between myself, them and The Guardian with Tucker. Ms. Hales said the PPC does not share such information. In fact, after our telephone conversation she sent me an email.
Rebecca Hales wrote:
date: Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 3:47 PM
subject: Complaint 092120
Dear Mr Boyd,
I write further to our telephone conversation this morning.
Many thanks for drawing our attention to Mr Tucker's blog.
The PCC has been in touch with the Guardian and advised it that while
our decisions can of course be made public, we generally regard the
correspondence leading up to those decisions to be private between the
parties. This enables people such as yourself to complain to us in good
Of course, the newspaper is not responsible for this outside content,
and the PCC has no jurisdiction either over the blog, but we thought it
best to make the newspaper aware of the issue.
I have since been advised that the newspaper has contacted Mr Tucker who
has agreed to remove the blog post later this evening.
I do hope this is useful.
Now what are the chances of Calvin Tucker retracting from this? I'll tell you what: zero. As a matter of fact Tucker's latest charade has already been posted on another beacon of objective commentary and journalism (Vheadline.com) and in the following days it will most probably be reposted in Borev.net, Venezuelanalysis.com, Axisoflogic.com, and basically in all the online chavista rags. But that's OK. I don't mind for the stuff to be published in such places, as I didn't mind the hundred and something self-appointed 'experts' who demanded explanations from Human Rights Watch for, among other things, linking to my website (HRW defined them as peddlers of "baseless allegations"). I cared then because Noam Chomsky, who believe or not is meant to be one of the world's leading intellectuals, had lent his name for such reprehensible purposes, and I cared now because, believe or not, some people do think that The Guardian is a reputable, fair and objetive media outlet.
Back to Tucker's miraculous recovery and activities then. Despite having suffered years of trauma, panic attacks, sleepless nights and so on, according to his own words due to a kick that did not cause any damage, he has been able to summon enough courage to actually board a plane, go to Honduras, join a Galloway-type of pro-insurgency caravan with the wife of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, and dared army men and "hooded gunmen" to shoot. According to Tucker these balaclava-wearing, gun-toting, coup-supporting, opposition-killing fellas let him, and his caravan-friends, pass. But hang on a minute here, is it not true that Tucker is meant to be "in investment banking executive search, and has managed critical assignments on behalf of many of the world’s leading financial institutions?" What could he possibly be doing in Honduras, and more importantly, who paid for his trip, and how did he get to join the wife of Zelaya in caravan?
Records from Companies House show that Calvin Tucker resigned from his position of director of Dagama Executive Search in August 2008, he is not even a partner In Dagama anymore, therefore he was not in Honduras on a recruitment trip. Most likely he has been recruited by the Venezuelan regime to go agitate in favor of a Chavez associate.
Calvin Tucker is on record defending communism, from Czechoslovakia to Cuba, he cheers for terrorists groups from Colombia to Palestina, whom he calls insurgents, he supports the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments -as long as coups are led by radical leftists like himself, takes pride in having beaten someone so badly that it needed reconstructive surgery to his face (Tucker posting as Zin), he is infatuated with Castro and Chavez and, in a rather incredible turn of events, is now asking Obama, read the President of the much hated American Empire, to interfere in the sovereign affairs of Honduras.
As I said on The Guardian's comment section, where the news about my dealings with the PCC where posted even before Tucker published it on his website:
The positive thing about all this is that this is the kind of people The Guardian is siding with, for Calvin Tucker is as democratic and peaceful as the dictators ruling Venezuela and Cuba, and his professional credentials as trustworthy as those of Eva Golinger. Now The Guardian, and the general public, knows about Tucker. I guess I can rest my case now.
Written By Alek Boyd