The battle for hearts and minds in the on-going war in Gaza has just taken a sinister turn.
Stop the War Coalition, the anti-war organisation which has attracted such high-profile supporters as Tony Benn, pictured right, has been forced to shut down its website after it was attacked by hackers.
The breach occurred over the weekend, when it was helping organise the march on the Israeli embassy in London. Understandably, the organisation is now convinced the attack was carried out by supporters of Israel.
"It's a well-known tactic," insists a spokesman. "The same thing happened to us before our anti-Iraq war protests in 2003. We obviously can't prove any connection but the timing would suggest that it's a supporter of Israel. In fact, someone told me that there is a firm in Israel which specialises in this sort of thing.
"At the same time that our website was under attack, a number of videos went up on YouTube which claimed the demonstration had been cancelled. Someone posted notices on our Facebook groups saying the same thing." Stop the War, whose protests in London against the invasion of Iraq are the largest political demonstrations in the capital's history, was quick to point out the private details of those on its mailing list would not have been obtained by the hackers.
"There is no overlap between our membership database and the website so none of our members need to worry at all," the spokesman told me.
Jamie won't cry over spilt milk
If Jamie Oliver's trademark cheeky grin isn't much in evidence in his latest TV programme, here's the reason why.
At the end of the month the excitable chef, pictured right, appears in Jamie Saves Our Bacon, a film about pork production, which is being shown as part of Channel 4's Great British Food Fight Season.
Since the programme covers all stages of the production line – from insemination to appearing on the plate – he at one point is required to "milk" a boar.
"I don't think it was his idea in particular – it's just a part of the show which follows all the different stages of the pigs' farming," says a spokesman for Oliver.
"If you watch it then you'll see how it all fits in. His focus is on the reality of pigs life.
"He takes part in the artificial insemination, in the birth, in how they die. He did the same for chickens. Artificial insemination is part of a pigs' life."
Channel 4's decision to screen the act, while curious, is by no means a broadcasting first. That dubious honour falls to rivals Five, who once aired footage of Rebecca Loos committing the same act on the much-maligned reality TV show, The Farm.
Yet more strife for Esther
Further trouble for the former GMTV presenter Esther McVey, in her efforts to become a Tory MP. Dick Calver, the former chair of the local Conservative Association in Wirral West, where she is standing, is being sued over allegations that he called a colleague an "Islamic terrorist" and accused him of threatening to burn down his house.
It's the third such setback in the past year for McVey and her colleagues. Last January she paid her Labour opponent £6,500 in damages after she incorrectly accused him of taking part in a cricket "junket" in Australia. Three months later, a Tory councillor was forced to hand over £6,000 to a colleague after alleging financial impropriety.
Frost kicks on – but Black doesn't
*Rory Bremner has opened up a porthole to an afternoon at David Frost's Kensington abode.
"I once played football in his garden," he writes in this week's Radio Times. "I was marking Michael Howard in midfield. David Seaman was in one goal. Conrad Black was in the other. The mud was seeping into his expensive brindle suede shoes. Bet he wishes he was there now."
Sadly, history doesn't relate what the outcome of the match was, but why Black was considered a safe pair of hands between the sticks is anyone's guess.
Lembit takes it on the chin
Lembit Opik missed out in Nick Clegg's recent reshuffle of the Liberal Democrat front bench, but the great man has accepted the snub with characteristic stoicism. "What with my constituency, media and speaking commitments, I'm actually too busy for anything like that at the moment," he says. "Among other things, my newspaper column in the Daily Sport has been expanded to a full page. I hope Nick Clegg will understand. If I can find the time, I'll give him a call at some stage."
The Guy to blame
The party to mark the final night of London's Astoria may have been cancelled, but the evening won't pass unmarked.
Club organisers Manumission, who last week binned plans for a final concert before the 80-year-old venue is demolished, will be turning up to burn an effigy of Ken Livingstone.
"Since Ken was then one who allowed it to close, we thought it appropriate," I'm told.Reuse content