Monday, November 28, 2005

Iraq abuse "as bad as Saddam era"

Via the BBC

The former Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, has called for immediate action against human rights abuses in Iraq:

"People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein's time and worse," Mr Allawi told the newspaper.

Iraq is the centrepiece of this region. If things go wrong, neither Europe nor the United States will be safe

Iyad Allawi

"It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam.

"These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam Hussein, and now we are seeing the same things."

Militias are operating within the Shia-led government, torturing and killing in secret bunkers, he said.

What are we to make of this alarming story? Is this an exaggeration, a political manoeuvre? Is it true or at least partly true? Hard to say.

If true, it demonstrates that instituting democracy from the top down is as hard as many predicted it would be.

And to the US and the UK it would signal a further need for prolonged presence of troops and that means more trouble to me. It's definitely starting to develop into a Vietnam-type situation...

He also warned of the danger of Iraq disintegrating in chaos.

"Iraq is the centrepiece of this region," he said. "If things go wrong, neither Europe nor the United States will be safe."

Keywords: , ,

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bush Planned to Bomb al-Jazeera

From the Mirror, hat tip to Ed Strong.

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

A source said last night: "The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush.

"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".

But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

The story was taken seriously enough by Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman to invite Frank Gaffney, President of the "think-tank" Center for Security Policy and super-hawk, to take part in a debate with an al-Jazeera journalist.

It provided a not-so-rare glimpse in the kind of thinking that dominates the hard right neocon agenda. To Frank Gaffney, had the US carried out such an attack, that would have amounted to nothing more that the killing of "enemy combatants". Gaffney is of course also a complete hypocrite, as he kept annexing every one of his utterances with "assuming such an attack had of course taken place", or words to that effect. It's rather gratuitous to defend military action that hasn't actually taken place.

Gaffney's justification for such an attack on al-Jazeera's head quarters ("assuming such an attack had of course taken place" [sic]): they're propagandists and therefore causing harm to the Allies, they must be "dealt with".

al-Jazeera are considered propagandists because they show material the US MSM aren't allowed to show. Executions of hostages, communiqués from bin Laden and similar anathema material which Bush and Co believe could garner support for al-Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgents. The latter is however highly unlikely, about as unlikely as streaming the glossed-over, ironed-out US version of events, into the homes of millions of Middle Eastern homes would increase support for the Iraq adventure in that part of the world.

al-Jazeera are in fact providing us with facts we would otherwise never learn about and that can only be a good thing.

Gaffney conveniently forgets that most of the US and UK MSM take part in their own propaganda battle, aimed at portraying the war in Iraq in the best possible light, filtering out anything that might show this war for what it really is and emphasising any successes, no matter how small, as proof that all will end well.

For this purpose alone the US operates a "Muslim" TV station, designed as a counter-force for al-Jazeera. Needless to say, no bugger actually watches it...

Gaffney seemed also to expect other "freedom loving nations" (read: UK and Europe) to feel exactly the same. Well, Frank, think again: in this part of the world journalists aren't considered "enemy combatants".

Last but not least, according to Gaffney's "definition", half the blogosphere are "enemy combatants" because they don't support the war and loathe most of the Gaffney-style baloney that comes with it. Frankly Frank, drop dead tomorrow and many here will celebrate it as another victory for the anti-war camp. Do you want me to spell it out even more clearly? Arsehole...

Want to read more on Frank Gaffney? Follow this link.

The Blairwatch Appeal:

As many of you will know, the memo regarding Bush's plans to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters, is now the subject of a gagging order, under the Official Secrets Act: in plain English, anyone caught publishing it risks going to prison for doing so. It's inconceivable that such a document can be withheld from the public and it is a further demonstration of the control-freakery of this New Labour Government. But one man, The Spectator's Boris Johnson, is prepared do just this: publish and be damned! Boris no longer stands alone, this here blogger and many other pledge to publish too, if the memo becomes available. You can join too:
pledge allegiance to this cause here.

Heard the Word of Blog?

Keywords: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Vive la difference?

In a typical tittle-tattle piece for the not-so-enlightened "elites", Oliver James of the Observer shows how an impressive ignorance of genetics can lead to further support for that old "theory": men have sex on the brain all the time, women are simply more virtuous... It's badly written and Oliver James sounds dazed and confused. I thought we'd left this kind of plumber-reasoning regarding genetics behind us some time ago but there's always an idiot here or there that thinks it will still make good copy.

This is an old and very tired story that has been successfully dismissed by several authors like Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) on theoretical grounds, as well as by many empirical studies.

The idea that males have an innate greater sexual appetite than their female counterparts is practically a contradiction in terms, because it cannot lead to an evolutionary stable strategy of reproduction, a viable equilibrium. In both male and female populations an entire span of sexual behavioural modes occurs, from "extreme monogamist" to "extreme polygamist", with these modes following probably more or less Gaussian ("normal") distributions. Any discrepancy between the male and female distributions of sexual behaviour would quickly be corrected in the offspring of that generation, to ensure equilibrium. Bluntly put, if some females suddenly started to behave more monogamously, other, more polygamous females would quickly spring up to restore the balance. The same holds true of the male population.

In humans, this discussion is from a genetical point of view quite futile because we cannot separate nature from nurture. In modern society, up to the advent of contraception women did indeed have a strong incentive to moderate sexual behaviour, as children aren't always desirable. The existence of female prostitution could be attributed, at least in part, to this cultural female sexual reluctance. Today, contraception has freed women sexually (no, it hasn't, but that's a different discussion) and female promiscuity, including prostitution, stripping, pornography etc, catering for women, is strongly on the rise.

But the innate equality of male and female sexual desire can clearly be seen in our closest cousins, the higher primates. A recent study of sexual behaviour in a particular species of Chimpanzees was pretty revealing. This was one of several species where dominant males tend to keep a harem of females, for their own delectations and to ensure these cannot be impregnated by males, other than their "owner".

But what the study showed was that many of these "bound" females carried babies resulting from sex with partners that didn't even belong to the same tribe, let alone sired by their "owners". Talk about sneaking out of the bedroom and into another lover's arms. Good on you, ladies.

Heart-warming then to know that these female "sluts" were at least as devious as their male bonking "stud" counter-parts... Vive la difference? Sure, but this isn't one of them.

Oliver James, go write for Heat magazine or something equally unchallenging, that sounds about right for the intellectual capacity of the Baboon that you actually are...

Originally published as a comment on this post by Ed Strong. Edited for the post you're reading.

, ,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hillary and Condy in Israel...

Hat tip to Umkahlil

I never quite saw the Clintons as the "Golden Couple" many over here in Europe perceived them to be. Sure, Bill Clinton may have been the best American president of the last 25 years but two Bushes and a Reagan don't make a right...

As regards Hillary, she lost my support long time a go when she supported the invasion of Iraq. Bill's own current anti-war stance needs to be seen in the light of pervious clear pro-war statements.

Condy? She's nothing more than an example of a rabid neocon that's dug a hole for her self and now just keeps digging, at everyone else's expense.

Both were visiting Israel recently. Let's hear it from Hillary first:
“This [wall] is not against the Palestinian people. This is against terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help prevent terror. They have to change their attitudes about terrorism, starting with the Palestinian Authority and going through Palestinian society.”

Of course the Palestinian people should cease their military struggle, for they are fighting a war against Fortress Israel that cannot be won. Israeli retaliation ensures that for every Israeli killed by Palestinian violence, two to five Palestinians lose their lives too. And Palestinian on Israeli violence will forever be used by Israel as an excuse to not negotiate a fair deal: "we don't negotiate with terrorists", a viewpoint which rightly or wrongly, is largely followed by the rest of the world.

Ceasing the violence should therefore be a tactical consideration, one that would prove the wall to be what it really is: a fence "protecting Israeli land" from "Palestinian intruders". Proof of the land grab, Project Eretz Israel... Hillary, this wall is of course against the Palestinian people.

Condy's up next:
“Not to be outdone, we get the reiteration of her boss's incredulous 'Sharon is a man of peace' from Condoleeza Rice.

Addressing Sharon at a U.S.-Israeli symposium Sunday, Rice struck an unusually personal tone, saying: "President Bush and I admire your personal courage, your leadership and the crucial contribution to peace that you are making."

Oh, yes, of course.
Sharon the man of "small massacres"
, Sharon the man of large massacres, in short: Sharon the man of peace. Pahleaease...

, , , , ,

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The X-Factor...

Few programs send me up the wall as much as reality TV, celebrity-this or celebrity-that and such-like utter nonsense. And in that category, the X-Factor really is the one that takes the biscuit. It's the one that basically drives me out of any room, makes me come out in spots and causes the need to vomit almost beyond control...

Why? Because I'm against entertainment or escapism? Nope, although I do feel that "entertainment ", however feeble it often is, takes up far too much television time, pushing anything even remotely serious into late spots where the good citizens of our countries never get to see them, left to a diet of mind bogglingly mindless, mediocre and often boorishly boring "stuff".

Why then am I so thoroughly riled by a show that enjoys such tremendous success?

Mostly because such "reality" TV shows, a misnomer if there ever was one, portray the world exactly as it is not. I truly believe that "anti-reality TV show" would be quite an accurate category description for the kind of TV ordeal that thrives on the illusion and complete paradox that everyone can be a "star", a "celebrity". Of course, if we were all stars... there would be no stars. And a bunch of untalented underachievers which rarely exceed the musical level of a routined karaoke fanatic cannot become stars anyway. Not surprisingly then that winners of this event disappear from the firmament even faster than those of that other famous "music festival", the Eurovision Song Contest.

But the biggest mistake anyone could make is to believe that the X-Factor is actually about creating starlets. It isn't at all. Sure, because of the competition element which keeps the audiences come back time after time, someone has to win and get their ten minutes of fame. But it's the production Company, the TV channel ITV 1, the judges and presenter that make the real money, over and over and over again...

The whole thing is also completely engineered, orchestrated with the precision of a Nuremberg rally. Centrepiece are the three "judges", who behave as they are expected to behave in this pantomime. Simon ("the MEAN one", oh, scary stuff!), Sharon ("fishwife cum celebrity wife") and Louis ("Oirishman cum good"). Then there's the feisty, buxom blonde presenter Kate and the wannabe-stars who invariably produce dull, out of tune or out of sync renditions of bubble gum "pop classics", chosen by their star-forging mentors... the judges.

Finally, to complete the recipe, an enthusiastic audience is needed. I always like to think that these people are jolted into applauding and jumping up and down with glee at every fart that is being uttered, by means of electrical shocks, but I know I'm sadly mistaken. These people really exist. They are there. They are real. Sure, they'll need a little prodding from time to time but generally speaking their delectations are genuine.

The success of this show with both the studio and home audiences can really only be explained by the wishful thinking factor: all participants (including those who already are stars), really want to be believe their time will also come one day; they too will strike it big and make a fast buck that could set them up for life and out of the low lands of moderate impoverishment.

That people really do put their hopes and dreams into this kind of starry-eyed belief system was illustrated recently when one mother of a turned-down auditioner said through tears: "they've ruined my daughter's life!" How little then, my dear, must your daughter's life have been worth and how unsuitable must she indeed have been for a life of stardom.

Therein lays of course the danger: that young people start accepting this kind of canned nonsense as a real role model and limit their aspirations to the vain hope of ever appearing on, let alone winning, this non-event.

It should come as no surprise that the X-Factor is most popular in the two countries that have the largest divide between rich and poor of the entire Western world: the UK and the US, where the "American Dream" really still is alive, much to the detriment of those masses of people who'll never amount to any kind of stardom. At best this shows gives a lot to those who already have a lot, and a little to one or two people who didn't have much in the first place, thereby perpetuating the "haves/have nots" divide further. No, Robin Hood it ain't...

And in the wake of these glossed-over plastic TV paradises where all protagonists are good looking (males) and sexy (females) comes also the further babefication, even pornification of what passes for entertainment on these shores...


Armed Police in Britain?

Only over my dead body. Why is it that in this essentially deeply conservative and traditional country every time something dreadful happens, voices call for diehard knee-jerk reactions like the new "anti-terror" legislation and now, with the callous murder of a PC, for the further arming of police officers?

Don't they realise that our police force and its policy of no bearing of firearms is actually a shining example to most of the rest of Europe?

Don't they realise that these officers bearing firearms would almost certainly not have prevented this latest killing?

Don't they realise that only officers with their hand constantly on the holster, ready to return fire, like the Sheriffs in the US of Dodge City, could make these firearms "effective"? Do we want that kind of society?

Don't they realise that arming every police officer will only lead to more gunfights and more gun related deaths, on both sides?

Don't they realise that the police are already backed up by rapid intervention armed units?

And film director Michael Winner, founder of the Police Memorial Trust, said if officers were armed they would have "a better chance of retaliation". That's right Michael, retaliation is really going to solve the problem...

No, what does need to be done is to investigate how despite the widely supported ban, more and more illegal firearms seem to be appearing on our streets. That should be our priority, you knee-jerkers...

, , ,


Rather too baffled at this latest find to comment much on it. So I'll let the story speak for itself...

Public comments are now being accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its newly proposed federal regulation regarding the testing of chemicals and pesticides on human subjects. On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children. But the EPA's newly proposed rule, misleadingly titled "Protections for Subjects in Human Research," puts industry profits ahead of children's welfare. The rule allows for government and industry scientists to treat children as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments in the following situations:

Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research.
Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused.
Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable.

Full story, Hat tip to This Old Brit.

, ,

Friday, November 18, 2005

Prisoners of Metaphorical War (POMW)

As time goes by, there is an increasing risk that the "enemy combatants" held in Guantanamo Bay for three years now will become a forgotten group, known about by fewer and fewer people and cared about by even fewer.

The term "enemy combatants" is of course Rumspeak for Prisoners of War. But what war are we talking about here? The "Global War on Terror"? The war in Afghanistan?

The former is really a metaphorical one, much like the "war on drugs" or the "war on school truancy". Without a clearly identifiable enemy, confined within National borders, the concept of "war" is to be considered metaphorical, a "fight" or "struggle" rather an actual "war".

And these "enemy combatants" can therefore not be considered POWs because it leads to a ridiculous paradox. At the end of a "war" (in the narrow, precise meaning of the word), prisoners of war are released or exchanged by the previously warring Nations. But this "war on terror" may never end, thereby effectively condemning these "enemy combatants" to a life sentence, without charge, trial, conviction or sentencing.

Then there is the argument that some, maybe many, are members of al-Qaeda. Let that even be true. How then is it possible that after three years no charges have been brought to most of them? It is reasonable to assume that any al-Qaeda members imprisoned at Camp Delta are rather low level cadres, against whom bringing reasonable charges should not be too problematic. Instead these prisoners continue to be held in conditions far removed from those applied to other prisoners awaiting trial.

Amnesty International is now campaigning for reasonable access for these prisoners, many of which have been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time and some of which are on hunger strike.

, , , , ,

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bomber's Last Words

Lest we forget that the link between Britain's involvement in the disastrous "anti-terror" wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is almost certainly real and strong, we need to remind ourselves of the last words, recorded on video, of one of the London suicide bombers.

Via Channel 4's More4 News
The words of the British suicide bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan calling on Muslims here to follow in his footsteps.

The tape - much of it unseen before today - gives a stark insight into the mind of man who murdered six people for his beliefs.

He was known as Sid in the Yorkshire town of Beeston where he grew up.

Watch the video.

I've no doubt in my mind that the more we prolong British military presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the more we're breeding more home-grown terrorists, some of which will be far more determined than the last batch and intent on creating far more damage and carnage...

, , , , ,

Sir Ian Blair makes sense

Sir Ian surprised me, along with quite a few others I imagine, by calling for a fresh public debate on policing strategy, in his Dimbleby lecture. Policing here was meant in the broad sense of the word: from the "glamorous" fight against terrorism to the "mundane" battle with anti-social behaviour in all its guises. In short, Sir Ian says that policing is too important to leave it to police chiefs. Too right...

Cynics will argue that this is an exercise in damage control after the disastrous 90 days vote in the Commons or even a bold move to get his head of the chopping block in relation to the shooting of Mr De Menenez and the related inquiry which is likely to be damaging for Sir Ian. I reserve judgement on these points.

I think most of us would welcome such a debate. In Britain we face quite a dilemma. On the one hand we have a unique police force, over 90% unarmed, on the other hand we do face a very serious terrorist threat. I certainly agree with Sir Ian that there is the potential for attacks that would be far more damaging than the tube attacks. Our complex infrastructure of chemical manufacturing, gas transportation and public transport (to name but three potential targets) leaves us open to terrorist scenarios of truly nightmarish proportions.

So we need to balance the need for more effective high-end policing with the fact that we don't want to change our society altogether.

But how such a debate is to be conducted is not very clear: ours is not a direct democracy.

Last but not least, we need to consider one of the most effective (as well as inexpensive) terrorism counter-measures: changing our foreign policy, with regards to the Middle East in general and our presence in Iraq in particular.

Guardian Leader comment.

, , , ,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

White Phosphorus over Fallujah (Confirmed)

In an earlier post I commented on an Italian (RAI) TV station's allegations that the US military had used MK-77 white phosphorus incendiary weapons during its assault on Fallujah, while reserving judgement about the reality behind the story.

It would now appear this story is actually being confirmed.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt Col Barry Venable, confirmed to the BBC the US had used white phosphorus "as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants" - though not against civilians, he said.

San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Falluja, told the BBC's Today radio programme he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents.

However, he "never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians", he said.

White phosphorus is highly flammable and ignites on contact with oxygen. If the substance hits a person's body, it will burn until deprived of oxygen., a defence website, says: "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone."

Via the BBC.

And it would appear that even Bush's own GOP is starting to ask for details of an exit strategy, judging by a newsflash from ABC News...

Keywords: , , , ,

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tony Parsons' Technocracy...

Was it a cynical move to pit intellectual flyweight Tony Parsons against experienced parliamentarians Clare Short (Labour rebel) and Kenneth Clark (Tory "Big Beast") on the Beeb's "This Week" last night? You might actually believe so, considering the outcome of the debate...

Parsons, columnist for The Daily "People's Bog Roll" Mirror, showed the intellect and in-depth analysis of a boiled parsnip, while ranting about "fanny arsed MPs" who had dared so treacherously to pull the rug from below the PM's feet on the 90 days detention without charge legislation, whilst otherwise "fiddling their expense reports".

Firstly, we were shown a video of Parsons livid ravings against the "Westminster playpen", which with their "Ivory tower mentality" had put the country at great risk by not following the Police's advice and by letting the Leader Supremo down. The Tories were equally lambasted but then Tony doesn't really need choice on who to vote for, as democracy as far as he's concerned is just a nuisance, standing in the way of those few righteous people, capable of securing the country's safety single-handedly, like Tony and Ian Blair.

Then followed a debate between all protagonists and moderated by Andrew Neil, which at times threatened to degrade into fisticuffs. Tony Parsons showed a rarely seen ignorance of the subject matter at hand. His central tenet can be summarised as "Democracy is Dead, Long live Technocracy: just leave it to the experts, mate!"

Now I'm all for listening to the experts, including the Police, but it would be a complete inversion of democratic principles to bypass debate in Parliament and let the Police mandarins dictate Government policy.

Parsons also gladly conceded his ignorance on the detention without charge legislation. "28 days, 90 days, well I don't know either, we have to rely on the Police recommendations". You twat!

Parsons strikes me as being one of these loathsome people who don't understand democracy very well, can't really be bothered with it that much and then complain they aren't getting their way...

And of course, according to this "people's champion", anyone against these long detention times will have blood on their hands when the next attack occurs...

The main argument against long detention times without charge isn't party political or civil liberties protection (although that comes into it as well). The main argument is that it simply isn't necessary. Current detention times of 14 days (now almost certainly to be extended to 28 days after amendments by the Lords) with efficient Police and surveillance work are more than adequate to fight and prevent crimes of terror. Gathering prima facia evidence prior to arrest and the presumption of innocence aren't just civil liberties issues: they also contribute to effective, rather than sloppy Police work.

And before we sign over the parliamentary debate to the Met's advice, let's not forget three other facts:

1. the "shoot to kill policy", also recommended by Sheriff Ian Blair, proved to be disastrous,
2. when the Police argued against 24 hour drinking times, HMG ignored their recommendations. It seems this government applies a pick-and-mix attitude to the Police's recommendations,
3. it would appear the senior Police officials have in fact been leaned on by HMG to persuade MPs in their constituencies to vote for the 90 days. Some democracy...

Tony Parsons, stick to writing crap about Camilla, that's about your level really...

, , , ,

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bliar Defeated over 90 days Detention!

His Prime Ministerial Presidentship Bliar III, has lost the whipped vote in the House of Commons over the 90 days detention without charge for terror suspects.

Right now I'm too numb from pinching myself, so more to follow later. Suffice to say that the Threatening Tone for once hasn't prevailed, thank the Lawd...

The main questions that spring to mind immediately are:

1. the future of the PMP?
2. the future of the anti-terror legislation in general?

, , ,

White Phosphorus over Fallujah

Hat tips to Blairwatch and Chickenyoughurt.

Italian television station RAI has published a documentary that alleges the US military used white phosphorus ("Whiskey P., in military vernacular) during its assault on Fallujah. Whiskey P. is very similar to Napalm, used extensively in Vietnam, and its effects on human beings are almost identical. These incendiary explosives burn, even melt people, inflicting horrific wounds and often death on their victims.

This nothing short of the use of chemical weapons.

Whilst I reserve judgement on the veracity of this story, it would indicate that the coalition is sowing decades of popular Iraqi resentment and that cannot be in the interest of our nations or Iraq itself.

Watch the RAI documentary and slideshow here. Not for the faint of heart.

, , , ,

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Zionist Niceties Part 2

In a previous post, "Zionist Niceties", I pointed out some of the less desirable elements of modern Zionism and half expected a small barrage of comments along the lines of "these people aren't representative of modern Israel, they're only the extreme side of Zionism", but I only received one such comment. The commenter was pointing out something most people understand: the fundamentalist far right of Likud is not a majority: it's rather the extremist side of Zionism, but one that yields considerable power. Armed to the teeth they can afford to...

But there is also that other face of the Zionist cause: the moderate peace-seeking block, whose voice is so often drowned out and whose role could be so important in reaching a compromise, two-state solution for the Palestine/Israel question.
I'm an Internet member of Peace Now. They keep sending me emails inviting me to attend their meetings and rallies, which unfortunately I can't attend, although I'd love to...

This old Brit, pointed out another one to me: Gush Shalom. I doubt if there aren't many more such sites, in fact I'm sure there are.

And whilst most of us agree that the beauty of life often lies in the small things, we often forget it too.
At Je blog the author provides a moving account of how the parents of a Palestinian boy, shot by the IDF, made his organs available to Israeli kids, thereby saving several lives. If only there were more people like this, then this world might actually be a decent place...

, , , , , , , ,

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Betrayal of the Radical Left...

In a blogpost by David Zarnett entitled The Betrayal of the Radical Left the author provides a well written but in my view also rather old fashioned analysis of the historical drivers of the radical left and in particular that section which David labels "neo-Marxists".

The central tenets of David's piece can be summarised as follows:

1. Fundamentalist Islam is out to seek world domination,
2. The radical left is allying itself with this enemy of old, to further its own objectives.

As regards the first point, I'm not going to waste an awful lot of words on it. I believe the whole idea of Islam's perceived objective of Global Domination to be no more than the religious Far Right's wet dream of an all-ending clash with a centuries old nemesis, a modern day Armageddon, which speaks to the imagination of simple minds and is exploited by those who have vested interests in mobilising the cannon fodder for wars like Iraq and future ones to come.

That there exist within each religious group extreme elements dreaming of global domination cannot be denied but the fact that there numbers are too small to realistically wage such a conflict, is in my view hard to dispute.

Further elaboration on why I find the "Clash of Civilisations" idea rather laughable, although possibly a self-fulfilling prophecy, if we keep preaching and believing it, can be found at
bin Laden and the Swedish Connection, How the West has Won the World, How the West was Wrong and Neo-conservative Nonsense.

So, it's really the second point that merits most of my attention. Again,
my rebuttal of David's position can be found in the exchange of comments on his blogpost.

Let me first state that I'm not "radical left" (a long time ago, "radical chic" perhaps but that has nothing to with politics). Nonetheless, I feel that David is confusing issues here. The fact that many on both sides of the political spectrum reject the legitimacy of the war on terror as it's being fought in its present form, that they believe the idea of an impending International war between Islam and Christianity to be no more than a mirage and that al-Qaeda has far different objectives than to seek global domination for Islam, does not constitute a betrayal by the Radical Left, in the form of an alliance between the former and Islamist fundamentalism.

David appears very much stuck in "Cold War mode" in that respect.

Despite a rather amicable exchange of views, David then decided to unilaterally end the discussion, for reasons that remain unclear as yet. I can only say that the same once happened in a private exchange of views by email, which David also terminated without a further peep.

This is therefore my only opportunity to set the record straight and end my frustration with someone who writes in his closing statement:
I may be discussing this with someone who may be more radical and close minded than I initially believed.

I can only guess at David's reasons fro suspecting me of radicalism. Perhaps it was the mention of Zionism? It's my experience that those Jews living outside of Israel, for some utterly bizarre reason take exception to being called Zionists, when their brethren in Israel wear that term so often as a badge of honour. Call a spade a spade, and get called anti-spade as thanks for your trouble.

Perhaps I'm wrong and you're not Jewish, David, but if you are I see no reason for you to take offence at my referring to your perspective as "Zionist". Your views on Israel and Iran don't lie and you're perfectly entitled to them. And even if I'm wrong I see no need to apologise: Zionism and Jew aren't swearwords in my book.

Finally, your assertion that:
Experts on terrorism will tell you that terrorism and media technology go hand in hand. They are masters of spin and PR no doubt - like all political groups they must do this to spread their message. Radical Islamist groups in Iraq have a large internet presense to diseminate their ideas.

is risible. Who are the masters in media spin here: Al Jahzeera and al-Qaeda? Or the West. Oh, OBL spins very well indeed but in terms of media coverage the West can drown out just about anybody. And they do so.

And Iran's Internet presence? Well let's swap numbers about US/UK/European Internet presence and Iran's counter-offensive in that part of the world...

, , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Zionist Niceties...

When The Iranian President Ahmadinejad made his now infamous and indefensible "Israel must be wiped off the map" statement, he was addressing a conference entitled "The World without Zionism".

This statement was used quickly by our own mass murderer, Tony Blair, as well as other world leaders, to promise the Iranians a taste of their own medicine.

But with all this rhetoric and grandstanding flying around, we tend to forget some of the niceties the Israelis have been saying over the years about the Palestinian people and the Zionist cause in particular.

So what do the Zionists have to say about the Palestinians?

Just to get you warmed up, here's a quote from an interview of Ariel Sharon by Amos Oz, a tale of healthy bombardments and small massacres....

We'll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality, the moral lessons of the holocaust or about the Jews who were supposed to have emerged from the gas chambers pure and virtuous. No more of that. The destruction of Eyn Hilwe (and it's a pity we did not wipe out that hornet's nest completely!), the healthy bombardment of Beirut and that tiny massacre (can you call 500 Arabs a massacre?) in their camps which we should have committed with our own delicate hands rather than let the Phalangists do it, all these good deeds finally killed the bullshit talk about a unique people and of being a light upon the nations. No more uniqueness and no more sweetness and light. Good riddance.

By the way, the Sabra and Shatila massacres for which Mr Sharon had to stand down as Minister of Defence, following massive protests in Israel itself, cost an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Palestinian lives, just a few more than the quoted 500 figure. Sure, had the IDF done their own dirty work instead of relying on the Phalange, the death toll might have been much higher still...

And from an interview with "C.", who apparently isn't Sharon.
Leibowitz is right, we are Judeo-Nazis, and why not? Listen, a people that gave itself up to be slaughtered, a people that let soap to be made of its children and lamp shades from the skin of its women is a worse criminal than its murderers. Worse than the Nazis ... If your nice civilised parents had come here in time instead of writing books about the love for humanity and singing 'Hear O Israel' on the way to the gas chambers, now don't be shocked, if they instead had killed six million Arabs here or even one million, what would have happened?

Sure, two or three nasty pages would have been written in the history books, we would have been called all sorts of names, but we could be here today as a people of 25 million!"

"Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don't care. And I don't mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal. Then you can spruce up your Jewish conscience and enter the respectable club of civilised nations, nations that are large and healthy. What you lot don't understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it.

Charming man, is "C"...

Well, at least we know where we stand.

Full text here.

, , , , , , , ,