Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Laban The Far-Right Extremist

Or, They Flee From Me That Sometime Did Me Seek.

I noticed a couple of months back that I'd fallen off Clive Davis's Speccie blogroll.

Serves you damn well right, Laban, I thought. He's been posting there for months and you're still linking to his old site. And have you considered the possibility that what you're posting just isn't good enough ?

I did leave a comment at the site, but alas I never found out why I'd gone. Pity. I'd been flattered to have such a fine writer reading my stuff.

But when I lost the link from Harry's Place I was more concerned. Along with Norman Geras and Jackie Danicki, Harry was one of the first bloggers to link to me back in 2003. And on a purely selfish-stats note, I must have had 20,000+ visitors via HP. After Google image search (mostly people looking for Helen Mirren's spectacular staircase entrance in 'Savage Messiah') it's my top referrer.

So I wrote to one of the HP crew asking why I'd fallen off the list, and was told that it was 'probably' to do with having links to some far-right sites - perhaps Majority Rights or Nationalist News - both of which I link to because they link to me (although MR has a history - I originally linked because John Jay Ray wrote there - he was then removed by the MR crew because of his pro-Israel views and because he didn't see the hand of the Zionist Menace in everything - so it's a bit of a hangover). I'm on record as saying that I'd link to Satan himself for a link back, although I think I'd draw the line at, say, a blogger who was a convicted and unrepentant killer.

That explanation made sense - but I asked why now, when I'd linked for ages to such sites. Was there a battle going on I was unaware of (apart from the usual Stopper/Euston mullarkey)? Were the boys at Lenin's Tomb or Socialist Unity writing nasty stuff about the company HP kept, and doing the degrees of separation ? Were the advertisers twitched ?

I asked - but answer came there none. Cast into the dustbin of blogging history with nary an explanation. OK, it's not exactly a neck-shot in the corridors of the Lubiyanka - but a man still likes to know the evidence against him. I wrote a couple of weeks ago, so a reply seems unlikely. It is I suppose possible that they're as lazy as I am and as poor correspondents - but all of them ?

So I thought I'd try and work it out. And while I'm not sure if it has any bearing at all, I did find this blog post by a Charlie Pottins.

Another hate attack reported by Searchlight also has an internet connection, apparently. In the early hours of June 9 a fire gutted the offices of Positive East, a charity helping people affected by HIV and Aids. It is being treated as arson.

Searchlight notes that the charity was based in a private house, with no outward sign of its purpose. It also notes that Mark Santos, who runs the charity, was a Labour candidate in Hainault ward, in the London Borough of Redbridge, in May. Julian Leppert of the BNP was elected in Hainault.

As Searchlight points out, the local charity and Mark Santos were the subject of an attack on the blog site run by a mysterious person calling himself "Laban Tall", after a character in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd.

He objected to the aids charity receiving funding from local taxpayers.


Mr Pottins first drags a few implications across the trail :

"... for someone who claims to be engaged in agriculture in Puddletown, Dorset, "Laban Tall" obviously keeps a close watch on people and politics in suburban Essex. At least on those who may have upset the BNP. But whoever his eyes and ears are, we can't accuse him of having a hand in anything someone does there, nor of himself having BNP sympathies ..."

then calls on Norman Geras to "out" this mysterious person. Charming.

Apart from that, he seems quite a sensible chap - his blog's actually not a bad read.

He's referring to this post, a slightly tongue-in-cheek response (if Mr Pottins or Searchlight call it an 'attack' they need to get out more) to claims here and there that the ordinary people of Essex had reacted with revulsion to BNP gains at local elections. My "close watch on people and politics in suburban Essex" consisted of typing "BNP -paribas" into Google News - and the point of the post - if any - was to show that the only evidence for said wave was a few letters by the usual suspects - Labour candidates and anti-fascist activists.

However, the timescales were uncomfortable. I wrote about Mr Santos' patriotic fervour in May 2006 - the following month the building where he worked was set on fire. Could one of Laban's readers have been roused to such an act by my incendiary prose ? A worrying thought. And how many more of you twisted firestarters are out there ? Just looking at my posts since I returned from Scotland I realised that Canterbury Cathedral, the Boat and Bridge of Orchy Hotels and the Clachaig Inn may all need to check their fire insurance.

If you're reading this, Keir Whittaker, you're a very naughty reader !

21 Dec 2006

AN HIV sufferer who torched an Aids charity centre was told by a judge he should be commended by the court for owning up to his crime. On Friday Judge Inigo Bing told Keir Whittaker, 33, he deserved the "thanks of the public" for giving himself up to police.

Whittaker broke into the Positive East building in Mildmay Road, Ilford - where he had previously had counselling - and set fire to the curtains. The property was gutted in the arson attack which caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage - but fortunately no one was killed or injured. Mark Santos, director of Positive East, said: "This was a tragedy on all levels and clearly not the actions of a well man. The building is under repair and we are thinking about reopening it, but the people of Redbridge have not lost out on our services, we are just providing them in a different way."

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Whittaker had already been locked up twice for arson attacks and he was given three years for his latest offence. Whittaker had been drinking alcohol and taking drugs on June 9 when he felt "impulsive" and broke into Positive East, starting the fire with a cigarette lighter. He handed himself into Ilford police on July 29 and also admitted stealing petty cash from an ex-lover to spend on booze and drugs.

Martin McCarthy, defending, said: "He went to the HIV centre. They were counselling him. After a consumption of drugs or alcohol, there he was, early in the morning. He says, in desperation, acting impulsively and walking around the area, he broke into the property and set light to it."

Judge Bing told Whittaker: "What is remarkable and unusual in this case, for which you receive the commendation of the court and thanks of the public, is that you gave yourself up to the police and confessed to the crime - because without your confession this crime would not have been solved."

Whittaker, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life. He will have 138 days already spent in custody knocked off his term.



Quite frankly, a homeless HIV-positive serial arsonist and petty thief - who had already been to the centre - doesn't feel like the profile of a typical reader - and it may be that "serial arsonist" is the key factor here. But you never can tell - so I'd like to make it plain to all of you, as well as Mr Pottins and Searchlight, that I disapprove of setting fire to buildings - or people. If Messrs Searchlight and Pottins would like to campaign with me for much tougher sentences for arsonists no one would be happier than I. And in the meantime, perhaps they'd like to add a wee correction to their posts ?

(One other point - one of the other anti-BNP correspondents I quoted was a Diana Neslen, whose son had previously, according to Mr Pottins, been attacked by a BNP activist. I can see why that kind of thing might make you want to write letters to the paper, but I'm really not sure how I'm meant to have known that - or what I should have done if I had. But I'd also like to make it plain that I utterly reject the political tactic of 'duffing people up in the streets' - and would like to see perpetrators jailed for a very long time. If Mr Pottins wants to look for a Dorset-based political activist who keeps a "close watch on people and politics in suburban Essex" and does believe in that tactic, tell the Searchlight boys to get down to to Burton Bradstock at once.

And a second, slightly worrying point. Defending counsel Martin McCarthy missed a trick by not googling Mr Santos and his centre. With the Searchlight article he could have presented his client as a poor deluded man, led astray by his visits to a "hate site".

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the REAL motivation for this crime must be sought elsewhere. I request an adjournment while we subpoena the relevant Blogger and ISP information to enable us to bring the joint author of this conspiracy - might I say the prime mover - before you"

I might have cause to thank Steve Taylor for his 'Internet for Prisoners' campaign yet.)

16 comments:

Geronimo McTavish said...

Your power over your followers is awesome to behold!

Harry Hutton said...

I still link to you, you lunatic. And I’m going to keep on linking to you, no matter how many curtains get set on fire.

I love you, man.

Anonymous said...

David T had a post on HP a few weeks ago, which ended up by saying that 'a little less time should be spent running around like Dad's Army's Private Frazer intoning 'We're doomed, doomed!'' I wondered at the time if this was meant as a reference to you.

JuliaM said...

"So I wrote to one of the HP crew asking why I'd fallen off the list, and was told that it was 'probably' to do with having links to some far-right sites..."

"Nothing wrong with you, old chap, it's the virtual company you keep."

Screw 'em, if that's their immature attitude to blogging.

Bert Rustle said...

To link or not to link, that is the question. One the one hand I take the view that whether someone is a National Socialist, International Socialist, Zionist, or a lobotomised Benedictine Monk has absolutely no bearing on the validity of his argument or the veracity of his references.

Why? Because it is by this hopeless method of argument that those in possession of empirical facts lose arguments to those who smear, name call, imply guilt by association and state blatant denials of observable, replicable phenomena.

On the other hand, “if you can't say it to someone's face, it's not worth saying”. Then again, on the one foot, if you want to encounter “out of the box” analysis, it is possible that one will encounter those who are literally “out of their box”. On the other foot, those “out of their box” are not necessarily so all of the time.

In conclusion, I would suggest that a helpful viewpoint is that one is linking to a particular argument of a particular individual, no more, no less.

Rob said...

I've just set fire to the curtains, no idea why.

Edward said...

I think your blog is fantastic. I don't always agree with the entirety of what you say - sometimes I think you extend things beyond what should be their logical conclusion - but in all honesty that makes your blog the more interesting. You raise very valid points, concerns and grievances which we ignore at our peril.

And you're from Bromsgrove!

Steve said...

Like you, Laban, I link to anyone who links to me.

I have had stick from the likes of the Drink Soaked Trots (well, specifically Will) for the people I link to and those who comment on my blog - which I don't censor.

I'd sooner run a free speech blog than ban people that others don't like.

What is it HP says about liberty being the right to tell people what they don't want to hear?

Anonymous said...

Well Laban at least the Police aren't after you 'yet', although its heading in that direction.

Look whats happened to LionHeart he's had to claim asylum in the USA!
link to lionheart post at GoV

John B said...

"Look whats happened to LionHeart he's had to claim asylum in the USA!"

assuming that Laban doesn't suggest on his blog that all members of a particular ethnic minority group are inherently paedophiles, he'll probably be OK on that front.

Guardian apostate said...

David T had a post on HP a few weeks ago, which ended up by saying that 'a little less time should be spent running around like Dad's Army's Private Frazer intoning 'We're doomed, doomed!'' I wondered at the time if this was meant as a reference to you.

But what if Amis is correct? Early evidence regarding birthrates and assimilation suggest he might be. What if the gamble doesn't pay off? Islam aside, the native English are slowly dwindling to minority status in many large towns and cities, including my own. It's was my observations that this was far from wonderfully 'vibrant' that shook me out of my passive 'leftist' slumber. Maybe you should run around shouting 'we're doomed' a little more often.

Shuggy said...

What Harry said. I'm outraged on your behalf and am thinking of going on hunger-strike over the issue. I mean, if they're doing a little ideological house-keeping, they might want to look a little closer to home - like in their comments boxes, for example.

Laban said...

Why thank you all for your support.

It looks as though my commenters wish curtain-burning to be unconfined. I blame the evil influence of that Labour MSP who set alight to the Prestonfield House Hotel after they stopped serving drinks. Mike Watson ?

Anonymous said...

And Judge Inigo Bing was once a Labour member of the Greater London Council.

Wheels within wheels?

Guessedworker said...

Laban: although MR has a history - I originally linked because John Jay Ray wrote there - he was then removed because he didn't have the correct views on the Zionist Menace

And this from a man who has just been screwed by Gerry Gable. A Zionist, it is said.

Laban, I am extremely miffed at you for writing such unwarrented nonsense about MR. If you want to know why John and I agreed on his departure from MR, please ask me. Don't make lazy assumptions, because on this one you are wrong.

I also resent your implication that it is mad or bad or both to discuss Jewish influence on our political and cultural life. To refuse to do so out of fear or ignorance is weak-minded and complacent. You know it. For reasons of your own you prefer to stay close to the somnabulant mainstream, and that carries a certain cost in freedom of speech. Fair enough. But you have no cause to do violence to those like ourselves who take a more honest and principled approach.

We hit 70,000 uniques a month, and we do it with the most intellectual content of any blog proselytising the survival of our people. I am pleased to link to you. If you prefer that we did not do so, just let me know.

Laban said...

GW - if you want to tell me why JJR fell off the blog, please do. I must admit I assumed it was for his Judeophile tendencies (which I share).

I don't know if Gerry Gable is a Zionist or not, but he's obviously a bit of an idiot. Both he and Mr Pottins could always have mailed me to ask whether I was picking out targets for my pyromaniac followers.