Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Cycle of Violence

As read in the 'Al-Guardian'.

After the killing of the Hamas 'militant' Adnan Al-Ghoul (wasn't he in an H.P. Lovecraft novel ?), the BBC website tells us that "Hamas vowed revenge".

But is revenge - an eye for an eye - an appropriate response to what is seen, rightly or wrongly, by some Palestinians, mainly on the religious right, as Israeli repression ? Surely a policy of seeking to understand Israeli society and Jewish grievances, rather than a surrender to the rampant Judaeophobia fostered for their own ends by President Bushafat and his clique, would serve the interests of Palestinians better ?

After all, 'violence breeds violence'. How very true that is. Can the blinkered neocons in the Hamas bunkers not see that suicide bombing will be seen as an attack on the worldwide community of Jewish believers ? From Golders Green to New York, the Jewish street is in a ferment of fury at Hamas' clumsy cowboy tactics. The journalists Rhobb-ut-F'isk ("Were I an IDF conscript, I would want to shoot any Arab I met") and Mych Al-Moor have accused Hamas of a wanton disregard for Jewish life, claiming that the Hamas so-called 'smart suicide bombers' have struck at targets such as school buses and wedding parties. Every dead Israeli brings more votes for fundamentalist leaders such as Ariel Sharon and more revenge attacks. When will Hamas accept that they have failed to bomb the proud Israelis, heirs to a 5,000 year old civilisation, into submission, and start the task of building bridges rather than destroying buses ? How many more times will the Hamas reflex be the knee-jerk reaction of revenge, the reaction of the child in the playground, rather than the constructive dialogue of the adult ?

Hamas vowed revenge on October 5th, September 20th, September 7th, April 19th, and March 26th.

In 2003, October 21st, October 18th, September 7th, August 25th, August 22nd, August 8th, June 22nd, June 10th, May 2nd, March 8th, and March 4th.

In 2002, November 22nd, October 7th, September 27th, July 26th, April 6th, March 4th, February 19th, and January 25th.

In 2001, December 14th and November 24th, October 14, August 27th, July 31st, July 25th, July 13th, and so on.

You get the picture. But Hamas has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Even pro-Palestinian commentator Barbara Plett, in a broadcast on the state-controlled British media, said that
"There have been only four (Hamas suicide) attacks so far this year compared to 17 last year and 46 in 2002 and a dramatic decrease in the number of Israeli casualties." - a clear indication that a policy of revenge has failed even by its own genocidal and pointless criterion. How many more Palestinian lives will be lost before Hamas admit their failure ?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tony Martin ...

Our ruling elite would have preferred this to happen to you - which is why you were imprisoned for defending yourself.

I can't believe this ...

Apparently written by a Labour Party leader - and I agree with every word. It's not so much the asylum seeker bit - more the general thrust of what he says, and his analysis of why working class voters are disaffected. Just as relevant to the UK.

The early leaders of the Labor movement, such as Curtin and Chifley, were not willing to tolerate illegality or irresponsibility. They knew that a just society relies on a certain level of order and cohesiveness. They recognised that one of the pillars of social justice is the shared expectation that people are responsible for their own behaviour.

Curtin and Chifley expressed these values in their public policies and their public dialogue with working class people. At one level, this was simply commonsense. Social justice cannot be neutral about notions of public decency. None of our institutions - whether in the form of schools, communities or the welfare state - can succeed without sanctions against irresponsibility. This would invite chaos and the loss of the shared obligations of a good society.

In recent times, however, our Party has lost this dialogue with its working class constituency. The pervasiveness of the rights agenda has smothered the importance of social responsibility. Too many ALP activists are now willing to excuse or rationalise away bad behaviour, such as juvenile crime, welfare fraud and illegal migration.

This represents an inversion of the Good Samaritan principle. Groups like Labor for Refugees look at atrocities such as the Woomera riots or the payment of money to people smugglers and declare, "the people who did this need help." The first priority for a just society is to help needy people within the collective boundaries of the law. The first priority of your organisation is to find excuses for people who break the law.

In my experience, the strongest supporters of the rights agenda are those who do not have to face the daily consequences of irresponsible behaviour. They have the resources to buy themselves away from social problems, to purchase private security, private education, private health insurance and private transport. This gives them the luxury of being able to talk about human rights without the need for social responsibility.

The best example of this abstract process is Phillip Adams. In his public life he opposes border protection, safe in the knowledge that asylum seekers are unlikely to settle near his Paddington terrace. In his private life, however, he is a strong supporter of laneway protection, even to the point of preventing a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair from accessing his property so that she might have Christmas lunch with her son.

For those who cannot buy themselves away from social problems, questions of legality and decency are all-important. If the public sector does not foster responsibility and reward effort then the life-chances of working class people will be diminished. These values are well known to people in my electorate. This is why they strongly oppose illegal migration.

People from a poor background may not be asset-rich but they are rich in the dignity of observing the law. In Green Valley, where I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, people who acted irresponsibly and illegally were known as "no-hopers." Many of our traditional supporters are worried that Labor is now on the side of the no-hopers, rather than the responsible working class.

I strongly support an agenda of rights and responsibilities. As a movement we need to recapture the ethical socialism of Curtin and Chifley.

Dangly-corks hat tip - the Dumb One.

BBC Bias Part 481

Dumb Jon deconstructs the BBC view of ex-Saint Bob Geldof.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

More Scottish Republican Terrorism

A while back I blogged on the IRA-wannabees who march at Glencoe each year. But I missed this story - the arrest on firearms charges of three people on their way to Edinburgh hours before the Queen opened the Scottish Parliament.

One of the three, a convicted terrorist, has been found dead in his cell.

During a series of interviews with detectives in 1993, he boasted: "I am a volunteer soldier with the SNLA. I am a cell commander. The actions we have taken are directed at those people who are actively working against the interests of Scotland. Whatever I did, I did in the line of duty."

The SNLA model themselves on the IRA, from the political front to the socialist coat over the fascist torso. They aim "to halt and reverse mass English Immigration into Scotland."

I can have some sympathy for that. On my frequent holidays in rural Scotland and Wales it's increasingly difficult to find a B&B (this fine establishment excepted), post office, general store or cafe run by a local. I treasure those I find. But to control immigration you need a border and political will. You don't need an army. It seems likely that they harbour dreams of reversing immigration in the style of Serbian irregulars, or replicating the ethnic cleansing of the Fermanagh border, where assassinations have driven out the Protestant farming community. Seems a bit unfair on all those hippies scattered from Torness to Lewis.

To think these people are of the same blood as the Black Watch, or Cabarfeidh !

There is also a forum ('no fascists or consitutional nationalists'), where the members seem a trifle peeved at the death of one of the few nationalists who could actually get his hands on a Kalashnikov. A series of posts blames SNLA founder, Dublin-based Adam Busby, for the death. Again inspiration comes from across the water - 'tout' seems the mot de jour. I'd imagine half the posts are from MI5 anyway - truth is at a premium on a board like this.

According to the Scotsman, "McIntosh was recently named as organiser of a group called "The Scottish Patriots" which has applied to stage a march through the centre of Aberdeen on 28 November - on the same day and along the same route as a proposed march by the far-right National Front". McIntosh presumably not being far-right. In the sense of National Socialists not being far-right.

With 629 website visits so far, the Patriots aren't exactly setting the Don afire.

Of course were these organisations from south of the Tweed, you'd be hearing all about them from the Guardian or BBC. But in the world of the UK left, nationalism is always a Good Thing - unless, of course, it identifies as British or English.

There's a little shop ...

In Zurich, selling those neat things that you find at the confluence of toys, art and science. They've got a lot more in stock than is on the Web.

The location is also of interest to politics nerds and Solzhenitsyn readers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Doctor Writes ..

Melanie Phillips brings to our attention a remarkable British Medical Journal piece - remarkable for its lack of relevance to medicine and its hatred for Israel.

Mel adds "The comments by BMJ readers are worth reading too. Many are outraged, thank goodness. Too many, though, support him."

There aren't that many supporters in the comments though - they're overwhelmingly critical of the BMJ's editor for publishing a political diatribe in a medical journal.

One supporter, though, does have three posts.

Dr Mark W Struthers, a Bedford GP, says "There is something curiously depressing about the predictable outrage and denial engendered by Derek Summerfield’s personal view on war crimes and the health of the Palestinian people ... The US, as always, shows utter contempt for international law and international convention. Israel now follows its master’s footsteps with complete impunity in its suicidal war on terror. Both countries stand as outlaws, as international renegades."

Dr Struthers is a prolific poster to the BMJ bulletin boards. But it isn't the Jew which is the main problem.

On the death penalty (a tiny sample).

"The problem for the rest of the world is that Americans insist on exporting their insanity, their humanity deficit and insist on inflicting the consequences of their thirst for revenge on the rest of us.

The need for vengeance is deeply rooted in the American psyche and state sanctioned killing is very much the will of the people in this fiercely democratic country.

Americans do not care.

Americans are in a mess. America is a moral wasteland and an appalling example to the world. It would be rational to abolish the death penalty but it would not be American.

Next week, the Commander in chief, the Lord High Executioner and chief purveyor of American values, George W Bush is honouring the United Kingdom with a state visit. He will be staying at Buckingham Palace and dining with the Queen. It is simply outrageous.

Degenerate nation.


On the Iraq war :

The bombs will soon be raining down on Baghdad.

This will be an American war and will be conducted the American way. We know the American way because we've seen it before; in Vietnam the destruction was immense. In the next few days the scale of killing in Iraq will be colossal. With the gun and the Bible the Americans are going to do what they do best - human slaughter - and with their brand of twenty-first century indiscriminate precision.

In Vietnam the US forces always feared that the Vietcong hid out within the civilian population. The fear will be no different in Iraq and with the current aversion to 'body bags' the answer will be the pre- emptive obliteration of Baghdad.

It will be necessary to destroy Baghdad and its people in order to save it from Saddam - and to conserve empty American ‘body bags’.

Arab and Vietnamese lives are not equivalent to those of American and can be squandered at American will. Is it any wonder that people hate America?

Some misguided people seem to think that the battle for Baghdad in 2003 is an exchange of blood for oil. Of course it is preposterous to imagine that the King of Oil, the Texan Commander-in-Chief of this great warring nation is interested in the Iraq's massive oil reserves. The real motive for the impending carnage of course is 'vengeance'.

Let the cowboy crusade commence.

Competing interests: I am a Labour Party member - for the moment.

On health insurance :

“It is not an overstatement to say that the destiny of the entire human race depends on what is going on in America today. This is a staggering reality to the rest of the world; they must feel like passengers in a supersonic jet liner who are forced to watch helplessly while a passel of drunks, hypes, freaks, and madmen fight for the controls and the pilot’s seat.”

Eldridge Cleaver, a black American radical, wrote these words in 1968 during America’s bloody war on the Vietnamese people. It is extraordinary that the supersonic jet liner is still up in the air, hanging on in there and circling the globe. However, the crash to earth will come – and sometime soon.

Ah, yes - 1968. That would have been around the time Eldridge Cleaver was describing rape as an insurrectionary act. But he grew up in the end and repented his sins, becoming a Christian, a Republican, and a crack addict - quite a trinity. Cleaver grew up in poverty and ignorance, a tough street kid, living the gangsta life before the phrase existed. What's the good doctor's excuse ?

Half the air traffic controllers are off sick and the rest are dozing. The pilot burbles meaningless words of freedom and democracy to God and the fearful. The co-pilot is after riches and revenge and doesn’t give a damn for anyone or anything. They’ve both suspended rational communication and switched off the aircraft's radio.

The passengers are doomed.

It won’t be long before this benighted jet plane spirals out of control and hits the deck with an enormous bang and lots of flames.

Tasteful or what ?

Even the trial (and subsequesnt release) of Sally Clark after expert testimony by Professor Roy Meadows rouses the ire :

Perhaps Sally Clark can take some crumb of comfort in her predicament that her 'crime' didn't take place in the USA. The Americans take a very dim view of child killers and over there she would undoubtedly now be sitting it out on death row. The Americans have reserved places on death row for white, educated, middle income women to counterbalance the young, black, poor males who they usually like to kill.

American ? In Bedford ? I'd go private if I were you.

They're real aren't they, not pretend ?

Daily Telegraph.

The playground of an east London primary school. One teacher spied a boy of 10 playing with a toy sabre. "For a moment, I smiled thinking he had actually taken in much of the day before's lesson on the legend of St George and the dragon," she says. "Then I saw he was re-enacting a beheading with another child.

"When I questioned him he said: 'My dad watches all the beheadings on the internet then I call them up, too. They're real aren't they, not pretend?' "

Hat-tip to Norm, who also got there first with the Clark County responses.

Monday, October 18, 2004


The Guardian prints responses to 'Operation Clark County', the plan (pinched from Tim Blair) for concerned readers to explain to benighted American voters who they should elect in 2004.

My dear, beloved Brits,
I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!

Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don't use big, fancy words.

Set me straight, folks!

Dayton, Ohio

Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals - Republican to a man - to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys.
United States

UPDATE - the open letters by John Le Carre, Antonia Fraser and Richard Dawkins are interesting.

Le Carre seems to have metamorphosed into his character Bill Haydon, the MI6 mole who in the struggle between East and West chose the East. And it's always entertaining to hear a public-school-educated millionaire talking about how the rich have grown richer. Does he resent the loss of Empire and feel that 'if we can't have one, they're not gong to' ?

Antonia's letter is sweet, funny (not deliberately) and useless.

O duty

Why hast thou not the visage of a sweetie or a cutie ... ?

Why art thou so different from Venus?

And why do thou and I have so few interests in common between us?

And Dawkins - For an intelligent man he's incapable of putting himself in another's shoes.

Now that all other justifications for the war are known to be lies, the warmongers are thrown back on one, endlessly repeated: the world is a better place without Saddam. No doubt it is. But that's the Tony Martin school of foreign policy [Martin was a householder who shot dead a burglar who had broken into his house in 1999]. It's not how civilised countries, who follow the rule of law, behave.

The vast majority of US voters would support Martin, just as UK voters would. If he thinks that's a vote-winning analogy he needs to get out more. He does make one concession to reality though - he manages to repress his antipathy to Christians. It must have been hard to delete the lines about Bible-bashing fundamentalist bigots - but he managed it.

UPDATE - I managed to beat Mark Steyn to the same conclusion, though he does write rather better. He also covers the Boris/Bigley brouhaha.

No IT Platform For Fascists ?

When I last took a gander at the BNP site, a week or so back, they reported sustained denial of service attacks which had closed them down on several occasions.

According to this story the attacks started a fortnight ago and as of this eve the site's still out.

From my memory they carried a story on the attacks which implied that the security services would be concerned at this act of cyberterrorism. I must admit my first thought was that the security services were more likely to be involved - I take it as a matter of course that visits will be monitored. There are plenty of lefty Web gods like Mike Slocombe of urban75 or Tim Ireland of bloggerheads who would either have the expertise or know a man who does - but judging by the comments of U75 moderator fridgemagnet there's some ambivalence about freedom of speech here.

Fortunately we have a confession on this forum. Can't decide if this is the online equivalent of the guy who confesses to murders he didn't commit.

The BNP aren't the only ones. Government-subsidised lefties The Education Forum (prop. one John Simkin of spartacus, who thinks British foreign policy was bought with Jewish gold) have also apparently been attacked. By this weblog.

"They run a weblog that reports on people saying things that they disagree with. These people are described as "moonbats". They use a code word next to the item that obviously instructs members on what action they should take. This included a campaign against one poor librarian who made the mistake of praising the work of Michael Moore. If it is a forum like ours they join and then post comments claiming that the original poster is anti-Semitic, a fascist or a leftist. If the original poster provides logical answers to their comments, they then attempt to bring the forum down."

A code word next to the item, do they ? Are you sure their instructions aren't transmitted via domestic hardware (signals are beamed down from secret geostationary satellites - it's all controlled from Menwith Hill) ? I'm pretty sure the dishwasher told me to write this.

You can look for the code words here. I think they're talking about the cryptic acronym 'RSS'.

The interesting thing about the BNP brouhaha is the media blackout. One Daily Record story 10 days old, nothing in places like The Register or the Guardian, whom you'd expect to be gloating a tad. Hmmm.

But the magic of google reveals full details here. Dunno where a 'to' suffix is - Tobago ? How apt. Runs like a dog though.

"Take your Hands Off Me ..."

"I'm your surgeon, Mr Almond"

"Something's got a hold of my heart"

"Don't touch that defibrillator !"

Latest news seems to be that the great man is stabilising.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More Police Links ...

After the Policeman and the Ambulance Man ... the Police Support Man with tales of idiotic 999 callers.

Christian Voice have an interesting page on police reaction to their officers marching in Gape Ride parades. I like this response from the magnificently named Cressida Dick.

"The march is not political in nature in that it seeks to demonstrate the pride of the marchers in being gay."

Replace 'gay' with 'white' and see how it sounds ... anyway, why should one's sexuality be something to be proud of (unless achieving it has taken a lot of hard work, of course) ? I'm certainly not proud of mine - but that is 'a story for which the world is not yet prepared'.

Harry Hammond Day

It's three years since elderly evangelical Christian Harry Hammond was attacked in Bournemouth for displaying a placard saying 'Stop Homosexuality - Stop Lesbianism'. The police arrested him, not his attackers, and he was later fined. He died shortly after the trial. Full story here.

Liberty, and the other organisations who, had he been an apologist for terror, would have told us how important it is for democracy that the expression of unpopular views be tolerated, did zilch. Not a dog barked on the Left with the magnificent exception of Peter Tatchell.

"The conviction of Harry Hammond for displaying a placard criticising homosexuality is a grotesque misuse of the Public Order Act. His placard was offensive to gay people; that is not, however, a legitimate reason to suppress his right to protest and turn him into a criminal. Freedom of speech is so precious that it must be defended, even when we disagree with the sentiments expressed. Other than direct incitements to violence, there is no justification for criminalising words and opinions.

If Mr Hammond appeals, I would gladly testify in favour of his conviction being overturned."

Yesterday Christians remembered Mr Hammond, preaching on the site of his arrest. Organised by Christian Voice, a group I've not heard of before but who seem to preach a Bible-based theology which completely ignores Christianity's 2000- year struggle for gay rights, traffic calming measures, universal childcare free at the point of use and needle exchanges. I don't think they'll be on the BBC's 'Thought for The Day' any time soon.