Tuesday, May 03, 2011

BNP activists 'gang-raped Hindu women'

... apparently "the barbarous act was intended to force them to leave the country".

These rapes took place nearly ten years ago, but are only now being investigated.

DHAKA, Bangladesh : A judicial commission has concluded that over 200 Hindu women were raped following the 2001 parliamentary election, forcing many terrorized families to flee the country.

The acts were allegedly committed by cadres of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami who won the 2001 polls, the report said, citing the involvement of many top leaders and lawmakers of the alliance that is now in the opposition.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Kate Middleton and Social Mobility

There's been a lot of comment about the coal miner's great-great-granddaughter marrying a prince. This provisional and incomplete family tree illustrates a few points :

a) Kate Middleton is very English. Not a Welshman or Irishman to be seen, one Scottish great-great-grandfather. And you have to go back 10 generations to find Gaston Martineau, a surgeon who fled France in 1685 (presumably a Protestant threatened by the Edict of Fontainebleau), and his wife Marie Pierre. The Goldsmith connections don't appear to be Jewish (5 generations married in church, apparently) - in the 1700s they're Kentish carpenters.

b) social mobility

The background of each of Kate Middleton's great-great-grandparents, as far as is currently known, can be summarized as follows:
  • Middleton - Tradesmen in Yorkshire rising to professionals (attorneys)
  • Asquith - Tradesmen in Yorkshire
  • Lupton - Background of his grandparents:
    • Lupton - Tradesmen in Leeds
    • Darnton - Tradesmen in Leeds
    • Greenhow - Professionals from Yorkshire
    • Martineau - Clergymen and professionals from Norfolk and Northumberland
  • Davis - Clergymen and professionals from Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and elsewhere in western England
  • Glassborow - Tradesmen from Surrey
  • Elliott - Tradesmen from Surrey
  • Robison - Clerks from Scotland
  • Gee - "Gentlemen" descending to tradesmen
  • Goldsmith - Labourers from Kent and Hertfordshire
  • Dorsett - Labourers in London
  • Chandler - Labourers from Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, rising to tradesmen
  • White - Tradesmen from Somersetshire and Buckinghamshire
  • Harrison - Miners in Northumberland and Durham
  • Hill - Mariners in Durham, later tradesmen
  • Temple - Miners in Yorkshire and Norfolk
  • Myers - Agricultural labourers in Yorkshire

    Around 50% middling men and women (the Luptons were a well-known Leeds family - there's a university hall of residence named after one of them), 50% working people. One jailbird, Edward Glassborough, an insurance company messenger - wonder what he was in for ?

    c) the seeming total absence of bastardy. Everyone has two parents, and they are married to each other. So much for the historical revisionists.

    d) I see one of the Harrison miners married a Jane Liddle. Hopefully there's a Rod Liddle link. What has apparently been established are links to Guy Ritchie, to her husband Prince William, and to various other aristocrats*. The native population of these islands being a partially inbred extended family**, there are bound to be links. Go back 10 generations and you have 2 to the power 10 i.e. 1024 ancestors, which takes you back to the 1600s. Go back another 10 generations, to the 1300s, and you have over a million forebears. There are around 50 million native Brits in the UK, each with getting on for a million forebears in the 1300s - but there were less than 10 million Brits around in the fourteenth century. Obviously we*** have an awful lot of ancestry in common.

    * as you go back and records are scarcer, those for whom records ARE available tend to be the great and the good, so a tree gets biased towards higher classes as you go back.

    ** the inbreeding being generally inside the distinct populations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, at least until the greater mobility of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    *** those who are not, like myself, the son of an immigrant father. That's most of the native Brits.

    One Big Cheer

    US forces "took custody" of Bin Laden's body, Obama said.

    Huzzah ! And fair play to Obama.

    The US stressed Islamic practices would be respected.

    If my memory serves the Brits were less sensitive to the religious needs of a killer, back in the days when James Abbott restored to the Muslim population of Hazara the religious freedoms which were suppressed under Sikh rule. The 1853 assassin of Colonel Frederick Mackeson in Peshawar was hanged before being sewn into a pigskin ('most abhorrent to Muhammedans' said John Lawrence, who gave the order) and cremated in the Hindu fashion before the ashes were thrown in a river.

    A/c/t this Google Maps link* at Steve Sailer's, Bin Laden's compound was just up the road from the Pakistan Military Academy. Make of that what you will - he certainly has.

    Pakistan had to know. This location can't possibly be a coincidence. Pakistani government insiders put him right in their pocket so they could protect him. They hugged him to their bosom.

    On the other hand, it's not as if the Pakistan Military Academy seem to have turned out to protect the compound - although there are conflicting reports about what happened to one helicopter. Did it just malfunction/suffer small arms damage, or was it shot down by a missile? And was it a US helicopter?

    UPDATE - Christopher Hitchens seems to agree with Sailer:

    If you tell me that you are staying in a rather nice walled compound in Abbottabad, I can tell you in return that you are the honored guest of a military establishment that annually consumes several billion dollars of American aid. It’s the sheer blatancy of it that catches the breath.

    UPDATE - a/c/t Wikileaks Pakistani intelligence are allegedly heavily involved with the Taleban and Al Qaeda :

    American diplomats were told that one of the key reasons why they had failed to find bin Laden was that Pakistan’s security services tipped him off whenever US troops approached. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) also allegedly smuggled al-Qaeda terrorists through airport security to help them avoid capture and sent a unit into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.

    UPDATE - via commenter Mark, this 2002 Seymour Hersh story alleges that thousands of Pakistani intelligence and military operatives, Taleban and Al Qaeda fighters and their hangers-on were airlifted by Pakistan out of the city of Kunduz, just before it fell to the Northern Alliance in November 2001. The Americans co-operated, setting up an air corridor to allow the flights safe passage.

    According to RAW’s senior analyst for Pakistani and Afghan issues, the most extensive rescue efforts took place on three nights at the time of the fall of Kunduz. Indian intelligence had concluded that eight thousand or more men were trapped inside the city in the last days of the siege, roughly half of whom were Pakistanis. (Afghans, Uzbeks, Chechens, and various Arab mercenaries accounted for the rest.) At least five flights were specifically “confirmed” by India’s informants, the RAW analyst told me, and many more were believed to have taken place.

    In the Indian assessment, thirty-three hundred prisoners surrendered to a Northern Alliance tribal faction headed by General Abdul Rashid Dostum. A few hundred Taliban were also turned over to other tribal leaders. That left between four and five thousand men unaccounted for. “Where are the balance?” the intelligence officer asked. According to him, two Pakistani Army generals were on the flights.
    Now due allowance must be made for the fact that India and Pakistan hate each other's guts. But unnamed US officials seem to have confirmed the story, off the record, to Hersh.

    * Google allows reviews. Best one - "Aside from the complimentary dialysis machine use, easy underground access to Pakistan's beautiful vast cave system, and free toaster waffles, it's a pretty big dump. The food wasn't organic, the wifi was spotty at best, absolutely no cell coverage, (yelp reviews were so wrong on that one) and no one spoke English. To make it worse, the country's best basketball player, some 6'7" dude with a turban, gets shot our first night there. And the coffee was cold. We're so not coming back. "