Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Busy busy busy.

First, a little reminder about next week's Euston Manifesto Group Darfur meeting:
Next Tuesday 5th September 2006
Kings College London

Tickets available from

Speakers:Linda Melvern, Lord Clive Soley, representative from the Aegis Trust
Chair: Phillip Spencer


Linda Melvern

Linda is the author of A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide and Conspiracy to Murder The Rwandan Genocide. She is also a journalist.

Lord Clive Soley

Clive is an advocate of intervention and reform of the UN. He blogs as Lord of the Blog.

Speaker from the Aegis Trust

The Aegis Trust is an NGO which calls for a duty to protect against genocide.

The meeting will be chaired by Phillip Spencer. Phil teaches at Kingston University and is a founder signatory of the Euston Manifesto.

Should be a winner.

Secondly, this little gem, courtesy of Hugo Rifkind:
The film version of South Park was originally banned in Iraq, largely because it portrayed Saddam Hussein, the then President, as the homosexual lover of Satan. At the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, its creators, said that marines guarding the ex-dictator made him watch the film repeatedly. Did he laugh?
First commenter to post a link to a blog or article screaming "Torture!" wins a Blue Peter badge or some such.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I know I'm not sposed to be here, but just spotted this in a friend's inbox and thought it'd make a good Friday post. From Ananova (where else?):
A Chicago man told airport security he had a bomb in his luggage - because he didn't want his mum to know it was a penis pump.

Mardin Azad Amin, 29, was questioned after security at the city's O'Hare Airport discovered a suspicious-looking object in his bag.

Amin, who was set to fly to Turkey, told security the object was a bomb, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

In fact, he was trying to disguise the fact that the black object was a component for a penis pump.

Amin eventually told investigators he'd lied because his mother was standing nearby and he didn't want her to know about it.

Amin faces up to three years in prison if convicted, said Andrew Conklin, a spokesman with the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Someone taking these guys far too seriously:

And off...

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Photoblogger Zombie turns their attention to the story of Israel bombing two Red Cross ambulances:
On the night of July 23, 2006, an Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles at and struck two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations, causing huge explosions that injured everyone inside the vehicles. Or so says the global media, including Time magazine, the BBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and thousands of other outlets around the world. If true, the incident would have been an egregious and indefensible violation of the Geneva Convention, and would constitute a war crime committed by the state of Israel.

But there's one problem: It never happened.
The Red Cross Ambulance Incident.

Will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Aside: I'll be off for roughly a week. Going up North for a bit. Probably back next Wednesday. Enjoy the Bank Holiday!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Here's MPACUK's Asghar Bukhari debating Melanie Phillips on Sky:

Nothing remarkable happens, so fast forward to just before the 8.00 minute mark when you'll find Bukhari stating:
There's never an excuse for drowning out other people's voices.
Now check this debate, also from Sky, between Bukhari and Oliver Kamm: (Hat-tip: Bevan)

Seems like the man could do with following some of his own advice.

Incidentally, the front of MPACUK's website is currently advertising a thread in its forum entitled "Wow! Check this out! Pentagon Strike!" which links to a conspiracy site denying a 757 hit the Pentagon on 9/11. One of the forum moderators appears quite chuffed about it too. So no change there then.

Once again, why do the likes of Sky bother getting on someone from an organisation only 10% of British Muslims feel represents their views?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Shouldn't smile, but...
Following the news that eleven people have been charged in connection with the alleged plot to blow up airliners - specifically that eight of the accused had
On diverse days between 1 January 2006 and 10 August 2006 within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court conspired with other persons to murder other persons (contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977).
On diverse days between 1 January 2006 and 10 August 2006 within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court with the intention of committing acts of terrorism engaged in conduct to give effect to their intention to smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices onto aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board (contrary to Section 5 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006)
I wonder what will happen to the wager between the hedgehog and the kamminator here. Are we about to see the beginning of the Great Banker Wars?
From Hak.

And although this one was more of a gentleman's [hmmm] bet, I wonder how confident terror apologist Azzam Tamimi is feeling today regarding his "I bet you it will turn out to be a hoax" remark?

Scribbles touched on this last week:
Every time I catch some news about the latest developments after the plane plot arrests, I've noticed that I keep hoping the news is that the investigation has turned nothing up. I think instinctively that I want the people to be innocent and for this to be another police fuck-up.

I've mulled this over in my head and I think it comes from the idea that another police fuck-up, as damaging as it would be, and as awful as it will have been for the people arrested, is not as horrific as a plan to blow up several planes to kill lots of people. The world will be a little less scary again and a little more normal.
Well it's not looking that way now. If things really are as grim as the police are making out, maybe we should take solace in:
  • Our security services thwarting a hideous act of terrorism

  • Catching those responsible before they blew themselves up

  • Tamimi and Sonic being exposed for the bullshitters they are
Admittedly, the third isn't exactly high up on the List of Good Things to Come Out of the Foiled Terror Plot, but every little helps as they say.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Or so I can imagine certain bloggers responding to news of Mumbai's newest eatery - "Hitler's Cross":
A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.

'Hitler's Cross', which opened last week, serves up a wide range of continental fare [Potato Waffens anyone?] and a big helping of controversy, thanks to a name the owners say they chose to stand out among hundreds of Mumbai eateries.

"We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds," owner Punit Shablok told Reuters.

"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."
Aha. We're different. So different that the best person to represent our differentness from everyone else is, um, Adolf Hitler. Not because we like him you understand, just because he was different, y'know?

Perhaps Punit Shablok ought to come up with a better explanation as to what "the way he was different" really means. Because I for one am having trouble.
"This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal," said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani, adding that they were planning to turn the eatery's name into a brand with more branches in Mumbai.
Opening more branches means hiring more waiters. When it comes to further recruitment, this chap hasn't done much in a while and would be ideal for the job:

There can't be many places where he'd get away with his "Two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering, and four Colditz salads" line these days.


Spotted a great article over at the Engage Forum - Jon Pike reminiscing about his time in Glasgow some time ago and the response from fellow Leftists to the appearance of racist graffiti:
One day we discovered that the local mini-market had been covered in racist graffiti - “Pakis out” “White Red Road” and all the rest of it. It was a few hundred yards around the corner: it was personal – a personal affront, a personal challenge, not a matter of theory, my neighbourhood.

I did what you are supposed to do: gathered together some pals - members of the left wing group that I belonged to in Glasgow, some from the Militant, but also some anarcho-syndicalists, some people from a group called Red Action who were good at this sort of thing. We did a pretty decisive spray out (late at night, wearing black, feeling noble) as Red Road Anti Fascists or RRAF – and we established a basic minimum – there wasn’t going to be any racist graffiti around our scheme.

We kept that up. The local racists knew that they were opposed, that their slogans weren’t going to last long, that if it came to any kind of ruck, they would find foes. We never found out who they were, - it was just a little bit of low level combativity. I’m quite proud of RRAF – though all it took was a few phone calls and a few forays.

Fast forward to the summer of 2006. I’ve moved on, down south, to salubrious Hove. But some things change and some remain the same. Here’s something that remains the same: there is racist graffiti around the corner. This time it says “Nuke the Jews, You’re next” – it’s on the Progressive synagogue, yards from where I live. It doesn’t come as a surprise. I’ve seen similar graffiti around Brighton recently - “Free Palestein, fuck Israel” (sic) on a bus shelter just north of Preston Park in Brighton. (Yes, that’s similar). And it’s local. It’s personal - a personal affront, a personal challenge, not a matter of theory, my neighbourhood.

Now, I confess, I'm more likely to phone the council than take direct action, but, still, I worry about who I would call. It’s no longer obvious.
Engage is one step in the right direction: its journal and forum both provide essential material to pass onto friends and foes alike who doubt the recent resurgence of antisemitic arguments parading as anti-Zionism within liberal-left circles and beyond. And the odd poem, funnily enough.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Winston at the Spirit of Man highlights a rather progressive move from the Iranian regime - they're confiscating Iranians' satellite dishes.

Hundreds of police in Tehran have begun dismantling satellite antenna dishes from the city's rooftops - part of a campaign to prevent Iranians from watching Western television programmes. The move follows a recent police order that all satellite dishes - officially banned but tolerated until now - be removed. The campaign against satellite television was launched by the Minister for Culture and Islamic Orientation, Hassan Saffar Harandi, who said "we have to halt the West's cultural offensive," on Iran.
Photos here and here.

Delightful: cracking down on both what people can watch and what they can write. And according to Reporters sans Frontieres, "Iran is the only country that can ban a journalist from writing for the rest of his life."

But some good news from Iran that passed me by last week:
Mansour Osanlou, leader of the independent union of bus drivers in Tehran, has been released on a bail of 150,000 euros after seven months in jail. The bail was considerable given that the average salary in Iran is 200 euros a month. Mansour Osanlou was arrested in January with other union members after 97 percent of the bus drivers in Tehran participated in a strike they had organized shortly after forming the organization. The bus drivers were calling for better working conditions and a salary increase.

The union of bus drivers was initially founded in 1968 and outlawed after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In the second half of 2005, Osanlou decided to set it up again and obtained the membership of most workers in Tehran's city transport company.
My guestimate is that in terms of average monthly wages in the UK, that bail is the equivalent of over £1million - a little steep given all Osanlou did was set up a union and organise a strike. But at least he's out. For now.


Or so says Lenin over at the Tomb, as spotted by Marcus of HP.
"Once you've gone beyond that bollocks, this is a fascinating interview" Socialist Workers Party blogger 'Lenin' clearing his throat before praising his new hero Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah in August 2006

What is the 'bollocks' he alludes to briefly before launching into an article praising the great hero of the masses? Oh, hardly anything worth dwelling on comrades, just some words uttered in haste...

"It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth."

"If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
If you go to the comments of Lenny's thread you'll find him attempting to get away with a "Some of Nasrallah's best friends are Jewish" line of defence:
Interestingly, however, Hezbollah has Jewish members at least one of whom is in Israeli captivity right now (I discussed this a while ago - Israel insists on enforcing his Right to Return, though he does not want it). It is also interesting that there remains a Jewish presence Lebanon, especially in Beirut, and Hezbollah has never harmed or agitated against any of them. This could be due to their doctrine about the People of the Book, but if they are prepared to accept a Jewish member, they aren't entirely doctrinaire about their position.
I wonder what Len would make of Kapos? I suppose he would say that the Nazis weren't entirely doctrinaire about their position.

And he's wrong about "there remains a Jewish presence Lebanon, especially in Beirut, and Hezbollah has never harmed or agitated against any of them."

He's forgetting those Lebanese Jews Hezbollah kidnapped and killed in the 1980s. But why would Lenny want to let facts get in the way of a good rant in support of his favourite thugs?

It would be funny to watch him trying to squirm his way out the hole he's dug himself if it were all not so grim.

I guess it's to be expected. They do say the camera never lies. Naughty but nice - I can't see Godwin's Law applying when someone is doing their level best to whitewash a Jew-hater who has stated his desire to see every last Jew dead - courtesy of the Drink Soaked Trots.

And Lenny's not alone. A good number of the Guardian's commentariat have followed suit. On today's Oliver Kamm thread over at Comment is free you'll find:
  • The biggest threat to peace in the Middle east is Israel, not Hizbollah, not Iran, not Hamas, not Syria...Israel has always been an aggressor than can only survive by destroying all around it.

  • I wonder why America, Britain and Israel want Hizbollah to disarm? It couldn't be something to do with Israel having the right to invade at anytime without any defence could it?

  • As far as Iran is concerned, how can Israel fight Iran when it cannot even fight Hezbollah. The only thing they are good at is terrorism against the civilian population. When they think about fighting real military, they pass on it.

  • Hizbullah is not a terrorist organisation. It aims its fire on Israeli soldiers, and sends missiles into Israel only in response to much worse Israeli bombardment of civilian targets in Lebanon. It does not initiate attacks on civilians. [A bit rich coming from someone accusing Kamm of making "false assumptions"]

Of course, a good bit of Israel-baiting wouldn't be complete without someone calling Kamm a Zionazi:

"You are one sick nasty piece of Nazi Zionist shit."


My favourite (good spot, David T):
I live in Los Angeles, and I wish there were a Hizb'Allah free clinic somewhere in the neighbourhood. Got forbid You get sick in this richest country in the world without medical insurance. And believe me, few can afford it. You can say whatever u want about Hizb'Allah, but USA faschist regime doesn't give a f.. about its poor and sick people, hunting down 'illegal immigrants', whose only crime is to work hard to feed there families. Strangely enough, all these 'illegals' are of Latina origin. Canadians can move and work here without a glitch, and there are miilions of them in States. Jim Carrey, Brendon Frasier, Michael Jay Fox, Pamela Lee- all Canadians. I never heard somebody claiming they are taking jobs from Americans. The greed, arrogance and hypocrisy of this country is astounding. I prefer Hizb'Allah to rotten, corrupt, cold-hearted Nazis like Bush, Dick(not even Richard), Condomlease NoRiceNoBread anytime.

As for Israel, I have been living there for 3 years, I don't even want to discuss it. Democracy? I couldn't marry my wife in there, because she was not of German, excuse me, Jewish blood. A CITIZEN OF ISRAEL CAN'T MARRY ANOTHER CITIZEN IF ONE OF THEM IS NOT JEWISH!!! A FALLEN SOLDIER OF ISRAELI ARMY CAN"T BE BURIED IN THE CEMETERY IF HE/SHE ISN"T JEWISH! HAVE TO BE BURIED OUTSIDE THE FENCE LIKE A STRAY DOG! Ever heard of that? Israelis are the most arrogant, intolerant and extremely belligerent people I ever met. They only respect you if you kick them in the groin, the more-the better. I lived there, I know, trust me. Did you?
That last one has to be a Moby. Surely. Or have the comments pages of the UK's leading leftist newspaper really come to this?


More Euston related stuff to tell you about. Next month sees another Euston Manifesto Group meeting, this time on the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

Here's the skinny:
Darfur: An urgent case for Humanitarian Intervention

Euston Manifesto Group Meeting
Tuesday 5th September 2006
Kings College London

  • Linda Melvern

    An investigative journalist, Linda is the author of A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide and Conspiracy to Murder - The Rwandan Genocide.

  • Lord Clive Soley

    Clive is an advocate of intervention and reform of the UN. He blogs as Lord of the Blogs.

  • A Representative from the Aegis Trust

    The Aegis Trust is an independent, international organisation, dedicated to preventing genocide worldwide.

The meeting will be chaired by Phillip Spencer. Phil teaches at Kingston University and is a founder signatory of the Euston Manifesto.

For tickets, email:

Further details of the venue will be sent with your ticket confirmation.
If Iraq has slipped off the media's radar with recent events in Lebanon, Darfur has been pushed back even further.

Here's André Glucksmann's take on this:
The outrage of so many outraged people outrages me. On the scales of world opinion, some Muslim corpses are light as a feather, and others weigh tonnes. Two measures, two weights. The daily terrorist attacks on civilians in Baghdad, killing 50 people or more, are checked off in reports under the heading of miscellaneous, while the bomb that took 28 lives in Qana is denounced as a crime against humanity.

Only a few intellectuals like Bernard-Henri Lévy or Magdi Allam, chief editor of the Corriere della Sera, find this surprising. Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don't count - whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the west?

This conclusion has its weak spots, because if the Russian Army - Christian, and blessed by their popes - razes the capital of Chechnian Muslims (Grosny, with 400,000 residents) killing tens of thousands of children in the process, this doesn't count either. The Security Council does not hold meeting after meeting, and the Organization of Islamic States piously averts its eyes. From that we may conclude that the world is appalled only when a Muslim is killed by Israelis.
Hat-tip: Jonathan Smith over at All The More Reason.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Don't be evil. And don't google, do a Google Search:
Google has said it intends to crack down on the use of its name as a generic verb, in phrases such as "to google someone."

The Internet search giant said such phrases were potentially damaging to its brand.

"We think it's important to make the distinction between using the word 'Google' to describe using Google to search the Internet and using the word 'google' to generally describe searching the Internet. It has some serious trademark issues," a representative for the search company said.
Has someone had an intelligence bypass at Google? Have they never heard of Hoovers? FFS.

They're not the only ones getting the ache with people using their name incorrectly. Apple are at it too:
Apple has followed Google's example by sending cease and desist letters to companies warning them of the consequences of using the word 'pod' in product titles.

According to media reports, Apple, which has a registered trademark for the iPod brand, has written to Mach 5 Products, which manufactures the Profit Pod, a data collection device for vending machines, and TightPod, which builds laptop protection covers.
Apple's concerns might be more valid, but nevertheless it's a good opportunity for me to post this from's If Apple Made Everything competition:



And look where they dropped in from.

Should we be wearing our Sunday best?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Looking for a round-up of the mounting evidence against Green Helmet Guy and his role in staging news from Lebanon, I came across a post over at EU Referendum - Why the Left is Worried.

(WARNING: Contains graphic images on its home page, should you click through.)
Belatedly, the Left is beginning to wake up to the danger of "Qanagate". But they're too late. They haven't even begun to realise how much evidence we already have, and how much more we have stashed away, ready to publish.

So far, the issue has been mainly the province of what are termed "right-wing" bloggers – such as our very own Little Green Footballs. And, to date, the stridency from the Left (not least in the hate-mail I have been receiving) has been focused on our critique as an example of pro-Israeli bias.

Only now that the cease-fire is in place in Lebanon (sort of) have they understood the real target – the liberal (not) media and its constant diet of lies and distortions in support of its favoured causes.


The point is that, while we all fight our separate battles, we all have a common enemy that protects our individual enemies – a lying, corrupt, wholly inadequate media. It does not just lie on the Middle East. It lies about affairs on the Beltway, in Whitehall and Brussels, and everywhere else that its malign presence is felt. So, when we see a weakness in the fortress walls, we should not go on hacking at our own little bit. We should all pile in and put our efforts into creating a breach. That's why we, with many others, "piled in" to Qanagate.

And that's why the Left is worried.
Perhaps someone should introduce him to the MediaLens obsessives - they too are convinced that we have "a common enemy that protects our individual enemies – a lying, corrupt, wholly inadequate media." Unfortunately, I'm sure the MediaLensers would conclude that because of their actions, it is the Right and right-wing media who are worried.

I'm unconvinced that poor journalism is exclusively the preserve of the Left or the Right - there are thousands of blogs devoted to fisking incompetent journalists from both camps.

The author is correct in that most of the work exposing Reuters and co has been done by right-wing bloggers and for this they should be applauded.

For those having trouble keeping up with all the fake, fake-but-accurate and accurate-but-fake-looking photos that have been doing the rounds, photoblogger Zombie has collated some of the more compelling examples of Reuters' shoddy journalism over the past few weeks.

Returning to the EU Referendum piece, if he weren't so keen to use examples of photoshopped or staged photographs to score political points by tarring the Left with the same broad brush, the author might have made a very valid point: that there are indeed certain sections of the Left to whom the term "truth" is wholly alien.

Considering the response of some to what can only only be described as Hezbollah propaganda dressed up as reporting called to mind a passage in Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom's "Why Truth Matters", a great book I read whilst on my travels a couple of weeks ago.

On the dangers of postmodernist thinking, they write:
There is a frivolity, a lack of responsibility, an indifference to canons of coherence, logic, rationality and relevance - which are reminiscent not of the Left or progressivism, but, as Richard Wolin argues, of counter-Enlightenment and reaction.

That is not an accidental association, it is what counter-Enlightenment and reaction are all about: the rejection of reason, enquiry, logic and evidence, in favour of tradition, religion, instinct, blood and soil, The Nation, The Fatherland. That is the sort of thing that remains standing once canons of coherence and relevance are stripped away. The Left is not well-advised to discredit or undermine reason and respect for truth, because those are ultimately the only tools the Left has against the irrationalist appeals of the Right.

Despite past form, it was therefore encouraging to see Arianna Huffington congratulating Charles Johnson on CNN's Reliable Sources for his work exposing Reuters' photoshopper Adnan Hajj.

Too often I read apologists for dubious journalism using the "Fake, but accurate" line of defence. The lack of reaction from some on the Left to modified or staged photographs from Lebanon highlights how uncritical people can be when the "evidence" fits their preconception of how Israel behaves.

And not that the Right are immune from this way of thinking - similar excuses were made when stories of banks banning piggy banks to avoid offending Muslims were doing the rounds last year.

Noone with any sense is claiming that Qana never happened or that hundreds of civilians haven't died in Lebanon over the past month. It's just that some of us prefer our news to be news, rather than CrimeWatch reconstructions.

Truth matters.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


An interesting column in today's Times from Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury - Why Muslims must rise up now and join the battle against extremism:
While being tough on terrorists, however, the Government should be flexible enough to listen to those who have genuine policy concerns. Today I, along with other Muslim MPs, will discuss with John Prescott some of the challenges ahead. The Prime Minister has also indicated that he is willing to meet those with concerns.

This is the way forward. Any British Muslims who are in disagreement with foreign policy must follow the path of others by exercising their right as citizens to influence policy through the established route: that is, by engaging in the political process.

In this world of indiscriminate terrorist bombings, where Muslims are just as likely to be victims of terrorism as other British and US citizens, we have an equal stake in fighting extremism. But more importantly, given that these acts are carried out in our name (Islam), we have a greater responsibility, not merely to condemn but to confront. As an MP for the constituency with the country’s highest BNP vote, I strongly believe that the BNP will only be defeated by white people taking leadership. Likewise, Muslims themselves must take the lead if we are to defeat the extremism within.

With the exception of a very few, mosques in Britain are extremely vigilant about who and what they allow on to their platforms. The greater danger is now posed in the virtual world, by the preachers of hatred accessible on the internet and based virtually anywhere, ever ready to prey on the angry and frustrated.

As I said to some 500 Muslims in a hall in Leeds on Saturday, a whole year on from the heinous acts of 7/7, the Muslim community has not yet risen to the challenge presented by extremism in its ranks. This was depressingly laid bare by a recent Times poll that stated that 13 per cent of British Muslims believed that the 7/7 attackers were martyrs.
What the man said.

Malik is spot on when he identifies the difficulties facing non-Muslims attempting to tackle the problem of extremism within Islam. This is a job that if, it is to be effective, has to be undertaken by British Muslims.

Of course, the support of non-Muslims is vital - without it moderates are stuck between a rock and a hard place - vilified by the extremists within their ranks and snubbed as potential terrorists by the rest of us.

It certainly doesn't help when supposed representatives of British Muslims write open letters to Tony Blair stating that if only our foreign policy were different we would not have the problem of extreme Islamists blowing up civilians. Islamist terrorism did not start with the Iraq War. Or the war in Afghanistan. The letter smacked of 37 heads in the sand and but one idea about how to tackle extremism amongst British Muslims. Thankfully, the signatories were told where to go rather swiftly.

It's not only Muslim representatives who are in denial. Malik highlights how rife conspiracy-mongering is within the British Muslim community. In addition, writing in yesterday's Times, Mary Ann Sieghart took a broad swipe at others she saw as in denial over terrorism, from journalists and their readers to Tony Blair himself.

And finally. Perhaps we're seeing a shift in focus, perhaps the regular editor was away, who knows. In all its entirety, here's the Observer's leader from last Sunday - These ludicrous lies about the West and Islam:
The first Islamist terrorist plot against New York's World Trade Centre was carried out on 26 February 1993 with a car bomb under one of the twin towers. It killed six people but failed in its aim of bringing the whole building down. To achieve that, another plot was hatched.

Meanwhile, British and American foreign policy was focused not on the Islamic world, but on the unstable transition of former communist countries to democracy. Twice during the Nineties, Nato launched military interventions in the Balkans, both aimed at protecting Muslim populations in Bosnia and Kosovo. What Middle East policy there was focused on diplomatic efforts, led by President Clinton, to negotiate lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

This was hardly a Western war against Islam. Britain and America spent much of the Nineties trying to prevent conflicts or to resolve them. At worst, as shamefully in Rwanda, they simply ignored them. They were transparently not running a conspiracy to trample the Muslim faithful underfoot. The people who depicted it that way were a tiny minority telling lies to justify murder.

But things have changed. The argument that terrorism is, in fact, a response to Western actions overseas has gained currency. It was voiced most recently on Saturday in an open letter by a number of influential British Muslim leaders to Tony Blair. The Prime Minister's policy in the Middle East, they said, puts British lives at risk. The implication is that the young Britons who last week were accused of plotting to blow up passenger planes in mid-air would have been less susceptible to al-Qaeda recruitment had Britain not fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Policy should be changed, they said, to avoid giving ideological 'ammunition to extremists'.

There is indeed a plausible argument that military action in recent years has made Britain less, not more, secure. In particular, the conduct of the war in Iraq, regardless of the virtues of removing Saddam Hussein from office, has been riddled with error. The absence of weapons of mass destruction, removal of which was the premise for war, has undermined trust in the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, engagement in Iraq has made it harder to secure victory in Afghanistan, where the anti-terror justification for war was rock solid.

But even within the bleakest possible analysis of Mr Blair's foreign policy, it is still simply not true that the West is waging war on Islam. Just as it is not true that the CIA was really behind the 11 September attacks or any other arrant conspiratorial nonsense that enjoys widespread credence in the Middle East and beyond. It is also a logical and moral absurdity to imply, as some critics of British policy have done, that mass murder is somehow less atrocious when it is motivated by an elaborate narrative of political grievance.

If young British Muslims are alienated, that is sad and their anger should be addressed. But anyone whose alienation leads them to want to kill indiscriminately has crossed a line into psychopathic criminality. Policy cannot be dictated by the need to placate such people.

British Muslim leaders are entitled, along with everybody else, to raise questions about the conduct and consequences of Mr Blair's foreign policy. But they have a more immediate responsibility to promote the truth: that Britain is not the aggressor in a war against Islam; that no such war exists; that there is no glory in murder dressed as martyrdom and that terrorism is never excused by bogus accounts of historical victimisation.
Hear hear.

And if it's denial you're after, a hop skip and a jump through the Comments section of that article ought to provide more than plenty.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Ceasefire or fay knights? We'll see.

Meanwhile, Mustapha from Beirut Spring makes some good points today:
Time To Be Righteous

The time is right for liberal forces in Lebanon to speak with force and belief.

Before July 12, the debate between Hezbollah and the rest of the Lebanese had a classic pattern: When a Lebanese party reproaches Hezbollah for their weapons, they respond with a barrage of intimidation, bullying and self-righteousness. “How dare you question us?” “You sound exactly like the Israelis,” “Who are you to judge us?” sweetened with an assurance that the weapons are only for deterrence and will only be used against the “Zionist enemy,” followed by veiled (and not so veiled) threats: “we shall cut the limbs and heads of those who will try to disarm us and pull their souls out of their bodies”

The problem was not Hezbollah’s responses per say. The problem was the fact that a lot of Lebanese (mainly the Sunnis) actually felt a hint of shame for criticizing a force that appeals so much to populist Arab public opinion. Especially if you watch Aljazeera and the way they insinuate that the Lebanese who don’t support Hezbollah serve the interests of Israel.

At this junction, we need to be more righteous than Hezbollah, because our cause is, in fact, more just.

We should cast aside the shame we feel every time we pressure Hezbollah. We should have an internalized belief that our cause is righter than theirs. Our dream of a prosperous, pluralist, democratic Lebanon is much worthier than their narrow-minded medieval dream of an Islamic resurrection; our culture of life trumps their culture of death and martyrdom. A mother bragging about her son being a doctor is better than a mother bragging that her children are all “martyrs”

We should have an internal belief that modern wars are fought economically, by competing in production and innovation. A prosperous, plural Lebanon is a stronger foe than a militant, xenophobic Lebanon. Prosperity is about uniting families by preventing immigration. It’s about dignity. It’s about prestige and influence. A militant Lebanon will only create destitute, wretched and scattered about citizens who feed off other people’s charities.

When we argue with Hezbollah, we should be firm in our beliefs: We are right. They are wrong.
Also worth a look today: Michael Totten and Lisa Goldman.


Currently being plugged over at the Euston Manifesto website:

Private Screening: Saddam's Road To Hell

There will be a screening of Saddam's Road To Hell at 7:30pm on Wednesday 30 August 2006 will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Gwynne Roberts, interviewed here.

It will take place at the Frontline Forum,
Frontline Club,
13 Norfolk Place,
W2 1QJ

Rate at the gate: £5.

British filmmaker Gwynne Roberts was the first Western TV journalist to interview Osama Bin Laden "and the first Western journalist to enter northern Iraq after the Gulf War. His unequalled access to the Kurdish leadership has resulted in a number of groundbreaking films, including The Road Back To Hell, Kurdistan, The Dream Betrayed, and Saddam's Secret Army. His films have twice been featured on 60 Minutes." (PBS).

From the Frontline Club's website:
Veteran filmmaker Gwynne Roberts and a team of investigators set off on a journey across Iraq to find out what exactly happened to 8,000 Kurdish men and boys who went missing in the early years of Saddam's rule.

The team of investigators led by the Kurdish minister for human rights, Dr Mohammed Ihsan, are trying to establish forensic proof of Saddam's guilt in the 1983 disappearance of Barzani Kurds following their decision to side with Iran against Iraq in the 1980s.

Saddam's butchering of the Kurds has left many in this mountainous part of Iraq in mourning, not knowing what happened to their loved ones.

The experiences of the investigators range from a suicide bombing of Kurds waiting in line to join the police force that resulted in 70 fatalities to the discovery of three mass graves.
See you there.

Friday, August 11, 2006


F*ck me.

9 of the 19 terror suspects whose bank accounts have just been frozen come from my manor.

I wondered what all those bangs were in the night.

It might be worth me picking up a copy of the local rag - now there's a first.


Reality-challenged community torn between:
The thwarted U.K. plot
  1. was legit. 681 votes - 51 %

  2. was more drama from BushCo to keep us all afraid. 633 votes - 48 %
Let's see how that one pans out.

Have just been listening to BBC Radio 5 Live and Dotun Adebayo stated that when we speak of suicide bombers who happen to be Muslim we ought not to mention their religion.

Fair enough. "Islamic suicide bomber" is a no-go then.

But I think we ought to at least come up with an alternative to describe people who read the Quran a lot, pray to Mecca, follow the teachings of imams who are considered extremist by most Muslims and non-Muslims alike, believe America and Israel to be the Great Satan and cry "Allahu Akbar!" before blowing themselves up hoping to kill others, often civilians, in the process.

"Islamofascist suicide bombers" is a bit of a mouthful but describes the character of the kind of person who blows themselves up on a bus quite nicely. But no. Prominent Stopper Salma Yaqoob of RESPECT doesn't like the word "fascist" associated with radical Islam.

In the comments, Tomahawk lived up to his name:
Islamism isn't like fascism? Just exchange the Ummah for the volk, the Caliphate for the Reich, and believers for Aryans. We find the same hatred of Jews; the same glorification of political violence; the same murderous opposition to democracy; the same assaults on freedom of speech; the same self-pitying victimology and grievance-mongering; the same sentimental anti-rationalism; the same persecution of gays; the same desire to see women in a purely domestic role; and the same lower-middle-class social base. European fascism was racially-based, whereas Islamic fascism is religious. That's the only difference between these two types of totalitarianism.

It's no wonder Salma Yaqoob is having a hissy fit -- her ideological bedfellows are being exposed for what they are.

However, she seems to claim that her version of radical Islam is not Islamism so perhaps "Islamist suicide-bombers" is a go-er. But what about those who want to see the Caliphate restored, perhaps violently, to its former glory but draw the line at suicide bombing and would be just as offended and at risk of a backlash were we to use the word "Islamist" in this way? Well they can go f*ck themselves.

Yaqoob writes:
I have publicly and actively condemned terrorism, whether state sponsored or committed in the name of Islam. I vociferously defend the rights of Muslim women who choose not to wear the hijab and openly tackle reactionary cultural practices within some sections of our community. I also object to any kind of totalitarian state - whether left, right or religious.
If all that is true, what on Earth is she doing hanging out with Gorgeous and Tamimi, two men whose record on these issues can at best be described as piss-poor?

If you've not come across Sally Jacobs before, skim the Cif comments thread for the occasional tidbit amongst the dross and make your own mind up.


Spotted these. Quite topical.

Hak's going into the student demonstration business:

Her prospects are looking pretty good.

Meanwhile, whilst I was commenting on the man's side-parting, someone visited Will from a random Google Image Search for... Well. Check the image name if you're desperate to find out.

Either way, they'll have hit this:

A nice coincidence and it hits the nail on the nod.

And here's the original shot of the picture Reuters stringer Adnan Hajj decided to photoshop:

There's still something about the smoke that doesn't quite ring true but I can't quite put my finger on it.


Personal post time.

I'm now a happily married Mr Dan ML.

Thanks to everyone who sent kind wishes, regards and the like over the past few weeks. I really appreciate that.

For those that didn't find Doughnut Boy Andy's remarks in the comments, the stag do was a bit of a classic - music and dancing and drinking and climbing through far too many stupidly small holes in the middle of nowhere. And reclaiming stolen items of clothing from associates in pub car parks dressed only in boxers by means of threats delivered in association with an eight foot long toilet brush.

The wedding was a bit of a wash-out. Literally. Storm + Norman church = flooded interior, every guest drenched head to toe, roads blocked requiring emergency assistance from old dears and a lightning strike that blew the electric meaning the organ died. Hence no music for my better half to walk in to. We did our best to sing instead. Being forced to have a candle-lit service was a little unexpected, but rather nice if the truth be told.

The reception was a bit of a blur but people seemed to enjoy themselves and each other, some more so than others shall we say.

As DBA pointed out, the honeymoon is traditional a private affair. Although I will say that we did somehow manage to get our car blessed in a rather odd procession, find a village populated by straw men and watch some sort of chariot racing round the local hippodrome in the same day. Quite an achievement.

Right. Back with the programme.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


On the subject of Floaters, I see Sonic took Benji's place as U-Bend Denier last night.

At the time of writing I hadn't spotted any "Comedy Gold!!!" but who knows what the future may bring?

The pair of them remind me of mozzie or midge bites. You can scratch all you like hoping the itch will go away but it only gets worse.

Despite the temptation, almost certainly best left alone - the bites only get swollen with pus, as do the comments threads.

Perhaps we need the internet equivalent of this:



I'd missed this one the first time around. From earlier in the year, here's Guardian columnist Azzam Tamimi preaching moderation on the issue of Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine:

Choice quotes for the hard of hearing or those whose bosses might not appreciate them belting out Islamists rants whilst at work:
Those who resist, those who fight, put up a Jihad against racism, against Zionism, are the true representatives of the Palestinians and all the Muslims regarding the Palestinian issue.


Israel is a menace, is a threat to humanity!


They [Bush and Blair] are worried that this spoilt baby of theirs [Israel] is about to be thrown out of this human body of ours! [Nicely put.]

You count my words! And you remember these words! It's a matter of time.

As they withdrew from South Lebanon due to the great jihad of Hezbollah and as they withdrew from Gaza due to the great jihad of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, this black chapter in the history of humanity will eventually come to an end.

And we say we are willing to bring it to an end peacefully.

But if they don't want peace, we have another language. We have another language and we have every right to use that language!

And time will tell and history will tell.

Allahu akbar!
Well that's one less Christmas card I'll be sending this year.

If that's Trafalgar Square, funny how they got away with displaying the Iranian flag. The March for Free Expression organisers were told demonstrators were barred by law from holding Danish (or indeed any other) flags aloft. Hmmm.

And speaking of true representatives, other than being a terrorist shill, who exactly does this man represent?


It's good to be back.

Well actually, no, it's pretty poor actually. I'm back at work, there's another war going on and my lifetime of married bliss will now be accompanied by a lifetime of crusty lips having been generously donated the herpes virus by some f*cker I paid to eat and be merry at my wedding a fortnight ago. Not that I'm bitter.

But wars and cold sores aside, good to see that some things never change.

Whilst I was away in the land of Calvados, the Drink-Soaked Trots continued to churn out quality articles, throwing my plan to cut down on blogging once I got back well and truly out of the window. Ba$tards.

Elsewhere, Michael Ignatieff wrote another well-considered piece on the role Canada could play in the current crisis whilst Eric Lee seems to have given a good account of his reasons why the Left should be supporting Israel in his debate with the AWL's Sean Matgamna (transcript here - although it would be interesting to hear Matgamna's side of the story as well).

With the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, Terry Glavin found it "hard to tell the fascists from the pacifists". I had the same problem looking at these photos from the pro-Hezbollah anti-war march held in London last weekend:

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the usual suspects came out in full support of the fascists, from the Gorgeous One ("I glorify the Hizbollah national resistance movement, and I glorify the leader of Hizbollah, Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.") to the Not-So-Gorgeous-But-Trying-His-Hardest (you wouldn't catch George with a side-parting like that, it’s everso Weimar Republic) over at Lenin's Tomb who now proudly displays a Hezbollah flag on his website. You certainly can't accuse them of not flying their true colours. Cnuts.

Guardian columnist Azzam Tamimi (the one they always forget to tell you was/is an MAB rep) also got in on the act, but ended up praising the wrong bunch of thugs, instead using his spot at the London Stopper Rally to give a pro-Hamas rant (video here). "Special Envoy" indeed.

More recently, Harold Evans' criticism of the "We Are All Hezbollah Now" mind-set for Comment is Free predictably brought the loons out to froth. I'm afraid I don't subscribe to the "It's all a storm in a tea-cup, that was only one banner!" line - these were mass-produced placards and you can see plenty of them on display here.

Interestingly, the second website at the bottom of the placard is for what at first sounds like a reasonable organisation - the Islamic Human Rights Commission. As it turns out, they're the same outfit who run the "Islamophobe of the Year" competetion. Last year's nominees included Oprah Winfrey.

They're currently upset the Mail on Sunday and the Sun accused them of supporting terrorism, claiming "Neither Mr. Shadjareh or IHRC have advocated or supported terrorism". But doesn't their more recent action of producing and distributing placards stating "We Are All Hizbullah" for the rally on the 5th August not totally destroy their defence? It'd be hard to find a better example of Islamist doublespeak.

Feeling a little left out of the media spotlight, Hugo Chavez decided the best way to raise his comedy villain profile was a trip to see Lukashenko’s model social state of Belarus. He’s rapidly running out of dictators to hang out with although I’m not sure he’s made it to Turkmenistan just yet. I’m sure Niyazov could give him a few ideas.

Over at HP, Harry went back to the old school and dipped into his extensive back catalogue.

So too it would seem did Harry’s Place Floater Benjamin. This thread is a particlarly fine example: a dig at Harry, snide remarks about “Decents”, a swipe at the Euston Manifesto and a few dashings of “old boy” and “comedy” thrown in for good measure. Did Harry really edit Benji’s post of 01:35 AM? Or was “That’s enough Monty Python – Ed.” simply Benjamin trying to hold a conversation with himself to cover the lack of attention he so desperately craves? We may never know.

Finally, once again the folk out East showed the rest of us how it should be done, got off their arses and organised two demos in the space of a week:

(More photos here.)

Perhaps the British Left could do with taking a few leaves out of their book, starting with organising a counter-demonstration to the Al-Quds March in London later this year. Volunteers welcomed.

Anyhow, that’ll do for now. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose as they say.