Saturday, August 07, 2004

Liberal self-censorship Part 847

Imagine a scandalous tale of adultery and murder centred on Europe's largest cathedral. The bishop has contracted a secret marriage. A canon is accused of having an affair with the bishop's wife, and making her pregnant. The canon is barred from the cathedral, as are some of his followers, while others are ostracised.

The canon is then kidnapped and beaten up, while two of his close friends are shot at and one is killed. The bishop is arrested and hundreds of Christians protest in the streets before he is released.

No one is convicted for the murder, but sixteen months later the man injured in the previous shooting is killed in a gym, targeted there deliberately because he never goes out without body armour.

This story would have been all over the BBC like a rash for the last eighteen months. You'd have been tripping over it. The Today programme would report live from the Cathedral. Bishops and religious writers would give their views. 'Is this the message of Christianity ?' we'd be asked. Every interview, no matter what the subject, with a senior Christian figure would include a question about it. Five Live would devote phone-in after phone-in to the topic. Mark Steel and AL Kennedy would write about it, deciding after much thought that Christianity was a Bad Thing. The British Humanist Association and National Secular Society would be asked to comment (and would also have to change their pants three times a day).

Strangely, none of these things have happened.

Friday, August 06, 2004

"He's A Killer !"

Says new signing Patrick Kluivert of his Newcastle teammate Alan Shearer.

Unfortunate turn of phrase. Kluivert killed an art critic in a car crash, for which he received community service. Like other Newcastle players, he has been the subject of police investigation over unproven allegations of rape.

If they can sign Lee 'Leg it' Hughes from my beloved Baggies the roads of Newcastle will be deserted on a Saturday night.

Ooer ... (Self Hating White Liberals)

I see from my stats (nothing like prodding Tim Ireland to up the hit count. But you still can't link to an individual post.) that those Googlistas in search of 'self hating white liberals' find this site in third (via an UAE search engine) and fourth position. Alas sandwiched in between Stormfront and someone with other unpleasant views.

Perhaps if I keep titling as above I'll dominate the top 10 and can eventually register a trade mark.

Traveller News

Tony Martin has according to the Daily Mirror taken to the roads, possibly drawn to the unlimited amount of legal aid available for 'the travelling community'.

The six solicitors of the Community Law Partnership have received £1.88m of taxpayers money in the last four years. They specialise in helping travellers whose human rights have been violated by straight society's racist expectation that they should obey planning laws. Cases are legally aided because, as everyone who lives in the sticks knows, travellers are very poor people who never know where to find any money.

Stoke Newington Nightmare

A most depressing story, about a kind of racism that doesn't officially exist. Because it doesn't exist, people can't complain about it, and good liberals like the writer can't even bring themselves to give it a name. They just move out.

Vaguely similar to this depressing piece, about some of the old people who can't afford to move. Don't agree with his conclusions, but he writes it how he sees it.

UPDATE - Vaguely similar in New York.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Jewish Conspiracy Part 29

LGF pick up on a UK teachers forum where a poster equates the 'tickling of feet' at Abu Ghraib with the mutilation of corpses.

I'm more interested in the posts of one of the system administrators, far-left historian John Simkin. Simkin dismisses the central theme of Fahrenheit 911 in an impressive post (post #15 in the thread).

"In his let's-join-up-all-the-dots way, this Emile Zola from Flint, Michigan, accuses Bush of a corrupt relationship with the Saudis. He says - or hints heavily - that Bush had business links with the Bin Laden family, which induced him to allow the lot of them to escape from the US on chartered planes in the aftermath of 9/11, and, secondly, to allow Osama himself to get away later, while Bush hastily diverted the public's attention to irrelevant Iraq.

There is only one source given for this material - a New York writer called Craig Unger who is interviewed on screen by Moore about it. Unger has written a book called House of Bush, House of Saud. Few Britons have yet had a chance to read it, because its first UK publishers, Random House, took fright at the prospect of being sued by rich Saudis. A smaller firm, Gibson Square, proved braver and Unger's book is due out this month.

Unger is not in the big league of historians. To quote his book jacket: "He has written about the two George Bushes for the New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair". And his subtitle is downright false: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties. The relationship has not been a secret.

The text is solidly enough researched. It does indeed demonstrate convincingly that Bush had a business buddy called Jim Bath back in Houston, Texas, in the 1970s, who in turn acted as fixer and frontman for a pair of rich young Saudis. One of them was a brother of Osama bin Laden, and the other, years later, donated to Osama's Afghan guerrilla war against Soviet Russia.

The book does go on to show too that some Saudi money went into a struggling oil firm, Harken, in which the young Bush was involved. And it does show that the Bin Ladens and all the other rich Saudis holidaying in the US at the time of 9/11, were hustled home in an astonishingly privileged way, probably thanks to the cigar-chomping Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to Washington.

The book also documents two important general points. One is that the undeservedly wealthy Saudis have invested an estimated $860bn in US companies and purchased US arms worth several hundred billions of dollars.

The other key fact demonstrated is that the Saudi royals have helped preserve their close link with the US by aiding successive administrations in unsavoury plots and plans. These included arming the Nicaraguan contras, covertly arming Saddam in Iraq (in the days when it suited the US to encourage him), and using Saudi conduits to funnel money to the crazed Osama bin Laden himself (ditto).

Unlike Moore's film, the underlying Unger book is perfectly fastidious with the facts. But Unger's dots don't join up to make a conspiracy either.

For a start, they do not show that a Bin Laden directly funded Bush. For another thing, the Bin Ladens are a huge clan, and knowing a single one of them does not automatically tar you with the Osama bin Laden brush.

Most important of all, there is a fundamental misreading of the nature of the relationships at work here. Many western politicians in the 70s, 80s and 90s sought to shake down the Saudis and relieve them of their oil money, either to prop up their local economies or to line their personal pockets. Britain's own Tory cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was a case in point, and ended up going to jail as a result.

Naturally, this required the turning of a blind eye to the alarming characteristics of Saudi society - for example, its brutality, corruption, despotism, misogyny, fanaticism, hypocrisy, dishonesty and greed. And equally naturally, it is very embarrassing for the likes of George Bush when the consequences of that sort of behaviour blow back in your face. Who would want to advertise it?

But this does not make a conspiracy. There is no real evidence in Unger's book that Bush wanted Osama bin Laden to escape, or that he invaded Iraq as a deliberate distraction.

In fact, the 9/11 commission last week blamed the defence department arch-hawk Paul Wolfowitz for the Iraq obsession, quoting the president telling Tony Blair that Iraq was not the immediate problem, whatever Wolfowitz said. And indeed, Moore's parochially-minded J'Accuse makes no mention of our own PM's equally loopy wish to march on Baghdad.

Moore's defenders say that, if not factually correct, then his film is in some way "essentially" true. Iraqi babies and US blue-collar soldiers are indeed being blown to bits for no good reason. The west's unholy relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Saudi royal family's unholy relationship in turn with its barbaric Islamists, did, in a general sense, lead to 9/11. And western politicians do seem to want to distract us from those nasty facts.

But this makes Fahrenheit 9/11, in documentary terms at least, a fraud. The film is not journalism. It is an extended piece of stand-up - a satiric riff by one deeply hostile individual. This shouldn't discourage people from going to this exhilarating movie. But it means that if you have a respect for accuracy, watching will be a guilty pleasure."

Good stuff given the author's politics. Unfortunately there's post #14, also by John Simkin.

"It was recently revealed (Robin Ramsay’s The Rise of New Labour) that when Blair became a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party in 1994, Gideon Meir, a senior official at the Israeli Embassy in London, introduced him to Michael Levy (an extremely wealthy Jewish businessmen). Levy agreed to help Blair to become leader of the party. Levy, with the help of four other Jewish businessmen (Sir Emmanuel Kaye, Sir Trevor Chinn, Maurice Hatter, and David Goldman) provided Blair with £7m. This paid for his campaign plus the running of his private office. This money allowed Blair to become independent of Labour Party funding. Could it be this money, rather than the charm of George Bush, that persuaded Blair to give his support to the American (Israeli) policy in the Middle East. "

Those pesky Jews. I told you it was all about Israoil.

Simkin is the founder of spartacus, a left-wing history resource for schools that doesn't advertise itself as such.

The Education Forum which Mr Simkin administers is part of the National Grid For Learning - in other words it's funded by the UK taxpayer. It has a link at the top of every page to spartacus - but the only health warning is about advertising. How is spartacus funded, I wonder ?

I feel a conspiracy theory coming on, and it deepens when I see that George Monbiot also posts in the thread. Another thread is graced with contributions from the Guardian's Martin Jacques and Jackie Ashley (admittedly pastes of their Guardian work) as well as Mr Simkin and Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle.

I've got no objection to a left wing bulletin board - urban75 is one of my favourites.

But does it have to be funded by my taxes ? Do I have to cough up for a site administered by someone who thinks UK foreign policy was bought with Jewish gold ?

Hat-tip - Dumb Jon.

Congratulations ...

To Harry, Peter and those chosen by the BBC as top politics sites. And a particular shout to Stephen Lewis, whose Sterling Times was one of the first sites to link to the Tony Martin campaign. Not exactly a politics blog, but about "the eccentricities of British culture ... about old and vintage radio, television, music and literature ...about Englishness and patriotism."

Of course the BBC's plugging of Bloggerheads has nothing to do with his 'I believe in the BBC' campaign. I believe in them too - they definitely exist. Pity he doesn't believe in the War On Terror ("Boy, all of this 'current and specific' terror intelligence has come at a good time, hasn't it? Another thing it does is that is eases the minds of those who may just worry about piffling matter like human rights... ").

If Tim Ireland's a Web God why can't I link to individual posts ?

British Spin is suicidal.

While we're on the WOT and human rights, the recent arrests have (surprise surprise) provoked accusations of 'targeting' and 'Islamophobia'. Again.

It does seem wrong to target Muslims simply because most of the major terrorist attacks are carried out in the name of Allah nowadays. It must simply be an excuse for the police to give free rein to their hideous racism. God, we are SO evil.

Whereas as far as I know the BNP haven't complained about this.

PS - well strike a light. Michael 'Bowling For Columbine' Moore has armed bodyguards.

Java Goodies

Download these free (for non-commercial use) Java applets and make your website prettier. I don't think you can use them on blogger (correct me if I'm wrong) but they're still pretty neat. Small (the panorama viewer is 20K) but perfectly formed.

As used to make this.

A Policeman's Blog

How have I missed this blog ? How long's Mr Cuthbertson kept it in his sidebar without trumpeting it to the world ?

I should be cutting the hedges but it's compulsive reading. Corporate creeps, Asian youth who call you racist (bad), Iraqis and old people (good) - all human life is there as well as some sub-human (underclass or social workers) :-)

Riveting stuff.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A Few Late Snowdrops From The Curate's Garden ...

A while back I blogged on the parallels between the Gay Pride and Drumcree marches.

"The dispute centres on the desire by marchers to march along the mainly heterosexual Park Lane on their way back from Trafalgar Square, against residents' wishes."

I guess this had to happen sometime.

Elsewhere the Guardian is offended, as I am, by the decision to send Geoff Hoon to Gibraltar for the celebrations. Sending the man who is destroying the British Army will surely send the wrong signal to Madrid.

Apparently though, the Guardian thinks Mr Hoon is too militaristic and the Government is being "insensitive" by allowing a Minister to visit sovereign British territory. "Both sides agree on the aim of shared sovereignty", do they ? Latte drinking surrender monkeys.

Mr Hoon has a nice little earner lined up for the few remaining squaddies - it's Green Goddess time again.

If the Guardian's so environmentally sensitive, how come those annoying pop-ups on their site are all for cars ?

The death of Henri Cartier Bresson diminishes us all, as does the death of Dave Smith from Brierley Hill. But if I never see the kid with the bottles of wine or that couple kissing again it'll be too soon for me.

Lastly a mag I've not seen before - Freezerbox, a bit like an American Spiked. Lefty and cynical but intelligent. Neat stuff on Sudan, evolution, allsorts.

A Day Out

My small daughter is named after the old Welsh county of Merioneth, and has been pestering me for some time to take her on a tour of the place. So on Saturday we took the back roads to Lake Vyrnwy, before crossing over to the top of the Bwlch-y-Groes (Pass of the Cross), a steep and spectacular road.

Looking down towards Llanymawddwy from the top of the Bwlch

We called in at Llanymawddwy Church, founded in the 6th century by St Tydecho.

Looking back up the valley from  Llanymawddwy Church

Went to the beach at Barmouth.

Can I have an ice cream ?

And finally went searching for gold, with the aid of a tourist map showing gold mines and large scale OS maps showing nothing. On a tiny mountain road we stopped a farmer.

"Excuse me - are there any old gold mines near here ?"

"About fifteen on this mountain. There's a company been formed to look at the whole area."

I thought he might be winding up a lost Englishman, but he spoke truth. So a happy daughter filled the sandwich box with stream gravel and the car with rocks. We're still crushing them. And I see we really shouldn't have.

There's gold all over the place in the UK - only not much of it.

Finally home - a journey on empty roads through as yet unspoiled mid-Wales. We stopped on a hillside as the sun went down, finished the sandwiches and I took this 360-degree panorama. Got home at eleven.

It took me all this evening and half the night to get the panorama software to work, but that's another story.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Told You So

Way back in homogenous 20s and 30s England, when the exotic (but relatively tiny) immigrant quarters of London, with their Jews, Russians, Letts and seafaring communities provided colour for a generation of crime and adventure writers, from Dorothy L Sayers to Dornford Yates, the Jews were about the most exotic 'other' that existed ... A few things have happened since those days. The Jews, for the first time in millennia, have a homeland ... And now England has much more interesting 'others' - like the British Muslims.

This blog, December 2003.

Israel could no longer be regarded as a country made up of passive victims in need of the Guardian's liberal embrace ...
The "disenchantment" of the Guardian is largely due to the limits of its liberal philo-semitism once Jews could no longer be loved primarily for their victimhood. When it became clear, after 1967, that the creation of Israel had given rise to another set of victims, the Palestinians, Jews could no longer be unequivocally embraced.

Bayran Cheyette, reviewing Daphna Baram's book "Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel" in the Guardian.

Covered at Backspin and Mark Fox - whose post implying that Daphna Baram thought the Guardian antisemitic is answered by Daphna herself. The Economist has a review which also takes apart the Glasgow Media Group ('It is pro-Israeli bias, for example, to use the word “terrorism” to describe the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians at bus stops').

Hat-Tip - Fisky, on form again.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Letters To The Editor

Dear Sir,

Today in the Guardian I saw the first 'Sudan - it's all about oil' article of the summer. Is this a record ?

Yours etc

PS - Crooked Timber (among others) saw it too.

Most Wanted

On the 24th September 2001 US Treasury Secretary O'Neill issued an Executive Order freezing the assets of named individuals and organisations suspected of funding or carrying out acts of terror. A second list followed in October 2001.

Among the names, Ahmed Ghailani, also known as 'Ahmed The Tanzanian' or 'Fupi', who was captured in Pakistan a week ago.

Many of the suspected terrorists were only known by nicknames or aliases - the first wanted list mentioned 'Abu Hafs The Mauritanian' and subsequent lists spoke of 'Ahmed The Egyptian' (imagine the Egyptians issuing a wanted notice for 'Dave From England') and 'Ernad The Palestinian'. Although among this latest list you can spot our old friend Abu Hamza, surprisingly not known as Captain Hook.

A lot of the early names were killed or captured. Abu Hafs The Mauritanian made it onto Robert Fisk's website, was then reported killed, but has since been reported to be in Iran. Ahmed The Egyptian still appears to be wanted, but the current top 20 has lost a fair few names.

Presumably the US authorities have good reason to issue warnings about attacks in New York. The jury's still out on whether his arrest lead to the attempted assassination of Shaukat Aziz, but this is a big Al Qaeda catch.