ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for January 2010

Waging War Against God?

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Would it be possible to create a more inflammatory charge against Iranian protesters?

Apparently not.

It’s not much of a step up from the old Soviet “enemy of the people” label, and probably worse.

The intention is to prejudge the alleged crimes of the protesters and ensure that they are dealt with harshly.

That is what the ruling elite in Iran wants, protesters beaten on the streets, given cursory trials and locked away, as the BBC reports:

“Iran has put 16 people on trial after anti-government protests in December, when eight people died in some of the most violent clashes seen in months.

Five of the defendants are charged with “waging war against God” while the others are accused of public order and national security offences.

They were all arrested over protests on 27 December when Shia Muslims gathered for the religious festival of Ashura.

Street protests have recurred in Iran since the disputed election in June.”

Written by modernityblog

31/01/2010 at 04:02

The State Of Play and Rev. Sizer.

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Hopefully one of my final posts on Sizergate, as I get the impression from Richard Wilson’s blog that Dr. Sizer would like to dampen down matters.

Understandably so, otherwise he might have to answer why did he use an ex-Royal Marine to try to track down Seismic Shock?

I would recommend that readers take the time to study the comments from Rev. Sizer’s associate, Mordechai ‘Motkhe’ Cohen.

The comments are rather nasty, and whilst my memory is faulty it was one of the exchanges that I remember clearly from Seismic Shock’s site, given the ferocity and venom of the remarks.

Richard Bartholomew has put up a spirited defence of Rev. Sizer. A pity, I expected a bit more.

Contrary to Richard’s assertion, we can see the previous blog or parts of it from the google cache, as I highlighted in this post.

Readers might want to re-read Seismic Shock’s old blog and decide for themselves.

[Use these key words in Google, site:seismicshock.blogspot.com Sizer, about 49 entries are return with a fair few of them cached and readable about 18.]

The Leeds University’s student newspaper covers matters too.

Concluding, so what in fact you had was:

1) an Anglican vicar annoyed at criticism of his strongly held views
2) an effort was made to warn off that critic
3) when it failed a ex-Royal Marine’s assistance was sought
4) when that failed the Police were used to intimidate the blogger
5) said Anglican vicar gloated about his apparent success at seeing off a critic, and then threatened another blogger.

Less of a rose tinted view of events than we are often told, and I am sure more will come out, eventually.

Written by modernityblog

30/01/2010 at 17:52

Wikipedia, Rev. Sizer And Bits Left Out.

with 8 comments

I am indebted to Judeosphere for pointing out that Wiki has updated its page on Rev. Sizer, mentioning the Barbara Streisand effect along the way.

I am not unduly worried that I was not credited. I won’t cry or moan, but what struck me was more what they chose to leave out of the Wiki entry.

I appreciate that Wiki is trying to achieve some neutral point of view. They are up front about it and I can see why that might be a good idea.

However, what I think is reprehensible is that they do not comment on how Rev. Sizer left another message trying to intimidate another blogger, in particular, Vee of Living Journey in Australia.

The evidence is there for everyone to see, his own comment:

“Stephen Sizer says:
January 16, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Dear Vee,

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.

Blessings
Stephen”

[Even if it is subsequently denied, which I would doubt, then the Internet record can be pulled up to verify that Rev. Sizer did, in fact, leave that threat.]

Still, I suppose if Wiki had included that information then it would take the polish off of Rev. Sizer’s halo.

But there is a wider problem here and in the past I have been a bit critical of Wiki and Citizendium.

I think there’s a tendency for some of the biographical sections to come out like hagiographies.

Certainly, those of a religious persuasion (or not) would probably see why such an approach is not a good idea, and a bit unlikely under these circumstances, as few of us really have halos and most assuredly they do not need any on-line polishing!

1997 Harassment Act?

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I thought this was an intriguing post, I hadn’t considered it in that light, but it makes a lot of sense:

“In a case of ‘harassment via Facebook’ two years ago, Michael Hurst was brought to trial for allegedly contacting his ex-girlfriend Sophie Sladden online, but he was cleared by Magistrates in Birmingham after the prosecution failed to prove the charge.

The definition of harassment above is deliberately wide-ranging, as it was introduced with the main aim of facilitating action in cases of domestic harassment. Is this law being used appropriately?

For the media and for bloggers, a harassment complaint in circumstances where there has been no documented physical threat or alleged ’stalking’ incident is worrying.”

Written by modernityblog

29/01/2010 at 17:21

Gao Zhisheng.

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Voted one of the top ten lawyers in 2001, Gao Zhisheng has gone missing, the BBC reports:

“Concern is mounting for a Chinese lawyer who is believed to be in detention but has not been seen for nearly a year.

Foreign governments have urged Chinese officials to reveal the whereabouts of well-known activist Gao Zhisheng.

Human rights groups say it is unusual that there has been no formal word on why Mr Gao was taken and what condition he is in.

Officials have so far given only cryptic hints as to where he is. A foreign ministry spokesman said he was “where he should be”.

The lawyer has long been targeted by the government, which has previously stopped him working, put him on trial and kept him under surveillance. “

Written by modernityblog

29/01/2010 at 04:58

Seismic Shock: The Video.

with 5 comments

Stanley Kubrick’s marvellous film Spartacus was the inspiration behind the “I am Seismic Shock” campaign

This web Web phenomena, courtesy of the Streisand effect, was started to highlight how inappropriate it was for the British Police to visit a blogger and intimidate him into deleting one of his blogs.

Now there is a video.

Please take a copy and embed it in your blogs, as a reminder that the Police should not be involved in legitimate political criticism and discourse on the Internet.

Update 1: John Gray ably reminds us of the problems that he, Dave Osler and Alex Hilton had and still have to suffer from a vexatious claim.

Update 2: I forgot to add that I now have a YouTube channel.

I haven’t given any thought as to how best to use it, but if readers wish to contribute media, video or suggestions, please do.

Dr Anthony McRoy? National Front or not?

with 7 comments

There is a piece in the Jewish Chronicle suggesting that Dr. McRoy was a member of the National Front, once.

I am not so sure.

I have left a question on Roger Pearse’s blog and I hope that Dr McRoy will clarify the situation, once and for all.

I am sure that someone, somewhere, has probably got an old copy of a National Front membership list, however it would be more helpful if Dr. McRoy could address the issue.

It may not be obvious to everyone, but if someone had been in the National Front they may still have some lingering animus towards Jews. That could be consciously or unconsciously, who knows?

But if it were the case, it might colour their work and how they present a representation of Jews and Israelis in the world.

I simply do not know, but I am sure that Dr McRoy could clear this up quickly enough, if he wishes.

Update 1: It appears that Roger Pearse isn’t what he seems, an advocate of freedom of speech.

Asking the wrong type of question will get your comment deleted.

I asked an innocuous question to Dr. McRoy, merely to deny that he was ever a member of the National Front. It got deleted.

I think it is a time like this, that you see people’s commitment to freedom of speech, or whether or not they use it as a veneer to protect **their** own freedom of speech, but not that of others.

Update 2: Other questions are getting deleted too, this one covers the issue:

David
Roger

People aren’t asking about McRoy’s ethnicity or religion.

They’re asking if he was a member of a particular neo Nazi political party.

That isn’t an improper question to ask, and not at all like asking if a person is a member of a broad and heterogenous faith or ethnicity group.

Comment on Jan 28th, 2010 at 2:26 pm “

Written by modernityblog

28/01/2010 at 14:42

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