ModernityBlog

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

Archive for July 2011

Greater Surbiton And Douglas Murray.

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Greater Surbiton has a superb post on Douglas Murray:

“Murray has spoken in defence of the English Defence League, a fascist, Islamophobic organisation of street thugs, and of Robert Spencer, proprietor of the anti-Muslim hate-site ‘Jihadwatch‘ (see the video at the start of this post). With some nuance, arguably, but unambiguously enough to be described as a ‘ringing defence’ by Spencer, who writes ‘At a recent conference… devoted to attempting to smear many anti-jihad forces, including the English Defense League and our own Stop Islamization of America, as neofascists, the extraordinarily eloquent English writer Douglas Murray offers this ringing defense (of me also, for which I am grateful) and denunciation of the Left’s guilt-by-association tactics.’ Murray praises Spencer as a ‘brilliant scholar’. Yet Spencer is a promoter of Srebrenica genocide denial. The EDL has also promoted Murray’s defence of it on their website.”

Anti-Muslim Cranks And Anders Behring Breivik.

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Hatewatch has an insightful post on some anti-Muslim bigots and the recent events in Norway:

“The irony is, had Anders Behring Breivik merely posted his manifesto without killing at least 76 innocent children and adults in Norway, he probably would have emerged as a rising star among the anti-Muslim activists he so admired.

As it happened, America’s most fanatical anti-Muslim activists quickly retreated behind walls of denial upon discovering that the perpetrator of Friday’s stunning act of terror was committed not in the name of Islam, but in response to their own mission: Whipping up paranoia about Islam.

Breivik on Monday admitted responsibility for the attack, telling a court that he did it to “save Europe” from Islam. His 1,500-page manifesto, which he posted on the Internet shortly before launching the rampage, confirmed his motivation in no uncertain terms. But in the aftermath of the tragedy, the very people whose anti-Muslim polemics Breivik admired and studied were pathetically incapable of any introspection whatsoever regarding the influence their inflammatory anti-Muslim paranoia might have had on Breivik.

When the news first broke Friday, along with an early, unsubstantiated report that a Muslim terrorist group had claimed responsibility, Pamela Geller, executive director of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), prepared to indict all of Islam for the carnage.

Her first post, at 12:57 p.m. Friday was headlined, “Jihad in Norway?” Mocking her critics, she wrote, “But remember, jihad is not the problem. New York’s 911, London’s 7/7, Madrid’s 3/11, Bali, Mumbai, Beslan, Moscow … is not the problem. ‘Islamophobia’ is the problem. Repeat after me as you bury the dead, ‘Islamophobia is the problem, Islamophobia is the problem.’” “

Geller is exceedingly predictable and so despicable, nakedly exploiting the death of innocent Norwegians for her own political purposes.

Norway, Recognising The Threat.

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There is a regrettable tendency, when multiple atrocities like that which occurred in Norway recently, for pundits to go off half cocked. To push their agenda on top of a tragedy, or make unnecessarily crude political points on the back of the deaths of others.

That’s part of the reason that I deliberately chose not to post on these events.

I wanted the dust to settle and for a better understanding of what actually happened to come out.

I am still reluctant to comment but I think the CST’s contribution is pertinent and deserves a wider airing:

The appalling and tragic events in Norway on Friday have served as an horrific reminder that Europe’s far right is capable of producing terrorists, who are just as willing to kill in large numbers as any jihadi terrorist group.

Previously, most attempts by neo-Nazis or other adherents of far right ideologies to perpetrate terrorist attacks have failed for logistical reasons, but there are enough examples that succeeded – for example, David Copeland here in the UK, or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in the United States – to dispel any complacency. The growing list of prosecutions and convictions in Britain of would-be terrorists from the far right in recent years shows that this is a real and growing problem.”

The point that they make that political violence is intrinsic to the Far Right needs greater acceptance amongst the media and political classes, who will often gloss over this issue without any real understanding of its implications.

Written by modernityblog

24/07/2011 at 15:13

Britain Can Be Sued For Torture.

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I covered this months ago, finally and thankfully the case went the way of the Kenyans, as BBC News reports with typical English understatement:

“Four elderly Kenyans have been told they can sue the Foreign Office for their alleged torture by British colonial authorities 50 years ago.

The High Court said the group could seek damages over their treatment during the 1950s and 60s.

Mr Justice McCombe said the claimants had an “arguable case” and it would be “dishonourable” to block the action.

Ministers say the UK government is not responsible for the actions of the colonial administration.

The decision means that the government will have to defend accusations of torture, murder, sexual assault and other alleged abuses at a full damages trial in 2012.

The four Kenyans, Ndiku Mutwiwa Mutua, Paulo Muoka Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara, all in their 70s and 80s, say ministers in London approved systematic abuse in special camps. A fifth claimant has died since the action began.

The High Court heard that Mr Mutua and Mr Nzili had been castrated, Mr Nyingi was beaten unconscious in an incident in which 11 men were clubbed to death, and Mrs Mara had been subjected to appalling sexual abuse.”

The Respect Chair, Carole Swords And Racism.

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The CST takes the Respect Chair, Carole Swords to task for her racist “slip”.

Seismic Shock reminded us that she previously promoted a pro-Crusader article from Stuart Littlewood.

Why she would have wanted to associate with an obsessive racist like Littlewood I can’t say, but she could have at least looked him up on Google and taken the hint.

Littlewood writes for Veterans Today, a nasty conspiratorial and antisemitic on-line rag run by the crank and friend of the Far Right, Gordon Duff.

Who can forget Duff’s kind words about Ernst Zundel:

“The best known scholoar of holocaust theories is Dr. Thomas Dalton, author of
Debating the Holocaust; A New Look at Both Sides. Dalton discusses the history of
the “denialist” movement and efforts made to criminalize, not only politically
motivated efforts to change majority perceptions of the holocaust but also stifle
legitimate research into, not only the holocaust but a more accurate history of Europe
in the mid 20th Century. Most recently, Ernst Zundel, a German born researcher
who has questioned issues related to the holocaust was extradited from Canada and
imprisoned for years in Germany for “crimes” that, in America would be considered
not just “freedom of speech” but relatively modest historical enquiry. Zundel
questioned the number “six million” and, in doing so, was arrested and convicted of
an obscure law that creates a special class of truth when Jewish perception is
involved.

Zundel, and significant numbers of historians of varying credibility believe the
number of Jewish dead is being vastly over stated along with the methods of killing.
It is their contention that since there is no scientific evidence that gassing or
cremation facilities existed designed for masskilling, a major area of their research,
that numbers of dead should be reassessed. They insist that since camps such as
Auschwitz and Dachau are no longer considered “death camps” and that many other
camps listed disappeared “without any trace” according to their research, that the
number dead should be lowered by up to 80%. “

Is it merely coincidental that “anti-Zionists”, like Carole Swords, end up espousing racist ideas?

I suspect it is more a case of lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas!

UCU, This Will Not Be The Last.

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It is slow blogging from me for a while, but I would recommend that readers take a long hard look in at Engage.

Recently they have been superb, positively on steroids with a fine bevy of posts.

I would suggest that members of the University and College Union read and think about James Mendelsohn’s resignation letter to Sally Hunt, which I produce in full:

“Dear Sally

Thank you for your message.

I was happy to sign the petition of no confidence in the government’s HE policies and, like you, I have very serious concerns about the White Paper.

Regrettably, though, I am no longer able to join in UCU’s fight against the government’s measures. This is because I am no longer a member of UCU. Following the passing of Motion 70 at the most recent annual Congress, I felt that I had no choice but to resign. Not only does Motion 70 reject the most widely-used definition of anti-Semitism in the world, it fails to provide any alternative definition. The motives of those who proposed the motion are clear: they rightly understood that, according to the EUMC Working Definition, their obsessive campaign to single out Israeli academics for boycott year on year might indeed be anti-Semitic. Whether intentionally or otherwise, this has made UCU an even more uncomfortable place for Jewish members than it was previously. I can no longer contribute money to such an organisation in good conscience.

Please do not send me the same generic response you have sent to others who have resigned on these grounds. Sadly, your repeated claim that UCU abhors anti-Semitism is not borne out by the evidence; rather, the evidence points overwhelmingly in the other direction. For example, a union which truly abhorred anti-Semitism would have no truck with Bongani Masuku, whose statements were correctly defined as anti-Semitic hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission. UCU, by contrast, invited Masuku to promote the boycott campaign. Does that sound to you like the mark of a union which abhors anti-Semitism?

Speaking on a more personal level, I sent you three emails on related issues in 2008, which are attached. I think you would agree that a trade union which abhorred anti-Semitism would take such emails from an ordinary member seriously. Regrettably, I never received a reply to any of them.

I no longer wish to contribute my money to an organisation which has a problem with institutionalised anti-Semitism. I am sure I will not be the last Jewish member who feels forced to resign, even at a time when trade union protection and solidarity are more important than ever. Once again -please do not send me your generic reply. All I would ask you is: do you realise that the boycott campaign is now weakening the union’s numbers and credibility, at a time when a strong union is needed more than ever? And do you ever lie awake at night wondering why, in the 21st century, Jewish members have left UCU in droves?

Yours sincerely

James Mendelsohn

Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Huddersfield ” [My emphasis.]

(H/T: Engage)

Read Before Attacking.

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Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch has a funny story about a rather dumb neo-Nazi.

Read and enjoy.

Written by modernityblog

14/07/2011 at 18:57

Bastille Day.

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Enjoy:

Written by modernityblog

14/07/2011 at 07:48

One For Aficionados.

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Some sage once remarked that it was both time consuming and intellectually tiring when you have to explain the nature of antisemitic myths, time after time.

The CST’s latest post American Nazi “Prophecy” and Dr Daud Abdullah: Deja Vu? reminded me of the “Franklin prophecy” which I ran across years and years back.

Like many other twisted pieces of antisemitism it sticks in the mind.

Why, I can’t say, as I tend to forget even elementary facts nowadays and I have a short-term memory that a Goldfish would be proud of, or supposedly so.

Yet along with all of the nonsense concerning the Federal Reserve, I do remember the “Franklin prophecy”, as a nasty fake, a piece of antisemitic propaganda. Peculiar how the mind works?

But what is surprising is that it still in usage nowadays, read more at the CST.

Unrest In The Middle East.

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The Associated Press has a summary of unrest in the Middle East:

“SYRIA

Syria’s vice president calls for a transition to democracy in a country ruled for four decades by an authoritarian family dynasty, crediting mass protests with forcing the regime to consider reforms while also warning against further demonstrations. Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa was speaking at a national dialogue. Key opposition figures driving the four-month-old uprising boycott the meeting, refusing to talk until a deadly crackdown on protesters ends.

EGYPT

Army troops firing in the air clash with stone-throwing protesters in the strategic city of Suez after crowds block a key highway to push for faster reform efforts, including probes of alleged abuses during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Suez has been hit by days of unrest over calls for swifter action against Mubarak-era officials. In Cairo, protesters block access to the Egyptian capital’s largest government building and threaten to expand sit-ins to other sites.
…”

Elsewhere the Torygraph reports:

“In scenes that would have been remarkable before four months of protests and violent suppression, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad allowed public criticism to be aired at a televised conference and promised “multi-party democracy” in response.

“The bullets are still being fired in Homs and Hama,” said one participant, the writer Tayyeb Tizini, of two major cities that have seen repeated demonstrations. “Laying the foundations for a civil society requires the dismantling of the police state.

“That’s an absolute prerequisite, because otherwise the police state will sabotage all our efforts.” He also called for the freeing of “thousands” of political prisoners, some who he said had been in prison for years.

But the convention was boycotted by many more leading dissidents and opposition figures with links to the street protests, calling its final purpose into question. “I thought 1,500 people died for more than a dialogue between the regime and itself,” one activist wrote on Twitter. “

South Sudan.

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The creation of a new country is an immense undertaking. From the comparatively simple logistics of organising the demarcation of frontiers to establishing a governmental framework and all of the tens of thousands of tasks in between.

The difficulties of such an enterprise should not be underestimated or diminished, it is a mammoth accomplishment to even start the process.

So I think that whilst we should welcome the setting up of South Sudan we should not forget the background to its creation or the part play by Omar Al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup d’etat.

We should not forget the ICC’s warrent for his arrest.

I would heartily recommend Eric Reeves’s work on Darfur and beyond to understand what has happened and why.

Reeves’s past piece on China’s role in this conflict is illuminating:

“The weaponry and ammunition in this and many other subsequent attacks on the UN peacekeeping force were in all likelihood manufactured in China and imported into Darfur by Khartoum’s armed forces—in direct violation of a UN Security Council embargo on all such movement of arms or ammunition. This is confirmed in a new, unpublished report from the UN Panel of Experts on Darfur, created by UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (March 2005). According to the Washington Post, the UN panel reports “finding recently manufactured shell casings from Chinese ammunition at the site of numerous attacks launched by unidentified assailants against peacekeepers from the joint UN-Union Mission.” This finding clearly implicates Khartoum and its proxies in the attacks on peacekeepers. “

Written by modernityblog

09/07/2011 at 17:27

Assange And Žižek, A Kind Request.

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Slavoj Žižek and Julian Assange recently conducted a session for the Frontline club and it is on YouTube, below.

Astute readers may have noticed that I am not blogging much at the moment, life’s a bit complicated and particularly like today, I don’t have much brain.

So I have a kind request to make of my readers. Could they, if they have the stamina, view the video and provide me with a summary (I’m happy to get several from different readers)? Ta very much.

Busy World And Blogs.

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I am a bit preoccupied at the moment, so blogging has been slow, but events around the world and in the blogosphere keep moving, so here’s a small compilation:

China’s PM received the red carpet treatment in Britain whilst craftily releasing some dissidents in time for the visit. Business as usual.

Syria in the news, more killed this week and the last.

The Guardian has good coverage of human rights in the Middle East at the moment, Egypt, Syria and Middle East unrest – 30 June.

The BBC succumb to its own internal prejudices when its outlet, BBC News published a false story on 17 June 2011:

Jerusalem rabbis ‘condemn dog to death by stoning

A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.

The dog entered the Jerusalem financial court several weeks ago and would not leave, reports Israeli website Ynet.

It reminded a judge of a curse passed on a now deceased secular lawyer about 20 years ago, when judges bid his spirit to enter the body of a dog.

The animal is said to have escaped before the sentence was carried out.

One of the judges at the court in the city’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood had reportedly asked local children to carry out the sentence.”

It is still on the web, even Stephen Dawkins picked it up. The BBC released a pitiful apology, which is rather hard to find.

The Beeb’s basic standards in journalism gave way to prejudice. BBC News wanted to believe the very worst of Israelis in general and Rabbis in particular, so published the story. Had they any integrity on this issue they would admit it.

The Holocaust denying, Bishop Richard Williamson is still at it, Jhate has more.

Jameson Timba was freed in Zimbabwe.

In Japan, power shortages.

Conrad Black. I can’t understand why he was released in the first place. Anyone else would have had to wait in their cell for a very long time whilst such matters were decided.

Footballers defect.

Another victory for “anti-imperialism”, as the Taliban attack a hospital, killing civilians.

Inside of a Mayan tomb.

Funny goings on at Crooked Timber.

Bryon Wider’s story.

Baroness Tonge’s at it again.

In the “you don’t say” category, Gaddafi regime ‘not attending London Olympics. Maybe he’ll have a date in the Hague instead?

Written by modernityblog

03/07/2011 at 22:11

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