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

Archive for June 2006

Cynics in Hamas

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Any cynic looking at the current Israeli incursion into Gaza might wonder was this pre-planned by elements of the Hamas leadership or was it chance?

If the leaders of Hamas and their proxy PRC, planned to kidnap an IDF soldier knowing full well that Israel would be compelled to respond, and the weakness of the Israeli Prime Minister would drive him to wave a big stick.

Prior to this immediate conflict Hamas was faced with a number of political problems:

• The conflict with Fatah and Abbas;
Financial pressure;
• Relations with the EU;
• Relations with Israel;

So provoking Israel is a quick way of sidestepping these issues, when the smoke clears the world will not remember the original problems, and Hamas will be off the hook.

But was it all pre-planned, and if so, for how long?

Evidence for this view is in the tunnel.

The tunnel was some 600 (six hundred) metres long.

Now I don’t know how long it would take a group of people to secretly dig a 600 metre long tunnel but they would need to be expert at it and it was not done overnight. More likely it took 4-8 weeks to build.

So this provocation and kidnap was pre-planned in my view, but why?

To let Hamas off the hook and make Israel look like the aggressor.

Afterwards Hamas can then play the victim card to full effect, procuring more weapons and money from neighbouring oil rich Arab states, whilst people in the West wring their hands and bemoan “Israeli aggression”

Of course, only a cynic would view it like that, but we shall see.

Written by modernityblog

30/06/2006 at 14:54

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Watching the Filth

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Keeping track of neo-Nazis and their pals: Holocaust deniers is a valuable pursuit, if a tad nauseating.

The advent of the Internet and news groups led to an explosion of ideas but also bile and political extremism.

Hitherto isolated neo-Nazi nutcases, antisemites or sympathisers have been brought together via the medium of the Internet.

So the job of scrutinizing their activities is both necessary and maddening, but the people at Holocaust Controversies blog are doing a fine job and well worth a visit.

The Holocaust History Project is also very informative.

Written by modernityblog

28/06/2006 at 12:35

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Calling the Enlightenment

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Far be it for me to criticise anyone else’s beliefs, but the mumbo-jumbo from Abu Bakar Bashir is disgraceful:

“Abu Bakar Bashir has blamed Indonesians’ “damaged morals” for the devastating earthquake that hit Java last month and urged the government to implement Islamic law.”

The Times reports it as:

“Abu Bakar Bashir, left, who this month was released from prison after serving 26 months for conspiracy over the bombings, which killed 202 people, said: “A series of disasters recently happened because Indonesia’s people have damaged morals.” Addressing 1,000 people outside the headquarters of the Indonesian Mujahidin Council, which he heads, in the central Javanese city of Yogyakarta, he said that if the country implemented Sharia, God would “give Indonesia glory, not disasters”.

No doubt someone on Comment is Free will say that Abu Bakar Bashir has been misrepresented?

Written by modernityblog

26/06/2006 at 21:31

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Calling Norman!

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Jeff Weintraub’s piece on A Petition to Reinstate Professor Thomas Klocek to DePaul University With No Prejudice or Penalty reminded me of DePaul’s infamous ‘scholar’, Norman Finkelstein.

I hope that Norman Finkelstein can bring himself to sign the petition; after all he is well known for supporting David Irving’s school of ‘history’ and freedom of speech ?

Of course, nowadays not many half way sensible people support Irving after his abortive libel case, even if they were fooled by Irving before then.

Irving’s libel action against Professor Lipstadt, demonstrated clearly that Irving falsified evidence, lied, misconstrue documents and filled his books with half truths or pro-Hitler propaganda. So after the case, few if any academics now doubt that Irving is a pro-Hitlerite apologist for the mass murderer.

Still, I hope that Norman Finkelstein manages to read Richard Evans’ book: Lying About Hitler, which deals with Irving’s shabby methods or read Nizkor’s site, just in case he missed the Irving Vs. Lipsadt libel trial.

With any luck Norman Finkelstein might sign the petition, then again Irving might denounce Hitler, equally as unlikely to occur, oh look, there’s a flying pig.

Written by modernityblog

25/06/2006 at 11:41

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Campaign for Nuclear Proliferation

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CND’s latest pronouncements on the British nuclear deterrent do nothing to illuminate the problem of nuclear technology and much to highlight CND’s dual standards. Leaving aside for the minute, the issue of nuclear weapons and looking at CND’s policies we find a strange duality.

CND are happy to host representatives of would-be nuclear powers (Iran) and concede that Iran is entitled to nuclear technology(1), irrespective of where it could lead.

Yet CND vigorously opposes nuclear technology and weapons in Britain.

So we see CND’s astonishing dual standards:

1) It is wrong for Western powers to have nuclear technology

2) It is acceptable for oil rich fundamentalist theocracies to waste precious resources on nuclear ambitions, which could lead to nuclear weaponry, or worst

How can these two contradictory points be reconciled? They can not be, as an example will demonstrate.

CND’s approach begs the question, if it is acceptable for Iran to have nuclear technology, then why not Mali?

Or what if Nicaragua chose to waste precious resources on nuclear technology (paralleling Iran) how could CND oppose it?

To be consistent with its position on Iran, then CND could not oppose the mass proliferation of nuclear technologies in dirt poor countries around the world.

If CND will not oppose the proliferation of nuclear technology in Iran, then why does it even exist??

If the proliferation of nuclear technology is wrong then it is wrong in all countries, not just western ones.

The way to reduce nuclear technology is to oppose its increase, wherever it occurs.


1: “CND therefore respects Iran’s right to a peaceful civilian nuclear programme”, see

Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa, 174 out of 177.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, 112 out of 177.

(Hat tip: David T in CiF)

Written by modernityblog

22/06/2006 at 13:41

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Copyright Chomsky?

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Strangely, Chomsky’s work on the Guardian seems to be under some special arrangement.

After complaining about the ‘faulty’ link I received this reply from the Guardian:

“Further to your inquiry, this particular article was only available for 24 hours for copyright reasons.”

Possibly, it is related to Chomsky’s tax situation and the need to control copyright. Or maybe he received such a ‘Bunting’ that he withdrew the article, who knows?

Written by modernityblog

21/06/2006 at 13:48

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Chomsky Vanished

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I had hoped to look at Noam Chomsky’s latest article on CiF, but it appears to be inaccessible.

I scanned the top bit yesterday, hoping today to read it at my leisure and consider his points but I can probably guess his arguments (he uses them so often):

“1) America is to blame 2) America is to blame 3) What hypocrisy, to deny nuclear technology to a country controlled by Ayatollahes 4) Whatever happens America is to blame, because ultimately people have no free will 5) Oh, my latest book covers this in more detail”

I am sure that the “commissars” have got to Cif, or it could be a technical hitch, you decide!

Written by modernityblog

20/06/2006 at 12:57

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Chomsky Nailed Again?

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Chomsky is nailed again by Peter Beaumont in The Observer, and from the outset Beaumont is open about his own bias:

“I met Chomsky once at a New Statesman lunch and that nagging, bullying, wheedling voice has stuck with me since. It is a voice that brooks no dissent from his dissident view. ‘You’ll know … ‘ was his opening line on being introduced to two of us who covered the war in Kosovo, before launching into one of his favourite rants – that it really wasn’t the poor Serbs what done it, but nasty Nato.”

“Reading Failed States, I had an epiphany: that by applying a Chomskian analysis to his own writing, you discover exactly the same subtle textual biases, evasions and elisions of meaning as used by those he calls ‘the doctrinal managers’ of the ‘powerful elites’. The mighty Chomsky, the world’s greatest public intellectual, is prone to playing fast and loose.

“The case that he wants to make is that the US is uniquely awful.
In setting about this task quite so selectively, he allies himself with some obnoxious characters.”

Written by modernityblog

18/06/2006 at 12:10

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Demon Drink

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Written by modernityblog

15/06/2006 at 19:14

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A Little Light Reading

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Reading the latest Democratiya I was drawn to the Marko Attila Hoare’s Occidentalism and ‘Anti-Imperialism’ and Evan Daniel’s Is there an ‘Islamic Imperialism’? and in particular to :

“However, the nature of Hamas is often misunderstood. Unlike the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas is neither the embodiment of pan-Arab aspirations nor of Palestinian self-determination. It is not a political movement for national liberation that contains an armed wing. Hamas has articulated the far broader goal of establishing a global Islamist empire. This is in line with it’s ideological parent organisation, ‘which viewed its violent opposition to Zionism from the 1930s and 1940s as an integral part of the Manichean struggle for the creation of a worldwide caliphate rather than the defence of the Palestinian Arabs’ national rights’ (p. 213-4). According to Karsh, for Hamas, the issue of Palestine is ‘neither an ordinary territorial dispute between two national movements not a struggle by an indigenous population against a foreign occupier. It is a holy war by the worldwide Islamic umma to present the loss of a part of the House of Islam to the infidels’ (p. 214).

Written by modernityblog

14/06/2006 at 15:28

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Galloway on Beheading

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George Galloway knows no limits, politically, morally or ethically.

Galloway’s latest column’s on CiF shows his decay to the full.

He pontificates on the death of Margaret Hassan and how if people had listened to him, she would have been saved.

A bigger pile of self-serving idiocy you would be hard put to find, but the other commenters on CiF respond accordingly and fulsome fashion.

I present some of the better extracts:


You are in no position to argue the cases of the righteous Galloway. You are a lickspittle of fascism and tyranny, and you have betrayed the trust placed in you by those foolish enough to give you their vote. You are a media whore, whose relentless attention seeking only serves to highlight the aching vacuum in your bloodless heart. You should be expelled from parliament and left to while away your remaining years doing Pizza Hut adverts with the Hamiltons.


Someone as odious as George Galloway leaping at the chance to promote himself on the memory of a truly amazing women is pretty disgusting inself. Especially at a time when the sovereign elected Iraqi Government – which George worked tirelessly to prevent from ever happening – has tried and sentenced the killer of Mrs Hassan.

Your bile should be directed at the author of this article and not those of us repulsed by his shameless behaviour.

Margaret Hassans killer has faced the justice of the Iraqi people – as will the brutal dictator that George supported so very deeply.


Oh yeah, and I’d add that it is a bit f**king tasteless for Galloway to use this piece about Margaret Hassan to continue his defence of his old friend and dancing partner, Tariq Aziz – a man who certainly will be tried for his numerous and bloody human rights abuses.


You have a nerve George, I have to give you that. You suck up to the dictator Saddam and his murderous offspring

“Sir: I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”

Then try to portray yourself as some sort of humanitarian with regard to Margaret Hassan.

You should hang your head in shame you grade a shit.”Guardian Unlimited © Guardian etc

I couldn’t have said it better.

Written by modernityblog

08/06/2006 at 16:00

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June 1944

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62 years ago.

June 1944 and its historical significance for Europeans can not be understated.

Europe was under the jackboot of Nazi Germany and Hitler’s gang.

The Allies launched their D-Day landing on 6th June 1944.

On the anniversary of D-Day we should not forget that the Soviets had demolished the German 6th Army at Stalingrad in February 1943 and the slow march towards Berlin began.

The combined Allied forces squeezed the occupying German Armies back to Berlin and Hitler’s bunker and for that we should all be very grateful.

Written by modernityblog

03/06/2006 at 12:43

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Every generation

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I freely acknowledge my certain ambivalence to the Euston Manifesto but one item from Alan Johnson’s talk at Norm’s caught my eye and I can fully agree with it:

“Every generation, it seems, has to rediscover anti-totalitarianism for itself.”

Written by modernityblog

01/06/2006 at 23:35

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Dirty Old China?

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The state of China’s rivers and the toxic level of pollution in the drinking water are covered in a Torygraph article:

“A new phrase has become current in China as the country comes to terms with the environmental devastation caused by its explosive economic growth: “cancer villages”.

Not long ago they were farming settlements in the vast countryside. Now they are dominated by factories and blighted by the disease crippling their inhabitants.

Government figures show that 300 million people regularly drink polluted water and the effects are clear in the cancer village of Xiditou, near the port city of Tianjin, south-east of Beijing. “

And The Times comments:

“THE fabled Yangtze River, the third-longest in the world, is already dying from pollution and could be dead within five years.

The river’s plight reflects the water crisis facing the world’s most highly populated country.

China’s 1.3 billion people are already short of supplies because of prolonged drought in many regions — and much of what remains has been contaminated by industrialisation.

About 40 per cent of all waste water produced in China — some 25 billion tonnes per annum — flows into the river, but more than 80 per cent of it is untreated beforehand. “

and some people worry about a hose pipe ban?

Written by modernityblog

01/06/2006 at 02:16

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