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 2009

Tories Sucking Up to Jew Haters.

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The British Tories’ desire for new allies in the EU meant they had to line up with some rather unsavory characters and bigots, and even the Torygraph is shocked:

“David Cameron has evidently forged some unfortunate connections with Europe’s neo-fascists through his Conservative MEPs. In this week’s New Statesman, out tomorrow, the excellent James Macintyre blows the lid on the Tory MEPs’ careless connection with the disgusting, neo-Nazi National Revival of Poland party (NOP) and its former big-wig, Michal Kaminski.”

Lancaster UAF covered it last week:

“Under the direction of David Cameron, the Tories quit the centre-right European People’s Party to form a new, Eurosceptic coalition, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). Their main partner is Poland’s socially conservative Law and Justice party, which has a well-documented record of anti-gay rhetoric. Its leader in the European Parliament, Michal Kaminski, was a member of the far-right, anti-Semitic National Revival of Poland in the late 1980s. In 2001, the US-based Anti-Defamation League accused him of having attempted to stop the commemoration of a wartime pogrom against Jewish people in the Polish town of Jedwabne. Despite this, the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan this month described Kaminski on his blog for the Daily Telegraph as “a Thatcherite: a sturdy Polish patriot who is nonetheless, in outlook, almost a British Tory”.”

NOP are a nasty pile of jew hating racists and how the new flanged Tory Party missed that, with the aid of the Internet, is beyond me. Still, the Nasty Party?


Update 1:
More on the NOP from wiki:

“NOP front organization National-Radical Institute (Instytut Narodowo-Radykalny, INR) was involved in publishing Western and Polish Holocaust denial literature. In 1997, INR published a volume of translated works of Western Holocaust deniers under the title The Myth of the Holocaust[1]. The same year, INR announced that there were no exterminations in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.[1][24]

In 2006, the NOP was involved in campaigning to free convicted British Holocaust denier David Irving from prison in Austria, and produced a poster containing the slogan “David Irving – Uwolnić prawdę” (“David Irving – Free the truth”.[25])”


Update 2:
The Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski (NOP, National Rebirth of Poland), led by Adam Gmurczyk, was officially registered in 1999, and is part of the International Third Position (ITP) movement. The NOP publishes the blatantly antisemitic and xenophobic magazine Szczerbiec (The Sabre), available at newsstands and large bookshops, which has an estimated circulation of 15,000 and which is apparently co-published by ITP leaders Derek Holland (UK) and Roberto Fiore (Italy). NOP members or supporters—some 30 per cent of whom are thought to be young skinheads—are often responsible for antisemitic and racist graffiti or other acts of vandalism: for example, the graffiti found in July 1999 in the town centre of Legnica—including ‘Zydzi precz!’ (Jews out!) and Stars of David hanging from gallows—was signed ‘NOP’.

NOP members regularly take part in nationalist demonstrations—on such occasions as Constitution Day (3 May) and Independence Day (11 November)—and are also known for aggressive behaviour at football matches. In Lodz, the organization has published special recruitment leaflets aimed at supporters of the top division side LKS. One of the leading participants in NOP rallies in Warsaw, Damian Mikulski, was one of the leaders of the White Legion gang of Legia Warszawa supporters. (In 1998 Mikulski was arrested and is now serving a twenty-five-year jail sentence for the brutally murder of a teenage boy wearing a rival football strip.)

In October 1998 the Jewish biweekly Slowo Zydowskie reported that members of NOP were distributing pamphlets in a schools in Oswiecim that called for a ‘holy war’ against Judaism and the Jews. A governor of the Bielsko Biala district reported the incident to the public prosecutor’s office. Shortly before this occurred, NOP members were seen at the Auschwitz gravel pit, amongst other nationalists involved in the controversy over the Auschwitz crosses.”

Update 3:
A report on “Radical movements in Poland – a brief analysis of radical organisations in contemporary Poland (1989 – 2008)”

Update 4: ERRC also reported:

“According to articles appearing in the Polish and international press, as well as information provided by the organisation itself, the offices of the Roma Information and Counseling Center in the Polish city of Łódź were broken into and vandalised on July 3, 1998. Along with racist graffiti and swastikas sprayed on the office walls, the perpetrators left behind their signature as NOP – Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski, a right-wing extremist organisation in Poland. The same group reportedly vandalised the Łódź premises of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group during the same night. “

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30/07/2009 at 19:51

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A Windy Retort.

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In the wake of Vestas’s potential closure the Times has a timely piece:

“Britain’s countryside and coastline will be dotted with 2,700 new wind turbines by 2012 — more than double the existing total — according to an industry survey of approved wind farms.

The figures contradict claims by Vestas, owner of the country’s only significant wind turbine factory, that demand is too low to justify continuing production.

The Danish company will go to court today to seek a possession order allowing it to evict 18 members of staff who have spent the past ten days barricaded inside offices at the factory at Newport in the Isle of Wight.

They are protesting over the imminent closure of the factory with the loss of 625 jobs. Production ceased last week and the factory is due to close on Friday. Last night, Vestas sacked the 18 men for gross misconduct. They stand to lose up to £10,000 each in redundancy payments.

Mark Smith, one of the workers, said that the protest would continue until Vestas agreed to resume production or the Government nationalised the factory. “

Written by modernityblog

30/07/2009 at 14:02

Taking The Piss.

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Corby Council have a cheek.

Apparently after a 10 year battle they are “surprised and disappointed by the ruling”, which confirmed that they were sloppy and negligent after the closure of the Corby steel works.

Even the judge “accepted the evidence of experts who said 15 years of poorly regulated “muck shifting” had polluted the town’s environment. “

Read more at the Torygraph, Guardian, BBC and the Times,

Written by modernityblog

30/07/2009 at 01:40

Tory Conspiracy Or Harmless Fun.

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Bob has reminded me to vote. I got the email a while back from Total Politics but forgot all about it.

I am not sure about the controversy surrounding Iain Dales’ top 10 blogs, and readers will remember that I am not a fan of the Tories, but it seems to me a bit of harmless fun and not to be taken seriously.

Here’s Dale’s page, and remember what they said:

“If you have your own blog, please do encourage your readers to take part. Last year, more than 80 blogs did so. We hope this year it will be far more than that. BUT, DO NOT list ten blogs you think your readers should vote for.”

So I will keep the list to myself, for now.

Written by modernityblog

29/07/2009 at 00:39

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Locked Up Lawyers.

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The repressive state in Iran made a preemptive move against Human Right’s lawyers according to HRW:

“(New York, July 26, 2009) – Iranian authorities continue to arrest prominent human rights lawyers in an attempt to prevent them from representing reform supporters detained following Iran’s disputed presidential election, Human Rights Watch said today. Other lawyers have been threatened.

“Iranian authorities are trying to create an atmosphere of fear among all lawyers who agree to defend political prisoners,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division. “Many reform supporters arrested after the presidential elections have been denied access to their lawyers, and now they’re finding the lawyers imprisoned with them.”

On July 15, 2009, plainclothes security forces seized human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr on the street while she was walking to attend Friday prayers. On July 21, security forces telephoned Mohammad Seifzadeh, another leading human rights defense lawyer, and threatened to take steps (which they did not specify) to prevent him from continuing his human rights activities.

Hadi Esmaielzadeh and Manijeh Mohammadi were among other human rights lawyers who were questioned by the security section of the Tehran prosecutor’s office a few days after the June 12 election. Seifzadeh, Esmaielzadeh, and Mohammadi are all members of the Human Rights Defenders Center (HRDC), a prominent human rights organization led by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, which security forces have threatened to close on a number of occasions in recent years.

“They told me not to cooperate with Shirin Ebadi,” Seifzadeh, who is a board member of HRDC, told Human Rights Watch.”

Written by modernityblog

28/07/2009 at 21:10

Iran and Technical Odds and Sods

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A few technical bits that have occurred in the last month or so, firstly Iran:

“Around a quarter of Iran’s 65 million people are believed to have Internet access. Iran has long used filtering to restrict certain news and political or pornographic Web sites. However, since the election, the number of blocked sites has increased.

Besides Twitter and YouTube, the BBC’s Farsi-language news site is still blocked, and Web sites associated with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi — who says he won the election — are constantly shut down. In the last week, two new Mousavi sites have been created after others were targeted.”

Breaking the silence of suffering children.

The Tiny Core distribution has a lot of potential, and 8.2 of Antix Linux is out.

Finally, tethering seems to be popular amongst smart phone owners. Basically, the mobile device is used as an external modem for a netbook/laptop, probably connected via a USB cable and the smart phone then provides the onward link to the Internet either via 3G or Wifi.

Update 1: Thanks to ganselmi for reminding me about Nokia’s role:

The Guardian explains:

“The mobile phone company Nokia is being hit by a growing economic boycott in Iran as consumers sympathetic to the post-election protest movement begin targeting a string of companies deemed to be collaborating with the regime.

Wholesale vendors in the capital report that demand for Nokia handsets has fallen by as much as half in the wake of calls to boycott Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for selling communications monitoring systems to Iran.”

Wired continues:

“According to the Journal, a system installed in Iran by Nokia Siemens Networks — a Finland-based joint venture between Nokia and Siemens — provides Iranian authorities with the ability to conduct deep-packet inspection of online communications to monitor the contents and track the source of e-mail, VoIP calls, and posts to social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. The newspaper also said authorities had the ability to alter content as it intercepted the traffic from a state-owned internet choke point.”

Update 2: The Iranian State’s measures to control access to the Internet largely failed, thanks to the ingenuity of Iranians, but the fight over the web still goes on, and Iranians have a new ally: Haystack

“Haystack is a new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, specifically targets the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms.

Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s “great firewall,” once installed Haystack will provide completely uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just unfiltered Internet.”

Their blog is here with updates.

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28/07/2009 at 13:22

Bigotry In The Press.

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The New Statesman was, at one point in time, considered almost obligatory reading for anyone interested in politics or current affairs in Britain, but has suffered more recently from some internal turmoil and staffing changes.

A rather predictable article has just been published called, “Does Israel “cause” anti-Semitism?”

The author makes it very clear that he thinks antisemitism is wrong, bravo, but then proceeds with a time honoured, or time worn argument, that antisemitism is actually related to the behaviour of Israelis:

“But I do find it both tragic and ironic that the state of Israel – created ostensibly to protect Jews from across the world from hatred, prejudice and violence – through its actions today, and through its self-proclaimed role as the leader and home of world Jewry, provokes such awful anti-Semitic attacks against diaspora Jews who have nothing to do with the actions of the IDF or the policies of Netanyahu, Olmert and Sharon. “

Astute readers will remember this argument being trotted out by every bigot under the sun in various guises, for example, “Jews wouldn’t get attacked if they didn’t act as they did”, etc.

It is not a very pretty or coherent argument for what would be Britain’s premier weekly political journal.

From the comments Dave Rich of CST rightly argues:

“Let me explain some of the basic dynamics of hate crime. The people who are primarily responsible for racist hate crimes are the racists who perpetrate them; the “cause” is their bigotry and hatred for a chosen ‘other’.

Different racists respond to different stimuli: so, for instance, when Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform a few years ago, or when Ken Livingstone was censured for his “concentration camp” comments, those events also acted as triggers for short-term surges in antisemitic incidents, but the incidents they triggered were of a different nature, and seemingly from different types of perpetrators, than the incidents triggered by the Israel/Hamas war in Gaza in January of this year.

In all cases, though, there is a very big difference between the stimulus, or trigger, and the “cause”. You would not write an article lamenting that fact that Muslim immigration “caused” the recent arson attack on the Luton Islamic Centre, or any of the other Islamophobic attacks that have been in the news recently, and rightly so. Don’t make excuses for racists, and don’t use racism as an excuse to score political points. It’s demeaning and not something the NS, of all journals, should be doing.

Most people who watched events in Gaza, even most of those who got angry about what Israel did, did not then go out and attack or abuse Jews. There is no direct cause and effect between the two. That is why CST’s reports talk of the response to events in Gaza being the trigger for incidents, rather than simply the events in Gaza themselves. “

It is a shame that a periodical, such as the New Statesman, is reduced to regurgitating bigotry, and I finally remember why I ceased buying it.

Written by modernityblog

27/07/2009 at 20:38