ModernityBlog

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

Archive for March 3rd, 2011

Libya, Dumped In The Street.

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The Associated Press reports on the terrible goings-on in Libya:

“Bodies of people who vanished have been dumped in the street. Gunmen in SUVs have descended on homes in the night to drag away suspected protesters, identified by video footage of protests that militiamen have pored through to spot faces. Other militiamen have searched hospitals for wounded to take away.

Residents say they are under the watchful eyes of a variety of Gadhafi militias prowling the streets. They go under numerous names – Internal Security, the Central Support Force, the People’s Force, the People’s Guards and the Brigade of Mohammed al-Magarif, the head of Gadhafi’s personal guard – and they are all searching for suspected protesters.

“While you are speaking to me now, there are spies everywhere and people watching me and you,” one man said, cutting short a conversation with an Associated Press reporter visiting the Tripoli district of Zawiyat al-Dahman on Thursday.

Residents said calls for new protests to be held Friday after weekly Muslim prayers were being passed by word of mouth in several districts of the capital.

Whether crowds turn out will depend on the depth of fear among Gadhafi opponents. Friday could prove a test of the extent of Gadhafi’s control. The capital is crucial to the Libyan leader, his strongest remaining bastion after the uprising that began on Feb. 15 broke the entire eastern half of Libya out of his control and even swept over some cities in the west near Tripoli.

The clampdown in Tripoli has left some yearning for outside help. One 21-year-old in Zawiyat al-Dahman said residents were hoping for manpower to come from the opposition-held east. A Libyan writer in his 70s said he rejects “foreign intervention” in Libya’s upheaval – but wouldn’t mind a “a powerful strike” on Gadhafi’s headquarters to stop further bloodshed. “

Written by modernityblog

03/03/2011 at 23:30

No Comment On Antisemitism At The Guardian?

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Today’s Guardian has a good piece by Jonathan Freedland on antisemitism:

“We may want to believe it went away, but it never did. Not even in the late 1940s, immediately after the revelations of the Holocaust confirmed the murderous place where antisemitic discourse could lead. There were still English literary critics around in those years to refer to the Jews as “Shylocks”, still crime novels with the conniving Jew as the arch-villain. We may want to see the likes of Galliano as relics from another era or as mere eccentrics, but they are expressing a set of attitudes that remain deep in the soil and which have never been fully shaken off. They can appear in the most respected institutions, voiced by the most respectable people. Even when they seem to be dozing, they are never quite dead.”

Yet curiously the Guardian has not enabled comments on this particular article.

It is their right, they can do what they please, but I can’t help wondering if they were fearful of another deluge of antisemitic comments which are frequently found within the pages of the online Guardian and Comment Is Free.

Written by modernityblog

03/03/2011 at 15:34

BBC’s Panorama, Julian Assange And Israel Shamir.

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There was a recent Panorama programme on BBC 1, WikiLeaks: The Secret Story and towards the end of it is an interesting bit about Julian Assange and his association with Israel Shamir.

This shorten clip on Youtube is the last 6:40 minutes of the programme, and from 01:40 you will hear about specific deals which Julian Assange was making on his own, without telling others at Wikileaks.

One such deal was with Israel Shamir, well-known Far Rightist and active antisemite, 02:10 into the clip.

Assange had been warned about Shamir, but didn’t seem too troubled when dealing with this renowned Holocaust denier.

Later on in the clip you will hear the contents of an email between Assange and Shamir, where he says:

“Dear Israel/Adam,

Someone wrote saying they refuse to associate with an organisation that would work with an antisemite like Israel Shamir.

From a brief sampling of your writing I did not find the allegation born out. ”

[Assange then makes the suggestion that Shamir write under an alias.]

Watch it, listen to Shamir’s weird and racist views and then wonder why Julian Assange couldn’t find much wrong with him.

Read Seachlight’s article from 2004 on Shamir.

(H/T: Rosie)

Update 1: Some previous posts on Shamir, etc:

Conspiracies, The CIA And The Racist, Israel Shamir.

Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

Assange And Tales of Jewish Conspiracies?

The Antisemite Israel Shamir and Wikileaks, Telling Lies.

Update 2: Martin Bright asks some good questions:

“Ian Hislop did not have to write an editorial in Private Eye. He clearly felt that he needed to place his conversation in the public domain.

He was right to do so for one reason in particular. Julian Assange has yet to explain his relationship with the Holocaust denier and antisemite Israel Shamir. The statement issued by WikiLeaks that said it dealt with Mr Shamir as it would have done with any other journalist does not wash. WikiLeaks should not have dealt with him at all. Mr Shamir is not like any other journalist. Index on Censorship, which has been a consistent supporter of WikiLeaks on freedom of speech principles, has failed to secure the reassurances it has asked for on the Israel Shamir issue. This is especially worrying for dissidents in Belarus, where Mr Shamir is alleged to have passed cables to the authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.

The Shamir issue is becoming increasingly difficult to explain away. Until he does, Julian Assange cannot ask to be taken seriously as a campaigner for freedom. If you choose to tolerate or defend a nasty antisemite, it is only a matter of time before people begin to wonder whether you are a nasty antisemite yourself. “

Update 3:John Kampfner add his voice to things:

“Index’s association with Assange goes back some time. In 2008 WikiLeaks won the new media prize at our annual awards. We were pleased to host him in a debate in London last September, but his combative demeanour that evening was a surprise. Throughout the past few months we have been at the heart of the tussle. Two of Index’s trustees are Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens and his agent, Caroline Michel. Whenever asked, particularly in the US, about reconciling Stephens’s two roles, I have pointed out that Index is a broad church, and that Stephens has been a longstanding battler for free speech.

It has often felt like treading on egg shells. We were asked in December to channel Assange’s defence fund through our bank account. Our chairman, the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, and I thought it inappropriate for a charity to become involved in the personal allegations against Assange. So we declined.

When urged at the start of January by Assange’s publisher to help him write his memoirs I said I was ready to assist, but only if I had strong editorial input and that no subject was off-limits. This, I was told, was not acceptable. Roughly at the same time our organisation started asking questions about Israel Shamir, a man accused of Holocaust denial and of being a close associate of Belarus’s autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko. Index is one of the founders of the Belarus Committee. Despite repeated but polite requests to WikiLeaks, our team was stonewalled, so we went public with our concerns. “

Update 4: Index on Censorship asks questions about Wikileaks, Belarus And Israel Shamir:

“It has been reported that an “accredited” journalist for Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, met with Uladzimri Makei, the Head of the Presidential administration in Belarus. Subsequently, it was reported in the Belarus Telegraf that a state newspaper would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition.

Wikileaks has always maintained it takes care to ensure that names of political activists are redacted from cables before publication on its website. Index on Censorship is concerned that some of the Wikileaks cables relating to Belarus that have not appeared on the main Wikileaks website are now in the public domain.

There are various “commercial crimes” in Belarus that make it a criminal offence to run an unregistered organisation. In turn, many NGOs are prohibited from registering their organisations. This places a lot of civil society in Belarus in a legal grey area which can mean political activists, who cannot register, are placed in breach of the law for accepting foreign funding. It is rumoured in Belarus that many of the Wikileaks cables outline foreign support for opposition groups. Our worry is that this information could be used to prosecute some of the political prisoners currently held by the KGB.

In the immediate aftermath of the discredited Belarusian elections, Index on Censorship made repeated attempts to contact Wikileaks in order for them to clarify its relationship with Shamir. “