11 May 2006

OT: The London Bombs

The Report into the 7 July bombings has now been released, and it fails to satisfy.

We already know that the British government engaged in folly by attacking Iraq against the wishes of the overwhelming majority in this country. While this act does not excuse terrorist actions such as those on 7 July 2005, it was foolish for the government to embark on a course of action which polarised opinion and helped to create the conditions in which young British muslims felt justified in attacking their fellow citizens. Now even this feeble departmental report on the bombings has stated another (indirect) link with the Iraq war:
A lack of resources hindered the chances of the security services preventing the attacks.

In other words, we have spent billions of pounds attacking a country which did not have WMDs and did not pose a threat to the citizens of the UK. At the same time we did not allocate the proper resources required to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of this country against terrorism.

Sign the petition for a full and independent inquiry.

22 April 2006


I am preparing to move house, so things will continue to be quiet on this blog for the coming weeks. I have deliberately ignored the Euston Manifesto, as I see it as pretty much of a ridiculous waste of time. However the following statement by Martin Kettle in the Guardian today is a canny observation:
A small bunch of people have got together and written a political manifesto which a number of other people disagree with. Exercises of this kind litter the history of the left - and few of them have left much trace on the rest of the world. They bring to mind a line in Tom Stoppard's play Travesties about a meeting in Zurich in 1917 of an organisation called Social Democrats for Civil War in Europe. "Total attendance: four. Ulyanov, Mrs Ulyanov, Zinoviev, and a police spy."
There is the undoubted whiff of a vole hanging about the Euston Manifesto. It seems to have attracted as much support in the neo-conservative "left" as in the neo-con right. One wonders which of the manifesters are the useful idiots and which are the state agents. I wonder if we will have to wait fifty years to find out, as we did with George Orwell (who I assess to have been a bit of both). One of the commenters on the Martin Kettle article describes the Manifesters as:
This group of disillusioned (or never quite were) lefties.

14 April 2006

OT: Glorifying Terrorism

The laws against Glorifying Terrorism have come into affect.

I can't be the first person to think about this.

Should the Jewish passover festival be cancelled as a result of this law? A festival that commemorates the killing of the firstborn of every Egyptian household in order to secure the release of Jewish hostages sounds distinctly like the glorification of terrorism to me...

16 March 2006

Monkey Business

RedTamarin has been making strange patterns in the sand with his/her peanuts. Commenting on the Jericho Raid where the British and American's deserted their posts, allowing the Israelis to move in, kill Palestinian guards, and capture prisoners, in violation of an agreement, s/he offers:
Both parties were presented with the agreement in 2002, but neither Sharon nor Arafat ever put pen to paper. It has been considered binding the UK and US, who have done their part in fulfilling its provisions, but it never really existed.
This is an interesting argument but not one that is based in fact. As any law student knows, an agreement is not binding only if it is written and signed. Oral contracts and agreements are equally binding (in most legal systems, including our own). Indeed, we all enter into binding verbal agreements all the time.

The killer fact here is that the unsigned agreement has been implemented by the relevant parties all this time. The Palestinians kept this man in jail, the Israeli's kept out of it, and the British and Americans provided the jailers.

We can all find the Israeli legal system a bit confusing from time to time (relying as it does on (cough, cough) facts on the ground concerning key issues) but I am happy to report that the Israeli courts have enforced verbal agreements where the conduct of the parties evidences mutual intent.

The laughable bit is that she claims to be providing
details and insight that you can't find anywhere else in print or online media at present
. Right. It looked to me like a RedTamarin scratching its arse. Or it could have been spreading disinformation. Monkey see, monkey do. I wonder where RedTamarin picked up that information.

Meanwhile the bigger Westminster story, that over this issue Jack Straw lied in the Commons is ignored.

14 March 2006

What is Vole Strangling?

I would like to credit the article, Do MSM Blogs Stack Up? by Justin of Chicken Yoghurt, for inspiring the name for this blog.

In his article he looks at bloggers from Mainstream Media and says
I have yet to see a newspaper blog where the writer has got down and dirty with the readers. This defeats the object of blogging to a large extent and is seen as poor etiquette by many non-newspaper bloggers

David Aaronovitch, for example, has recently scrambled aboard the blogwagon. Unfortunately he isn’t offering much more than the opportunity for readers to ruck among themselves over his newspaper columns. There’s no further input or acknowledgement from David himself. BBC political correspondent Nick Robinson’s blog does offer excellent exclusive content but, again, no banter in the comments.

Clearly most newspaper bloggers have other things to do on the paper, but a cynic might suggest that the illusion of interaction is merely a new-fangled way of attracting and keeping readers rather than a serious attempt at engaging them in a real debate. Many journalists have personal blogs and interact, sometimes vocifer ously, with their readers. Just not on the company dollar. When it comes to entering into a dialogue with the readership, it seems journalists must do it on their own time.
A good point.

But what happens when you can't tell your common-or-garden astro-turf from the real thing? What happens when there are little rodents running around your lawn and burrowing under the grass you have carefully seeded?

That's when you need a professional vole strangler.

13 March 2006

Smelling a Rodent

This is a logo of a well-known rodent organisation.

An experienced vole strangler can smell a nasty rodent from a long way off, even when it is hiding underground.

In the 1980's, The Vole Strangler had the unfortunate experience of meeting Arthur Kemp, apartheid security policeman. While at University and keeping tabs on progressive activists, Arthur belonged to an outfit that was affiliated to the International Freedom Foundation (IFF). He was a weedy character, but most of his outfit were built like bouncers, and were not averse to beating people up. Arthur was later involved in the assassination of an ANC leader. Now in Britain he is now a friend of Nick Griffen and a member of the BNP.

These days he is an open rightwinger. He has written a white-supremecist book (that we can all agree doesn't celebrate his racially superior countrymen enough!) However back in 1980s Kemp was fond of saying he was a moderate, but he spent most of his time attacking the African National Congress, the Sandinistas, and what he called "a global communist conspiracy". It later turned out that the whole IFF shower was an apartheid front, brought to you by the same people who brought you:
  • Apartheid
  • State terrorism
  • Murder
  • Political assassinations
  • Bombing of opponents offices
  • Death squads
  • Bribery and corruption

and lots of other nasty things.
Their friends in the USA were people like Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay, and various right wing groups. Besides for bringing us the Taliban (via their support for the mujahadeen), these people introduced covert funding for slick (pro-apartheid) political campaigns.

For an in depth look at this aspect, see this War and Peace article.

See also CapitalBuzz:
The International Freedom Foundation "Tackled" The ANC For the Apartheid Regime. According to Russel Crystal, IFF’s chief in South Africa, "'The military intelligence, there were certain things they wanted done - tackling the ANC as a terrorist-communist organization,' Crystal said. 'The projects we did for them, they paid for.' He added that it was not impossible that South Africa accounted for far more than his estimated 50 percent of IFF revenues. As an example of this 'tackling,' Crystal cited the targeting of Oliver Tambo, whenever the late exiled leader of the ANC traveled around the world." According to former Senior South African spy Craig Williamson "'The advantage of the IFF was that it pilloried the ANC,' said Williamson. 'The sort of general western view of the ANC up until 1990 was a box of matches [violence] and Soviet-supporting - slavishly was the word we latched on. That was backed up with writings, intellectual inputs. It was a matter of undercutting ANC credibility.'" [Newsday, 7/16/95]

The IFF were not merely useful idiots for the Apartheid government, they were nutjobs in their own right. Some of them were seen sporting Hang Mandela t-shirts. Voles of the same pelt tended to congregate together, and that they were under the banner of the IFF didn't fool any respectable vole strangler.

This Vole Strangler was reminded of this bunch of right-wing extremists when he saw that the same kind of nutjobs are flocking to the blog Harry's Place. Again these dirty vermin are couching their words in "moderate" terms: they support democracy, freedom, shoelaces, English muffins, motherhood and apple pie. However there is a strong whiff of the vole about them.

Another site to watch is Guido Fawkes blog, where one of the regulars has even owned up to being an old IFF supporter.

09 March 2006

Voles and Trolls

This is a vole. I strongly advocate the strangling of voles. Voles are annoying creatures. The best way to get rid of them is to starve them of oxygen.

This is a troll. The most widely agreed method of getting rid of trolls is to ignore them and deny them the oxygen of publicity.

I am not sure whether David Aaronovich is a vole or a troll.