Thursday, 7 October 2010
I will post this out of interest. It's a well written individual war memoir by USMC Reservist Paul Kane. It appreared in the Irish Times here. I wish all the best for Paul and thank him for his story, its a good account of how many veterans feel. Plus it is a well articulated view of it from a Serviceman's perspective. Full text below:
VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: Marines we interviewed consistently expressed two hopes to us: that by this war the Iraqi people would have a better future; and that their own kids would never fight in the Middle East, writes PAUL KANE
IN 2003, I was an unlikely and unexpected participant in the Iraq war. At age 39, I was a “recovering venture capitalist” who’d made millions, and lost them and his business in Ireland, everything lost in the tech-stock crash of 2000. I lost everything I thought at the time was important.
Following Hemingway’s invocation that the world is a fine place well worth fighting for, I decided in the wake of my failure to make myself useful. Life experience and being Catholic had taught me that everything usually comes down to a handful of people. That in a tight spot an individual can make the difference, change the course of events, and maybe save lives.
I had been a US Marine in the late Eighties and decided just before 9/11 to return again, doing part-time service with a Marine Corps reserve intelligence and training unit at Quantico. On March 17th, 2003, a few days before the Iraq war began, my Marine colonel called: “Two questions, Kane. What’s an Irishman doing home and sober on St Patrick’s Day? Second, what are you doing for the next 15-weeks or 15-months?” The next day, I reported to Quantico and prepared for deployment to Iraq.
I will never forget my experiences or what I saw in Iraq. I would never want to forget. It was a brush with the “very real” world; there is a positive power to adversity that makes you appreciate what you have, what should be a priority, that makes you stronger and sounder, rich in what matters.
The surreal nights at Diwaniya sleeping rough in 115 degree temperatures in an abandoned building that had been looted of everything but the dust, listening to automatic weapons firing on our perimeter and howling wild dogs and cats; the Pioneer spy drone buzzing overhead looking for bad men trying to sneak up on our patch of earth; driving at 90 miles an hour in convoys, lickety-split through sniper zones; carrying an injured British soldier to a chopper only to later get the radio call, “He’s gone”; two fanatical black-clad Fedayeen discovering that their ambition to kill us exceeded their ability, eviscerated by a stream of 50-calibre rounds from the sky; seeing an eight-year-old Shia boy sent airborne and bloodied by a speeding hit-and-run taxi as he stood beaming at the roadside, waving us welcomes.
As I lay on that kiln-hot concrete among snoring Marines trying to ignore the night sounds and steal some sleep, an irony hit me. Three years ago now, I was likely sitting in Dobbin’s posh Dublin bistro with a crisp white table cloth having lunch and noshing with the brie-and-fine-Chablis set.
The ching-ching of glasses and chortling with a colleague in the Aer Lingus Elite Club; him off to Marco Island, me off to Palm Beach; him happily our consiglieri for years, enjoying the dosh and media limelight, me later “Paul who?” when we went down, denied three times to three papers. During our last session together as bits of our company fell to earth, he, our own Captain Renault from Casablanca, hysterically blurted: “I am shocked, shocked to hear that gambling was going on here!” We handed him his last fat fee. During those dark days of the Irish elite, only Zig and Zag still returned calls.
But in the end, the only one responsible was the captain who found the iceberg, that fella in the mirror. Now I’m here on hell’s half acre cuddling up to an M-16 rifle and serving as an appetiser for sand fleas. My first year nuns from St Camillus, reached in retirement with this news, not one whit surprised.
Holy mackerel, how I musta really pissed off God! Sweet Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Fadder Abraham you grew up in this neighbourhood, whoever has their radio set on “receive”, wake me from this, help me out here. I remember thinking to myself: “If I ever get out of here, I am gonna settle down, and have a zillion kids.”
Part of our mission in Iraq was to do “collections”. This was military parlance for gathering insight from Marines. What worked? What didn’t? Lessons learned. Dawn to dark daily, we were “Oscar Mike” (On the Move) tracking units, interviewing and surveying more than 6,000 combat Marines across Iraq in Hillah, Safwan, Ur, Nasiriya, Karbala, Kut and points in between. It was Club Med on a budget with rifles. The war in Iraq officially ended on August 31st. But war never ends for those who fight, nor for the Iraqis who live in this war’s wake. Unfortunately, Plato got it right: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
It has been eight years of strife and suffering and seeing the face of evil, not infrequently all made worse by our own civilian leaders’ misreads, hubris and missteps. The list is long. But there were the small victories, small kindnesses, and small noble acts that never make the news. The evil of war is made smaller by the camaraderie that warriors experience in a world where every decision may mean life or death and by manifestations of concern for others that you would never witness were you not in combat.
Was the war worth it?
If only there was a simple answer. Were I king, would I have led us into war? No. Hindsight is 20/20, but those calling the shots were combat innocents and clueless as to what they were unleashing. Would that in 2003 we had a military veteran like Abraham Lincoln at the helm rather than someone who landed, ironically, on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln to pronounce: “Mission accomplished!” Do tell, who neglected to route that memo updating those nice men in the insurgency?
President Lincoln’s brilliance at wartime execution was well chronicled in a recent biography by James McPherson, Tried by War. It was Lincoln’s hard-earned personal wisdom, ability to endure serial failures and constant challenges, daring use of strategy and available resource, balancing of interests, and keeping his friends close and his rivals even closer, that enabled him to prevail. In a word, Lincoln was a leader.
Similarly, President John F Kennedy’s brush with war left him an idealist without illusions. He kept his own counsel during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that nearly brought nuclear Armageddon, precisely because he had served in uniform, been to war, and had his ship sunk in combat. Kennedy was not overawed by the cigar-chopping general with a constellation of stars on his collar who disdainfully told him, “Sir, you have few options on Cuba except ‘surgical strikes’.” JFK knew that using terms for precision and for bombing in the same sentence was nonsense. Kennedy knew that generals, like senior leaders in any human enterprise or endeavour, deserve no quarter or special deference. And generals, like many banksters, regulators and politicians, recent events have revealed, usually fall into one of three categories. There are the exceptionally sound and capable, the committed mediocre, and the stunningly incompetent. No bell-curve distribution assumed.
Do I think the Iraqis will now have a better future?
My gut says yes, despite our bungling. Did it have to be so painful? No. Could Saddam have been dispatched by another strategy? Likely, yes. Were more combat veterans in the room when wars were discussed, there would likely be fewer wars, and the ones we did fight would be fought with fewer blunders and prosecuted so as to prevail.
Those who fight in wars, be they just or unjust, morally or immorally executed, have the noble experience of having been actively engaged in protecting those around them in war, fellow soldiers and many civilians, and saved and protected lives. Not many people wake up in the morning with that being a life experience they possess.
Men who knew nothing of combat like pro consul L Paul Bremer sacked the Iraqi army in May 2003 and left us Marines scratching our heads in disbelief. With the stroke of a pen, Bremer beggared soldiers and their families, more than three million Iraqis, overnight, giving untold momentum to insurgency. And then there was The Quartet: Rummy, Cheney, Blair and W. Enough said. But despite us, and the bad hand they were dealt, I do believe the Iraqi people will prevail and the unseen force that moves through life accompanying adversity will see them on to better lives – little consolation though this is to the dead, wounded, mourning or displaced. We had leaders, but we had little in the way of leadership. Personally, I owe a big thank you to Saddam and W.
One door closes and another opens and the unforeseen comes to you. Failing in business was the best thing that ever happened to me. Had I not failed, I would have bounded along, an oblivious fat-cat businessman, and never gone back to the Marines. I would have maintained my steady diet of suits as colleagues and compadres. Never really seeing outside that circle, never getting down in the dirt and meeting some of the most able, tough and resourceful, wickedly funny and selfless human beings it became my pleasure to know. There would have been no war for me. Some innocent Iraqis and perhaps Marines who are alive today would be dead. I never would have gone on to accept an appointment to hide at Harvard after the war, where I met my lovely wife.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Iraq. Or the fact that there are Marines in harm’s way somewhere, right now, while I go about my life. I think back about those things we Marines hoped would come from this war. Aside from the nuts and bolts issues, those 6,000 Marines we interviewed consistently expressed two hopes to us. They hoped by this war the Iraqi people would have a better future. And they hoped their own kids would never return to fight in the Middle East.
I hope and pray for those things every night when I tuck Kieron and baby Ella into bed.
Paul Kane was a Fellow from 2004-2008 of the John F Kennedy School’s International Security Programme at Harvard University. President Obama awarded him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal last year for heroism during a 2008 subway rescue.
Monday, 4 October 2010
Sunday, 1 August 2010
A new Aim for our Coalition- Repeal the hand guns ban of 1997. The facts are Liberal Firearms law = Less Crime
As civilian ownership of firearms has been curtailed
by Parliament the Police use and variety of weaponry has
increased exponentially (I support the cops but our government
should not have all this power)
This I accept to many (usually the ill-informed) is a strange subject to blog on. Namely the very important need as I see it to liberalise Britain’s gun laws. Why you may think as well as shudder and regard the issue as well as the author as crazy. In fact in British culture in general people who like guns or want to keep them are often regarded as being a bit loopy. But for me the issue is simple. A law abiding citizen should be allowed to own firearms, further more they should be allowed to use them in self defence of their property until the police eventually arrive.
Also did you know that gun crime has increased fourfold since the 1998 ban on handguns was introduced? Did you also know that countries with more liberal gun laws such as Switzerland and Israel have a fraction of our crime? Finally when someone attacks your property, what is your sole choice in the UK? You guessed it to be a victim of crime? That is all. I am calling for as a minimum, the hand guns ban of 1997 to be repealed. The law that exists in Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands should be the norm. Finally I will show below the article from BBC online in which the American academic Joyce Malcolm provides her view. My view is that HMG should be willing to trust its citizens to be armed, otherwise why should we trust HMG? Please debate this issue in the comments I warmly welcome contributions from the US and those opposed to my view below. Onto Joyce Malcolm:
Yet what we need is more guns, not fewer, says a US academic.
"If guns are outlawed," an American bumper sticker warns, "only outlaws will have guns." With gun crime in Britain soaring in the face of the strictest gun control laws of any democracy, the UK seems about to prove that warning prophetic.
For 80 years the safety of the British people has been staked on the premise that fewer private guns means less crime, indeed that any weapons in the hands of men and women, however law-abiding, pose a danger.
JOYCE L MALCOLM
Professor of history, Bentley College, US
Author of Guns & Violence: the English Experience
Senior Advisor, MIT Security Studies Program
Click here to have you say on this story
Government assured Britons they needed no weapons, society would protect them. If that were so in 1920 when the first firearms restrictions were passed, or in 1953 when Britons were forbidden to carry any article for their protection, it no longer is.
The failure of this general disarmament to stem, or even slow, armed and violent crime could not be more blatant. According to a recent UN study, England and Wales have the highest crime rate and worst record for "very serious" offences of the 18 industrial countries surveyed.
But would allowing law-abiding people to "have arms for their defence", as the 1689 English Bill of Rights promised, increase violence? Would Britain be following America's bad example?
Old stereotypes die hard and the vision of Britain as a peaceable kingdom, America as "the wild west culture on the other side of the Atlantic" is out of date. It is true that in contrast to Britain's tight gun restrictions, half of American households have firearms, and 33 states now permit law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.
But despite, or because, of this, violent crime in America has been plummeting for 10 consecutive years, even as British violence has been rising. By 1995 English rates of violent crime were already far higher than America's for every major violent crime except murder and rape.
You are now six times more likely to be mugged in London than New York. Why? Because as common law appreciated, not only does an armed individual have the ability to protect himself or herself but criminals are less likely to attack them. They help keep the peace. A study found American burglars fear armed home-owners more than the police. As a result burglaries are much rarer and only 13% occur when people are at home, in contrast to 53% in England.
Much is made of the higher American rate for murder. That is true and has been for some time. But as the Office of Health Economics in London found, not weapons availability, but "particular cultural factors" are to blame.
A study comparing New York and London over 200 years found the New York homicide rate consistently five times the London rate, although for most of that period residents of both cities had unrestricted access to firearms.
When guns were available in England they were seldom used in crime. A government study for 1890-1892 found an average of one handgun homicide a year in a population of 30 million. But murder rates for both countries are now changing. In 1981 the American rate was 8.7 times the English rate, in 1995 it was 5.7 times the English rate, and by last year it was 3.5 times. With American rates described as "in startling free-fall" and British rates as of October 2002 the highest for 100 years the two are on a path to converge.
The price of British government insistence upon a monopoly of force comes at a high social cost.
First, it is unrealistic. No police force, however large, can protect everyone. Further, hundreds of thousands of police hours are spent monitoring firearms restrictions, rather than patrolling the streets. And changes in the law of self-defence have left ordinary people at the mercy of thugs.
According to Glanville Williams in his Textbook of Criminal Law, self-defence is "now stated in such mitigated terms as to cast doubt on whether it still forms part of the law".
Nearly a century before that American bumper sticker was slapped on the first bumper, the great English jurist, AV Dicey cautioned: "Discourage self-help, and loyal subjects become the slaves of ruffians." He knew public safety is not enhanced by depriving people of their right to personal safety.
Joyce Lee Malcolm, professor of history, is author of Guns and Violence: The English Experience, published in June 2002.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Brilliant performance by Jonathon on English Al Jazeera. Note how his opponent in the debate Dr Gharda Karmi seeks to dismiss his arguments instead of actually addressing them. Well done Jonathon! Anyone wishing to discuss further can join in the comments section below.
Monday, 31 May 2010
Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmara. The ship
was sent by the Islamist IHH organisation. More
on them below. Also watch the video on the BBC website I've
linked to and decide how 'peaceful' those protesters were?
An awful lot of hysterical bleating (from people like the Hamas loving Greens) is going on about the fiasco that unfolded this morning at sea, when Israeli troops boarded a ship carrying support for a genocidal terrorist movement; Hamas. What I will do is call for balance and clear thinking from all people concerned with the situation. Those people who support Hamas and that of course includes the militant left can go hang. This blog post is aimed at sensible people and hopefully along with the report by the BBC and BICOM we can at least form a balanced assessment of what actually happened.
What I will also say is this. You're a soldier or police officer facing a hostile crowd that outnumbers you and is attacking you with iron bars, knives and you think you hear shots. What do you do? Oh and in the time taken for you to read this a member of your team has been disarmed and shot by their own rifle. I'm a former soldier who has faced hostile crowds. I would open fire in those circumstances and so would any sensible professional. Unless you just want to watch your friends get bludgeoned to death and hope they grant you mercy when they turn on you? Full text from BICOM follows:
BICOM Briefing: Gaza Flotilla Incident
This brief provides currently available information on the Gaza flotilla incident. Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.
Israeli forces stormed a flotilla of activists' boats attempting to break the blockade of Gaza early this morning, resulting in at least 10 deaths among those on board.
Prior to the incident, Israel offered to transfer the aid carried by the protestors to the Gaza Strip via land borders under the activists' observation, after security checks. Whilst committed to facilitating the flow of aid to Gaza, Israel is concerned not allow the Gaza coast to become a corridor for weapons transfers to Hamas.
There has been an angry reaction in particular from Turkey, the Palestinians, and Israeli Arabs. International organizations are demanding explanations from Israel.
Israeli ministers have expressed "sorrow" at the deaths but stressed that the protestors acted violently to the Israeli forces including with live fire. Israel has also highlighted that IHH, the Turkish group involved in the flotilla, is believed to have a history of support for terrorism.
Early on Monday 31 May, a flotilla of six activist's boats headed towards the Gaza coast.
They were met by vessels from the Israeli Navy about 60km from the coast, apparently in international waters. The Israeli navy warned them that that Gaza is under naval blockade. The Israeli navy invited the boats to enter the Ashdod port, north of Gaza. Israel offered to transfer the humanitarian aid to Gaza under the observation of the activists, according to Israeli authority regulations. The flotilla continued to try and reach the Gaza coast.
A team of Israeli commandos from the elite naval Shayetet 13 commando unit boarded the protest boats at around 4am from helicopters. It appears that five of the boats were captured without violence, but that on the largest, the Turkish flagged Marmara, Israel soldiers were met with planned, violent resistance, which Israeli officials described as attempts to lynch the soldiers.
The IDF says they were attacked with "live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs". Turkish television footage shows Israeli soldiers landing on the decks of the boats and immediately being set upon by men with sticks and planks. In the ensuing struggle at least ten, and possibly as many as nineteen, activists were killed and ten Israeli soldiers were harmed, four seriously. One soldier was stabbed and two were shot with firearms taken from the soldiers.
Who was on the protest boats and what was their aim?
Some 700 activists are reported to be on the boats, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and British activists. The Marmara is reported to be carrying more than 500 people.
The organizations involved in the movement include the ‘Free Gaza Movement' alongside other European NGOs, and the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) movement.
The IHH has been accused of being a militant Islamist movement with a record of supporting terrorism. (For a report on IHH by the Danish Institute for International Studies click here.)
Speaking to BBC World News, a spokeswoman for the flotilla, Audrey Bomse stressed that the primary mission of the flotilla was to make a political statement with regard to the human rights of the Palestinian in Gaza and to "break the siege", as opposed to delivering the aid itself.
The groups involved refused requests from Israeli campaigners last week to deliver packages and letters to Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip without any external contact since 2006.
What is Israel's policy on access to the Gaza Strip?
Israel facilitates the daily passage of around one hundred trucks a day of aid to Gaza through its land border. There are no limits on the quantity of aid, but Israel restricts the types of goods it will allow in, because of the state of conflict that exists between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza.
Israel is concerned to avoid any action that will strengthen the Hamas government in Gaza, in the context of the divide between Hamas and the moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. In contrast to Gaza, the West Bank has seen considerable improvement in movement and access in the last two years due to improved cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Israel insists that all aid entering Gaza be checked to ensure it does not include weaponry. It seeks to maintain the naval blockade in order to prevent the coast of Gaza becoming a corridor for the smuggling of arms to Hamas. Hamas has made considerable efforts to rearm and improve its arsenal with Iranian weapons smuggled under the Gaza-Egypt border.
Egypt, which considers Hamas to present a major threat to its own security, allows almost nothing to pass through its border with Gaza, but large quantities of goods enter the strip through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.
For more details see BICOM Briefing: Israeli policy on access to Gaza update - 27/5/2010.
What has been the reaction in Israel?
In a press conference, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak expressed his "sorrow" at the events, but stressed the responsibility lay with the organisers of the flotilla. He asserted that the Israeli forces involved were well trained, and acted only to defend themselves. He further emphasised that there was a well established procedure to send aid to Gaza and that it was unacceptable to allow the boats to reach Gaza without security checks, which would open up a precedent for a smuggling corridor.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything it could to avoid this outcome," but stressed, that on the part of the protestors, "Their intent was violence, their methods were violence, and the outcome was violence."
Israeli Arab leaders and parliamentarians have reacted angrily, strongly condemning the Israeli actions, and there have been calls for protests among Israeli Arabs.
Israeli media commentators are raising questions about how this operation was planned and executed. Concerns are being expressed about the impact on Israel's international image and the possible reaction from Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
What has been the international reaction?
Foreign Secretary William Hague said in statement, "I deplore the loss of life during the interception of theGaza Flotilla." He added, "We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations."
There has been a very angry reaction from the government of Turkey, the flag state of the largest ship, who have recalled their ambassador. The Turkish Prime Minister has returned early from an overseas trip. Protestors attempted to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the incident as a "massacre" and has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
European Foreign Affairs representative Baroness Ashton has called for an inquiry and for crossings into Gaza to be opened.
Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency have expressed shock in a statement and sought explanations from Israel.
What will happen now?
The situation at sea is still unclear and Israeli authorities report that the incident is still being brought under control.
Israel has said it will unload and check the aid at the Ashdod port and transfer the aid that is permitted to enter the Gaza Strip via the usual land crossings on the Israel-Gaza border. The protestors will be handled by Israeli immigration authorities.
Another boat of the ‘Free Gaza' movement is heading towards the Gaza Strip and activists have expressed determination to continue their efforts to break the blockade.
Monday, 24 May 2010
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
American Comedian Bill Maher on Culture and what should not be debateable in the West... Except it is..
One of the reasons I got turned off left wing politics was the inability or unwillingness of the left to recognise Militant political Islam as being a highly dangerous right wing philosophy that is utterly repugnant to western democratic values. This became so clear to me after spending one month in Iran conducting research on the democratisation movement in that country.
When I came back the idea of Blame Bush/Blair/Bertie for everything seemed completely hollow after seeing what the young people of Persia have to put up with. I began to feel that the blame the west for everything politics of the left is like a spoilt teenager being cheeky toward their parents because they know they can. Gradually I actually became quite appreciative of the virtues of western style liberal democracy and quite proud of the fact that I live in a free country. However I do get great satisfaction on the odd occasion that a lefty decides to put things in perspective and call it like it is. HBO's Bill Maher is probably the most left wing person on American TV. Still, the comedian has the good sense to make it clear that for all the failings of the catholic church and eccentricity of the christian right, they got nothing on the Taliban. He also stipulates that when it comes to conservative Muslims living in western democracies, there are some things that are non negotiable.
Friday, 7 May 2010
Don't expect a scene like this at Broadcasting
House this time around!
Listen to Jane Garvey here, she is reminiscing about May 2nd 1997, bet it ain't like that today Labour are finished! Cue a minority Conservative government.
"I do remember... the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles. I'll always remember that"
Jane Garvey on BBC Five Live, May 10th 2007, recalling May 2nd 1997.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010
Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain was forced to seek refuge in a security office after protesters attempted to attack her following a university lecture.
Talya Lador-Fresher said she feared she would be physically assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car and attempted to smash the windscreen.
She had been speaking to members of Manchester University’s politics society when the incident occurred on Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators had gathered at the venue.
Ms Lador-Fresher had been asked back to the university after a previous arrangement to address students in February was cancelled when more than 300 protesters from the Action Palestine student society scuffled with Jewish students and police.
Speaking about Wednesday’s protest she said: “It was quite a shocking experience. I have had people stand up and shout and wave the Palestinian flag when I have spoken, but it was the first time I have been in this situation.
“When we finished I could not get out of the university building. The demonstrators saw me on the way to the car and they started running towards me.
“The security team rushed me back into the building and we were standing in the corridor for a few minutes.”
The diminutive deputy ambassador was eventually escorted through a back door to a security vehicle but the demonstrators discovered the evacuation plan and surrounded the car.
Ms Lador-Fresher said: “They were screaming and shouting. Two of them were on the bonnet trying to break the windscreen. It was very unpleasant.
“I don’t think they wanted to kill me but I genuinely believed they wanted to physically hurt me. If I had not had the police and security team I would have been beaten up.”
Security guards eventually moved her to their nearby office for her own safety. She was later picked up by her Embassy driver.
Manchester University officials had been keen to re-arrange the lecture after its initial cancellation and had offered Ms Lador-Fresher an “open invitation”.
The deputy ambassador praised the efforts of University staff and Jewish students to ensure the event took place. She said despite the experience she would be happy to return to speak at Manchester again.
But she added: “No foreign diplomat should have to go through what I went through.”
Ambassador Ron Prosor said: "What is going on at British taxpayer-funded universities is shocking. Extremism is not just running through these places of education, it is galloping. My ears are ready and waiting to hear the strongest condemnation of this behaviour both from the heads of campus and the local authorities.”
A Manchester University spokesman said: “The University is fundamentally committed to freedom of speech, exercised within the law. It follows that it should also allow peaceful and lawful protest to take place on its campus.
“We took all reasonable action to put appropriate security measures in place for this meeting, including a complete lockdown of the building, a high-level security presence, ID checks at the door and ticket-only arrangements.”
Monday, 26 April 2010
Fathi Hamad of Hamas, quite keen to 'sacrifice' the children of others...Only he was happy for Israel to airlift his daughter to hospital!
Not so quick for his own kids to be sacrificed,
he relies on the IDF to airlift his sick daughter to hospital.
Many will be surprised at the nauseating hypocrisy of this individual. I am not. Fathi Hamad is on record here talking of how during Operation Cast Lead Hamas sacrificed the lives of their own women and children, using them as a screen to launch rockets at Israel. However this weekend he was quite happy for the IDF to airlift his own daughter to Jordan for emergency hospital treatment. Source is here for translation. Original from elderofzion here.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Quick Look at the Lib Dems Part 2 - Their intense cynicism, 'demonising Israel to win Muslim votes... Except in Hampstead'
Jenny Tonge has condoned Suicide bombings.
She called for an investigation into claims that the IDF harvested organs from Haiti.
Yet she remains a Liberal Democrat and Clegg never withdrew the whip from this unpleasant
woman. I really wish what I am saying about her is untrue but she is a stain on the Lib Dems.
It's time again to look at the Lib Dems. They have a charismatic leader no doubt about that. However what about their policies? Foreign affairs for instance:
1. Take UK into the single currency.
2. Further integration into the EU (that trans-national body ruled by an unelected commission that has no audit budgets).
3. A potential shambles of an immigration policy, then again it is a shambles already.
4. I said earlier how scrapping Trident is not bereft of good sense. However it would cost the UK their place at the UN Security Council that is important. Clegg would quite possibly see Britain's place at the UNSC ceded to the EU?
However the worse thing about the Lib Dems? I mean all parties have some crazy ideas there are worse parties than them (Greens/BNP etc). Is their utterly cynical campaign against Israel to woo Muslim votes. I've cross posted this bit below from Chas Newkey Burden. Check out his philosemitic blog it's cool. Also the Lib Dems have the utterly vile Jenny Tonge amongst their ranks. An odious creature on a par with Nick Griffin of the BNP in terms of bigotry. Clegg could have sacked her he did not. Anyway see below for full text from Chas.
By: Chas Newkey-Burden
The Liberal Democrats at both national and local level have adopted an aggressive anti-Israel stance. They choose to communicate this message particularly in areas with large Muslim populations – suggesting that their anti-Israel stance is motivated by a desire to win Muslim votes.
During Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s effort to stop rocket attacks from Hamas in Gaza, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg came right out and said that “we must stop arming Israel” and even called for trade sanctions against Israel. This was echoed by the Lib Dems’ MP from Rochdale who branded Israeli actions a “massacre” and said to a rally in Trafalgar Square: “I am here on behalf of Nick Clegg to show solidarity for the people of Palestine….I want to stop the massacre [by Israel]”.
Jenny Tonge remains a member of the Lib Dems in the Lords, despite calling for an investigation into whether the IDF were harvesting body parts in Haiti – an outrageous and totally unsupported allegation. She was made a Lord by the Lib Dems after expressing sympathy with suicide bombers. She may well have finally lost her job as a Health Spokesperson, but surely the whip should be withdrawn and she should be expelled from Lib Dems entirely. It took years of anti-Semitic remarks for Tonge even to lose the Spokesperson job.
At a local level, the Lib Dems have ruthlessly targeted voters in Muslim areas with an anti-Israel message to whip up hatred against Israel and garner votes. Here is an example of a leaflet they used in an area of Redbridge with a large Muslim community – again calling for Israel to be disarmed and showing a photo of a dead child in Gaza. A similar Lib Dem leaflet was aimed at the Muslim community in the Kings Cross area of the Borough of Camden. Indeed, the Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate there, Jo Shaw, has made great play of her opposition to Israel, as shown by her website. The website post is totally unashamed about the fact the Lib Dems used the issue to recruit new Muslim members, saying: “The meeting was to welcome new Lib Dem members from Camden’s Bangladeshi community, who were heartened by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg being the only mainstream party leader to call for a halt to arm sales to Israel”.
Here in Hampstead & Kilburn, where I’m the Conservative parliamentary candidate and there is a large Jewish community, we don’t see any Lib Dem leaflets calling for Israel to be disarmed. Instead, the Lib Dems put out cheery leaflets targeted specifically at Jewish voters (somehow, they seem to have compiled a list of Jewish people in the area). The leaflets have Hebrew script, and imply friendship with Israel through photos of their candidate at the Western Wall and with members of the Knesset, accompanied by claims to “understand the community”.
What leaves me staggered is that these leaflets – with Hebrew lettering and targeted at Jewish voters – were produced by the Camden Lib Dems, the very same organisation who sent the leaflets to Muslim voters in Kings Cross calling for Israel to be disarmed. They may even have been printed on the same machine for all I know.
The double standards are truly breathtaking. I have stood up and said this publicly already. For the record, I’m a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel. I spent a very happy summer in 1994 living and studying at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. Israel, like any country, must have the right to ensure its security against terrorist attack.
What the Lib Dems have been doing to whip up hatred against Israel to win votes in a UK election is totally unacceptable, and pours fuel on the flames of racial and religious tension. I condemn it unequivocally.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Doing Quite well at the moment but what of his
The Lib Dems under Nick Clegg are doing quite well in the polls following Thursday night's debate. However why is this and how much focus is there on their policies? I've pasted below a quick excerpt from a recent FT article. The article critiques their economic policies and wonders what they would do in the case of a hung Parliament. Read below for the text from the FT or follow the above link. My points about the Lib Dems:
1. They should be called the Liberal Autocrats as they favour more 'integration' with the undemocratic trans-national EU.
2. Their immigration policy is a nonsense.
3. Scrapping Trident is not a bad idea, although it would cost the UK's position on the UN Security Council (that in itself is not a sensible reason for keeping Trident I know).
4. Scrap ID Cards, I'm 100% in favour of!
5. Their increase in capital gains tax will hurt business and investment.
6. Allowing people earning under 10k to avoid income tax is not a bad idea.
7. An amnesty for illegal immigrants would be fine if there was only a few thousand of them, but I fear the floodgates would open.
8. Their proposed public sector cuts do not go far enough.
I'll be back with more in a future post. The Lib Dems are a breath of fresh air for sure and the current success of Clegg could mean a change to the voting system if it translates into success at the polls. However what are they like when it comes to Foreign Policy and are they very cynical when it comes to that issue? See the next post for further details. FT below:
What have the Liberal Democrats announced? The Lib Dems would make the first £10,000 of earnings tax-free, putting £700 back into the pockets of millions of people on low and middle incomes. This rise in the tax thresholds, which would cost £17bn overall, would free 3.6m people on low incomes from having to pay any income tax at all.
The change would be paid for by cutting tax relief on pensions contributions, increasing capital gains tax, cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion, reforming aviation taxation and introducing an annual 1 per cent mansion tax on property values above £2m.
What do the critics say? Opponents say the tax-raising measures would damage enterprise and investment and, in some cases, lack credibility, particularly the bid to save £4.65bn from extra anti-avoidance measures.
Although the tax rises would hit the wealthy, the design of the tax giveaway has come under fire from the left as it would disproportionately benefit households in the top half of the income spectrum. Many of the poorest have incomes too low to pay income tax and so would not gain.
FT verdict The idea behind these proposals – that the poorest taxpayers currently pay a bigger chunk of their income in tax than other groups – is muddled because it neglects the fact they get nearly all their income from the state. The Lib Dem proposals on capital gains tax would damage enterprise and investment. Recycling the proceeds into big tax cuts would be a mistake given the state of public finances.
What have the Liberal Democrats announced? Nick Clegg says whichever party has the biggest mandate after the election in a hung parliament would have “the moral right” to try to form a government. His formula implies the Lib Dems would discuss a possible deal with the leader of the party with the biggest mandate in a hung parliament. But what does he mean when he talks about “the biggest mandate”? The Lib Dem leader was vague yesterday about whether he is talking about the party with the most seats or the most votes. If recent opinion polls were translated into a national swing on May 6, Labour could win the most seats while the Tories could win the most votes. Mr Clegg is giving himself room for manoeuvre.
What do the critics say? Mr Clegg should come clean on what he would do in a hung parliament. If he is privately willing to keep Mr Brown in power even if he lost his Commons majority, the voters have a right to know. On the other hand, many Lib Dem supporters would be horrified to think their votes would help to sustain a minority Tory administration: such a move could cause serious tensions.
FT verdict Mr Clegg would be willing to work with Labour or the Tories in exchange for delivery of key Lib Dem policies. But he would be more likely to sit on the opposition benches.
Reforming the City
What have the Liberal Democrats announced? The Lib Dems want to rebalance the “unsustainable economy” by shrinking the size of the City and fostering a more diverse low-carbon economy. The big banks would be broken up so that there was a clear separation between retail banking and “high-risk investment banking”. A 10 per cent levy would be introduced on bank profits, which could not be offset against losses, raising about £2.2bn a year.
The party has pledged to crack down on “obscene greed”. This includes a ban on any board directors taking a bonus; a £2,500 cap on cash bonuses; tougher disclosure rules to name any banker earning more than the prime minister; and powers to levy a fine on any bank director over his company breaching pay rules.
What do the critics say? The measures are designed to pander to public anger rather than increase financial stability. A bank levy is backed by the Tories. But enforcing the measure without international agreement will penalise the City. The plan to split investment banks addresses the wrong problem, because most of the banks that failed were not hybrid super-banks. Finally, the crackdown on City pay will drive bankers out of London.
FT verdict An unsavoury mix of populism and seemingly easy fixes. The more serious proposals for splitting up big banks and imposing a levy on profits are flawed but deserve consideration, if done on a global basis. There is nothing liberal or sensible about a draconian clampdown on bonuses.
What have the Liberal Democrats announced? A series of “savings” to “start to reduce the deficit” from 2011 onwards. The Lib Dems claim their plans will cut government spending by about £15bn. A third of this will go towards new spending pledges, while £10bn will help to pay down the deficit.
Restrictions on benefits including ending Child Trust Funds, restricting tax credits, scaling back Regional Development Agency funding by £600m. Instead of a public sector pay freeze, the Lib Dems will place a £400 cap on pay rises. The third tranche of the Eurofighter will be scrapped along with ID cards.
What do the critics say? The plans to curb spending are over-optimistic, giving the impression of restraint without being honest about the pain. They also do not go far enough.
FT verdict Mr Clegg deserves credit for attempting to spell out cuts in detail. But they fail the test of being “honest” about the deficit and do not reflect the tough decisions facing the next government. Alex Barker
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Desmond here was part of an
investigation team that descended
into the production of propaganda
This is a quick article as I need to gear up for covering the pending election. Not that the election will change a single thing in Britain anyway. British Colonels and occasionally American ones have been occasionally portrayed in the media as blimp like figures. Often this is done for amusement. However that accolade now must surely belong to Desmond Travers of the IDF. No not that IDF this IDF the Irish Forces. So who is Desmond Travers? Well he is a former Senior Officer of the IDF and was one of the panelists that produced the Goldstone report for the UN. That is the report which accused both Hamas and Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The Goldstone report is widely used to criticise Israel. In fact it has some authority in many people's eyes as it was produced by a UN body. Even though the body itself is a complete turkey which appointed Sudan as a member on May 4th 2004! Previous members have included Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Cuba. You probably get the point. That was the esteemed body for which Travers worked.
So my concerns for Travers are? Well quite simply the man is not equal to the task of performing an investigation into human rights violations. He has serious baggage, it was his intent from the start to use the report as a means of attacking Israel. This man should not be trusted to run a bath let alone mount an investigation. Read the following report in the Jerusalem Post by Alan Dershowitz. The Goldstone report was never meant to be impartial. In fact it could not possibly have been. Travers would have seen to that himself. He wanted to use the report to attack Israel. Travers has also unsurprisingly made paranoid and anti-Semitic remarks about a 'Jewish lobby'. For proof of that and a video of the man displaying his limited grasp of debating skills look at this piece by my friend Chas Newkey-Burden. Note how Travers evades the question. Also his completely contradicts himself saying that remarks about mosques storing munitions, can only be made if supported by forensic evidence. He states assuredly that no mosque did store munitions in Gaza, yet he he conducted no forensic investigation himself. He then theorises that munitions would not ever be stored in a place of worship, as his ancestors had been insurgents during the Irish war of independence. His ancestors had not done so between 1919- 1921 so therefore Hamas would never do so in 2009! What fatuous nonsense! The video is below:
Desmond Travers is a hypocrite, a political actor and not an investigator and an utterly disingenuous fool. You don't like me calling you that Des? Tough plenty of other people are and you can always sue me. Only I'll use your own words as evidence for this claim.
Full text on Travers in the Jerusalem Post below:
When Irish Colonel Desmond Travers eagerly accepted an appointment to the Goldstone Commission, he was hell-bent on revenge against Israel based on paranoid fantasies and hard left anti-Israel propaganda. He actually believed, as he put it in a recent interview, that "so many Irish soldiers had been killed by Israelis," with "a significant number who were taken out deliberately and shot (in southern Lebanon.)" This is of course complete and utter fantasy, but it was obviously part of Col. Travers' bigoted reality.
Travers came to the job having already made up his mind not to believe anything Israel said and to accept everything Hamas put forward. For example, Israel produced hard photographic evidence that Gaza mosques were used to store rockets and other weapons. Other photographs, taken by journalists, also proved what everybody now acknowledges to be true: namely that Hamas, as its leaders frequently boasted, routinely use mosques as military munitions depots. When confronted with this evidence, Travers said, "I don't believe the photographs." Of course not; they don't comport with his politically correct and ideologically skewed world-view. This is what he had previously said about why he didn't believe that Hamas used the mosques to store weapons:
We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions. Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion. ...If I were a Hamas operative the last place I'd store munitions would be in a mosque. It's not secure, is very visible, and would probably be pre-targeted by Israeli surveillance. There are a [sic] many better places to store munitions."
But that is exactly what Hamas did, despite Travers' insistence on paraphrasing Groucho Marx's famous quip, "Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"
Most disturbing, however, was Travers' categorical rejection of Israel's claim that it attacked Gaza only after enduring thousands of anti-personnel rockets intended to target Israeli civilians, mainly schoolchildren. In fact, Hamas rockets hit several schools, though fortunately the teachers had dismissed the students just before the rockets would have killed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of them.
This is what Travers said about Hamas rockets:
...the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding their operations was something like two. The Hamas rockets had ceased being fired into Israel and not only that but Hamas sought a continuation of the cease-fire. Two had been fired from Gaza, but they are likely to have been fired by dissident groups, [i.e. groups that were violating a Hamas order not to fire rockets]." (emphasis added).
Again, Travers' rendition defies the historical record and tells us more about Travers than it does about what actually provoked Israel into finally taking action to protect some million civilians in range of Hamas' rockets. In fact Israel complied with the cease-fire, under the terms of which Israel reserved the right to engage in self-defense actions such as attacking terrorists who were in the process of firing rockets at its civilians.
Just before the hostilities began, Israel offered Hamas both a carrot and a stick: it reopened a checkpoint to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. It had closed the point of entry after the checkpoint was targeted by Gazan rockets. Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, also issued a stern, final warning to Hamas that unless it stopped the rockets, there would be a full-scale military response.
This is the way Reuters reported it:
Israel reopened border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Friday, a day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned militants there to stop firing rockets or they would pay a heavy price. Despite the movement of relief supplies, militants fired about a dozen rockets and mortar shafts from Gaza at Israel on Friday. One accidentally struck a house in Gaza, killing two Palestinian sisters, ages 5 and 13." (emphasis added)
Despite the opening of the crossings, the Hamas rockets continued - not none, not "something like two," but many - and Israel kept its word, implementing a targeted air attack against Hamas facilities and combatants.
Not surprisingly, Travers said that he "rejected ... entirely" Israel's claim that its "attack on Gaza was based on self-defense." Instead, he compared Israel's attack on Hamas to the unprovoked Nazi bombing of "Guirnica."
Travers has repeatedly claimed that "no substantive critique of the [Goldstone] report has been received." This is an out-and-out lie. I have read dozens of substantive critiques, and have written a 49-page one myself. The truth is that Travers has studiously ignored and refused to respond to these critiques. And of course he blames everything on "Jewish lobbyists."
Nor was Travers the only member of the commission with predetermined views and an anti-Israel agenda. Christine Chinken had already declared Israel guilty of war crimes before seeing any evidence. Hina Jilani had also condemned Israel before her appointment to the group, and then said that it would be "very cruel to not give credence to [the] voices" of the victims, apparently without regard to whether they were telling the truth. And then there is Richard Goldstone, who told friends that he too took the job with an agenda, which he says was to help Israel! Why any reasonable person would pay any attention to a report written by four people who had prejudged the evidence and came to their jobs with agendas and biases is beyond comprehension.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Expect to see less of this during the election.
Even though reporting during the 1945 election
was never suspended.
Reporters are facing a 'gag' on reporting from Afghanistan in the run up to the election. Is anyone surprised? I guess not but at least Gordy managed to get his own piece of electioneering from Afghanistan done last week. That is of course before the ban will come into effect. A further example of powerful, corrupt government suiting it's own ends. Never mind the troops, I wonder if the next of kin of any casualties that occur during the period of this gag will have to wait for news. I mean will the MOD wait until after the election and then tell the families their loved ones have died, days or weeks later. It would certainly be expedient for this government to do so and in keeping with the spirit of this unnecessary restriction on press freedom.
In the words of Colonel Douglas Young Chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation:
“It didn’t happen in 1945 - there was no question of limiting reporting at that time simply because an election was happening and I don’t see why there should be any questions of that now. Are we to stop operations during this period? Obviously not, and if operations are in process they should be reported upon in the normal way.
“It is ridiculous to expect the forces to be hiding away just because there’s a general election.”
Thursday, 11 February 2010
An altar boy protected by Priest Off
This is a funny video that is advertising 'Priest off'. After all of the troubles caused by pedophiles in the Church. A new product on the market now means such worries are over. Hat tip to Mick Hall for this. Even though I disagree with him on many things cannot fault his humour. See Video below.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
“You have enemies? Good.That means you’ve stood up for something,sometime in your life:”
Geert Wilders is on trial currently in the Netherlands. The charges against him are completely Orwellian to say the least. It's simple really you do not have to agree with everything Wilders says to see this trial for what it is. A political show trial by an elite ruling class that wishes to decide what Dutch people can and do say (and therefore think) for them. It is a travesty for democracy. Wilders may be a poor choice of martyr for some. But martyr he will become and the likelihood is this trial will boost his already soaring ratings. Personally I hope so, I think what he said in Fitna was nothing. He merely directly quoted the words and actions of others. Those others being Islamic jihadists. Either way read the blog piece by Douglas Murray for a good take on this politicised show trial. Murray is spot on. Quick note from a Libertarian, KEEP POLITICS OUT OF THE COURT ROOM. Full text from Murray below:
There is nothing hyperbolic in stating that a trial which has just started in Holland will have unparalleled significance for the future of Europe. It is not just about whether our culture will survive, but whether we are even allowed to state the fact that it is being threatened.
The trial of Geert Wilders has garnered hardly any attention in the mainstream press here. Fortunately the blogosphere can correct some of this.
Wilders is a Dutch MP and leader of Holland’s fastest-growing party, the Party for Freedom. Just a few years ago he was the sole MP for his party. The latest polls show that his party could win the biggest number of seats of any party in Holland when the voters next go to the polls.
His stances have clearly chimed with the Dutch people. They include an end to the era of mass immigration, an end to cultural relativism, and an end to the perceived suborning of European values to Islamic ones. For saying this, and more, he has for many years had to live under round-the-clock security protection. Which you would have thought proves the point to some extent.
Now the latest attempt of the Dutch ruling class to keep Wilders from office has begun. Last week, apparently because of the number of complaints they have received (trial by vote anyone?) the trial of Wilders began.
The Dutch courts charge that Wilders ‘on multiple occasions, at least once, (each time) in public, orally, in writing or through images, intentionally offended a group of people, i.e. Muslims, based on their religion’.
I’m sorry? Whoa there, just a minute. The man’s on trial because he ‘offended a group of people’? I get offended by all sorts of people. I get offended by very fat people. I get offended by very thick people. I get offended by very sensitive people. I get offended by the crazy car-crash of vowels in Dutch verbs. But I don’t try to press charges.
Yet, crazily, this is exactly what is going on now in a Dutch courtroom. If found guilty of this Alice-in-Wonderland accusation of ‘offending a group of people’, Wilders faces up to two years in prison.
If anyone doubts the surreal nature of the proceedings now going on they should simply look through the summons which is available in an English translation here. It shows that Wilders is on trial for his film Fitna. And for various things he has said in articles and interviews in the Dutch press.
Now some people liked Fitna and some people didn’t. That’s a matter of choice. But by any previous interpretation it is not the job of courts in democratic countries to become film-critics. In fact it would create a very bad precedent. I thought the latest Alec Baldwin film stank. But I don’t think (though the temptation lingers) Baldwin should go to prison for it.
I’ve seen Fitna a number of times. Recently in the House of Lords, at a meeting Wilders couldn’t attend because our then Home Secretary temporarily decided he shouldn’t even come into this country. And I’ve just watched it again. And you can do so, too. It keeps getting pirated on YouTube but I think this is a good link here.
Parts of Fitna – which is a compilation of documentary footage – are very disturbing. And very offensive indeed. The clips of Muslim clerics calling for the murder of infidels. Very offensive. The clips of Muslims holding banners saying ‘God bless Hitler’. Very offensive. The clip of a three-year-old Muslim girl indoctrinated and brain-washed to describe Jews as ‘Apes and Pigs’. Very offensive. The passage of the Koran, Surah 47, verse 4: ‘Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly on them.’ Very offensive.
Just to confirm – I find all these things very offensive. But Wilders didn’t say them. He is being tried for pointing out the fact that some – in some cases many – Muslims do. If there are to be prosecutions they should be of the clerics and leaders who advocate this nightmarish version of Islam. But not of Wilders.
There are quotes from Wilders in the summons, though. It states for instance that he has said, and he has (I love the detective-work the court implies when citing op-eds from national newspapers): ‘Those Moroccan boys are really violent. They beat up people because of their sexual orientation. I have never used violence.’ This is true. As a number of gay Dutch men and women can attest, Muslim youths are behind a rise in homophobic attacks in what used to be the most gay-friendly country in the world. Bruce Bawer and others have written about this at length. It is very disturbing. It is also a fact. There is no sanity at all in a court trying a man for saying something true.
Wilders is also being tried for saying things which some Muslims deem to be rude about the Koran. Another dangerous precedent. Will the Dutch courts now come after Ricky Gervais for the rude things he says about the Bible in his show Animals (on sale in Holland)? Why the special laws for hurt Muslim feelings? Just wait till the others get on the band-wagon! There won’t be room in the courts to prosecute the murderers and muggers. They’ll be too full up with the religious. Dutch Calvinist pastors madly petitioning for the extradition of Billy Connolly.
The whole thing is so farcical that it would be funny. If it weren’t for the fact that it is real. The most popular elected politician in Holland is on trial for saying things which the Dutch people are clearly, in large part, in agreement with. Things which, even if you don’t agree with them, must be able to be said.
Whichever way the verdict goes, it can’t do anything but good for Wilders’s poll ratings. But it is a terrible day for democracy. A political class so intent on criminalising the opinions of its own people cannot last very much longer.