Month: September 2012

Over 40,000 Racist Incidents in England And Wales For 2011-12

Anyone familiar with the under currents in British society would know that racism is still a problem, but the latest figures the from Home Office are staggering.

There were over 40,000 reported racial instances last year, 2011-12.

Given the nature of these crimes it is very likely an underestimate. The real figures are probably higher, but whatever the final count, over 40,000 is a terrible indictment on British society.

I doubt the awful figures will spur any societal introspection, that would be uncharacteristically British, and as we’ve seen the question of race in Britain is often brushed under the carpet, or left to fester until it oozes out on its own.

This is an extract:

“There were 43,748 hate crimes recorded by the police in 2011/12.

Note that this figure relates to the five monitored strands of hate crime classifications used by the criminal justice system and is not a count of crime as more than one form of hate crime can be assigned to an offence. Indicative data suggest that less than five per cent of hate crime offences have more than one monitored strand assigned (this ranged between 1% and 7% of offences for the 17 forces whose data was reviewed).

Of the 43,748 hate crimes recorded by the police:

  • 35,816 (82%) were race hate crimes;
  • 1,621 (4%) were religion hate crimes;
  • 4,252 (10%) were sexual orientation hate crimes;
  • 1,744 (4%) were disability hate crimes; and
  • 315 (1%) were transgender hate crimes.

Race hate crimes accounted for the majority of hate crimes in all forces. “

Mitt Romney, Nick Clegg And The Art of Parody

Nick Clegg’s insincere and poor apology has brought forth a few spoof videos on Youtube, but to my taste they lack a certain punch.

Elsewhere YouTube is full of good parodies of Mitt Romney and I enjoyed this one:

Update 1: The Daily Show tears into Romney.

Jewish Shop in Paris Bombed

Another example of under reporting in the Western media, a Jewish shop in Paris is attacked:

“PARIS (AP) — A small package bomb exploded inside a kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb Wednesday, wounding at least one person, according to an agency that tracks anti-Semitic attacks in France.

The reason for the attack was unclear, but it rattled nerves amid global tensions surrounding a U.S.-produced film insulting to Islam. The French grocery store attack came a few hours after a satirical French weekly published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, prompting anger from French Muslim groups.

The Jewish Community Protection Service, set up to register anti-Semitic attacks in France, says on its website that two individuals dressed in black threw an explosive device inside a kosher supermarket in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles at lunchtime Wednesday. It says one person suffered small injuries, without elaborating.

Yves Jannier, the state prosecutor in the Val d’Oise region where Sarcelles is located, cautioned that evidence was still being compiled and it was too early to draw any conclusions about motives behind the attack.

“We’ll need to analyze, quantify and measure all these elements, such as to know perhaps the type of explosives used,” he said at a news conference. “But for now, we should avoid any extrapolation or hasty conclusions.”

The Sipa news agency reported four injuries. It said the two assailants fled after throwing a rock through the shop’s window shortly before the explosion, and that the victims are being treated for wounds to their arms and legs from the explosion and broken glass.

A French Jewish umbrella organization, CRIF, said in a statement that “it fears this attack” is connected to violent protests in recent days from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film “Innocence of Muslims,” which ridicules Prophet Muhammad. CRIF criticized those who are linking Jews to the making of the film and said “nothing can justify the wave of violence that has hit the world since its release.”

France, which has western Europe’s largest Jewish population, sees sporadic but persistent anti-Semitic acts, often vandalism of gravesites and synagogues. The nation also has the region’s largest Muslim population, and mosques and Muslim gravesites are periodically desecrated. “

Clegg’s Non-Apology

The blogosphere and twitter are a buzzed with Nick Clegg’s non-apology, which is here. The video clip is unremarkable and demonstrates a monumental lack of introspection by a politician, but the comments are wonderful and before they are removed this is a selection:

“A blatantly self-serving apology issued because the Cleggeron can smell his own imminent political death. He’d already decided to ditch this policy *before* the election but declined to tell the electorate & carried on making empty promises. Just a shame for him that his 30 pieces of silver haven’t lasted as long as he thought they would. Go fuck yourself, Nick. I look forwards to your consignment to the dustbin of history…

Fattybill2011 22 seconds ago

Why do politicians always say “I say this” before saying something? No one else does it. It sounds so insincere and weird. Anyway, Clegg, you can put your onion away and dry your little tears. No reasonable, well-informed person is going to vote for your mob ever again.

HertsHoopsDotOrg 2 minutes ago

Ah conference season, or more ironically for many new universities, the new academic year is about to begin.
Too little too late. Voted Liberal Democrat at the last general election, and sincerely regret doing so. They will say exactly what you want to hear so they could get into a position of power; dump all their manifesto promises (incl. the NHS), do their own thing by the Tory ideological book, and forget all the people who put their faith in them to do a good job.
Never again.

jpezzaa 9 minutes ago

Changing the tax system to make it fair?? WHAT??HELLO??You guys must think we’re morons. You lot are the morons. DV is gonna go up as women will be more financially dependent, more people will die, working class are going to stop being able to afford to go to uni. the 50p tax rate has been cut. Make goldman sachs, amazon google vodafone and tesco home pay their tax, review MPs pensions, cut the house of commons restaurant subsidy and get the money back of the banks. shame on you.

RockinMadz 16 minutes ago

Keep talking you’re just digging deeper. You have no credibility, and appear to be a perks of office hungry tory lackey.

straylightc4b 21 minutes ago 19

You lied, you stole my vote. You broke every pledge and every promise. I pledge never again to campaign for, vote for or support any member of the Liberal Democrat party at any level, local or national. Unlike you I keep my promises.

PARIDABY 21 minutes ago 2

Politically speaking, Cleggy’s just shot himself in the foot. Such an overdue apology is going to do more bad than good for the Liberal Democrats. Promising “I will never again make a pledge unless as a party we are absolutely clear about how we can keep it. ” is just ridiculous.
Tom Landers 21 minutes ago “

If the Labour Party had any gumption and savvy then they would follow the Democratic rapid response team’s tactics in the US and release a shortened version, a humourous, dubbed version of Clegg’s non-apology and stick it to the LibDems in the Tory coalition.

There is a very strong anti-Tory sentiment in Britain which the Labour Party should try and capitalise on.

The 47% And Mitt Romney

Politics as a way of proving that it helps to be stupid if you’re a conservative. So it is with Mitt Romney’s campaign for the Presidency.


Romney, like many conservatives, has unbridled arrogance and conceit which he hides under a man of the people manner. Thankfully, not many people are taken in by this pretence and his gaffe about 47% of Americans will only confirm that:

“Mitt Romney’s campaign came close to hitting the self-destruct button when he stood by a secret video recording suggesting that 47% of Americans are government-dependent “victims” who do not pay taxes.

In a hastily-convened press conference, the Republican presidential candidate confirmed the authenticity of the video and opted against disavowing the views expressed in it. He said only that the case was not “elegantly stated” and that he had “spoken off the cuff”. “

Update 1: I loath the Weekly Standard, it embodies all that is wrong with American conservatism. Normally, I wouldn’t even linked to them, but in these exceptional circumstances, even they have criticised Romney:

Plenty of conservatives are pushing back against the worldview espoused by Mitt Romney in his “arrogant and stupid’ remarks at a private fundraiser earlier this year.

The conservative case against Romney’s analysis is multi-pronged. His description of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes as “dependents” flies in the face of the conservative view that Americans should be paying fewer, not more, taxes. And historically, most Americans have not paid income taxes. Moreover, most of those who don’t pay income taxes still contribute to the federal government in the form of payroll taxes and other federal taxes and fees. The political argument, that those who are “dependents” won’t be voting for Romney anyway is demonstrably wrong, and the content and tone of Romney’s remarks don’t strike many conservatives (and others) as particularly presidential.

At the Daily Caller, Jim Antle notes how Romney’s use of the “47 percent” marker who are “dependent” on government is simply wrong:

“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said of the dreaded 47 percent.

The problem is that Romney isn’t basing that figure on dependency on government programs. He’s using the rough percentage of people who pay no federal income tax.

There are two reasons the percentage of Americans who don’t write checks to the IRS has spiked in recent years: the bad economy, which Romney pledges to ameliorate, and Republican tax cuts, which Romney plans to continue….”

Update 2: Politico is reporting that the dullard, Donald Trump, has ventured to defend Romney:

” “He has to not apologize; I think we’ve seen enough apologizing already,” Trump said on NBC’s “Today.” “He cannot apologize. What he said is probably what he means, and he did say ‘inartfully stated.’ The fact is he cannot apologize; he is going for those independents. He won’t get the votes of a lot of people he’s discussing, and if you’re not going to get the votes, let’s go on with it.”

Update 3: This superb response should be an Obama election advert:

Update 4: It beggars belief but Romney’s advice on how to bomb the US:

Toynbee on Cameron And Thatcher.

Polly Toynbee is right to argue, despite its supposed fluffiness, that the Cameron administration is even to the right of Margaret Thatcher:

“When Cameron assumed leadership of a party that had lost three elections, the focus groups warned him to embrace welfare state values. Or at least to pretend to. How consciously he dissembled we don’t know, perhaps he doesn’t either. He retains the misleading aura of a pragmatist, disguising the fervour of his anti-state dogma. He may be no great ideas man, but for his Tory generation it’s a reflex: they instinctively breathe free-market Hayek and Schumpeter on “creative destruction”, applying it to government itself. Their Americanism takes the form of shipping in Tea Party Republicanism – how readily they would have let Murdoch create a British Fox News.

Only dogma explains why Cameron risks all by stripping down the NHS, Britain’s holy of holies. The only serious obstacle to his intent has been his own ineptitude at implementation. Yet for all the bungled U-turns, there has been no deviation from the great austerity.

How ironic that he should be assailed from his right. In misleading voters as to his intentions before the election, he seems not to have let his own party into the secret. They only heard they were to be disinfected, detoxified, turned green and never be nasty again. The reality of welfare cuts the Institute for Fiscal Studies calls “without historical and international precedent” seems to pass by the likes of Fox and Davis. “

Did I say I didn’t like the Tories? With reason.

Liberal Conspiracy’s Ten key NHS privatisation stories the BBC barely reported on, is a useful reminder.

Update 1: How Tory Peers will financially benefit from the privatisation of the NHS:

“More than one in four Conservative peers – 62 out of the total of 216 – and many other members of the House of Lords have a direct financial interest in the radical re-shaping of the NHS in England that is perilously close to being enacted. These peers have been able to vote on the crucial divisions that will determine the immediate and long-term future of the NHS and the coalition’s Health and Social Care bill.

The peers – who have personal interests in insurance companies, private health-care and private equity groups – have placed themselves into a position in which they are in danger of voting on behalf of the personal and private interests that stand to gain from the bill rather than in the public interest. “

Who Is Sam Bacile?

The short answer is, he doesn’t exist.

He’s a pseudonym, a contrivance, a vehicle to stir up hatred, I have detailed it elsewhere, but the ADL does a much better job:

“The anti-Islam film that has sparked con­sid­er­able out­rage and vio­lence across the Mid­dle East and Islamic world appears to be a prod­uct of sev­eral Chris­t­ian anti-Muslim activists.


Although the false claim that the film Inno­cence of Mus­lims was the work of an “Israeli Jew” received wide­spread atten­tion in the U.S. and abroad, recent reports indi­cate that the film was cre­ated, pro­duced and pro­moted by indi­vid­u­als con­nected to a net­work of anti-Muslim organizations.

Nakoula Bas­se­ley Nakoula, a 55-year-old California-based Cop­tic Chris­t­ian, appears to be the one respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the impres­sion that the film was cre­ated and sup­ported by Jews. Accord­ing to Amer­i­can offi­cials in an inter­view with the Arabic-language tele­vi­sion sta­tion Al Hurra, Nakoula is the alleged pro­ducer and film­maker of the anti-Islam film. Nakoula ini­tially exposed his role to inter­na­tional media under the pseu­do­nym Sam Bacile, a fic­ti­tious indi­vid­ual that the Asso­ci­ated Press had ini­tially reported was “an Israeli film­maker based in Cal­i­for­nia.” In the inter­view with the AP, Nakoula, speak­ing under a pseu­do­nym, said the film cost $5 mil­lion to make “and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jew­ish donors.” These claims have since been dis­proved with the rev­e­la­tion that Sam Bacile does not exist.

Steve Klein is a California-based anti-Muslim Chris­t­ian activist and for­mer U.S. Marine who claims that he pro­vided con­sult­ing ser­vices for the pro­duc­tion of Inno­cence of Mus­lims. In a recent inter­view fol­low­ing the out­break of vio­lence in Cairo and Beng­hazi, Klein described the film as being designed to spark out­rage. In addi­tion to his alleged role in the film’s tech­ni­cal pro­duc­tion, Klein is founder and board mem­ber of Coura­geous Chris­tians United (CCU), an orga­ni­za­tion that protests out­side of mosques, abor­tion clin­ics and Mor­mon tem­ples. CCU issued a state­ment today denounc­ing the film and indi­cat­ing that Klein had been removed from the board. Many of the links on the group’s web­site redi­rect read­ers to sites designed to con­vince Mus­lims, Mor­mons or Jehovah’s Wit­nesses to con­vert to Chris­tian­ity. Klein is also the founder of Con­cerned Cit­i­zens for the First Amend­ment (CCFA), an anti-Muslim group whose pri­mary ini­tia­tive is to warn high school stu­dents that they are being brain­washed through courses and les­son on Islamic his­tory. He has spo­ken at con­fer­ences on the sub­ject of Islam at the Church at Kaweah, a mil­i­tant Chris­t­ian church base in California. “

Update 1: Spiegel follows up:

“After the protests began, sources leaked a phone number to the Associated Press news agency. When reporters dialed the number, a man answered who claimed to be Sam Bacile, the film’s director. “Islam is a cancer,” he said, adding that he was an Israeli Jew who wanted to spread the truth about Islam. Some 100 Jews had donated money to the project, he said, supposedly to the tune of $5 million. Anyone who says something like that is not only willing to accept a few deaths; he is, at least in the eyes of many Muslims, also getting the state of Israel involved.

But the journalists felt that there was something about his story that didn’t add up. They found the address that corresponds to the man’s cell phone number. The man who came to the door in a cul-de-sac in Cerritos near Los Angeles denied being Bacile. He said that he was only responsible for managing the film team’s logistics, and showed them his driver’s license, but covered his middle name with one of his fingers. The journalists were able to read Nakoula Nakoula — and the rest was research. They found out that Nakoula was convicted of federal bank fraud charges in 2010. He was given a 21-month prison sentence and ordered to pay $790,000 (€600,000) in restitution.

Now, the reporters knew that his real name was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian from Egypt with US citizenship. According to police records, he maintains at least 14 aliases. “Basseley” sounds almost like “Bacile”. US investigators believe that Sam Bacile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and the director are one and the same person.

Update 2: Also, my previous posts Anti-Islam Film, The Truth Emerges and Anti-Islamic Film, Who, What and Where?

An Orwell, The Middle East And Boycotts Round Up

There is never enough time to read, reflect and blog, so whilst I think over other posts here is a quick round up of stories that caught my eye.

I was surprised to find that George Orwell had a piece on antisemitism. In many respects, it is as if it were written yesterday:

“I could fill pages with similar remarks, but these will do to go on with. Two facts emerge from them. One — which is very important and which I must return to in a moment — is that above a certain intellectual level people are ashamed of being anti-Semitic and are careful to draw a distinction between “anti-Semitism” and “disliking Jews”. The other is that anti-Semitism is an irrational thing. The Jews are accused of specific offences (for instance, bad behaviour in food queues) which the person speaking feels strongly about, but it is obvious that these accusations merely rationalise some deep-rooted prejudice. To attempt to counter them with facts and statistics is useless, and may sometimes be worse than useless. As the last of the above-quoted remarks shows, people can remain anti-Semitic, or at least anti-Jewish, while being fully aware that their outlook is indefensible. If you dislike somebody, you dislike him and there is an end of it: your feelings are not made any better by a recital of his virtues. “

At Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundel is direct in his criticism, Publicity-hungry extremists to protest at US Embassy London.
(more…)

Anti-Islam Film, The Truth Emerges

As I previously commented, the background information to this tawdry and poorly produced anti-Islam film was questionable.

I was surprised that the Wall Street Journal took at face value the statements from the supposed producer.

We are meant to believe that he was “an Israeli-American” and the more laughable element that he had “100 Jewish donors”.

To me that didn’t ring true, and the details coming out from America confirmed that.

It is fairly obvious that one aim of this crude project, by anti-Muslim bigots, was to stoke up hatred towards Jews. Why else pretend to be an “an Israeli-American” and talk of “100 Jewish donors”?

ABC has more information:

“The controversial “Innocence of Muslims” was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist, who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison and began production two months after his June 2011 release from custody.

Authorities say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of Cerritos, California, admitted his role in the film, after seeking help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he has received since the release of the film. Excerpts from the film led to outrage and violence in the Arab world.

Authorities told ABC News that Nakoula told them he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie which, he reportedly said, cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was shot in a little over 12 days.

Authorities say he claimed the money for the movie came from his wife’s family in Egypt.”

Rob Eshman made the point, How Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka ‘Sam Bacile” Libeled Jews.

This is Time’s who is who on that film.

Jeff Goldberg spotted these issues a few days ago.

I can’t disagree with Jeff’s summation:


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Galloway Refuses To Apologise To Muslim Women

George Galloway is a slick politician and often knows what buttons to press to galvanise his supporters, but his weakness, as with many men, is ego.

Galloway hates apologising, admitting that he could have been wrong, so it was when he attended the Bradford Muslim Women’s forum, the Telegraph and Argus reports:

“Mr Galloway said his remarks about consent were made in the context of Mr Assange, who he said was being set up by the US, in league with the Swedish and British governments to punish him for the revelations made through Wikileaks.

He said: “That is the context of my remarks. I cannot and will not apologise for what I said, for what I said – not for what The Sun said I said – because it’s my belief. Now, I may well forfeit your political support as a result, but I do not do things to win political support.”

Mr Galloway refused to comment about the resignation of Respect Party national leader Salma Yaqoob. He also faced criticism about his use of the term “window-licker” in a heated Twitter exchange.

He told the audience he should have used the word “moron” instead to describe the “bigot” who had taunted him on Twitter.”

Update 1: Irna Qureshi, who attended the meeting, has a piece in the Guardian:

“George Galloway was the man who, just months earlier, was being championed for his ability to galvanize Muslim women in a campaign which gave them a voice for change. Now he seems to have lost his way. The MP appears to have forgotten that it was Muslim women who were credited with being a key component of his stunning victory in Bradford West. Galloway went from making us feel important to making us feel totally ignored. He didn’t appear to be promoting our local agenda, so whose was it? Moreover, his religious tone was alienating, giving the meeting the air of a sermon rather than a Q&A session.

The political maverick didn’t even appear bothered about retaining our support. If we didn’t agree with his views, then he was happy, he told us, “to forfeit” our political support as a result. Asked why he had chosen Bradford, he replied: “I didn’t choose Bradford. Bradford elected me… with a 10,000 vote majority…. So I don’t have to explain to you why I chose Bradford. You have to try and work out why Bradford chose me.”

This feels like one step forward and two steps back for Bradford politics. Surely one of the adverse legacies of Pakistani male politics is precisely this complacency to sidestep women, and that’s the one thing that Galloway’s campaign appeared to have surmounted.

Bradford and its sizeable Muslim population have always been a great combination for attention grabbing headlines. Throw George Galloway into the mix and you have something far more explosive. I’m now left wondering if Galloway’s stunning victory in Bradford West will scar Bradford’s memory like the 2001 riots and the 1988 Rushdie book burning. Is George Galloway alienating himself from his own constituents? An accomplished orator he might be, but last night, George Galloway failed to speak to the Muslim women that voted him in.

Anti-Islamic Film, Who, What and Where?

There has been considerable discussion and research into the controversial anti-Islamic film which apparently sparked riots.

The initial information looked questionable, but even Glenn Greenwald couldn’t see the obvious.

Why would the originator of the film claim to be an Israeli-American and say “”cost $5m to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors”.

Only Jewish donors? It doesn’t ring true, sounds like the sort of statement that a bigot might make.

Now Gawkers has more, It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam:

“The story of the Muhammed movie which sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt gets weirder. The actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., has a small role in the Muhammed movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Muhammed to marry. But in a phone interview this afternoon, Garcia told us she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer and got the part.

The script she was given was titled simply Desert Warriors. “

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Boris Johnson And Hillsborough

There is a popular misconception, that Boris Johnson, London Mayor, onetime Tory MP and ex-editor of the awful Spectator, is somehow cuddly and charming.

However, it is, as with many politicians mannerisms, put on to give him a softer more pleasing appeal.

The real Boris Johnson is shown by his initial approval of this 2004 Simon Heffer article:

The extreme reaction to Mr Bigley’s murder is fed by the fact that he was a Liverpudlian. Liverpool is a handsome city with a tribal sense of community. A combination of economic misfortune – its docks were, fundamentally, on the wrong side of England when Britain entered what is now the European Union – and an excessive predilection for welfarism have created a peculiar, and deeply unattractive, psyche among many Liverpudlians. They see themselves whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status; yet at the same time they wallow in it. Part of this flawed psychological state is that they cannot accept that they might have made any contribution to their misfortunes, but seek rather to blame someone else for it, thereby deepening their sense of shared tribal grievance against the rest of society. The deaths of more than 50 Liverpool football supporters at Hillsborough in 1989 was undeniably a greater tragedy than the single death, however horrible, of Mr Bigley; but that is no excuse for Liverpool’s failure to acknowledge, even to this day, the part played in the disaster by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground that Saturday afternoon. The police became a convenient scapegoat, and the Sun newspaper a whipping-boy for daring, albeit in a tasteless fashion, to hint at the wider causes of the incident. “

So when next you think of bumbling Boris Johnson, remember Hillsborough, remember Liverpool and don’t forget how he edited the Spectator. He’s lower than vermin.

Salma Yaqoob, George Galloway And Misogyny

Although I do not normally follow the activities of smaller fringe groupings in Britain the resignation of Salma Yaqoob from Respect is intriguing.

Ms. Yaqoob, as leader of Respect, was placed in an incredibly difficult position recently by George Galloway’s comments.

Additionally, there were many deprecating comments to be found on a one-time, Respect supportive, blog,
Time For The Left To Stand Up For Galloway

“12.

As for Salma, hers was an act of betrayal against someone who’s always stood by her. She absolutely should have articulated her issues with George’s comments in private.

Posted by John 5 September, 2012 at 9:04 am

17. Just to clarify, Salma Yaqoob engaged in an act of rank betrayal by sticking the boot in along with the rest of this liberal chorus of faux moral outrage. There is simply no other way to describe it.

Posted by John 5 September, 2012 at 9:38 am

21.

Salma Yaqoob is leader of the Respect Party, and its second most high profile figure. Kate Hudson was the prominent candidate in a forth-coming parliamentary by-election. That is the context in which they are being criticised, not becasue they are women, nor do I think it is colluding with sexism to express disappointment with them.

Posted by Andy Newman 5 September, 2012 at 9:49 am

60.

Shame about Kate Hudson. Good riddance to Salma Yaqoob.

Posted by jock mctrousers 5 September, 2012 at 2:26 pm”

A few posters tried to caution restraint, but as the subsequent thread showed many male contributors couldn’t resist attacking their one time leader, In Defence Of George Galloway:

“15. Brave post Andy, in this atmosphere of liberal hysteria it is a revolutionary act to speak the truth. Salma Yaqoob’s stab in the back was not entirely unexpected and neither should her sometime soon ascension to New Labour be. Remember, you read it here. Kate Hudson’s is a stranger case. Politically promiscuous as her recent party-hopping has been one would’ve thought she would have been made of sterner stuff.

Posted by Molotov 5 September, 2012 at 6:19 pm

43. Tony, what’s happened here is that characters like Salma Yaqoob and Owen Jones have immediately capitulated to the US government’s agenda on this.

They’ve both taken the easy way of accepting the ruling class’s narrative here – “it’s about catching a rapist.”

This is because they’re both, in essence, the ruling class’s “pet left wingers” and this is where their instincts lead them.

Posted by Marko 5 September, 2012 at 9:04 pm”

There is a lot more, all exceedingly unpleasant.

I think what this tells us is, that women when they stand out, or go against a male dominated culture, will be denigrated and attacked. With Respect supporters like that, who needs enemies?

Across the blogosphere, there’s much speculation concerning Ms. Yaqoob’s future.

I do not see her joining the Labour Party, there is too much bad blood over Iraq, etc. Rather she might open an avenue for the Greens outside of their traditionally middle-class base.

For the Greens this would be a real coup, another MP and a broadening of their party. She and the Greens could fudge the politics to find some accord. In turn, the Greens would gain greater national publicity, new members and she would have the position of MP (or MEP).

Whatever happens, it has shown that last century’s Left are unwilling and incapable of dealing with the sexism, misogynistic thinking and vulgar geopolitics which epitomises much of their politics nowadays.

We should not forget, they are a product of a bygone age’s thinking and it shows in their attitudes towards women and reality.

Update 1: Liberal Conspiracy provides some intelligent and informative points on the dispute with Galloway:

“I’ve heard from multiple sources that the disagreement over George Galloway’s comments on rape was the final straw – not an abrupt decision based solely on that incident.

There have long been skirmishes and disagreements, including the persistent rumours that Salma was never really kept in the loop about the Bradford by-election.

Nevertheless, Salma Yaqoob held the Respect party together. She was a strong voice in the media and a popular local figure that rallied people to support the party.

With two women now the victim of Galloway’s refusal to admit he was wrong, this incident reinforces the obvious: George Galloway is only interested in promoting and supporting George Galloway.

He didn’t even bother to apologise or retract his comments to keep his party leader on side. That is how much of a team-player he is. He did nothing for the constituents of Tower Hamlets while he was an MP, and he will do nothing for the people of Bradford West. “

Update 2: George Galloway’s comments at the Bradford’s Muslim Women’s Forum, as reported by Liberal Conspiracy demonstrated that Salma Yaqoob must have had a great deal of patience with Galloway:

“‘Every word I said in my podcast I stand by.‘ #GeorgeGalloway talking to #Muslim women in #Bradford on his comments about #rape. ”

Update 3: A weak defence is put by Left Futures with talks of “witch hunt” rather than acknowledge Galloway’s many faults (supporting dictators, poor attitude towards women, taking £80,000 from Syrian TV channel, fronting very dodgy material on Press TV and his recent insults about disability, etc, etc):

“It is true that George has had much to answer for, of late. Not only what he said about rape but his failure to to acknowledge any error afterwards, in spite of the difficulties he had clearly caused his party. His intervention has made it harder for Julian Assange to have a fair hearing — for the British public, rape has now become the paramount issue. Of course, Assange must answer the rape charges but, even if he is guilty of those charges, he is entitled to protection from the wrath of the United States. “

Ofcom And Julian Assange

Below is the summary from page 80 of Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 213, 10 September 2012 detailing Julian Assange’s complaint.

Not Upheld

Complaint by Mr Julian Assange
True Stories: WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies, More 4, 29 November 2011

Summary: Ofcom’s decision is that this complaint made by Mr Julian Assange of unjust or unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy in the broadcast of the programme should not be upheld.

The programme charted the history of WikiLeaks1 and featured contributions from Mr Assange, a number of employees from The Guardian and other newspapers. Other contributors, such as a former employee of WikiLeaks and others who came into contact with Mr Assange or who were affected by the impact of the material that was published by WikiLeaks, also featured and gave their opinions on WikiLeaks, Mr Assange and related matters.

Mr Assange complained to Ofcom that he was treated unjustly or unfairly in the
programme as broadcast and that his privacy was unwarrantably infringed in the
programme.

Ofcom found as follows:

  • Mr Assange did provide his informed consent to appear in the programme;
  • Material facts were presented in a way that was not unfair to Mr Assange and omitting certain facts or points raised by Mr Assange did not create unfairness in the programme as broadcast;
  • Mr Assange was provided with a timely and appropriate opportunity to respond to the points in the programme; and
  • Mr Assange did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the footage of him dancing in a nightclub in Iceland, which was included in the programme. “

The PDF and full details can be found here.

Update 1:The programme which was first broadcast on 29 November 2011 is accessible on Channel 4′s site.

Update 2: A YouTube copy is available too.

Craig Murray, Naomi Wolf And Rape Anonymity

A cynic should never be surprised, but I was, once.

When I first read Craig Murray’s awful blog I was astonished at the vitriol within the comment boxes aimed at Julian Assange’s victims.

I suppose I expected an ex-diplomat to have more decency, commonsense and empathy, but it’s fairly apparent that it is no holds barred when it comes to Murray’s support of Assange. Murray goes into gruesome details (and no, I am not linking to his misogynist filth). The whole shooting match, questioning the victims statements, giving their names out, all of the grim details.

Murray takes sneering almost to Olympic levels, as only the English upper-class and Oxbridge types can do.

Louise McCudden in the Indy looks at some of the issues:

“Of course you have a right to legal retribution if your anonymity is violated but when a search for your name in Google brings up results like ‘Slut of the Year’, then what consolation is it?

Wolf’s reasoning for removing the right to anonymity, as she explained in a live chat with Mumsnet, is that granting anonymity to the victim implies it is he or she who has something to feel shame over, not the rapist. That’s fair. Indeed, being able to stand up say ‘stop’ with your own voice can be a powerful thing. Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser waived her right to anonymity so she could do just that.

But Wolf’s solution seems to assume you can create the world you’d like to see by acting as if you already live in it. Nafissatou Diallo didn’t waive her right to anonymity in the Strauss-Khan case because anonymity itself was making the case difficult for her. Diallo had already been named in the French press. She says she had to give up her anonymity in order to adequately defend herself against counter-accusations and gossip. It’s that process of putting the alleged victim on trial, often for things which are irrelevant to the incident in question, which need fixing to end the shaming of victims, not the right to anonymity. “

Ed Miliband, Owen Jones And A Poverty Of Ambition

I don’t tend to comment on domestic British politics, much of it is uninspiring and would bore a sloth off of a tree.

Notwithstanding that, I couldn’t let the much heralded Ed Miliband interview in the New Statesman pass without comment.

The British Labour Party cannot, in spite of the obvious unpopularity with the Tories, land a knockout blow, whilst the polling figures are fairly good at CON 33%, LAB 45%, LD 8%, UKIP 6%.

Given everyone’s contempt for the Tories and the open booing at the Paralympics you might, not unreasonably, expect an invigorated Labour, just waiting for the opportunity to take power, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The charismatically challenged, Ed Miliband, could only manage the feeble wonkish soundbite of “predistribution” in his New Statesman interview. All strikingly unimpressive, as Stumbling and Mumbling pointed out.

Even Jonathan Freedland, who is obviously very sympathetic to Miliband, argued, Ed Miliband could learn from Bill Clinton’s masterclass:

“So the transatlantic trade in political ideas is always going to be bumpy. Still, there are some items I assume those returning pols have stashed into their hand luggage. For Labour, item one is surely a DVD of the Clinton speech: Ed Miliband should sit down, pen in hand, right away to watch and learn.

He would conclude, first, that a politician does not have to talk down to an audience. It is possible to talk seriously. Indeed, if you show the voters you respect them, they’ll respect you. Second, it’s wise to deal with the opposition’s arguments, rather than hoping they’ll go away. Clinton went through the Romney-Ryan chargesheet and tore it apart. Labour must do the same with the persistent claim that it cannot be trusted to run the economy because it overspent last time. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.

What’s more, Clinton showed the power of arithmetic. He walked through the Republicans’ numbers, exposing that their sums did not add up: you cannot cut taxes, spend more on defence and cut the deficit. Labour has to persist making the apparently counterintuitive case that austerity in a recession actually adds to, not reduces, the country’s debts because it kills growth. “

Reading the comeback interview at New Statesman with Miliband I can’t help thinking not much will improve his poor grasp of politics and lack of appeal. I hope I am wrong.

The problem would seem to be Miliband is, sensibly, prepared to drop the New Labour nonsense but haven’t thought of a clear-cut alternative.

Owen Jones has a few radical suggestions for Ed and his team and this is an obvious winner:

“Fourthly, we should be calling for a far more progressive tax system. Shortly after reducing the taxes of Britain’s richest 1%, George Osborne expressed his supposed shock that some of the wealthiest people paid no taxes at all. As well as clamping down on the £25 billion lost through tax avoidance, we should be looking at making sure the booming rich pay more. A YouGov poll for Class showed that the majority of Britons – including more than 4 out of 10 Tory voters – would support a 75% tax rate on those earning £1 million or more, a policy suggested by new French President François Hollande. “

Most people are disgusted by casino capitalism and how, no matter the outcome, the rich are rewarded more day by day, so whatever Miliband and the Labour Party does I would suggest being bold, like Clement Attlee!

Rounding Up Misogynistic Julian Assange And More

Keeping track of the Julian Assange saga is frequently troublesome and tiring, but to make life easier this is a round up. If I have missed anything, please leave a comment and I will update the post.

Peter’s always on the ball, More WikiWeirdness.

Göran Rudling on The Assange case: Naomi Wolf errs on facts and basic geography.

WikiWatch details how ABC Australia’s 4 Corners program contained inaccuracies and omissions.

Louisa Loveluck’s Julian Assange extradition: six myths debunked is a few weeks old, but very relevant.

Carl Packman’s Conspiracies and Insensitivity – Everything the Left Should Avoid is good.

Philip Roth’s Open Letter To Wikipedia

I ran across this situation before, Wikipedia’s arrogance and stupidity. You almost expect Wikipedia to say, like generations of bureaucrats “I would like to believe you, but it is worth more than my job’s worth”.

Still, Philip Roth is in a league of his own and says it better:

“Dear Wikipedia,

I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”

Thus was created the occasion for this open letter. After failing to get a change made through the usual channels, I don’t know how else to proceed.

My novel “The Human Stain” was described in the entry as “allegedly inspired by the life of the writer Anatole Broyard.” (The precise language has since been altered by Wikipedia’s collaborative editing, but this falsity still stands.)

This alleged allegation is in no way substantiated by fact. “The Human Stain” was inspired, rather, by an unhappy event in the life of my late friend Melvin Tumin, professor of sociology at Princeton for some thirty years. One day in the fall of 1985, while Mel, who was meticulous in all things large and small, was meticulously taking the roll in a sociology class, he noted that two of his students had as yet not attended a single class session or attempted to meet with him to explain their failure to appear, though it was by then the middle of the semester.

Having finished taking the roll, Mel queried the class about these two students whom he had never met. “Does anyone know these people? Do they exist or are they spooks?”—unfortunately, the very words that Coleman Silk, the protagonist of “The Human Stain,” asks of his classics class at Athena College in Massachusetts.

Almost immediately Mel was summoned by university authorities to justify his use of the word “spooks,” since the two missing students, as it happened, were both African-American, and “spooks” at one time in America was a pejorative designation for blacks, spoken venom milder than “nigger” but intentionally degrading nonetheless. A witch hunt ensued during the following months from which Professor Tumin—rather like Professor Silk in “The Human Stain”—emerged blameless but only after he had to provide a number of lengthy depositions declaring himself innocent of the charge of hate speech.

A myriad of ironies, comical and grave, abounded, as Mel had first come to nationwide prominence among sociologists, urban organizers, civil-rights activists, and liberal politicians with the 1959 publication of his groundbreaking sociological study “Desegregation: Resistance and Readiness,” and then, in 1967, with “Social Stratification: The Forms and Functions of Inequality,” which soon became a standard sociological text. Moreover, before coming to Princeton, he had been director of the Mayor’s Commission on Race Relations, in Detroit. Upon his death, in 1995, the headline above his New York Times obituary read “MELVIN M. TUMIN, 75, SPECIALIST IN RACE RELATIONS.”

But none of these credentials counted for much when the powers of the moment sought to take down Professor Tumin from his high academic post for no reason at all, much as Professor Silk is taken down in “The Human Stain.”

And it is this that inspired me to write “The Human Stain”: not something that may or may not have happened in the Manhattan life of the cosmopolitan literary figure Anatole Broyard but what actually did happen in the life of Professor Melvin Tumin, sixty miles south of Manhattan in the college town of Princeton, New Jersey, where I had met Mel, his wife, Sylvia, and his two sons when I was Princeton’s writer-in-residence in the early nineteen-sixties.

Novel writing is for the novelist a game of let’s pretend. Like most every other novelist I know, once I had what Henry James called “the germ”—in this case, Mel Tumin’s story of muddleheadedness at Princeton—I proceeded to pretend and to invent Faunia Farley; Les Farley; Coleman Silk; Coleman’s family background; the girlfriends of his youth; his brief professional career as a boxer; the college where he rises to be a dean; his colleagues both hostile and sympathetic; his field of study; his bedeviled wife; his children both hostile and sympathetic; his schoolteacher sister, Ernestine, who is his strongest judge at the conclusion of the book; his angry, disapproving brother; and five thousand more of those biographical bits and pieces that taken together form the fictional character at the center of a novel.

Sincerely,

Philip Roth “

Julian Assange, Rape And The Decline Of The Left

I thank Owen Jones for pointing me towards a hotbed of sexism, misogyny and rape apologists, the Socialist Unity blog.

Owen, characteristically, doesn’t want to criticise his fellow socialists so merely comments that it is, Socialism with heart cut out.

It leads to a thread, Time For The Left To Stand Up For Galloway.

Within it there are an appalling number of attacks on women who rejected George Galloway’s offensive remarks, that Assange’s conduct was not rape but “bad sexual etiquette”.

Both Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson, once allies of Galloway, have distanced themselves from his detestable comments. Yet for their principled stance they are attacked by their one-time comrades in nasty, sexist and demeaning language.

Still, amongst the mess on another thread, In Defence Of George Galloway, there is one thoughtful and non-sexist comment, which pulls the rug from under the paranoid and crazed at Socialist Unity blog:

“21. Who needs to attempt demonise Galloway, it’s not like anyone except for a few misogynistic men cannot see that he shoved his foot so far down his mouth that he can scratch his arse.

Galloway is a rape apologist and denier, he was the minute he tried to claim the allegations did not constitute rape in English courts, they do. The statements which I have read, describe acts that are considered rape, not “bad sexual etiquette”.

Also his attempts to “dissect” the behaviour of the women to “prove” they weren’t raped, also rape apology. Comments like that are why women don’t come forward, because people like Galloway will try to dissect and will HARM victims in an attempt to explain how no man could ever be a rapist.

Addressing the whole “But I’ve had sex like that with someone”, I am presuming whoever you did it with was someone you were in a long term relationship with and someone you could reasonably believe wouldn’t mind, which is quite different to the described situation in the statements.

Seriously, if Galloway and co believe that there is a US witch hunt against, they should be able to muster a better argument than rape apology and claiming that the alleged actions aren’t actually rape when in fact what is described in the statements is rape.

Bradley Manning’s treatment for being a traitor does not prove that the US is in any shape or form after Assange, Assange is not the only person in charge of Wikileaks, yet nobody seems to think they’ll chase anyone else.

In my personal opinion, all claims of persecution made by Assange have issues.

1. For starters prior to this issue, Assange was trying to gain Swedish Citizenship, if the US have been after him since 2010, why wasn’t it a concern then? All Sweden would have had to do was to give him citizenship and then hand him over. A simpler and easier plan.

2. What does Sweden get out of it, that they would spend their money and time pursing a man on the behalf of another nation? and get badmouthed to boot?

3. Why on earth would the US if it wanted someone that badly put together a plan that would involve a double extradition? Not only is it ridiculously complicated, but it means twice as much chance of failure.

Fact: The US could have just applied to the UK who would have handed him over quite readily.

4. If the US was so gungho to get him, the simplest option would be to “disappear” him, via kidnapping. Not a press circus, they’d be suspected by conspiracy theorists either way but they’d definitely have the guy and nobody would ever be able to prove that it was them.

The whole point of conspiracies is that nobody can prove shit, for this to be a conspiracy would make it a fucking stupid one.

5. For such a large and convoluted double extradition scheme to work? The US would have to suborn an awful lot of people, that alone could and probably would blow it in a second.

6. Since Sweden have gone to such efforts to chase him presumably because they do believe he did commit rape. Sweden are damn well going to charge him, after this, they cannot drop the charges, so the US would have to sit and twiddle their fingers while waiting on his jail sentence to finish if he’s convicted.

7. Lastly if we for arguments sake accept that the US felt that a very silly and unnecessarily convoluted scheme was the right way to grab him and they were willing to go that far? It is still perfectly possible that Assange is a rapist and the two women coming forward was a useful coincidence that is being taken advantage of.

Also “hysteria” has a sexist origin.

The problem isn’t believe Assange to be innocent, the problem is people arguing that X actions are not rape, when they are. The two women who have come forward have had their privacy violated, received threats and been publicly attacked, that is rape culture in action.

You want to believe that there’s a global conspiracy against Assange? Go right ahead, but come up with a plausible conspiracy angle that isn’t just another rape apology argument.

Posted by Dawn 5 September, 2012 at 7:32 pm “

Amid the detritus and sediment of male posturing that gem stood out as it dealt with the issues, logically, and showed the fatuous reasoning so often employed by Julian Assange’s supporters.

But when you read those threads it’s not surprising that people are turned off by politics given all of the idiocy, rank sexism and defamatory language found amongst these so-called socialists.

Finally, I can’t help thinking reading those terrible comments, with allies like that Assange and socialism don’t need any enemies. Women’s rights are denigrated when male socialists seek to shift blame from perpetrators to the victims of rape. Women can’t rely on male socialists willing to drop every conceivable principle because of political expediency or the supposed need to defend another faulty male leader.

This shallow approach to politics and principles is part of the reason that the Left has declined, where ends are constantly dragged out to justify means. Who wants to be around such calculating and manipulative politics? No one, and certainly not women.

Update 1: I should have pointed out earlier, but both of those threads at Socialist Unity blog were closed for comments after a comparatively short period of time.

Update 2: One blogger persisted and was eventually banned:

“So when I pointed out that the reasons that these things happened over, and over AND OVER again – because women who raised sexual assaults, and the narratives that sustained them were silenced, I was banned from the site. I was banned from the site because I stated that someone who thought that rape was acceptable behaviour was a potential rapist. I was shut off from the site because it “shut him down”. I wasn’t allowed to contribute because it made a potential rapist feel like he “couldn’t contribute”.

I don’t know how I feel about getting banned from the cesspit of the left. There is a bit of me that is quite happy to let them roll around in their own stinking shite, but on the other hand, I’m well aware of the pollution that it generates well beyond its boundaries. Pollution that generally ends up infecting the bodies of female comrades. “