July 09, 2007
New York, Madrid, London, Paisley...
"New York, Madrid, London, Paisley...we're all in this together and make no mistake, none of us will hold back from putting the boot in."
Beats this lyric, doesn't it?
He said: "I don't know what's not getting through to these people. "We already understand that you don't like us. Killing an airport full of innocent men, women and children is not going to make us understand that any better — nor is it going to change who we are."
Well, quite. Words of wisdom from unexpected places and all that.
August 25, 2006
Not Guilty: Now Leave
Weird, weird decision. One of those cleared in the ricin that never was plot is to be deported to Algeria. Apparently we now accept the word ofthe government of Algeria that he won’t be tortured on his return:
The judge said that Y might be detained “for a short period” upon his return but that was not expected to be more than a few weeks. His written judgment added: “The reconciliation process [in Algeria] is not window dressing or mere words, let alone a deceitful disguise for some more regressive steps.” The judge added that Algeria’s intelligence service “no longer have any interest in Y, although it was strong in the past . . . The gravity of his offences are no more than those alleged against others who have been released.”
So the argument is that while he’s a baddie he’s not enough of a baddie that one of the more oppresive regimes on the planet will be nasty to him.
Err, if he’s not enough of a baddie that one of the more repressive regimes on the planet will be nasty to him, then why is it necessary to deport him? As part of the jury that found him not guilty has said:
Three jurors who helped to acquit Y issued a statement expressing their disappointment at the decision. They said: “We, as a jury, acquitted him of all charges and expected that on his release he could begin to rebuild his life in this country. We have had our eyes opened to such an unfair and unjust sequence of events orchestrated by the authorities that we feel compelled to speak out. This is contrary to anything we thought could be possible in a democratic, free society.”
August 20, 2006
Terrorism charges against the suspects allegedly involved in a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners are "imminent", The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
The police are "hugely optimistic" that they will be able to bring charges against many of the suspects in the very near future, according to security sources.
I would bloody well hope so too. Be a little odd, scaring the nation witless, causing chaos at the airports, hauling 24 people off to jail if there were in fact no evidence now wouldn’t it?
August 18, 2006
Craig Murray in The Guardian. He doesn’t quite believe all the talk about the bomb plot:
None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not have passports. It could be pretty difficult to convince a jury that these individuals were about to go through with suicide bombings, whatever they bragged about on the net.
What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for more than a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.
As he says, none have been charged yet, back in the day if this had been an IRA plot being monitored we would have waited and collected more information. The one part I fully agree with him on:
And we have the appalling political propaganda of John Reid, the home secretary, warning us all in advance of the evil that threatens us and complaining that some people "don't get" why we have to abandon traditional liberties.
Even if the plot were imminent, even if all concerned get sent down for their naturals, the one thing this doesn’t prove is that the police have insufficient powers at present. Quite the contrary. The uncovering and prosecution of such a plot rather shows that they have all the powers they need and we don’t need to give up yet more of our liberties.
August 17, 2006
Freedom and Security
Slightly worrying results in that Spectator poll:
When asked whether Britain should change its foreign policy in response to terrorism only 12 per cent said it should be more conciliatory, compared with 53 per cent who thought it should become more "aggressive" and 24 per who wanted no change.
More aggressive? What on earth would that be? The turn Teheran into a parking lot option?
Some 69 per cent said that the police should be able to hold suspects for up to 90 days without charge, rather than be bound by the current 28-day limit.
So much for civil liberties then.
The poll findings will encourage John Reid, the Home Secretary, who has warned the British public that they will have to forgo many of the freedoms and liberties they have grown used to in order to ensure the maximum level of security.
Ah, how terribly revealing. The "maximum level" of security. Hey, we could have barcodes on our foreheads, internal passports, indefinite detention without trial etc etc etc. We still wouldn’t have that maximum level of security.
The aim is to have the maximum level of security consistent with our freedoms and liberties, not to give them up for something that cannot be obtained.
What’s the ned got planned for us next?
August 15, 2006
Good Golly Polly!
Yes, yes, I know, I normally disagree with everything she writes, including the words and, or and the. There are parts I disagree with in this too, however, praise where it is due:
Every minister hotly denying this obvious truth sounds absurd - but makes the wrong point altogether. The point is that a democratically elected government's foreign policy can't be moulded by threats from murdering religious maniacs. There are 1,001 good reasons why we should never have supported, let alone joined, the war in Iraq. But the one truly bad reason would have been fear of terrorism.
Those signing the letter steer perilously close to suggesting the government had it coming. The Muslim leaders wrote: "The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all." They urge the prime minister to "change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion. Such a move would make us safer." Maybe it would, but there can't be many, pro- or anti-war, who think sparing us from threats by God-blinded killers should be the number-one priority in foreign policy.
It goes with the selective amnesia that forgets about the Kosovo Muslims Blair and Clinton saved from genocide. It goes with a distorted memory of the Taliban as anything other than ruthless despots to their people (especially their women) and unprovoked originators of terror against the rest of the world. As for Iraq, invasion was dangerously misguided, but selective Islamic memory forgets that Saddam murdered Muslims.
Spot on. As she says, we can agree or disagree with any of the specific actions but to have not done any or all of them because medieval theocrats would threaten us is absurd.
August 12, 2006
Very Good Indeed
Yes, why didn’t we?
More and more, I wonder about something. What if, after the attacks on the World Trade Centre or the London Underground, the West had taken a difficult and strange course of action, and done nothing at all? What if we had, as a society, turned the other cheek: mourned our dead, rebuilt our cities and allowed the senselessness of the attacks to stand exposed for what it was?
What if we hadn't invaded anywhere, hadn't, since we couldn't find our real enemies, invented others to strike at? What if we hadn't thrashed around like someone trying to kill a wasp with a broadsword? What if we had chosen not to dignify a Stone Age death cult with a geopolitical response? What if we had treated it like what it was: not an act of war, but an act of murder?
It's hard to see that more innocent lives would by now have been lost worldwide than actually have. It's hard to see that more teenage idiots would have rallied to Osama bin Laden's hateful flag than actually have. It's hard to see how these acts of murderous nihilism would have acquired - in so many eyes here and abroad - the apparent dignity of a cause.
August 11, 2006
Those 72 Virgins
The Religious Policeman provides absolutely the best ever discussion of those 72 virgins. Via Samizdata and Andrew Sullivan we get a nice YouTube video of a stand up comedian discussing the question but take it away Alhamedi:
"I have, however, wondered long and hard about those virgins. Let me share some of my theological speculation with you.
Firstly, are there 72 virgins for each male, or 72 virgins, period? You see, if it's the latter, it sounds like a lot, but then there an awful lot of men in Paradise, and the number is rising all the time. And if there are only 72 to go round everyone, then we're going to need some sort of queueing system, which we're not very good at. But let's say we're better at queueing in Paradise, and we all take a numbered ticket, and wait in line. Our ticket says 18 billion and something, and the display says 3 billion and change, but not to worry, we've got eternity to play with. Eventually, we're near the head of the line. The thing is, though, some of us are going to be more attractive to the virgins than others. For example, Salah Ad Din here on the left, perhaps known to you as Saladin, was a mighty Middle Eastern warrior at the time of the Crusades, and by all accounts was also sophisticated, civilized, learned and very charming. So when he appears at the head of the line, I'm sure our young virgin will experience a shiver of anticipation. But if it's our young Jihadi on the right, it could be a different story. You see, he's probably been blown up by a bomb, which tends to make a bit of a mess. Sure, they'll do some basic surgery to sew the various bits together, but materials are limited up there, and there are limits to what you can do with a silken thread and the beak of a Humming Bird. When his number finally gets called, he's going to be standing there, trying to look his best. For most men, they'll check their tie, and perhaps quietly make sure that their fly is zipped up. On the other hand, our unfortunate Jihadi is going to be trying to hold his intestines in with the burnt-off stump of what was his hand. So that's the night that our virgin suddenly remembers that she needs to wash her hair. Luck of the draw, my friend, take another ticket, go to the back of the queue.
Alternatively, there could be 72 virgins for every male. Sounds better? Think about it. There are 72 of them and just one of you. They all have their needs and desires, both emotional and physical. So how are you going to satisfy them? Well, "one at at a time" is part of the answer. And you'll need a rota system. Plus you'll need a bit of rest and recreation yourself. Let's say you spend a night with each? It's going to take about 80 days before the virgin at the back of the queue gets to the front. So let's guess what sort of mood she is going to be in, after nearly three months of waiting for some attention. Ever kept your "significant other" waiting just 20 minutes? At a rough guess, she'll be somewhere on the scale between homicidal and genocidal. Not a good start to a relationship. Next night, it's the same, she's been waiting 80 days as well. And so on. And don't even think about limiting your favors to a select few. Maybe "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", but don't imagine it'll be any better in Heaven either if you miss some of them out. You could of course declare that all relationships will be purely platonic, all that you want is company and conversation. Now all you need to do is find the one who's equally interested in taking motor bikes to bits. Or the one who'll enjoy watching Sumo Wrestling with you. Or the one who's any good at Darts."
July 27, 2006
Of Abu Hamza:
He is a coward and a hypocrite, and deserves to rot in jail
March 23, 2006
The Latest Bomb Plot
I’ve no information and no view on whether these guys actually did anything or not but one bit does make me think that they’re highly gullible. Well, I guess that’s obvious but this point as well:
A Luton taxi driver who is said to be a member of the alleged gang was given information while in Pakistan about a "radioisotope bomb", the jury was told.
Salahuddin Amin was asked by a man he knew from a mosque in the Bedfordshire town to contact another man.
Amin contacted the third man via the internet and was told "they had made contact with the Russian mafia in Belgium and from the Mafia they were trying to buy this bomb".
Amin told police after his arrest that he did not think the attempt to buy the bomb was serious, as he did not think it likely that "you can go and pick up an atomic bomb and use it".
A "radioisotope bomb" is not an atomic bomb, it’s what we more normally refer to as a dirty bomb. Conventional explosives surrounded or mixed in with radioactive isotopes. The bang comes justfrom the regular explosives, which then spread the radioctivity around.
What’s slightly silly about trying to buy one from the Russian Mafia is that the necessary components are lying around the UK, all over the place, hospitals, food processors and the like.