Archive for November, 2010

To Embarrass One Conservative Party Leader is Unfortunate…


to embarrass the next as well suggests you are a bit of a blabbermouth.

Still, at least no-one would consider mocking the Speaker.

The Last of the Free


This represents the last of both my own-grown potatoes and onions. (That said, I have retained the largest onion to use as a pagan offering to the soil next spring.)

Unless I can stretch out the leeks, I suspect I will starve this winter. Oh, no, there always is Tescos.



Mother and son had not seen each other since the 20th Century.

The Best Newspaper Headline Ever


Kids: Pirates Are Not Cool


Despite what the Prince Across the Water, David T may have said, pirates are not cool. They do not have the slightly epicene-look of Captain Jack, but are ugly buggers; and menaces to international shipping and ordinary passersby alike to boot.

As non-state actors, it often can be expected that there will be a domestic judiciary and reliable system of rule-of-law to monitor and restrain them. As such, I would hope there is a supra-national framework which exists to try those involved with piracy and brigandage.

Fortunately there is. For the first time in three centuries, a pirate trial has opened in Europe. Twenty two Somali pirates who boarded the Germany registered MS Taipan off the Horn of Africa in April are facing up to 15 years from a Hamburg court.

The failures surrounding the detention of minor insurgents, hard-core jihadists and Brummie tourists seeking the perfect roti at Guantanamo Bay were myriad. Legislation against piracy and brigandage existed beforehand, and could have provided a more convincing framework for dealing with such attacks on international shipping and operating from unofficial statelets.

The principal benefit of this would have been to avoid the legislative quagmire which was the ex jure status of Guantanamo Bay: although not stroking the egos and wallets of otherwise mediocre QCs and even more common lawyers would not have been unwelcome.

Whatever happens as a result of the Hamburg trial, German courts should soon be considering other cases. Just as these raiders found an apparently deserted ship (the crew were secure in a panic room), followed by a helicopter-raid by Dutch Marines who quickly subdued them, another pirate crew attacking the MV Magellan Star in September was promptly apprehended by US Marines.

On finding the deserted ship, these latter pirates made a satellite call to the headquarters of the shipping line in Germany, demanding to know where the crew was.

German operators informed them that the crew was on leave. And laughed.

With such overt threats to their own citizens and business interests, European politicians and legislators may be more sympathetic to the US court system which also is trying pirates as pirates for the first time since the USMC marched to the shores of Tripoli. Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, the sole surviving member of the pirate crew which attacked the MV Maersk Alabama in September 2009 is awaiting sentencing following his trial in New York.

Korean People’s Army Shells South


When writing about the Korean peninsula, I prefer to avoid referring to the lacunae of interest in it from the screaming-at-mice brigade who spend every waking moment working themselves into states of near-sexual fury at one side in a regional conflict at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. After, however, watching the continued slanging-match on a Facebook fanpage for Pete Seeger – in which, amongst others, he has been called senile for agreeing to playing in an online concert by The Friends of Arava Institute – I will make an exception, and express a wish that they all be pelted to death with marshmallows (oh, please do not tell Yasmin Alibhai-Brown).

Over to Korea.

Seigfried Hecker, an engineering Professor at Stanford University who inspected DPRK sites on behalf of UN inspectorates this week confirmed he had seen thousands of nuclear centrifuges as well as gleaned techniques which Pyongyang uses to circumvent sanctions in order to make pin money in exports to any fascist murder gang or brutal State which wants to buy.

Yet, as the above Youtube footage shows, nukes are not exactly needed wreak to havoc across the 38th.

The screams of terror of islanders on Yeon Pyeong-do can be heard as they today endured a prolonged artillery barrage from the Korean People’s Army, and KPA big cheeses have boasted of having thousands of missiles pointed at Seoul: nukes are more likely to be reserved to irradiating Pusan to forestall American landings from Japan.

A number of civilians have been killed, as well as Korean Marines. Today’s events definitely are exponentially worse than the Take Your Son to Work exercise which was the sinking of RoKS Cheonan in May of this year, in which 46 sailors died.

Worse even than the 1996 Gangneung Submarine Infiltration, in which 12 RoK military personnel and four civilians died.

This is perhaps the most serious incident since the 1953 ceasefire.

Strathclyde Police Will Not Pin This on a Local Dumpling


A joke which will make absolutely no sense to anyone not familiar with north-eastern West Dunbartonshire (and unlikely to result in a laugh from those who are).

Initial reports of an unexplained explosion this week in Garadhban Forest by Gartocharn near Loch Lomond were met with no-mean bemusement that this minor village between the heaving metropolises of Balloch and Drymen could be the scene of a terrorist training camp or arms dump.

It has, however, happened before. Those convicted of the attempted 2007 car-bombing of Glasgow Airport has used this area because of its seclusion and blindness to mobile phone signals. So, if jacobite jihadist involvement is shown, expect Alex Salmond to bluster that those responsible must have come from outside.

Or, conceivably, it could be renegade Irish Republicans. Even better-than-average organized neo-Nazis. Animal rightists appears to have been removed from the rich gumbo which is the terrorism in Britain community.

Or an entirely innocent explanation.

What is the Difference Between Harriet Harman and Eric Joyce?


Only Eric Joyce stood down from a Frontbench position after committing a criminal driving offence. Maybe he had drunk middle-class alcohol.

Lord Young


A moment of public rustication aside, Lord Young has it quite good.

Cooperation 1, Screaming-at-mice Brigade 0


I wrote previously about attempts by the screaming-at-mice brigade to browbeat a 91 year old man into submission.

The 91 year old man was Pete Seeger, who had had the temerity to agree to perform in an online concert for With Earth and Each Other, a micro-level activism group for cooperation between different nationalities and ethnicities in the Middle East; and connected to Arava Institute (which, amongst others, had successfully challenged the IDF’s blanket ban on student visas from Palestinian Territories), and the free-thinking Jewish National Fund.

Attempts at McCarthyite control (which Seeger had seen-off almost 60 years ago) ensued on a Facebook page set-up by one of Seeger’s fans, including regular cuts ‘n pastes from Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolition.

Any domestic action group against zoning violations and planning permission disputes is not to be discouraged, but as far as I could see, Halper is supportive of a all-level boycott against Israel to ‘embarrass’ her in ways not applied to any other country and its social structures.

Typical responses from the screamers-at-mice was that they would support any boycott if it were called for whichever disenfranchised group was being discussed. Quite apart from their guaranteed ignorance of the human plights in the named countries, it raises the question of how far this Yasmin Alibhai-Brown style moral purity test would go. Possibly leaving the only individuals and countries worthy of receiving international trade and cultural/academic exchange being themselves, Costa Rica, the Principality of Sealand and a mangy dog (until, that is, Sealand was expelled for its role in the guillemot genocide, and Costa Rica for the oppression of the macadamia nuts community).

Plus, if I am correct about Halper’s position, he goes from ultimately good intentioned in my eyes to a malign influence in that he would avail himself of the comforts and benefits of living in Israel whilst ostracizing those who disobey him. As the Chancellor of Haifa University said to Ilan Pappe, perhaps he should boycott himself.

Alas, despite their best efforts to cling to an unmoderated and, until they arrived, unread Facebook fanpage, it all came to nowt, as the online concert with Seeger’s performance went ahead on 14 November (as shown on the Facebook page for With Earth and Each Other).

Having failed to force Jethro Tull and LCD Soundsystem, they now have failed with Pete Seeger.

For the next time, Bohica.