Archive for the ‘Blogosphere’ Category

Nobel Peace Prize 2010


Liu Xiaobo 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate - Copyright Liu Xia.

What do China and Burma have in common? They both have a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in prolonged detention.

The 1991 recipient, Aung Sang Suu Kyi is a fortnight shy of 15 year in detention in her native Burma (although the Burmese junta has hinted at a final release, albeit without voting rights or the continued existence of her political party, after the upcoming farce of a General Election).

Perhaps the Norwegian Nobel Committee is developing a sense of humility and persepective after awarding the 2009 prize to an American President based on nominations submitted less than a month after he assumed office; and the 2007 prize to someone else who had failed to become the American President based on a Powerpoint presentation over, amongst others, a woman who personally had saved thousands of children from Nazi forces and had several of her limbs broken in retaliation.

This year, the prize has been awarded to gaoled Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo.  A participant in the popular movement arising from the 1989 Tianamen Square Protests, Liu was convicted but released in 1991 when he recanted in letter form.  He spent more than half of the rest of the decade in detention for other forms of dissent.


Next You Will Be Telling Us Shergar is Dead


Callow, pampered luvvies everywhere were cock a’ hoop to hear that other callow, pampered luvvies had announced a boycott of Ariel Theatre which is localed in one of the principle Israeli Settlements on the West Bank.

The letter, addressed to the boards of the Cameri, Habima, Beit Lessin, Khan and the Haifa and Beersheba theatres, read: “We wish to express our disgust with the theater’s board’s plans to perform in the new auditorium in Ariel. The actors among us hereby declare that we will refuse to perform in Ariel, as well as in any other settlement. We urge the boards to hold their activity within the sovereign borders of the State of Israel within the Green Line.”

I am not axiomically opposed to private individuals in Israel giving the cold-shoulder to Settlement products and services; as long as they give more thought than checking where their bread comes from, or taking a detour so not to drive across the cursèd territory.  We each are puritanically responsible for our own moral standing in society and, barring anarchy, there will always be some degree of submission to the power of the State (as it should be).

Luvvies, however, are a different matter.  I go to my butcher for meat, apothocary for medicine, library for books, newsagent for newspapers.  Luvvies and other artists are there for entertainment, and I do not take my cues on parenting from Auberon Waugh or gender politics from William Golding any more than I would seek political advice from their bunch (not even Ian Anderson’s masterful “fuck off you maniacs” to the pro-boycott crowd).


Has David Milliband’s Twitter Account Been Hacked?


Or is he a prat for comparing a lack of investigation into Andy Coulson to that for Father Chesney?

And that is before I get onto the matter of Tweeting during any professional engagement, let alone PMQs.


HAT-TIPMr. Eugenides.

Israel-Boycotters Have Their Sperm in the Gutter


I do not think everyone in support of a full boycott of Israel are complete and utter nutters with the slenderest grip on reality, but a lot of them are.

The US Campaign for Judenrein Cultural Boycott of Israel has averred that “the next Israeli attack on Gaza is in the name of Jethro Tull” (the prog-rock band, not the 17th Century agricultural reformer).

Genuinely insane.

This relates to a statement by Ian Anderson on the Jethro Tull website in the response to such attempts by the screaming-at-mice brigade.

Having performed concerts in the Middle East region many times over the last few years, I am well aware of the ethnic and religious tensions existing, not only in the countries concerned, but in the broader international diasporas representing the various groups and their interests.

Having long maintained the position that culture and the arts should be free of political and religious censorship and a distance kept between them, I took a decision in February of 2009 that any future concerts in Israel by me or Jethro Tull would result in charitable donations to bodies representing the development of peaceful co-existence between Muslims, Jews and Christians, and the fostering of better Palestinian/Israeli relations. A number of potential charitable beneficiaries have now been identified and are under consideration.

I speak only for my own share of concert profits here – I am not about to tell the rest of the musicians or crew what views they should hold or what to do with their remuneration. Nor do I feel pressured by human rights groups, national interests or any individuals to perform or not to perform in Israel or anywhere else. I make up my own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.

To those who tell me I should “boycott” Israel (or, for that matter, Turkey or Lebanon), I can only point out that on my travels around the world I am continually reminded of atrocities carried out historically by many nations who are now our friends, and it serves to strengthen my resolve that some degree of peace and better understanding may result from my and other artists’ professional and humble efforts in such places. If I had the opportunity to perform today in Iran or North Korea, hell – I’d be there if I thought it would make a tiny positive net contribution to better relations.

It’s a long time since Pearl Harbor, Auschwitz, Hiroshima and the firestorm of Dresden and I hope that, one bright day sometime in the future, it will seem a long time since the blockading of the supply flotilla to Gaza and the bombing of Israeli citizens by Hamas and Hizbolla.

So, I decided many months ago not to profit from my work in this troubled region and hope that interested parties on all sides will understand and respect my decision and resolve. The details of recipients of my charitable donation will be posted for the benefit of the doubters, as usual, on this website later in the year.

I do not know which charities Anderson has in mind, but I would dearly love them to include OneVoice Movement and Children of Peace (and have said so on the official Facebook page; currently besieged by a bunch of monomaniacal, delusional paranoid loonies trying to shift Anderson’s heavy horses).

Jethro Tull has now played in Israel, with guest keyboardist, Shlomo Gronich who incorporates the Hatikva into his riffs (at 4 min and 5 min 10 sec).

HAT-TIP Engage Online.




When hearing of the execution of eight medical aid-workers and two Afghan interpreters by as-yet-unidentified bastards in Badakhshan, I had a shock as a sometime acquaintance of mine is a part-Chinese doctor called Karen. Fortunately, her surname is not Woo.

This week Priyamvada Gopal objected objected to presenting the mutilation of sexually disobedient women as justification for aid missions to Afghanistan (and proceeded to reduce the history of female emancipation in Western societies to bikini waxes). Such articles really make me wish for a “For Fuck’s Sake!” option on Facebook.

Whilst this moral blackhole was also reducing the history of female emancipation in Western societies to bikini waxes – all from the battle-ground of Cantabrigian cloisters where a paper-cut really can chafe – Woo was traveling through the Afghan badlands with the Christian charity, International Assistance Mission to provide mobile medical care to the rural regions.


Guardian Offers Spot to Colonel Derek Wilford on Security Operations


The Guardian’s Comment is Free website has thought it suitable to offer a piece to Colonel Derek Wilford on the need for strong-arm urban policing.

Well, no it has not. It has offered a piece to Gerry Adams on the revelations offered by Wikileaks that civilians have been killed by British forces in Afghanistan. Examples which Adams cites:

• 15 November 2006: In Helmand, the British army’s Marine commandos fired warning shots at a vehicle, killing two civilians and wounding two others, including a child.

• 12 March 2008: Helmand. British troops call in helicopter gunships and claim three enemy dead. The bodies of two women and two children are later found.

• 19 November 2008: Marine commandos fire “warning shots” at a vehicle. They kill a child.

• 19 May 2009: Gurkhas call in air strike and kill eight civilians and destroy a family compound.

• 30 September 2009: Helmand. The Rifles Regiment calls in an air strike on a compound housing two families. Seven killed.

It is difficult to know precisely what the situation those soldiers faced. Killing civilians is not, ipso facto, a war-crime and children have been known to be used as decoys in Iraq.

It might not be like acting as pall-bearer to Thomas Begley who was blown-up by his own bomb which killed nine civilians at Frizee’s chip-shop on the Shankill Road, including two children.

Comments relating to this are being deleted left-right-and-centre, like something out of Zulu Dawn.  So, clearly any “controversial decision” by CiF Editors does not extend to their reaping the whirlwind of their decision. 

Maybe the editorial meeting went as such:

CIF Editor: I’ve got this great article from Gerry Adams, he criticises the British Army
Chief Moderator: Really, is there a news angle?
CIF Editor: Oh, yes, he links it to the recent stuff on WikiLeaks
Chief Moderator: Right, do you realise that amount of libellous comments that’s likely to produce?
CIF Editor: Really! But it’s really good stuff. I thought we’d publish it on Saturday.
Chief Moderator: I’ll need a double shift of moderators to cope with it and lawyers on standby.
CIF Editor: Hmmm.
Chief Moderator: And the weekend armchair generals will be out in force and with a double shift and lawyers… you realise what that will cost?
CIF Editor: OK then, Make it Monday morning.
Chief Moderator: Are you really sure this is a good idea? We might end up with more items deleted than we actually publish. Is that a good idea?
CIF Editor: Now, now, you’re not trying to moderate me now, are you?

The Titanic Made Less Noise When She Was Sinking


Paul Carpenter provides Gillian McKeith (not PhD) with some easy tips on how to avoid beclowning oneself on Twitter.

One – do not verbally abuse and then threaten random Twitterers when they say summat negative about you and summat positive about Ben Goldacre. And do not describe Dr. Goldacre (albeit a johnny-come lately physician and not Doctor of Letters) as a “liar”, especially considering your own litigious proclivities.

Two – when Dr. Goldacre suggests calling him a liar may be libelous, do not then chortle than only a fool would believe it was you writing about yourself in the first person on a Twitter-feed which carries your photograph and links to your webpage.

Three – even if the details of Lesson Two were true, do not then remove link to said Twitter-feed from your unambiguously official webpage.

Four – if you really must fail to heed Lesson Three, do not leave the coding for said Twitter-feed on your unambiguously official webpage.

… and most certainly remove link from your equally official YouTube channel.

Five – do not assume Dr. Goldacre is not an efficient archivist.

What a load of poo.

John Wight Believes Groups of Jews Can Disguise Themselves as Like Us


The antisemitic John Wight has a blog-missive up at Socialist Unity… well, had, as it appears to have been deleted. Fortunately, it’s still present in Google Cache.

A three thousand word bloviation of cod post modern analysis and grand narrative construction, it took 700 words to read the title subject: Israel. Illustrated with the above photograph (I am unsure if the intention was to show crying male soldiers as effeminate, and weak for the displays of emotion), the text contained various arguable antisemitic remarks:

On the one hand it constitutes the realisation of an ancient covenant with God, in which as a chosen people the Jews were promised the land of historic Palestine for eternity,

Not if you have read Amos 3:2, mate.


Did You Vote For a Taghut?


I did. I am so shirk.

Tory MP Explains Why He Threatened Blogger With Libel


Barrister, Member of Parliament for Banbury and Pooh Bah look-alike Tony Baldry has contacted the blogger whom he threatened with libel over allegations he had interceded on behalf of James Ibori; Nigerian oil-magnate currently on trial at Southwark Crown Court for corruption.

The blogger in question, Richard Wilson had read a Correction in the Independent on Sunday newspaper on 28 February which withdrew previous claims Tony Baldry MP had written a five page letter on behalf of Ibori’s solicitors to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and copied to the Attorney General, Justice Secretary and Home Secretary: only as Tony Baldry QC.

Wilson discussed this and the background on his blog, as well as the observations of Allen Green (aka Jack of Kent) that it is virtually unheard of for a barrister to write such a letter to major Government departments on the instructions of a solicitor.

Further threats of defamation proceedings followed from Baldry’s solicitors, Olwsang against both Wilson and his blog providers, WordPress; which was thought to be legally liable under English law.  Had this gone further, I suspect the California-based WordPress would have given the Agincourt Salute.