Archive for the ‘Freedom of Expression’ Category

Have Me Cautioned If You Can, You Anti-Judaic Twunks!


This beggars belief.  Over at Harry’s Place, blogger Seismic Shock is recounting his visit by the Police acting at the request of the Incumbent at Christ Church, Virginia Water the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer; and visiting lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology, the Rev. Dr. Anthony McRoy.

I had not known about McRoy, but Seismic links to a speech he gave to a Khomenist organization in which he compared the self-sacrifice by the Christian Messiah – who once did something nasty to a clutch of figs – to Hezbollah which uses self-immolation to kill others and, against members of which, Interpol has issued arrest warrants in connexion with the bombing of a Jewish community centre thousands of miles from Israel.

I have written about Sizer before, notably an anti-Judaic polemic in which he invoked of Galatians 4:21/6 to compare supporters of Christian Zionists to supporters of the Children of Hagar:

It may be argued that it should be impossible for Christians to view claims and promises made to the Jews by God in the Hebrew scriptures without now reading them through the cross and its irrevocable consequences for the Jews. Now we find that it is Gentiles (and Jews who believe in Jesus) who are declared to be the true children of Abraham and Sarah. Jews outside the new covenant of grace have, through the cross, and because of their rejection of Jesus, become the children of Hagar. (Galatians 4:21-26). This is no excuse for arrogance or worse. With sensitivity and compassion we must rightly share our faith in Jesus praying that our Jewish friends find their Messiah and complete their faith. However, any suggestion that the Jewish people continue to have a special status or exclusive rights to the lands of the Middle East, as advocated by Christian Zionists is surely, in the words of John Stott, “biblical anathema”.

Seismic also discusses Sizer’s forwarding of e-mails from and sharing platforms with attested Holocaust Deniers, as well as accepting hospitality from the Messianic, Holocaust Denying Khomenist regieme: although he may still be persona-non-grata there for separate reasons, his polemics against Christian Zionism are being translated into Farsi by Khomenist organizations.

Despite all of this, McRoy and Sizer took objection to Seismic’s blogging activities which accused them of associating with and promoting theological antisemitism and Holocaust Deniers.

At 10am on Sunday 29th November 2009, I received a visit from two policemen regarding my activities in running the Seismic Shock blog. (Does exposing a vicar’s associations with extremists make me a criminal?, I wondered initially). A sergeant from the Horsforth Police related to me that he had received complaints via Surrey Police from Rev Sizer and from Dr Anthony McRoy who both objected to being associated with terrorists and Holocaust deniers.

The sergeant made clear that this was merely an informal chat, in which I agreed to delete my original blog ( but maintain my current one ( The policeman related to me that his police force had been in contact with the ICT department my previous place of study, and had looked through my files, and that the head of ICT at my university would like to remind me that I should not be using university property in order to associate individuals with terrorists and Holocaust deniers (I am sure other people use university property to make political comments, but nevermind).

For reasons I cannot quite fathom, someone purporting to be Sizer has issued the following warning against a Christian blogger in Australia, who had taken an interest in Sizer:

Dear Vee,

You must take a little more care who you brand as anti-semitic otherwise you too will be receiving a caution from the police as the young former student of Leeds did recently. One more reference to me and you will be reported.


Quite apart from the closing blessings being once of the most sinister things I ever have read, Seismic does *not* appear to have been cautioned.  Although he is a former student at Leeds University, he graduated quite happily without being expelled.  Furthermore, the Zionist control on the media may be slipping, but I doubt Sizer could persuade the Australian Police to intimidate this blogger.

A Reason Not to Talk About Political Assassination


I am intelligent and urbane, and never would take an interest in anything like the Danish Motoons.   Not because I think “Enlightenment principles” comes from an ancient Sanskrit word for “I have my head up my backside and am looking for my spectacles, oh what a decadent fool am I”, but they were badly drawn.  That is just vulgar.

When I hear of axe-attacks on one of the caricaturists and his five year old grand-daughter, I make an exception (see right):

“I locked myself in our safe room and alerted the police. He tried to smash the entrance door with an axe, but he didn’t manage.” – Kurt Westergaard.

Danish Police arriving immediately afterwards, confronted the assailant and shot him in the arm and leg.   There are few details about his identity, but he is known to be a Somali resident in Denmark, and appears to have active links with the al Shabaab “Shake Your Boobies” armed-group in Somalia.  Recent attempts to remove him from Denmark are reported to have been rejected by the European Court on Human Rights as he may have faced torture or execution for his role in a regional war.

Fortunately, for those who wish not to talk about the nature of this piece of performance art, Westergaard admits to retreating to panic-room without his grand-daughter as his would-be attacker went all Shining. Thus, instead of offering Scandinavian solidarity (in Norwegian), the focus can be placed on this gut-wrenching detail.

On account of my knowing somewhere between nothing and next to nothing about how the attack panned out – such as the room layout or the grand-daughter’s relative location (even if her presence was known) or how close the attacker came to catching Westergaard – I will defer such judgement.

Osama Saeed and Azad Ali Do Not Support the Killing of American Troops in America



osama saeed

I normally am pleased to address you all, but I am sure you will appreciate why I do so with such a heavy heart today. I was truly saddened to hear of the shameful events surrounding the slaying of 13 American soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. The eagerness which the international and Islamophobic media showed in naming Major Nidal Malik Hasan who surely deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty was truly disturbing.

We must, of course, all stand against such acts of terrorism, wherever they may occur. For that reason, I was truly saddened to read an apologia for the slayings by a man whom I had once considered to preach nothing but peace.

I have previously been truly inspired by the words of US-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki but feel cheating by his recent thoughts on the Fort Hood slayings, which he called the actions of a hero.

I cannot stress how much I disagree with these words, and consider it truly disingenuous to attempt to smear me and my comrades in the struggle against Imperialism, hegemony and Islamophobia as the notorious neo-con Centre for Social Cohesion has done. Equally shamefully, the right-wing The Times has picked-up this and accused our Brothers, Osama Saeed and Azad Ali of praising the viper, al-Awlaki.

Brother Azad’s is a truly inspiring civil servant whose advice on incitement of racial and religious hatred is sought by the Crown Prosecution Service, and before being named in the national media, had described al-Awlaki as:

”one of my favourite speakers and scholars” and “I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing”.

As if the shameful forced repayment of much needed set-up money was not demeaning enough, Brother Osama is right to feel offended, and has said:

I completely disagree with what he has said about Fort Hood, and a host of other matters which he has more recently written and spoken about.”

Like any normal human being with a scintilla of compassion and sense of justice, I believe it is essential to settle to sore in humanity which is the settler state of Israel and establish a bi-national haven of peace, but words such as these are not helpful:

The illegal state of Israel needs to be eradicated. Just like Rasulullah drove them out of the Arabian peninsula the Jews of Palestine need to be driven out to the sea. There are no Israeli civilians unless they are Muslim. When the enemy targets our women and children we should target theirs.

Engagement with the democratic process is essential for any revolutionary socialist, and I cannot agree with al-Awlaki’s words on the truly disturbing situation in Somalia:

“[Al-Shabaah] not only have succeeded in expanding the areas that fall under their rule but they have succeeded in implementing the sharia and giving us a living example of how we as Muslims should proceed to change our situation.The ballot has failed us the bullet has not.

Had I known that al-Awlaki’s 44 Ways to Support Jihad would be made public, I never would have offered him support.

I am led to believe that this political activism is like a computer game, so I would like now to press the reset button.

As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs…


Originally posted on 9 June. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même (see Iain Dale).

… out come the Squadists. Flush from his the success of his party at the Euro Elections 2009, Nick Griffin organized a press conference in front of *another* legislature… the Palace of Westminster. He was cornered and pelted with eggs by United Against Fascism, formed by a coalition of the Anti Nazi League and NAAR.

What a disaster. As much as I derived visceral satisfaction from watching Grffin flee like a sinister Billy Bunter, this has given wall-to-wall coverage of a democratically elected [racist scumbag] representative being assaulted in the street by a gaggle which scored a fraction of his party’s vote in the Euro Elections. One rebranding effort of the BNP has been to present itself as caring for the views of the white working-classes (appealing to, as UK Polling suggests, Tory-inclined voting working-classes more than Labour-inclined) which is under assault from a grimoire of political freaks and unrepresentative loonies. Which a lot of observers have seen happen right here.

Not that this is uncharacteristic behaviour for the UAF. Its ANL component was seen as a front for the SWP, which included active Squadists who, after their Kronstadding by Tony Cliff in 1981, went on to form a pro-IRA group called Red Action; at least two members of whom were convicted of gun-running for Irish Republican terror groups. In this respect, I compare the peripheries of the SWP to those peripheries of the BNP which go to join Combat18.

Twenty years on, the SWP helped turn the opposition to the invasion of Iraq; arguably the greatest mass-movement – crossing racial and political and social barriers – since Dunkirk into a withered shell of political cranks, racists and more-than-objectively pro-fascists.

The NAAR component was a front for serial-entriest Socialist Action which, I assume, is smarting after the loss of its influence in the London Mayoral office with the defeat of its patron, Ken Livingstone.

Four years ago, both helped force out the thoroughly decent Searchlight from the UAF on the grounds of its being “Zionist”. Now it and others in the UAF have found another tinder-box part of British politics to toss a match into. Bless.

Meanwhile, the latter-day Miss Jean Brodie, John Wight who believes that Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinian Territories and should, therefore, be engaged with, is delighted at this assault on a democratically elected British fascist.

UPDATE – commenter Dan at Harry’s Place makes an apposite observation:

The situation would be made far worse if the UAF mob came along and harassed the BNP and then left the local residents to deal with the consequences. The UAF and the BNP are very similar in this way – they march into an area, cause problems that didn’t exist before and then march away again looking smug while the people who live there pick up the pieces. The UAF are unelected, unaccountable, extremist and violent, just like the BNP. But unlike the BNP, they have no concept of community-led action, only direct action fly pickets fuelled by illusions that the 1970s are back again and it’s time to riot.

If the UAF are reading this, kindly piss off and don’t come near Essex again until you bother, just for once, to communicate and co-ordinate with local people who know better than you (which is never, I guess).

FURTHER UPDATE – See Bob in the comments for a more sympathetic view of Red Action and Squadism.

Peter Bottomley to Report Carter-Ruck to the Law Society


clusterfuck on carter ruck

As reported in the Guardian, and announced on Prime Minister’s Questions, Peter Bottomley MP is to report Carter-Ruck to the Law Society for seeking a super-injunction against reporting a proceedings within Parliament.

Carter-Ruck staff (none pictured to the right) have released a press-statement regarding this online custerfuck (TM Mr Eugenides, 2009).

Over at Tory Bear, a reader wonders if, as a Protestant, he can invoke the 1688 Bill of Rights by raising-arms against Carter-Ruck for attempting to subvert it. My guess is that the firm would surrender quickly, as barristers are notoriously susceptible to bullets.

HAT TIP first image – Tory Bear.

Carter-Ruck to Advize Roman Polanski


Following Roman Polanski’s detention in Switzerland for the foible of fleeing detention in relation to the statutory and forcible rape of a 13 year old girl, reports stated that he had travelled outside France on the advice of his lawyers who concluded US authorities no longer were actively seeking his arrest.

Well, as massive fails go, that surely ranks with the clusterfuck, as Mr Eugenides delicately puts it, unleashed following attempts to gag The Guardian in reporting responses to a proposed Parliamentary question.  Guido Fawkes (and you have no idea how much it pains me to credit him) had checked the Commons order paper, and wondered if it related to one scheduled by Paul Farrelly, Labour MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme:

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.

Well, if readers had not heard of Trafigura, the oil-trading company based in Switzerland, and the allegations that it had dumped toxic materials in Côte d’Ivoire, to the life-ending detriment of many… they do now.  And, as Carter-Ruck have apparently withdrawn opposition to the reporting of whatever question which was to be asked, many more will know about it.

Some may even get to hear about the Vest Tank explosion at Gulen in Sogn of Fjordane, Norway on 24 May 2007 in which the company Vest Tank, acting on behalf of Trafigura, was attempting to neutralize the same type of toxic waste as allegedly dumped in Côte d’Ivoire.


Well done, Carter-Ruck.  Still, next time follow the lead of Schillings’ when they represented the Mr Creosote of Russian football mangerism, Alisher Usmanov. (Photograph hat-tip – Ole Ole.)

BBC to Pay £45,000 in Damages to Secretary General of MCB


[Cross-posted at Harry’s Place.]

Perhaps better legal minds than mine can explain how this came to pass.  On 12 March 2009, during a broadcast of Question Time, Charles Moore, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, suggested that the senior-leadership of the Muslim Council of Britain considered the killing of British soldiers to be a “good” and even “Islamic” act to follow.

Moore’s remarks start at 2 min 56 sec.

This had followed a political protest in which a pro-victory gaggle of Dr. Moreau’s grotesques by the name of Followers of Ahl Us-Sunah Wal-Jamaa’ah – but which newspapers such as the Guardian insisted on describing as “anti-war” and plain-old “Muslims” – had harangued a home-coming parade by the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment in Luton.

What Would Omar Bakri Mohammed Think?
What Would Omar Bakri Mohammed Think?

The leader of this group is Anjem Choudrey, pictured here during his heady student days.

Although it is an al-Muhajiroun front-group, it was on this backdrop which Moore made his comments.  Any functioning democracy or healthy political debate requires discussion events such as Question Time which allows ideas and statements to be bandied about, and challenged if needs be.

We are no longer living with only a handful of media outlets – newspapers or broadcasters – owned by one or two barons, and where a maligned individual has little recourse to set a record straight.  For a start, “record” is an out-of-date analogy, and there are also blogs and foreign state-owned broadcasters advertising on London buses.

The Secretary General of the MCB, Muhammad Abdul Bari, for instance, has been reported as stating that homosexuality is incompatible with his religion.  He, like everyone else in this society, should be free to hold socially and religiously conservative views as long as he does not seek to impose them on the wider society.

I find the MCB’s erstwhile prolonged boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day extremely distasteful, and their rationalization based on misconceptions or outright falsehoods, but I accepted it through gritted teeth.

I mean, it is not as if he invited to the East London Mosque a big cheese in Jamlaat-e-Islami, is it? This is a Bangladeshi religio-political party of which senior members were intimately involved in the 1971 East Pakistan Civil War in which upwards of two millions Hindu and Muslim peasants and dissidents were killed.

Abdul Bari’s defence appeared to rest on he had condemned attacks on British service personnel on an occassion two years previously.  As far as I can tell, this was based on the the words he offered to the Independent in 2007:

Our troops are doing an unenviable job. It is unacceptable and appalling to hear of them being attacked and I am very sorry for their families. We appear to have learnt very little from our history of interfering in other countries, and I believe, history in turn, will not look very kindly at our recent actions.

That this underpined Abdul Bari’s argument was implicitly confirmed by a press-release from representing solicitors, Carter and Ruck; and explicitly confirmed in paragraph five of a press release from the BBC.

Thus, after between four and six years of British service personnel being killed by insurgents and violent extremists, and two years after 52 Londoners were murdered by self-immolatory terrorists, what Abdul Bari said was “history will not look very kindly at our recent actions”. Did he clarify this statement at any point?

In 2006, whilst still in favour with Government departments, Kaa sound/lookalike MCB-spokesman Inayat Bunglawala had responded to online questions on the Muslim Discussion Forum concerning ‘mixed messages’ from the MCB-leadership with regards to support for violent extremism. He explicitly stated that no pleasure should be taken in targetting of British service personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan:

British Muslims should in my view work with other sections of our society to ensure that British troops are brought back from both Iraq and Afghanistan without delay. It would be wrong to take any pleasure in the deaths of combatants in those conflicts, whether British, Iraqi or Afghani.

At another point, however, he was reported as stating:

I don’t agree that there is anything ambiguous about the MCB’s position on suicide bombings. We have pepeatedly made it clear that we utterly condemn the deliberate killing of all civilians whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, and whether it is carried out in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

Does the same extend to not targetting service personnel and other decreed combatants, or is this simply to be considered an onerous task not to be revelled in?

Further discussion of alleged links between big cheeses in the MCB and violent extremism, notably Jamlaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh and beyond, can be found here.

Although Moore mentioned no individual by name, Abdul Bari took it as reference to himself and sued.  The presiding judge accepted the following argument from Abdul Bari’s solicitor:

[…] although Dr Bari was not actually mentioned by name, the “leadership” of the MCB was referred to, by implication referring to him in his capacity as leader and chief spokesman of the MCB.

Mr Tudor said the BBC accepted that these allegations were untrue – in fact, in 2007, Dr Bari said publicly that the killing of British troops in Iraq was unacceptable.

The BBC has agreed to pay Abdul Bari £45,000 in damages plus legal costs.  Abdul Bari has stated his intention to donate they money to charity.  Bear in mind, the MCB is a registered charity.

Anyone with a passing interest in libel writs in the English courts should be entirely unsurprised to hear the presiding judge’s name. He is not pictured here.

What is also puzzling me is that other senior members of the MCB *are* considered to be supportive of the targeting of British service personnel: notably the current Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah.  A few days before the broadcast of Question Time, the Observer had reported that Abdullah and other senior British Islamists (including Chief Imam Shaykh Abdul Qayyum of the ELM) had signed what has become known as the Istanbul Declaration.

As reported, the Declartion implored the “Islamic Nation” to oppose by any means thought necessary all individuals deemed supportive of the “Zionist enemy” (cf. Israel). At the time of signing, foreign political leaders, including the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown had suggested providing peacekeeping Naval forces to monitor arms-smuggling between Gaza and Egypt.

An open letter from the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears was subsequently published in the Guardian in which she stated that no further dealings would be conducted by the British Government with the MCB until it distanced itself from Abdullah’s remarks and he resigned.

In a response, also published in the Guardian, Abdullah called her remarks a “misguided and ill-advised attempt to exercise control” and stated his intention to remain in position; with the apparent backing of the rest of the MCB leadership. Subsequently, he announced his intention to sue Blears, in respect of her office, should she not retract her letter and issue an apology by 15 April 2009.

A letter from the Treasury Solicitors, acting on behalf of Blears, to Abdullah’s solicitors revealed their willingness to continue with such a course of action. It closed with the statement, “It follows, of course, that your offer of settlement is rejected”. No further reports of attempts to pursue a libel case by Abdullah or the MCB have been heard. 

So, my question is, even if Moore’s statement to be have been considered a reference to Abdul Bari, why was it considered libelous considering:

  • The MCB’s continued tactit toleration of its Deputy Secretary General following his endorsement of the Istanbul Declaration;
  • A lacklustre response from the Secretary General of the MCB when asked to condemn attacks on British service personnel;
  • Apparently contradictory statements, in response to internal concerns about support for violent extremism within the MCB, from another senior MCB member regarding violent extremism in which a distinction between civilians and military targets was seemingly drawn;
  • Existing concerns of links between senior MCB members and the violent extremism of Jamlaat-e-Islami?

UPDATE – In 2004, Eric the Unred linked to the response of Abdul Bari to questions about the jihadists of Fallujah.

Update: From 4:25 into this BBC interview:

Roger Bolton “You’ve called the assault on Fallujah barbaric. Wasn’t its occupation by Iraqi militants and foreign fighters, using civilians as shields, also barbaric?”

Abdul Bari “Well we have to see what happened in the beginning, as mentioned by some of your, some of the people you interviewed, and I think agreed by the international community, that the occupation of Iraq was illegal. So, if people of Iraq come up and want to fight against the occupation army, we know that, we also mentioned somewhere, we know that there could be some people from outside Iraq that are coming and that is because the main reason that the occupation happened.”

Roger Bolton “Do you think therefore that armed resistance of the sort we are seeing in Fallujah is legitimate? You would support the fighters who are ranged against American and British troops?”

Abdul Bari “Well, people of Iraq have to decide, because the war has been imposed on them.”

Roger Bolton “I’m sorry sir, I was asking if you, not the people in Iraq, do you therefore think it is legitimate for people to fight against the American and British troops in Iraq?”

Abdul Bari “Well, it’s for the people of Iraq to decide.”

Roger Bolton “But it certainly could be legitimate, you’re not telling them it’s wrong.”

Abdul Bari “Well, what we are saying is that the occupation of Iraq itself was wrong”

Professional Activism


If I do not actually have negative views of self-described “activists” who wish to bypass representative governance by holding an attention-grabbing street-protest, then I certainly expect them to demonstrate the worth of their activism rather than receive support pro bono from me.

Anything which Sunny Hundal approves of, I am instinctively inclined to oppose. Whilst I would not have deployed marksmen to pick-off his favoured poncy middle-class nimby wankers masquerading as radicals such as Plane Stupid, nor would I be disappointed to see a minimum six month gaol sentance handed out for such behaviour. That should focus their minds and make their sacrifices worthwhile.

At the more agreeable end of the scale, as far as I can see, is former Thurso-based woman, Joanne Simm, whom the Caithness Courier recently reported as intending to protest at the 2009 Running of the Bulls Festival in Pamplona. Her stated aim was the strip-off, but I immediately noted that she was to wear nipple-covers and pants. That is not stripping-off! That is a Brazilian bikini!

She did, however, go completely nude for the 2005 event, so I will concede her that, even if I consider “nude protests” now to be little more than exercises in self-promotion. Their undoubted intial value has now been overtaken by the titilation factor and, I suspect strongly, desire of natural extroverts simply to get their kit off.

I will risk the wrath of animal lovers here when I say I have no mean respect for the bull-runners and, far more so than other blood-sports, bull-fighters. Unlike Simm, I am neither a vegetarian nor vegan so would see the inherent contradiction in getting misty-eyed over the Pamplona bulls and then tucking into my stew.

Without meaning to sound like one of the ex-RCP members given prominence in the BBC – with I emphatically am not – we live in a sanitized society which so much of risk, visceral excitement and immediate contact with death removed. Participants in the bull-running risk minor to severe injuries take place every year, and this year one participant was killed. Bull-fighting can be exceptionally dangerous.

As noted, Simm has been involved with such professional activism for a number of years. In 2007, the John o’Groat Journal reported that she had been arrested following a disturbance as part of an anti-fur protest outside a Burberry store in London:

Joanne Simm Outside Burberry Store

With a clean record, Joanne told the John O’Groat Journal this week that she had not realised that being arrested would be a consequence of the demonstration, but remarked that she is “a lot wiser now”.

Well, yes. Not wishing to submit oneself to this risk suggests one’s commitment to whichever ’cause’ is not 100%. I am also wondering about where the above photograph came from: I doubt there were any JoG photographers in London with Simm. Whilst there is a local news aspect of any local resident, present or former, being in the public gaze, I am deeply cynical about media outlets permitting professional activists to actually supply the photo-ops: be it Simm, or when ‘environmental protestors’ members superglue themselves to statues in the Palace of Westminster.

In addition to regular travel to Pamplona, this previous JoG article also revealed that Simm had undergone a three month internship with People for the Eating of Tasty Animals Ethical Treatment of Animals in the USA.

Sunny Hundal does not appear to be the only ‘committed environmentalist’ who feels able to clock-up many thousands of travel-miles each year as part of his activism, or because he feels he deserves the holiday.

PETA has an attested record of spending most, if not all, of its funds on publicity rather than actual animal care. Whilst insisting that the naked truth about animal mistreatment be revealed, they appear to prefer to call their concerted killing programme of healthy pets “euthenasia“.

Still, from everything I can see, Simm appears as a harmless crank, rather than the unpleasantness and duplicity of PETA or the violent sociopathy of the likes of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty and the Animal Liberation Front. Never forget, from the IRA ceasefire and until the Admiral Duncan pub-bombing (and for some time afterwards), misanthropic scum like this were the greatest terrorist threat in Great Britain.

Simm’s previous fully-clothed attention-grabbing protests have included disrupting Crufts to protest against its pet food manufacturer sponsor and, bizarrely, accosting Prince Charles at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso as part of a campaign against real fur in Buckingham Palace guards’ ceremonial hats.

Upload in the UK, Obey British Laws


A side-note to a post-Shoah manifestation of the calumny of a baleful wandering Jew – 9/11 Truthers – occurred in May 2008. Rachel from North London had previously encountered one true believer who claimed that the July 2005 London bombs were a ‘false-flag operation’ by Mossad, and pestered survivors and families of victims who disagreed. Blairwatch then identified him as one Nicholas Kollerstrom, honorary research fellow at the science and technology department University College London.

Kollerstrom’s academic credentials, if they can be called that, were based in research into crop-circles and astrology and other pseudoscience. Blairwatch discovered that, in addition to frequenting 9/11 Truth websites, he had authored missives on an open Holocaust Denial website, CODOH.

That is all by the by. UCL subsequently revoked Kollerstrom’s honorary position, and I do not wish to link to those websites. What triggered my memory was the incidental sentencing this week of an author of one of the articles which Kollerstrom had cited.

Convicted in absentia in January 2009, Simon Sheppard along with Stephen Whittle had claimed political asylum in the USA after being arrested in 2007 for distributing race-hate material and uploading similar content to his personal website. Details included printed cartoons mocking Nazi death-camp victims, which were delivered to a Blackpool synagogue, as well as racially inflammatory material posted online. Although primarily directed at Jews, Sheppard and Whittle also directed abuse at black and Asian victims.

Sheppard had been expelled from the BNP in 2000 for publicizing extreme racist views, and became one of the founders of the Redwatch website. In addition to extreme misogyny, he has a morbid interest in cannibalism and was reputed to have preferred to live near crematoria and graveyards.

In June 2009, US courts refused further leave to appeal and prepared Sheppard and Whittle for extradition. Lancaster UAF reported Sheppard as saying:

We thought they’d hold us for a day or so. We couldn’t see how they wouldn’t grant us asylum. The things we supposedly had done in Britain aren’t illegal in America. We came to the beacon of free speech in the western world, which turned out to be a complete fantasy. We’re not cowed and we’re not repentant. We have the right even to make mistakes. We could be wrong, it’s not inconceivable. We have a right to be wrong. All we’re doing is speaking our minds.

Well, they assumed wrongly, as Sheppard and Whittle have been sentenced to four years 10 months and two years four months respectively. Although Sheppard’s website had been hosted on servers in California, where the equivalent of British race-hate legislation did not exist, it was concluded that the point of distribution occurred when he and Whittle had uploaded the material from their locations in the UK.

The Internet is a young medium, and as such judicial systems have found themselves unequipped to deal with many cases of exploiting loopholes. It is clear to me that Sheppard and Whittle had wished to achieve the effect of distributing the material from within this country; and, as said by reviewing lawyer for the CPS, Mari Read, they stepped over the line from holding unpalatable views to promoting them when they sought to do so.

I object to ‘libel tourism’, where the absurdly anachronistic privacy and defamation laws in this country permit foreign domiciled individuals as well as those at home to silence dissent on the grounds that material may be accessible in this country. This case, however, smells different as, I assume, it would have been permissible for Sheppard and Whittle to upload the material on terminals outwith this country, even though it could then have been read it from Internet connexions within this country.

Good riddance to these two, even if I do not know how this will affect UK-based bloggers sailing close-to-the-wind on foreign-based blogs.

The Internet and Democratic Change


The broadcast of Nightwaves on Radio3 last night, 29 June, (still available on Listen Again) discussed the use of Internet-based services as tools of popular protest and to foment political change. Twitter, inevitably, was cited, in the context of the current mass-catharsis against the Khomenists in Iran.

The whild and whacky whorld of the Internet has been agog at the use of Twitter to circumvent the cyberweb patrols of Iranian state-security, and plan opposition rallies: so much so that furniture store Habitat attempted to use popular interest in Twitter to piggyback its own advertizements.

Until now, Twitter has mostly been to inform the reader of what colour socks the operator is wearing (I am not wearing any today), or which china teapot Stephen Fry has bought or that Philip Pullman has, by the looks of it, been reading the Wiki entry for HDM for the past three months. What is happened in Iran is brilliant, but I cannot it being due to any inate aspect of Twitter (even if China and Vietnam and Guatemala take dim views on its use as political protest).

The level of technology held by the Iranian security services is unlikely to be highly advanced, even with the latest Siemens or Nokia equipment. The secret police just have not noticed it… or have they?

One point made on Nightwaves was that honey-traps may well have been laid, in anticipation of the ratification of the 12 June election results in Iran by the judiaciary (which has now happened). With the Khomenists now confident in their position, previously unmolested Internet users may soon find themselves nabbed. Not a pleasant thought, not least as I have previously said a companion on a group-blogging effort who has been caught up in this.