Friday, February 24, 2006

Mystery Train

I’ve just watched this evening’s edition of BBC’s Question Time which has set me off brooding again about the issues thrown up by the David Irving trial. There’s at least another post brewing before I get that one out of my system. Boo

Before the question about Irving came up there was much discussion about the impending civil war in Iraq. I’m one of those people who believed that this was the game plan straight from the start. There’s no way for instance that the Kurds in the North were ever going to settle with being part of a province in a larger Iraq. The few actual Kurds I’ve spoken with about the subject didn’t really make a secret of their ambitions for nationhood.

But time and again I hear government politicians bang on about how, whether people supported the original invasion or not, we now have to keep troops in Iraq until the country is magically stabilised.

And last night’s Question Time was no exception.

And throughout the discussion I kept thinking of the Aegis ‘Mystery Train’ video, filmed by mercenaries, sorry ‘civilian contractors’, as they blasted the crap out of Iraqi civilians driving in their cars. And yes I know the country is heaving with suicide bombers and yes I know the ‘civilian contractors’ are permitted to shoot at the engine blocks of suspected cars per their terms of engagement. But who in their right fucking mind thinks that a country reduced to a state where ‘civilian contractors’ are allowed to drive around and kill people in broad daylight with no accountability is ever going to be fucking stable this side of the next two or three decades?

Tap your toes to the Aegis 'Mystery Train' video in QT format here

Adding the Elvis was a nice touch though. As a soundtrack for the war in Iraq, it works

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Nazi Popes and historical revisionism

The corporate media and blogosphere have spewed forth a mass of Irving-related prose since his guilty verdict. By and large, the commentary has been quite formulaic

1. Irving is a disgraceful human being

2. Anyone who denies that the Holocaust happened is mad or wicked, or both

3. However, locking him up for a thought crime makes a nonsense of all that crap we were saying about the right to publish those Danish cartoons a couple of weeks ago

All of which is reasonable.

Five minutes spent on Irving’s web site is enough to prove to anyone that he is a rabid anti-Semite. We’re not talking, say, of any confusion between a concern over the actions of the Israeli government and Jewish people as whole here. Irving is the real deal. He hates the lot.

And the Holocaust did happen. Even the most ardent Holocaust Revisionist does not deny the existence of the network of concentration camps, the deportations, or the Einsatzgruppen extermination squads that roamed Nazi occupied territories. I personally know far too many people whose families fled persecution from Europe in the 1930s to believe that this business could sanely be considered a hoax.

But yes, jailing someone for stating an opinion that in itself does not represent a call for violence or hatred does run counter to our supposed Western values.

And there, most commentaries stop. Arguably because that is all that needs to be said but also because people have real concerns when it comes to discussing the Holocaust.

They might get locked up.


My personal issues with prosecuting people for Holocaust Denial or any other form of historical revisionism are as much practical as based on any notion of free speech…

History gets revised all the time

And that includes the Holocaust

There is undoubtedly an impressive body of eyewitness and documentary evidence of what went on during the Holocaust.

However, when you speak with veterans of wars or other historical events, one of the things that often strikes you is how little they knew about what really was going on outside their field of view. They sat in their foxholes or were herded onto a train quite unknowing of the larger picture.

It is the job of the historian to gather those individual accounts and fit them into a larger story. And to do that they turn to the testimony of people as high up the chain as possible and also to documentary or other physical evidence.

Even with an event that took place sixty or seventy years ago, fresh material still comes to light. In the case of the Holocaust we now have declassified ‘Ultra’ decrypted communications and the collapse of the Soviet Union brought a surge of material previously unseen by Western historians. Those same Western historians also discovered that the Soviets had not been above fabricating and circulating fake historical material after the war. On top of all that there is still material in government archives that won’t be declassified for another 40 years or more. Right now, there’s a debate raging about whether to make a huge German archive of concentration camp documentation available to the public for the first time.

All of this new material means that Holocaust Revisionism is a fact of life.

And even if you feel sure you have access to all the relevant facts, there’s still the thorny matter of interpretation.

One facet of the Holocaust story I am personally uncomfortable with is a growing tendency by some polemicists to suggest that, somehow, in a manner reminiscent of the Christian notion of original sin, we are all responsible for the Holocaust. I’ve seen work by researchers who have gone to great efforts to prove that the Allies knew about the Holocaust almost immediately, that they should have done more to stop it and are therefore complicit in what happened.


I live in a country that bankrupted itself fighting Fascism. It didn’t back down even when it was facing what seemed to be almost certain defeat. And accusing Britain of complicity in the Holocaust is spitting on the graves of the people who died in that fight.

Even before the war started, Britain was a haven for people seeking refuge from Nazi persecution. When Black Shirts tried marching through the East End of my home town they got their teeth kicked in.

Should we have taken more refugees? With hindsight certainly but hindsight is one of the cheapest tricks in a historian’s armoury. Should we have bombed Auschwitz? Again, there's a big dollop of hindsight required and the Germans would have had the place up a running again in a few days anyway. We gave them lots of practice at that sort thing.

Similar charges have been made against Pope Pius XII. While there’s no denying that he and the Catholic Church went to some efforts to save persecuted Jews, some commentators claim that he should have done more. This claimed lack of action has been spun over the last few decades to a point where some people even seem to believe that Pius was virtually assisting Hitler.

I’m not buying that one either. This was the same Pope who gave haven to 2-3,000 Jews in Castel Gandolfo, crammed in so tight they were sleeping on staircases. Deportations of Jews from Italy were hampered to a point of ineffectiveness. The vast majority of Italian Jews survived the War. Catholic priests from across Europe died in the same camps as the Jews did. I have seen as much evidence of those historical events as I have of the Holocaust.

As with the British complicity thing, I see the attack on Pius as politically inspired revisionism. No one was thinking or talking like this in the 1950s or 1960s.

Some people’s opinions have changed, and I question their motivations as much as I do Irving's.

But these people are as entitled to their opinions, bollocks as they are, as I am to mine.

Now, getting back to the Irving thing and whether it is hypocritical for locking him up for expressing an opinion…

Who gets to decide what the official version of an historical event is and what truths are set in stone? Is someone unconvinced by the notion of the Nazi Pope a Holocaust Denier? Who gets to decide what the official interpretation of history is? An Austrian judge?

There are no Nazis in Austria - no sirreee jimbob

OK hands up, which pissy little European country has made an arse of itself on the international stage this week?

…by turning David Irving into a martyr for free speech!?

Well done Austria. The country that gave the World such pioneering liberals as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kurt Waldheim, Jorg Heider, and, er, you know who has come up with another winning stunt.

One aspect of all this that I find particularly amusing is how this story bangs yet another nail in the coffin of the myth of Euro-fluffiness. Over the last few years, a succession of British public figures and pressure groups, bounteously-funded by EU money, have lectured us in Britain about how narrow minded we are. Apparently, the main reasons why British people are against further integration with the EU and adoption of the Euro were because we are

  • Xenophobic and insular
  • obsessed with the last war

So hats off to the Austrians, and the Danes, and the French, and the Germans for showing us, by example, how to be more ethnically inclusive and forward looking. Thanks guys.

Anyway, how the Irving thing fits in with the unfeasibly large torrent of Hate-related japes across Europe recently is a mystery to me. Maybe it’s all a coincidence, maybe not. Either way, I’m quite glad that I have no cause to be travelling on Viennese public transport for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This week's daft link round up

Mmmmmmmmmust fight urge to write post about David Irving. Mmmmmmusst resist …

Recent personal web highlights that have pleasured me lately

and last but not least

Now where was I? Oh yes, David Irving…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I have Sindh

I spent most of Saturday tailing the latest, and largest, rally of UK Muslims protesting against those Danish cartoons.

I am a little out of practice with these things and came home with a fairly rubbish collection of photographs. I was quite pleased with one though. Through a deft feat of uncharacteristic acrobatics, I managed to grab a shot of one guy with ‘Soldier of Allah’ stencilled on his jacket with a glimpse of the statue of General Charles Napier in the background.

The juxtaposition of two very different kinds of soldiers pleased me. Particularly considering that Napier conquered the Sindh region of India, a large chunk of what us now Pakistan, back in 1842.

Ooooh, the irony.

A story at the time had Napier sending a one-word message back home - ‘peccavi’, which is Latin for ‘I have sinned

I have Sindh.

Get it?

I’ve never been a massive pun fan myself. And anyway, Napier didn’t come up with that stroke of colonial comic genius. A British newspaper made it up. The moral being that some things haven’t changed very much at all over the last 165 years.

The bloke who provided the pictures to the BBC also took a picture of the Soldier of Allah but he missed out Napier’s statue and the whole juxtaposition/ irony thing.

Presumably he just went for it because he saw a Paki demonstrator with ‘soldier’ written on his jacket.

Based on previous marches I’d say that there were something like 20,000 people there, the police estimated 10,000. Out of that 20,000 the most provocative things I saw were

  • a couple of stencilled jackets
  • a bloke wearing a black fisherman’s waistcoat
  • another geezer dressed in olive drab surplus fatigues and a fetching Taliban style hat

and that’s it. A handful out of 20,000. Let’s just say you would have seen about 100 times more military style clothing and glorification of violence at a gathering of gangsta rap fans than was on offer in Trafalgar Square that afternoon.

Looking at that handful of guys I couldn’t help thinking again about the self-perpetuating perfection of the Al Qaeda myth. In the same way that dozens of people phone the police and confess to the same murder, a handful of sad and disaffected Muslims are drawn to claim allegiance with this chimera of an organisation. So, whenever our police announce the arrest of ‘Al Qaeda’ operatives read sad, disaffected losers living in a bedsit somewhere, armed only with toothbrushes and Manchester United posters.


Mindful of recent public relations faux pas’, the organisers of Saturday’s march went to a lot of effort to ensure that people were issued with strongly worded but non aggressive placards. Though the one that said ‘We love the prophet more than our lives’ might have a been a little too saucy for some tastes.

And even though it was clear feelings were strong, there was zero trouble and not a single arrest was made. Though I have to admit the sight and sound of thousands of believers crying out Allah Akhbar! repeatedly did send a tremour down the old spine. A few guys riding around on horses carrying those long streaming banners, so beloved by movie makers, would have complemented the scene nicely.

Reading through and listening to what little coverage there was of the march in the British media afterwards, I sensed a mild feeling of disappointment at the lack of any serious, reportable action.

And that’s the problem isn’t it. Our media reports by exception. If nothing naughty happens you don’t hear about it.

I can understand, but not condone, that approach for commercial organisations but the whole point of having a public broadcasting service like the BBC, funded by a mandatory tax on all of us, is so that there is at least one news organisation that is balanced in its reporting. Contrasting the level of coverage given to the protest outside the Danish embassy and the paucity of coverage given to more moderate protests, then and since, I’d suggest that, no, the State Broadcasting Service has been far from even-handed in its portrayal of what’s going down.

Fuck it, if the BBC wants more viewers and to only broadcast exciting stuff why not just concentrate on death and tits and be done with.

Other things I realised on Saturday

  • Placards make handy prayer mats
  • Devout Muslims seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that Pepsi is less tainted with negative Western values than Coke
  • All Metropolitan police officers covering demonstrations should be issued with Gameboys

The numbers of police directly covering the march itself were considerable but I was struck, as I always am, by just how many were sitting in vans parked across the West End away from the march. Turn any corner into any side street and there they were. A pair of vans each containing eight bored looking coppers fiddling, for some reason, with their standard-issue bottles of spring water. Meanwhile people were being hacked up as usual all over South London.

One of the curious changes in London policing over recent years as been the tendency for policemen to travel around in packs. It’s almost as if they are scared to go out in groups of less than a dozen and without body armour and firearms.

Not that you can blame them. I would too if I could.

And so you have the curious experience of being a London ratepayer, forking ever larger amounts of money out in tax to pay for increased protection of empty office buildings and fewer foot patrols whilst violent crime goes from strength to strength.



As I said the feeling from the marchers was that they had strong feelings but they weren’t looking for trouble. Far from it. I spent most of the afternoon chatting with people who approached us in a friendly way to explain their feelings. A few people even beckoned to us to share their food after the march had finished.

These people are not looking for war, they don’t want to force their beliefs on us in any violent way, they just want to get by.

Warching the women in the march; clad in burkas and marching, quite noticeably, in separate groups behind the men, it would be so easy to be scornful of a belief system that is apparently so sexist.

But then you could ask yourself if it is so crap for women why do they sign up for it? As a rough generalisation, second generation British Muslim women are articulate, well educated and more than capable of looking after themselves. So what’s going on here?

Could it be that the secular culture on offer as an alternative looks to them to be a pile of crap? Maybe many of those women would rather buy into the Islamic package, warts and all, rather than one that has its women vomiting into gutters after a night out drinking or thinking that buying more shit will make them happier? The supposed clash of civilisations that so many interests are ramping up right now is arguably a lot more about lifestyle than theology.

Write those Muslims off as nutters and get the credit card out. Yeah.

Anyway, I came away from the march as I always do. Bummed out by the futility of it all. The story presented to the general public quite deliberately emphasises the differences between groups not the similarities and war it most certainly will be. There is no way out, no ideas on the table, no real movement that seeks a meeting of minds and no strong leaders speaking for sanity.

And even if any emerged someone would shoot them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The biometric scan of the Beast


Where do you start?

In case it has escaped anyone’s attention, it is only Thursday morning and already this week we’ve seen

  • Passing of a total ban on smoking in public places
  • Passing of ID card legislation
  • Passing of a new law banning ‘glorification of terrorism
  • Chip and PIN’ became compulsory

What an absolutely superb week it has been for civil liberties in the UK.

And golly isn’t it an amazing coincidence how, less than a fortnight after the police allowed a handful of demonstrators to brandish really offensive placards in front of national television we now have a fab new law to prevent that sort of thing

Fancy that

I chucked ‘Chip and PIN’ into the list because I’m not convinced, actually I'm pretty f*cking far from being convinced, that many people realise the significance of this wonderful advance in security. Before Wednesday morning anyone with a fraudulent charge on their credit card could phone up their card issuer and demand to see a slip with their signature on or some other piece of evidence. Usually that was enough to get a bogus charge reversed.

Now, you are bottied. How can you prove that it wasn’t you who entered that four-digit code number? No paper trail means no proof. Americans who have used electronic voting machines to vote against George Bush will be familiar with the concept.

In one fell swoop the credit card issuers have transferred responsibility for credit card fraud over to the general public wholesale.

And nobody in the mainstream has so much as squeaked about it.

The inevitable consequences of ‘Chip and PIN’ dovetail nicely with the National ID Card scheme. Once a few hundred thousand people have been reamed through their inherently insecure credit cards, some bright spark will point out that a National ID Card would have prevented that.

Anyone want to take bets that this isn’t going to happen?


Has anyone really figured what this ID card thing is all about yet anyway? Even if you are for the system (why?), it is not as if it is going to work is it? Our government hardly has a stellar record for implementing new computer systems, visitors to the country won’t have to apply for one for months and the biometrics are not precise enough to avoid people registering multiple IDs anyway.

It’s going to be a disaster from start to finish and yet our government has a raging hard on for the things. No doubt there will be the usual vast quantities of corruption and ‘pork’ that accompanies all these kind of projects but there are plenty of other, less contentious, ways of sticking it to us financially.

And whilst I’m making amazing predictions of intended unintended consequences why would we need a card anyway? To be effective, the cards will need a central biometric database and biometric readers all over the place so why muck around with a card in the first place? Why not just scan people directly? Fingerprints or retina, either would be equally Biblical.

‘The National ID System – it will be a Revelation’

Yeah, I’m quite pleased with that.

And I’m having real trouble with the ‘I’ve got nothing to hide why should I have a problem with identity cards’ argument that various loons keep coming out with. Even if you discount the possibility that the next government or two down the line might be even more repressive that the current one, there’s still the issue of the role of private companies in all this.

The rise of nebulous, poorly understood companies with names like Capita and Equita and their encroachment into all areas of life has been remorseless. And they act effectively as monopolies. At the current rate pretty much everything that was once owned by ‘the people’ will be owned by these companies within five to ten years; schools, hospitals, policing, utilities, the works. There’s no reason to believe that administration and application of the ID Card system is going to be any different.

Using a relatively trivial example, take what has happened with something like the privatisation of wheel clamping and extrapolate that into every aspect of life.

That’s really fucking scary and for some reason this prospect barely registers on the scale of public consciousness.

I can remember the poll tax riots of fifteen years ago. It’s hard to believe now but rampaging mobs were stomping up and down our city centres over a change in the administration of local government taxation.

With hindsight that really does seem like small beer so I have to ask myself what the bulk of those dickheads are doing today? Watching Big Brother? Stressing about the size of their mortgage? Safely neutered in some ineffective government quango or nonsense pressure group?

Hardly anyone seems to give a stuff anymore. The fluffy intangible things in our lives, like personal liberty, are no different to the more tangible things in one key respect. If you didn’t work for them you don’t value them that much.

And if nothing else all these new repressive, stupid laws and turning over key public services to shadowy corporations demonstrates yet again that notions of the ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ in politics are utterly meaningless distinctions. Does anyone think that the majority of Labour MPs who are supporting this stuff are being socialist or progressive in any meaningful sense of the terms? Words like spineless and douche bag seem nearer the mark.

It really does seem like what is being planned for life in this country, and presumably much of the World, is going to happen virtually unopposed. That is going to include a deluxe model Surveillance State, with all the trimmings, privatisation of everything and perpetual war. Maybe the minority of people looking for ways to fight these changes should just pack it and do what they can to actually hasten the process. That way we can all just get it over with once and for all.

In the meantime, evening classes in applied electronics and database skills with particular emphasis on fucking things up good and proper might be a wise precaution and time well spent.

Oh dear, have I just glorified terrorism?

Only I’m not sure. I think I understand what is meant by ‘glorification of terrorism’ except for two small parts of that phrase – the glorification and terrorism bits. No doubt, present and future governments will fill in the gaps for me. Or maybe they’ll get a company like Capita to do it for them.

Anyway, before then I’m going to try and get my hands on the plans for Benny Hill’s CCTV scramblers used in the Italian Job and read up a little more on exciting new developments in buggering up RFID chips that I found about here.

So you think where you live is rough?

A priceless quote from the Damilola Taylor murder trial yesterday. I had half a mind to hold it back for a post on crime in London but it’s so good it stands on its own.

A witness testified that one of the accused boys had told her that he was present when Damilola was stabbed.

Mr Orlando Pownall QC asked: "It isn't every day that someone confesses to a murder on a park bench, is it?"

She replied: "It is in Peckham."

Nice one Orlando, you £500 an hour twat. I wonder what part of town you live in


The annual ‘I love Peckham’ festival takes place every August

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Get on down to funkytown

Another media event that passed me by whilst freezing on a hilltop last weekend was the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Turin on Saturday. A friend mentioned that I had missed out on a treat, particularly in the selection of 70s/80s disco tracks played as each national team entered the stadium.

The playlist included

Mongolia - Video Killed the Radio Star
Serbia and Montenegro - YMCA
Hungary - Disco Inferno
Macedonia - Hot Stuff
Ethiopia - Bad Girls
Iran - Funkytown


Would that be this Funkytown

Gotta make a move to a
Town that's right for me
Town to keep me movin'
Keep me groovin' with some energy

Well, I talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about it
Talk about, Talk about
Talk about movin


Won't you take me to

Sheer unadulterated genius. An estimated global audience of two billion people got to see that whilst I was sitting in a Youth Hostel eating cold chips next to a group of middle-aged cyclists playing Scrabble. It also happened to be my birthday.

Life takes some cruel twists sometimes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Operation 'Piss Off the Entire Muslim World' progressing nicely

I’ve just returned from a few days walking in Shropshire, blissfully removed from such modern advances as newspapers, television and, gasp, the Internet.

Imagine my complete and total lack of surprise on reconnecting to the Matrix and discovering that a story about British troops kicking Arabs around had broke over the weekend.

That stunning lack of surprise was compounded even further when I read that an additional sixty Abu Ghraib abuse pictures are going to be pumped into circulation this week.

Hmmm, the British video was shot in 2004, the Abu Ghraib pictures taken in 2003 and golly gee whizz they just happen to come out in the same week, straight after all that cartoon-derived unpleasantness

Fancy that


Whilst catching up on all things Jihadist since coming back home I happened to strike comedy gold when I came across an on-line review of a book called ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades’ – as the blurb says …

REVEALED, at long last: the whole truth about Islam's violent teachings, bloody history, backward culture, and morally depraved founder PLUS: Why the Crusades were justified wars of Christian self-defense against centuries of Muslim aggression

So, the slaughter of Jews along the Rhine during the First Crusade, the forceful conversion of pagan Eastern Europe to Christianity during the Second Crusade and the rape and pillage of Christian Constantinople during the exceptionally naughty Fourth Crusade were all part of a cunning plan to restrain Muslim aggression all along.

How could I have been so blind?

Creepy 'it's 1933 all over again' parallels with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the whole demonization of entire ethnic groups to support a fascist agenda thing are, no doubt, entirely coincidental.

It is this kind of scholarly, insightful and profoundly humane writing that we all need at troubled times like this. Fortunately, the author contributes prodigiously to a site called Jihadwatch so we can all keep abreast of what is really going on in the World on a daily basis.

Crude attempts at biting irony aside, the Jihadwatch site appears to be quite popular and rather well funded. Unlike the doppelganger Watchjihadwatch site which appears to be neither

Oh dear

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The fine art of the well-staged spontaneous demonstration pt3

Today was the first time I’ve seen the three ‘extra’ cartoons that a Danish imam took with him on a trip to Egypt to show his other imam chums. These three extra cartoons were amongst those rejected for publication alongside the original twelve. They feature, in no particular order…

  • A man with a pig’s face identified as the Prophet
  • The Prophet as a paedophile demon
  • A dog fucking a praying Muslim from behind

Laugh out loud, hysterical stuff. Those whacky Danish cartonists really do know how to tickle the old funny bones.

Now, depending on who you want to believe, the Danish imam either deliberately misrepresented these cartoons as having been published in the newspaper or he himself was duped into believing that they really had been published.



All these rumours and counter rumours and the violent shenanigans arising from them remind me of the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

No, really. I think like that.

India was run by a relative handful of British troops supported by 260,000 local soldiers called sepoys. Some naughty scallywag, with an eye to national independence, put a rumour about that a new type of rifle cartridge issued to the sepoys was sealed with cow and pig fat. The problem being that sepoys were a mix of Muslims and Hindus and they had to bite the cartridges before using them. To cut a long story short, they went mental and much removal of white men’s testicles came to pass.

Cow AND pig fat!?

Nice work.


What is it with pigs anyway?

I’ve just read a story that Muslim hackers have attacked hundreds of innocent Danish web sites and left abusive messages on them. The web being what it is, there’s no real way of establishing the real identity of the hackers but they just have to be Muslims don’t they? Who else would do such a thing?

Well, I could think of a few groups actually.

Al-lah rulez. People who eat pork smell real bad. I wanna to fight you western dogs. PS I is a Muslim

This impersonation thing isn't very difficult is it? Or maybe I’ve discovered my true calling as a master forger.

Reading another website earlier on today I was reminded of the legendary Black Panther Colouring Book. This master work had been rejected by the Black Panthers when it was brought to them by a man later revealed to have intelligence connections.

As part of its COINTELPRO programme directed against civil rights organisations, the FBI took the book, added even more offensive illustrations then mass mailed it across America to fuck everyone off with Black people.

Hmmmm, does anyone smell bacon?

Aside from the sheer crudeness of its cartoons which are actually very funny if you’ve had a few beers, the colouring book was clearly a fake as the pictures were too fiddly to colour in with a crayon.

I know, I’ve tried


Sitting right here, right now it seems that nothing is going to stop the war that is being forced down our throats. Everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, except for the handful of scumbags behind this madness will lose.

Are you ready to rumble?

The fine art of the well-staged spontaneous demonstration pt2

All this coverage of spontaneous demonstrations of Muslim anger, complete with Danish flags, reminded me that I never wrote my intended sequel to the ‘Fine art of the well-staged border incident’ post I made a few days ago.

A finely crafted border incident is undoubtedly an excellent way to start a war or a spot of internal repression but it is always a good idea to you ease your population into the swing of things beforehand.

Enter the complementary fine art of the well-staged spontaneous demonstration

And the great thing about spontaneous demonstrations is that you can often get fabulous results with not much effort at all. A compliant media is always useful but, at a pinch, you can sometimes achieve the desired effect with just one or two agent provocateurs. Group dynamics are with you on this one.

History is just littered with the corpses of initially peaceful demonstrators who, as they were mown down, died wondering how it was that the person who started the riot had managed fuck off out of it and was nowhere to be seen.

Personal favourite spontaneous demonstrations of recent years include

The Saddam statue toppling story 2003

A fine example of how, with the right camera angle, a few dozen hired henchman surrounded by US soldiers can look like a few thousands democracy loving patriots

The Lebanese Cedar Revolution 2005

Complete with banners written in English

The Ukrainian Orange Revolution 2004

A couple of months ago Boris Berezovsky, one of those fluffy munchkin Russian oligarchs, popped up on a BBC TV documentary bragging about how he funded the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. His convoluted reasoning for doing so being…

  • He had to leave Russia because he is wanted for murder and stealing billions from the Russia people
  • He helped Putin into power on the understanding that Putin would wipe the slate clean
  • Putin didn’t
  • Berezovsky funded the overthrow of the Ukrainian government to piss off Putin
  • Berezovsky then applied for a Ukrainian visa so that he could visit the Ukraine and spark a diplomatic incident between Russia and the Ukraine on his account
  • Not wanting to go to war with Russia, the new Ukrainian government showed its gratitude to Berezovsky by refusing his visa request
  • Berezovsky is now planning to overthrow the Russian government instead
  • Berezovsky has Neil Bush, George Bush’s brother, as a business partner
  • Curiously, since Russia booted out the oligarchs the country is a lot less fucked up financially.
  • Lots of Russian oligarchs now live in the UK, as most other countries won’t touch them with a barge pole. It might be something to do with all those murders and stolen billions.

I mention all of this because, at the time, the coverage of the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine was largely restricted to favourable comments about its colour co-ordination and sound systems.


So, in a deceitful world, how can you tell the difference between a genuine spontaneous protest and a manipulated one? It’s surprisingly easy …

If the protesters are behaving in a way that agrees with your view of the world then, obviously, they are being genuine and spontaneous.

For example, the majority of people watching that demonstrations outside the Danish Embassy in London saw what they expected to see. They saw the failure of the police to arrest the demonstrators as being a prime example of how soft we are in the West.

A smaller number of people, a much smaller number, suspect the demonstration of being a manipulated event. For them, the police deliberately held back so that the images of lunatic Muslim demonstrators on our own soil could be broadcast to the nation.

You pays your money, you takes your pick

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The fine art of the well-staged spontaneous demonstration pt1

I was chatting on the phone yesterday with a friend of mine living in one of the Persian Gulf States. He was particularly chuffed at how cheap this week’s grocery shop was, now that so much European dairy produce has been ‘priced to go’. Apparently, he has a fridge full of Lurpak.

He was also telling me about all the shops in the Middle East that had named themselves after Denmark even though they had no Danish connection; Danish Dairies, Copenhagen Coffee Bars, that sort of thing, because so many people had this mental image of Denmark as an open minded, progressive kind of place.


And then there’s that whole Scandinavian flags all looking very similar business. Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, even Switzerland - I always get them mixed up and I’ll be willing to wager more than a few jihadists are going to have a similar problem.

Yes, all things considered, now would seem to be an excellent time to start that Middle East based sign writing and flag printing business you always wanted to. I understand quite a few retail outlets are bringing their plans for image makeovers forward a little.

But, hang on. Maybe that isn’t such a good idea. Maybe there's already too much competition.

As my friend pointed out, there are several aspects of the recent Islamic protests against the Danish cartoons that are somewhat peculiar

First off, the demonstrations are being spread out over several days. One day they’re in Beirut, the next day they’re in Jakarta. Which works out awfully well for the media as they get a new outbreak of apparent mayhem to report on every day.

And then there’s all those flags, those lovely pristine Danish flags.

Well, I have to say, their apparently bounteous availability in places like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank certainly flies in the face of my preconceptions of what those places are like. For years now I’ve been taken in by images of those places that portray them as run down, economic shit holes with barely a shop in sight.

But, no, they are clearly thriving hubs of commerce just teeming with specialist flag emporiums that even stock flags from really pissy little countries like Denmark...

It only shows how wrong you can be sometimes.

And away we go....

The carefully cultivated Week of Hate is already starting to bear succulent fruit. Voices are starting to clamour for the introduction of 'Incitement to Terrorism' legislation

The tried and tested Problem-Reaction-Solution technique for brainwashing saps into clamouring for things that you want never fails.

Who would have thought that a few high profile hate trials and standing back and letting some idiots chant incendiary slogans on national television would have had such an outcome?

Lordy lordy


And yesterday's announcement of what the police found in Finsbury Park Mosque only strengthens the call for a return to old fashioned 1930s values.

The police found...

A whole arsenal of terrorist paraphernalia

... gas masks, chemical, biological and nuclear protective suits, blank passports, hunting knives, and blank-firing weapons.

Presumably the police in question were from out of town since a sizeable proportion of London dwellings contain fake IDs, knives and blank firing pistols as a matter of course. The surprising part is that they didn't find any heroin, immigrant teenage sex slaves, real guns and explosives, piles of cash waiting to be wired to Bucharest and Bogata via the local hair dressers or blood-splattered hostages held in the basement.

I always knew that North London was more lightweight than my side of the river.

The most priceless part of the story is this astonishing piece of deductive work...

"The suspicion of the anti-terrorist branch was that this was probably material used in training camps in the UK"

"We've never been able to pinpoint their locations, who was running them or what sort of activities that were going on, but that is the conclusion."

Sherlock Holmes eat your fucking heart out.

As it happens I'm off walking in Shropshire/ Herefordshire later this month and the Brecon Beacons strike me as the ideal location for an Al Qaeda training camp. Being the loyal citizen that I am, I'll be keeping my good eye open. The bases shouldn't be too hard to spot, as they will...

  • Be located in a hollowed out volcano
  • Include a rocket pad for launching solar heat ray death star satellites
  • Have easy access to the sea for the Evil Mastermind's personal minisub
  • Be staffed by hundreds of evil henchmen dressed in matching bacofoil jumpsuits

Just like what there was supposed to be in Afghanistan but, er, wasn't

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What are you playing at Tony?

One throwaway thought on the plethora of Hate related stories we’ve been enjoying lately...

Our Government has just lost two votes on its proposed religious hate laws, even though it commands a healthy majority of MPs.

Given the lengths that the Government went to to try and pass the 90-day detention without charge or trial law a few weeks ago, this seems a little strange. Labour MPs were dragged out of their sick beds, told to get back on planes immediately after touching down in foreign countries. All sorts of stuff.

This time round, twenty MPs were sent off to Scotland to cover a local election and Tony Blair himself even forgot to vote for his own law.

This peculiar behaviour was dismissed, without exception, by the British press as being the result of some kind of cock up. One thought that nobody entertained is the possibility that, for some reason, Blair decided that he didn’t actually want the law to be fully passed just right now.

A bizarre possibility admittedly but one that amuses me. I’m still playing with it.

Thou shalt not worship Graven images

In the debate that’s currently raging about those naughty Danish cartoons there is a conflation of several different issues taking place...

  • The long standing conflict between religious and secular thinking
  • Concerns about mass migration into Europe
  • The supposed rise of fundamentalist terrorism

These are separate issues which I maintain are being deliberately confused. Topics such as large scale migration or the role of religion in modern life are perfectly valid areas for discussion and concern but allowing those concerns to be hijacked to serve a Fascist Neocon agenda benefits no one

Well, except for Fascist Neocons, obviously.

Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, managed to bamboozle a jury last week by maintaining that his hatred, of Muslims was driven by passages in the Koran that supposedly say it’s OK to slaughter non believers and take their women. I don’t believe for a second that Griffin’s dislike of foreigners, Muslim or non-Muslim, is anything to do with the teachings of the Koran. But if Griffin’s issues really are scripturally based I could quote chunks from the Old Testament, Papal Bulls or even Charles Darwin that could justify hatred of pretty much anyone, if that’s what he would like.

I am one of those people who is worried about the current rate and impact of migration into the UK, and there are issues brewing, but promoting an agenda through suspicion, hate and fear is plain wrong. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who do. And they are doing it more and more, with the tacit support of our governments and media.

One of the finest examples of Orwellian doublethink being pedalled around the World today is the notion that the current War on Terror, the Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, whatever is being laid on for Syria and Iran, all of it, is all simply a response to religious fundamentalism. People somehow manage to believe that, yet at the same time many of them acknowledge that it is ‘all about oil’.

Which is it?

I know where my money would be. I’m also sure that if every Muslim on the face of the Earth disappeared overnight there would only be a short pause before the Beast found a new ‘Evil Empire’ to wage war on.

China looks like a safe bet.

The current Islamo-mental coverage in our media; the cartoons and their aftermath, the confrontation with Iran, the upsurge in terror alerts is all depressingly similar to what went on three years ago as part of the build up to the invasion of Iraq. I am sure that this mania is planned and quite, quite deliberate.

For starters, the escalation of the cartoon story was clearly a manipulated event.

And this particular wheeze has been so successful because Muslims have taken the bait. In some cases, spectacularly so.

The prize for Idiot of the Week just has to go to that bloke who dressed up as a suicide bomber and pranced around in front of the Danish embassy in London. His thinking, as I understand it, was to try and convey his sense of outrage at the cartoons by doing something equally outrageous.

Well, he managed that.

Big time.

The fucking idiot.

And the television cameras did their bit by spending their time pointed at him and his handful of loony mates whilst several hundred moderate Muslim protestors stood around picking their noses, secure in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be seen on national television.

But the media didn’t stop there in its sensitive coverage of such an emotive event. One of the cardinal rules of policing crowds is not to do anything that would escalate a tense situation. The situation outside the Danish embassy was clearly, er, quite tense so the police backed off from arresting the people carrying the more provocative placards. I have no doubt that the police took pictures, as they always do, with a view to having a ‘quiet chat’ with the offenders a little later on. And hopefully locking a few of them up.

But no, that wasn’t good enough for our media pundits. Apparently, the police were supposed to go wading in and kick some darkie butt. Yes, that would have helped the situation immensely.

Woeful, utterly woeful.

Alternatively, a True Cynic might point out that if the police had arrested the extremist demonstrators early on the rest of us wouldn't have had the opportunity to see them on television.

I can’t even start to imagine what it must feel like to be a devout, decent Muslim in the UK today, let alone a Muslim in the Middle East. And the thought of what might pass through the minds of not so devout, not so decent Muslims scares me. Does anyone really believe that those people swarming all over and fire bombing Scandinavian embassies around the world are doing this purely because of a few poxy cartoons, or even religion? What we are looking at are the fruits of decades of atrocious behaviour on the part of the West. We have been bombing the hell out of them for years.

Those guys are pissy for all sorts of reasons and a little bit of empathy on our part would go a long way.

Alternatively, we could just say bollocks to empathy and get stuck into a good fight that will last for generations

Only it wouldn’t be that good.

… and if I’ve offended anyone with this last couple of posts mark it down as being cutting edge social satire

A cracking week for Hate

What a fantastic week or so it has been for Hate. In a short space of time we in the UK have been treated to coverage of

No doubt the close-timing of all this material is entirely coincidental.

Given that Denmark’s most acclaimed contributions to world culture have been bacon, super strength lager and hard core pornography, some kind of clash with the Muslim world was arguably inevitable.

And even though no UK newspaper has been stupid enough to reproduce the cartoons we have been caught up in the ‘debate’ over free speech that has ensued.

Free speech?

Since when have we ever had free speech?

There are plenty of subjects our media treats with kid gloves. I have heard the most feeble arguments to justify the hypocrisy of treating the Prophet as fair game whilst treating other subjects as taboos...

The difference between religion and race is that people choose to follow a particular religion. People can’t choose their race

Muslim newspapers also print hateful cartoons

Christians have to put up with parodies of Jesus all the time

None of these arguments stand up to much thought. And I don’t believe for a second that Western newspapers would print cartoons portraying Jesus sodomising choirboys, Coalition soldiers bayoneting Iraqi babies, God laughing at AIDS victims, Anne Frank in bed with Adolph Hitler or any other pointless crap someone looking to promote Hate could come up with

Nor would I want to see them.

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." - 19th-century Danish Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

I have heard some mention made of the Golden Rule, as in ‘Treat others as you want to be treated’ in the context of the current debate. I’ve never been a fan of the Golden Rule as it is presupposes that the ‘others’ might enjoy the same kind of treatment that you enjoy. I personally wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a sexual sadomasochist and his interpretation of the Golden Rule. It is also highly likely that a group of people with devout religious faith are not into the same things as nihilistic atheists. Basically, the Golden Rule goes tits up when confronted by individuals holding completely different world views.

Looking at the cartoons, particularly the two most offensive ones, I immediately thought of the Jewish charactures those famous advocates of free speech and biting satire, the Nazis, published in Die Sturmer (out of print since 1945). I spent a few minutes searching the web for examples of the kind of muck I was thinking about but there isn’t much out there. Not many people choose to host it.

And I’m not that fussed about that. Not at all.

Free speech isn’t the issue here. Basic common sense tells us that absolutely no good will come of saying or doing something hateful just for the sake of Hate

The European newspapers that reprinted those cartoons were making a stand for principles much more important to many Eurotwerps than mere free speech. They were making a stand for such fundamental Eurotwerp values as smugness, ignorance and xenophobia.

I was particularly impressed by Paris Soir’s decision to reprint the offending cartoons only a few weeks after France saw country-wide rioting of a disaffected Muslim underclass.

That’s the French intelligentsia for you - smoother than a baby’s bum.

Some people have been complaining that the British newspapers have been cowardly in not reproducing the cartoons and have suggested that they didn’t print them for fear of violent reprisals.

I’d like to think that our newspapers realised that the majority of their readership aren’t racist dickheads. Not yet anyway. Which is probably why so many migrants, legal and illegal, pass up on the chance to settle in mainland Europe and choose to hide in refrigerated lorries or dangle precariously underneath the Eurostar heading towards England instead.

Another reason why the cartoons weren’t published in the UK is that they weren’t even funny.

Satire is supposed to be funny.

The quality of humour displayed in the cartoons goes some way to explaining why the global demand for Danish sitcoms and French stand-up comedians is as large as it is.

There’s an old saying that ‘There is no such thing as joke’. All humour is derived at someone’s expense. We often forgive or overlook that truth if the joke is good enough. But what if the 'joke' isn’t funny?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hooked on a feeling

A lot of people say to me 'Stef, I occasionally read your blog and the picture you paint of a world manipulated by deceit, hate and fear is so damned depressing. Haven't you got anything positive to say?'

And my answer to those people is this

Watch and listen to this video of David Hasselhoff singing Hooked on a Feeling and see how you feel after that'

(The above link has already received 1,400,000 hits - including roughly 400,000 from me. I'm mad for it)

The fine art of the well staged border incident

Channel 4 news covered a story last night about, oh yes, yet another leaked memo from a meeting between George Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq.

Apparently, George Bush floated the idea of …

flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach

The bizarre thing about this story is that it is being reported as something surprising.


It shouldn’t be.

The RAF and US Air Force were bombing the crap out of Iraq throughout 2002, before war had even been declared, specifically to provoke a response. In comparison, floating the idea of flying a few spy planes in harm’s way seems positively restrained.

Besides, every self-respecting war needs a border incident to get it going. As Goering put it back in 1945

Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war … the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked

Your average Joe doesn’t like the idea of war. Wars hurt. And if they have to go to war people must have some reason to believe that they are on the side of the angels.

Enter the noble art of the false flag border incident. If you’re going to invade another country or crack down violently on sections of your own population you just have to stage one.

It would be impolite not to.

Stef’s Top Ten false flag and border incidents from the last 100 years or so

10. The USS Maine

Blew up in Havana Harbour in 1898. American blamed Spain, went to war with Spain. The US acquired The Philipines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba in the process

Cause of explosion later established as being accidental. America did not give The Philipines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba back.

9. RMS Lusitania

Loaded up with American nationals and an illegal cargo of explosives, then directed by the Royal Navy towards the known location of a German U-Boat in 1915. The Germans obligingly sank the ship and helped bring America into the war.

8. The Helli Incident

A Greek cruiser sunk by an Italian submarine in 1940, two months before Italy actually declared war on Greece. It’s still not clear what the Italians hoped to achieve by doing this but they denied the attack straight away, even though the Greeks pulled pieces of torpedo with Italian writing on them out of the wreck.

Conclusion: Italians are lovers not fighters

7. The Lavon Affair

A series of small bombs planted in Egypt by Israeli agents masquerading as Arab terrorists in 1954. The plan being to block the planned British withdrawal from the Suez Canal. One of the bombs blew up in an agent’s trousers and they all got busted.

6. The Bay of Pigs Invasion

1,500 Cuban exiles, trained and equiped by the US government, invaded Cuba in 1961. Bizarrely, the American Government believed it could deny any involvement in the invasion. The invasion force was slaughtered on the beach in about five minutes. Since then Cuban expatriots living in America have nursed a nagging suspicion that might have been the idea all along. Quite a few became lifelong Republican voters and were more than a little pleased when Kennedy got shot.

5. Operation Northwoods

After the Bay of Pigs fiasco the US Department of Defense put together a plan called Operation Northwoods to get the US public behind a full-on invasion of Cuba. Suggested wheezes featured in the plan included

  • Staging mock attacks, sabotages and riots at Guantanamo Bay and blaming it on Cuban forces
  • Firebombing and sinking an American ship at the Guantanamo Bay American military base or destroy American aircraft and blame it on Cuban forces
  • "Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type [sic] planes would be useful as complementary actions."
  • Destroying an unmanned drone masquerading as a commercial aircraft supposedly full of "college students off on a holiday"
  • Staging a "terror campaign", including the "real or simulated" sinking of Cuban refugees
  • "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute [sic] to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized."
  • Burning crops by dropping incendiary devices in Haiti, Dominican Republic or elsewhere

Northwoods was never put into action but an awful lot of high level officials supported it and it’s kind of interesting to see how they were thinking

4. The Gleiwitz Incident

The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack against the German radio station in Gliwice on the night of August 31, 1939. There were other staged Polish-German border incidents (such as house torching in the Polish Corridor) and spurious propaganda output. Together the Nazis claimed these 21 incidents, collectively dubbed Operation Himmler, as the pretext for the invasion of Poland the following day.

A small group seized the station and a message was broadcast that urged the Poles resident in Silesia to strike against Germans. After receiving a lethal injection Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known for sympathizing with the Poles and arrested the previous day by the Gestapo, was given gunshot wounds and left dead at the scene of the incident as evidence that he had been killed while attacking. This was presented as proof of the attack to the invited press and police officials.

3. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a pair of alleged attacks by North Vietnamese gunboats on two American destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS C. Turner Joy, in August of 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin. America went to war against North Vietnam on the basis of these supposed attacks, even though there were actually no Vietnamese gunboats and the two destroyers thought they were being attacked by the sound of their own propellers.

2. Reichstag Fire

The German parliament building burned down in 1933. The fire was either set by a lunatic or Herman Goering. In response, Hitler declared a state of emergency and abolished most of Germany’s human rights legislation.

1. 911

Even if you were to believe the official account of what happened that day, it is still kind of difficult to make the connection between 9/11 and justitfication for an Invasion of Iraq. Unless you’re an American President or British Prime Minister.

As a slight aside, the story of the two hijackers’ passports allegedly found in the rubble of the Twin Towers reminds me ever so loosely of the Operation Mincement carried out by British Intelligence in WW2. The British got hold of a corpse, dressed it up as an army major and tossed it into the sea along with fake documents designed to misdirect the Germans away from the invasion of Sicily. It worked a treat. Come to think of it, the thought of incriminating documentation found on corpses is probably even more reminiscent of the London July bombings than 9/11

Gosh, is that ten already? And I haven’t even got round to Pearl Harbour yet. Maybe another time.