No ads? Contribute with BitCoins: 16hQid2ddoCwHDWN9NdSnARAfdXc2Shnoa
Jun 042017
 

Before we get onto the hysteria part of this semi-coherent rant, let me emphasise that last night’s attacks were terrible and that having religious nut-jobs (if that is confirmed; whilst it seems probable it could still be a false flag incident) running around attacking ordinary people on a night out is despicable.

But some of the reactions on #LondonBridge were pretty disgusting; whilst some were posting offers to house people stranded because of the attack, others were leaping to conclusions and demanding some actions :-

  • Many including the orange idiot were demanding the travel ban. Which would stop none of the terrorist incidents perpetrated by domestic muslims; and most of these incidents are by domestic muslims. The main outcome of a travel ban would be to alienate those targeted by the ban, and alienation is the first step on the road to radicalisation.
  • Blaming the whole of islam for the terrorism. With the muslim nurses, doctors treating the injured, the muslim taxi-drivers taking people home for free, the muslim shop-keepers opening up and offering food, drink, and a place to stay, there were more acts of kindness by muslims last night than there were acts of terror. Or are you going to blame all christians for christian terrorism?
  • Bizarrely bringing the Paris Accords into this incident.
  • Demanding action without specifying what action. Action is of course taking place each and every day, but terrorism is extremely difficult to stop.

The only mistake muslim made on the twitter last night was to claim that the terrorists were not muslims; that’s the No True Scotsman fallacy. It would be far more effective to claim that these terrorists are muslim heretics (or whatever equivalent term you would prefer).

Whilst the events last night were terrible, it is also important to take them in context – if you were to add up all the deaths and injuries from terrorist incidents they would amount to a small fraction of the deaths caused in London each year by air pollution (estimated at around 9,000 a year). Or to go the other way, one terrorist incident caused perhaps two day’s worth of traffic accidents.

That does not mean we should not take action against potential terrorists, but neither should we over-react and respond with actions that punish the innocent as well as the guilty.

May 232017
 

I woke up this morning to the news of the Manchester bombing this morning; learning about what was going on from a forum that had attracted some of the more rancid members of the far right. Who were busy blaming this atrocity on all muslims, but also on Syrian refugees; all this of course before anyone knew any facts because facts are irrelevant to the bigoted far right.

And a particularly nasty piece of work has labelled the victims “sluts” and “whores” (I’ve linked to a site that discusses his comments in order not to give him any extra ad revenue).

Now I am not in the habit of being sympathetic to any religious group – they all believe in imaginary friends. But they’re people and in many cases my fellow countrymen, so when a gang of pathetic little chickenshit cowards labels all muslims as terrorists, it is time to call them out on their bigoted bullshit.

Yes the evil scum who set off the bomb was a muslim; one born in Britain and not a Syrian refugee.

But :-

  1. It is almost certain that some of the 60 ambulances that attended were crewed by a muslim or two.
  2. It is almost certain that some of the police who were there helping people out were muslims.
  3. It is almost certain that some of those who opened their homes to accommodate stranded
  4. Some of the taxi drivers who turned off their meters and offered free lifts to those stranded were muslims.

Of course Mancunians of all faiths and none rallied around and helped out, but as muslims were being painted with the terrorism brush, it seems reasonable to highlight that many of those helping out were muslims.

Mar 232017
 

It may be a bit early to comment in this way with 5 dead, and 40 injured after the attack in Westminster yesterday.

But it could easily have been so much worse.

For those who are not aware, every afternoon Westminster is crawling with hundreds or thousands of pedestrians. Any half-competent attacker armed with a vehicle would have a hard job keeping the casualty figures down to 50-odd.

And then to leap out of a hired car armed with a couple of knives just makes the attacker look pathetic.

Yes this is the worst terrorist attack in London for a decade – which just goes to show just how little terrorism there really is.

Yes there were deaths and terrible injuries, but to me it seems that mocking the attacker is an appropriate reaction.

If you look at recent terrorist attacks in Europe, most of the terrorists turn out to be pathetic petty criminals, and it won’t surprise me if this latest attacker also turns out to be a petty criminal. He’s certainly cowardly, pathetic and incompetent.

The New Defence

Dec 282016
 

There is an interesting video from 33c3 dealing with drone killings :-

As an aside, one of the thing that makes the Chaos Computer Club congress more interesting than many security conferences is the attention given to more “political” issues.

Drones offer the enticing possibility of tackling terrorist groups without putting people at risk, but the reality is somewhat different.

  1. Drone killings are in effect an act of war against the citizen(s) of a foreign country; very often where war has not been declared. To put it into perspective what if the UK operated drones in the 1970s and targeted US citizens who were helping to fund the IRA? And sometimes these actions resulted in “regrettable collateral damage”?
  2. Why is it not possible to provide information on targets to the law enforcement officials in the country where the target is living? It is possible that the law enforcement officials are compromised in some way of course (for example the US authorities were often against dealing with IRA terrorism), but not in all cases.
  3. Who decides that a target is so evil that they deserve death from the sky? The obvious solution here is a higher court order rather than an arbitrary decision by the military, although secret court orders are almost as bad as arbitrary military decisions. At the very least, such court orders must be made public after the death of the target.
  4. Just how reliable are drone killings anyway? How many times have we heard of “collateral damage” (the sanitised version of “Ooops! We killed the wrong people.”)? And how many times have we not heard of collateral damage? Many videos of drone killings show vehicles being targeted which leads to the most obvious problem – you do not know that the target is within the vehicle and you do not know that he or she is alone in the vehicle.
  5. “Spinning” the effectiveness of drone killings by counting all “military aged males” as militants unless they can be demonstrated to be innocent (i.e. guilty until proven innocent) is about as despicable as it gets. You cannot claim to be in the right if you resort to such claims.

It is all too easy to claim that we’re all under threat from terrorism and that anything that might reduce that threat is justified. But criminal activity by governments is never justified.

Nov 282015
 

Waking up this morning, I find news of a terrorist incident in the US; except that it was not called a terrorist incident. It was announced as a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic. For those who are not aware, in the US, Planned Parenthood clinics sometimes perform abortions.

There are those who protest about the abortions using methods up to and including murder. And whilst leaping to conclusions is not something to be encouraged, this incident has all the hallmarks of being a "pro-life" terrorist killing.

(Image from the Casper Star Tribune)

Given that the media is quite happy to label as terrorist incidents other killings, what is special about this incident?

Perhaps it has something to do with who the perpetrators are – they are not wild-eyed revolutionaries, nor are they islamic fanatics; they are christian fanatics. And it seems that christian terrorists get the benefit of the media not labelling their outrages as terrorism. Why?

And look at some of the twitter spew :-

3nhP9mX

PkqDdJC

QxK1psbTqTI21T

 

Nov 222015
 

There are approximately 1.6 billion muslims in the world today, so there are 1.6 billion different versions of islam; in most cases the differences are trivial (at least to "unbelievers").  In other cases the differences are rather more obvious.

Each muslim supposedly reads the Qur'an differently and consciously or unconsciously gives different conflicting verses a different emphasis: The obvious being :-

…slay the pagans wherever ye find them

And :-

whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.

Any normal person is going to emphasise the second verse whereas murderous psychopaths will emphasise the first.

For those who think that only the qur'an is like this, take a closer look at the bible – in particular deuteronomy 17.

As a wooly minded liberal, I have a problem with certain aspects of certain flavours of islam :-

  • Apostasy. A number of those versions of islam have no place for god in them; if you become an atheist in certain islamic countries it is safest to go through the motions. Because being stoned to death for apostasy would ruin your entire day. And atheists are the lucky ones – it is possible for us to go through the motions and pretend.
  • Women's rights. I'm not happy with anything that believes in second class citizens.
  • Criticism. I'm human and I've got a right to criticise anything which I see has issues. Calling it "blasphemy" and threatening me with stoning isn't a sensible way of facing criticism.

But the main problem is of course that a tiny number (in comparison to the total) of versions of islam support terrorism. Interestingly there are suggestions that many terrorists have an extremely limited understanding of islam.

Mainstream muslims protest that the terrorists aren't real muslims and that islam is a religion of peace. Fair enough.

But perhaps they should go a step further and declare that supporters of terrorism and terrorists are apostates, and need to talk with a qualified iman about rejoining the faith.

For those who think that this is a uniquely islamic problem, you should read up on christian terrorism

Jan 102015
 

(Stolen from a Facebook posting)

Sounds daft doesn’t it? Because the killers themselves would have claimed they were doing it for islam. And of course there are plenty of feeble-minded bigots who are now attacking muslims and islamic places of worship.

Now don’t get me wrong: I have no patience with organised religion and think anyone who believes in an imaginary infectious friend in the sky needs their head examining. But they have a right to believe anything they want.

They just don’t have the right to inflict it on the rest of us.

Within any community (religious or otherwise), there are two sorts of people, and yes I’m being overly simplistic here. There are the majority who go along with the community and obey the dictates if they are not too inconvenient. And there are the zealots who take it to the extremes. And amongst the zealots there is a deranged minority who want to inflict the standards of their community on everyone. Some of them use violence to do so.

Now there was some idiot on the news today who claimed that despite Charlie Hebdo publishing a cartoon insulting to christians, that it wasn’t christians shooting journalists. True enough, but it there are christians murdering abortion doctors and harassing those entering abortion clinics, so it is not as if there are no christian terrorists.

Now comes a bit of a leap of faith: These terrorists whatever their faith, have more in common with each other than their co-religionists. They all espouse an extreme form of their faith, are compelled to inflict it on everyone, and resort to violence to pursue their goals.

Their most significant attribute is terrorism and not their religion. Their crimes overwhelm their faith and make their religion irrelevant.

An alternative way of looking at it is a quantitative approach. There were 3 killers involved in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket. The number of muslims in France is not known precisely, but a figure of about 3 million seems a reasonable approximation for this sort of calculation, which if you work it out makes the number of killers in this incident just 0.0001% of the muslim population of France.

So why were there only three killers? Because muslims as a whole are not terrorists.

Besides which, there is nothing we could do to annoy the killers more than to deny their islamic nature.

Aug 192013
 

No.

Anyone who thinks so needs to read a bit of history on what life was like in real police states.

But on a day when news of an incident where a journalist was detained for 9 hours and his electronic media confiscated, we do have to ask ourselves whether we are headed in that direction. And whether we really want to go in that direction.

David Miranda was held under anti-terrorist legislation – specifically schedule 7 – in what was clearly an attempt at harassment for publishing stories embarrassing the UK and US governments. Now the victim here is clearly a journalist, and whilst it is possible for a journalist to be involved in terrorism, I really rather doubt this one has time to be particularly active at this time. This is a high profile case, but how many of the 61,145 other suspects detained under schedule 7 last year were detained for non-terrorism purposes?

Anti-terrorism legislation is very powerful, and whilst it may be justified to tackle terrorism, it certainly must not be used for other purposes. And in this case it was.

And undoubtedly we will have some sort of review of the case, a lot of noise, and very little action. It’s almost certain that the police who detained David Miranda will escape scot free, or with a notional slap on the wrist, and not with a prison sentence that they deserve.

Mar 302010
 

The UK government’s Prevent scheme has been accused of unfairly targeting the UK’s Muslim community. Except for the “unfair” bit, it is fair to say it does exactly that – and that is what it was setup to do. Specifically to counteract those on the fringes of the Muslim community who target young Muslims and attempt to “radicalise” them in the hopes that they can be recruited into terrorism.

Young people tend to be passionate about what they care about, and that includes politics. They often want to see change at a faster rate than is realistic, which makes them vulnerable to extremists who want to use violence to achieve their ends. Imagine if an initiative such as Prevent were underway at the beginnings of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland  in the 1960s – would the terrorism have lasted as long as it did ? Well we obviously don’t know, but it is a shame that it wasn’t tried.

The fact is that young Muslims are more likely to end up as terrorists than any other particular group of young people. Radical Christians might end up bellowing out that we all sinners, but that is just irritating and bad manners. Young hedonists may end up making a mess on the pavement at peculiar times of the night; whilst we might disapprove, it hardly compares to a suicide load of explosives.

Now of course most young Muslims are not going to wind up blowing themselves and lots of innocent people up; they are not even going to take a trip to the kind of summer camp where you learn how an AK47 works. But some are at risk of becoming radicalised and becoming terrorists.

If we can target those who are at greater risk of becoming radicalised and somehow persuade them that it is a bad idea, we can both protect ourselves and those young people. Those who say this is unfairly targeting the Muslim community are ignoring the fact that this benefits the Muslim community as much as it benefits the rest of us.

Perhaps they should ask the parents of those young people who have been killed whether persuading their sons and daughters to take another path is unfair.

Aug 232009
 

Seems that by releasing the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, the Scottish government has annoyed the chief of the FBI Robert Mueller who has indicated his disgust at the decision. Ordinarily an opinionated statement from someone from the US on UK policy can be irritating, but is perfectly fine – there is such a thing as free speech. However Robert Mueller is not a private citizen; he is a member of the US government machinery. Perhaps he should remind himself that his organisation’s role is domestic law enforcement so he should really not be making statements about the justice systems of foreign countries.

After all the UK is not a US state. The right thing to do in terms of foreign policy over this matter would be for the US authorities responsible for foreign relations to issue a note to the UK Embassy indicating disquiet over the decision and not to trumpet the details in the press. Condemning one of your oldest allies in the press is the sort of behaviour that is indicative of US arrogance that is so irritating throughout the world.

Just to correct one misconception that the US press seems to have made – he was not leading the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing. Not unless he was working for the Dumfries and Galloway police force at the time. I am sure that he was involved in the investigation but the US Justice Department was merely assisting the Dumfries and Galloway police with the investigation. I am sure the Scottish police were grateful for the assistance which would have been very helpful considering the airline involved (Pan Am) was a US company. But it was still a Scottish investigation and when the conviction was made, the justice handed down to the guilty party was Scottish.

Quoting from Mueller’s statement :-

… because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’

Well perhaps ‘compassion’ is not part of the US justice system, but it is part of the Scottish justice system. Keeping a man in prison far from his home and family when he is dying is inhumane – whatever his crime. And at least this UK citizen feels outraged that the Scottish government is being criticised for being humane.

A further quote :-

… as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

Well firstly if you find the concept of ‘compassion’ inexplicable, then perhaps you should sign up for a course on humanity, because whether you agree with compassion or not, it is fairly easy to see the reason behind the release of the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds.

As to the rest of the statement, the bomber was given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to a term in prison. The rule of law has been served, as the guilty has been found and treated appropriately. As to justice being served, well the guilty party did serve 8 years in prison which is not enough, but is not a minor punishment by itself. And the bomber won’t serve much longer even if we did not release him on compassionate grounds; he is dying slowly and painfully, and will shortly be dead (those who believe in such things might think that God wants a quiet word with him).

Lastly :-

… gives comfort to terrorists around the world …

Which is just ridiculous. What normal person is going to risk 8 years in prison ? Whatever punishment you hand out to terrorists, terrorists will attack if their beliefs lead them to think that they are doing the right thing. Nobody is going to attack UK targets because we release terrorists who are dying whilst the US cruelly keeps them in prison.

Although I have no sympathy for the Lockerbie bomber, I am proud that I live in a country that will release a dying prisoner on compassionate grounds.

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close