The Atheist Wretch

 

 

Dave Allen:  God’s Own Comedian

 

In the 60’s and 70’s the BBC were more daring.

 

Dave Allen told jokes about religion.

 

‘The sketches were silly but he undermined the authority of the priests’.

 

He received bomb threats.

 

He had the Pope doing a striptease.

 

At a time when the Church ruled Ireland.

 

Dave Allen thought politicians were dangerous.

 

He thought the Church was dangerous.

 

Where is the Muslim ‘Dave Allen’?

 

And would the BBC let him on air?

 

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EDL Bomb Plot

 

 

Some of you have already noticed the title of the BBC’s piece.

 EDL bomb plot

I thought it was a Muslim bomb plot but there you go, don’t believe what you read in the papers.

 

Couple of other things of interest:

‘The EDL rally finished early because of a lack of speakers’

Highlighted in this report and mentioned in another report as well….‘However, the men arrived after the EDL rally had broken up because the right-wing group had insufficient speakers to carry on later into the afternoon.’

 

Why would they highlight that…a less than subliminal attempt to suggest the EDL is an insignificant group with little support?

The ‘other’ report being this one:

Six admit planning to bomb English Defence League rally

‘Six’ being?  What?  Heros of an Enid Blyton story?  I guess our resident troll could be right  in this case….Blame the ‘Muslims’.

 

Important for the BBC to emphasise this as well;

‘A statement from the Birmingham Coalition of Muslim Organisations and Mosques, which says it represents most of the city’s 230,000 Muslims, said: “The Muslim community in Birmingham wishes to make one thing absolutely clear: These acts are not carried out in our name.”‘

 

I just wonder how many would have cheered a successful attack….in the BBC corridors I mean, of course.

 

Another interesting use of language:

‘He was an associate of another group of Islamist terrorists, also based in Birmingham,’

 

The BBC use the term ‘Islamist’ to denote extremist or fundamentalist, often associated with violent actions…it is not used for ‘moderate’ Muslims, so called…..it is the preferred descriptive to separate extremist,  political ideology from the spiritual ‘Islam’….which is impossible…as Islam is highly political….and not too spiritual….there is no distinction, no separation in reality.

David Cameron for example said:

‘We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing.’

 

That tactic of separating the fundamentalist Muslim from the  Western politician’s, and the BBC’s idealised ‘normal’ Muslim is under attack….by Muslims themselves.

Denying the ‘Islamic’ motivation for political attacks is beginning to be less credible….as ‘Islamist’ is being defined by Muslims themselves to mean every Muslim…that is , every Muslim is ‘political’ because Islam is political.

That well worn escape clause may have to be revisited  in light of this recent development….

CAIR, a high profile group that represents Muslims in the US has persuaded the Associated Press Agency to change its definition of ‘Islamist’ and no longer use it solely in association with any groups that give a negative impression of Islam…in other words an ‘Islamist’ is also a good Muslim now……an Islamist is every Muslim….

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American advocacy group sometimes labeled “Islamistby critics, previously lobbied for the AP to drop the term. In a January op-ed CAIR’s communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, wrote the term “has become shorthand for ‘Muslims we don’t like'” and “is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context.”

As of Thursday’s update, the AP definition reads:

”An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.’

CAIR praised the AP’s update. “We believe this revision is a step in the right direction and will result in fewer negative generalizations in coverage of issues related to Islam and Muslims,” Hooper said. “The key issue with the term ‘Islamist’ is not its continued use; the issue is its use almost exclusively as an ill-defined pejorative.”

 

 

So any one can be an Islamist not just the ‘bad guys’.

In other words an Islamist is an apt description for any and all Muslims who wish to re-order society so as to live under Allah’s Law….surely the very description of a Muslim.

If you don’t want to live under Allah’s law you’re not a Muslim.

BBC perhaps should take note for future reference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exile: A Myth Unearthed…And Then Buried

 

Image

  

 

Ilan Ziv has made a film, Exile: A Myth Unearthed, which purports to rewrite Jewish history and is of a highly political and controversial nature.

The film has been shelved by the BBC. Ziv is not happy.

 

Film-maker queries BBC reasons for shelving Jewish history documentary 

Ilan Ziv laments ‘sad saga of incompetence and political naiveté’ after BBC drops Jerusalem: an Archaeological Mystery Story

“The BBC have had the film for almost six months…..I discovered only 3 days before the broadcast that the BBC has been using a different name for the film: Jerusalem – An Archeological Mystery Story. It struck me as an odd choice that seems to camouflage the film’s real subject and repackages it as a neutral archeological mystery of sorts – like the hundreds of hours one can see on cable and satellite channels throughout the world.”.

 

The BBC denied that the film had been dropped because it was controversial and said it ‘did not fit editorially’ with a series of historical archeology films.

However, Israeli-born Mr Ziv claimed a ‘mini political storm was brewing’ at the Corporation in the days before the documentary was due to broadcast.

 

 Interesting that Ziv thinks the BBC tried to ‘camouflage’ the underlying narrative of the film…and renames it. Why hide the true nature of the film?

So is the film controversial or not? Does it have significance for modern day Israel and Middle Eastern politics?  Ziv himself claimed it wasn’t at all related to modern politics nor was it controversial …it clearly is.

 

This is what the Radio Times trail for it said: 

Archaeology is politics in the Middle East. The precarious balance of Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites in the ancient heart of Jerusalem is informed as much by what’s below ground as what’s above. Which is why evidence revealed here, suggesting that the Jewish exile from Jerusalem in AD 70 may never have actually happened, has such severe ramifications for relations in the region.  

Documentary by Ilan Ziv looking at new evidence which suggests the majority of Jewish people may not have been exiled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Travelling from Galilee, Israel, to the catacombs of Rome, he discovers whether the event that has played a central role in Christian and Jewish theology for nearly 2000 years really happened, raising ethical questions about its impact on modern Middle Eastern issues.

 

 

 So let’s just read that last line again:

‘….raising ethical questions about its impact on modern Middle Eastern issues.’

 

What the hell does that mean?

That means the delegitimisation of Israel and its right to exist.

Any wonder the BBC got cold feet. 

The BBC quite clearly understands the potential ramifications of such claims but was prepared to broadcast them…until something stopped them….3 days before broadcast.

What that might have been who knows….I haven’t seen the film but presumably it was a one sided diatribe that made these claims without a great deal of contrary evidence or opposing voices.

Ziv himself says:Part of the editorial debate was that one freelance employee who was hired as part of the re-versioning of the film called it propaganda,” he said. “Another person inside the BBC, claimed (or so I was told) that the film drove some political point of view.

Therefore it was probably right to shelve a film that is clearly very controversial and more than likely not true, about an area of the world that is literally explosive.

  

Mr Ziv said he hoped to organise alternative screenings in the UK so that the film could be “judged on its own merit”. He rejected the suggestion that it was controversial since it does not deal with contemporary Israeli politics, and said he was not attempting to push the theory of writer Shlomo Sands, who challenges “the whole concept of the Jewish people….Sands did something that I refuse to do,” he said.

 

Shlomo Sands? Who is he?

He’s an ex communist, radical anti-Zionist who believes that there is no such thing as a ‘Jewish People’…he is also a professor of…European history…not Jewish history.

This is what he says in summary:

‘Most of the Jews in Israel are not the original Jews of the Bible, but people who converted to the Jewish religion.
Most of the Jews in Israel are descended from people in countries such as Germany, Georgia, Ukraine, Yemen, and Morocco who were not originally Jewish.

The Palestinians are most likely the original Jews

In short, the Jewish People, according to Sand, are not really a “people” in the sense of having a common ethnic origin and national heritage. They certainly do not have a political claim over the territory that today constitutes Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.”

He says:

‘A global ethnocracy invokes the myth of the eternal nation, reconstituted on the land of its ancestors, to justify internal discrimination against its own citizens.

He goes on to ‘suggests the diaspora was the consequence, not of the expulsion of the Hebrews from Palestine, but of proselytising across north Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East’

 

 

Ziv says that his film does not make the same claim that Sands does…but it obviously does…that the Jews are not the true people of Palestine and don’t have any claim over the land there.

None of that is true…genetic studies show that Jews around the world have definite connections to each other  and stem from the Middle East, and that far from somehow converting en masse whole populations, producing ‘ersatz’ Jews, the reality is that when Jews moved to different regions they inter-married and their spouses converted…a different thing altogether.

Studies Show Jews’ Genetic Similarity

Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East share many genes inherited from the ancestral Jewish population that lived in the Middle East some 3,000 years ago, even though each community also carries genes from other sources — usually the country in which it lives.

 New genetic research, published as a paper titled “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era” in the June issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, highlights the strong genetic bonds both within and among Jewish communities around the world, their distinctiveness vis-à-vis the populations among which they have dwelled, and their links to the Middle East.’

 

 

The genetic studies show that a large scale movement of Jews out of the Middle East has occured at some time, and therefore the Jewish Diaspora does have direct links  to the Middle East….whether the movement was after 70AD or not is irrelevant…Ziv is trying to show that Jews have little connection to the Middle East and thereby attempt to lessen the legitimacy of Israel….the genetics disprove his theory and Sand’s.  If a Jewsih homeland had been based soely upon a common religioun then they could have set up a homeland anywhere in the world….the genetic link justifies their move back to the Middle East.

 

Has the BBC come to its senses or has the BBC had it suggested to them that this film is potentially highly inflammatory being factually incorrect and of such a highly contentious nature…..it calling into question the legitimacy of a nation with what could be devastating consequences?

If the film had been a genuine scholarly debate arguing both sides that would have been a different matter…if it is purely a one sided diatribe acting as Palestinian propaganda that is something else altogether…and rightly canned.

The BBC after all will not call Palestinian terrorists ‘terrorists’, it calls the security fence a ‘barrier’  so as not to imply Palestinians are the aggressors to be defended against, it doesn’t report the extent of Palestinian radicalisation ot its intentions to erase Israel from the map.

 

Only right therefore that it balances that with a bit of self censorship that favours Israel…or rather, doesn’t allow anti-Israel propaganda to be broadcast…for once.

 

 

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Bred To Rule

 

 

 

 

 

The world doesn’t seem able to decide if being an Old Etonian is a good or a bad thing.

The BBC laughs along when Miliband taunts Cameron and Co as ‘posh boys’…Cameron and Clegg being described by the BBC as Headboy and Deputy Headboy….no doubt they would take a similar jokey approach if Miliband were to call a black PM and Chancellor ‘blackboys’ and suggest they couldn’t run the country because they couldn’t possibly understand how the white folks in the majority live.

The BBC have gone so far to stir the class war up with a programme about the privileged elite who dominate politics, in both parties….do the political elite understand what the cuts mean for the plebs, sorry ordinary voters whose lives are light years from their rulers?  They disclaim any partiality or prejudice against the ‘posh boys‘ by saying the views are Andrew Neil’s personal views. Easy that.

Posh and Posher – Why Public Schoolboys Run Britain

 It suggests that meritocracy and social mobility are dead in British political life. (Available on Youtube )

 

In this latest report connected to Eton College   the BBC look into a claim that Eton is ‘special’:

An adviser to the PM has defended an interview in which he said Eton’s “ethos” of public service was why so many former pupils were in top positions in government.

Tory MP and Old Etonian Jesse Norman told the Times: “Other schools don’t have the same commitment”.

 

As usual with a subject they are ambivalent about or actively oppose they fail to include the wider context and information that would make appraising the report a worthwhile exercise.

For instance where is all the usual commentary that Eton endows pupils with enormous advantages over other schools, and especially over State schools?

Where are all the comments from this article by the BBC?: 

Why has Eton produced so many prime ministers? 

The answer lies in a single educational establishment, founded on the bank of the River Thames more than 500 years ago.

“Kids arrived there with this extraordinary sense that they knew they were going to run the country,” said Palash Dave, who went to Eton in the 1980s.

Palash Dave attributes this in part to a relentless series of speakers visiting the school, telling pupils they were potential leaders of the future.

But he also says that the school puts a premium on individualism: “You’re encouraged to pursue any dream you might have.

“Eton also allows a degree of dissent and, to a certain extent, encourages it. That’s very helpful to anyone who wants a leadership role.”

According to Nick Fraser, author of the book The Importance of Being Eton, the school’s success actually lies in the extraordinary range of freedoms it grants to pupils.

They are particularly well-prepared for a life in politics, he believes, because so many school societies, sports clubs and other activities are run by the pupils themselves.

“Boys elect each other to positions of influence. So from a very early age, you become adept at being charming, buying votes, being smarmy.”

Dr Joe Spence taught at the school from 1987 to 1992. And although he is now head teacher of Dulwich College, he still believes that Eton has special qualities.

 

So that article clearly defines Eton as a school apart from the rest…more for its ethos instilled into its pupils than for its academic achievements. An article about Jesse Norman having to apologise can’t really be produced without mentioning any of the above or similar.

 

Here is that Eton ethos: 

Eton’s Aims

Eton is a full boarding school committed to: 

promoting the best habits of independent thought and learning in the pursuit of excellence;

providing a broadly-based education designed to enable all boys to discover their strengths, and to make the most of their talents within Eton and beyond;

engendering respect for individuality, difference, the importance of teamwork and the contribution that each boy makes to the life of the school and the community;

supporting pastoral care that nurtures physical health, emotional maturity and spiritual richness;

fostering self-confidence, enthusiasm, perseverance, tolerance and integrity.

 

 

 

Here by contrast is Haverstock’s, Ed Miliband’s school, expectations of how pupils should behave…… 

Getting the Most from Haverstock

 WORK

Your learning and achievement must always be your top priority

• Work hard to stay on task and complete all your classwork to the highest possible standard

• Avoid being distracted and distracting others from work

• If you need help, ask the teacher for help by putting up your hand. Be patient and quiet if the teacher cannot see you right away

• Record your homework in your Havafax

Complete your homework and hand it in on time.

 

Hardly inspirational stuff.

And this:

Behaviour for Learning 

Behaviour at Haverstock is good and continually improving. Relationships are strong, expectations are high and we are unequivocal in challenging behaviour that affects learning or in any way challenges our ethos and core principles. Young people thrive in an orderly, structured school. We reward and promote good behaviour and take sanctions when we need to. Our behaviour policy is well understood by all and is displayed in all classrooms and corridors. It is consistently applied and was praised by Ofsted.

Safeguarding is outstanding. Our young people feel safe and know what to do if they need support. Students are happy, well-motivated and enjoy coming to school. Our attendance is well above Camden’s average. A full copy of our Behaviour for Learning policy is attached below.

Our culture is predicated on:

● respect for each other no matter what our role or status

● an understanding that every one has equal rights whatever our role or status

● an agreement that adults will never in any circumstances use aggression, threat, coercion or humiliation against students, even if faced with any or all of these from students. Students who persist in displaying these behaviours to their peers or staff will face exclusion and in extreme cases permanent exclusion.

● putting the well-being, safety and safeguarding of young people at the centre of our practice.

 

To me that sounds entirely negative…it emphasises how the school controls bad behaviour and ‘safeguards’ pupils.…is the school that bad?  Surely not as it is supposedly the Left’s very own ‘Eton’.

By contrast Eton’s ethos is entirely upbeat, positive and encouraging as well as demanding a lot of its pupils.

 

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, it is rather odd that the BBC et al have it in for the ‘posh boys’  claiming undue advantage and privilege deriving from attendance at schools like Eton, when  Brian Reade in the Mirror, as pointed out in another post, states quite clearly that anyone from a state school can succeed just as well as someone from a private school, meritocracy, hard work and social mobility are still around:

 

My god-daughter Ellen will soon qualify to be an ­orthopaedic surgeon.

She studied for five years to gain a medicine degree, worked as a junior doctor for two years, is ­currently a senior house officer on course to become a registrar and may eventually use her hands to stop you becoming crippled.

Ellen’s dad is an electrician, she went to a Liverpool state secondary and Leeds University.

Just one example of many who didn’t need a public school and Oxbridge ­education to become an expert clinician.

We’re lucky to have young people like Ellen, and the education system that produced her.

A system which is constantly derided by lazy critics and shunned by wealthy parents who view putting their kids into state schools as neutering their ambition and stigmatising them for life.

Terry worked part-time in the supermarket as a student, but earned a BSc degree in management studies and eventually got a full-time job as a Tesco marketing executive.

He followed the same life-dream as Cait Reilly. He also went to the same Liverpool state school as my god-daughter.

So, Mrs Hutchings, if a surgeon and a world-class CEO can go on from state schools to fulfil their potential, much to the benefit of this country, why can’t your “gifted” son?

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Rejoice Rejoice Rejoice!

 

 

The BBC will be rejoicing…Lithuania wants to join the Euro.

No wonder some sceptics will say, as they get 25% of their national budget handed to them on a plate by the EU. 

But there is always a little rain cloud on the horizon that will take some explaining for the BBC.

The BBC likes to tell us that the economy is failing due to austerity…sometimes they take the subtle approach and expect you to pick up the cues by inference, dropping a knowing comment about austerity hamstringing ‘Europe’s’ economy…but occasionally they go for the jugular as Evan Davis did and openly admit their prejudices….claiming that Austerity is killing the patient here in the UK.

So I wonder what they will make of this, if anything….every chance they will ignore it completely…radical austerity resulting in a return to growth:

 

Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite explains that austerity is merely a question of political will:

Grybauskaite: There is not one rule you can apply to every state. In the Baltic states, after 2009 we had to implement very radical austerity measures. In Lithuania, we consolidated 12 percent of GDP in two years. We cut public salaries by 20 percent and pensions by 10 percent. Our adjustment was a lot deeper than what we see now in Southern Europe. And we saw growth return after 2 years.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So Barroso is wrong?

Grybauskaite: Some countries need extra stimulus in specific areas. Something has to be done against high youth unemployment in Greece and Spain, for example. But in the end, there is no way around it: The debt levels have to come down.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You say that reducing public debt is mainly about political will. Where do you see this will lacking in Europe?

Grybauskaite: I won’t name countries, but reforms could be quicker in many parts. There are different mentalities and different ideas about political responsibility in the North and the South.

 

 

Not far enough, not fast enough?….not sure Ed Balls will go for it…or Evan Davis for that matter.

 

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The Internet…The Enemy Of Falsehood

 

Guardianista Roy Greenslade in the Evening Standard says:

Don’t blame the internet for false rumours about Boston – it’s the enemy of falsehoods

How far down the digital road do we have to travel before journalists — plus assorted politicians, police officers and lawyers — stop blaming the internet for false reporting? It’s not about the tools. It’s all about the people, the human beings, who use, and misuse, those tools.

Worse, much worse, than any citizen hack churning out fantasies was surely the response of the mainstream media, which hardly covered themselves in glory.

What all these outfits need to learn in these days of extreme transparency is to be transparent themselves, which means registering uncertainty rather than certainty. If mainstream media are to retain trust, and to show they have greater value to the public than so-called citizen journalism practised by “amateurs”, then they must not only up their game but change their game too.

 

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The Oxygen Of Publicity

 

 

 

Click to download leaflet

 

 Counter-narratives must be disseminated and key facts – for instance, that more Muslims have died in Pakistan as a result of Taliban actions than American drones…must be widely publicised.’  Maajid Nawaz,  Quilliam

 

 

 

The BBC has reported extensively on the protest by the Stop The War Coalition against the opening of an airbase to operate drones from the UK.

The story was endlessly reported yesterday and was the top story most of the day giving maximum publicity and exposure to a small campaign led by a highly dubious group.

You have to ask why?

The BBC reported that maybe 200 protesters turned up.

On a petition run by STWC after 10 months there are a mere 2,500 signatures:

David Cameron: End the secrecy surrounding the use of British drones!

 

So what’s the big story then BBC? Why the blanket coverage and headline news?

The use of drones from the UK isn’t a big story…the RAF have been operating them from a US base in Nevada for years….their location in the UK is surely irrelevant if you object to the principle….and we have known the base was going to be opened since at least May 2011.

 

Who is running the protests? Essentially the hard left Socialist Workers Party along with CND and War on Want.

‘War on Want’ is ostensibly a campaigner against poverty but is highly political and is edging more and more towards ‘Muslim’ orientated issues….Palestine and withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Its new senior campaigns officer is Rafeef Ziadeh, a co-founder of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid who identifies herself as a “refugee from occupied Palestine.”

Stop The War Coalition is controlled by the extreme left Socialist Worker’s Party and is famously not actually opposed to war, just wars that the West look like winning.

The SWP was not against the war, it was in favour in the war, it was in favour of Saddam winning the war, and it was in favour of the British losing.’

The STWC ran its anti war campaign in coalition with the Muslim Association of Britain…a Muslim Brotherhood group……

Very few are likely to be keen admirers of the SWP’s extreme left agenda, or indeed of Islam’s inherent conservatism. While they may have marched alongside hardline Islamic groups over Iraq, their sympathies with them are unlikely to extend to calls for an Islamic Caliphate of Great Britain.’
 

The Socialist Worker’s Party ran ‘sharia like’ kangaroo courts to ‘examine’ claims of rape against their own senior members, a story ignored for a long time by the BBC….

Socialist Workers Party leadership under fire over rape kangaroo court

Woman says she was asked about her sexual past branded a slut by senior party members after she accused one of rape

 

The BBC tells us what the protesters claim: ‘Campaigners say the switching of control of flights to the UK marks a “critical expansion in the nation’s drones programme”.

They are calling on the government to abandon the use of drones, claiming they make it easier for politicians to launch military interventions, and have increased civilian casualties.’

“I think people feel that there is something sinister and disturbing about the idea that someone can attack a foreign country thousands of miles away with, simply, the push of a button and this technology that is being introduced is giving carte blanche to governments to fight wars behind the backs of people with no public scrutiny or accountability.

 

 

Here is a BBC report from 2010 that feeds us the same line  that the STWC want to create now, that these drones are robot-like killing machines operated by people who think it is a computer game and are so detached from the war that they lose all human feeling and empathy.

This is the STWC’s own take:

‘Remote-controlled mass murder begins at Britain’s first drones base’ 

There is a deliberate attempt by them to conflate drone use in Pakistan with that in Afghanistan:  

’Though the MoD insists it operates with aircraft only in support of British troops, and only in Helmand province, the use of UAVs has been dominated by the CIA’s controversial programme to target insurgent leaders in Pakistan.

These strikes have sometimes caused civilian casualties, and have raised questions over the legality and morality of using remotely piloted systems in areas that are not conflict zones……Now is the time to ground the drones before the UK ratchets up even further remote-controlled slaughter.

 

……..But they are entirely different.  In Pakistan the drones are operated by the CIA under their own mysterious rules of engagement (and it may be noted with the tacit agreement of the Pakistan government which doesn’t close off their airspace) to target individuals.

In Afghanistan the military, not the CIA, operate the drones and the rules of engagement are the same as for aircraft.

Here the BBC is playing up the campaign’s message giving it some credence, the oxygen of publicity as Maggie Thatcher might have called it:

Drones playing ‘more important role’

Drones have been used by the US and British military for many years, but are now fast becoming the focus for anti-war campaigners in both countries.

But it is the idea of being able to use a machine to kill other human beings from the comfort of a chair thousands of miles away, using a screen reminiscent of a video game, that has galvanised campaigners in the US and Britain against drones.

Many feel that they have been introduced with little public debate.’…

…an echo of STWC’s own propaganda:

Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians’ decisions to launch military strikes and order extra-judicial assassinations, without democratic oversight.’

 

  

But just how real is that impression of a ‘computer game’ killing machine operated by people disconnected from the battlefield, and how different is that from other weapon systems?

That is a crucial question, it is the central theme of the objections to the drones….a line that designed to be as emotive as possible, catching people’s eye whilst diverting them from reality.

The BBC needs to consider the political context of this story….just who are the campaigners and what is the underlying reason for their campaign?

The BBC needs to put the drone technology into context….it is a man sat in front of a computer screen acquiring targets and operating weapons by using that screen.

But just how different is that to any other weapon system? Is it different at all?

We know that this was a long time theme , disconnect of the crews from the killing…. famously in WWII in which bomber crews dropped bombs from thousands of feet up onto cities teeming with civilians.

But it applies to many weapon systems…tanks can fire shells for several miles, artillery for 10’s of miles, rocketry for thousands, submarines firing torpedoes or cruise missiles. The crews have no contact with the victims. In their case they can’t even see them unlike the drone pilots who can visually confirm the correct target personally.

How do manned aircraft operate over Afghanistan? In exactly the same way as the drones…the pilots acquire the target using the same type of systems as the drones, they then fire weaponry using the same systems as the drone pilot does…looking through a computer screen…and all from 20,000 feet up.

What’s the difference? None.

Here is a quotation from Alan Moorehead, a WWII journalist, in his book ‘The Desert War‘:

I crouched in a dugout with one of the artillery commanders while he gave his orders into the telephone to the American Long Toms a mile or two behind us. It all seemed so easy; just a few figures spoken into the telephone, then the air above us was full of tearing express trains and we grabbed our glasses to watch the hits. They fell among the high brown rocks, first with a quick yellow flash, then with a snow-white column of smoke that streamed steadily upward until it was caught by the cross wind on the mountain crest and billowed out into the grey and formless cloud…..this was killing by remote control, without the maddening stimulus of hand-to-hand fighting. One could carefully assess the targets and take aim with the same unemotional calmness of a sportsman shooting grouse on the moors.’

German artillery might answer back but the principle is the same, how other weapon systems are just as ‘remote‘ as drones…. ‘killing by remote control….no maddening stimulus….unemotional calmness.’

 

 

 

The other aspect to this is the motivation behind the protests…the SWP has had a long association with Islamist extremists and here it seems that such people are running a parallel campaign against the drones as part of a wider campaign:

About 60 Muslim men and women protested outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London and called for a Jihad to purify the land of Muslims. The activists accuse the Saudi regime of helping the West’s “crusade against Islam” by hosting US Drone bases.

 

 

 London Muslims protest against Saudi cooperation with drone bases

 

The drone campaign is just one aspect of much wider campaigns against the war in Afghanistan and the ‘Global War on Terror’ as was once named, run by STWC and of course numerous Islamist groups…amongst others…..all tying in numerous strands such as Israel/Palestine, Syria, Chechnia, Iraq, Afghanistan amongst many other issues.

 

The BBC is giving such groups enormous publicity and credibility by giving them such extensive coverage.

Intentionally or not, and we know the BBC is inherently opposed to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT, they are giving a unbalanced impression of reality.

Operating drones over Afghanistan is no different to operating aircraft in technical and military terms, the rules of engagement being the same…their use in Pakistan by the CIA is a completely different issue that concerns politics and legality of the strikes there.

The BBC’s lack of clarity on the subject, the technical issues and the conflation of Pakistan with Afghanistan means that the Public cannot get a fully informed idea of the reality and is then swayed by emotive images and rhetoric much of which is actually based on the drone strikes in Pakistan.

To be fair to the BBC their defence correspondent, Caroline Wyatt, has treated the issue with a certain level of fairness…its just that she hasn’t given what is a crucial rounded picture of the technology and a context such as comparison with other weapon systems, and whilst she separates British use from the CIA’s in Pakistan she still brings in the casualty figures which she must know the reader or viewer will readily absorb and will be the one fact that stands out for them, the one that will stick in their minds whenever they think of drones…something the STWC is keen to encourage:

She says the “overwhelming majority” of missions the British drones are used for involve surveillance.

She says the MoD told her British drones are not being used for targeted assassinations, unlike the Predator drones used by the US in places such as Pakistan.

Estimates suggest CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed up to 3,533 people between 2004 and 2013.….About 890 of them were civilians.’

 

 

What we don’t get are the figures for civilian casualties in Pakistan caused by the militants….50,000 civilians have been killed by the Taliban and other groups in the ‘Badlands of Pakistan’….Panorama last year tells us that…but the figure should also be on these reports about drones here and now to give context if the BBC is highlighting casualties caused by drones.

 

This is a political battle and the BBC has stepped right into it without much thought of the consequences…..a much more nuanced and indepth reporting is needed especially if they are going to give this story such a high profile….at the moment it seems the balance of publicity is in favour of the anti-drone campaign…but as this is tied up with militant Islamists perhaps a bit of circumspection is in order.

 

Here Maajid Nawaz, in the Sunday Times (pay walled) spells it out:

Counter-narratives must be disseminated and key facts – for instance, that more Muslims have died in Pakistan as a result of Taliban actions than American drones…must be widely publicised.’

 

Whilst the BBC is supposedly not a ‘propagandist’ it must be careful not to inadvertently give powerful support to jihadists and to do that it must give the fullest information possible under the obvious constraints of time and space. A counter-narrative? No, just the facts, all the facts.

 

Drones are not really the issue here……the Islamist attempt to close down military action against them so that they can continue their dreams of  Caliphate in ‘peace’ is….

A dream reflected in Maajid Nawaz’s title of  his article in the Sunday Times:

Boston, the latest triumph of a global jihad brand.

 

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Limey or Lemon?

 

 

 

 

Mark Thompson has made his mark at the New York Times…..as he announced a sharp downturn in profits…net profit falling 93%.

Early days yet I’m sure….how could he fail with his vast experience of running a real world commercial media company as opposed to a privileged, spoon fed, elitist corporation that lives in its own little bubble?

 

Ah look there’s the problem…he’s trying to run the New York Times like the BBC…without adverts:

New York Times Moves Toward Netflix Model as Ads Tumble

 

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The Thick Blue Line

 

 

Victoria Derbyshire has been talking  (11:09) to a senior police officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duffy, from the Metropolitan Police about its reforms and efficiency drive.

Two things of especial note that he said:

1.  The Met. will be putting 26,000 constables on the streets of London….more than at any time in its history…due to its efficiency changes.

2.  The main priorities for police are gang crime, foreign national offenders, proceeds of crimes and sexual exploitation.

 

Terrible Tory ‘cuts’ reducing police on the frontline?

‘Foreign national offenders’….A ‘priority area’?… makes you wonder just how much crime is being committed by these ‘foreign nationals’….. good old Labour Party open border policy…actively supported by the BBC.

Still, at least we can deport them when they’re caught can’t we?  

 

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Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true!

 

 

 

 

Did laugh this morning listening to Rachel Burden on 5Live (07:53) interviewing David Cameron.

 Cameron was reeling off statistics about how Tory councils save you money and suggested any expert would back his figures up.

Rachel Burden, presumably unequiped with the necessary facts to contest his claims, thought fast and resorted to the slipperiest of get outs I’ve heard in a long time:

‘You can ask two separate experts the same question and get two very different answers can’t you? I think we’ll have to agree on that!’

 

So now you know….don’t like what’s being said then  just claim the other person is making it up…which is essentially what Burden was saying to the PM….and all without having to back your own argument up with those inconvenient ‘facts’.

 

She ruined all her good work a few minutes later by saying:

‘Well you asked for experts..this is what the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said…’

 

I don’t need to say anymore to that…I can imagine the eyes rolling already.

 

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Imagine If Politicians Had The Power To License BBC Reporters

‘Hacked Off’….Andrew Gilligan says that they have engineered a ‘coup…..one of perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century.’

A ‘coup’….’constitutional change’?  Shouldn’t the BBC be asking who Hacked Off is, and is it fit and proper that they had such influence over such an important and consequential piece of politically contrived ‘legislation’?

I don’t know what you think about Hacked Off’s successful campaign to create that political fix intended to  muzzle the Press but Andrew Gilligan may have hit the nail on the head:

‘This was a sort of coup, by people even more unaccountable and unrepresentative than the average newspaper owner.’

 Hacked Off wants to “force the press to serve defined social and political objectives – at the expense, if necessary, of the right to free expression.”

Who are Hacked Off? And how did Brian Cathcart and a small group of even more obscure allies come from nowhere to write perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century?’

He’s not wrong is he?  Three hundred years of Press freedom sacrificed in some sort of ritual slaughter to appease a few washed up celebrities, their secretive millionaire backers and  venal, unscrupulous politicians.

You might have thought that such a historic, momentous and politically significant event would have attracted far more scrutiny from the BBC than it has.

They might be more interested if they found that their own journalists were only able to report when ‘approved’ by a government minister.

Who are the mysterious millionaire backers that helped fund this grubby deal?  Who indeed are ‘Hacked Off’?
Why is it that a highly political pressure group is able to not only influence but sit in on the actual negotiations, in Labour Party offices,  without serious comment questioning the appropriateness of that?

In the end we have to ask, as always, who benefits?  Is it the Press?  The Public?  Or is it someone else entirely?  Was this just a charade exploiting the Millie Dowler story in order to force through a highly contentious deal on Press regulation that would allow politicians, in the end, to say what can and cannot be published…all guided by left wing  concepts of ‘human rights’ and a convenient ‘respect’ for privacy…when it suits?

Janet Daley thinks she knows the answer to that….

The ‘BBC Left’ is using hacking to get revenge
Left-wing politicians and broadcasters do not want to debate ideas but they do want to remove their opponents.

‘….that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre. The influence of the BBC as a monitor of what is politically admissible is almost incalculable: the entire Tory modernisation project was effectively made necessary (as its chief architects often admit) by the need to get a fair hearing on its news coverage.

This is as close as the BBC gets to criticising Hacked Off and its grubby deal set up in the dark hours of the night……by James Landale, BBC Deputy Political Editor

‘There is an old trope about sausages and law. You don’t want to see how they both are made. Here is why.
The deal was agreed in the early hours in Ed Miliband’s office at the House of Commons. The Labour leader was there alongside his deputy Harriet Harman. The Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was present as were four members of the Hacked Off campaign group whose leading light, Hugh Grant, describes as “a few dandruffy professors…a slightly insane chess champion ex-Lib Dem MP and a couple of threadbare lawyers”.
Representing the Conservatives was Oliver Letwin, the minister for policy, a man who once left parliamentary papers in a bin in St James’s Park.
No one from the press was present. There were bleary eyes all round.
So there was no white paper. No pre-legislative scrutiny. Just rushed, late night law driven as much by politics as by principle.
Thus is law made. Perhaps we should inspect the sausage for horsemeat?

 

So the BBC knows that there is something possibly slightly sinister about all this….but doesn’t want to go to town on it.

These are some of the choicer cuts from Gilligan’s article…but read it in full:

‘Brian Cathcart has become a lot more black-and-white. In his new role as director of the Hacked Off campaign for a controlled press, he now claims that “most British national newspapers ruthlessly chose to exercise their great power for evil”.

Press inaccuracy has become a disease curable only by a state-backed regulator, and the McCann case is Exhibit A in what Hacked Off calls the “atrocities” perpetrated by the press.

Who are Hacked Off? And how did Brian Cathcart and a small group of even more obscure allies come from nowhere to write perhaps the most important constitutional change yet of the 21st century?

Hacked Off did it by using all the red-top tricks they claim to hate – broad-brush condemnations, simplistic arguments, distorted facts, behind-the-scenes political deal making, celebrity stardust and the emotive deployment of victims.
Their key skill was in presenting the crimes of some newspapers as the responsibility of all, and defining the issue as what Gerry McCann, on the Hacked Off website, called “a binary choice: the newspaper barons or the people they abused in search of profit. It is as simple as that.”
It is of course nothing like as simple as that.

Hacked Off is a campaign not just to tame the press, but to claim the country for the authoritarian Left. It does want to stop newspapers victimising individuals. But it also wants to force the press to serve defined social and political objectives – at the expense, if necessary, of the right to free expression.

As its key intellectual inspiration, Prof James Curran of Goldsmiths College, put it: “The problem is that the press was the principal cheerleader of the deregulatory politics that landed us in the economic mess we’re in.
“Our concerns should be confined not only to individual abuses, but to media moguls who distort the national conversation.”

Newspapers to be forced to reflect “a fair selection of the day’s events”; a regulator, in other words, would decide what stories they covered.
At the May 17 event, numerous Left-wing speakers outlined their view of how the “public good” or the “public interest” as defined by a press regulator, should override freedom of expression

Leveson has been persuaded to embrace unquestioningly a profoundly ideological description of the relationship between the British press and democracy, previously held only by a small group of Left-of-centre academics.”

“These are likely to be people you intuitively distrust, dislike and despair of. If they are what we need to win, however, we must understand their value and not confuse their values with our intentions.”

This was a sort of coup, by people even more unaccountable and unrepresentative than the average newspaper owner.

Prof Natalie Fenton, another Goldsmiths academic and a key member of CCMR, is a director of Hacked Off. She co-chaired the meeting with Cathcart and is seen on the platform at most of Hacked Off’s events.
Writing on the “New Left Project” website, Fenton attacked the “excessively liberalised press” and the “naive pluralism” of “assuming that the more news we have, the more democratic our societies are”.

 

Here is an update by Gilligan:

‘Arrogant, entitled, lying and hypocritical, in Brian Cathcart and Hacked Off I think I’ve found my new Ken Livingstone. What fun we’re going to have together!

When Hacked Off talks about making the press “accountable,” what they mean is making it accountable to people like them.

 

Whilst on his blog you might want to read his reports about Tower Hamlets…something else the BBC conveniently ignores, or covers superficially.

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Two Heads Are Better Than One

 

This is a bit off the usual beaten track for this blog, nothing to do with ‘bias’, but I think we can spare a little space for such an astonishing story…one that shows the BBC at its best treating what might be seen as a sensationalist Tabloid ‘freak’ story with sensitivity…I guess this is one of those stories that by exposing people to not just the condition but also the actual person/people behind the story and their personality and life, that ‘acceptance’ and an attitude that such things are an unusual but still normal part of life is encouraged.

Living a conjoined life

Abby and Brittany Hensel are conjoined twins determined to live the normal, active life of outgoing 20-somethings anywhere. They have been to university, they travel, they have jobs. But how easy is it for two people to inhabit one body?

 

Abby and Brittany Hensel with their friends

 

And it is incredible how ‘normal’ their life is all considered….guess America can’t be all that bad after all.

 

 

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