Monday, April 14, 2008

This Day In History

On April 13, 2006, the Euston Manifesto was launched. I think it would be a shame if this momentous anniversary went completely unmarked, other than by a six week-old plug for Alan Not The Minister Johnson's book. (I have checked, there is nothing on Normblog, Comment is Free, Nickcohen.net or the New Statesman blog either). So:

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Euston Manifesto
Happy Birthday to you


Perhaps they are saving the big party for the anniversary of the "real world" launch on May 25th, but if so they're leaving the publicity a bit late.

Update (thanks to Jonathan in the comments). Alan NTM Johnson, on the other hand, perhaps provides the Euston Manifesto with the best epitaph it's going to get:

"3 Human rights for all.
We hold the fundamental human rights codified in the Universal Declaration to be precisely universal, and binding on all states and political movements, indeed on everyone. Violations of these rights are equally to be condemned whoever is responsible for them and regardless of cultural context. We reject the double standards with which much self-proclaimed progressive opinion now operates, finding lesser (though all too real) violations of human rights which are closer to home, or are the responsibility of certain disfavoured governments, more deplorable than other violations that are flagrantly worse. We reject, also, the cultural relativist view according to which these basic human rights are not appropriate for certain nations or peoples.

87 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be interested in a progress report from them. Do they still feel 'under-represented' in the media?

Marc Mulholland

4/14/2008 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Euston Manifesto? What was that? Some sort of plan to renationalise the railways?

4/14/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Alan NTM has given us a birthday gift in CiF (one of those red letter gifts if shooting fish in a barrel is your idea of a good day out):

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/alan_johnson/2008/04/getting_our_hands_dirty.html

4/14/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last post on the Euston Manifesto website was on 24 Feb...

4/14/2008 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and while your at it, have a look at Denis McShane's piece of useful idiocy

[redpesto]

4/14/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

By the way, this hostility to a system of Constitution enforced by the judicial branch with separation of powers is pure, unthinking anti-Americanism and I for one denounce it.

4/14/2008 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

I have a celebratory post up on the guardian blog. they have, intelligently, put it on in the graveyard slot as it is not of general interest.

4/14/2008 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken Livingstone gives his take on Nick and the Decents (sounds like a rock tribute band, no?) here:

http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=1285

"KL: I think there's a strand of people on the left, it's not just Tatchell, it’s Nick Cohen and Martin Bright, who have a genuine fear that we are under threat from Islam and I think they've gone over a line. I mean Tatchell's not as bad as Cohen.

This isn't unusual: if you look at the post war Labour government, under Attlee's government there were some pretty awful things going on in Northern Ireland, real abuses of the human rights of the Catholic minority, and there was a stand on the left that argued - yes, Unionists are pretty grim, but the Catholic church is worse. Actually the Catholic church as it was in the 1940s was pretty bad. It didn't justify what was being done by the RUC or the B-Specials as it then was.

Or there’s another example. With the Cohen people, all this has happened before. You got people who signed up during the Cold War as well – people who were on the left and they got totally signed up behind the Cold War agenda of Washington. The people they tried to destroy weren't Stalin so much, they focus on all these people trying to find a middle way between Washington and Moscow. They really believe you have to be on one side or the other, and I refuse to be on the side of George Bush or of fundamentalism. I want us to pursue our own middle path in London."

4/14/2008 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

Ah.... yes! The Useless Manifesto - wasn't it some kind of attempt to get the Left to love Israel?

4/15/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Livingstone's comments remind me of the even worse forerunner to the EM, 'unite against terror'. BB's first comments on EM, I recall, was that at least the Decents had managed to make their points without vitriolic abuse, which wasn't the case in Unite Against Terror. In that most of the prominent signatories (Cohen, Tatchell, Pollard) seemed much more keen on raving about imagined slights of the left than anyting to do with terror or uniting against it.

4/15/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

Some sort of plan to renationalise the railways?

Higgnerant. The Euston Manifesto, as everyone knows, was the attempt to revise the Cryer Circle Line Entrapment Manoeuvre (counter-clockwise) in the game of Mornington Crescent.

The real Euston Manifesto, I mean.

4/15/2008 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't know if I've said this before, but what sort of dolt arranges a launch at a branch of O'Neills when there's one of the finest bars in London just outside the station?

4/15/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anon the First said...

the attempt to revise the Cryer Circle Line Entrapment Manoeuvre (counter-clockwise)

Doomed to failure, of course, since Euston isn't even on the Circle Line.

4/15/2008 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when there's one of the finest bars in London just outside the station
I think it was still The Head of Steam two years ago, and was indeed very good. I used to use it for quiet business meetings in the afternoon. Now it's a Fullers pub, and renamed The Doric Arch (I think). Still not a bad place.
Yes: the idiots who chose to meet in that torrid fake-Irish place.
K

4/15/2008 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Now it's a Fullers pub

Argghhh! So no more fantastic ever-changing range of beers?

4/16/2008 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So no more fantastic ever-changing range of beers?

There are still a few guest beers, and the interior hasn't really been changed. The British Rail(way) signs on the walls, some of them dating back to the good old 1970s, are still there. However, there's a more evident ground floor entrance now and I think it's fuller (as well as Fuller). So, the Euston-pub-that-nobody-knew-about is now more evident.

K

4/16/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous jimmy cricket said...

"the idiots who chose to meet in that torrid fake-Irish place".
A fake pugnacious-Irish-blue collar image is pretty central to much of neocon punditry in the US (O'Reilly, Hannity and so on, though both of the aforenamed are in fact middle class and college educated) so maybe that was at the back of the minds of our heroes when they chose their venue.

4/16/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I know you used to run a "Seals of Dacre" watch on Nick - I don't suppose you have a more general "Seals of Michelle Malkin" category for David T of HP?

I thought Today's post on Ken Livingstone represented a nadir, but by God, the comments make it look like it was written by Socrates.

4/16/2008 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doomed to failure, of course, since Euston isn't even on the Circle Line.

Ah, but Euston Square is.

Splitters.

[redpesto]

4/16/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

by God, the comments make it look like it was written by Socrates

Not only did Socrates leave no writings behind him, I believe I am right in thinking there is no record that he produced any.

4/16/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Not only did Socrates leave no writings behind him, I believe I am right in thinking there is no record that he produced any.

Indeed. If only David T had followed his example.

There was a time, long ago, when people used to refer to David T as "the sane one" at Harry's Place. Hard to believe now, isn't it.

4/17/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous pete d said...

Yes its very hard to believe CC.

On the other hand some of what follows in the comments boxes really pushes the inanity envelope still further

My favourite for sheer paranoid Eurabian nuttiness has to be this gem from 'devorgilla'.

Well, once you vote Ken in (as you are clearly determined to do) that will be the Muslim Brotherhood having the ear of a man in charge of 10 million UK citizens, whilst in Scotland Alex Salmond, also a client stooge of the MB will run Scotland, and between them they will control 25% of UK population from London-Teheran-Edinburgh.

Ever thought of that one?


Must confess I hadn't. how remiss of me.

In a bygone age one would have to pay for such entertainment.

4/17/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Yes, but I don't think much of the gate money went into patient care.

4/17/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Apparently according to the NTM Harry's Place is one way in which the Spirit Of Euston lives on after its death.

4/17/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

The HP crowd do seem to have now decided that the MAB is nothing more or less than the UK wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. So I know, what's the actual evidence (or reasoning) behind this? I tried Wikipedia the other day but all it have me to back up the suggestion was an unsourced claim by one Nick Cohen.

4/17/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Isn't it a bit odd dismissing the Euston Manifesto as irrelevant on a site which exists solely to oppose the ideas of the Euston Manifesto?

Just a thought.

More importantly, I can't see how Alan Johnson's article conflicts with the EM statement on Human Rights for all, as is implied.

Clearly Johnson is not advocating the use of torture, nor suggesting that torture be condoned. So why is the simple contrasting of EM statement and article so apparently damning? I'm interested as to what "line" is being drawn here?

Isn't there a danger that by assuming moral and legal responsibility for the possibility that a foreign national might be tortured by their Government, for their own reasons, under their laws and practices... - isn't there a danger that you now assume responsibility for stopping such practices from occurring at all.

It just seems like it's easier to bash AJ(NMT) than to discuss the issue. The fact is Johnson's not a torture loving sadist - he's highlighting a particular problem. He might be wrong about the solutions but at least he's not pretending the problem doesn't exist.

It's like the Tipton Three. Did anyone who took up their cause say: "Even if they were training to be Taliban fighters, thier detention without trial in Guantanomo is wrong"?

Nope. They had to be innocent victims. That way no one had to deal with the reality that no UK laws existed to charge them for going to a Taliban training camp.

They couldn't stand up for the principle if it meant getting their "hands dirty" - the Tipton Three had to be innocent naive lambs sold to the US by their puppet warlord Afghan thugs. The fact that the principle is more crucial when applied to the "guilty" works better in abstract.

Making a film about how three blokes went to Afghanistan to kill Kufrs and Zionist crusaders in the name of Allah and got caught only to be released and discover they're martyrs and victims of a British poodle government afraid to stand up to the bully yanks...

Well it doesn't quite play does it?

4/17/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Isn't it a bit odd dismissing the Euston Manifesto as irrelevant on a site which exists solely to oppose the ideas of the Euston Manifesto?

No; the decline of our political enemies' attempts to organise a popular coalition is a cause for celebration. The ideas still exist, as Alan Not The Minister points out and therefore still need to be argued against - it's just the attempt to turn them into a political movement that's bitten the dust.

Clearly Johnson is not advocating the use of torture, nor suggesting that torture be condoned

Clearly? Clearly my arse. It appears to me that this is exactly what he's trying to do, while simultaneously using a vast fart-cloud of cobbled together meta-ethical theory to try and step back from the brink of doing so, presumably for fear of the consequences to his credibility.

I mean really, Hawkforce, if you're taken by that then I've got a bridge to sell you.

It's like the Tipton Three. Did anyone who took up their cause say: "Even if they were training to be Taliban fighters, thier detention without trial in Guantanomo is wrong"?

Nope. They had to be innocent victims

Well yes. The people who took up their cause believe that they were (broadly) innocent (if somewhat naive) of the crime of being Taliban fighters. The reason for this is that the liberal-left in the UK is not interested in defending the cause of Taliban fighters. Nick Cohen's book "What's Left?" is wrong on this one.

4/17/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

No; the decline of our political enemies' attempts to organise a popular coalition is a cause for celebration.

I don't begrudge you the celebration. It's the concurrent implication that your "political enemies" were so insignificant as to hardly merit attention that sounds a false note.

Either you bested an enemy worthy of battle OR you're a bully that's kicked sand in the nerd's face and justifies it by calling him "enemy".

The ideas still exist, as Alan Not The Minister points out and therefore still need to be argued against - it's just the attempt to turn them into a political movement that's bitten the dust.

Hmmm... Aren't you just trying to justify you're reluctance to identify a political movwement of your own?

Clearly? Clearly my arse. It appears to me that this is exactly what he's trying to do,...

You keep saying this but, again, it's simply not true (from that article) - which again leads me to suspect that you're avoiding addressing the issue again.

Well yes. The people who took up their cause believe that they were (broadly) innocent (if somewhat naive) of the crime of being Taliban fighters.

Nope. Their cause was taken up under the banner of campaigning against Guantanomo Bay. Their "innocence" or "guilt" should not have come into consideration. Detention wihtout trial or legal recourse is wrong - whether you were shooting Kalashnikovs in a training camp OR just popping by for a Wedding and sightseeing holiday in the weeks follwing 9/11.

The reason for this is that the liberal-left in the UK is not interested in defending the cause of Taliban fighters.

But the Tipton Three's "cause" applied whether or not they were Taliban fighters. Or should have done.

Instead, the idea that they might have been training to be Jihadis was utterly excised. Replaced by a ludicrous fantasy.

And when one of them admits, years later, that they were Taliban fighters, no one wants to know.

And the funny thing is - it was right that they be returned and released. The tragedy is that it didn't lead to an honest debate about the legal process and what we're prepared to risk.

Just like you're not being honest on the issue AJ is writing about.




Nick Cohen's book "What's Left?" is wrong on this one.

4/17/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Hawkforce, you may continue the argument you're having with the straw liberals in your head, and I daresay that if you're able to tell them what their case "should" or "must" have been, you'll probably win.

But it's you that's being misleading about Alan Not The Minister's article. His penultimate paragraph sets out the options as to what the government can do:

The government can derogate from the ECHR and declare, for what it would be worth (symbolically, a lot), that it has decided to give precedence to the 1951 Geneva convention which gives us the right to return any refugee reasonably judged a danger to society ie condone torture - bb. It can cite Cicero - the safety of the people is the highest law ie condone torture - bb. Or it can reform the criminal law until foreign terror suspects can be charged and tried in open court. (ie condone breaches of the right to a fair trial, though not torture - bb)(Currently, the open presentation of evidence may compromise intelligence operations or fail to meet the requirements of proof in a criminal trial.) Or, if it does not want to risk distorting the entire criminal justice system, it can create something like the Diplock Courts that functioned for 20 years in Northern Ireland.(ie condone breaches of the right to a fair trial - bb)

Alan NTM presents four options, all four of which are inconsistent with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and therefore with the Euston Manifesto, and two of which actually condone torture. He treats the ones which condone torture as being perfectly acceptable. He doesn't "condemn [...] regardless of the cultural context" - he specifically mentions two possible justifications.

Now about that bridge ...

4/17/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Hawkforce, you may continue the argument you're having with the straw liberals in your head, and I daresay that if you're able to tell them what their case "should" or "must" have been, you'll probably win.

But it's you that's being misleading about Alan Not The Minister's article. His penultimate paragraph sets out the options as to what the government can do:

The government can derogate from the ECHR and declare, for what it would be worth (symbolically, a lot), that it has decided to give precedence to the 1951 Geneva convention which gives us the right to return any refugee reasonably judged a danger to society ie condone torture - bb. It can cite Cicero - the safety of the people is the highest law ie condone torture - bb. Or it can reform the criminal law until foreign terror suspects can be charged and tried in open court. (ie condone breaches of the right to a fair trial, though not torture - bb)(Currently, the open presentation of evidence may compromise intelligence operations or fail to meet the requirements of proof in a criminal trial.) Or, if it does not want to risk distorting the entire criminal justice system, it can create something like the Diplock Courts that functioned for 20 years in Northern Ireland.(ie condone breaches of the right to a fair trial - bb)

Alan NTM presents four options, all four of which are inconsistent with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and therefore with the Euston Manifesto, and two of which actually condone torture. He treats the ones which condone torture as being perfectly acceptable. He doesn't "condemn [...] regardless of the cultural context" - he specifically mentions two possible justifications.

Now about that bridge ...

4/17/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From NTM's article:

The government can derogate from the ECHR and declare, for what it would be worth (symbolically, a lot), that it has decided to give precedence to the 1951 Geneva convention which gives us the right to return any refugee reasonably judged a danger to society.

It's clear that this is designed to facilitate deportation to countries that might/do practice torture; in other words, it's an attempt to evade any international obligations in this respect.

Oh, and that's after the dumb opening sentence: Is it time for the government to withdraw from the European convention on human rights? Why ask such a dumb question (and fail to come up with a clear answer) if it wasn't to get the result you wanted (bad guys deported to countries where they can be tortured and off HMG's conscience)?

[redpesto]

4/17/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Did anyone who took up their cause say: "Even if they were training to be Taliban fighters, thier detention without trial in Guantanomo is wrong"?

Nope.


Do you know this to be the case?

And when one of them admits, years later, that they were Taliban fighters

This is a slight exaggeration, is it not?

4/17/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Planeshift said...

"And when one of them admits, years later, that they were Taliban fighters"

Source please

4/17/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a side issue, ANTMJ's reference to Diplock Courts is as precise and carefully thought through as everything else in the article. Jury-less less trials were introduced in Northern Ireland to avoid the consequences of jury intimidation and prejudice. (In practice, actually, there's not much evidence that they were more prone to miscarriages of justice than jury courts in GB. They might have been a bit better). The real problem in Northern Ireland was that most convictions were based upon confession evidence, as generally witness evidence etc wasn’t forthcoming. And a good number of these confessions were beaten out of suspects at Castlereagh holding centre.

Back to Diplock. Is NTM really arguing that jurys in Britain fear to convict Jihadis because of Al-Qaeda intimidation? That's just bizarre. Presumably NTM’s just ignorantly assuming that that Diplock Courts formally reduced the burden of truth, and that this makes it OK because what liberals did once they can do again.

Finally, all this disingenuous blether about ANTM's heroic moral seriousness and philosophical courage in pondering the need for 'dirty hands' in the War on Terror reminds me of Lord Compton's infamous defining away of torture on the basis of the subjectivity imputed to the torturer:

"We consider that brutality is an inhuman or savage form of cruelty, and that cruelty implies a disposition to inflict suffering, coupled with indifference to, or pleasure in, the victim's pain."
[In a government report on the interrogation of IRA suspects in 1972]

As long as you violate human rights with appropriate anguish and regret, it's not torture!

Marc Mulholland

4/17/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous harrythehorse said...

I'll say one thing for Alan Johnson's article on CIF, it is considerably shorter and more intelligble than the average contibution to Democratyia. One wonders whether that organ is trying to bore us into submission. For a particularly adept demolition of Johnson's piece I refer readers to Daniel Davies's response, also posted to CIF:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/daniel_davies/2008/04/next_stop_is_euston_where_this.html

4/17/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

From NTM's article:

The government can derogate from the ECHR and declare, for what it would be worth (symbolically, a lot), that it has decided to give precedence to the 1951 Geneva convention which gives us the right to return any refugee reasonably judged a danger to society.


I think it's worth restating that this is garbage. The government can derogate from some, but not all, of the provisions of the ECHR. Any such derogation is subject to judicial approval; the courts have to find not only that there is an emergency threatening the life of the nation (which in the past they've been quite willing to do), but that the derogation is non-discriminatory and proportionate. This is why we've got control orders now instead of Belmarsh; it's also why those control orders that are in force are less restrictive than the security services would like, and why the more restrictive ones get struck down in court from time to time.

But in the case of torture - or conniving at torture - all this is moot in any case, because the right not to be tortured is non-derogable. The government can derogate from the ECHR and nothing - no, in this case it can't.

(Derogation, incidentally, means roughly "ignoring this specific part of the law for these specific purposes". It's a dodge, but it's a very public dodge and has definite limits.)

4/17/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who like to see these things, a good example of Nick Cohen losing a vote and scarpering in the comments at Harry's Place, under the Tatchell piece about Ken

4/18/2008 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(i think that mean losing an argument, not losing a vote)

4/18/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

When you get bettered by the residents of HPs its probably best to take a break. But then again Nick's arguments - basically the same ones on Livingstone that David T has endlessly rehashed- petty smears, lies and hyperbole- are so dishonest and mad that he deserves exactly what he gets.

Personally I find the arguments that Ken makes on Qaradawi in the Hari interview pretty convincing. Certainly much convincing than the tosh you hear from Nick and the Decents. Ken's the mayor of a major city facing terrorist atrocities. He has a duty to co-opt any important and influential Muslim leaders that can reduce that threat. That doesn't mean that he agrees with their deeply conservative views on many social issues in fact its quite clear that Ken doesn't.

The alternative that the Decents sugggest is that you should work with very marginal Muslim figures who may be more liberal but have no wider traction amongst the Muslim community. HP are constantly putting these obscure groups - some of which are neo-con fronts, others are two men and a dog outfits whilst others are just bizarre like The Council of Ex-Muslims

At the end of the day contrary to what the Decents think you can't impose modernity on deeply traditional societies down the barrel of a gun. Ken is dead right on this.

It might take hundreds of years, it will certainly take decades, and therefore you work with those elements that pushing it in the right direction. The real difference that will make it difficult in Islam is that whereas in some other religions there is a defined leader and occasionally you get a good one who takes you in the right direction. But in Islam there is no leadership structure, there are Grand Ayatollahs, but there's no pivotal figure who lays down the law and so it might take a lign time. The one thing I am convinced of is changes are only going to come from within. Us all outside denouncing, will do no good at all and may actually be counter-productive, and so you engage with the better ones

4/18/2008 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Sorry I meant to post this in my last comment but Nick says of Ken that:

In some ways allying with the Islamist far right is worse than allying with the white far right, as while there are no neo-Nazis in power there are Islamists governments and terrorist movements whose first targets are Muslim democrats, socialists, feminists and free thinkers. A victory for Livingstone is a defeat for them.

and that Ken is also a promotor of fraudsters, a hysteric, a creep, a bully and a meglomaniac, who steals from the South American poor and wastes the money of the London poor.

Seal of Dacre? Seal of Rampton more like.

Some of that also appears to be clearly libellous. Ken should sue.

4/18/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Cohen has already called Ken Livingstone a "jew-baiter" in the same forum and gone unsued, so I'm guessing that they're just relying on Ken's not being a big reader of the Harry's Place comments, and I must confess to a sneaking hope that this proves to be a rash assumptions.

4/18/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

There was something not dissimilar in (I think) the last Private Eye but one, in which he was accused of telling Jewish businessmen to leave the country. I assumed at the time that this was a deliberately loosely-worded phrase.

4/18/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

(Should that be insufficiently clear, what I am saying is that as not everybody involved in the Ken-baiting is the sort of cretin who thinks you can say anything you like provided its in a comments box on the internet, and as the magazine involved is edited by an intelligent man and read by lawyers before publication, I do idly wonder whether some attempt is being made to goad Ken into court action. Just a speculation but perhaps not a baseless one.)

4/18/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Good article in todays Guardian on Decenticism. Well worth a read.

Uncannily accurate, particularly on much of Decentism's really rather visceral dislike of the Green movment.

Also good on Decentish disillusion when the poor don't live up to their saintly expectations. This is particularly the case with A Anthony.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2274729,00.html

4/19/2008 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Well yes, bubby, the loons at HP Sauce are now debating that very article (by David Edgar) and David T is saying that Nick Cohen should sue! I'm not sure that in raising the possibility of a libel case in the HP comments threads, DT is acting in Nick's best interests.

4/19/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which Alan Johnson was Edgar referring to in his book review, or doesn't he know that there are two of them?

Guano

4/19/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go on, surprise me! What is supposed to be libellous in Edgar's article?

Guano

4/19/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

What a fine piece.

I've meant to ask though - is the Aaro University Challenge story actually true? I saw it in his Wikipedia entry the other day and as I'd always assumed that the original story was urban myth, I was rather surprised.

(My TV quiz experience, by contrast, involved giving two wrong answers on Fifteen-to-One and being the first one to have to sit down...)

4/19/2008 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

David T says Nick should sue because Edgar "misrepresents his thesis to a grand extent".

I hadn't read any HP comments in a while. It's fun to see them frothing away at an article which nails their pathologies so exactly.

4/19/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous mastershake said...

The Aaro on University Challenge story is completely true, it was featured in a retrospective on the programme a while back. sadly no youtube is forthcoming.

a very good article and it's funny to see Harry's Place frothing in such an over the top manner about it. David T's suggestion that Cohen should sue is especially good value.

Oh and incidentally David T's long-running campaign against his local swimming pool was featured today as a news item in the Telegraph of all places... hot on the heels of am HP post saying 'What an excellent story in the Mail' too.

4/19/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I really hope Cohen takes Toube's advice to sue.

4/19/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

David T says Nick should sue because Edgar "misrepresents his thesis to a grand extent".

The gentleman is a lawyer. I hope he is a better lawyer than he seems.

4/19/2008 08:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicky said...

Hilarious to witness their hypocrisy too. When Johan Hari threatens to sue them for making grossly libellous slurs against him, it a "threat to free speech", disgusting, tyrannical, etc etc. But when somebody they disagrees with talks in a way they dislike, it's - sue! sue! sue!

4/19/2008 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Not to stir the shit, but Marko has an astonishingly passive-aggressive post up ticking off the lunatic wing of Decency for pottymouth swears. The whole thing is pretty hilarious, if you like watching high-speed car crashes.

http://greatersurbiton.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/

I don't think you have to be Nostradamus to predict how this one's going to turn out.

4/19/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous stephen said...

Hilarious to witness their hypocrisy too. When Johan Hari threatens to sue them for making grossly libellous slurs against him, it a "threat to free speech", disgusting, tyrannical, etc etc. But when somebody they disagrees with talks in a way they dislike, it's - sue! sue! sue!

It's even more hypocritical than that , Nicky! David T has taken umbrage to Islamaphobia Watch calling him a Islamophobe bleating that "an accusation of Islamophobia in the present climate can be both personally and professionally damaging" (*). Rather less I should think than accusations of anti-semitism, which the editorials and comments on HP scatter like confetti.

(*) Though in this particular case I think the accusation of muslim-hatred was unfounded.

4/19/2008 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

it's funny to see Harry's Place frothing in such an over the top manner about it.

Where? I can see a post about it (by 'graham') with some comments, but none of what you lot are talking about.

4/19/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

If I was professionally involved with David T I would certainly regard his outpourings on HP as damaging, in that they appear to be the work of a crank and monomaniac. In that sense it's rather academic whether someone labelling him an 'Islamophobe' is damaging or not.

4/19/2008 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous mastershake said...

David T has another piece on the Edgar today, again suggesting Nick should sue. I still can't quite work out the grounds for this proposed libel action mind you, even having read David T's lengthy piece. Misrepresentation of his views? Edgar hasn't really done that.

And clothes for chaps rehashes his same old anti-muslim points again in a piece that i can't link to for some reason, including a hilariously unprovable set of straw men at the end of the piece.

4/20/2008 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous harrythehorse said...

Typically, HP's and Andrew Anthony's response to Edgar's essay concentrates on his analysis of the radicalisation of British muslims, which formed only about a quarter of the piece. To adopt the Decent idiom, What's this obsession with Muslims. I find it rather suspicious

4/20/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

When I see David T moaning about "disgusting slurs" a particular aphorism comes to mind.

4/20/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Yes. One minute he is denouncing 'disgusting slurs', the next he is saying that Edgar's 'heroes' are Azzam Tamimi and Anas Altikriti.

Even when HP try to forensically dissect other people's hyperbole, they can't quite resist descending into hyperbole themselves.

Still not clear on what grounds Nick is going to sue, btw. Perhaps it's the suggestion that Nick's "far right" might also be defined as Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Perhaps that's going a bit far, but then if you do dedicate so much of your output to picking on members of a particular religious minority, it's surely not unreasonable to also point out the country of origin of members of that minority, and their socioeconomic status.

4/20/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

More Decent froth from Norman Geras, who insists that the 'left' he wants to 'defect' from is merely that part of the left which did awful things like criticise Israel and oppose the war in Iraq.

4/20/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I thought the first point, "1. Who would want to defect from the kind of left that after September 11, 2001, could not bring itself to condemn this in plain speech as a crime of mass murder, but was full of the language of 'yes but' and 'blowback' and 'comeuppance'?"

was a reference to this famous Nick Cohen piece, as it talks of blowback and is pretty 'whataboutery'. But Cohen does use the term 'mass murder',so perhaps not.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/16/september11.usa22

4/20/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Who would not want to defect from the kind of left that said the kind of bad things that bad people would say, while hardly ever saying the kind of good things that good people say?

Yup, that's me convinced.

4/20/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

You know, when a Philosopher considers a human deed, the meaning and the cause thereof, I would have thought a Philosopher was obliged to take into account all the various aspects of that deed rather than just saying It Is Bad. That's what makes a Philosopher, I think. Or at least what distinguishes a Philosopher from Some Bloke In A Pub.

4/21/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what? I'm sure I've mentioned David Edgar's Maydays on this blog before...now do you see what I meant?

[redpesto]

4/21/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Sorry for the delay to these replies. Work and family and all that...

Hawkforce, you may continue the argument you're having with the straw liberals in your head, and I daresay that if you're able to tell them what their case "should" or "must" have been, you'll probably win.

That's a bit of a cop out, BB. I'm raising a fair point which you're avoiding.

You're dismissive atttiutdue is a bit galling given you go on to dictate what Alan Johnson really means as opposed to what he actually writes.

But it's you that's being misleading about Alan Not The Minister's article. His penultimate paragraph sets out the options as to what the government can do:

But everything you write in bold is a subjective judgement.

Aren't you holding Alan Johnson morally responsible for the possible actions of a sovereign Government towards one of its own citizens?

If to allow the possibility of torture is to condone torture then aren't we morally obligated to allow every single citizen of those nations which sanction torture, asylum?

Or aren't we obligated to stop it through intervention?

If you interpret Johnson's argument as him "condoning torture" - if simply returning a foreign national home is to "condone torture" - where does our responsibility end?


Alan NTM presents four options, all four of which are inconsistent with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and therefore with the Euston Manifesto, and two of which actually condone torture. He treats the ones which condone torture as being perfectly acceptable. He doesn't "condemn [...] regardless of the cultural context" - he specifically mentions two possible justifications.

Sorry - I don't accept your interpretation that Johnson's words are "condoning torture".

I agree that the issue raises difficult questions about principle. And you may even be right that Johnson is betraying a basic principle - but you're simply condemning him without ever addressing the realities of the issue.

You're avoiding the basic conundrum: The UK can't deport these foreign national Jihadis. And they can't imprison them.

What is to be done? Surveillance? Wait until they do something which they can be charged for?

Will you be responsible for the deaths if one of these people succeeds in a terrorist attack? Will you stand up and say "These lives were worth it, because to have sent him to Jordan would have been to condone torture"?

There's a middle ground to be found here. But you're not even bothering to accept there's consequences to your judgements...

"And when one of them admits, years later, that they were Taliban fighters"Source please

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/jun/03/broadcasting.observerreview

4/21/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Thanks for the ref.

"when confronted with results that suggested he was less than forthcoming with the truth, Ahmed confessed (Rasul had refused to go through with the test) not only to visiting an Islamist training camp but also handling weapons and learning how to use an AK47"

So no, he didn't admit that they were Taliban fighters. Precision, Hawkforce, precision.

If to allow the possibility of torture is to condone torture then aren't we morally obligated to allow every single citizen of those nations which sanction torture, asylum?

No, because it's about the likelihood (not possibility) of a specific individual being tortured. On the other hand, if an individual pitched up on British soil and made a credible claim for asylum on the grounds that they were likely to be tortured, I can't see what objection you or I or Alan Johnson would have.

Or aren't we obligated to stop it through intervention?

I would certainly hope that any nation proclaiming an ethical foreign policy would exert diplomatic pressure against states known to use torture. I would also hope that any such nation would not involve itself in wars of aggression, these being contrary to the UN Charter.

This stuff really isn't all that complicated.

4/21/2008 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Thanks for the ref.

Gleaned no doubt from the Wikipedia entry on the Tipton Three, where I read it prior to my posting "This is a slight exaggeration, is it not?" on 4/17/2008.

So it's not a source so much as a review of a television programme in which the reviewer makes a claim about a programme from which somebody else - then extrapolates from that a claim which is plainly exaggerated on at least two counts. (By the way, I wonder. I didn't see the programme, living abroad as I do. Did Hawkforce?

4/22/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

So no, he didn't admit that they were Taliban fighters. Precision, Hawkforce, precision.

This is really rather silly. Apply Occam's razor.

No, because it's about the likelihood (not possibility) of a specific individual being tortured.

Well, yes, and that's how it should be.

However, the charge here is that Alan Johnson is "condoning torture" - a charge which is manifestly unfair unless the deportee is being tortured at the behest or with the approval of the UK government.

On the other hand, if an individual pitched up on British soil and made a credible claim for asylum on the grounds that they were likely to be tortured, I can't see what objection you or I or Alan Johnson would have.

Of course there would be no objection. There is no such objection. To suggest otherwise would be nothing less than a slur.

But the issue isn't about rejecting basic humanitarian principles.

It's about dealing with the specific problem of having to release into the community foreign nationals who are a risk to national security.

Now you can disagree with Alan Johnson's solutions, but denying the problem exists is unhelpful.

Because the real threat to those basic humanitarian principles will come when and if one of these people commit a terrorist act in the UK. The backlash could conceivably wipe out ANY commitment to asylum principles.

I would certainly hope that any nation proclaiming an ethical foreign policy would exert diplomatic pressure against states known to use torture.

Agreed. But what does this actually mean? What form does this "diplomatic pressure" take? What effect does it have to have before being considered so ineffectual as to effectively condone torture

Do you see what I mean?

Look, I agree with you. It's just, if Alan Johnson is "condoning torture" by simply wanting to deport back home a non-UK citizen who wants to attack UK citizens - then you've set the moral responsibility bar pretty damn high.

Can't you see that? Can't you see that denouncing Alan Johnson as an apologist for torture here means you have to do more than toss off a soundbite about "diplomatic pressure" which we all know to be mostly be utterly ineffectual, not to mention somewhat hypocritical.

I would also hope that any such nation would not involve itself in wars of aggression, these being contrary to the UN Charter.

An honourable principle. And a rather hapless non-sequiteur. In this discussion YOU are the nation. It's about what standards you demand.

This stuff really isn't all that complicated.

Well, no. It wouldn't be - as long as you don't address the issue at hand.

Again - I'm not saying Johnson's solutions or conclusions are right. However, accusing him of "condoning torture" is very serious and requires some attention to be paid to the specific issues in his article.

4/22/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

This is really rather silly. Apply Occam's razor.

No, let's apply some facts. Where does he say he was in the Taliban? Where does he say that any of the others was, and what does he say about them at all? (And that's even before we ask about the reliability of the techniques involved.)

4/22/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

It's just, if Alan Johnson is "condoning torture" by simply wanting to deport back home a non-UK citizen who wants to attack UK citizens

Ah - what's Mr Johnson's evidence for the proposition here?

4/22/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Gleaned no doubt from the Wikipedia entry on the Tipton Three, where I read it prior to my posting "This is a slight exaggeration, is it not?" on 4/17/2008.

I wasn't aware of a Wiki entry - I "gleaned" it at the time Andrew Anthony wrote his article then chased down transcripts of the show.

So it's not a source so much as a review of a television programme in which the reviewer makes a claim about a programme from which somebody else - then extrapolates from that a claim which is plainly exaggerated on at least two counts. (By the way, I wonder. I didn't see the programme, living abroad as I do. Did Hawkforce?

I'm sorry... I find all this quite bizarre.

Why do so many people need to believe in the ludicrous fantasy that the Tipton Three were gambolling through the merry hills of Afghanistan on their way to a wedding?

It makes no difference to the fact that their abduction and denial of judicial rights in Guantanomo Bay was wrong.

Or does it?

I mean it's just getting embarrassing. I "exaggerated"? Because I deduced that three men who went to Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11, trained to fire AK-47's - were most likely doing so, not because it was a badly timed adventure tour but because they wanted to fight for the Taliban?

I simply don't understand this collective denial about something so self-fucking evident.

4/22/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

No, let's apply some facts. Where does he say he was in the Taliban? Where does he say that any of the others was, and what does he say about them at all?

Mate... seriously... Why are you doing this?

He doesn't say he was in the Taliban. He was just in a Jihadi training camp on the eve of war. You do the math...

He doesn't talk about the others. One of them was supposed to do the Lie Lab show but pulled out at teh last... Can't imagine why...

(And that's even before we ask about the reliability of the techniques involved.)

Dude... He CONFESSED!

Don't you see how bizarre you're acting? What does it matter anyway?

4/22/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

he doesn't talk about the others

Does he not?

In that case, why did you write this?

And when one of them admits, years later, that they were Taliban fighters

4/22/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Dude... He CONFESSED!

Did he? What actually happened in the show? I didn't see it - you claim to have seen a transcript. So what actually happened?

4/22/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Ah - what's Mr Johnson's evidence for the proposition here?

This is ludicrous. It's not Alan Johnson's "proposition" - it's the judgement of the appeal courts themselves!

The court of appeal, note, accepted these judgments about the suspects. Yes, they were indeed threats to national security with links to al-Qaida. None the less, guided by the Human Rights Act, it stopped their deportation. In effect it let them go - without a "realistic prospect of deportation" the government now has no legal ground to hold Abu Qatada.

Can you please have the basic decency to familiarise yourself with the facts of the issue at hand?

Otherwise you just look like you're afraid of facing reality while smearing others as "condoning torture".

4/22/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

while smearing others as "condoning torture".

Sorry, where have I done this?

You have a quote in italics as the middle paragraph in your last posting. Ah - who is it from?

4/22/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Phli said...

if Alan Johnson is "condoning torture" by simply wanting to deport back home a non-UK citizen who wants to attack UK citizens - then you've set the moral responsibility bar pretty damn high.

Only as high as the ECHR, to which the UK government is a signatory. If the government has reason to believe that individual X, if deported, will be tortured, then the government cannot legally deport X. The government's tried a number of dodges to get round this since the Law Lords ruled against ACTSA, but as a matter of law - as well as principle - it's basically non-negotiable.

But it seems to me you've argued yourself into something of a corner here. Do you favour 'intervention' (presumably meaning something more forceful than boring old diplomacy) on the grounds that human rights are universal and we shouldn't allow any government to violate them? Or do you favour deportation under the threat of torture, on the grounds that the human rights of terrorist suspects should take second place to the safety of British citizens? As a matter of simple logical consistency you surely can't agree with both these positions.

4/22/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

You have a quote in italics as the middle paragraph in your last posting. Ah - who is it from?

It's from Alan Johnson article linked to in the original post.

Why are you discussing this if you haven't even read the source material?

4/22/2008 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Why are you discussing this if you haven't even read the source material?

Maybe he doesn't remember it word for word. No you're right, Phil clearly hasn't read it.

4/22/2008 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Only as high as the ECHR, to which the UK government is a signatory.If the government has reason to believe that individual X, if deported, will be tortured, then the government cannot legally deport X. The government's tried a number of dodges to get round this since the Law Lords ruled against ACTSA,...

This is where the discussion began...

Still you make it seem as if it's all about Govt dodges to get around basic human rights issues rather than the reality - that UK legal obligations mean the release of foreign nationals who have planned attacks on UK citizens.

And anyone who objects to this is "condoning torture"?


but as a matter of law - as well as principle - it's basically non-negotiable.

Okay, if you believe it's non-negotiable as a matter of principle then follow the consequences of that principle through to its logical conclusion.

But it seems to me you've argued yourself into something of a corner here.

I've done nothing of the sort.

Do you favour 'intervention' (presumably meaning something more forceful than boring old diplomacy) on the grounds that human rights are universal and we shouldn't allow any government to violate them?

Of course not. It would be impossible to implement such a principle.

You don't seem to understand that it's your apparent position that is assuming responsibility for human rights everywhere.

Or do you favour deportation under the threat of torture, on the grounds that the human rights of terrorist suspects should take second place to the safety of British citizens?

Finally we get to the crucial question.

The answer is - I don't know. But I certainly lean to erring on the side of the safety of British citizens.

I certainly agree that it's unnacceptable that the UK Govt is in a position where known threats are being released into UK society because we have to protects rights they're diametrically opposed to.

It's unnacceptable because the second one of these people commit an atrocity the backlash will affect ALL asylum seekers.

Can't you see this?

It's not a "Decent Vs Rest" issue. It's real.

Come on...

4/22/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Hawkforce said...

Maybe he doesn't remember it word for word. No you're right, Phil clearly hasn't read it.

Phil? I was replying to EJH.

This is getting surreal...

4/22/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

well if you were responding to Justin that changes things then.

Surreal, yes, but perhaps not for the reasons you like to think.

4/22/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

UK legal obligations mean the release of foreign nationals who have planned attacks on UK citizens.

And anyone who objects to this is "condoning torture"?


UK legal obligations mean the release of foreign nationals who can't be deported because they face a credible threat of torture, and who can't be put on trial because there isn't the evidence to charge them. And yes, anyone who objects to this - and argues that they should be deported anyhow - is condoning torture.

it's unnacceptable that the UK Govt is in a position where known threats are being released into UK society because we have to protects rights they're diametrically opposed to.

What they're diametrically opposed to doesn't come into it - the government has obligations to everyone under its jurisdiction. Levi Bellfield seems to have been diametrically opposed to letting other people live in peace. That doesn't mean the government can kill him.

4/22/2008 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

It's from Alan Johnson article linked to in the original post.

Yes, I know. That was my point - you were quoting NTM and not, actually, the Appeal Court.

Now NTM's summation of the Appeal Court's position may or may not be accurate, but I'd like to actually hear that in their words, not his.

4/23/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous harrythehorse said...

Because I deduced that three men who went to Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11, trained to fire AK-47's - were most likely doing so, not because it was a badly timed adventure tour but because they wanted to fight for the Taliban?

So if there is evidence that they did such a thing Hawkforce, why were they not put on trial. Participating in terrorist training is an offence under some terrorism act, or another.

4/27/2008 10:01:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home