Sunday, February 07, 2010

Martin Bright vs Amnesty

I don't particularly want this blog to start watching Martin Bright, but where he goes, I think Nick Cohen (and Harry's Place) are likely to go too. I'll try to keep this brief.

This morning's Sunday Times ran Amnesty International is 'damaged' by Taliban link:

Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty’s international secretariat, believes that collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, “fundamentally damages” the organisation’s reputation.


(Unspeak alert: is 'collaborating' really the best word here? It seems to imply guilt on Amnesty's part. It also doesn't seem to be Ms Sahgal's word. I've quoted her below.)

This was taken up by Martin Bright in the Spectator: Amnesty International, Moazzam Begg and the Bravery of Gita Sahgal. Bright's prose is somewhat over-caffeinated: "... blowing the lid... rightly sick of the lazy alliance... blown the whistle [hmm, lots of 'blowing' going on here - Ed] ... Begg is now an integral part ... she has been deeply frustrated by the way the British liberal intelligentsia gives house-room to right-wing Islamists ... Jamaat-i-Islami, the south Asian blood-brothers of the Muslim Brotherhood... It is Gita Sahgal who should be the darling of the human rights establishment, not Moazzam Begg." What, I wonder, is giving "house-room"? Until today, when, according to Bright, Ms Sahgal was suspended she was a 'senior official at Amnesty' (Sunday Times). So which of them, if either, was a 'darling' of the "liberal intelligensia"?

“I believe the campaign fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights,” Sahgal wrote in an email to the organisation’s leaders on January 30. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.”


I can understand Ms Sahgal's position, but I can also see why Amnesty suspended her for taking an internal disagreement to the press.

The Spittoon has picked up this story.

Amnesty has issued a statement.

I'm on Amnesty's side here. I can't help but see Bright's argument as being, "if I think you're guilty, who cares if you get a fair trial? and if you support terrorism AND you've been accused of terrorism and taken to Guantanamo Bay, who cares if legal niceties were observed or not? I, for one, don't want to know you."

I don't doubt that Bright is sincere in his feelings, but writing, as he did, in the grip of deep emotions alienates rather than persuades me. Put another way, Bright's post fails the Politics and the English Language smell test.

Update 19:30 Harry's Place got there last night. It includes this, which, if I could be bothered, I'd tie into Nick Cohen's libel piece today.

Here is a Guardian apology which makes the point that Martin and Gita cannot:


Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin: we apologise for publishing allegations that he was part of a group that abducted people in East Pakistan and was involved in the commission of genocide (Prosecute Bangladesh’s war criminals, 7 October, guardian.co.uk).


Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin has never been prosecuted, charged nor even arrested in connection with these events. Mr Mueen-Uddin has consistently denied the accusations made against him as utterly false.


We are sorry for the distress our article caused him.


Britain’s absurd libel laws are another part of the jigsaw that allows champions of human rights abuses and jihadism to pose as progressives and civil libertarians. Put simply, the more outrageous and extreme your behaviour, the easier it is to cry ‘defamation’ when your politics is pointed out.

IANAL (and David Toube, who may or many not be 'Lucy Lips' is), but alleging that someone committed genocide is different to pointing out their politics.

Update 2 21:30. I'm glad I posted this. Mail on Sunday pointed out the politics of a blogger. Justice Eady dismissed the libel case. Why? Because there was clear evidence that those were the blogger's views. There is no such evidence that Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin committed genocide. See also Nick on libel today, particularly this comment.

There is a case for some reform. But not the half-baked slanderer's charter drafted by PEN, which is a thinly disguised plea by the UK media to do what the hell it likes with no fear of comebacks. If enacted, it would have prevented say Kate and Gerry McCann from successfully suing the UK tabloids for alleging they had done away with their own daughter.

130 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

"Politics" is a plural, not a singular.

2/07/2010 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Fair enough, but that was 'Lucy Lips' not I.

2/07/2010 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Indeed, it was Lucy Lips who I was correcting, which is about as much direct commentary, outside of Friday afternoon's Happy Hour, that I'm prepared to make on any posting at Fuckwit House.

However, the phrase "the libel laws, for all their failings, exist precisely in order to inhibit individuals from making allegations which they cannot substantiate" might usefully be lobbed in their general direction.

[Word verification "prose". Why, thank you.]

2/07/2010 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

I don't doubt that Bright is sincere in his feelings

Personally speaking, I do doubt.

I think there is an orchestrated campaign to destroy the reputation of Amnesty and weaken its effectiveness as an organisation. The question I would like to see answered is what is the motivation of those involved in the campaign.

2/07/2010 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I can kind of see both sides of the Amnesty/Gita Sahgal issue. Sahgal appears to have been a loyal and dedicated emplyee of AI until now and apparently she did try to raise her concerns internally on a couple of occasions and got no response. AI has handled it pretty clumsily - their press release doesn't actually address the argument Sahgal was making and suspending her makes them look vindictive.
Having said that, I can think of very few organisations who would not take action if one of their employees started complaining about them to the press and she must have known that by doing so she was giving ammunition to those who are trying to undermine AI.

2/07/2010 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Bubby,

In the comments at HP über-Decent NeilD posted that absurd clause from the Euston Manifesto, which says it all.

he violation of basic human rights standards at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and by the practice of “rendition”, must be roundly condemned for what it is: a departure from universal principles, for the establishment of which the democratic countries themselves, and in particular the United States of America, bear the greater part of the historical credit. But we reject the double standards by which too many on the Left today treat as the worst violations of human rights those perpetrated by the democracies, while being either silent or more muted about infractions that outstrip these by far. This tendency has reached the point that officials speaking for Amnesty International, an organization which commands enormous, worldwide respect because of its invaluable work over several decades, can now make grotesque public comparison of Guantanamo with the Gulag, can assert that the legislative measures taken by the US and other liberal democracies in the War on Terror constitute a greater attack on human rights principles and values than anything we have seen in the last 50 years, and be defended for doing so by certain left and liberal voices.

Basically they want to undermine AI because it hinders the War On Terror by insisting that the US and other Western powers actually abide by the same principles that they claim to be upholding. And of course you also get at HP those who hate AI because it criticises Israel.

Which reminds me of the other point I was going to make in my previous comment - that even though certain vocal supporters of Sahgal do actually have a point they spoil it, inevitably, by absolutely insisting on being a wanker about it.

2/07/2010 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Aye, right. I imagine that if I told the Times that my employers were in league with the Taliban, and they printed it, my boss would probably give me a raise.

2/07/2010 11:43:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

She's also associated with Women Against Fundamentalism, one of those very strident groups (like the Worker-Communist Party of Iran) much beloved by that element of Decency that sets great store by "secularism". Hence occasional references to support for "secular Muslims", which usually seems to mean Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

And she hates Tariq Ramadan, which can only enhance her standing with HP Sauce.

2/07/2010 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note, though, that the WCPI are the Decents' friends up to the moment when they start talking about "imperialist wars (evil nature of same)". Then there's a sudden hush and shuffling of feet towards the exit.

Chris Williams

2/08/2010 09:23:00 AM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

That's true. It's like the way they like to rely on Peter Tatchell for arguments, although Peter baulks at actually supporting imperialist wars. Likewise the WCPI, who are very brave and principled people even if they are a pain in the arse.

2/08/2010 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Politics" is a plural, not a singular.

Actually, this is not strictly true. It's the old "Arsenal ARE a good football team " or "Arsenal IS a good football team" dilemma. It depends what is in the mind of the speaker at the time. Does s/he think of Arsenal as a homogenous whole, a single unit albeit comprised of multiple parts, or 11 distinct players?

(Obviously, the issue is moot as regards Arsenal and whether it/they is/are a good football team. It/they is/are a crap football team.)

Likewise with "politics", at least nowadays. Where once there would have been no argument that "politics" referred to individually definable views on political issues, its use has evolved in recent times to mean a body of collected thoughts and opinions. For example:

"Dsquared's politics is shite."

English is a living language, something grammar pedants are wont to overlook.

2/08/2010 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Cripes, we've been rumbled!

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2010/02/08/gita-sahgal-naysayers/

2/08/2010 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

lordy lordy - with bonus hilariously selective editing!

2/08/2010 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Quite so Andrew.

That's true. It's like the way they like to rely on Peter Tatchell for arguments, although Peter baulks at actually supporting imperialist wars.

Not to mention Tatchell's criticism of the human rights record of Israel and the US. But then again when you are a member of a bizarre, cultish grouping with extremely odd views then you will probably accept any support you can get. Its not as if any other remotely credible left-wing figure would touch HP Sauce with a barge pole.

The whole business with Ayaan Hirsi Ali is very strange indeed. There is obvioulsy a very good case to made that many Muslim majority states have a pretty deplorabe human rights record, particularly in relation to their treatment of women and minorities. But the scattegun nature of AHI's attacks, the fact that she joined a pretty nutty extreme right wing thintank, and her decision to marry an apologist for British Imperialism who is currently writing a hagiographic account of an 'A' list war criminal would make most sane people pause before endorsing her as an authority on anything.

2/08/2010 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

"her decision to marry an apologist for British Imperialism who is currently writing a hagiographic account of an 'A' list war criminal"

Who?

2/08/2010 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

He's writing a biog of Kissinger, although obviously I'm not sure that writing a book about a war criminal makes you a war criminal yourself.

2/08/2010 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Well, it is an authorised biography... On AHA, I find people's treatment of her very odd, Decents especially. The woman is treated like some sort of Muslim Martin Luther by so many; she's not even a Muslim, however, and is pretty fucking extreme in her views on Islam - many Decent-friendly loons like douglas Murray seem to think that claiming AHA agrees with you automatically means you're exempted from charges of bigotry. Her life story is undoubtedly one of courage and resolution, but that doesn't mean you have to agree with her on anything. She's seriously lightweight in her 'philosophy'; and that 'philosophy' pretty clearly shows that she'd be happy enough with Niall Ferguson's views.

On Begg - Bright's column is an example of the very worst excesses of writing on Amnesty; where slanders and half-truths are repackaged as cast-iron certainties. Decents automatically hate Amnesty per se, for the reasons stated by AA above, and have been agitating about Begg for fucking ages. lurking behind ALL of it is the idea that these people (suspected terrorists) don't deserve human rights. Hence all the agitation about AI in Gaza, because they 'seem' to be more interested in thousands killed and entire communities destroyed than rockets flying into Sderot, even if that's not true - that's the core of this. Decents will not accept AI as legitimate until they vocally support the Iraq war and IDF atrocities because in Decent eyes that is the 'balanced' view.

That leads onto the libel thing. I couldn't agree more with the 'slanderer's charter' comment up there. it's one thing to think that libel tourism is too prevalent; it's another to agree with Cohen et al that we should effectively not have any libel laws in this country, especially when the defenders of free speech are so cavalier with the facts, to the extent of ignoring entire paragraphs of the most famous speech Barak Obama has made since becoming President in order to make boneheaded points.

On Bright - where HP Sauce and Nick C go, he eventually follows - it works that way round.

2/08/2010 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Decents automatically hate Amnesty per se, for the reasons stated by AA above, and have been agitating about Begg for fucking ages. lurking behind ALL of it is the idea that these people (suspected terrorists) don't deserve human rights.

Excrement.

Name the "Decents" who hate Amnesty?

We've been agitating about Begg because his comments and writing - which are a matter of historical record - deserve to be agitated about. That would be the case even he weren't been touted around the world like he's some kind of Muslim Rubashov by a human rights organisation that should know better.

Most Decents think there's something of AI worth saving, which is partly why we're "agitated" about this.

Still, you'd have to actually read what we're writing to realise this, rather than just penning off the first load of bollocks that enters your head.

2/08/2010 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most Decents think there's something of AI worth saving, which is partly why we're "agitated" about this."

We had to bomb this village to save it.

2/08/2010 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous KB Player said...

"And she hates Tariq Ramadan, which can only enhance her standing with HP Sauce."

Please tell me what is loveable about Tariq Ramadan? I have a prejudice against a bloke who thinks we should perhaps push the pause button on stoning women for a wee while anyway. But maybe it’s a girl thing to feel that way.

"Decents automatically hate Amnesty per se, for the reasons stated by AA above, and have been agitating about Begg for fucking ages. lurking behind ALL of it is the idea that these people (suspected terrorists) don't deserve human rights."

If you read a fair amount of the comments the good liberals, including myself, are saying over at Decentville they are:- “I pay my subscription to Amnesty – should I cancel it?”. I doubt if you’d normally find a gang of people paying subscriptions to support bodies they hate. In other comments you will see it stated that of course terrorists, or people suspected of terrorism deserve human rights when they’re victims of various injustices. However theocrats are bad advocates for human rights since they only recognise rights applying to males who share their particular ideology.

2/08/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

Ferguson on Kissinger

I can hardly wait.

2/08/2010 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had to bomb this village to save it.

Yes, because pushing for AI to disassociate itself from Begg is akin to demanding it stop all of its work.

Highbrow reasoning indeed.

2/08/2010 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

KB Player...

I have a prejudice against a bloke who thinks we should perhaps push the pause button on stoning women for a wee while anyway.

I've no love for the guy, but this is always phrased sloppily. He's said that he's "against the implementation of all corporal punishment and the death penalty", and "the moratorium...is a pedagogical way to help the Muslim minds and societies to understand that we have to stop". However you feel about such a strategy - appalling that the issue needs a strategy, but, to the shame of those involved, it does - it's only fair to make it clear that he's opposed stonings himself.

2/08/2010 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

To be fair, I think that the Saucers are every bit as genuinely concerned about this horrific Amnesty injustice as they were about previous terrible revelations about Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross and others.

I well remember their not at all overblown not-hate campaign against HRW because one of their military analysts collected WWII memorabilia. Their concern for the good work and reputation of HRW was truly touching, and was so obviously unconnected to any HRW reports criticising nations that HP supports unconditionally. You could tell from the tone of the discussion, which was so reasonable, sane and proportionate.

And back when David T. was heavily implying that the Red Cross collaborated with Hezbollah to attack their own ambulance, just to make the IDF look bad... That was a genuine outbreak of concern for the good work and reputation of the IRC, and not an obviously bullshit propaganda wheeze. Again, not overblown, insane or politically-motivated at all.

I could go on, but you can imagine how seriously I'm taking this present outbreak of bed-shitting at HP. I'm especially touched by the heartfelt concern expressed over Amnesty's good works and reputation, which are surely entirely genuine and not just insultingly obvious cover for today's excuse to put the boot into AI for political reasons at all.

Why, what kind of cynic would believe that a website with this kind of history would dishonestly blow up a controversy into an OMG ISLAMIST BASTARDS WILL EAT YOUR FACE scandal with the deliberate intention of undermining a human rights organisation? Not me, for one.

2/08/2010 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that is how you feel KB Player, but other people seem to feel differently. I headed straight to the "Back to Amnesty International You Bloody Hypocrites Reinstate Gita Sahgal" Facebook Page, as advised by DecentCentral. There I found a statement by its co-founder, Mr N Cohen, about the " moral disintegration of Amnesty International ". On the "reinstate Gita" Facebook page there were only two "discussion" comments. Both ere about the Jenin massacre. One said "Amnesty together with HRW, the BBC etc are engaged in a conspiracy to delegitimise Israel and have been doing so for years" The other talked about Amnesty's " smugness and patently clear agendas" re: making up things about Israel. Somehow, all this does not suggest to me that there is a great deal of affection for Amnesty in this campaign. Equally, the comments at HP sauce contain, as always, a lot of ugly ranting against Amnesty which also does not suggest an urge to help the organisation.

Ann On

2/08/2010 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

being of somali descent i've always wondered why sections of the left fawn over ayaan hersi ali...whilst at the same time ignoring other somali femenists such as Nagaad (http://nagaad.org/lag/index.php)

There are plently of somali womens gruops in the UK who hold umbrella meetings with other womens gruops from different backgrounds...again this is totally ignored by decents...

2/08/2010 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...oh BTW you guys do know that ayaan lied to get asylum...she wasn't running away from a forced marriage, or war, or poverty...

you can watch the zembla doc. here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O14w8AUyP-0&feature=related

2/08/2010 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous KB Player said...

I notice that whenever the subject of Ayaan Hirsi Ali comes up everyone suddenly becomes incredibly legalistic and law abiding when it comes to Dutch immigration laws and announces that "she lied to get asylum". Usually the immigration authorities are seen as a bunch of miserable authoritarians but suddenly they turn into the benchmark of all virtue, and if you lied to them it's as if you kicked Nelson Mandela's stick out of his hands.

2/08/2010 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More on the neo-con opportunist

The Strange Journey of Ayaan Hirsi Ali: From Devout Muslim to Outspoken "Feminist" Critic of Islam

http://www.alternet.org/rights/66830/?page=entire

The Washington Post's Neely Tucker wrote that "Muslim women of her complexion, whom she says she wants to rescue from Islamic oppression, tend to recoil" from her message. Neely quotes a report by Dutch author Ian Buruma about a screening of Submission for a group of abused Muslim women at a Dutch shelter:

When one of the women stressed her objections, Hirsi Ali dismissed her with a wave of her hand and, "So long, then."

"It was this wave, this gentle gesture of disdain, this almost aristocratic dismissal of a noisome inferior, that upset her critics more than anything," he writes.

In her review of Hirsi Ali's The Caged Virgin, Fareena Alam offered her take, from the perspective of a Muslim woman:

It's obviously what I've been waiting for all my life: a secular crusader - armed with Enlightenment philosophy, the stamp of the liberal establishment and the promise of sexual freedom - swooping into my harem and liberating me from my "ignorant", "uncritical", "dishonest" and "oppressed" Muslim existence. At least that is what Ayaan Hirsi Ali thinks I've been waiting for. [The book claims to] unveil the sexual terrorism she says is inherent in Islam. In reality, it is a smash-and-grab aggregation of inconsistencies, platitudes and poor scholarship.

2/08/2010 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are plently of somali womens gruops in the UK who hold umbrella meetings with other womens gruops from different backgrounds...again this is totally ignored by decents...

Whereas it's never off the pages of this blog, for example.

FlyingRodent,

It's very simple. It's either right for AI to use Begg as a poster boy, or it is wrong. It can't be rendered right because of something somebody at HP once said about HRH or the IRC.

You really won't wake up a Decent in the morning just because you take the rather obivous step of agreeing AI shouldn't touch Begg with a barge pole.

All this intellectual gymnastics is in danger of seeing you disappear up your own arsehole.

Again.

2/08/2010 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Hello to KB Player, nice of you to join us. I've just hopped over to HP Sauce as both Neil D and Brownie decided to have a go at me in their comments; Brownie said that he expected better of me. Oh well.

I don't think I've defended myself as well as I ought to have done. After all, I'm more annoyed by the tone of the commentary, than what is being commented on. Ms Saghal may actually be right about this being an error of judgement on Amnesty's part, but I wish someone would give some credible evidence for this. Having read Harry's Place I had to go to cageprisoners.com myself where I found Jihad - The Solution? which tries so hard not to say what it means that it's completely opaque.

I'm quite willing to be persuaded that Mr Begg is not a nice guy, but who works with prisoners in the belief that they're all going to be topping fellows?

As for Ms Ali, the reason her own lying to get asylum gets mentioned is because she seems keen to deny asylum to others. If you act in one way yourself, and then hold others to a higher standard, your own actions do get held against you.

Here's a post what I wrote a couple of years ago, partly about Ms Hirsi Ali. Seriously, contrast what Timothy Garton Ash says about her with what Nick Cohen says that he says. Having a sensible discussion with Nick Cohen about this sort of thing seems to be impossible now.

And as for that Facebook group... Calm down already.

2/08/2010 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Wrestling Dick said...

Amnesty Jhal Frezi
Ingredients

* 250g Ghee, plus 1 tbsp extra for smoking the charcoal
* 10 Green cardamom, split
* 6-8 Cloves
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 2 Bay leaves
* 10 Black peppercorns
* 3 large red Onions, very finely chopped
* 2 tbsp ground Coriander
* 1/2 tsp Turmeric
* 1-3 tsp Chilli powder, to taste
* 6 cloves Garlic, crushed to a paste
* 4 cm Ginger, finely grated
* 1kg lamb or mutton, cut into thin slices
* 250g Tomatoes, diced
* 50-75g raw papaya, finely grated (optional)
* 300ml lamb stock or brown stock
* 300ml lamb stock or brown stock
* 1x 4 cm piece charcoal
* 1 tbsp chopped Coriander, to garnish

Conversion Calculator
Close
Conversion calculator
Quantity

from

Kilos (kg)Grams (g)Pounds (lb)Ounces (oz)Litres (l)Milliletres (ml)Fluid ounces (oz)PintsTeaspoonsTablespoonsCelsiusFahrenheit
to

Kilos (kg)Grams (g)Pounds (lb)Ounces (oz)Litres (l)Milliletres (ml)Fluid ounces (oz)PintsTeaspoonsTablespoonsCelsiusFahrenheit
Go

Result: 00.00
Method
1. Heat the ghee in a large and sturdy casserole, and once hot, add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and peppercorns and fry until they start popping and give off a nutty aroma. Add a large pinch of salt followed by the onions and cook, stirring, until they turn golden brown.

2. Mix the ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder with a little water to form a spice paste. Add this to the pan and stir well.

3. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Add the lamb pieces, one by one (this keeps the oil temperature hot) - stir well to coat all the meat with the spices.

4. Add the tomatoes, papaya and stock, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes if using the papaya, or 45-60 minutes if you're not. Check that the lamb is tender.

4. Once cooked, smoke the dish. Heat a piece of charcoal either in a hot oven (preheated to 220C/gas 7) or over a gas flame. Using tongs (take care), transfer the coal to a small metal dish, which is sitting on top of the curry. Heat the ghee in a small pan, and when hot, pour it over the coal. Immediately seal the pan with aluminium foil and a tight-fitting lid. Leave on one side for 1-2 minutes - the smoky flavour will, by now, have infused the meat.

5. Remove the lid and foil and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve with Indian bread.

2/08/2010 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Wrestling Dick said...

If you squint and tilt your head to one side it's on topic,ok?

2/08/2010 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, AI needs to shut up already about someone who's been imprisoned without trial and tortured, because he's not very nice and has some odious political opinions? Where does that leave the concept of human rights, exactly?

Newsflash, HP - the 'not very nice with odious political opinions' are the ones who always get picked up first. They don't come for us lot until they've got the next cell ready for Pastor Niemoller.

They don't come for cheerleaders like HP at all, of course, which might explain the decents' willingness to piss on the concept of human rights in order to attempt to gain some short-term political advantage.

Chris Williams

2/08/2010 07:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark T said...

So, AI needs to shut up already about someone who's been imprisoned without trial and tortured, because he's not very nice and has some odious political opinions? Where does that leave the concept of human rights, exactly?

FFS, read what HP have actually written. Here it is.

It is right that Begg should be heard. It is absolutely wrong to partner with Begg and his pro-Awlaki Cageprisoners campaign.

How exactly is that suggesting that AI should 'shut up' about the issue of Guantanamo?

Honestly. It's like HP is some phantom boogie monster which berks can attribute fantasy arguments to.

2/08/2010 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, AI needs to shut up already about someone who's been imprisoned without trial and tortured, because he's not very nice and has some odious political opinions? Where does that leave the concept of human rights, exactly?

In better shape than your powers of reasoning.

Begg is a free man, so AI don't need to campaign on his behalf. But if AI want to highlight his case as a grand exemplar of what shouldn't happen, then terrific.

Of course, AI's highlighting of Begg's case is not the source of any objection from HP, Bright or Cohen. It's their use of him as a poster boy, a quasi-spokesman and proxy campaigner that sticks in the collective craw.

If you're still not getting it, imagne Liberty highlighting David Irving's sundry travails as he attempts to exercise his right to free speech. "Fair enough," you might say. Now imagine them using Irving to front one of their campaigns.

Are you getting it now?

2/08/2010 08:16:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

Amnesty have now been subjected to the Wagging Finger of Geras. That'll larn 'em.

2/08/2010 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Should be heard' in a lovely abstract way, but not here, not now, not where anyone is likely to pay attention.

Oh the concern, it burns.

Chris Williams

2/08/2010 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Wrestling Dick said...

What does a troll have to do to get some attention round here?
Say,I like wrestling with attractive young females.Are any of you attractive fema..?Gosh darn it!
What I mean to say fellahs is,do any of you guys know any attractive fem.... Who am I kidding.

2/08/2010 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Williams -

It is perfectly possible for AI to highlight the abuses of Guantanamo - and to present the case of Begg, and hear his story - without partnering with his deeply unpleasant organisation.

You, evidently, seem unable to grasp this rather basic distinction.

Why?

2/08/2010 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps because the phrase 'partnering with', and all the rest of the guilt by association which is the decents' stock-in-trade, has been hyper-inflated to the point of uselessness by Eustonian idiots? There's such a thing as negative credibility, you know, Anon. Or maybe you don't.

Chris Williams

2/08/2010 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps because the phrase 'partnering with', and all the rest of the guilt by association which is the decents' stock-in-trade, has been hyper-inflated to the point of uselessness by Eustonian idiots? There's such a thing as negative credibility, you know, Anon. Or maybe you don't.

Chris Williams

2/08/2010 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

It's either right for AI to use Begg as a poster boy, or it is wrong.

Aye, you're with us or against us. I think it's very risky myself, but then, there's really no-one else they can ask, because so many of the inhabitants of the American black prison network have been either a) murdered/tortured to death or b) disappeared into a legal black hole, never to return. It's Begg or bugger all.

It's worth noting though that the reason it's risky to use this witness to the black prison network isn't so much because of his nutty views - grown-ups probably sort of expect Gauntanamo detainees to have some psycho ideas. It's risky because it leaves them open to attacks from nasty, witch-hunting freaks of the HP genus.

It can't be rendered right because of something somebody at HP once said about HRH or the IRC.

Again, true. Of course, the question I was answering was, roughly, "Are HP motivated by concern for Amnesty's good works and reputation?" and the answer is "Ho ho ho, are they fuck - they're motivated by their desire to fuck over every HR outfit that doesn't spend 100% of its time CONDEMNING! Islamonutters and cheering for supposedly humanitarian bombing campaigns and war. if it wasn't this, they'd be banging on about something else".

Now that is a simple, uncontroversial truth, if ever one was stated.

2/08/2010 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

imagine Liberty highlighting David Irving's sundry travails as he attempts to exercise his right to free speech.

Honk! It's that Rhetorical Nazi Comparison again. I'm afraid you lose all the money you've won so far.

2/08/2010 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Actually, this is not strictly true. It's the old "Arsenal ARE a good football team " or "Arsenal IS a good football team" dilemma.

No dilemma at all. It's longstanding US usage to refer to sports teams in the singular, longstanding UK usage to refer to them in the plural.

2/08/2010 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, the question I was answering was, roughly, "Are HP motivated by concern for Amnesty's good works...blah

Here's a thought: leave the HP obsession to one side for a pico-second and consider the AI-Begg love-in on its own (de)merits. Pretend you don't know what the HP line is, you've walked into your local paper shop and the newsagent has just asked your opinion on this unholy alliance as he hands you your ordered copy of Hustler.

As you fumble with the brown paper bag, you gather your thought and the Flying Rodent repsonse is...???

It's that Rhetorical Nazi Comparison again.

Eh? It's a perfectly valid and if you look at the sorts Liberty have been associating with recently not entirely unrealistic hypothetical. It tests the principle perfectly.

It's only "rhetorical" in the sense you can't think of a suitable rebuttal.

The singular/plural charactersitics of Arsenal as a team unit or 11 distinct players comes from a copy of a book about grammar published sometime in the mid-50s. The singular usage may be more popular Stateside, but this doesn't invalidate the permissibility of its use over here.

2/08/2010 10:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps because the phrase 'partnering with', and all the rest of the guilt by association which is the decents' stock-in-trade, has been hyper-inflated to the point of uselessness by Eustonian idiots?

What the fuck!?

I mean, Amnesty International ARE actually partnering with Cage Prisoners.

This is a fact.

Just for one second, could you put aside your evident monomania with Eustonites and consider this case on its own merits?

Christ on a bike.

2/08/2010 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the answer to the question "Why don't you pay any attention to what Harry's Place says about AI?" It remains a damn fine answer.

As for the question "What might be wrong with what AI are up to right now?" I refer you once more to what the Rodent wrote above about their limited options, given the fact that most 'of the inhabitants of the American black prison network have been either a) murdered/tortured to death or b) disappeared into a legal black hole, never to return..'

HTH.

CW

2/08/2010 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

...you gather your thought and the Flying Rodent repsonse is...???

...In my previous comment, for the world to see?

And the Oooh, what's your boner for HP stuff, while hilarious and inventive, would be more apt if they weren't directly quoting my comment and others on this thread today as some kind of horrifying, handbag-clutching outrage, no?

2/08/2010 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I refer you once more to what the Rodent wrote above about their limited options, given the fact that most 'of the inhabitants of the American black prison network have been either a) murdered/tortured to death or b) disappeared into a legal black hole, never to return..'

Oh look! Its another person equivocating between AI presenting Begg's testimony, and, y'know, partnering with his jihadi-sympathising organization.

What is it? Is it people being utterly thick, or disingenuous?

2/08/2010 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Pretend you don't know what the HP line is

why on earth would I do that?

you don't get it do you? HP have already shat the bed and it cannot be unshat. Precisely because of everything they have been saying about Amnesty (HRW, the Red Cross, the United Nations) for the last seven years, I don't want to hear what they're saying now.

And this "partnered" thing is clear horseshit. It was horseshit when people were concern-trolling over Gerry Adams and the Birmingham Six and it's horseshit now. If you can find evidence of Moazzam Begg advocating violence from an Amnesty meeting, bring it. But you can't, because he hasn't.

As you can see from this thread if it was read in full, rather than in the wholly dishonest edit that Harry's Place made of it, nobody at AW was at all thrilled about the way in which AI handled this affair. But hey, now, let's talk about the way in which Harry's Place have handled it.

"Badly".

2/08/2010 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Begg or bugger all.

No it's not.

It's

A) present Begg's views as part of a campaign against detention without trial and become a formal partner of his noxious organisation.

Or

B) present Begg's views as part of a campaign against detention without trial and DON'T become a partner of his noxious organisation.

A fairly simple choice, despite the frantic smokescreening and clouding of the issue going on here.

2/08/2010 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I refer you, anon (crazy name man - really ups your cred) back to my response earlier, wherein I pointed out that if AI need to sit behind a table next to Begg to keep the issue of the

ACTUALLY EXISTING HABEAS CORPUS-BUSTING TORTURE GAOLS

on the agenda, that seems entirely reasonable to me, and were they to pussyfoot around releasing some press release about MB's case which merely joined their unread stack (like all that slagging off of the Saudis and Hamas which is apparently too low-profile for Saucies to notice) they would be failing in their responsibility to advocate human rights. Rights are not just for nice people who've never put a foot wrong, love their mums, and wave all the right flags, they are for not especially nice people who may well have done something bad. If not for the latter, there really isn't much point in having them at all.

You see, liberty - if it means anything - means telling people things they don't want to hear.

CW

2/08/2010 11:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to hear what they're saying now.

Ah, brilliant. An explicit admission that you're just going to think the opposite of HP, whatever the issue is.

Well done. How adult of you.

2/08/2010 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if AI need to sit behind a table next to Begg to keep the issue of the actually existing habeas corpus-busting torture gaols on the agenda, that seems entirely reasonable to me, and were they to pussyfoot around releasing some press release about MB's case which merely joined their unread stack (like all that slagging off of the Saudis and Hamas which is apparently too low-profile for Saucies to notice) they would be failing in their responsibility to advocate human rights.

Yeah, because nobody had ever heard about Guantanamo before Begg started talking about it.

Laughable.

I'm interested to see if someone is going to defend the parallel example of AI touring Irving around as an official spokesman.

So far we've just had a rather pathetic claim of 'Godwin'.

2/08/2010 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, even HP has to be right sometimes. It's just that it's not worth reading because it's wrong so often. Negative credibility, see?

Unlike Aaro - and sometimes even still Nick - HP isn't worth Watching. The question is, is Bright's Decent Death Dive going to bring him into our envelope?

CW

2/08/2010 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike Aaro - and sometimes even still Nick - HP isn't worth Watching.

Well, given that Aaro has a piece in tomorrow's Times arguing exactly the same thing as HP, isn't this a gigantic red herring?

Or is his credibility now suitably negative?

2/08/2010 11:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This welcome and happy digression onto HP and why we feel the way that we do about it was actually brought on by that protean prankster 'anon' at 04:07:00 PM. There's your 'red herring' right there.

CW

2/09/2010 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Dear God, Aaro's column is even more bloody horrible than usual, by some distance. Precis - I hit Amnesty when I'm annoyed, because I love her.

Oh, and liberals think Moazzam Begg is a "Muslim Mandela"... (Facepalm) Google says - three hits for "Muslim Mandela" Begg; that post by Aaro, one by me and one by wingnut loons. So many people think it that none of them have said it, it seems.

Perhaps in Dave's mind there is no difference between "liberals" and "retarded assclowns". Lots of folk hold that opinion, although we tend to call those people "right wing blowhards" rather than set them up as the embattled voice of the true left.

I've got folding money here that says the vast majority of people who have heard Begg speak see him as merely a former inmate of a vast, American clandestine extrajudicial detention, torture and murder network that seems to have somewhat slipped off Aaro's radar, for some reason that I can't fathom at all.

Wait, I can fathom it - not content with bumfucking their own reputations as reasonable human beings, are Aaro et al now determined to bring down everything they can grab with them, in the hope that the anti-fascist, anti-Islamist org of their dreams will magically pop into existence at the Rapture?

Yes, I actually think they are.

2/09/2010 12:32:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

If you think Aaro's column is bad I would like to direct you to the the second post in the comment box which was written by Martin Bright.

Galloway is one of a handful of high profile egregious politicians who have defended the enemies of Western values & assiduously promoted groups which are obviously evil. The best example is the terrorist group Hamas, which shares many Nazi values, but cannot call on a Wagner figure to demonstrate its cultural superiority. Admittedly Hamas has devised new ways of murdering its political rivals, that the Nazis would admire. Otherwise they're just sub Nazis, who would have never made the grade in the 1930s. Galloway is a sub politician who has not made the grade outside his little comfort zone. And we all know the type of people who live in Tower Hamlets.

Nurse the screens!

2/09/2010 01:05:00 AM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

"the type of people who live in Tower Hamlets..."

Considering how free and easy Martin is with deleting comments that he disagrees with...

That's one to add to the "Decent Racism" post, if it ever appears.

2/09/2010 01:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they haven't dragged in the case of the late Helmut Clissmann who helped found the Irish section of Amnesty International.

He was a reformed Nazi who had been tortured by the British at the end of the war. Clissman thought this should not happen to another human being, but this wouldn't save him from the Eustonian dog pack either.

2/09/2010 01:18:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

I accidently missed the final sentence of the Bright comment though I not sure it makes much difference to the very dodgy tone of his post. The sentence is:

Reputedly the most corrupt constituency in the UK.

2/09/2010 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Plus 3 usages of the word 'nazi' in 6 lines.

Eat your heart out Mad Mel.

2/09/2010 01:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

I can see why HP isn't watched more, other than to point out the latest horrific comment there, if the quality of the concern trolls here is any gauge. An entire community that seems to think snide insinuations, misquotes and constant repeats of Scary Names and assertions of evil is the way to win a debate? Not so much shooting fish in a barrel as hacking of limbs of a horde of Black Knights all insisting it's merely a flesh wound a lot less nasty than "Begg's odious organisation".

2/09/2010 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I haven't read all the comments, sorry, but I have come over from HP and want to make the point that I *do* (broadly) support AI, I have been a member of AI for about 15 years (first joined at school but then let it lapse for a while) and have written letters/emails (not so many as I should) and done door to door collections for them. Yet I'm still concerned about these developments though I'm not saying the arguments all go one way.

2/09/2010 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

Fair enough Sarah - I think our points are more that:

1) Amnesty has always taken on unattractive cases (including David Irving) and never needs support more than when it is doing so. There's a legitimate debate to be had as to the extent to which organising joint events with Cageprisoners might constitute an implicit endorsement of their agenda, but the idea that someone like Moazzam Begg should be completely no-platformed is contrary to all Amnesty's principles. And

2) that in any such debate, the editors of Harry's Place have such a track record of bad faith and bad argument that such a debate should take place without them (and without Martin Bright, and without Nick Cohen). Two reasons for this; first, their track record of making ridiculous "fellow-traveller" arguments, and second their track record of totally spurious attacks on human rights organisations (cf, the Qana Red Cross fiasco).

2/09/2010 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

And individuals based on the flimsiest of internet research - remember the claim, parroted by David Aaronovitch who similarly made no attempt to check his facts, that the Chair of Christian CND as a vitriolic anti-semite (they got the wrong person).

2/09/2010 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

When he was putting together his week of lectures on the war against terror at UCL in 2007, the would-be bomber Abdulmutallab invited Begg, Qureshi, Ridley and that dangerous idiot George Galloway to speak. He did so because he knew that the cumulative effect of their commissions and omissions would be to radicalise his audience.

any evidence for that aaro? oh wait, here is all the evidence we need:

You have to be a something of a fool not to see it.

keeping up the voodoo histories approach i see.

from aaro's column - readable and fact-checked where lucy toube is neither - it looks like cageprisoners should probably be steered clear of, but that Begg himself is worth having on board to speak of his ordeals - the evidence for his continuing to be a jihadist as given by Aaro is pretty weak.

As for Bright, I always thought it was a danger going to work for Pollard. Looks like that's been proven right:

Galloway is a sub politician who has not made the grade
outside his little comfort zone. And we all know the type of people who live in Tower Hamlets


Putting aside the really dodgy Tower Hamlets reference, he does realise that Galloway also had a successful political career in Scotland for over a decade...? Whither the comfort zone now?

2/09/2010 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amnesty has always taken on unattractive cases (including David Irving) and never needs support more than when it is doing so.

There are still detainees in Gitmo. Amnesty is, to a greater or lesser extent, championing the cases of every detainee there. Any one of those detainees *might* be an even more unattractive character than Begg. So I guess there must be dozens of HP posts lamenting AI's campaign on behalf of Gitmo detainees?

Oh look - there's none.

Why is that?

Because HP isn't objecting to AI campaigning on behalf of ANYBODY detained without trial. It's saying that there are certain people who work well as campaign frontmen, and others who don't.

There's a legitimate debate to be had as to the extent to which organising joint events with Cageprisoners might constitute an implicit endorsement of their agenda, but the idea that someone like Moazzam Begg should be completely no-platformed is contrary to all Amnesty's principles.

No it's not. There is absolutely nothing in AI's constitution that says every person it has ever campaigned on behalf of is automatically granted a platform once they're released; that AI is compelled to use such people to front any one of their campaigns. This is abject nonsense. AI can and should select those who can best represent their aims. Anything that risks compromising the support upon which they depend for their very existence ought to be considered a bad move. Even if the worst of the allegations against Begg are unproven/false, there is enough out there that is part of the historical record that should have ensured AI didn't touch the guy with a barge pole.

This story isn't going away. A senior AI member (not an HP acolyte) has voiced concerns and been suspended as a result, and the national news media are picking this up. Whether you think AI are right in principle to use Begg is not longer the issue; AI have become the story, which in turn means the people on whose behalf they campaign are relegated to a footnote. It's a PR disaster.

Meanwhile, Cageprisoners basks in the glow of its association with a (the?) pre-eminent human rights campaign group on the planet.

Still, those guys at HP once confused a CND chair with an anti-Semite, so who give a shit, eh?

2/09/2010 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

@dd - thanks - I fully support defending the human rights even of the most unpleasant people but (on the basis of what I have read) I think AI should put more distance between itself and Begg/cageprisoners. Begg can say and do what he likes, within the law, so I don't think the phrase 'no platform' seems appropriate here. It's a phrase I associate with universities - I think it's appropriate for a university, or its societies, to invite a wide range of people with controversial views to speak. But AI has a very specific and of course admirable role and should therefore be more picky - not when it comes to defending people - just about whom it lionizes. I don't agree with everything above the line on HP (and I find some of the commenters' views offensive) but I think they are right to raise these issues.

2/09/2010 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Whether you think AI are right in principle to use Begg is not longer the issue

what is the issue now, then? I mean, the above is the issue that's been debated on here, not least by this all-new anono-troll.

What should we in fact be spending our time debating? What's stopping Begg's suitability being the issue? Aside from the apparently arbitrary decision of an anono-troll, that is.

2/09/2010 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting aside the really dodgy Tower Hamlets reference, he does realise that Galloway also had a successful political career in Scotland for over a decade...?

Hahahaha.

Flying Rodent, would you like to tell OC about Galloway's exploits in bonny Dundee or shall I?

2/09/2010 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'd first like to hear some more about GG's stellar political career in Dundee.

I'm not sure he could go back there without getting chibbed.

2/09/2010 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

notwithstanding dundee, he was an MP representing a Scottish constituency for a number of years, was he not?

2/09/2010 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

anono-troll

It's Alec MacPherson or Brownie - probably the former, from the general air of schizoid ho-ho concern-trollery with occasional condemnatory outbursts. None of the rest would give a damn that I'm Scottish or associate me with Dundee.

This story isn't going away... the national news media are picking this up... It's a PR disaster.

For some reason, I'm reminded of a shameful incident in my childhood where I held my brother's hands and made him slap his own face. Why are you hitting yourself? I'd ask, full of entirely fraudulent concern and barely concealed glee. Watch out, you might hurt yourself! (Slap!)

It's not an exact analogy, of course. I was about thirteen, and even at that age I probably didn't spend as much of my time on furious masturbation as Alec has in this thread so far, but it's close enough to make a point.

2/09/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

"And we all know the type of people who live in Tower Hamlets."

"Reputedly the most corrupt constituency in the UK"

To be fair, maybe they're talking about the Canary Wharf area.

2/09/2010 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FR, it's Brownie actually. I don't and won't ever have a Google account.

Didn't you tell me you once worked in / are working in Lochee?

Anyway, AI is now the story instead of the worthwhile work they do. There's probably a book somewhere that says the first rule of any NGO is that they must avoid becoming the story, or something like that.

2/09/2010 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the first rule of cheerleaders for repression is to make the NGO, not the repression, the story.

Chris Williams

2/09/2010 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

AI can and should select those who can best represent their aims

Let's have a serious debate about that, not including you, Brownie. There is a handbook, apparently, for NGOs which advises them to not include absurd concern-trolls in the process for making important decisions.

Would you like to go through a short list of the maniacs and racists that Harry's Place and Democratiya have allowed to be associated with them? I think it might be fun to do that one day when I've got a bit of spare time.

2/09/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I guess there must be dozens of HP posts lamenting AI's campaign on behalf of Gitmo detainees?" asks anono-troll, ironically.

Well actually I remember a recent post by Brett saying that we should either "shoot" anyone we thought were terrorists or "with a few reforms - we could just keep Guantanamo Bay".

On the more susbtantial issue of Martin Bright's 'type of people who live in Tower Hamlets' comment , I think it is likely that when Bright said "It is difficult to make a stand on these issues and keep one's friends on the left and in the human rights community", this was not just rhetoric. In his mind he may well still think he is on the left, but many will view him as that Specator blogger who hates Ken Livingstone - that is, they will view him as of the right. And as the effect on a journalist of his contacts on the left drying up and drifting off can be seen in this very unpleasant - bigoted really - comment. (word verification - honestly - "Dement")

Ann On

2/09/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy, see how easy it is to do? said...

And because we are all about accuracy on AW and don't like to see unpleasant stereotypes about the Scottish working class perpetuated:

I'm not sure he could go back there without getting chibbed.

Actually he was up there in November, speaking to university students, and so far as I can tell remained unstabbed.

I think a moderatorial decision has now come down - we seem to have more than one "anonymous" here, and I am getting confused over which of them is making these bigoted remarks. So from now on in, everyone has to sign their posts with a consistent name or pseudonym, either in the text or (preferably) by using the "Name/URL" option provided. This policy holds only for this thread, for the time being.

2/09/2010 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you like to go through a short list of the maniacs and racists that Harry's Place and Democratiya have allowed to be associated with them?

Unlike AI, we're not supposed to have a reputation to defend.

You didn't think that one through, did you, dd?

2/09/2010 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was me.

Brownie.

But I'm off now anyway dsquared you comments fascist!!!!!!!!!!

2/09/2010 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I see Yvonne Ridley has got into the comments now.

So what does he mean by the Tower Hamlets statement? I've read it a number of times and I'm not sure.

It was written at 11:34, so if it was NC we'd probably have an explanation.

I thought perhaps he meant something to do with corruption, but it doesn't fit. Nor does DA mention Tower Hamlets.

2/09/2010 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't entirely understand why Brownie thinks his website should not have a reputation, nor any need to defend it. If they keep on throwing ugly and hard-to-substantiate accusations, people have every right to question their reputation. I was watching "Witchfinder General" on the telly the other night, and surely the point of the drama is that Vincent Price and his cohorts are trying people as witches, claiming to protect men's souls, when they are actually wicked bullies. The witchfinders reputation is always an issue. The other day David T was accusing Mehdi Hasan on his New Statesman blog of being some kind of fundamentalist supporter of Iran's Ayatollah's - a ludicrous claim. I perhaps rather ham fistedly listed a selection of the absurd right wing, inaccurate and bigoted stances his website took, and invited him to defend them before he repeated his absurd attacks on Mehdi Hasan, and he shuffled off. So I can see that Harry's Place writers might find it hard to defend their websites reputation, but I don't see why they think they don't have to .

Ann On

2/09/2010 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

In the interests of transparency and accuracy, I should correct my earlier comment, and note that hotbed of corruption and some 'sort of people', Canary Wharf, whilst in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, is of course, in the constituency of Poplar and Canning Town, and thus not represented by Gorgeous George.

2/09/2010 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'm interested to see if someone is going to defend the parallel example of AI touring Irving around as an official spokesman.

Somebody needs a lesson in what "parallel" means, and perhaps some times to consider why the comparison is tired, wilfully tendentious and serves largely to obscure and weaken the point which it seeks to make. People are going to say not "he's a Nazi" but rather "hang on, he's obviously not, what a silly thing to say". Which is silly, isn't it?

2/09/2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Didn't you tell me you once worked in / are working in Lochee?

Not exactly - I lived there when I was studying at Dundee. I quite liked it then, but looking back it was a pretty rough area.

As I've said before, I think Amnesty's decision to work with Begg is risky (mostly because of how it will be received by dishonest twats and the political uses they'll make of it), but it's the only practical option given the size of the challenge i.e. convincing others to hold to account, or at least not impersonate, a superpower and its clandestine prison/torture and murder network.

I have absolutely no time at all for this bullshit narrative about how stories that damage human rights orgs organically appear in the papers from time to time. They just spring up without being pimped and pushed by anyone, serve nobody's political purposes and then disappear in a puff of their own self-selecting newsiness. Foof!

I have to say, I find this rhetorical gambit much more offensive than the old OMG The Red Cross Loves Hezbollah and are probably terrorists themselfs! stuff of yesteryear. At least then, it was clear that amateur propagandists were intent on smearing an NGO by appealing to lunatics and feigning disinterested curiosity when challenged.

With this story, I feel almost like I'm expected to believe that it isn't a bullshit circle-jerk and a deliberate stitch-up. That's even worse.

2/09/2010 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume that when Martin Bright wrote (again, assuming it was Mzrtin Bright)
"Galloway is a sub politician who has not made the grade outside his little comfort zone. And we all know the type of people who live in Tower Hamlets. Reputedly the most corrupt constituency in the UK"
he means to suggest that George Galloway was not legitimately elected : There have been a number of complaints about election irregularities in Tower Hamlets, so I think Bright is implying Galloway somehow fiddled the vote. This is rubbish of course , and likely to be the opposite of the truth. I think the thought process must have been - Martin Bright thinks Galloway is a midget who nobody would vote for - oh wait They did ! Must have been a fiddle by those "type of people". Martin may mean some kind of moral corruption as well - they voted for George, but only for morally corrupt reasons that don't count.
Either way, it is a nasty piece of bigotry about the wrong "type" of voter found in Tower Hamlets. Still, as he is prattling on about "the enemies of Western values", it looks like he has gone a little tonto.

Ann On

2/09/2010 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally I did a google search on "the enemies of western values" (using the inverted commas). Only 8 returns - first one a piece by Melanie Phillips.

Ann On

2/09/2010 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

There are two different issues here. The first is whether Amnesty should be associating with Begg and CagePrisoners - personally I don't really object to AI sharing a platform with Begg, for the reasons people here have stated. I think the comparison with David Irving is a bit spurious as what Irving went through is hardly comparable. I do think it is more questionable whether AI should be asssociating with CagePrisoners and I don't think it's unreasonable to raise it as a concern.
But then that raises the other question - if people do think Amnesty has gone too far then what is the best way to react. Now my AI membership lapsed a few years ago but I'm still of the strong opinion that they do a great deal of very valuable work, that the principles they stand for largely are the same as my own and that the people who run the organisation are most likely a pretty decent bunch and probably not a load of terrorist-huggers. I'm also aware, leaving aside the question of the Decents' attitute to AI and other NGO's, that there are a lot of unpleasant right-wing people who want to undermine AI, HRW, the ICRC etc. So while I might feel compelled to register a protest at AI's actions in this case I might also consider that they are probably guilty of an error of judgement rather than any wickedness, and I would probably want to stress that I still support the organisation, it's aims and most of the work it does and be mindful not to give any ammunition to it's enemies. Apart from anything else, I think that those in charge might be more inclined to take notice of such an approach.
And there is another point as well - about the treatment of Gita Sahgal. I've said before that it was probably a mistake for AI to suspend her, but if someone goes to the nation press and criticises their employer they must know that they are going to get in trouble for it, and are probably in breach of their employment contract. I don't doubt her motives for a moment but she chose to voice her views in the way she did and must have known she was jeopardising her career. That may make her stance appear even more admirable to some, but AI were perfectly within their rights to suspend her and I find the way that she has been portrayed as some kind of modern day Rosa Parks absurdly over the top.
So, if Brownie is still reading, can you really not see why the tone which HP has adopted on this issue might raise the shackles of some of us? And it most certainly does seem that HP is always very quick to run stories against AI, HRW etc., and is always ready to assume the worst, but has very few if any posts supportive of their work or specific campaigns - so our natural reaction when HP runs another story about AI is to be, er, sceptical at least.

2/09/2010 01:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

With this story, I feel almost like I'm expected to believe that it isn't a bullshit circle-jerk and a deliberate stitch-up. That's even worse.

What, so HP twisted Sahgal's arm, you mean? Or she thought everything was fine and dandy at AI until she woke up one morning, wandered over to HP and fell for our agenda? I'd like to think we were that influential, but I reckon it's a safe bet she arrived at the conclusion that AI's association with Begg and Cageprisoners was a 'bad thing' all by herself. Word has it she is far from alone in that view within the upper(ish)-echelons of AI and it will be intersting to see how things play out in the next couple of weeks.

If more criticis emerge from within AI, will this be further evidence of HP's insidious influence or a sign that something really is wrong?

As I've said before, I think Amnesty's decision to work with Begg is risky, but it's the only practical option given the size of the challenge

Oh, spare me. AI existed and was doing just fine before its association with Begg, and it will no doubt continue to do so once this partnership has formally dissolved. Whatever your personal view of Begg, AI and HP, you're not going to seriously deny that the focus has shifted away from the injustice of detention without trial to this little sideshow, are you? Whatever the rationale for using Begg as their poster boy, it plainly hasn't worked. In fact it's spectacularly backfired.

Leaving aside AI for a minute, one corollary of this AI-Begg love-in is the implicit edorsement of Cageprisoners as a human rights campaign org of some repute. Even if you think AI has not been harmed in all this, surely you agree CP is not what it can now justifiably claim on the basis of its relationship with AI? This, alone, should be enough to convince you that it would have been better had AI stayed clear of Begg.

Lastly, you keep referring to past criticisms of sundry NGOs but don't appear to have grasped that this recent strategy of AI is grist to that mill. AI survives on its reputation and its ability to function and agitate for change correlates directly with the public's perception of AI as an entirely apolitical org campaigning for human rights without fear or favour. This association with Begg, Sahgal's suspension and the inevitable MSM articles compromise that perception, and you ought to be able to recognise that even if your personal view is that AI should have been able to use Begg.

2/09/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

repost: "the first rule of cheerleaders for repression is to make the NGO, not the repression, the story."

Chris Williams

2/09/2010 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

So, if Brownie is still reading, can you really not see why the tone which HP has adopted on this issue might raise the shackles of some of us?

Yes I can. Here's what I expected at AW, for example:

"See what those wankers at HP are up to now? Shat the bed...royally buttfucked...right-wingnuts...etc., etc....."

Followed by:

"Mind you, what the fuck are AI playing at? Are they stupid?"

Rather, that's what I hoped for rather than expected. I actually expected exactly what you can read in this thread.

2/09/2010 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Y'know Brownie, you've been around the internet for long enough to know that making entirely anonymous postings is not only fairly poor etiquette generally, but is not much liked on this website in particularly. You nevertheless chose - wholly unnecessarily - to do so, which doesn't much undermine your reptuation for being something of an arse.

Real trouble with you and your chums is, though, you're always ready to turn a serious issue into a hue and cry.

2/09/2010 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brownie, were you expecting us to express hostility against your posterboy Bright's late-night slur against the inhabitants of Tower Hamlets? Or was that unexpected? Do tell.

Chris Williams

2/09/2010 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Brownie,

I think Amnesty are guilty of poor judgement, and several ohers here have made the same point.

Meanwhile your toilet bowl of a blog currently has as its banner the amnesty candle being extinguished, and beneath it your horrible mates chuntering on about how AI is now little more than a Taliban front.

No-one has bothered to consider sensibly why Amnesty might want involvement with Begg, other for the sheer love of fascism. No-one bothers to mention all the work Amnesty is currently doing for the victims of Islamist regimes, which you'd have thought HP should support.

But no, that's all omitted, and instead you go guns-blazing towards the most extreme and dramatic conclusion you can, that Amnesty are all hypocritical anti-Western bastards who we'd be well rid of.

2/09/2010 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

Y'know Brownie, you've been around the internet for long enough to know that making entirely anonymous postings is not only fairly poor etiquette generally, but is not much liked on this website in particularly. You nevertheless chose - wholly unnecessarily - to do so, which doesn't much undermine your reptuation for being something of an arse.

Christ Justin, I volunteered who I was both in this thread and in the HP thread that links to this post - one contributor asked why I wasn't discussing this at AW and I asked who he thought Anonymous was.

I don't have a Google a/c and I just defaulted to anonymous. The first time someone openly queried who I might be - "Alec or Brownie" - I told them.

Real trouble with you and your chums is, though, you're always ready to turn a serious issue into a hue and cry.

Whereas you like to make a big deal out of mere trivialities.

Folk, eh?

It's me, Brownie, by the way.

2/09/2010 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Bitheway, I will pip the coveted 100th comment (and put up a front page post as soon as practical, which might be a while), by noting that the "What About David Irving Eh? Eh?" line does not have to be couched in the counterfactual conditional. Does anyone want to google "Harry's Place Geert Wilders"?

2/09/2010 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

I think Amnesty are guilty of poor judgement, and several ohers here have made the same point.

Have they? I've seen "questionable" and "risky", but not "poor". I can't be arsed to trawl the thread to discover for sure, but even if "poor" was written, I'm fairly certain it wasn't written by "several" others.

No, the narrative has been very much one of "AI can choose who they like/Begg makes perfect sense and HP are neo-con racists." And something about 'bed-shitting' that seems to appear whenever HP is discussed at AW.

Meanwhile your toilet bowl of a blog currently has as its banner the amnesty candle being extinguished, and beneath it your horrible mates chuntering on about how AI is now little more than a Taliban front.

Of course this is pure fantasy. CP is in the running for being a Taliban front and Begg is its most celebrated director. Which writer is claiming AI is a "Taliban front"?

No-one has bothered to consider sensibly why Amnesty might want involvement with Begg, other for the sheer love of fascism.

Again, this is invention. No-one is accusing AI of loving fascism. We've made it clear the Begg alliance is a strategic blunder by AI that risks compromising its reputation.

No-one bothers to mention all the work Amnesty is currently doing for the victims of Islamist regimes, which you'd have thought HP should support.

Not true. Some of the writers and commenters are AI subscribers (I'm not) and the work they do is mentioned in the posts and comments.

But no, that's all omitted, and instead you go guns-blazing towards the most extreme and dramatic conclusion you can, that Amnesty are all hypocritical anti-Western bastards who we'd be well rid of.

Again, the product of your over-active imagination.

If HP were half as bad as you lot claim, you wouldn't need to lie as much as you do.

Laters.

2/09/2010 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

...your horrible mates chuntering on about how AI is now little more than a Taliban front.


I suggest you read your own comment threads. All the regulars have been at it, and dissenting voices have been few.

We've made it clear the Begg alliance is a strategic blunder by AI that risks compromising its reputation.

Firstly - the candle graphic does not symbolise 'strategic blunder', it screams 'wholesale betrayal'. Even if you can't understand that I guarantee 99% of your readership can.

Secondly - if you're genuinely concerned about AI's reputation, then can I suggest that running an extend series posts in which you systematically trash it may not be the most productive way to proceed? If you're genuinely concerned, that is.

2/09/2010 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The centrepiece of the "Decent" campaign around Gita Sahgal is the Facebook Group started by Nick Cohen and Martin Bright. Nick introduces this with an essay talking about Amnesty's "moral disintegration" and notes "how everything started to go wrong for Amnesty in the middle of the last decade" before advising we all buy a copy of Standpoint magazine. Which makes it difficult to believe this is all a bit of friendly advice to AI.
I also imagine that Gita Sahgal may be uncomfortable with some of her new found supporters - there certainly is a hint of that at StroppyBlog, which is I think a deal closer to Saghal's Southall Black Sisters/Women Against Fundamentalism politics.

Ann On

2/09/2010 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

Brownie - No-one is accusing AI of loving fascism.

HP Regulars - For both Amnesty Intl and HRW, the common denominator is hatred of Israel (and of course Jews).....And the problem at Amnesty is a symptom of a far greater problem. Its called the Jewish problem.

I can't see any HP posters putting these commenters right, can you Brownie? Perhaps they're all too busy concern-trolling unserious blogs to notice what actually goes on on their own site.

2/09/2010 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

The Facebook group does seem to be at risk of having to learn again the old adage 'if you want a serious campaign never get Nick Cohen involved'. Who can forget 'Unite Against Terror', which simply turned into a hate-fest against a liberal-left that existed only in their heads?

2/09/2010 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

"Mind you, what the fuck are AI playing at? Are they stupid?"

Brownie, I didn't write that, and I'll try to give my reasons for not doing so.

1 This comes back to the singular v plural distinction which Justin raised in the first comment. You seem to assume there's a collective responsibility and possibly a Borg-like hive mind behind Amnesty. I don't. I think that Gita Saghal had a difference of opinion with one of more of her managers. I'm not going to say anything that implies that Amnesty is collectively stupid - even if I'm persuaded to share Sarah's concerns about whoever was responsible's judgement here.

1.1 I'm not going to assume that someone is stupid just because I can't work out their reasoning.

1.2 I haven't heard their reasons yet. I can take a guess at a few. Amnesty are probably overwhelmingly white and middle class (hey, like me!) and probably a bit trustarian at that. If I were a director at Amnesty, I'd want to reach out to 'minorities' too. The fact that someone like Moazzam Begg is a bit weird to me is actually an advantage. The fact is that Amnesty isn't communicating to minorities, so it needs someone who metaphorically speaks their language, which in turn means someone they can't understand all the time. In short, I believe they may have rational reasons for wanting to share a platform with Mr Begg.

2 Moazzam Begg has written for the Guardian. (I gave a link in my comment at HP.) While you, no doubt, think that CiF would happily print a article along the lines of "one day, white boy, you and all your kind will bow before Allah, and until then you will know no peace, ha ha ha!" However, in the pages of the Guardian, he managed to stick to his concerns about Guantanamo. I really see no good reason for believing that he won't do the same when/if he appears with Amnesty.

2.1 You and others have alleged that Cage Prisoners is a Taliban front. Do you have any evidence for this? I don't remember any in the Sunday Times piece, nor from you, or from Martin Bright.

2.1.1 Begg's Wikipedia page has a table of Begg's known and suspected contacts with extremists. "Knows some dodgy people" is really pretty weak evidence. I bet there a lots of entirely innocent and gentle Irish Catholics with just as many contacts with known IRA bombers/quartermasters etc. Al Capone knew a lot of people too; they were't all gangsters.

2.2 I really don't want to bounced into this ideological purity thing you and Martin Bright and others seem to have. I'm not going to give an account of everyone I associate with to you or to anyone else, nor would I expect it of anyone. Sniff, sniff, is he one of us? Really not my thing. In this, and you're going to hate me for saying it, you remind me of the SWP. You keep having these stupid causes to sign up to: Unite Against Terror, The Euston Manifesto, Nick Cohen's Facebook Against Amnesty. If I want to join a cult, the Scientologists are better looking.

3 I actually said, "I can understand Ms Sahgal's position" but clearly that wasn't the full-throated condemnation you'd accept as proper contrition on my part.
Finally, what the hell is a poster boy? I gather it's a boy who appears on a poster, but what do I know? - I'm just a blinkered idiot. And what was it Martin Bright suggested that Begg was that Saghal was not? A "darling of the human rights establishment"? what is that, exactly? These terms just sound like the sort of abuse you resort to when you haven't got any actual evidence.

I think that's enough for now.

2/09/2010 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

Firstly - the candle graphic does not symbolise 'strategic blunder', it screams 'wholesale betrayal'. Even if you can't understand that I guarantee 99% of your readership can.

Immediately prior to the AI image, the banner showed Clare Short present at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

I'll leave that thought with you, but I really think you're guilty of inferring more than anything we're doing justifies. It's a freakin' banner is all.

can't see any HP posters putting these commenters right, can you Brownie? Perhaps they're all too busy concern-trolling unserious blogs to notice what actually goes on on their own site.

Oh this. Take a few highly-selective comments, distill and you have the essence of HP. I haven't seen that one before. Bravo! It's a bit like me judging AW by the efforts of Chris Williams. I'm sure you'd agree this isn't fair?

And what's with this "troll" nonsense. I've tried to argue the case is all. I haven't strayed off topic or dissembled. Does taking a contrary position equate to trollery over here?

This conversation clearly isn't going anywhere, so I'll bow out now.

2/09/2010 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

It's a freakin' banner is all.

What utter bullshit. Its message could not be clearer.

2/09/2010 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point Brownie was making was that when they represented Clare Short as the Mad Hatter, they meant that they supported Clare fully, were impressed by her devotion to the welfare of Iraqis , and just wanted to help her clarify her thoughts. And advise her on headwear. In the same way they want to help Amnesty. Or something.

Ann On

2/09/2010 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

OK, I have to defend Brownie against accusations of trolling - he's defending his own blog which is fair enough.
But Brownie, do you really not get my point about the tone of HP's coverage of this issue? I mean you are quite right to point out that Amnesty is going to be damaged by this, so assuming that the HP authors are generally supportive of Amnesty, couldn't they have approached it in a way that still made their point but tried to minimise that damage?
Although I do have to say that in some cases I see no evidence that my above assumption is correct.

2/09/2010 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

And what's with this "troll" nonsense. I've tried to argue the case is all. I haven't strayed off topic or dissembled. Does taking a contrary position equate to trollery over here?

Brownie - I was using the term as defined in the Urban Dictionary; "In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with "concerns". The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you're an ally."

Your line was Most Decents think there's something of AI worth saving, which is partly why we're "agitated" about this.

Whilst on your blog post after post is aimed at discrediting or smearing both AI and HRW. If you care about AI AT ALL, why not tell it those readers of your blog who believe Jew-hatred to be its raison d'etre?

2/09/2010 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

Also Brownie - Oh this. Take a few highly-selective comments, distill and you have the essence of HP. I haven't seen that one before. Bravo! It's a bit like me judging AW by the efforts of Chris Williams. I'm sure you'd agree this isn't fair?

Considering HP did the EXACT same thing just yesterday in relation to this subject and this blog, I'm finding it hard to escape the conclusion that you are a either a very stupid hypocrite, or that even yourself can't be bothered to read the turgid drivel that spews from HP.

Is that fair?

2/09/2010 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former, I'd say. Like postmodernists, decents can't cope with the reflexive critique.

CW

2/09/2010 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

Whilst on your blog post after post is aimed at discrediting or smearing both AI and HRW.

Alternatively, back in our solar system, for the last couple of days since Sahgal went public we've run a series of posts criticising AI.

If you care about AI AT ALL, why not tell it those readers of your blog who believe Jew-hatred to be its raison d'etre?

What, all half-dozen of them?

Shorter Daniel:

I may be the editor of a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction, but you guys at HP are obsessively antagonistic towards NGOs.

you are a either a very stupid hypocrite

Bloody great big mote in thine eye, mate.

2/09/2010 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

"the editor of a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction"

Wow

2/09/2010 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I may be the editor of a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction

if Amnesty International linked to Harry's Place from their blog and had described you in favourable terms at one of their book talks last year, you might have a point, but in fact our relationship with Aaro and constructive criticism really doesn't provide a comparison that I think you would want to be making.

2/09/2010 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

In fairness Brownie, a quick click 'n' search brings up at least thirteen posts trashing the shit out of Amnesty so far this year, i.e. in just over a month. Half of them hail from before Sahgal was suspended. I'm no psychic, but I doubt the comments threads are any less wacky than the Fuck all you assholes headbangery in the one linking here.

I mean, to pick the first comparison that comes to mind, we're talking about the difference between trying to talk a mate out of driving home drunk, or beating the almighty shit out of him then phoning the cops and the newspapers.

2/09/2010 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

the editor of a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction

That's a pretty disgusting insinuation. I really don't think you would want to compare AW's and HP's record on tolerance of racism because you are not going to come out of it looking good.

Plus of course there is no need for anyone to discredit Aaro. He does a sterling job all on his own. Did you see his recent appearance on Newsnight? Paxman let slip that they had searched in vain to find a single international lawyer to provide balance to Sand's case that the Iraq war was illegal. The only person prepared to prostitute himself in the cause was Aaro. Says it all really.

2/09/2010 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the editor of a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction"

point of information: the only habitual Jew spotter round here is you. And it really is a kind of parlour game for you and your co-thinkers isn't it?

captcha: "rammin", ho ho.

rioja kid

2/09/2010 10:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

a blog which exists for the sole purpose of 'watching' and discrediting a single journalist of Jewish extraction

My goodness. Did Brownie screw the pooch there or what?

2/09/2010 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

That's a pretty disgusting insinuation.

Of course it is. But mischaracterisation of blogs and the motivation to write them appears to be the dominant theme today, witness:

"Whilst on your blog post after post is aimed at discrediting or smearing both AI and HRW."

There was a fairly significant story covered in the MSM over the weekend that HP had already been writing about earlier in the year (see FR's comment above). The catalyst for the Times picking this up was Sahgal going public and her subsequent suspension. Given our previous coverage, it's not altogether surprising that we would be giving this a great deal of attention right now. This time next week things will be different, just as this time last week the Begg-AI alliance didn't warrant a single keystroke.

Damn you to hell for making me trawl our crapped out archives, but listed below is HP's output by post summary for the same two-day period last week:

Chilcott
Greensboro sit-in
Hizb ut Tahrir at the LSE
BNP watching
Noting the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution
Anthony Julius article on anti-Semitism
Iranian democrats
University funding cuts
Football
Radicalisation in our unis
Brigt on his departure from the Staggers
Gordon Brown
Sharia in Indonesia
Phil Spencer at UCU
Allowing LGBTs to serve in the US military
Chilcot again
Proportional Representation
LSE and Hizb ut Tahrir
BNP watching again
The Pope and equality
MCB's attempts at restyling
BNP watching again again
Pakistani diplomat with a name meaning big dick in Arabic.
RObert Fine at the UCU
Suicide watch in Pakistan
Bright and the Staggers
Chabad and Jewish extremism

So what? So we're not a blog dedicated to discrediting NGOs, bashing "Mozzies", promoting a neo-con agenda, or any of the other misrepresentations you can read here or other places day in, day out, that's what.

Moreover, quoting one of our fruitloop visitors who has just scribbled some fuckwittery in an HP comments box is proof of nothing in particular, other than perhaps that there ought to be an IQ test before you can get broadband.

The point of my remark in my previous comment that alluded to this blog's nominal raison d'etre is not that the editors are self-evidently anti-Semites*, but that this kind of bullshit analysis based on selective reading can be just as easily and readily applied to AW. Any dumbfuck can do it, the question is why do you?

*For the hard of thinking, I'd like to clarify that I don't believe FR, or DD or any of the editors at this blog are anti-Semites. In fact, I don't think I've ever accused anyone of being an anti-Semite ever. Even anti-Semites.

2/10/2010 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Brownie - do you actullay believe all this stuff you're writing?

1. HP has a record as long as my arm of attacking NGOs, with vitriol, and on flimsy pretexts. See in particular a) the post about how the Red Cross bombed itself for its love of Hezbollah, b) the shit that gets thrown whenever Conor Foley crops up (including by contributors).

2. It's not one or two fruitcakes in the comment section who are laying into "Shamnesty", it is everyone there. No-one is offering any sort of defence or perspective or mitigation. It's just a bunch of clowns jumping over each other to stick the boot in.

3. You are encouraging people to join a facebook group premised upon the "moral disintegration of Amnesty International" who are "bloody hypocrites".

4. The banner for your blog is deliberately chosen to symbolise the death of AI and the betrayal of its principles.

5. The tone of the posts has not been of regretful or measured criticism, but unrestrained glee. "Dynamite!" Yeah! We really got them this time! And don't forget "Amnesty Hosts White Nutters Too!"

And you actually expect anyone to believe that this whole thing is intended as good-natured constructive criticism? Seriously?

2/10/2010 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Brownie, I don't want to join in the general piling on, but I do need to pick up this. The catalyst for the Times picking this up was Sahgal going public and her subsequent suspension

YOUR blog carried a Amnesty in Cageprisoners Row: Dynamite! at 10:33 pm on February 6th, which basically covers the story in the following day's Sunday Times. Martin Bright's blog carried an update: "STOP PRESS: 16.53 Sunday - Gita Sahgal has been suspended". Whatever else, you cannot argue that Ms Saghal's suspension was the catalyst for the Times story. And indeed she 'went public' by giving the story to the Times as far as I can see (it didn't appear anywhere else first). But I'll accept that you're having a bad day.

2/10/2010 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

Brownie - The point of my remark in my previous comment that alluded to this blog's nominal raison d'etre is not that the editors are self-evidently anti-Semites*, but that this kind of bullshit analysis based on selective reading can be just as easily and readily applied to AW. Any dumbfuck can do it, the question is why do you?

As I have already pointed out, and you have ignored: HP did it here in this anonymous post referring to this subject and to AW in particular. I applied the same treatment to HP and you cried foul. Like you always do.

You routinely treat other people both unfairly and despicably on your blog, then pop up in other peoples' comments boxes blubbing like a low-grade Alistair Campbell about how you're being misrepresented, even as you start chucking out nasty insinuations of anti-Semitism. Nice.

2/10/2010 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Brownie said...

As I have already pointed out, and you have ignored: HP did it here in this anonymous post referring to this subject and to AW in particular. I applied the same treatment to HP and you cried foul. Like you always do.

Let me get this straight: we did a post that consisted of Begg's letter to the Times, and quotes from sundry blogs. The AW citations were the comments of 4 AW contributors, 2 of whom are AW AUTHORS and one other (Andrew Adams) whom I would assume you'd agree is hardly an extreme example of your commentariat. (I know nothing about splinteredsunrise, and based on the comment we quoted don't wish to know any more than that).

The post, which you claim was the motivation for your application of the "same treatment", didn't contain a single word of comment from HP authors. Not one. It was Begg's letter and comments from blogs, and that's it. And here's you claiming that this justifies the dissembling and misrepresentation of HP you've pursued on this thread. I doubt even you believe this.

I was going to claim that you're incapable of a good faith discussion, but of course you're more than capable of it. It's just that where HP is concerned, you're not the least bit interested in having one.

For the record, I'd like to see a bit more balance in the covergae of AI at HP and some stress on the fantastic work they have done and continue to do. I don't think the current problems are symptomatic of a greater malaise and are nothing more than the result of a strategic blunder. I think most of the authors feel the same way, but I'd accept this hasn't exactly shone through. It's not for me to dictate how you frame your criticism, but such an observation was possible without the associated bullshit that's appeared in this thread.

even as you start chucking out nasty insinuations of anti-Semitism

Go fuck yourself, Daniel. My record on the whole 'screaming accusations of anti-Semitism' thing is pretty much unimpeachable: in 7 years of blogging, I don't think I've ever levelled that accusation at anyone. I was demonstrating how easy it is to mischaracterise a blog with a raison d'etre such as yours, in response to the ritual mischaracterisation of HP at AW.

I really am leaving it there. No, really I must.

2/10/2010 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

Er.... I'm not Daniel. You haven't really got the hang of this leaving names on posts thing have you?

And please excuse me while I laugh and laugh and laugh at the sight of an HP authour trying to lecture somebody else on the merits of arguing in good faith.

This one's a peach as well;

My record on the whole 'screaming accusations of anti-Semitism' thing is pretty much unimpeachable: in 7 years of blogging, I don't think I've ever levelled that accusation at anyone.

But you know a few people who do, don't you? Go on, get back in your box.

2/10/2010 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

"some stress on the fantastic work they have done and continue to do"
The fantastic work, of course, concerns official enemies like Iran, Cuba etc while the non-fantastic work concerns Israel, Guantanamo and so on. What you don't seem to consider is that if you devote vast amounts of effort to portraying an organisation as being stuffed with deranged extremists, this will reflect on the organisation as a whole, including the bits that you like.
Good to see there have been so many posts on the UCU at HP, however - I expect they have all focused on the current unprecedented attack on jobs and teaching standards in higher education. Gives the lie to all those naysayers who say that the only trade union issues HP is interested in concern Iranian bus drivers, eh?

2/10/2010 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

i don't know why any of you are bothering with this troll. last time i had an exchange with him, on liberal conspiracy, he repeatedly assured me that the honest folks at HP Sauce would never, ever, ever delete comments, only seriously racist ones, and that their intentions are always true and noble.

Of course when i ventured on there, with this different view of the site in mind, a bit later, everything i posted bar one comment was deleted, despite carrying no racism - just pointing out that Brett Lock's ideas that all pirates should immediately be shot dead because that kind of deterrent works, was wrongheaded.

That's before we get to the quite simply repellent smear campaigns against Mehdi Hasan, which even after it was clear that they were total bollocks are still being parroted by Lucy Lips/David toube; or, indeed, the smearing of events as 'extremist' because they happen to feature Yvonne Ridley (as happened in a Lucy Toube post a month or so ago, which was bizarrely not directed at the event's organizers but at Sunny Hundal).

Put simply, Brownie is, and always has been, either misinformed about his own website, to the extent of never reading it, or he's being actively deceitful in this exchange and elsewhere. From the antisemitism charge above, now recast as some sort of postmodern performance joke or something, i think we all know what it is.

2/10/2010 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

he antisemitism charge above, now recast as some sort of postmodern performance joke or something

"It was a JOKE! And you fell for it, like the FASCIST you are!"
- Rik, the Young Ones

2/10/2010 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Brownie,

I do wonder what the point of that post was. I have no problem with my comments being quoted - they are made in a public forum after all, (although that particular one was not specifically related to the Sahgal case and my comments which were sympathetic to her and, albeit mildly, critical of Amnesty were not quoted).
I mean was it to present other people's views as a genuine alternative or was it so say "these are the kind of people who are on the wrong side of this argument" with an unspoken invitation to the more unpleasant people in the comments box to slag them off?

2/10/2010 01:45:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home