Thursday, May 27, 2010

This week in Decent abuse of human rights organisations.

Remember, these people are passionate supporters of Amnesty International and the Red Cross, and only do this out of a Very Genuine Concern for their mission ...

I think this one can be chalked up to HP stupidity rather than anything else - failing to understand the principles on which ICRC operates.

But this one is clearly doing the rounds; I think Sunny is right here - Gita Saghal is really beginning to migrate from a place in which one had a lot of sympathy for her (albeit that she handled her dispute with very poor judgement) into a place in which she's actually providing negative value. Some of the things in that article just aren't true.

31 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

I don't suppose they could put Shelob's Lair behind a paywall?

5/27/2010 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Coventrian said...

Dave has tweeted

New York Times on how Pakistani elites blame America for everything, including Taliban bombings. http://nyti.ms/dtUFpq
about 23 hours ago via web

Slapped down by this

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/05/26/conspiracies/index.html

5/27/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Miles off topic, but does anyone know of Martin Bright's views on libel? He written Livingstone, you have libelled me. Apologise. (Cuddly Ken called him "a bit of an Islamophobe". (IANAL, but I feel the 'a bit' makes it pretty harmless.) Below the part clearly bylined Martin Bright is some background. (Bright is the political editor, someone else probably wrote this.)

Mr Bright said that Mr Livingstone was an influential public figure who “should not throw around such unfounded and potentially dangerous charges”.
Mr Livingstone was unavailable for comment.
The ex-mayor made the remark after being asked by his interviewer, the Telegraph journalist Andrew Gilligan, whether he was fond of a drink.
Mr Livingstone replied that “it was a smear by Martin Bright, who was basically a bit of an Islamophobe”.
Two years ago Mr Bright presented a Channel Four investigation which raised questions about Mr Livingstone’s record in office – including his welcome to the conservative cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who was subsequently banned from Britain.


Seems like tit-for-tat to me and some subjective interpretation of what 'fond of a drink' and 'a bit of an Islamophobe' mean. Some lawyers may make a bit of cash. I could be wrong, but the only point has to be to draw attention to KL's willingness to talk to "the Iranian government-backed English language channel, Press TV" and thereby to present him as freedom-hating supporter of Islamofascism and traitor.

5/27/2010 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Oh, and I stopped reading the Gita Sahgal piece when I got to Like all tryrants – whether of the right and left, Amnesty International raised the spectre of an assault on human rights to avoid answering questions and to imply that Amnesty International was under attack. It's just crazy that a so-called human rights organisation should pretend to care about human rights! How can they sink to this? Sir, human rights are the last refuge of a scoundrel!

5/27/2010 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Totally off topic, but now Aaronovitch is being walled off from decent folk, maybe you could just turn the whole operation into GoveWatch. Ticks most of the boxes, and there's even a decency connection.

Its just now that the bastard is in government and busy dismantling things for the good of the ideology I need somewhere to vent.

5/27/2010 01:50:00 PM  
OpenID yorksranter said...

the only point has to be to draw attention to KL's willingness to talk to "the Iranian government-backed English language channel, Press TV" and thereby to present him as freedom-hating supporter of Islamofascism and traitor.

Andrew Gilligan.

5/27/2010 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger John B said...

Is the point, nah? I thought there was an implicit "and Gilligan" to the site's premise, which is one of the reasons why I'm sad about its imminent death.

BTW, has anyone subscribed to the New Times? On the basis of the way the site looked once I'd made the "oi, you, subscribe!" box go away, it looks like websites would have looked in 1998 if newspapers had got their print graphic designers to try and replicate them as best as possible (rather than the actual scenario, that they stuck some appalling shite by someone's nephew up in Frontpage and after a bit someone said 'oh, yeh, design, we like that).

It's just about possible that if the Times had made this move in 1998, it might have worked...

5/27/2010 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous chocolate dipped pickels said...

That ICRC thing on HP Source is the most hilarious thing i've read in days.

I think Cian is right, GoveWatch could provide years on entertainment to come.

5/27/2010 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

It's the Ayaan Hirsi Ali career path: turn your personal traumas/bugbears into something that fits the GISOOT and watch the dollars roll in. Helps if you're not just another white male of course.

Fromt he start I suspected Gita Sahgal was acting more out of malice than dumbness, turning an internal dispute into a career launch.

5/28/2010 05:35:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I think Bright is like most Decents on libel - vocally supportive of attempts to reform it, but if anything like libellous comments come their way, throw their toys out of the pram, demanding apologies and writing usefully vague threats to go to court if the apology is not forthcoming. Since Bright says 'Ken comes close to endorsing suicide bombing', i don't think he's got a leg to stand on really.

Incidentally, Nick in Standpoint this month reads like someone who's losing his mind. apparently Sky News is as balanced as the BBC - and Nick uses the word 'retarded', too...

5/28/2010 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Fromt he start I suspected Gita Sahgal was acting more out of malice than dumbness, turning an internal dispute into a career launch.

I don't agree with your suspicion - I think these things always have a much more accidental nature. She lost her job and (probably) many of her friends simultaneously. It's not incomprehensible at all that she's going to be provding positive feedback to the only people who were being nice to her. I don't think Amnesty handled the case with great judgement either.

5/28/2010 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Gove's not a Decent, he's a neo-conservative.

5/28/2010 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Chocolate dipped pickles said...

"Gove's not a Decent, he's a neo-conservative"

a sort of honorary Decent though?

5/28/2010 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

Whenever I see Gove, I always think psychopath. It's his "thrust" and certainty. Does he ever blink?

5/28/2010 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Mike Gove, as he then mostly was, used to be an IT journalist & chair of the British OS/2 user group. This ought to give me a slight fondness for the guy, but doesn't.

The point about Decents was always that they adopted the Right's criticisms of the Left while proclaiming themselves to be on the Left - indeed, to be the true representatives of the Left. (Cf. the Cohen Death Spiral, whereby the righteous Decent can declare guilt by association with people who themselves were only guilty by association.) That's precisely why they were interesting.

If Gove had written an essay called "Can There Be A Decent Right?" he'd be interesting. But then he wouldn't be Gove.

5/28/2010 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

That parenthesis looks a bit odd. My point was that an approach like Cohen's - saying whatever he feels like about Chomsky and using 'Galloway' as a swearword - only makes sense if you share the assumption that Cohen is a true Leftist & entitled to rule on others' deviations.

5/28/2010 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Not just a neoconservative, but a true believer. His ideas on education are frightening, though fortunately he probably has the typical neoconservative's knack for implementation so it will probably end up a fiasco.

But its more a passing of the Torch thing. It seems a good time for Aaronovitch Watch to die. Labour lost, their ideas are not just discredited now, but actively ignored. Meanwhile a new breed of psychos are not just in place, but actively running things. And running at the front is Ollie Kamm's best mate (and ex-boss), Michael Gove. Signatory to the Henry Jackson Society and author of Celsius 9/9. And he scares me a lot more than the Decents ever did.

5/28/2010 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

by "their ideas" I mean the Decents. Its like aging anti-communists. Who cares?

Phil: Yeah you're right. I just really hate Gove. IT journalist? Really? He's never struck me as remotely technical.

5/28/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

GoveWatch sounds like quite an attractive project, although it would never be as popular due to not getting the benefit of alphabetical prominence in other people's blogrolls. perhaps someone should do it and use the taxi firm's trick and call it "AAAAAAAAAArgh! It's Michael Gove Watch!"

5/28/2010 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Cian, Celsius 7/7 surely? But an absolutely horrible title, so best to forget it altogether, eh?

Martin, like B2 I don't believe that Gita Sahgal acted out of malice. I'm sure she's sincere in her beliefs, it's just that they're not compatible with Amnesty International. I think she was badly advised and possibly led astray by language. (She insists that 'the senior leadership [of AI] decided to endorse him [Begg] as a human rights advocate' without giving any evidence of this. 'Endorse' and 'advocate' here sound like empty buzzwords to me. She doesn't say how he was 'endorsed' as an 'advocate' - I think she's talking about the response from Claudio Cordone which is a PDF linked from human-rights-for-all, but that says no such thing; it says rather the negative, that Begg isn't, to the knowledge of AI, actively against human rights. I get the impression that Ms Saghal doesn't like nuance much.)

5/28/2010 01:54:00 PM  
OpenID yorksranter said...

Mike Gove, as he then mostly was, used to be an IT journalist & chair of the British OS/2 user group.

That's incredible. You note that he's never demonstrated any sign of interest in this politically.

5/28/2010 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Chocolate dipped pickles said...

Goves attack on the geriatric Eric Hobsbawm has a Kammite ring to it. In fact Ollie has joined in as well (who'd of thought it), maybe instead we could have Kammwatch, but on second thoughts any analysis of Kamms writing might cause one to be bored to death.

5/28/2010 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Hopefully the firewall will extend to the blogs making KammWatch both impossible and redundant.

5/28/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Dave A on Twitter: Very interesting comment on Michael G's school plans from Matthew Taylor. http://bit.ly/cp8Di0 Taylor says, Michael Gove wants an open market in schooling, but markets only succeed if businesses are regularly allowed to fail. Children only have one education so we can’t be as relaxed about failure in schools as we might be about failure in the high street. There is absolutely no question that the combination of encouraging all manner of new entrants into school governance along with residualising the local authority role will lead to many more school failures (this is not scaremongering, it is the logical consequence of the policy).

I infer from this that, while DA and MG may agree on foreign policy, they are of different minds at home. Surprise, not!

For me the attraction of Aaro (and Cohen, World of Decency, etc) Watching is that my world view isn't all that different to theirs. I don't have many points in common with either Gove or Kamm. I suppose one of the reasons that the extract I've read from Martin Amis's Mohammed Atta book is that Amis really has no conception of what Atta was like, while Orwell has both O'Brien and Smith as mouthpieces and proxies for what he was like and believed in 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. (Likewise Ian McEwan's 'Enduring Love' was much more successful than 'Saturday' because McEwan has had interests both in New Agey thinking and rationalism - which 'EL' is supposed to be a conflict between - but no idea at all about the working class, criminals, etc, or for that matter, doctors.)

My 'watching' Kamm or Gove would largely consist of 'Rubbish' which wouldn't be edifying or interesting to write.

5/28/2010 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I suppose it's conceivable that there are two Michael Goves, of about the same age. Consider that connection temporarily suspended.

5/28/2010 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For me the attraction of Aaro (and Cohen, World of Decency, etc) Watching is that my world view isn't all that different to theirs. I don't have many points in common with either Gove or Kamm."

Quite true, but there was a period (between the invasion of Iraq and the 2005 general election, more or less) when Kamm was sometimes treated as someone of the Left and, therefore (given his views) as a Decent. During that period Kamm sometimes wrote like a Decent and was sometimes treated by the Labour Party as a spokeserson. I even managed to infiltrate an event at Chatham House about nuclear weapons at which the main speakers were Oliver Kamm and Julian Lewis, apparently speaking for the two main political parties. (Needless to say, their views were almost identical.)

Although there is a difference between the Decents and neo-cons, it sometimes seems as if the Decents don't take enough care about making that difference clear. How could the Labour Party have been so close to Kamm in tht period? How can they allow McShane and Gisela Stuart to belong to the Henry Jackson Society?

Guano

5/29/2010 08:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Chocolate dipped Pickles said...

"Although there is a difference between the Decents and neo-cons, it sometimes seems as if the Decents don't take enough care about making that difference clear. How could the Labour Party have been so close to Kamm in tht period? How can they allow McShane and Gisela Stuart to belong to the Henry Jackson Society?"

Kamm belongs to a sect of staunch atheist and pro-gay interventionism, not dissimilar to the more modorate views of Miliband and Gisela. Kamm thinks that these qualify him as left wing even though he spends most of his time pouring buckets of shit over the left and everything that they believe in. I guess it just a psychological thing, they cant bring themselves admit what they have turned in to. At least other HJS members like Mark Ottila are honest about their hatred of the left.

5/29/2010 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Kamm belongs to a sect of staunch atheist and pro-gay interventionism...

The thing about this is, while true, it's a lot more pragmatic than they claim it is. How many after Iraq was pushed back from Kuwait argued for the chance to do anything about Kuwait's basically dreadful record? (Human rights, rights for women especially, anti-Semitism, cruel sharia punishments.) Shouldn't this position lead him to argue for some kind of sanctions against Russia where Peter Tatchell (genuinely left - whatever genuine or left may mean; brave, principled) went to protest for gay rights against police thugs. But Tatchell makes his point without using tanks, and where's the fun in that?

5/29/2010 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous chocolate dipped pickles said...

quite, in light of recent news you'd of thought he world be demamding an invasion of Southern Africa.

5/29/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Chocolate dipped Pickles said...

he would be demanding an invasion of Southern Africa.”

My apologies for the spelling.

The thing with Russia is that homosexuality isn't illegal there, they have - shall we say, "conservative" views about it while Uganda has just made it a capital offence.

5/29/2010 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

There's also a good pragmatic reason for not forcing your values on other people. They probably won't like it, and they'll resist. This will probably be counter-productive. There are things that can, and should, be done - but they take a long time and are not hugely exciting.

There's also a strange blindspot among all the Decents. They seem to genuinely not see that the reason campaigns like the anti-apartheid one worked s that they put pressure on domestic governments that were supporting these places. Western governments are not supporting Iran, so what would be the point of campaigns from here? There's nothing they can achieve. Western governments are supporting Israel, as are many British citizens, so a campaign on that issue (assuming you agree with it) does make tactical sense.

5/30/2010 10:28:00 AM  

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