Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Week in Decent abuse of human rights organisations

Harry's Place and others: Human Rights Watch can be ignored because it hired someone who was a far-lefty thirty years ago. (quite an impressive achievement this, as the connection is too dodgy even for David Bernstein)

The New Republic: Oxfam is on the "shit list" because it has dropped the Sex and the City girl as one of its goodwill ambassadors because she is also the "face" of a cosmetics company which is illegally extracting Dead Sea mud. (this is not even true.

Strangely, no abuse of Amnesty International this week, as far as I can see. But Yale University Press are dhimmi bastards for not printing those Danish cartoons (I note that none of the three of them actually publish the things themselves!).


Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

Hmm... Human Rights Watch or Harry's Place? Oxfam or the New Republic? Tough choice, isn't it?

8/19/2009 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

I suppose it's inevitable that Decents would think human rights organisations are irrelevant - they do, after all, seem to think writing a tut-tutting blog post suffices as a "condemnation" of something. Who needs humanitarian aid when you've got Normblog?

8/19/2009 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

There really is no such thing as an accusation against HRW, AI et al that is so transparently thin and ridiculous that these fruitcakes won't run it. At least they're not slyly accusing HRW of shooting or bombing themselves to make the IDF look bad on this occasion, but they certainly will the next time they have the opportunity.

I note that David T. is saying more or less If this is true, I have lost all faith in HRW. One wonders how much faith he had left after the last time he posted a load of piss-poor innuendo about HRW, based on similarly feeble evidence, then presided over a cavalcade of wingnut goons as they decried the organisation as racist accessories to genocide, etc.

For what it's worth, this allegation at HP that HRW has an interest in ignoring certain human rights abuses and encouraging others is especially amusing, coming as it does just after a post by mild madwoman Petra MB. Summary - Since Israel is having a hard time exterminating its enemies without simultaneously obliterating a lot of civilians, let's drastically redraft the laws of war to permit more bombing of heavily-populated urban areas.

Even shorter Petra MB - Let's legalise some war crimes.

You have to wonder how that plan would go down with the Decents if it were being proposed by Seumas Milne or, say, Syria.

8/19/2009 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

london-dwelling aaro watchers - those who want a 'bargain' - voodoo histories now in second hand section of waterstones gower st for £12...

that HRW stuff is quite frankly risible. They aren't even 'new revelations', plus David T doesn't bother to look past wikipedia for info on the author. HP once again repost dodgy pro-IDF memes with the caveat 'if this is true'...

Where does TNR fit into the Decent world, by the way? I've never been especially impressed by the magazine but still...

Given Nick Cohen's new post on Libya, coupled with tehgraun on prisoners-for-oil today, I wonder whether some dodgy govt actions are to do with oil after all for the Decents...

8/19/2009 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Jesus Christ, I've just got the new Private Eye and there's a lengthy and incredibly smug Ratbiter piece on... how Gordon Brown's heavies fired Martin Bright from the New Statesman!!!

This settles it: Nick is medically incapable of listening to things he does not agree with. If one of his own friends can't get him to shut up and listen for a change, what hope do the rest of us have of getting some facts into his thick skull?!

8/19/2009 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did Cohen get hold of the idea that the Broom mafia had demanded Bright's head? As far as I know (which may not be very far, so do correct me if the following warrants it) Bright's own statement on the matter is that he doesn't know why he was sacked and doubts Gordo "even noticed." I can understand Bright not wanting to embarrass a mate, but surely Mr. Ratbiter actually spoke to him about it before going into print.

Von Pseud

8/19/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

On second-hand book news, I saw Nick Cohen's "Cruel Britannia" in a charity shop in Stamford Hill if anyone wants a trip down (poor)memory lane.

8/19/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. That should of couse be 'Broon' mafia.

Von Pseud

8/19/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

Cruel Britannia isn't bad, although it's just a collection of newspaper articles. Cover quote: "If I listened to Nick Cohen I would never win an election." - Tony Blair

8/19/2009 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's from around the era when Nick told Observer readers (in 2001) that he would be voting Lib Dem or Socialist Alliance.

Nick's relationship with the Lib Dems is probably worthy of a whole article in itself. He got very nasty with them in the height of the Iraq War controversy, then urged his London readership to back Paddick for the Mayoralty based on some implausible psephological theory which not even any LDs really believed in.

8/19/2009 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Euston Manifesto:

"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"

Adam LeBor at HP Sauce today"

"Big Brother has moved to London" [having formerly been resident in communist Eastern Europe.]

So Guantanamo/Gulag comparison groteque but Stalinist repression/New Labour ok?

8/19/2009 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Yates said...

So Guantanamo/Gulag comparison groteque but Stalinist repression/New Labour ok?

Tbf to HP, many of heir regulars can be found in the comments below telling AL just what a load of old bollocks he's talking. Except Morongoth, who thinks it's bang on, just a bi short on Nazi analogies.

8/19/2009 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy piss, I've just got my Private Eye. That Nick would rehash Martin Bright - again - is probably to be expected. But following that up with Sugar's writ against Letts, implying that Sugar was put up to it by the Broon mafia because they wanted to get Letts for his caricatures of Speaker Martin...

Where's Aaro with his Occam's Razor?

8/19/2009 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

"Where does TNR fit into the Decent world, by the way?"

Right wing interventionist Democrat.

8/19/2009 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Bright's not exactly doing well with his blog, he very rarely updates it and compared even to Mad Mel his posts lack substance.

he's currently vociferously supporting Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick who advertised his refusal to go to a segregated muslim wedding (segregation at wedding receptions is standard practice for muslims, radical or not). Bright seems to support the walkout purely because the MCB said it was a bad move - this is not pointing to his becoming more balanced on teh islamists.

He was feeding the Eye Livingstone material during the election so they've undoubtedly 'got his back' - and Bright, despite what he might say on his blog, will be happy about them running the piece considering just how marginalised he's been by the departure from the NS and because he clearly wants to separate his sacking from the Rezko-based libel suit he was actually sacked for (the Eye were also running his material from that...)


After 1989 Big Brother was no longer welcome in Budapest, Prague or Warsaw — he moved to London to be ever more warmly embraced by successive Labour administrations.

uh... something about those dates doesn't really add up.

HP Sauce now clearly have a majority of out-and-out right-wing writers contributing to their site (not even people who claim to be lefties like Cohen, but yer actual right-wingers...)

Oh and there's another Iran Solidarity post up there today. This time Brett Lock is posing with a couple of puppets. Quite why they chose Trafalgar Square in summer to launch the campaign is odd, seeing as how the people they're most likely to get talking to them (in the half-hour they're there) are foreign schoolkids on exchange programmes...

8/20/2009 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

How's their Honduras Solidarity program going, by the way?

8/20/2009 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

i think you'll find that everyone who runs the site is too busy to organise or participate in political campaigns.

8/20/2009 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger the management said...

The interesting thing to me is that Jim Fitzpatrick is a Glaswegian born in 1952. So either he never set foot in a working men's club until he was 30, or he's spent a lot of time in sex-segregated environments.

(one Wikipedia check later). Fuck me! He was a fireman who made his career in the London FBU between 1974 and 1994. The first woman firefighter since the war joined the LFB in 1982! The chances that he's maintained a consistent position on sexual segregation are surely minimal.

8/20/2009 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Massie gets better and better, by the way ...

8/20/2009 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

While we're talking about the Speccie, Martin Bright has become political editor of the Jewish Chronicle. I don't believe that MB has "become a right-wing Zionist neo-con." I do think it's sad that his main point of contact with his readership is his "interest in radical Islam, a subject of clear interest to JC readers." So JC readers are defined by who they're against rather than their common interest. If MB and Stephen Pollard would only change the name from 'Jewish' to 'Dhimmiwatch' Chronicle they could open up whole new markets of previously anti-Semitic buyers.

Only tangentially related to the above, comments suggest that the woman in this video is wearing an Israeli Defence Force t-shirt. Moral: don't let what you hate define who you are.

8/20/2009 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Oliver Kampf is reporting that Stephen Pollard has offered Martin Bright teh job of political editor at the JC.

8/20/2009 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Tom Gallagher's multiple comments in that Massie post are also a delight.

8/20/2009 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

In the picture on Oliver Kamm's site Martin Bright appears to be looking more and more like Oliver.

8/20/2009 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I'd agree with Matthew on the Tom Gallagher comments, but I can't get past the length of them. I assumed he was posting the first thirteen chapters of his novel as a way of thumbing his nose at the MSM or something. How can he have so much to say, when (and I admit I didn't read very far), he doesn't even try to answer AM's demolition?

8/20/2009 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger G.C. said...

Professor Tom Gallagher on a rant is like Nick Cohen after 10 cups of coffee. In the Alex Massie post organic cheeseboard has has linked to, Tom accuses me of being BBC Scotland journalist Glenn Campbell, despite us spelling our forenames differently and him having no evidence to prove his theory whatsoever. If Mr Gallagher's dreams of a nationalist-islamist free Scotland ever come to fruition, no two people will be allowed to carry the same name for security reasons.

8/20/2009 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is unfair on Mr Gallagher, who clearly went to great trouble to take his comments out of ALL CAPS.

capcha: Mulas. That's us found out.

rioja kid

8/20/2009 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Tom Gallagher is straying dangerously into the realms of conspiracy there, isn't he? Aaro might have to have a word.

8/20/2009 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

i think it might be a good idea to setup a companion site to aarowatch called "aaro answers the conspiracists". in which the great man would be asked to debunk any Decent conspiracy readers suggested. i think mad mel and this gallagher chap would keep it going for a few months

8/20/2009 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I refuse to post on the Spectator until such time as they sack Ray Keene, but if anybody else fancies commenting along the lines of "I don't think you're motivated by flithy lucre Tom, I think you're motivated by being off your head..."

Oh, I note:

The silences as well as the words are politically significant, says Tom Gallagher

Aren't they always, eh. Aren't they always.

8/20/2009 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

In fairness, if you don't have any silences at all and just allow the words to blend into a logorrheaic soup, then it's very difficult to discern the political content, as Prof. Gallagher demonstrates in that comment thread. So to that extent, the silences are politically significant.

8/20/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger G.C. said...

I only just noticed this bit in Tom Gallagher's earlier reply: "So I've drawn some blood and Glenn exposes my sobriquet in the Scotsman ('tartan not nat); any Deep Throat in the more inquisiitive sections of the Scottish media ought to watch their step when he's around)."

Clearly Tom thought that, what with me being a BBC journalist and all, I must have got on to my fellow SNP-loving contacts at The Scotsman who confirmed that "tartan not nat" was posting using Tom Gallagher's IP address. In truth it was just a hunch really. I mean, there's only man I know who can combine typos, terrorism and themes of impending Scottish doom with such hilarity. A google search and his comment at Harry's Place that he regards himself as "far more of a patriot than Alex Salmond and other synthetic nationalists" pretty much nailed it for me. An example of Gallagher's unpaid work follows.

patriot not nat,
Edinburgh 18/08/2009 07:49:05
The Justice minister's bid to emulate Princess Diana and hawk his conscience around 4 continents when he might be better served trying to stop the undeclared civil-war in some of Scotland's cities has elicited a perfectly reasonable critical piece from David Maddox.

At least for a short week or two the eyes of the world are focussed on Scotland thanks to the SNP government's mishandling of the al-Megrahi affair and its implictions in the fight against terrorism.

So a big THANK YOU to the CYBERNATS above for the stellar performance they have provided so far; I'm sure the best is yet to come.

The rage and tribal aggression directed at anyone who questions the saintly wisdom of the Salmnd government is particularly uninhibited. Startled foreign readers should be aware that this is political Scotland in 2009. In 2 weeks Alex salmond will be aping the cybernats at First Minister's Question time when Parlament returns from its summer recess.

Hillary, Ted Kennedy, and Bob Kerrey, you'd better get used to it. The SNP is the new tough kid on the European block and the cybernats merely express the grievances and rage that lurks in the mind and spirit soul of many of the less extrovert 'numpties' who guide the destiny of this unfortunate wee country.

8/20/2009 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Do HP Sauce actually do any kind of checks on their contributors? mind you, this is the kind of person they consider balanced isn't it...

And to reiterate a point Massie made, how the hell can Nick Cohen think that Gallagher's original HP Sauce piece was 'very good'? even if you really hate the SNP it still makes bugger all sense and reads like the hysterical rant it is.

8/21/2009 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this Tom Gallagher? Is he a professor? Is this the guy at Bradford Peace Studies? I found his writing style very strange for a professor.


8/21/2009 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Found this the other day - "The demonisation of Islam", by Martin Bright.
Sep 4, 1998;

Arab opponents of tyranny will be the main victims of Labour's new anti-terrorism laws, argues Martin Bright

In the hysteria surrounding Osama bin Laden, who since the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania has replaced Saddam Hussein as the Americans' number one international bogeyman, it is easy to forget that Muslims who share his aim of ousting the Americans from their bases in Arabia have a real grievance. So do the Muslims opposed to the military regime in Algeria, or the one-party state in Tunisia or President Mubarak's autocratic regime in Egypt. All these groups have representatives in London.

London is a traditional centre for Arab dissidents. As long as they commit no crime on British soil, they have been free to exchange ideas with other dissidents from around the Muslim world, publish evidence of humanrights abuses in their home countries and organise political opposition. There is nothing sinister or new about this. Contrary to some newspaper reports, it does not mean that London has become a base for international terrorism.

But the growing anti-Islamist atmosphere, which equates political dissidence with political violence, has culminated in the Home Secretary Jack Straw deciding to include, in the anti-terrorist legislation rushed through parliament this week, a clause that makes it possible for groups conspiring to commit acts of terror abroad to be convicted in this country. A crime of "incitement" to commit terrorist acts abroad was, thankfully, removed.

There is no doubt who is the target of this part of the legislation, originally announced after the massacre of tourists by Islamic terrorists at Luxor last November. But, if nothing else, we should be worried by the speed. Two weeks ago, when journalists phoned the Home Office to ask what the consequences were of bin Laden's activities for Saudi dissidents in Britain, they were told that the new anti-terrorism bill was going to consultation in the autumn and would not be published before the new year.

The introduction of such legislation demonstrates a woeful lack of understanding of the importance of London as a centre for political and intellectual debate in the Arab world.

Two of the most important international Arabic-language newspapers, al-Hayat and Al-Quds al-Arabi are based in London, as is MBC, the Arabiclanguage broadcasting company. More important, London has become a centre for political Islam, and is fast becoming the only realistic opposition for many countries in the Arab world.

[too long to post all here]

8/21/2009 07:47:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

He probably read (a summary of) Paul Berman and changed his opinions on everything a la Cohen.

I'm continually surprised by how many of the Decents used to be pretty good journalists, about ten years ago, and just how terrible most of them are now. I mean Bright is transparently rewriting press releases and rehashing spin now on his blog, wehich really isn't worth reading, and Cohen is pretty unashamed in just how much he cobbles stuff together off dodgy parts of the web as well, when he's not reprinting stuff Denis MacShane said to him.

What happened to them?

8/21/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

"Undeclared civil war"?

8/21/2009 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

"He probably read (a summary of) Paul Berman and changed his opinions on everything a la Cohen."

I'm still surprised at how incredibly persuasive Paul Berman is supposed to be. I found Terror and Liberalism rather woolly and unclear about what point it was actually making. Nick Cohen's own writings on Iraq etc. are bad, but at least they're frank.

8/21/2009 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'm continually surprised by how many of the Decents used to be pretty good journalists, about ten years ago, and just how terrible most of them are now.

I don't think this is that unusual a process, as it happens, either in journalism or outside.

You develop grudges, you notice that a lot of people on Our Side are actually arseholes a lot of the time, you find that you get more kicks than thanks you trying to do the right thing, you start getting narky when people half your age tell you what to think or compare your track record unfavourably to their own, you find yourself making a bit of money and reckoning you've earned it, you probably spend too much time in pubs talking to people undergoing the same process as yourself.

Eventually "fuck 'em", in a variety of ways, becomes pretty much your whole mentality.

8/21/2009 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Or this from Martin Bright in 1996? He should be careful, this is the sort of thing that Harry's Place likes to jump upon (of course I have no idea of the context, it might be a different Martin Bright, etc)

Terrorism: A culture of terror
The Guardian (Manchester); Feb 27, 1996; MARTIN BRIGHT; p. 010

The state of Israel came into existence after a campaign of terror from various groups inspired by Zionism - an ideology which stated that the persecution of the Jewish people would end if they had their own homeland in Palestine. During the period of British control (1922-1947) Zionist groups campaigned for the right for all Jews to return to Palestine and some turned to terrorism to press their claim. Yitzak Shamir (b 1915) and Menachem Begin (1913-1992), who went on to become prime ministers of Israel after independence, were both members of groups labelled terrorist by the British.

In the 1970s, the Israeli state came under attack from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, led by Yasser Arafat, which carried out attacks on Israeli targets and perceived supporters of Israel across the world. More recently, Israel has come under attack from the Islamist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.

But last year's assassination of Yitzak Rabin by a Jewish Orthodox extremist showed that terrorism is as likely to come from the Israeli community as the Palestinians.

8/21/2009 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Who is this Tom Gallagher? Is he a professor? Is this the guy at Bradford Peace Studies? I found his writing style very strange for a professor.

See here. (I jest, mostly.)

8/22/2009 08:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

It would be nice to think that some Decents would look at this post and think "Hang on a second, we do seem to spend a lot of time bashing human rights organisations, don't we? Shit, I think we might be the bad guys." But I doubt that will happen.

8/27/2009 09:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eventually "fuck 'em", in a variety of ways, becomes pretty much your whole mentality.

A better summary of the average blogospheric ex-lefty mind-set I don't think I have seen.


9/06/2009 02:01:00 PM  

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