Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Video killed the radio star civilians

Haven't we been down this road before? Yes we have, and I strongly suspect that this will be one post that more than justifies the "Next weeks columns" link in our right hand sidebar. As always, the jihadis make a video that says "this is revenge for your foreign policy!" and the Decents say "see? it's all because of Sayyid Qutb, you just can't reason with these people? Hey ho.

Bonus ball: "consider that this bumbling scion also told Megrahi on his flight home, in front of media cameras, that his release was “on the table” whenever oil and gas deals were discussed. These are plausible claims that have so embarrassed the already anemic administration of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he has tried shunt all responsibility for this scandal onto Scotland, a country that is still part of the United Kingdom and exercises limited self-government. (It taxes the imagination of most Britons to think that had London exerted even the slightest pressure on Edinburgh to stop the transfer of such a high-profile criminal it would have failed to do so.)"

Bonus bonus: This Week In Decent Abuse of Human/Panda Rights Organisations: A collector of second world war memorabilia works for Human Rights Watch and the World Widlife Fund is responsible for what advertising agencies do with campaigns they've rejected


Blogger flyingrodent said...

How could you have missed Some idiot said something idiotic on Dave Osler's blog; Dave Osler is a lefty; ergo, all men are Socrates and the Left loves the Taliban and prays for the downfall of civilisation itself?

It occurs to me that I've made a fundamental error considering HP and the Decents as "Concern Trolls" for all this time. I think the phrase I was reaching for was "ratfuckers," and it's surely only a matter of time before somebody catches Brett Lock in the act of breaking into SWP headquarters in the Watergate to look for compromising documents, assuming they have headquarters somewhere.

Which they probably don't, now I come to think of it.

9/08/2009 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have an office in Vauxhall, but you'd be very hard pushed to find compromising documents there. No, Brett would be better advised to stick to the tried-and-true HP method of making shit up.

9/08/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

There are some seriously demented people on that thread. They want to throw the full weight of our military behind the pursuit of a goal (total annihilation of the Taliban) that is totally unattainable and which can only result in massive casualties among both our troops and especially the Afghan people. And they claim that anyone who thinks this might not be the best idea hates brown people and gets a kick out of the subjugation of women. They really are contemptible fuckers.

9/09/2009 07:19:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

The HRW piece is particularly crap. HP Sauce really don't source their articles very well, do they? the blog more often than not is just highlights (or lowlights) of the IDF apologist area of wingnutland, with 'if this is true' as a caveat.

and no surprise that piece is by 'lucy lips' which is what David Toube posts under when he wants to say 'controversial' things.

9/09/2009 07:22:00 AM  
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9/09/2009 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

HP Sauce really don't source their articles very well, do they?

What, you mean a "conservative blogger" who Googled the name of someone at HRW and put the worst possible interpretation on what he found is not an impeccable source?

The thing that gets me is that they seriously see themselves as a left wing blog but for me it seems to be a pretty fundamental part of being on the left to be instinctively supportive of groups such as HRW. That doesn't mean never criticising them (the story about HRW fundraising in Saudi Arabia did raise a couple of genuine questions despite the hysterical tone) but it does mean being careful to check your facts before you have a go at them and being suspicious of using conservative bloggers, who are likely to have an anti-HRW agenda as sources.
Especially when you know your comments box wil be filled with right wing loons who are desperate to see HRW discredited.

9/09/2009 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

By the way, Alex Massie comprehensively demolished Dave's latest column here.

9/09/2009 07:52:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

A cursory glance at other posts on that 'mere rhetoric' website does beg the question why HP Saucers are even looking at it. it's pretty fucking extreme conservatism (look at the posts on Honduras, or less recently on Obama's election campaign and his 'devoted brownshirts', for example, and the author is a staunch believer in Eurabia) and the writer seems to have just as many dodgy views as the people he's 'exposing' (all the while claiming that the post in question wasn't a personal attack).

the HP Sauce approach to human rights organisations (in keeping with that other blog's) seems to be that in order for anyone to investigate IDF war crimes, they must either a) be committed to as fairly agressive, expansionist version of zionism or b) have no interst whatsoever in the middle east, and if they fail to meet either of these criteria they're 'biased'.

it's just one branch of the general pro-Israel settlement NGO attempt to silence criticism of the actions of the Israeli govt and armed forces - you can see that from the frequency with which these NGOs are linked to by the HP articles.

it's too transparent to bother too much with but it's a shame to see the depths they'll plumb.

9/09/2009 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nasty Nick has written a favourable review of the latest tome by nutty redbaiter David Horowitz.


Nick says, 'the trouble with their critique of American liberalism is not that it goes too far but that it does not go far enough'

Horowitz's co-author Ben (not the playwright or sprinter) Johnson has described the anti-war left as
'the Fifth Column Left' and 'the Hate America Left'


How far does Nick want them to go?

Word verification, 'winge'!

9/09/2009 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Anon, that review is only a few days short of being a year old. FYI, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I think Horowitz pays for reviews of his own works on the FrontPage site. IIRC, he says that reviewers are free to say what they like, but he likes his editorial control. I can't say for sure that reviews are edited, but DH will certainly exercise a right of reply.

What's more surprising is that Nick had anything to do with Horowitz after this. Normas Geras at least emerged with credit.

9/09/2009 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I am astonished to learn that HP has run some stupid articles with some outrageous comments accompanying them.

I also see to my surprise that San Marino got beat this afternoon.

9/09/2009 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

Given the apparent influece HP have on the Aartist Formerly Known As Dave (or Nick, or whoever), I think it's fair enough.

That said, damn. They just get nuttier - that one about the Newsnight report is an indictment in itself.

Word capture - Wilygal. I've met one or two in my time.

9/09/2009 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Blimey "Well, if he actually put his money where his mouth is, I bet Tamimi is short of a few quid today..." I bet a pony!

At least David T takes a position against arms bearing rabblis here (though for some reason he seems to have confused militant Judaism with the C of E; I don't see why rabbis should pretend to be peaceful - the OT is more or less nothing but wars and smiting with the odd break for begetting). So at least he's not as crazy as Mad Mel. I didn't even try to read the comments on either.

CAPTHA: disomble Great Uncle Bulgaria is economical with the actualite?

9/10/2009 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Judging by the past few days, HP Sauce has abandoned any kind of issues or ideology-based posting and they're now just putting up whatever their various hate figures are doing at the moment, whether the actions are objectionable or not, so their commenters can lay into the person with libellous nonsense.

So lord ahmed's fairly lucid objection to the UK offering Musharaff lots of policemen to protect him in his unofficial asylum here is seen as somehow grounds for ridicule (as well as a tedious private eye-lite repetition of 'ex-convict'); also ridiculed is something ostensibly principled and HP-friendly which norman finkelstein has done which is criticised because, well, he did it, and he's always, always wrong. interestingly these posts have almost nothing added to them in the way of comments from the person copy and pasting them, because the goons in the comments can do the work for them.

also - just as a note on a topic that perhaps obsesses me a bit too much - Nick Cohen's not posted on his Standpoint blog since the 18th August. was on his hols last weekin the Obs, but surely a blog needs a bit more attention than that? or maybe he's not going to be writing anything that their lawyers haven't vetted, given his libellous comments about nick Davies. no wonder he thinks libel laws are evil - and this is another example of a Decent not really understanding what a blog is.

9/10/2009 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Yes, we have the Horowitz 'does not go far enough' in criticism of liberals in Nick Cohen's wikipedia page. I might even (can't remember) have added it myself.

9/10/2009 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

"Nick Cohen's not posted on his Standpoint blog since the 18th August. was on his hols last weekin the Obs, but surely a blog needs a bit more attention than that? or maybe he's not going to be writing anything that their lawyers haven't vetted, given his libellous comments about nick Davies. no wonder he thinks libel laws are evil - and this is another example of a Decent not really understanding what a blog is."

Nick's attitude to the internet is weird. He's very keen to use particular blogs for source material without engaging with them or even particularly understanding how they work.

He tends to drop in randomly on comments sections, bark something incoherent or semi-relevant and disappear again, and his own attempts at blogging just seem half-arsed.

9/10/2009 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

By the way, if you want to go and see a Decent play, then get down to The Black Album at the national while it's on.

a terrible production in every sense but decency in excelsis.

9/11/2009 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Having followed up the follow-ups, and Garlasco's reponses it looks to me as if he is toast. A pity, because this is all part of an orchestrated attempt to undermine HRW and other organisations in advance of Goldstone. Resigned by Wednesday, I'd predict.

9/14/2009 07:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor old Brett Lock. I last remember advising him on the UK Left Network Yahoo site not to join Harry's Place as they were a bunch of witch-hunting McCarthyites. Did he take my advice? And look where he is now.

9/14/2009 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: In today's Graun, Gary Younge neatly sticks it to Decency here.


"Indeed the only people who believe the strategy is still viable are the neocons, and the "muscular liberals" who attempted to give them cover from the left. The former's bid for America to unilaterally impose its will on the rest of the world has foundered on military and diplomatic realities.

The latter's effort to realign the left in support of American imperialism and in fear of political Islam was always a stretch and has proved central to New Labour's undoing. Fancying themselves as Orwell during the 30s, a raft of British commentators claimed not to be leaving the left but returning it to its true principles. They cast their critics as a blend of the querulous Neville Chamberlain and craven apologists for Stalin. And having created all these straw men, they then proceeded to waterboard them. Those who didn't support war abroad and assimilation and state repression at home were branded as soft on Islam, women's rights, gay rights, forced marriage and dictatorship.

The vehemence with which both sides defend their positions is in direct proportion to the degree to which their positions have been utterly discredited."

Nice. I like GY, and I wish that Britain couls lure him back one day.

Chris Williams

9/14/2009 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Brussels Dave said...

I was going to ask which one of you pseudonymous posters/commenters was Gary Younge in disguise, so that I might claim my £5.00.

9/14/2009 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

The only blight on Gazza Y is that he resembles Forest Whitaker. Apart from that, he has only spoken generally good sense - in my book anyway.

Re Chardonnay's comments though, I can't see Garlasco lasting beyond Wednesday either. HRW should have had the guts to bollock him in public, rather than allow them to become a target.

Also interesting that Seamus Milne took a general letters-to-the-editor whipping for his defence of Soviet involvement in WWII recently. The fact that he took Niall Ferguson to task was admirable, but he still made daft conclusions.

9/14/2009 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I liked the Younge though I did feel he copped out of saying what might happen to Afghanistan if we did indeed pull out.

On HP Sauce, this whole sorry Garlasco mess again demonstrates that they're not interested in human rights abuses when they're perpetrated by states which have HP's enthusiastic backing. Just like they posted a whole series of posts about how kettling is a good tactic, before reneging on that when it turned out to have had very bad results for someone who wasn't a climate change protester, so here we have them attacking the messengers of HRW reports instead of the messages, because the messages are based on empirical, verifiable research. The fallback is always 'why the obsessive focus on x or y', or 'if this person is interested in WW2 memorabilia he is a Nazi because David Irving is as well', which is why I agree with the above that it's hard to take their left-wing credentials all that seriously when they seem unwilling to accept any reports critical of the IDF because the authors haven't written one about how evil terrorists are on the same day. I note that HRW are very careful to condemn Hamas at almost every opportunity, too. The ambulances stuff from Lebanon 2006 was enough to demonstrate that 'enlightenment fundamentalists' HP Sauce are not interested in facts.

There's a very depressing tone which is shared by posts and comments on their coverage of all this stuff - incidentally almost always authored by 'lucy lips', whose style is very similar to Toube's - where we get very few facts but a whole series of increasingly hysterical leading questions. When every single thing Toube had posted before fact-checking which 'revealed' Mehdi Hassan had been debunked, he was still posting questions (not directed to the man himself, but just sitting around to whip up blog commenters to fever pitch) about totally tangential stuff.

The McCarthyism is understandable when it comes from all those scary, hardline US blogs they link to uncritically, but it's depressing when it comes from a site which bills itself as the true face of the UK left. This is why i think that for HP, Israel is a really big deal - on every other topic they at least try to look rational, but this brings out the absolute worst in them and even with all the mccarthyite own goals, they just can't drop it.

oh btw, Cohen's observer column was probably the single weakest piece of writing I've seen from him, a book report on his holiday reading of a crime thriller.

9/15/2009 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I agree that HRW has not handled it particularly well and that Garlasco is toast, and on the face of it probably rightly so.
I can only go back to what I said earlier though - I think that most serious left wing blogs would be broadly supportive of HRW and if they ran the Garlasco story would put it in the context of the good work that it usually does, and avoid presenting it in a way which would provide as much ammunition as possible to the right wing looms which want to destroy it.

9/15/2009 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

Garlasco did nothing wrong and it's depressing to think that a bunch of fifth rate Hitchens wannabes could cause the firing of a HRW employee just because he has an interest in WW2. There's nothing wrong with that, or with collecting WW2 memorabilia.

9/15/2009 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Cohen's observer column was probably the single weakest piece of writing I've seen from him

Shorter Nick (without the book review): "A Swedish activist did some really good work! There's nobody like that in this country, and I know that because... er, because our immigration service does bad things and the Archbishop of Canterbury said something I didn't like the sound of, although I didn't really follow the details!"

I don't entirely agree with OC, as I thought it was quite a good column up to that point - a celebration of a Swedish activist you may not have heard of, why not? But the obligatory Decent punchline was piss-weak.

9/15/2009 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

"Garlasco did nothing wrong and it's depressing to think that a bunch of fifth rate Hitchens wannabes could cause the firing of a HRW employee just because he has an interest in WW2. There's nothing wrong with that, or with collecting WW2 memorabilia."

Technically there isn't. But isn't it akin to a headteacher collecting pornography. Nothing illegal per se but doesn't it send out "presentation problems" in his line line of work. A signal that could be misconstrued if it fell into the wrong hands. As it undoubtedly has.

9/15/2009 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

OK, back to HP again, and with all due deference to Justin, but this is an absolute peach - Decency in a nutshell. A perfect compliment to Young's piece -

War on terror = The Cold War

9/15/2009 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick's article is poorly written. The first paragraph is about a minor character who is never mentioned again (and few people have heard of). The second paragraph introduces more minor issues, as well as Nick's obsession about the Left not being what it used to be. It's only in the third paragraph that we get to the main subject, the author and his books. The reader is just working out what the main subject of the article is when Nick takes us back to his obsession about the Left and Islam. Altogether there is no clear theme: the main story seems to be the Swedish far-left author and his books, a case which disproves Nick's conclusion but he sticks with his conclusion anyway.


9/15/2009 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Can I get a reality check on one of Brett's comments? He writes that "Cold War dread"

wasn’t only about the fear of nuclear war, but of Communism itself

Fear of Communism? Does anyone who was alive in the 80s remember thinking "oh shit we're all going to get blown up or enslaved by the Russians?" (Anyone who wasn't a regular reader of the Sunday Express, that is.)

Me, I was always anti-Communist - sometimes in situations where it would have been easier, or at least more diplomatic, to be pro- - but I was never afraid of the buggers.

9/15/2009 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

The 80's from anyone who could read (in the UK) was about the fear of the trigger-happy on both sides. Genuine fears of Communist enslavement were surely done and dusted in the US by the 1960's.

Isn't this the issue though? Fear by tenuous analogy. It also sits neatly with the "and another thing" brigade that sit around intellectually doodling and come up with something as dishonest and ill-conceived as HP in the first place.

9/15/2009 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Exactly - the danger as most people saw it was of annihilation as a result of nuclear war, not of Communism per se.

9/15/2009 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger AndyB said...

Brett is from South Africa, where, in the 1960s-1980s there really was a fear of 'communism'. And this fear of 'communism' brought a lot of Western governments in behind a most repulsive regime.

Draw your own parallels.

9/15/2009 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Brett is from South Africa, where, in the 1960s-1980s there really was a fear of 'communism'.


No further questions.

9/15/2009 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I seem to remember taking the view twenty-five or so years ago that if the USSR couldn't beat Afghanistan then it wasn't going to be enslaving me any time shortly. Not all my views from that period have stood the test of time but I think that one has done all right.

Gary Younge - Stevenage lad, same vintage as myself. Except he was from the Deep South and I was from the Frozen North.

9/15/2009 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

To clarify, what i meant by 'weakest' is fairly accurately summed up by Guano. The piece doesn't hold together at all. I'm sure that Larsson was a very admirable activist, but the links Nick draws between the activism and the fiction are wafer-thin, and I'm really not convinced that Larsson is anywhere near as good s novelist as Nick's suggesting. The books look pretty lightweight really (though I don't have time to read them at the mo to find out for sure).

The tell-tale sign with the column (as with so many of his recent ones) are that Nick's two sources are one of Larsson's best mates and Larsson's partner.

Then we get that boilerplate rubbish about the Archbishop of Canterbury.

9/15/2009 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Isn't Larsson middlebrow of the moment?

I only arsk because his books are all over the bookshops of Huesca and Zaragoza, not from any actual knowledge of the subject of anything.

9/15/2009 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

He's a crime thriller writer but despite what Cohen says, from insider info he's not even Le Carre standard let alone someone like Greene... resolutely middlebrow, yes, and 'of the moment', yes, ie will be forgotten fairly soon.

i think this is just a potboiler which nick's read on holiday - he only seems to have read the first of the 3-book series too. at least he's reading stuff that's not on HP Sauce (kerching) mind you.

does grate slightly given that Cohen recently railed against the ultra-nuanced Alan Hollinghurst for having cartoonish characters, given the very broad outlines which Larsson seems to be using...

9/15/2009 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those bookshops in Huesca and Zaragoza don't sound too bad. The bookshops in Belfast and Dublin are full of Amanda Brunker. Now if Nick had read Amanda's latest bonkbuster on his hols, he might have given us a more entertaining article. Although maybe not intentionally.

9/15/2009 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

Was Stieg Larsson any relation to Reidar Larssom, I wonder? Reidar published (in Stolkholm) a super obscure but very god book in 1970 on the debates between Kautsky, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks and sundries on the nature of bourgeois revolution: 'Theories of Revolution: From Marx to the First Russian Revolution'.

9/16/2009 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

'Reidar Larsson' I mean, obviously.

9/16/2009 08:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

Does anyone who was alive in the 80s remember thinking "oh shit we're all going to get blown up or enslaved by the Russians?"

Some did, and some still can't admit it wasn't going to happen even now, but they're the usual suspects.

9/17/2009 11:17:00 AM  

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