Thursday, January 28, 2010

Non-prediction thread

From the non-barking dogs section. Nick Cohen, as regular readers know, is not a fan of Mr Justice Eady. (See his article from May last year on Simon Singh.) However, Justice Eady supported the Mail on Sunday against a libel action. 'Kill British' blog man fails in MoS libel bid.

Azad Ali tried to sue over articles which appeared in the two newspapers in January last year under the headlines "Muslim civil servant suspended over 'kill British' blog", and "Civil servant 'backed fanatic's call to kill our troops in Iraq'."

Justice Eady yesterday gave the newspapers' publisher, Associated Newspapers, his summary judgment in which he said Ali's case was bound to fail and had about it "an absence of reality".

Ali had claimed the articles meant that he was "a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified".

The stories said he had been suspended from his job after posting a number of remarks on his personal blog, published on the Between the Lines website, which is hosted by the Islamic Forum of Europe.

Can we expect another story on the limited mental faculties of David Eady, his bias against journalism, etc?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but I made a prediction on hearing the news that Howard Zinn had died last night that he was going to be subject do a rather unkind obituary by Oli Kamm and it seems my prediction was correct, though no refrences to Chomsky. Srebrenica, media lens or Edward Hermann, so i was half correct.

1/28/2010 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that Nick Cohen will say that Eady got it right this time, but then rant on about all the other times that he got it wrong.


1/28/2010 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Guano is right - and the Eye praise Carter-Ruck fairly regularly despite CR being teh evils or whatever. though this won't stop Cohen, as the first post notes, from calling for Eady to be removed from all libel cases etc.

Kamm on Zinn:

The man was not just a charlatan and a fanatic - of whom there are many in public life - but was also perfectly incompetent to be a teacher of history.

Kamm's reasons for this are really very shonky - essentially they boil down to 'I, Oliver Kamm, disagree with Zinn therefore Zinn cannot possibly be a competent historian'. Equally Kammo slings a lot of mud (charlatan and fanatic aren't really applicable, whatever Kammo might think) for someone so rational.

1/28/2010 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Nick was on Jeremy Vine arguing with George Monbiot today. The old "if you say the war is illegal, then you must support Saddam" argument got another airing, and you won't be surprised to hear he came across as an utter twat.

1/28/2010 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

'I would like to see George Monbiot go to Iraq and argue there that the war was illegal and the Iraqis should put him on trial because no-one will listen except [trails off from this line of argument into rant about Saddam and al-Qaeda, with the left offering no solidarity to their victims in Iraq] [...] I write about Iraq once a year [...] I'm despairing at the British Left, once they wanted revolutions, now they want lawyers [...] Iraq had started two wars and had committed genocides'. What does that 'revolutions' bit even mean?

Woeful. And Cohen doesn't listen to a word Monbiot says - in fact he just keeps making the same abysmal point about Saddam's being an illegitimate regime thus it has to be legal for it to be attacked at any point - Monbiot answers this repeatedly but Cohen shows no sign of having listened.

That is genuinely the sum of his thinking on the subject. Equally baffling is his idea that the govt Blair and Bush installed in Iraq represent some kind of authentic voice of the Iraqi people, given that George Bush ordered the first postwar Iraqi PM to be fired.

But most pointedly, does Nick really want to go down the avenue of 'why don't you go to Iraq and make these points'?

wider question - why do so many Decent 'rationalists' end up yelling at their well-spoken and calm opponents in debates?

1/28/2010 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Kamm on Zinn:

"The man was not just a charlatan and a fanatic - of whom there are many in public life - but was also perfectly incompetent to be a teacher of history".

"Kamm's reasons for this are really very shonky - essentially they boil down to 'I, Oliver Kamm, disagree with Zinn therefore Zinn cannot possibly be a competent historian'. Equally Kammo slings a lot of mud (charlatan and fanatic aren't really applicable, whatever Kammo might think) for someone so rational."

All elderly lefties can expect a hand full of mud in the face from Kammo as a birthday present or obituary when they pop their socks, im sure Tony Benn is dreading the day he dies.

1/28/2010 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

There's an awful lot of the sniggering schoolboy about Kamm.

1/28/2010 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Incidentally, talking of the Eye, did anybody else find remarkable their Brussels Sprouts story in which they praised a call for the EU to deal firmly with Spain, issued by....Nigel Farage?

(I say this without comment on the issue itself - it's just that it must surely strike people as odd that a UKIP MP would be calling for European law to be imposed on a sovereign country. Or not.)

1/28/2010 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the tonnage of bombs dropped on actually existing fascists by both Zinn and Benn, I rather think that they're big enough to cope with the Wrath of Kamm.

Chris Williams

1/28/2010 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

There's an awful lot of the sniggering schoolboy about Kamm.

Apt given he looks like one.

1/28/2010 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Wrath of Kamm

I like that. Very droll.

Kamm quotes Zinn as saying this about the Bush administration.

"But more ominous, perhaps, than the occupation of Iraq is the occupation of the US. I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over. I wake up thinking: the US is in the grip of a president surrounded by thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water or the air, or what kind of world will be inherited by our children and grandchildren."

From this Kamm concludes that Zinn indulges in the 'language of far-right conspiracists', lives in 'pitiful conspiratorial mental world' and whose 'wasted life exemplified his character as an intellectual waster.'

This is the same Kamm who criticised Chomsky for the personal 'invective' that he used against those he disagreed with.

To write an obituary like that before the guy has even been buried shows a distinct lack of class.

1/28/2010 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin Wisse said...

But then Kamm is an odious little toady without the guts to attack people when they're still alive and paying attention.

1/28/2010 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I'm going to wait until Kamm dies and, on the day he does, I'm going to write really nasty things about him on the internets! Let him try to stop me. That'll show him! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

1/28/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

Nick on PM also brought up the old "the left never opposed Saddam" line - and went completely unchallenged.

work verification: trater. Spooky.

1/28/2010 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Nobody's going to write an obituary of Kamm.

1/28/2010 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Oh I dunno, I'd quite fancy the opportunity.

1/28/2010 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Chomsky dies Kammo might go in to such an overdrive he may well leave this life in mushroom cloud of his own interlectual, smugness gas

1/28/2010 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Anyone going to troll Aaro later?

1/29/2010 01:12:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I can't bring myself to read Kamm's piece but his response to Zinn's remarks about Bush is absurd.
But then the Decents seem to be constantly shocked by the fact that people on the left might have a powerful aversion to a Very Right Wing president who surrounds himself with nasty right wing thugs.

1/29/2010 08:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive said it before of decents but particully concerning Kammo and MAH that they could realy benefit from getting laid a bit more offen.

1/29/2010 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I'm in a sanctimonious mood this afternoon, but if comments like the last are to be left, could they not be left anonymously?

1/29/2010 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, if not that then Kammo needs a nice relaxing holiday to calm him down, he should learn that all this obsessing over aging American activists is not worth working onself in to frenzy over.

1/29/2010 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Meanwhile, in Mail on Sunday libel news...

1/29/2010 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick will have to do some kind of tortuously-argued piece re. Blair at the Chilcot inquiry - Martin Kettle could do with someone else to take on the heavy lifting (and in my view William Shawcross gave the game away the moment he suggested it would be no bad thing if Saddam was replaced by a military man). I'll claim bonus marks if he mentions 'Chemical Ali', the Kurds or Halabja.

Second choice: some guff about Davos.


1/29/2010 10:51:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Meanwhile, in Mail on Sunday libel news...

Don't suppose HP will be reporting that libel verdict too prominently.

Anybody noticed all the frantic Blair boosting that has been forthcoming from Decent writers over the last few days?

Pretty desperate stuff most of it. I was particularly amused by Norm's icy disapproval at an article by Matthew Norman in the Indie. Norman had the temerity to suggest that Blair would remain a pariah for the rest of his days. But Norman, Matthew not Geras, is probably correct. Blair, like Thatcher before him, will find it hard to appear anywhere in public in this country without creating a potential public disorder.

1/30/2010 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope he becomes a Kurt Waldheim, being a persona non grata may just have to do.

1/30/2010 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking Kissinger, especially given the foreign policy 'expert' status (see Blair's setting the frame re. Iran, and Kettle's idea that the King - sorry, Blair - deserves a hearing).


1/30/2010 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to admit it even Kissinger has been on the right side of some issues, I doubt even he would regard invading Iran as sane.

1/30/2010 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger angrysoba said...


Anyone catch Aaronovitch on the radio in the States?

I take it he's promoting his book over there as I think it is just about to be published State-side:

1/31/2010 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Nick's gone for the shonky state of British rail services; a return to stuff he used to do well, but the column feels phoned in, and a lot of it is a fairly incoherent whinge about Network Rail hiring libel lawyers - i get the feeling this was originally a bigger part of the piece but it doesn't really add much.

It ends thus:

I suspect Spanish railway managers are not buying country estates or hiring the attack-dog lawyers of the super-rich, but using public money to provide public services.

could he not have done a little bit of reasearch on that?

In other news, the Obs now comes out saying it was wrong to support the war. Wonder if Cohen was present at that editorial meeting...

1/31/2010 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Mind you it took me three-quarters of an hour to queue for a ticket at Zaragoza station in October....

1/31/2010 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the past few days, the Wagging Finger of Geras has been so frenetic that I'm worried the great man is going to give himself RSI. Of course, Norm's complaint that people are being unfair to Mr Tony is really just Norm's apologia pro bellum suum at a remove. As in, the greatest injustice of the Iraq war was "Elderly academic's feelings hurt by people's unwillingness to take on board that, when he supported this batshit insane policy, he did so with the best of intentions."

1/31/2010 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up to July 2002, the coverage by the Observer of the possible invasion of Iraq was good. Something happened in August 2002: by the last Sunday there was the bizarre Hitchens article (if Kissinger is against the inavsion of Iraq, I'm in favour). Maybe some day somebody will tell us what happened at the Observer in August 2002, or what happened to Cohen at about the same time.


2/01/2010 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Guano. There is an interesting account of goings on at the Observer during the lead up to the war in Nick Davies's Flat Earth News. As you might imagine Alton does not come out of it looking terribly good.

2/01/2010 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I feel shame and regret for having supported the Iraq war ... so why can't Blair?

By David Rose
Last updated at 8:29 AM on 01st February 2010

'Instead, I helped draft The Observer’s pre-invasion editorial arguing we had no choice – an editorial which caused a deep rift with The Observer’s sister paper The Guardian, and which ultimately contributed to The Observer editor losing his job.'

2/01/2010 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Given David Rose's recent record on reporting climate change it doesn't surprise me that standards at The Observer slipped somewhat while he was there.

2/01/2010 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what "Flat Earth News" says, and it's all good stuff. I'm wondering though whether someone will tell us eventually how that state of affairs came about. Why was there such a sudden change of direction at the Observer in early August 2002?

The Shawcross article in the Guardian ("it doesn't matter who replaces Saddam") was 1st August. What kind of pressure did the Observer/Guardian come under at that time?


2/01/2010 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeesboard said...

in brown-got-martin-bright-sacked watch, as well as brown-must-go-now watch:

2/01/2010 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Nick seems not to understand that the reason that no other newspaper has followed up on the "Brighty got sacked by Gordon" story is that Martin Bright has said publicly that it isn't true - whatever he might or might not have told Nick in the saloon bar of the Canonsbury Tavern, Bright's public statements certainly don't give much material for someone to hang a story on.

(Also it seems weird to me that a Labour magazine run by a Labour peer would fire someone for campaigning actively against the Labour candidate in an important election, and that this would be attributed to some strange personality quirk of Gordon Brown's)

2/01/2010 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

You'll like this.

This morning David T's alter ego Lucy Lips, re-posted Cohen's comments on Martin Bright's sacking from the New Statesman. Predictably the post included more swiping at Mehdi Hasan and the comments became a condemnathon of both Hasan and Sunny Hundal.

At 6pm this evening Martin Bright appeared and stated;

Goodness me. The events of a year ago are still making waves. I’m flattered. I thought my comments about the speculation at the time made my position clear.

Some of this is covered by a confidentiality agreement (itself confidential until Geoffrey Robinson told the world about it in a letter to The Times last year). He reassured the newspaper’s readers, who must have been mystified, that Gordon Brown had not ordered my removal from the New Statesman.

So I guess that’s that.

Brilliantly, the commenters completely ignored him dipping his fly in their ointment and continued their condemnathon.

Two and a half hours later, not a single person (including Lips) has even acknowledged his interjection.

2/01/2010 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

You never did.

2/05/2010 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Witchsmeller Pursuivant said...

It wasn't my place to...

2/07/2010 06:01:00 PM  

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