Monthly Archives: November 2012

Defending the indefensible: LM’s position on paedophilia – it’s hysteria

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) had some funny views about child sexual abuse in the 1980s and 1990s. They saw nothing to get worked up about.  It was all hysteria on the part of those who had recently alleged there was a high-level paedophile ring operating in Britain. So it comes as no surprise that Brendan O’Neill, the Telegraph’s chief contrarian writes another blog in which he paints those concerned about child sex abuse as hysterical.

The headline for his blog sums it up “Is it really true that children are being sexually exploited in every ‘town, village and hamlet’ in England”?  I’ve already written about the laager mentality of those who write for the Tory press but this title is mischief-making on O’Neill’s part. Reaching back into the recent past, O’Neill tell us,

In June, the deputy children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz got tabloid headline writers hot under the collar when she declared: “There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited.”Now, in an effort to back up this Grimm-like claim about the horrors facing British children, Ms Berelowitz has issued a detailed report on the allegedly nationwide scourge of sexual exploitation, which is dramatically titled: ‘I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world’

This blog follows in the wake of ITV’s Exposure update last night and I suppose it was only inevitable that one or more right-wing writers would try to throw the public off the scent or chide them for being “hysterical”. Here’s some more,

The media are lapping it up. Some newspapers are slating Ms Berelowitz for downplaying the specific problem of Asian gangs abusing vulnerable white girls, but for the most part hacks seem pleased that there is yet another shock-horror claim about child sexual abuse for them to write and get angry about. The Daily Mail informs us that “some 16,500 youngsters”, or “the equivalent of 20 medium-sized secondary schools”, are at risk of sexual exploitation by gangs and groups. Which sounds genuinely scary.

What O’Neill seeks to do is shift the emphasis back to the notion that it’s only gangs of Muslim Asian men who groom teenage girls for sexual abuse. In the light of the recent revelations, we know that this isn’t true. O’Neill operates in an unofficial capacity to protect the establishment from possible exposure by penning poisonous pieces like this.

Living Marxism (LM) for which O’Neill and the rest of the RCP once wrote, carried occasional discussion pieces about paedophilia. Take this one from Mick Hume, written in May 1998.

As a father, I do not much care what happens to those individuals who are guilty of violent sex offences against children. Throw away the key, throw them down the stairs, whatever; I won’t lose any sleep over one less Sidney Cooke in the world.

But as a father with libertarian principles, I do care about the implications of the national panic about paedophiles that is now gripping Britain (and, it seems, Belgium, Italy, the USA etc).

So far, so good.

To me, the paedophile panic looks like the latest outburst of one of the most destructive sentiments of our age: ‘stranger danger’, the fear and mistrust of other people that has grown stronger as the old communal ties and collective solidarities weaken.

Stranger danger has helped to create a climate of insecurity where, recent surveys show, British children spend more time than ever before alone with their own TVs, CDs and PCs in the gilded cages of their bedrooms, worrying about what might happen to them to the point where some are already on Prozac. And worse is to come if we continue to fill our children with a fear of life.

The trouble is that while there is hysteria whipped up by the very media for which O’Neill and Hume write, there is a serious case to answer about the child sex abuse and its cover up by the authorities. There is nothing “hysterical” about wanting to get to the truth and wanting to obtain justice for the victims who, I might add, figure very little, if at all, in O’Neill’s articles or those of his fellow LMers.

The Moral Maze’s Claire Fox produced this rather typical piece in the same issue,

Dea Birkett thinks another reason she receives a lot of abuse on this issue is ‘because victims feel as though you are personally attacking them. I think the victims themselves become victims of this hysteria, which is no help to them. When you have Michelle Elliot on television with a victim sitting next to her I think that means being twice victimised – once by the abuse that she has suffered and twice by this parading of her victimisation. I get very cross when I watch those debate shows where the victim of abuse responds “I’ve been abused 135 times”. As if that was an argument. As if I’m going to say “no you weren’t abused” or “that’s good” rather than “that’s bad”. I didn’t say child abuse doesn’t exist; don’t parade a victim in front of me as an argument against me. I’m not talking about that. I am talking about our attitude towards offenders. But when the victim speaks, that’s it; it’s like a statement “There’s no debate now”‘.

But where is the victim in this piece? The victim here is transmogrified into a logical fallacy; the blunt instrument of a discursive hijack. Interestingly enough, Fox appears as a speaker at The Freedom Association’s (TFA) “Freedom Zone” Events.

This is another rationalization of paedophilia.

Paedophilia is not a new problem in Italy; the Roman Emperors were, after all, as famous for their favourite boys as for their harems of women. What has changed is the public reaction to it. In particular, unpopular politicians desperate to make links with their electorate are preying on popular fears about paedophiles in a bid to win new authority.

So because Roman Emperors indulged in under-age sex, this makes it acceptable? Has nothing really changed in two millennia? We no longer have the pater familias as head of the Roman family. So what is this writer trying to say?

Back to O’Neill,

Likewise, the definition of “child sexual exploitation” in Berelowitz’s report is dangerously amorphous. To most of us, sexual exploitation means something like prostitution, the effective selling of a person or persons to perverted or depraved men. Yet Berelowitz’s report defines “child sexual exploitation” as including not only situations where a young person “receives something (eg. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affections, gifts, money) as a result of them performing… sexual activities”, but also things like “being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones” and being involved in “exploitative relationships”. When you read through the report, it seems pretty clear that lots and lots of different experiences have been lumped together to reach this figure of 2,409 children who have been sexually exploited by gangs – not only real and terrible cases in which young people have been abused by gangs, like the one in Rochdale that was exposed a few months ago, but also boyfriends pressuring girlfriends to send them rude pictures, men in their twenties having less-than-admirable relationships with teenage girls, and so on.

Once again, O’Neill drags in Rochdale and attempts to racialize the debate and thereby deflect attention from the obvious fact that there has been a high level cover up. Pederasty cuts across ethnic and cultural boundaries but don’t expect O’Neill to acknowledge this. To make things worse, he says,

Who benefits from this conflation of so many different experiences and the inaccurate depiction of Britain as a hotbed of sexual depravity and perversion? No one, I would argue. Certainly not the majority of children, who are encouraged to believe that they aren’t safe in any “town, village or hamlet” in England. In fact, there is one beneficiary of this scaremongering: the Office of the Children’s Commissioner itself, which gets to launch a grand-sounding, self-serving moral mission to rescue the downtrodden and enslaved from the evil scourge of gang culture.

Who’s hysterical now, Brendan? By painting public concern as “scaremongering” is pretty damned dishonest and hysterical.

O’Neill is the editor of the LM network’s journal, Spiked! Here’s Tim Black railing against the child abuse laws,

First came the Sex Offenders Register in 1997. Currently listing around 29,000 people, from children who’ve groped other children, teachers who’ve had liaisons with students, to those who’ve sexually abused young children, it is an unwieldy, indiscriminate testament to the special place the child sex offender occupies in the contemporary imagination (1). Its effect has been profound. The sex offender has now been officially distinguished as a breed of criminal apart, one that requires constant monitoring and house visits. Unlike others who have broken the law, the sex offender is forever stained by his offence, a subject of endless control. For the public the paedophile has become an everyday nightmare; a faceless threat living amongst us, but not like us – the enemy within. Seen in this way, it’s not surprising that since the compilation of the Sex Offenders Register, there have been periodic attempts to have its listed names made publicly available.

One has to treat Spiked and the rest of LM with a great deal of suspicion. These were the people who argued that making a stand against apartheid was a”bourgeois” pastime. We should also remember that TFA supported the apartheid regime in South Africa and was behind the rebel cricket tour of that country.

On 15 October, O’Neill wrote more about “hysteria”. Here he draws some rather weak parallels between Savile and the Salem Witch Trials.

So as in Salem, Savile-obsessed modern Britain has its alleged conspiracy of witches, in the shape of Savile himself, described by the Guardian as ‘the devil who tries, and succeeds, in passing himself off as a saint’, alongside other named or hinted-at individuals. Together, these ‘blood-curdling child catchers’ (Guardian again) apparently ‘stalked children’s homes and hospitals… preying on the most vulnerable victims one could imagine’. They were part of a ‘child sex ring’, say the tabloids, which ‘lurked’ deep within ‘the corporation’ (the BBC). Savile was even worse than JK Rowling’s Voldemort, journalists tell us; he was a beast more wicked than could have been imagined by ‘even the most gifted weavers of children’s nightmares’.

This amounts to a tacit defence of Savile and those who allowed him access to vulnerable children. Elsewhere in the article O’Neill tries desperately to connect the recent child sex scandals with the American Red Scares of the 1950s. It’s intellectually dishonest. He closes his article with this blast,

There it is; this is where we get to the rotten heart of the Savile hysteria. The Savile story is really a vessel for the cultural elite’s perverted obsession with child abuse, and more importantly its belief that everyone is at it – that in every institution, ‘town, village and hamlet’, there are perverts and innocence despoilers, casually warping the next generation. In modern Britain, the figure of The Paedophile has become the means through which the misanthropes who rule over us express their profound fear and suspicion of adults in general, and also of communities and institutions – even of the institutions they hold dear, such is the self-destructive dynamic triggered by the unleashing of the Salem ethos. If Savile had never existed, the chattering classes would have had to invent him, so perfect an encapsulation is he of their degenerate view of the whole of adult society today.

My emphasis. Notice how he paints this as an “obsession” of the “cultural elite”, a phrase he often uses to describe anyone who disagrees with him and his fellow LMers. This is also his euphemism for “the Left”.

James Heartfield had this to say in a 1993 edition of LM,

In the seventies, before it was prohibited, the Paedophile Information Exchange used to argue that children were capable of making their own decisions about who they wanted to have sex with.

Notice how the author tells what the Paedophile Information Exchange said but doesn’t bother to challenge their view. It’s taken as axiomatic. Heartfield’s view is that children should never be believed. He wrote,

Children’s rights are not just a misnomer. If that were all they were it would not matter. But in fact the growing interest in children’s rights is positively dangerous. The extension of rights to children is not an increase in liberty, but a degradation of the meaning of individual rights.

My question to O’Neill and his LM buddies is this: why do you defend the indefensible? They would tell us that it’s because they’re “libertarians”. But can we take this to mean that they seek to dismiss allegations of paedophilia as trivial nonsense or is it the case that they’re actually doing the bidding of the elites that O’Neill rails against? It’s both.

It’s worth considering O’Neill’s position on the Leveson Inquiry. In February he wrote a piece titled “Why we’re launching The Counter Leveson Inquiry”. I shall quote a small portion.

This is about to change. spiked has been raising concerns about the likely consequences of the crusade against ‘unethical’ tabloids since before Leveson was set up, and we have continually criticised the Leveson process for creating a censorious climate in the here and now, even before its recommendations have been made. And now we plan to gather together our arguments, and intensify them, in a Counter-Leveson Inquiry which will put the case against Leveson, against judges and police getting to tell the press what its ethics should be, and against any stricture whatsoever on the right of the press, whether highbrow or low-rent, to investigate and publish what it sees fit.

Why? Not because we hold a candle for tabloid newspapers, but because we carry a torch for press freedom, because we believe that Milton’s rallying cry is as fitting today as it was in 1644: ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

O’Neill also writes for The Australian, a Murdoch paper. Go figure.

In the 1980s I suspected that the RCP was a state-sponsored front to discredit the Left. It seems that I was, at least, partly right. LM’s successors work tirelessly on behalf of the state, its institutions and the corporations that benefit from state largesse. Its talk of liberty rings hollow when one realizes exactly how close it is to state and corporate power. Their strange brand of libertarianism blinds them to the damage done to those who have been victims of pederasty. They talk of freedom but what about the right of children to enjoy freedom from harm and exploitation? It seems eerily absent from their discourse.

I found this blog from George Monbiot that was written in 1998. Here’s an extract.

As you wade through back issues of Living Marxism, you can’t help but conclude that the magazine’s title is a poor guide to its contents. LM contains little that would be recognised by other Marxists or, for that matter, by leftists of any description. On one issue after another, there’s a staggering congruence between LM’s agenda and that of the far-right Libertarian Alliance. The two organisations take identical positions, for example, on gun control (it is a misconceived attack on human liberty), child pornography (legal restraint is simply a Trojan horse for the wider censorship of the Internet), alcohol (its dangers have been exaggerated by a new breed of “puritan”), the British National Party (it’s unfair to associate it with the murder of Stephen Lawrence; its activities and publications should not be restricted), the Anti-Nazi League (it is undemocratic and irrelevant), tribal people (celebrating their lives offends humanity’s potential to better itself; the Yanomami Indians are not to be envied but pitied) animal rights (they don’t have any), and global warming (it’s a good thing).

O’Neill often refers to himself as a “Marxist”. Some Marxist.

N.B. O’Neill has closed the comments thread to avoid a cyber pasting.

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Israel rejects ceasefire

Surprise, surprise, Israeli officials last night rejected a ceasefire with Gaza. The reason for this is because they want to continue so-called “targeted killings” (assassinations). That and because the Israeli state is firmly committed to the genocide of the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile the BBC continues its pro-Israeli line by only interviewing Israelis, who repeat the line about “terrorists”. Not that the Israeli state isn’t terrorist. No, it wasn’t founded by terrorists at all.

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How Does Israel Attack Gaza?

Great little animation!

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Britain’s libel laws and You Know Who

He’s innocent. He was nowhere near Wrexham, save for a flying visit to a Wimpy Bar with a Conservative Party Agent. He doesn’t know Steven Messham and no doubt he’s never met Dr Julian Lewis, the Tory party’s fixer and dirty tricks specialist either. Furthermore, You Know Who has  never set foot in Dolphin Square and has never worked as treasurer for the Conservative Party. That last part was true but I’m worried that I’ve got it wrong and I’ll get threatened with a libel suit for claiming that You Know Who was party treasurer when he was, in fact, the party’s teaboy and bog cleaner.

In fact, You Know Who is the man who never was. It was his dead cousin who is the guilty party and we can’t ask him questions but rest assured, if he were still alive, he would probably threaten us with libel suits too. Why? People with lots of money and power can shut people up – even if they are speaking the truth or being satirical. Ask any number of whistle-blowers and satirists and they’ll tell you the same thing: free speech in Britain is a myth. UK libel laws are possibly the most exacting in the world, but as is the case with many things in Britain, only the rich have access to defamation suits. Those of us on meagre incomes cannot even afford to defend ourselves in a libel suit, let alone sue someone who defames us. We just have to put up with it. This is one of the things that makes Britain such a brutal and unjust country.

McAlpine doesn’t need the money but he’s quite happily taken £185,000 from the BBC for not naming him. He lives in Italy, where he is out of reach from HM Revenues and Customs and thus pays no tax in this country. He operates a blacklist of construction workers whom he (and others) believe are Bolsheviks and his construction sites are some of the most dangerous in Europe. Yes sir, this is a man who believes in freedom and justice but only on his terms. But I don’t suppose the blacklist has anything to do with milord. He’s probably never seen it and will probably sue anyone who dares to contradict him.

Seriously, if McAlpine was that concerned about his good name, then why haven’t his solicitors served a writ on the Cheshire Constabulary for showing a photograph to Steven Messham when they knew it to be wrong? And what about David Icke, who’s been making allegations against McAlpine for the better part of 20 years? Then there’s Scallywag, whose 4 page article named You Know Who along with several others. No writ there.

Simon Kelner writing in The Independent says,

… Kevin Clash, who was the voice of Elmo in Sesame Street, was falsely accused of having an affair with an underage boy. Again, a similar Twitter storm, but Clash has not threatened any legal action against anyone who shared the incorrect story on Twitter. This is because, in America, the burden in libel cases falls on the claimant to prove the defendant knew the information was false, or likely to be false, or at least was not acting in good faith.

In Britain, the defendant must demonstrate that the accusation is true, nothing less. This is a huge difference, which many have argued has led to an imbalance in Britain in favour of the rich and powerful, who have used our libel laws to suppress information and thus restrict freedom of speech. The British system is overly protective of reputation, they say.

The only reputations that are protected in this country are those of the powerful, whose reputations are often questionable at the best of times.

Such is McAlpine’s arrogance that he thinks he can sue every Twitter user who tweeted or retweeted allegations about him. When this was announced the usual suspects in the Tory press began to cheer and egg him on.  The same people started working overtime to produce smear stories about Tom Watson and Messham. These are the same people who lied about Leveson and demanded an end to the enquiry. At any rate, if McAlpine wanted to sue every Twitter user (there must be thousands), it would take years, possibly decades. Does he really have that many years left in him? His solicitor told people that they should come forward, confess one’s sins and settle to avoid a lengthy and expensive court case. Is McAlpine now the 21st century equivalent to Chaucer’s Pardoner? If so, it is an odd role in which to cast one’s self.

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Former IAF captain speaks out about his country’s attack on Gaza. He describes it as nothing less than a war crime. He’s right.

A lot of Israelis have had enough of macho politics.

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

Nov 17, 2012 by Neo ie

Brave Israeli Soldier, Yonatan Shapira, speaks out about the Zionist Israeli governments crimes.






Read the blog “The Dark History of Modern Day Zionism” – http://choiceandtruth.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-dark-history-of-modern-day-zio…

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For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: The History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine

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The real reason for Israel’s attack on Gaza

If you think you’ve seen this movie before, then you probably have. It’s more or less the sequel to Operation Cast Lead and it’s happening under similar circumstances: a forthcoming election. That’s right, Bibi Netanyahu is facing an election and he wants to win, and the only way he can see himself and his Likud party winning seats is by presenting himself as a macho tough guy with a baseball bat who stands up to a boy with a pea-shooter.

The last time this happened, it was the new Kadima Party chairperson and former Mossad operative, Tzipi Livni, facing an election after she ousted the corrupt Ehud Olmert as party leader. Kadima, founded in 2005 by notorious Zionist headbanger, Ariel Sharon, presents itself as a “centre party” and in the scheme of Israeli politics, perhaps it is a centre party. That doesn’t mean it isn’t influenced by revisionist Zionism, because it is. Half of its members are former Likudniks, the other half are former Labor Party members. Can you imagine a party in the UK being formed from factions of the Conservative and Labour Parties? No? I can’t either. But that’s the incredibly fluid nature of Israeli politics for you.

Likud is committed to neoliberal economic policies and neoconservative foreign policies.  Many of its leaders are American or have spent some considerable portion of their lives in the US.  Netanyahu lived in Pennsylvania for a number of years and ‘ambassador’ Dore Gold was born and raised in  Connecticut.

It is worth remembering that the Likud-dominated government has imposed austerity measures and that Netanyahu’s popularity took a dive earlier in the year. Last year and the year before, Israelis have been protesting in ever larger numbers against the rise in the cost of living – especially rents. This barely gets reported in Britain’s newspapers and is never mentioned on television news.

The poll, conducted by Dialog and Tel Aviv University, found that 60 percent of Israelis were displeased with the way Netanyahu was functioning as prime minister. Only 31% said they supported Netanyahu’s actions.

The numbers are the lowest since Netanyahu took office in 2009. The prime minister has generally enjoyed approval ratings hovering around 50%, with periodic large drops coming as a result of economic issues.

Regarding Steinitz, 67% said they were unhappy with his policies and actions, while only 19% supported him.

The results were the latest in a series of polls conducted by the newspaper. Netanyahu’s popularity has been dropping in the past three polls, and it dropped by 10% between during the month of July.

These are the actions of a man who is desperate to turn around his flagging popularity in the face of a forthcoming election. But let’s not make excuses for Netanyahu; he is a warmonger and a psychopath. His idea of “security” means brutalizing the Palestinians and holding his fellow Israelis to ransom by using the spectre of one-sided violence and persecution as a psychological weapon.

The language used by Netanyahu and Likud and the other right-wing parties differs little from the stream of paranoid scaremongering that comes from the likes of The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner. This blog is rather typical. It paints Netanyahu as a “defender of the free world”. Seriously, the man is totally nuts.

What’s the betting that the IDF will claim, in the coming weeks, that they’ve found evidence that the Iranian Republican Guard are present in Gaza and that they’ve found a “cache of chemical weapons”? It may sound far-fetched but then, this is what desperate politicians like Netanyahu do when their ratings are in the toilet and they’re facing a serious test at the ballot box. “I’m your protector and you can only have freedom through me”, seems to be the tacit message coming from Bibi’s lips.

As I type this, William Hague is on Sky News talking darkly about “Iran’s support for Hamas”. You can see how desperate the Tories are to start a war with Iran and if Netanyahu and his chums use Gaza as a prelude to a future war with Iran, then all the better. It’s a great way to divert attention from austerity measures and the Tories’ unpopularity. But they forget the embarrassment of the Suez Crisis.

Bibi also wants to outmanoeuvre those in the Israeli establishment who are beginning to question the policy of never-ending war.

In short, Bibi and Barak’s ship continues to sink. Their war plans have been scuttled by forces that have proven much more determined than I ever expected them to be: the Obama administration; the Israeli security establishment, retired and, most importantly, active; many of Israel’s most respected mainstream journalists (especially Barnea and Shiffer, Haaretz’s Amos Harel and Amir Oren, and Channel 10′s Immanuel Rosen and Alon Ben-David), who’ve gotten out the story that IDF chief Benny Gantz, IDF Intelligence head Aviv Kochavi, Air Force commander Amir Eshel, Mossad director Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen are against a war; and Peres, whom Haaretz’s Ari Shavit described as ”the true leader of the opposition … [who] is working with all his power to foil the move being advanced by Netanyahu and Barak.”

Meanwhile the BBC keeps silent about this and the growing Israeli peace movement. Instead, we are treated to more doses of chest-thumping rhetoric from Gold or some IDF spokesperson as if it’s the only discourse in town. It’s easier for Netanyahu to blame Hamas for violence than to accept responsibility for the failure of his government to provide real peace and security.

Daniel Levy has written an interesting article in the Daily Beast.  Here’s an extract.

“In all my years in office I haven’t declared a war.”

With those words (and others) Israel’s Prime Minister launched his re-election campaign in an October speech to the Knesset. Well, at least that part of the election message box might now have to change. In launching Operation Pillar of Defence, Netanyahu is taking an uncharacteristic gamble—albeit a calculated risk. The decision was very likely made with the prompting of his Defence Minister Ehud Barak (who unlike the Prime Minister has little to lose politically, with Barak’s Independence party barely scraping the threshold to enter the Knesset, and is predicated on a number of circumstances having aligned). To be clear, this was an escalation of choice by Israel’s leadership (and it could become yet another war of choice). As the timeline of events over the last week makes clear, the killing of a Palestinian minor on November 8 during an IDF incursion into Gaza initiated a round of escalation which was already drawing to a close on November 11 and 12, leading to formal reports from a number of Israeli, Palestinian and international sources that a new truce was in place on November 13. Israel then assassinated Hamas’s military chief Ahmed al-Jabari on November 14.

And the British media continues to lie. How much longer?

UPDATE @ 18/11/12 @ 1321

Here’s an interesting article from Global Research that adds another dimension to this whole affair.

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Brendan O’Neill thinks Jews and Israelis are the same thing

Brendan O’Neill: he isn’t very bright

Brendan O’Neill isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. His blogs for the Daily Telegraph are indicative of his blinkered thinking and faulty logic. Many of his blogs are indeed pure loonspuddery. Well, what do you expect from a man who is part of the LM Network? Sense? A coherent argument?

Today’s blog from O’Neill smears Steve Bell, The Guardian and assumes that being Jewish is the same thing as being Israeli.  Perhaps sensing that he was in for a cyber kicking, he has closed the comments thread. Wise move, chum, but you didn’t count on The Cat spotting your mindless nonsense.

Anyway, the blog is quite short and I shall quote it in its entirety,

What is the message of this cartoon in the Guardian this morning? (See screen grab above.) That Jews are the puppet-masters of Western politicians? Do people still believe in that old, poisonous conspiracy theory?

Deliberate and nasty. The dynamics of the Israel/Palestine conflict and its ontology are completely ignored by the eternally stupid O’Neill, who prefers easy answers and simple explanations. One also suspects that his view of the Palestinians concurs with Mitt Romney’s myopic view of them.

Here’s the middle class O’Neill claiming the “middle classes are panicking about losing Newsnight” adding “Now they know how News of the World readers felt”. No, Brendan, it’s all your fevered imagination.

I suspect O’Neill thinks all Jews are Zionists. What he doesn’t realize, quite probably, is that the most fervent Zionists are end-times Christians. Many Jews aren’t Zionists but I doubt O’Neill has ever heard or met any of them.

By the way, the Steve Bell cartoon is ace.

UPDATE 16/11/12 @ 1228

I see O’Neill’s stablemate, Damian Thompson has also repeated the smear.

My sense is that the odious Steve Bell has produced a cartoon (which you can see in Brendan O’Neill’s blogpost here) so unquestionably anti-Semitic – Jews as puppet–masters, for God’s sake – that even the Guardian won’t be able to shrug this one off.

Point spectacularly missed by the wilfully blind and ignorant Thompson, who has also closed the comments thread to his blog. Their ploy is a desperate one that is based on a wilful misrepresentation of Bell’s cartoon. Perhaps Thompson and O’Neill should check how many UN resolutions Israel has flouted and then come back to the cartoon. But I know they won’t. They prefer to deceive themselves and those who read their trash. Referring to Bell as a “Nazi” is beyond the pale.

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Police & Crime Commissioners: the count begins

I suppose my question is: if the turnout is so low, why does it take so long to count a handful of votes? In some areas, turnout was as low as 1.08%. If a candidate is elected on such a low turnout, shouldn’t there be a re-run of the election?

I’ve mentioned it before but the Tories complain when union strike ballots are around 35%. They claim that strike action is “invalid”. Yet they say nothing when some political nobody is elected with 35,000 votes out of a total electorate of 520,000.

Meanwhile in the 3 by-elections that took place, Labour won Manchester Central and Penarth. The Corby result has yet to be declared but I expect Labour to win. UKIP may well push the Tories into third place.

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Gaza under attack and the lies continue

I don’t know how the IDF chooses  names for its operations but there is certainly no subtlety applied to them. Operation Cast Lead could have easily been called “Operation Spray Bullets”. The latest operation is called Operation Pillar of Cloud, which presumably refers to the cloud of smoke that billows skyward after an air strike. It’s as subtle as a brick in the face.

The issue of proportionality is one that is alien to the Israeli state. A few homemade rockets land on its soil and kill no one and it responds by assassinating Hamas’s military commander Ahmad al-Jaabari.  If the situation was reversed and the Qassam Brigades killed the racist Avigdor Lieberman, you can imagine Israel’s response: they would roll into Gaza with heavy armour and as many chemical and biological weapons that they could muster… but even without such provocation, they would do that anyway.

Let’s be clear about something: western news outlets have taken their information from IDF press briefings and as we know, those briefings only put forward the lie that Israel is the damaged party and that its response was purely defensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The first wave began on 5 November when the IDF shot and killed Ahmed Nuwabi, a man with learning difficulties,  who apparently had “approached the border fence”. 3 days later, the IDF tanks and bulldozers rolled into Southern Gaza and killed a 13 year old.

Today, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague said that Gaza “had to bear principal responsibility”. How about that for balance? As I type this I have BBC News Channel on in the background. Matthew Amroliwala is interviewing someone from Hamas. Amroliwala repeats Hague’s line and that of the IDF. This is the BBC. “Nation shall speak peace unto nation”and all that crap. With that kind of coverage it’s little wonder many people in this country are completely ignorant of the facts and see Israel as the “good guy” in this binary narrative.

Ben Brown is now reporting from Kiryat Malachi about a Hamas rocket strike. He’s interviewing a policeman with a suspiciously antipodean-sounding accent. The BBC reporter in Gaza reports that he “has seen rockets being fired from Gaza”. This is the first thing he says. He only mentions the IDF attacks towards the end of his report and even then, the overall narrative is one of Israel good/Palestine bad.

Brown returns, he talks bout how Israelis “live in fear from rocket attacks”. And the Gazans don’t live in fear of Israeli attacks? Get real.

Live blog from Occupied Palestine here.

UPDATE 16/11/12 @ 1119

I’ve noticed that the Israelis have now changed the name from “Operation Pillar of Cloud” to “Operation Pillar of Defence”. A subtle change but the word “defence” in the hands of the Israelis and the Americans means exactly the opposite. I also noticed that I had 2 visitors from Israel to this blog. I wonder if they… nah, surely not?

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Filed under BBC, Ideologies, Israel, Media, Middle East, propaganda, Television, World

Message from Leah McGrath Goodman

Last week I signed a petition to press The States of Jersey to restore Leah McGrath Goodman’s visa. I got this update this morning from Change.org. The petition now has close to 3,000 signatures and she looks close to getting her wish.

Some new news — from Leah McGrath Goodman:

Thanks so much for your continued support. As we close in on 3,000 signatures, it looks like I may be closer to having my visa restored in the UK.

Right now, the heightened awareness of how abuse victims have been hurt in England has made it easier for the sponsor of this petition, Trevor Pitman, to engage in positive communications on my behalf with the UK’s immigration authorities. (Thank you, Trevor!) With any luck, I may have the green-light to continue my research by the end of the year.

This is only if the UK authorities follow through on their assurances, however. We are hopeful, but the hard work is not yet done and each step has proven expensive…both in terms of time, emotional resources and funding.

Please continue to spread the word. Awareness is key, so long as there are editorials like the one featured in last Friday’s Financial Times letting fly with such statements as: “Fraud, robbery, mugging, burglary – even rape and murder – may sometimes eventually be forgiven. But no such indulgence is available to child abusers. This was not always so.”

This very strange piece — which might have better run under the title “In Defense of Paedophiles” — comes from Sir Max Hastings, an otherwise respected British author, historian and journalist. Not sure what the point of comparing child abuse to burglary is — other than fouling oneself as a sort of paedophile apologist — but Hastings does not let it drop there.

“The public obsession with paedophilia now obliges art galleries and auctioneers to exercise extreme care in marketing images of children,” he says. “Many honourable and admirable people who work with the young must exercise elaborate care to avoid casual physical contact with their charges.”

Uh, isn’t taking elaborate care around children supposed to be a good thing?

While these are the kinds of ignorant sputterings I have long grown used to hearing from, ahem, “paedocrats,” it is disappointing to hear them from a fellow journalist — a beknighted one at that — who should really know better.

(Just an aside: You also have to ask yourself what motivated Hastings to write this editorial. To make a fuss over such high-class problems as the way in which auctioneers are suffering when the protection of children is in question seems to be in the worst of taste.)

The editorial must be read in full to be believed, but Hastings does reassure us that “child abuse is not a national plague” and we should instead focus on tut-tutting the “spasms of hysteria.”

Unlike Hastings, I do not believe getting to the bottom of the matter is, as he says, akin to an “archaeological dig.” Or that “Roman excavations are more fruitful.” I believe as long as there is a push to not ask questions or dig deeper there are plenty of reasons to continue to do so. With patience and compassion, there are ways to heal, but they cannot be approached from a place of denial or ignorance. Let us hope that the national discourse can be allowed to move forward, from a place of truth.

Thank you for your continued support. It has made all the difference!
Leah

The Cat has found the Max Hastings article, which appeared in the Financial Times. Here is a quote,

Whatever happened in north Wales care homes 40 years ago, it will be almost impossible to establish the truth at this distance of time, and it is a waste of taxpayers’ money to try to do so. While every reasonable precaution must be taken to prevent men from sexually abusing children, such crimes must be kept in the context of other evils in the world.

But this is hard to achieve in modern Britain. The late Daily Mail editor Sir David English observed 20 years ago that paedophilia had become, in the eyes of the public informed by the media, the only unpardonable crime. Fraud, robbery, mugging, burglary – even rape and murder – may sometimes eventually be forgiven. But no such indulgence is available to child abusers.

This was not always so. In the era when I was at boarding school, and for many decades before, everybody sniggered about the fact that some schoolmasters – and schoolmistresses – sexually exploited pupils. Cynics said: why else would they take the job? In the Church, and especially the Catholic Church, it is now plain that such malpractices have been widespread. What is remarkable is that many victims have gone on to lead apparently normal lives, though of course some do not.

The public obsession with paedophilia now obliges art galleries and auctioneers to exercise extreme care in marketing images of children. Many honourable and admirable people who work with the young must exercise elaborate care to avoid casual physical contact with their charges. Most children have lost the sort of freedom we knew at their age, roaming London streets and country lanes alone, unsupervised – and without fear.

It’s that third paragraph. What’s he trying to say? That such practices are acceptable in certain contexts? He isn’t clear.

UPDATE 28/1/13 @ 1810

I received an email last Thursday from Change.org, which informed me that Ms McGrath Goodman was being granted a 2 year visa.  Good news but one suspects the shredders in the States of Jersey have been working overtime in the last year or so.

Here’s the text of the email.

A Message from Leah McGrath Goodman:

At last, I have received my UK visa — a visa that will last me two full years!

And you, my wonderful friends, are the reason for this amazing victory.

I want to confide that at the final moment, the visa was held up by the UK Border Agency in New York, but Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley John Hemming put in a parliamentary question to Immigration Minister Damian Green about the delay and, presto, my visa arrived a few days later. (The magic of ministerial questioning.)

I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Jersey Immigration, which did a fantastic job of working with us once we were all able to fully communicate. (One of them actually contacted us late on a Sunday night to make sure all was in order.) In the final analysis, they had to overcome a struggle too.

I will be writing much more in the days to come, but for now I just want to say I am so grateful.

Let’s show the world that the power of numbers (with a little help from social media) can bring justice to those in need. This is a new era and the Internet can accomplish much — especially for those on a small island.

As I continue my work, I will be writing about what I find in my travels atleahmcgrathgoodman.com. Hope to see you there.

While you’re at it, please also check out the blog of Trevor Pitman, the courageous man who launched this petition and a member of Jersey’s Parliament. He can be found at:http://thebaldtruthjersey.blogspot.com

We’re also on Twitter guys! But we don’t want to deluge you.

Next month, Jersey legislators will be voting on whether a Committee of Inquiry will be allowed to do a comprehensive vetting of the island’s handling of its decades of child abuse. Will the committee be permitted to do a real investigation? This is an important time for eyes to remain on the island.

This is only the beginning, so please keep in touch. Remember, without your witnessing these events as they unfolded — and, now, as they continue to unfold — little would have changed. A thousand thanks to you.

We did it — !

Leah McGrath Goodman

P.S. Your excellent notes of support have been passed on to the victims’ advocacy group in Jersey, so those who still suffer every day know that people care for them. Because of your comments, they will not feel so alone.

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Filed under Child sex abuse, Society & culture