Friday, November 02, 2012 

Everything You Think You Know About Libya and Gaddafi is Wrong (or almost).

As ever, a fascinating post from Adam Curtis over on his blog.  Not quite a Everything You Think You Know is Wrong one, but not that far off.  The subject's Libya and Gaddafi, and how almost everything we were told at one time or another turns out not to be true or distinctly hazy.  Some you'll probably be aware of: the evidence of Libyan responsibility for Lockerbie is shaky in the extreme, Arthur Scargill and the NUM were smeared vis-a-vis their supposed acceptance of Libyan money, and how quickly we shifted from (allegedly) funding a Libyan Islamic Fighting Group assassination attempt on Gaddafi's life to "rendering" one of their leaders back to the country to be tortured.

What I didn't know was that Libya's supposed WMD programme Gaddafi willing gave up was almost as non-existent as Iraq's, or the full facts of the sequence of events that led to Libya being targeted by Reagan in 1986.  Something Curtis doesn't dwell on is that in spite of documents emerging implicating our good selves in the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj, nothing has been produced since the fall of Gaddafi to prove beyond all doubt that Libya was responsible for the downing of Flight 103, or indeed to cast more light on the murder of Yvonne Fletcher.  Notably, Gaddafi's director of military intelligence was sent back to Libya rather than any of the other states or courts where he's wanted, while Moussa Koussa was allowed to skip off to Qatar, never to be seen again.

And there's a clip of Vanessa Redgrave calling for a revolution.  What more do you want?

(P.S. To follow along these somewhat conspiratorial lines, Anna Raccoon doubts the veracity of Jimmy Savile's alleged activities at Duncroft (while not denying in the slightest that he almost certainly did abuse teenage girls elsewhere), having been a pupil there herself in the 60s.  Could it be, after everything, that Peter Rippon was right to can Newsnight's report but for the wrong reasons?)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012 

Deep inside... the chain pub piss dungeon?

This is why I always use the cubicles.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012 

To kill a rational peasant.

In light of the fact there's a football game starting very shortly, here's Adam Curtis's latest post, this time on the origins of counter-insurgency and its connection with the special forces conman Jack Idema.

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Friday, May 18, 2012 

Hiatus round-up.

I'm not here next week, more's the pity, seeing as it looks like the Euro's about to collapse and everyone's going to starve to death as a result. We can though all meet our maker safe in the knowledge that a social networking site guaranteed to have been overtaken by something new within 5 years is, for the moment, worth billions of dollars in the United States. Here then are a few links to keep you busy for oh, 5 minutes or so:

Mark Beaumont in the Grauniad making a fool of himself in the process of reviewing DJ Fresh's gig at the Koko, terming the producer a "dubstep pioneer".

John Sentamu in the Graun making a fool of himself over gay marriage. His opening paragraph begins thus so, and the article goes downhill from there:

I will be the first to accept that homosexual people have suffered discrimination and sometimes worse through the decades and that the churches have, at times, been complicit in this.

At times, John? Are you sure you're not overegging the pudding with such a sweeping generalisation?

Jonathan Portes on how in twenty or fifty years from now the government's refusal to borrow to invest when the rate at which we can do so is at a historic low will be looked upon with incredulity and horror.

John Savage and Ewan Pearson on how I Feel Love changed pop.

And lastly, here's's mash-up of the Leveson inquiry, turning the proceedings into a "auto-tuned hip-hop extravaganza":

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012 

We're all in the same boat - apparently.

I have to admit to being thoroughly uninspired so far this week, with the poverty of recent politics not helping. Thankfully, Adam Curtis has updated his almost worth the licence fee alone blog, this time with a post on the initial utopian ideals of those behind cruise liners. Read alongside Jon Ronson's piece from last year on the disappearance of Rebecca Coriam from the Disney Wonder cruise ship, the 171st person to go missing in similar circumstances in the past decade, it's difficult to disagree with Curtis's conclusion:

When Knut Kloster and Ted Arison invented the idea of modern cruising over forty years ago - at least one of them had a vision that it could help create a new era of world harmony and peace.

As the cruse-world developed and mutated over the next forty odd years it mirrored the changes in modern capitalism - from a naive utopian belief in transforming the world - to a harsh, narrow utilitarian vision of the free market where everyone above and below decks is expected to behave as "rational utility maximizers"

And today the world of the modern cruise liners also mirrors the present structure of our global society. Millions of people live in a world where they expect the luxuries which were previously only offered to the few. At the same time millions of others around the world struggle daily to create the platform that holds that fake luxury world together.

Meanwhile the small elite who are genuinely rich and powerful float off into the distance on their own boat - and kick anyone off who dares to get drunk and call it a cruise.

Our leaders tell us that we are all in the same boat.

But what will happen if our boat sinks? Will those same leaders be among the first to jump in the lifeboat and speed off into the dark telling us they have gone to get help?

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 

The revolution betrayed.

Great piece on the takeover of Egypt by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, via Paul Sagar.

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Monday, December 19, 2011 

Lazy links.

'Tis the season for roasting turkeys, and Unity today ably carves up Nadine Dorries. Hopefully there won't be a fight over the parson's nose.

Also worth a gander (groan), via the comments at B&T, is this piece from 2001 by Christopher Hitchens on North Korea. His politics may have become corpulent, but boy, could he write when he felt like it. Not sure he would have been pleased to have been been outlasted by 24 hours by Kim Jong-il, though.

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Friday, September 23, 2011 

What did you say your name was again?

Another old link for a Friday, but who cares? Here's Aidan Moffatt, formerly of Arab Strap, tearing into Adele's ubiquitous Someone Like You.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011 

If you read nothing else today...

then make sure it's this superb post on OurKingdom by Justin Baidoo-Hackman.

(Apologies again for the beyond crap blogging. Must get back into the habit properly tomorrow.)

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Friday, July 29, 2011 

Every day is like Sunday.

Rough cut of a new Adam Curtis docu centring on the downfall of a different press baron over here.

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Friday, June 17, 2011 

What they said.

I think we've reached the stage where we can all agree that, rather than launching a War on Terror, it would've been cheaper and more conducive to enhanced national security if we'd just put those squaddies to work in Aldershot burning two billion quid a week with flamethrowers.

I wonder what Eisenhower would make of today's US, with a military grown from 3.5 million people to 5 million. The western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defence industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do. The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: "Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented."

Yet so successful was Laurie's campaign of pre-emptive self-deprecation that when the time came to step up and tell the inconvenient truth – not that Hugh Laurie is an old Etonian, or a TV comedian, but that he has a voice like a Canada goose – no one (at least, no one I've come across) was prepared to do it. Come on, people! If this kind of mass abdication of aesthetic responsibility continues, we'll end up with Tony Blair as Middle East peace envoy and Miranda Hart winning three British Comedy awards.

This is also known in wanky terms as a 'false dichotomy'. Either you want disabled people to work for less than minimum wage or you don't want them to work at all. There is no position saying we need to try to change people's perceptions and make sure employers don't discriminate . That just doesn't exist, stupid. Stop trying to make an argument that doesn't even exist.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011 

Links dump.

Hopeless time management today. Have some links as a feeble replacement for an actual post:

Left Outside - The Financial Sector is still bad for Britain, and everyone else
Heresy Corner - Polly Toynbee, the baroness and the chavs
BenSix - Lay off the damn sodas!

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Friday, June 25, 2010 

The budget's effect on "real" people.

Brilliant post by deeplyflawedbuttrying on how the budget will affect her. Also a interjection by David Marquand, by no means one of my favourites, on how it betrays the liberal tradition.

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Monday, December 07, 2009 

Preventing Terrorism at Home - The View from Ground Zero.

A late contender for post of the year, this superb treatise on local racism, the decay and depression of outer-city housing estates and with it the potential for extremism, also contains a paragraph that gives me heart that permanently pulling up the tabloids on their bullshit, however many times you repeat yourself, is worth it:

The impulse to segregate was compounded by the messages that seemed to reinforce the idea that the treatment in Southmead reflected the mood and views of the rest of Britain. "Hundreds of thousands of migrants here for handouts, says senior judge". "Britain paying migrants £1,700 to return home BEFORE they've even got here" "The violent new breed of migrants who will let nothing stop them coming to Britain" These headlines were just three of many that were printed in the Mail, a right-wing daily during my time in Southmead. I don't usually take much notice of the headlines in the Sun and the Mail unless they are truly shocking, but in Southmead the headlines seemed to have an impact on the treatment we received. The level of low-level hostility from adults seemed to be directly linked to the content of the headlines. More outright hostility from younger adults and children followed a day or so later.

Do go and read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009 

Now for something completely different...

In lieu of an actual post, here are some completely random facts:

According to today's Graun, the Japanese Communist Party has over 400,000 members. The Labour party only had a similar number back in 2007, and now has less than 200,000.

The 1975 referendum on whether the UK should stay in the European Economic Community had a turnout of 64.5%, despite the fact that the previous year had seen two general elections. In contrast, the turnouts at the 2001 and 2005 general elections were 59% and 61% respectively. Interestingly, the only major newspaper to call for a "no" vote in the referendum was the Morning Star. How times change. As for whether the general election of 2010 will have a turnout higher than 65% remains to be seen.

Oh, and if you want something else to read, Rachel on the acquittal of the 7/7 "accomplices", Chris on the "Evil Poor" problem and Dave on the atrophy of the left are all worth a gander.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009 

Half-assed blogging.

Apologies again for the half-assed blogging so far this week. I'd like to say it's because I've got something major in the works, but I haven't, it's just me not managing my time properly. Here then are two outstanding posts which more than merit your attention:

Stumbling and Mumbling - Gordon Brown: a defence
Unity - Woolas: the Minister for Invertebrates

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008 

Christmas Eve miscellany.

Just a few words and links today. Here's what I left on the Grauniad article regarding Zavvi's entering administration:

Can I be so bold as to put in a defence of Zavvi? Perhaps it's just my local store, but the prices in there, at least on the new releases are usually competitive or better than HMV's, the staff are far friendlier and helpful, and you actually felt like they cared about you. It's all well and good saying support your local independent, but the sad fact is that they hardly exist any more: it's either Zavvi and HMV or the utter hell of a supermarket. Music is no longer an art to these people; it's become a commodity. If Zavvi and eventually HMV goes then we'll have genuinely lost something for good.

David Semple writes of the best Marxist analysis of the financial crisis he's come across so far.

Aaron puts in a superb rant on the bailiffs issue, and my post was also cross-posted over on Lib Con, sans the description of Green as "fat and greasy", should you feel the need to read a load more comments.

Anton Vowl rips into the Sun and its fetish over "Our Boys", while the paper itself complains about the MoD refusing to pay for gifts from the public to be sent over to them, which is quite obviously what public money should be spent on rather than anything else.

Finally, if you want to read something cracked from err, someone cracked, these thoughts on Pope Benedict's speech from our old friend Johanna Kaschke are rather unique.

Anyway, have a good Christmas, and I'll be back in a couple of days with some tedious best and worst of 2008 lists that we all love so much.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008 

Hefferlumps and socialism.

If you read just one thing today, Dave Osler's masterful assault on Simon Heffer deserves to be it.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 

Weekend links.

If you wanted an example of how skewed and completely disoriented British politics is at the moment, you could do worse than examine today's Sun leader:

IT will take more than a seaside ice cream to cheer up Gordon Brown this weekend.

Sitting on his deckchair, the PM will be wondering if the tide is going out on his Premiership.

Labour’s sensational defeat by the Scottish Nationalists in Glasgow East is bound to whip up more “Gordon must go” hysteria.

For sure, Mr Brown has his back to the wall. But no one is ready to publicly challenge him and step into his shoes.

With the economic climate, there will not be an election for almost two years, however much the Tories demand it.

Mr Brown should recharge his batteries during the holiday. The workaholic PM needs a clarity of vision for the country on his return.

Have a good break, Gordon.

which is almost craven in its sycophancy to a dying political leader, and compare it to the Grauniad's, which you would expect to be closer to the Sun's:

Those who hold Labour's future close to their hearts may not thank a newspaper for concluding that the way forward is problematic and the decisions finely balanced. But that is the truth. The case for loyalty is strong and the case for change impressive too. The worst thing would be to sustain public loyalty and private disdain for a man who seems, right now, to turn everything he touches to lead. It is not in Labour's soul to be brutal to leaders, and nor, at this point, should it be. The risk of change still outweighs the gains - if only because the advantages could prove illusory while the dangers are real and apparent. It can seem every article about Mr Brown preaches the need for him to find energy, clarity and vision. Such demands may be commonplace, but that does not make them wrong. Mr Brown's government is crying out for a renewed sense of purpose; he can best secure that by developing an agenda that reflects his genuine passion for social justice. If he is to remain in charge, he owes his party and the country that much.

Also worth rereading now is Martin Kettle's piece from July the 4th, alerted to me by Anthony Barnett, which now seems prescient and far more powerful than it did then.

Elsewhere, some of the links shamelessly stolen from Mike P's far superior newspaper round:

Torygraph - Millions of profiles from DNA database passed to private firms

Matthew Parris - Labour is lucky. They can ditch him now.

Pauline Kael & trash cinema - Not long before she died, Pauline Kael remarked to a friend, "When we championed trash culture we had no idea it would become the only culture." Who did?

Deborah Orr - New Labour has only itself to blame

Also worth noticing apart from the main piece on Glasgow East is Orr's comments on the loathsome Tony Parsons:

Parsons is not wrong in saying that women who have breast implants inserted for vanity – generously he excludes women with "genetic defects" or a mastectomy – are likely to be "insecure, neurotic or nutty". But he also describes his many sexual encounters with silicone-stuffed women, and how disappointing to the touch those mammaries prove to be.

This can only suggest that Parsons is himself attracted to women who are "insecure, neurotic or nutty". No wonder he's unaware of any female repulsion against breast butchering. It can only be down to the company he prefers to keep.

Indie - Sorry, says dominatrix who betrayed Mosley

We'll get it right next time - Ballad of East Glasgow

OurKingdom - The lessons of Glasgow East

QuestionThat - Who's Off-Message?

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Saturday, July 19, 2008 

Weekend links.

Lee Griffin - Those irresponsible child drunks (a revisit)

Jason Burke - The not-so-winnable war against terrorism

Deborah Orr - For many in Glasgow East, Labour picked up where Thatcher left off

Robert Fisk - When propaganda turns out to be fact

Howard Jacobson - Military service, crocheting and ping-pong – that will separate the men from the boys

And the entirety of the Magistrate's Blog is worth a look, one I keep forgetting to add to the sidebar.

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