Friday, February 10, 2006

There are always bellicose journalists who urge us to bring on the bombers

"Perhaps I may say a word about the use of force. There are always bellicose journalists who urge us to bring on the bombers. But I think that everybody, including those in Washington, is fully aware of the grave risks involved. It may be tempting to speculate on a focused attack just on nuclear installations. However, we know from Iraq that there is no such thing as an attack that is so focused that no innocent people are killed. Any such attack involves killing considerable numbers of innocent people. I am not qualified to comment on the technical possibilities of a focused attack on nuclear installations, but such an attack would leave an untouched, angry and revengeful government in Tehran with probably a united people behind them. That would be true whether the United States or Israel launched the attack. An attack by Israel would be regarded—accurately, to a large extent—as a joint effort with the United States.

I have not seen the next point made before. However, Britain would be vulnerable in the above situation. We have chosen to station our troops, in modest numbers, whether in southern Iraq or southern Afghanistan, where we are uniquely vulnerable to this kind of retaliation from nearby Iran. We cannot realistically and for ever rule out the use of force. If the regime in Iran or its successor moved from words and piled up an unmistakable danger, I do not think that we could entirely rule out the use of force. But we should not deceive ourselves that we can have some sort of strike without a war, or some sort of war that does not involve huge dangers and damage and many, many thousands of casualties, our own and Iranian.

I should say something about democracy and the attitude and appeal of the President of the United States. In a way his appeal to the Iranian people was similar to the appeal to the Iraqi people. But there is a difference. Saddam Hussein and his family were corrupt and self-seeking and built palaces as part of the parade of power. In Iran we are dealing with puritanism as well as patriotism. President Ahmadinejad appeals to the poor, dresses simply and behaves simply. He has the same sort of appeal as Hamas on the West Bank and in Gaza and as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. We should not neglect the importance of the puritan appeal in an area of the world that is marked by such glaring inequalities.

Patriotism is also important. Iran is an ancient country with a huge history of which it is very conscious. This is more than simply a platitude for after-dinner speeches; it is a relevant political fact. We have forgotten so much of our history and, in a way, the Iranians remember too much of theirs. They remember past glory; they remember humiliation—at our hands, Russian hands and American hands; and the coup of 1953 against Mossadeq—things which we never knew or have forgotten. Out of this comes a deep reluctance to be told by other people how they should behave."

Douglas Hurd Hansard text.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Klannish Kartoon Kapers (Oh Fuck Part 2)

How am I feeling? Let me list a few of the the emotions I'm feeling:
  • Anxiety about Du who has been plunged into a maelstrom.
  • Fury at the way in which a newspaper with a disgraceful record of fanning ethnic flames has behaved.
  • Contempt at the way in which a newspaper with a disgraceful record of fanning ethnic flames is now squealing about how they are the victims.
  • Fury at the way in which those, on all sides, whose duty it is to lead chose instead to fan the flames.
  • Contemptuous disgust at the way in which commentators and sites left and right alike (on the other side of the Atlantic in particular) have used this episode for naked bigotry and the furthering of their own partisan agendas.
  • That they have displayed their complete ignorance of both Islam and of Denmark in the course of their so doing thereby rendering their opinions meaningless is scant consolation.
  • Despair that a lifetime spent combatting bigotry should show so little fruit.
It will doubtless have occurred to the more discerning of my readers by now that I am in neither the sweetest nor the best of tempers. For that reason I have so far refrained from publishing much about this lamentable and disgraceful affair. For the moment I'm going to let the shrewd and witty Majoob speak for me. As, presumably, most of my readers don't read Arabic I have added numbers to the panels and provided a translation below the graphic.
Majoob's take on the Jylland Posten's motives
  1. This is RACISM.
  2. This is ANTISEMITIC

Polite Notice :-)
I invite your comments as always, I emphasise however that this is my site, it is an electronic extension of my physical home, and as such my standards of behaviour are the standards that apply. If you choose to abuse this part of my home by making bigotted, offensive, churlish, or racist remarks, irrespective of to whom they are directed, I will treat you as I would an ill-trained dog and rub your nose in your own filth by re-writing your comment as I see fit.

Update No:1 by Erdla: I am linking to an article by Juan Cole pointed out by Grania. American readers should read it. They should particularly need to read the comments the articly is The Politics of Race and Religion in Denmark. I know that Mháircaish has much to say on this topic and as he is "nydansk" himself I will leave it to him. English speakers need to realise something very important the current government is made up of a conservative party (Konservativ) and a hard right wing party (Venstre,) they depend for power on the support of an extreme right parti (Danske Folkeparti.) The names are often translated in a way that misleads English speeking people.

Venstre is often translated either as "left" or as "liberal" both of these give the wrong meaning to anglophones. "Left" is completely wrong and "liberal" means in the 19th century German use of the word.

"Danske Folkeparti" means the "Danish Peoples Party" - they are extreme right wing think BNP if you are English. Think very slight to left David Duke if you American.

Der Opstod en Fejl

Bugger blogger, we are experimenting with other blogging services, Mháircaish is writing several articles simultaneously and is also marking up the code for his main site. Expect light posting.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's not just Bush who trawls for your information - know and protect your online privacy rights

This post is mostly for my US readers and covers various resources for those who either suspect or know that their right to free speech online is being abused.

In all the coverage and commentary about the Bush administration's unlawful behaviour both against foreign citizens and its own we tend to lose site of the fact that commercial organisations can and do file very dubious subpoenas against private citizens. Copyright holders can and do file subpoenas essentially as "fishing" expeditions. If you've been targetted in this way under American law there are two sites that you need to know about Subpoena Defense and Chilling Effect.

Subpoena Defense

"This site is a resource for individuals seeking information on how to defend themselves if their identity has been subpoenaed by a private third party seeking to enforce their copyrights on the Internet. It includes resources for those who have been sued or have received threat letters from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and other copyright holders."

Full site here

The second site "Chilling Effects" are linked via subpoena defense:

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse
A joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics.

Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you.

Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. We are excited about the new opportunities the Internet offers individuals to express their views, parody politicians, celebrate their favorite movie stars, or criticize businesses. But we've noticed that not everyone feels the same way. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity.

The website offers background material and explanations of the law for people whose websites deal with topics such as Fan Fiction, Copyright, Domain Names and Trademarks, Anonymous Speech, and Defamation.

Chilling Effect's page to report an abuse can be found here.

Their FAQ page "Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about DMCA Subpoenas" can be found here.

Finally don't forget the Electronic Frontier Foundation
"EFF is a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — working to protect your digital rights."
They can be found here.