Still at Schiphol 1154

I am becoming quite fond of my little corner of Schiphol airport. I have put up my Christmas cards and a few bits of tinsel. I now have a boarding card for the 0800 to Manchester. This is the sixth boarding card I have had. It is very hard to understand why, time after time, they don’t know a flight is cancelled until some time after it was due to leave and all the passengers have queued at the gate for hours.

Of course, Manchester is a lot further from Ramsgate than Schiphol is, so even if the flight atually goes, this represents rather dubious progress.

Happy New Year everybody.

Remarkably, KLM delivered my lost luggage, including my laptop, at 9.30 pm on New Year’s Eve. At that time a pretty lively party was already in full swing,much improved by the presence of a great many beautiful young women, mostly from Latvia. I am not sure why; my life as ever consists of a bewildering succession of chance encounters with really nice people. I am in the fortunate position of being able to say that Nadira was the most lovely of all, without indulging in dutiful hyperbole.

It was an extremely happy Christmas. Having my mum, both my brothers and all my three chidren together was as great as it was rare.

We have been through the laptop in lost luggage discussion before. The problem is that my shoulders dislocate at the drop of a hat, and I travel without hand luggage to avoid an accident.

2011 is going to be a very important year for me. particularly the first quarter. A number of crucial events are going either to set me up financially for the rest of my life, or result in real distress and failure. At present I have reason to be very optimistic. I am also very absorbed in my life of Alexander Burnes, which I hope will help establish a serious academic reputation.

The Portuguese edition of Murder in Samarkand has sold unexpectedly well in Brazil. The translation of the Turkish edition has just been finished.

I hope to do a Wikileaks retrospective in the next couple of days. Just a quick thought on the case of the poor young gardener in Bristol. Of the Jill Dando case, long before Barry Bulsara’s succesful appeal I blogged that this appeared to be a miscarriage of justice in which the police had fitted up the local weirdo.

Despite not being enamoured of landlords in general, I fear the same dynamic is at work in Bristol, albeit Chris Jefferies is much more intellectually capable than Bulsara. My instinct is that the police have picked up on Jefferies for being camper than a boy scout jamboree and archer than Trajan.

Jefferies’ release on bail has me worried that there was nothing against him other than the “He’s a weird one, guv” instinct of some not very bright cop. The case needs to be closely watched as history shows that the powers of the police to make the evidence fit the suspect are considerable.

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1,154 thoughts on “Still at Schiphol

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  • crab

    Yipee! Well done Craig and Jon!

    “Let us move on – plenty more stuff to talk about.”

    There SURELY will be ;D

  • crab

    Jon – you know Craig used to skim read huge swathes of stuff (i think) so dont ever be knocking yourself out here. Just nice to know Craigs got help with the cosmic background spam, and that an occassional plonk is possible. 🙂

  • glenn

    Jon: They’re trying to bait you already. Trolling is what trolling does, bait you with pointless discourse. As nextus said above, that call has already been made – enforce the ban, and don’t think twice about it. Nuke the clown car on sight, and all genuine posters will be happier for it. The clowns are scum, they offer nothing, even after the individual who acts all their roles tried to be serious for a few minutes. They’ve (he’s) lost the right to have anything read, or their (his) views archived. Do it, old boy – this is the sort of thing we’ve been waiting for.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Larry,

    So – you studied law at Liden – maybe that explains it.

    What basic concept gotten wrong?

    How in goodness name can you deny that the Convention does in fact make the point when it comes to the jurisprudence at Strasburg?

    But – Larry the contrarian must be contrary.

    Maybe you should have attended London University and taken the exams I did. Heavens help us with you in the classes. You would be forever opposing just for the sake of opposition. The eternal contrarian.

    Saying you are wrong won’t do it – you have to reason through first. I give up. Go to your next customer and continue to be contrary and provoke everyone on the thread as you normally do.

    How can’t you understand that the Convention encompasses different judicial systems and legal traditions. That is the point.

    I actually have a case at present before the ECHR. Yet I read cases that apply the relevant Article I am advancing in the case, but the authorities refer to the same overarching principle applied to different legal systems to which the European Convention on Human Rights applies. But Larry knows best – so – I really don’t understand the procedural or substantive law at that level. Larry knows best.

    Larry knows best.

    Cheers mate.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    To all,

    In 1995 Seweden entered the EU.

    The challenge to my from Larry was that I was incorrect in my spoof of the Assange case on the basis that:-

    “… the ECHR didn’t in any way meld the respective European legal systems, particularly in respect of burden of proof issues in rape cases.”

    Not quite the point. It seems to me that Swedish law and English law come from different sources, but at the end of the day both are subjected to a common jurisprudetial standard, thus I reference the European Convention on Human Rights to cement my point.

    Truth be told, since it was with tounge in cheek that I drafted Craig’s defence – why do I take Larry from St. Louis so seriously?

    Guess we are both lawyers and it is a nice feeling to hear what the contrarian from St. Louis has to say via Liden.

    Hey mate – I got some good books on international and comparative law – but damn – just missed Christmas. Next year maybe.



  • Courtenay Barnett

    This is what I am focused on:-


    ” ARTICLE 6

    In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly by the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice. ”

  • Richard Robinson

    Suhayl @ 7.33 – “it’s all very well being aloof and purist”

    Is that what it looks like ? It feels more like “being depressed and frustrated”.

    Challenging wrongnesses is all very well, on the assumption of a modicum of good faith, some kind of a learning process. With someone who doesn’t grow at all but repeats endlessly, it merely becomes an amplifier for their noise. But, hey, nil nisi carborundum. (This “CD” character seems to have done a lot of mugging up on it. Odd they wouldn’t have said anything at the time)

    I don’t have a good solution. It looks like a moderator is the best chance, in the circumstances. Thanks, Jon, and good luck. (“Be liberal”, eh ? What with, the deletions ? We don’ want no steenkin’ liberalism, we want to see everyone who ever annoyed us get stomped from a great height. *ahem*)

  • Suhayl Saadi

    CD, again with respect and thanks for your engagement, I’m sorry, but if you’d actually followed the course of many people’s interactions with Alfred over many months, you would see that taking the blog as a whole, this narrative of ‘nice Alfred turns into nasty Alfred because of provocation by Suhayl Saadi’ holds no water.

    The point is, I and others engaged with Alfred in a rational manner for a very long time on many threads. On almost every thread in which we did this, when his arguments on race (and they were arguments on race) became untenable, he tended repeatedly to become abusive and aggressive – with me, with Clark, with Richard, with technicolour, with Jon and with others as well.

    My willingness to engage with someone with whose core beliefs about Britain I profoundly disagree even when others might have been arguing against engagement with him, is exemplified in the quote you found (see your post of 3:50pm on 3rd Jan 2011); you now use this quote to back-up your argument that I somehow triggered Alfred’s ‘nastiness’.

    Finally, on this thread, I did decide that it was high time Alfred was openly challenged on views which he appeared to have expressed on multiple threads right since the start of his contribution on this blog. I did so through a literary device of expressed outrage at those views. Yes, I did want to give Alfred the opportunity to express his views in relation to the electoral process in the UK and the historical context (eg. Oswald Moseley, etc.) in the context of his very frequently-expressed opinions in that specific area.

    Otherwise, I have “insinuated” wrt motivation only wrt ‘Larry’ and Apostate and not wrt the other contributors on this blog; I have disagreed with all contributors at one time or another. I have disagreed with angrysoba on many occasions – and angrysoba has had ding-dong battles with many commentators herein, during which overt (not elliptical) expletives were used liberally. There was no CD in evidence during these altercations.

    I cannot be blamed if, eg. angrysoba appears to have lost patience with Alfred; indeed, I attempted to calm angrysoba at that point.

    I accept what you are (I think) saying about certain things I’ve done being possibly counterproductive (on my part unintentionally). However, I cannot agree with your apparent position (and whatever your intention, in my view this is how you come across) as apologist for Alfred Burdett. Sorry.

  • CD

    Suhayl, you’re not the sole culprit for Alfred’s initial descent into nastiness. The issue is that you were acting as self-appointed gate-keeper when he tried to make points in subsequent debates, and you were congratulating yourself on deliberately derailing his contributions. That’s the tactic I’m objecting to. (I think that’s what prompted him, latterly, to adopt sock-puppet pseudonyms and to snipe from the sidelines. In my view, it was detrimental to the liberal nature of this blog.) I’m concerned that you may deploy the same tactic against others whose views you reject, and would like to discourage you from doing so ?” here, at least. I think it’s contrary to Craig’s ethos.

    Angrysoba got similar treatment at one point. Both contributors were making robust defences of unpopular positions but I appreciated the exchange and critique of views. I was learning a lot of useful stuff from all contributors to the debates. Angrysoba and Alfred have now retreated because of the way the discourse was being quashed. As a result, the blog now seems more like a sounding board for lefty propaganda (which of course attracts the trolls). I think that’s regrettable.

    This parallels the strategic dissent between SearchLight and Unite Against Fascism. One advocates engagement and rebuttal, the other censorship and suppression. SearchLight prefers to engage in debates, UAF turns up en masse to throw eggs and disrupt speaking platforms. Both are vehemently anti-racist. UAF’s tactics have their role to play, just not on Craig’s website, which should be a haven for liberalism.

  • Jon

    CD – didn’t know angrysoba had left. Thought I saw him posting tail end of last year? His posts were generally very good, I thought.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    No, CD, angrysoba did not “leave” (has he left or is he just enjoying a break?) because of argumentation against his positions, as far as one can tell – one is second-guessing here. He seems to have exited for the time being around Xmas Eve after his outburst against Alfred.

    I have been very appreciative of angrysoba contributions even in the midst of arguing with him about this or that.

    I have NOT attempted to quash angrysoba or any other commentator’s ability to argue on this site. Alfred has been well-able to make numerous points about a variety of things for around one yea now – and if you care to look, you will see that I have congratulated Alfred on many occasions where I felt he was making good points, well. I have also acknowledged areas in which his knowledge is superior to mine – or where he’s made excellent points, eg. constitutional monarchy, anti-torture, some aspects of the economy, etc.. So it’s not as though I’ve had some kind of all-embracing vendetta against him. I merely tried to tackle him on issues surrounding the Far Right wrt concepts such as ‘race’, ‘indigenous’, ‘genocide’, etc. Perhaps I became too forceful and obsessive in this regard. If so, my apologies to everyone.

    Jon, what is ‘xkcd’? Just out of interest.

  • tungsten

    Why has Apostate’s eloquent exposure of the rat-packing trolls who infest this site not been allowed to stand?

    My words in support were also deleted.

    The rat-packers now have the resident censor to bail them out everytime they make arses of themselves as they invariably do on ALL threads.

    Don’t think it’s going to work!

    The job of a moderator is to facilitate the free exchange of ideas NOT to bail out the intellectually challenged who think obscenity is a form of polemicism.

    Why has the turgid exchange between sue hayle and his numerous detractors been allowed to continue into interminable intellectual free-fall?

    It’s about time you acknowledged that the contributions of Apostate, Steelback et al have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that this site like WikiLeaks is A CONTROLLED OPPOSITION GATEKEEPER OUTFIT.

    Waiting for te scissors…..

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Furthermore, CD, over the last several years on this blog, I’ve had vigorous dicussions with people like anno, arsalan, various supporters of the Israeli state’s policies in relation to the Occupied Territories, various supporters of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, South Africans (re. the murder of the former AWB leader), people like avatar singh (to mention him again) and a whole host of others. Not all of these bloggers might easily be described as holding ‘liberal’ views. Many of them hold opinions in re,lation to certain matters with which I completely disagree.

    I do not disagree with your basic premise, i.e. that we should try to avoid shouting-down other bloggers, but I think that your characterisation of me as someone who does this on a sytemic basis is well off the mark. I probably becaem a little too personal on thsi thread wrt Alfred and as I’ve said, if that is so, then my apologies.

    Alfred, btw, has often ‘stomped off’ only to return again with undiminshed vigour on a subsequent thread. It would be inaccurate to portay him as some kind of ‘victim’.

  • CD

    Well, I hope angrysoba will return. He’s departed in frustration in the past, but not permanently.

    If you agree with the basic premise, then that’ll do fine. Peace.

    I’d be more inclined to participate if people in general avoided focusing on identities rather than arguments (who are you? what right do you have to comment? you must be a sock-puppet! But you’re really a shill! etc.) when they didn’t like what someone was saying. It seems to have become a defensive reflex after the sustained campaigns by Larry and the clowns. It’s of no interest to political readers and only feeds the critics (and trolls).

    You’re right, you’re not the sole culprit, and you do endure more than you inflict. I think you’ve written some good stuff, Suhayl. I drew disproportionate attention to the potentially problematic stuff, hopefully to beneficial effect, and I hope that others take note too. I think this has been a useful exchange.

  • crab

    I disagree. No doubt Suhayl will digest but i don’t think he needs to reign it in.

    That’s a quick 2 pence.

    Generally –

    There are middling levels of argie bargie between regular commenters too natural and subjective to try and manage at length. I think a little economical attention and response to the extremes should best open up topics, while not becoming too artificial or introspective.

  • Dick the Prick

    Happy New Year Craig – good luck with the stuff you damn sexist fascist you!! hee hee.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Salmaan Taseer, Governor of Punjab Province, Pakistan was assassinated today, reportedly by one of his bodyguards. This is redolent of Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

    The alleged killer said he’d done it because Taseer very recently had criticised the blasphemy laws.

    Taseer, quite rightly, in my view, had criticised these laws and also had called for the repeal of laws against certain religious minorities and also appealed for the pardon of a Christian woman, Asiya Bibi.

    For this, it would seem he was shot nine times in the neck and chest and killed instantly.

    This is what I meant when I said a few days ago on another thread that Islamists systemically had infiltrated Pakistan’s military.

    He was the nephew of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the renowned South Asian poet/journalist.

    It seems clear that no politician in Pakistan who raises his head above the parapet will be allowed to survive.

    This is a good piece by journalist, Beena Sarwar:

    This is deeply shocking.

    You can read his Twitter posts – the last one just 11 hours ago.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Salmaan Taseer, another victim of the deep state.

    This is the key:

    “Secular political forces jeopardize the security state narratives for its soft stance on India and are considered a danger to the Kashmir Jihad and other dearest projects of the deep state. While the religious and Islamist parties provide ideological support and manpower for those beloved causes, hence are natural allies to the deep state.” Shaista Aazar

  • Jon

    @Ronald – the School of the Americas – a terrorist factory, indeed. I heard it had been renamed, since the original has suffered much (justified) reputational damage.

    It’s arguable how much a single president could do something about the institutional violence of the US military-industrial complex. But remember there are many good Americans who agree with you – and I sense that the American left is somewhat more organised than its British comrades.

    That all said, I am pessimistic about genuine change in the US. Whilst I think it will have to come from within, I wonder if the militarism that gave birth to SOTA is too embedded into permanent government and the international arms trade to change, certainly in the short term.

  • felix

    Good point about Chris Jefferies,Craig.

    As Tony 11.39am 2 Jan reminds us of the standard police mantra

    “We’re not looking for anyone else”.

    That was precisely what they said the day after David Kelly was most unconvincingly suicided in 2003.

  • glenn

    Is the pig who said, “We’re not looking for anyone else” after Stagg was acquitted now looking for another job? It’s astonishing just how unaccountable these particular public servants manage to make themselves. Conduct their own inquiries, bestow massive power and arbitrary ability to command, intimidate, assault and detain on themselves, and are about as unaccountable as anyone in modern society ever has been. Give evidence in secret, or just refer to “secret evidence” and that’s fine. Murder people, have them die in their care after imprisonment without trial, and nobody is to blame. Heck, they even disguise any identifying tags as they go about what’s supposed to be law enforcement, and that’s just fine too!

    A friend recently had another biker obviously goading him into a bit of a race, so off they went. He thought no more about it for a few weeks, until a summons arrived – the other biker was an undercover police motorcyclist, with cameras fore and aft. He lost his licence, bang to rights. It might make one wonders whether the police have put the perpetrator up to it for at least half the crimes they “solve”.

  • glenn

    tungsten: I don’t normally talk with clowns – laughing and clapping is usually enough. But are you seriously mewling about the moderating your ridiculous theatrics has in part brought about?

    Didn’t realise you were an Amerikan. Seems like you’ve got all the hallmarks of a teabagger yourself, clearly you are in illustrious company . Do you take your marching orders from Beck too?

  • Clark

    Glenn, I entirely agree with you about entrapment, “fitting up” suspects and lack of accountability, but I will not call police “pigs”. Individual police undoubtedly earn this insult, but the term “pigs” is often used to include all police; “here come the pigs” shout the more radical demonstrators.

    Individual coppers are workers in a dreadful job, often with little thanks from any quarter. OK, for demonstrations they use batons, tear gas and riot gear, but they’re sent into situations where they’re vastly outnumbered; it must be very scary. I won’t use the term, out of respect for the likes of Steve and Redders who post here on occasions.

    I was on the London Tube one night. As my train pulled into a station, there were three or four BNP types beating up a black man on the platform. A man leaped out of my carriage, pulling his police ID from his pocket. He grabbed the leading thug into an arm lock with the announcement “You’re nicked!”. Spontaneous applause and cheering broke out from the other passengers, and the other thugs scattered. Respect to that copper!

  • Jon

    Clark/glenn – I also find regarding the police in various ways to be an interesting dynamic. I was criticised by a friend, mainly in jest, after I reported a violent pub doorman to the local police station; after all, if I am so critical of the police in general, why should I also expect their protection?

    I don’t know the solution to this. I genuinely think that most police go into the job wanting to ‘serve the community’ or ‘make a difference’, but that there is not a great deal of awareness, especially on riot duty, whose interests are being served by quelling unrest. Furthermore, there are some interesting questions about the authoritarian personality type, and the constable’s preference for law-and-order over the uncertainty inherent in the struggle for social change. Most of these decisions are not made consciously, and so in the main, the individual copper perhaps could not be blamed for them – even if it might be beneficial to bring it to his or her attention.

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