Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech

by craig on July 25, 2013 4:44 pm in Uncategorized

Russia does not have a functioning criminal justice system at all, in the sense of a trial mechanism aimed at determining innocence or guilt.  Exactly as in Uzbekistan, the conviction rate in criminal trials is over 99%.  If the prosecutors, who are inextricably an arm of the executive government, want to send you to jail, there is absolutely no judicial system to protect you.  The judges are purely there for show.

When critics of Putin like Alexei Navalny are convicted, therefore, we have absolutely no reassurance that the motivation behind the prosecution or the assessment of guilt was genuine.  Which is not to say that Navalny is innocent; I am in no position to judge. People are complex.   I sacrificed my own pretty decent career to the cause of human rights, but in my personal and family life I was by no means the most moral of individuals.  I see no reason for it to be impossible that all of Navalny’s excellent political work did not co-exist with a fatal weakness.  But his criticisms of Putin made him a marked man, who the state was out to get, and the most probable explanation – especially as prosecutors had looked at the allegations before and decided not to proceed – is that he is suffering for his criticisms of the President rather than a genuine offence.

It fascinates me that the Western media view the previous decision by the prosecutors not to proceed as evidence the case is politically motivated against Navalny; but fail to draw the same conclusion from precisely the same circumstance in the Assange case.

David Ward MP has not been sent to jail.  He has however had the Lib Dem whip removed, which under Clegg’s leadership perhaps he ought to consider an honour.  It is rather a commonplace sentiment that it is a terribly sad thing, that their community having suffered dreadfully in the Holocaust, the European Jews involved in founding the state of Israel went on themselves to inflict terrible pain and devastation on the Palestinians in the Nakba.   Both the Holocaust and the Nakba were horrific events of human suffering.  For this not startling observation, David Ward is removed from the Liberal Democrats.  He also stated that, with its ever increasing number of racially specific laws, its walls and racially restricted roads, Israel is becoming an apartheid state.  That is so commonplace even Sky News’ security correspondent Sam Kiley said it a few months ago, without repercussion.  In Russia you cannot say Putin is corrupt; in the UK you cannot say Israeli state policy is malign.  Neither national state can claim to uphold freedom of speech.  Meanwhile, of course, David Cameron announces plans to place filters on the internet access of all UK households.

In the United States, the House of Representatives failed by just 12 votes to make illegal the mass snooping by the NSA which was not widely publicised until Edward Snowden’s revelations.  What Snowden said was so important that almost half the country’s legislators wished to act on his information.  Yet the executive wish to pursue him and remove all his freedom for the rest of his life, as they are doing to Bradley Manning for Manning’s exposure of war crimes and extreme duplicity.

Around this complex of issues and the persons of Manning, Navalny, Snowden and Assange there is a kind of new ideological competition between the governments of Russia, the US and UK as to which is truly promoting the values of human freedom.  The answer is none of them are.  All these states are, largely in reaction to the liberating possibilities of the internet, promoting a concerted attack on freedom of speech and liberty of thought.

States are the enemy.  We are the people.





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  1. Wats al thought about?!

  2. And james joyce and william blake attheir most ‘0bscure’ were too ‘$ubjective’ to be taken ‘$eriously’ – nest poos?!

  3. Passerby, 12.43pm

    When I say “trust me on that” about Sofia Wilen rather than Ardin being the true source of any possible honeytrap, I am not, of course, relying on the proximity of her home to the Enkoping PSYOPS headquarters. That would be getting into conspiracy theory territory and I’m not interested in going there.

    No, what I’m talking about is the fact that Sofia Wilen at first told the police that Assange damaged a condom (similar to Ardin’s allegation, but the point is that Sofia was the first one to make this allegation, then she changed her story to the one we’ve all heard about – only wanting to ask advice about HIV testing because she “woke up” to unprotected sex). This is corroborated in three places in the evidence already in the public domain:

    1. Physical evidence in the form of a fragment of condom was obtained from Sofia Wilen and submitted to the forensics lab. Tests found that it had been deliberately ripped and that it had DNA “from a man” which matched DNA on swabs taken from her.

    2. A senior police investigator involved in the case from Day 1 noted the following on the forensic report:

    “Complainant 1 [Wilén] did not notice that a condom broke as it was dark in the room, and when the suspect put on the condom, she heard a noise as if he were pulling on a balloon. The bit of condom was found under the bed, under the part of the bed where the suspect was lying when he put on the condom.”

    which is clearly not the same story as the dozing-then-waking incident after breakfast at 9am, as told in Wilen’s formal statement. NB. The police investigator has NOT got the two women mixed up here. He does mean Wilen, not Ardin.

    3. That Sofia Wilen had initially told police that Assange had deliberately damaged a condom is corroborated by a phone call Anna Ardin made to Swedish journalist Donald Bostrum immediately after leaving the police station on 20 August 2010. This is before she had given her own statement (the following day) and before she knows that Wilen has told a completely different story to the second police officer she spoke to, who took her formal statement. Here’s the relevant bit from Bostrum’s statement:

    And then Anna rings again and says “now we’ve been with the police and Sofia told her story and, yeah because I sat there so I added a comment of my own.” This is very ‘word for word’ and as I remember her telling me. Uh, aha I say, and what was that comment? Yeah, that comment was that “I think Sofia is telling the truth because I experienced something similar” Anna says then. And then she told me that bit about the condom then, “so that’s why I think it’s true.” And I don’t know anything about police technicalities but then Anna says, “because we suddenly were two women who had a statement about, about the same man so it became a crime against the state and so it became a complaint even though we didn’t file a complaint.”

    I’ve added quote mark and some formatting so you can see exactly what Ardin was explaining to Donald Bostrum. She breaks off mid-sentence in quoting the single sentence she interjected to back up what police are hearing from Sofia Wilen, to explain to Donald that she’s referring to what she also thinks was an act of deliberate condom sabotage when she slept with Assange. She likely did exactly the same – broke off mid-sentence to explain what exactly she thought was “true” – when at the police station. She also explains to Bostrum that this was the KEY statement which turned everything into a formal complaint, resulting less than a half-hour later in the issuing of an arrest warrant for “double rape”. Bostrum’s statement:,04.shtml

    Two women turning up at a police station with the same story of “deliberately sabotaged” condoms? And it’s the woman who did all the instigating (Sofia contacted Ardin out of the blue, visited two hospital rape clinics by herself, told Assange “no, we’re not going to police” an hour before she did in fact do just that, etc, etc) who’s the one who then changes her story? Yeah, if it was a honeytrap all along, then it’s Ms Wilen’s honeytrap. No question.

    We have a special thread on the whole case, if you’re interested in more detail:

  4. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    Nobody, at 10h56, sets us this puzzle :

    “In Russia one may not criticise Putin because Putin rules Russia.

    Yes? Might we declare that inarguable? Okay then, what of the following?

    In Britain one may not criticise Israel because…”

    I’m all a-quiver with curiosity!

    Because of whom /what?

    Spit it out, you old tease!

  5. Flaming June

    27 Jul, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    Extra info on Grant Shapps/Michael Green helpfully provided by the JC’s Martin Bright who has been at the BBC World Service, Observer/Guardian, the Spectator and the New Statesman. He is now the JC’s political editor.

    Conservative party chairman who is ‘a Brit who happens to be Jewish’
    Martin Bright, October 4, 2012

  6. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 3:59 pm

    @ Fred (00h34) :

    “Or a bit like saying for example the infant mortality rate in Palestine isn’t appalling because the infant mortality rate in Ethiopia is as bad.”

    Not a good analogy, Fred, unless it was meant to demonstrate that you’re a chump.

    The infant mortality rate in Palestine (16 point something) is not good The infant mortality in Ethiopia, a country nobody’s mentioned yet and where, as far as I know, the evil Zionists play no rôle (6O something) is appalling.

  7. Dear Jon,

    I’d be interested if Pt’s IP address gives an indication where his/her incoherent babble hails from:

    I dont99‰ endorse j’$ viewz that… bla dee bblue

    seems suspiciously like an attempt at “forum sliding”

    A Gentleperson’s guide to forum spies:

    (if you agree, please don’t remove them – I’m happy with top of page 2 for my latest comment :))

  8. Flaming June

    27 Jul, 2013 - 4:05 pm

    Further to Passerby’s post

    this is another person who couldn’t take any more earlier this week.

    ‘I’m sick of all this s**t’: Middle-aged man in despair about bedroom tax cuts his own throat in middle of benefits advice office

    Dragged a blade from his ear down to his throat on each side of his neck
    Gory outburst happened at Halton Direct Link in Halton Lea shopping centre
    Cheshire police officers have spoken to the man about his well-being
    Middle-aged man suffered minor injuries in gory outburst

  9. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 4:24 pm

    The Frequent Poster (16h05) has done us a service by giving a good example of how certain newspapers use titles which sensationalize the articles which follow.

    In this example, the title includes the words “slits throat”, which might give the impression of someone killing himself in this fashion as a protest against the so-called bedroom tax.

    Visions of Buddist monks burning themselves to death during the Vietname war. Or Jan Palach in Prague in 1968 (yep, under those lovely Communists!).

    But read further, and what do we learn? minor injuries apparently not requiring hospitalization, lots of blood, no artery cut, man well enough to be spoken to by staff at the centre and police. Anticlimax!

    These popular papers really know how to build up the suspense only to let you down with a bump.

    I really don’t know why people bother to read them.

  10. “32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit”

  11. Flaming June

    27 Jul, 2013 - 4:49 pm

    The milk of human kindness is overflowing at 4.24pm above.

  12. Who was it who said “But I never thought i’d meet the original cow.”?

    Keep the revolution in good humour!

  13. @Flaming June. Did you mean this chappy,

    or the one which will have to appear at the police station on the 29th., waiting to be charged for ….?I don’t know really, they are ganging up on him I think as there are no witnesses. But the hospital took photos of his injuries and they point to a certain view as to how his conditions have occurred.

    I don’t want to say much more, as much as that he’s ok now, but very needy and disorganised, he produced a lot of platelets which somehow send his heart into a flutter and he had a light heart attack.

    I shall keep you informed as to what will happen.

    and for today’s mundane Speculatius, the Canaries have signed a Scotsman from Celtic, Gary Hooper, their top scorer from last year….
    A much better bet than predicting the name of a newborn might be a punt on Norwich City, they are motivated and could very well end up playing in Europe at the end of next season.

    Do it now for good odds.

  14. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 6:49 pm

    The Frequent Poster (at 16h24) cannot bring herself to mention my name, preferring to use the time of my comment instead.

    Reminds one a little of referring to the “State of Israel” as the “Zionist entity”, doesn’t it.

  15. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 7:06 pm

    @ Someone (16h13)

    If the facts are exactly as stated in the report you quote from the Brighton Argus, then bringing a charge of “using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour to cause harrassment/alarm/distress” against Mr Alex Cline for calling local MP Mike Weatherley a “coward” does indeed seem to constitute an absurd, even sinister, misuse of the law.

    I say “exactly as stated in the report” so as not to exclude the possibility that Mr Cline either repeated the words enough as to be considered to be attempting to disrupt the meeting, or accompanied them with a few choice adjectives of an obscene character, or acccompanied them with physical action or actions again intended to disrupt the meeting, or indeed any combination of the above. Were any or all of the above to have been the case, then the charge of course would become somewhat less absurd, even entirely reasonable.

    Anyway : as Someone is perhaps someone local, I should be interested to follow up on this case and keep us informed; the Brighton Argus will presumably be reporting on the outcome and so it would be helpful if Someone could keep an eye on it and give us more info on exactly what the charges were, what came out in court and whether Mr Cline was eventually convicted or not.

    Thanks in advance.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (follow up is important)

  16. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    More on Navalny;

    “The Kremlin’s erratic behaviour is also a sign of a growing split within the ruling Russian elite between siloviki, a powerful faction comprising former and present security servicemen, who were keen to lock up Mr Navalny immediately (and at first gained the upper hand), and civilians in the presidential entourage, including Sergei Sobyanin, the Kremlin-appointed mayor of Moscow, who is said to have persuaded Mr Putin to release Mr Navalny from jail.”

    I would like to be a fly on the wall, first at White House briefings, then at the Kremlin.

    There are growing numbers within both governments who are slowly arising from the Security Hypnosis of Nationalism uber alles. At least that’s my naive hope

  17. The criminalisation of young people with prospects in life, by taking much of their time up with judicial rigmarole and bourgeois police zeal, eager to perform to the political minority of the Government of the day. Those living in Brighton will most likely get court dates in Lancashire.
    Fracking is being politically policed on behalf of biased orders from above, Osborne’s idea of providing funds for the next pre election tax cuts must not be stopped by locals or those who object to it anywhere. This issue is pursued with even more zeal as the drive to cut a dual carriageway through Twyford Down.

  18. Mr goss

    Resisting in peices (spelling?$)

    Helen Thomas Upi

    An usually ‘pregnant’ old school mainstream medium journo#!


  19. Arbed
    ‘Forum sliding’
    What’s all that about?

  20. Helen Thomas
    Upi rip
    Well noted

    But cud she get away with it in the mainstream these days (if she was not a 90 something old fart, soon to die)?

  21. Pt
    People I’ve upset and petty bureaucrats call me Mr Goss.

    If it’s dyslogia as a fellow-sufferer I can empathise.

  22. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    27 Jul, 2013 - 8:18 pm

    John Goss, you dry wit you. If you are a sufferer, you hide it well. Your filter must be cleaned daily.

  23. Dear jon / dr dicklogia
    I don’t know you. Nor you me.
    No disrespect intended. Helen t. In her old upi fashioned way was a significant journo. So perhaps ru.
    Pt x

  24. The attack on free speech
    Ht upi
    Spent most of her life in The relatively free usa mainstream, ..
    Then she happened to mention That ..,

  25. “British Muslims donate more to charity”

    “The survey commissioned by the London-based polling agency, ICM, shows an estimated 280,000 Muslims in the UK give more money annually to charity than Jews, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.”

  26. “A previous article discussed Thatcherism. It’s Chicago School fundamentalism writ large. It’s financial terrorism. It’s hugely exploitative.”

    “It’s forced-fed austerity. It’s corporate welfare. It’s mass privatizations. It benefits business and society’s wealthy. It’s government of, by, and for privileged elites alone.”

  27. Sofia Kibo Noh

    27 Jul, 2013 - 10:11 pm

    @Someone. 9 41pm

    Thanks. A few lines from your link here.

    The ICM survey showed that Muslims say they donate about $567 per person per year, with Jews (also numbering around 280,000 in the U.K.) A in second place, with $412 per person annually. A Christians gave considerably less – just over $300 per person, and atheists were at the bottom of the list, with $177 donated.

    “The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”
    ― Pyotr Kropotkin(1842 – 1921), Mutual Aid

  28. Sofia Kibo Noh

    27 Jul, 2013 - 10:20 pm

    Sorry. Re last post.

    I did’nt make it very clear. The Kropotkyn quote was my comment on the theme of mutual aid.

    Here was a man who, though born a prince, walked the talk of human rights. So maybe there’s some hope for the royal baby.

  29. Not the Royal Baby but the Refugee Baby from Syria! Meet 10 days old Fayez born in a tent in Atmeh camp:

  30. Thanks Dreoilin, apart from its own beauty, it’ll give distraction to our little juvenile Sofia who seems so obsessed about how the Royal baby will turn out.

    Surprisingly she doesn’t seem to acknowledge through her prism of Buddhism that this baby must have done great good in previous lives to now be born with (more than) a silver spoon in his mouth. Perhaps she’ll now ‘let it be’.

  31. Why is it taking Downing Street longer to censor Detainee Inquiry interim report than it took to write?

    Spy Blog has re-submitted our FOIA Request which was refused over 6 months ago, on the grounds of imminent publication.

    Cabinet Office – 6 F Off IA exemptions not to publish Detainee (Torture) Inquiry Interim Report requested back in December 2012..

    Still no Detainee (Torture) Inquiry interim report over a year after submission to Downing Street

    The process of clearing the report for publication has taken longer than envisaged, but it is important for the Government to be able to publish as full an accounting of the Inquiry’s work as possible, without compromising national security and consistent with its legal obligations. Discussions with the Inquiry about clearing the report for publication are nearing a conclusion and it is hoped that the Government will be in a position to publish as full a version of their report as possible in the autumn, although no date has been set.

    ” in the autumn, although no date has been set.”

    It is now over 3 years since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the setting up of Detainee Inquiry on 6th July 2010


    This is the ‘Gibson inquiry’ that Craig wished to give information to.

  32. Sir Peter Gibson Intelligence Services Commissioner, left voluntarily in December 2010. Sir Mark Waller, a judge, replaced him in January 2011.

    Here is his report for 2012. under these headings:

    Letter to the Prime Minister
    Foreword 1
    My Statutory Functions 4
    My Statutory and Extra-Statutory Functions 5
    The Method of my Review 7
    Discharge of my Functions 7
    Selection Stage 7
    Assessment of my Inspection Visits 9
    Assistance to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal 14
    Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on
    Detention and Interviewing of Detainees, and on Passing and Receipt of
    Intelligence Relating to Detainees (Consolidated Guidance)
    Errors reported to me 16
    International Intelligence Review Agency Conference 18
    The Intelligence and Security Committee 18
    Confidential Annex 19
    Operational Success 19
    Statistics 20
    Conclusion 21
    Annex 22
    Useful Background Information 22
    Functions of the Agencies 23
    Warrants and Authorisations 25

  33. Sofia Kibo Noh

    27 Jul, 2013 - 11:07 pm

    Hi Villager.

    Was that inspired by your inner work? Gosh, you must have gone so deep!

    Lets talk about issues.

    What kind of life is mapped out for these two babies by others? What are the chances of either to live fully productive human lives?

    As for my assumed Buddhism, surely that was yesterday. Today it seems I’m a Kropotkyan or should that be Kropotpot?

  34. Yes, Mary, Theresa May and her diabetes have been all over the place today.

  35. “Theresa May has had Type 1 diabetes diagnosed.”

    She should go and see ATOS, allegedly they perform miracles!!!.

  36. “200,000 victims of Equitable Life collapse may miss out on compensation after Atos slips up again”

  37. Anyone who has actually been through an atos interview knows that it depends on the quality/capacity of the person/ real human being who does the ‘assessment’. Sometimes one encounters … on other occasions one is faced with …

  38. Sorry.

    Stupid post regarding “Vulnerability”.

    A social science worthy of utmost attention.

    As seen or heard on a daily basis our vulnerable should be portrayed as the helped not the helpless.

    Being Liberal should also mean being selective, having a liberal account but remaining bias!

    Something Liberal leader Campbell-Bannerman would have us proud.

  39. Arbed, 27 Jul 3.16p

    Excellent work as usual, Arbed. I suppose a plausible explanation of Wilen’s behaviour is that when she discovered that Assange’s intimate company was not exclusively hers, she decided to do a little research on Ardin to check out the competition. In her research, Wilen found Ardin’s ‘7 Steps to Legal Revenge’ page, took inspiration and decided to make contact with Ardin. What followed was a clumsy, but effective mission in character assasination that found political allies in the US-friendly Swedish establishment.

  40. Theresa May has type 1 diabetes meaning she will have to inject herself twice daily with insulin. But she is still free to inflict whatever injustices suits her racist whims.

    Talha Ahsan has Asberger Syndrome. She sent him to a US Supermax prison to be held 23 hours a day in solitary confinement at the request of her US masters. I am still trying to find out why a UK citizen could be held in a UK prison for six years without charge or trial and what he has allegedly done to warrant this torture, and whether any requests were made for him to be held in a less severe penal institution due to his medical condition. The FCO has failed to respond even though by law they should have done so by 9th July. Meanwhile Talha Ahsan has had his trial date delayed for six months. It appals me.

  41. Flaming June

    28 Jul, 2013 - 9:28 am

    The anger is coming from the producers and retailers of luxury goods! Visitors from India, Nigeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh will be affected.

    July 26, 2013 8:36 pm

    UK to pilot £3,000 tourist bond despite anger
    By Elizabeth Rigby and Elizabeth Paton

    Britain is pressing ahead with its trial of a scheme to make visitors from six countries pay a £3,000 bond, despite an international backlash and complaints from businesses.

    The government said it would begin a pilot in November to impose visa restrictions on six Commonwealth nations, including India and Nigeria, even though David Cameron poured cold water on the scheme in June after it provoked uproar in Delhi.

    Luxury goods retailers have denounced the plan as an “insulting deterrent” to wealthy tourists, which will hit sales and damage London’s reputation. They are urging the government to drop the pilot, saying the restrictions will damage their business if Commonwealth tourists – particularly Nigerians, now the sixth biggest spenders on luxury goods in the UK – are put off.

    “It’s embarrassing that our country would consider these measures against visitors who spend so much in our stores,” said Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods. “There seems to be a deeply frustrating attitude in Westminster that they should do whatever they can to actively prevent people coming to the UK.”


  42. Flaming June

    28 Jul, 2013 - 9:32 am

    John Goss I am greatly admiring of your assiduousness and activism for human rights. Inspirational.

  43. Flaming June

    28 Jul, 2013 - 9:40 am

    As previously reported, US AG Eric Holder promises not to call for the death penalty or to torture Edward Snowden is he returns to the US.

    July 26, 2013 5:25 pm

    US tells Russia Snowden will not be tortured
    By Anna Fifield in Washington

    The Obama administration has assured the Russian government that Edward Snowden will not be tortured or face the death penalty if he returns to the US in a bid to counteract the national security leaker’s claim for temporary asylum.

    Mr Snowden, the contractor turned whistleblower who has been holed up in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than a month, has filed papers asking for temporary asylum in Russia, saying he would be tortured or could be executed if he were returned to the US, which has cancelled his passport.


    Dave Lindorff writes:

    A Shameful Day to Be a US Citizen
    AG Holder promises Russia not to torture Snowden

    July 27th, 2013

    I have been deeply ashamed of my country a number of times. The Nixon Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was one such time, when hospitals, schools and dikes were targeted. The invasion of Iraq was another. Washington’s silence over the fatal Israeli Commando raid on the Gaza Peace Flotilla–in which a 19-year-old unarmed American boy was murdered–was a third. But I think I have never been as ashamed and disgusted as I was today reading that US Attorney General Eric Holder had sent a letter to the Russian minister of justice saying that the US would “not seek the death penalty” in its espionage case against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, promising that even if the US later brought added charges against Snowden after obtaining him, they would not include any death penalty, and vowing that if Snowden were handed over by Russia to the US, he would “not be tortured.”

    So it has come to this: That the United States has to promise (to Russia!) that it will not torture a prisoner in its control — a US citizen at that — and so therefore that person, Edward Snowden, has no basis for claiming that he should be “treated as a refugee or granted asylum.”

  44. Someone, 27 Jul 9.41p

    Re British Muslims donating more to charity than Jews, Christians etc

    From Someone’s (no relation) link –

    “The donations went to various Islamic-oriented charities, including Muslim Aid, Islamic Relief and the Zakat Trust. Muslims also donate to individual mosques and earmark sums of money to non-Islamic causes. In 2010, Muslims in Manchester donated $79,831 to develop a United Reformed Church building in a rundown part of the city.”
    . . . .


    “[United Reformed] Church Minister, Ken Chippindale explained: It was a wonderful privilege to be able to host the Islamic Festival of Eid in our church halls.  We were joined by Christians from churches all over Sutton, showing our commitment to learn more about each other and live together peacefully.  Many new friendships were formed and the feast provided by our Muslim friends was enjoyed by all.”
    . . . .

    So it’s not hard to see that donations were not just to “charities” but to organisations that promote Islam and the interests of Muslims.

    Is that what charity is all about?

  45. Flaming June

    28 Jul, 2013 - 9:47 am

    Better late than never, the BMA write to Obama on force feeding at Guantanamo.

    BMA urges Obama to stop doctors force-feeding Guantánamo prisoners
    Global drug companies are told practice is ‘a gross violation of internationally accepted standards of medical ethics’

  46. Thanks for the support Flaming June. Striving for justice sometimes feels like a lonely pursuit, though I know others, especially who comment on this blog, together with Craig who inspires us all, are engaged in long-term battles with the power-mongers.

  47. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 10:02 am

    @Jemand. 9 42am

    Thanks for the link showing some christians demonstrating “commitment to learn more about each other and live together peacefully.”

    You lose me though when you go on… “So it’s not hard to see that donations were not just to “charities” but to organisations that promote Islam and the interests of Muslims. Is that what charity is all about?”

    Surely the same could surely be said for many Jewish, Christian and
    other donators. Would that invalidate their acts of mutual aid?

    BTW thanks for acknowledging Arbed’s tireless work on the Assange theme. I’d like to second that. John Goss too. You’re an inspiration guys/guyesses.

  48. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Good News! Or do I need to pinch myself?

    “There is no military solution to Syria. There is only a political solution, and that will require leadership in order to bring people to the table,” John Kerry

    Fingers crossed he means it.

    The big question would be, “Which people?”

  49. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 10:15 am

    Re Kerry post:


    Sorry. An easy link to miss.

  50. Was IT this Sofia?

    Syrian rebels press US to send weapons fast, Kerry sees no military solution to crisis

    Perhaps at last it’s dawning on the Americans when they look around at the ME and, in particular, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria that their warmongering has not achieved anything except death and destruction, mayhem and massive displacements of people.

    Of course, this ignores what has happened to the Palestinians with the US support of Israel with $billions and weaponry.

  51. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 11:39 am

    Yes Flaming.

    That was “IT

    I do hope,for the sake of all the people of Syria that the US will break it’s habit of pouring petrol on the flames and seriously engage in some peace-mongering.

  52. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 11:47 am

    Just in case you missed it the first four times folks.

    Well, I reckon you can’t get too much peace-making.

    And while the US is about it, how about regaining some credibility by ceasing to arm the rogue state of Israel until it demonstrates the will and ability to control it’s destructive and expansionist urges?

  53. Sofia KN, yes it can be said for many claims of Christian and Jewish “charity” although I didn’t notice any comments on this page purporting that Cs and Js were particularly generous. As for the spirit of “charity”, I thought it was about giving to others, not oneself or ones own kind, whatever “kind” that is.

  54. More..

    Sofia KN, how would it look if white South Africans were shown to be extraordinarily generous to charities if it turned out that those charities were almost exclusively for the benefit of white people in need? You can bet your last dollar that it would arouse howls of derision, here on this blog and elsewhere.

  55. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    @Jemand. 12:04 pm

    “…I didn’t notice any comments on this page purporting that Cs and Js were particularly generous…”

    Not exactly, but when I quote Kropotkyn,

    “…The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history….”

    the point that I clearly failed to get across was that the desire for mutual aid was pretty universal among people of all hues.

  56. Just a quick note to those here who care to know, JJ Cale has left the planet. Ticker stopped ticking but the music still plays on.

  57. Sofia KN, the ‘desire for mutal aid being universal among people of all hues’ is not a fact but wishful thinking. If it were true, we wouldn’t even be talking about it because this blog wouldn’t have a reason to exist.

  58. Are the Palestinians considered to be ‘citizens’? Will they get a vote?

    Israeli cabinet backs referendum bill for peace process
    Mr Netanyahu faces a tough task convincing colleagues on prisoner releases

    The Israeli cabinet has approved a bill requiring any peace deal with the Palestinians to be put to a referendum.

    A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that it was “important that on such historic decisions every citizen should vote directly”.


  59. Sofia Kibo Noh

    28 Jul, 2013 - 12:42 pm


    I’d never claim the desire for mutual aid is the only one we have. Just that societies, to cohere and thrive, require a strong strand of co-operativeness.

  60. Jemand – Censorship Improves History 28 Jul, 2013 – 12:32 pm
    “…the ‘desire for mutal aid being universal among people of all hues’ is not a fact but wishful thinking.”

    From the off Darwin’s theories were (mis)represented as scientific rational for wealth division. i.e. That ruthless competition is ineviatable, essential, natural.

    Kropotkin was the first to point out that there is far more cooperation than competition in nature. That cooperation is a powerful evolutionary force. He also described a human history rich with cooperation.

    But a world of cooperation is hidden from us by those who sell war. Instead it’s all survival of the fittest, law of the jungle, dog eat dog etc. Attenborough is an uncompromising idealogical propagandist.

    But look around you. All that cooperation breaking out everywhere despite the propaganda. From the bacteria in your belly to the food bank down your street. We grew up being told that dogs and cats hate each other right? It’s not true!

  61. But charity does begin at home, with those who carry your genes.

    I know there are many exceptions proving the rule but never the less, it’s the egg that matters, chickens are just machines for making more eggs.

  62. Phil, I never denied a function of cooperation between animals, including humans. Nor did I endorse the opposite. The single biggest irritant I have found on this blog is the wilfull misrepresentation of commentator’s posts. After that, there is the ever present confusion of “is” with “should”. Despite several attempts to highlight this problem, it still remains.

    You write of there being more cooperation than competition in nature. I’d like to see some evidence of an objective measure of that. Whatever cooperation you can see is apparently either self-interested mutual assistance within a species, like we see in our friends the Meerkats*, or an unconcious symbiotic relationship between unlike species such as humans and bacteria.

    You cannot argue with any credibility, that there is an innate, human-like feeling of ‘goodness’ in the concious minds of micro-organisms, insects, fish, cats and other so-called lesser animals, that motivates them to be cooperative when the circumstances provide.

    And I am certainly well aware of extraordinary animal behaviour that sees vicious predators showing nurturing and caring towards other species that are *normally* their prey.

    So what has this got to do with reports of Muslims donating money to other Muslims and causes that have an Islamic self-interest? How generous do Muslims feel inclined to donate to Jewish causes or those that have no religious affiliations at all? We can ask the same questions about all other groups but my comment was directed towards the nonsensical implication in Someone’s comment that Muslims are demonstrably more generous people than others. There was no explanation or analysis accompanying that comment, just a smug implication. I showed that it was bullshit, and here we are discussing dogs and kittens…… ??????????

    As for your claim that (David?) Attenborough is a propagandist, I’m disappointed that you feel that way about a person who I regard as an extraordinary asset to your nation and its long history of documenting natural history. I see no political implications in his many of his documentaries except for the need to understand the enormous complexity of nature and the human tendency to destroy it. His doco on Climate Change, was excellent.

    *I saw a doco that showed how vicious Meerkats were to other (rival) families. Their competitive drive saw them attack each other, with targetted killing of their young. Do I think any less or more of them? No. But I have no illusions or gooey sentiments about the nature of survival.

  63. Fred, correct. We are all just machines finding new ways of surviving the day to lay another egg. Not a romantic vision of life, but then, why ‘should’ it be.

  64. “I never denied a function of cooperation between animals”

    And I didn’t mean to suggest you did. All I tried to say was your statement “mutual aid is wishfull thinking” is an overstated orthodoxy.

    Here’s another, very modern, example of cooperation to bring a smile to your face:

  65. OK I suppose there remains the remote possibility that attenborough is a patsy rather than a dastard.

    I really didn’t intend to misrepresent you I just want you to stop killing kittens with your hate mongering.

  66. Jemand, 9.20am

    Thanks. I think your reading of the earliest days of this whole sorry saga is the most likely scenario.

  67. Phil – “I really didn’t intend to misrepresent you I just want you to stop killing kittens with your hate mongering.”

    I’ve found other ways to kill kittens, Phil.

    A Public Awareness Message –

  68. “I’ve found other ways to kill kittens, Phil.”

    So it could be the RSPCA lobbying for filtering of the internet.

    I’d assumed it was one of the charities for the blind.

  69. Craig, you may be interested in a book by James Patrick, The rest is silence. It is about Tessa May, Tom Winsor and G4S and how they are all interwoven in the privatisation of the police service. May her husband and Winsor have financial links that should be exposed.

    James is a serving police officer with the Metropolitan police. He is under investigation by the Mets professional standards in relation to the content of the book. The content of which certain individuals don’t want exposed.

  70. Jemand – Censorship Improves History 28 Jul, 2013 – 2:15 pm

    “I saw a doco that showed how vicious Meerkats were to other (rival) families. Their competitive drive saw them attack each other, with targetted killing of their young.”

    For every example of conflict there is an example of cooperation, but conflict makes it on tv. Which is sort of the point.

    No one’s denying competiton and conflict. Just that our mainstream culture disproportionately emphasises competition over cooperation for ideological reasons.

  71. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 4:34 pm

    New perspective video of Hastings crash. What do you think? One explosion or two?

  72. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 4:36 pm

    @ Jemand :

    “but my comment was directed towards the nonsensical implication in Someone’s comment that Muslims are demonstrably more generous people than others.”

    Well, you’ll be happy to hear that I, at least, understood what your point was.

    I find interesting the (delicate? embarrassed?) silence when it transpired that most of the charity from Muslims went to Muslim causes and to promote Islam.

    Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I can imagine the sneers and howls of outrage if someone were to point out that most of Jewish charity work is directed towards Jewish causes. Indeed, poeple have alluded to this on various threads of this blog and kindly supplied their own sneers and howls of outrage justr in case. :)

  73. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 4:40 pm

  74. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 4:50 pm

  75. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version) 28 Jul, 2013 – 4:40 pm

    “You just need a laptop…

    The two research projects discussed on that link pretty much remove any doubt that cars can be hacked. Now all you need is a motive and you’ve found your killer(s).

  76. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    Did you review the video, Phil?

  77. “You just need a laptop….”

    Then you need to plug it into someone’s car and sit in the back seat without them noticing.

  78. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 5:04 pm

  79. Fred 28 Jul, 2013 – 5:00 pm
    “Then you need to plug it into someone’s car and sit in the back seat without them noticing.”

    Ben’s BBC link discussed that this research, to take control of vehicle functions, was built to complement previous research which gained remote access. Maybe someone is combining the two as we talk.

  80. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 5:08 pm

    Fred; There have been remotely-controlled model airplanes for decades. Commercial flights fly-by-wire. Pilots are just there to keep the passengers comfortable. You don’t see any remote-joystick capability on a car?

  81. “The two research projects discussed on that link pretty much remove any doubt that cars can be hacked. Now all you need is a motive and you’ve found your killer(s).”

    Of course cars can be hacked, I’ve hacked them myself, lots of people have, it’s never been any secret, the equipment has been for sale on ebay for years.

    Here, a step by step guide, spend 10 quid and hack your car.

  82. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 5:13 pm

    Oh sure. Now that the mobsters have culled their goods.

    “NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus and its international lenders have agreed to convert 47.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros in Bank of Cyprus to equity to recapitalize it, banking sources said on Sunday.

    Under a programme agreed between Cyprus and lenders in March, large depositors in Bank of Cyprus were earmarked to pay for the recapitalisation of the bank. Authorities initially converted 37.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros into equity, and held an additional 22.5 percent as a buffer in the event of further needs.

    “There was an agreement concluding at a final figure of 47.5 percent this morning,” a source close to consultations told Reuters.”

  83. “One explosion or two?”

    No idea. Can’t tell.

  84. “a final figure of 47.5 percent”

    Bail ins, the new bail out. The laws are being put in place:

  85. @Ben

    Take a look at:

    That’s me saying it could be done before the first news report on the subject.

    It isn’t rocket science, it isn’t new, it isn’t a secret why all the hype?

  86. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    Fred; Do you have any opinions on the video? I have looked at many collisions on Youtube which show even slower speeds can result in a fireball. Since the tranny was found some 130 feet away it’s possible the fuel line being torn asunder would precipitate a fire, but some have speculated that for the trans to be carried that far the car would have to travel some 225 mph. My observation of the speed appears to be over 100, but not 225 which would be impossible even for the Benz.

  87. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 5:47 pm

  88. “Do you have any opinions on the video?”

    I don’t think it’s possible to ascertain much from the video, a car goes past and it crashes.

    I think there is a strong possibility he was whacked but that it is by no means certain.

    I believe in conspiracy theories, I’m just highly dubious of the people who believe all of them and the people who will believe in non.

  89. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 6:07 pm

    “But I’m not here to speak ill of the dead. I’m here to state that I’ve seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero.

    Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category.”

  90. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 6:25 pm

    Three seconds more to get a fire with that ejected engine, Kempe.

  91. A couple of Mercs that have burst into flames.

    Cars do occasionally burst into flames after an accident whether the engine is ejected or not. Having the engine fly out and rip the fuel lines off would appear to make it more likely although by no means a certainty.

    Proving that something CAN be done is very different from proving that it WAS done. Any evidence that Hasting’s car was actually hacked?

  92. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 6:39 pm

    ” Any evidence that Hasting’s car was actually hacked?”

    None. But use your counter-intuitive research skills to give an explanation as to why so many intrusive journalists have died mysterious deaths with evidence collected from authorities similarly disposed to conspiracy theory.

  93. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 6:51 pm

  94. Flaming June

    28 Jul, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    Israel Agrees Release Of Palestinian Prisoners
    The renewal of Middle East peace talks moves a step closer as Israel agrees the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners.

    Compare that number, 104, to the thousands detailed below.

    Statistics on Palestinians in the custody of the Israeli security forces.
    Updated: 25 Jul 2013

    At the end of June 2013, some 4,827 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners were held in Israeli prisons, 409 of them from the Gaza Strip. An additional 1,267 Palestinians were held in Israel Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally, 24 of them from the Gaza Strip. The IPS considers these Palestinians – both detainees and prisoners – criminal offenders. A few dozen other Palestinians (we do not have precise figures) are held in IDF facilities for short periods of time. The following data were provided by the military and by the IPS.
    + graph

  95. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    28 Jul, 2013 - 7:02 pm

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