Yard finally arrests Abu Izzadeen


by Sunny
24th April, 2007 at 2:53 pm    

Abu Izzadeen, who has graced our media far too many times with his ranting and raving, especially on the Today programme and Newsnight, has been arrested by Scotland Yard.

Anti-terror police today arrested six men on suspicion of inciting others to commit terrorist acts overseas and raising funds for terrorism. One of the men, Abu Izzadeen, heckled the home secretary, John Reid, when Mr Reid visited east London last year.

Officers from the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, working with local police, arrested the men – aged between 21 and 35 – at five addresses in London and one in Luton early this morning.


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  1. Soso — on 24th April, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

    Outstanding parking fines?

  2. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:21 pm  

    Lets have a trial. In the open.

  3. Rumbold — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:23 pm  

    Only if the weather is nice, Refresh.

  4. Don — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

    What, Trevor’s been nicked?

  5. ally — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:44 pm  

    Am I foolishly naive to believe that someone who was genuinely involved in international terrorism (even as a fundraiser) would be likely to keep a rather more low profile than Izzadeen?

  6. ZinZin — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    He was arrested in February for encouraging terrorism.

  7. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th April, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    Am I foolishly naive to believe that someone who was genuinely involved in international terrorism (even as a fundraiser) would be likely to keep a rather more low profile than Izzadeen?

    Yes you would, but remember we are talking about an Islamist here. Anyone that thinks that bringing back stoning will solve the worlds problems is one small step from retarded.

    TFI

  8. El Cid — on 24th April, 2007 at 10:21 pm  

    has he done anything illegal?
    i wait with baited breath

  9. Refresh — on 24th April, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    Lets wait in the open, assuming the weather will hold.

    In the meantime has anbody worked out how he was able to achieve the almost impossible and get so close to the Home Sec., at a time of serious security concerns?

    “One of the men, Abu Izzadeen, heckled the home secretary, John Reid, when Mr Reid visited east London last year.”

  10. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:45 am  

    There is an article up on the sidebar that deserves wider acknowledgement:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/larsson04212007.html

    To summarise, last year, one Muslim attack, no fatalities, out of a total of 498, with only two fatalities and those down to Basque Seperatists.

    I find it nigh on impossible to tally that, with this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6589869.stm

    (You have to watch the video, top right. His comments otherwise seem emminently sensible.)

    A person I’d never heard of, Naomi Wolf

    wrote this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/ten-steps-to-close-down-a_b_46695.html

    Which I think is worth discussion, in a UK context.

    Cocoa time.

  11. Halima — on 25th April, 2007 at 12:58 am  

    Naomi Wolf is of No Logo Fame ( and for modern day feminists – wrote the Beauty Myth)

  12. Sunny — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:14 am  

    Halima, no the two are different. Naomi Klein wrote No Logo, Wolf wrote the Beauty Myth.

  13. Halima — on 25th April, 2007 at 1:29 am  

    Sunny

    This is years of me thinking the two were the same!! I should pay more attention and read both books..

  14. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 2:13 am  

    Sunny,

    Well, is it worth discussion – as the cocoa didn’t work :-) ?

    I think she makes a good case. If you read the comments on her post, I am not alone in thinking that.

    I am no historian, but the comparisons she makes seem genuine enough, no? Perhaps a bit overblown, but time is the essence here. How long does it take to subvert the worlds strongest democracy? Quite a bit, but not impossible.

    Which I think is what she is getting at. The capacity to give up justice for illusory freedom is in all of us. It is actually quite low down our priorities as human beings. Physical security, sex, money, would all be jokers to her just queen. Justice is a Cinderella in a court of Ugly Sisters. We’d surrender that before our beauty creams or stick on beauty spots.

    It seems to me, and I’ll stand corrected, that Americans love their military, just as much as they love their democracy. What difference could a charismatic military chief make?

    What I am suggesting is that American democracy is very, very fragile right now. Worryingly so.

    Surrendering moral high ground to terrorists – e.g. Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, rendition (can it really be the numbers quoted?), means we have become nothing other than what we say we fight against. Which is successful ju-jitsu by the terrorists.

    I used to look up to the USA, particularily JFK, but it has gone progressively downhill since “Ich Bin Ien Berliner” was a rallying cry.

    With all due respect, read what she says.

  15. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 2:28 am  

    C’mon, why don’t you highlight this in one of your pieces, and see what other Picklers make of it? It is, at the very least, interesting.

  16. Sunny — on 25th April, 2007 at 2:34 am  

    I think her ten points are legitimate, although I’d disagree to the extent to which they have been implemented or enforced. Dissent is not tolerated, she says. Agreed…. except that there are thousands of liberal blogs who lampoon the President every day and he is criticised frequently in the national press and made fun of in the Daily Show by Jon Stewart. So while I agree with the list, I’m sceptical to the extent to which all those rules have been enforced.

  17. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 3:00 am  

    Sunny,

    I agree, her ten points are all debatable, which is what is interesting.

    How’s about you encourage Picklers to debate them?

    I’ve tried to get CiF to adopt a similar open policy, but to no effect.

    You know you could, if you wanted to.

    :-;

  18. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 3:02 am  

    :-) maybe.

  19. Chairwoman — on 25th April, 2007 at 7:37 am  

    Douglas – Don’t you think that the Kennedy legacy is that he was assassinated before he went off the boil and started to make the sort of unpopular decisions that ‘our leaders’ are known for?

  20. Bert Preast — on 25th April, 2007 at 9:29 am  

    Love the way step one is “Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy”, then the other steps are all invoking a terrifying internal enemy.

    Concerning many commenters are saying “so besides voting, what can we do about this?”. Er, forming yourselves into armed anti-Bush militias is unlikely to help anyone lads. Getting just a tad paranoid there. Maybe leave it ’til when Jon Stewart is disappeared, eh?

  21. soru — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:02 am  

    I am no historian, but the comparisons she makes seem genuine enough, no?

    IMHO, not for what is usually called ‘fascist’, more for a period of unpleasantness in a democracy, like the 1950s or 1920s or several previous periods in the US.

    Coups happen because the military leadership feels the new guy is a dangerous radical; about which US dem politician could you say that and keep a straight face. So I can’t see a military coup as particularly likely – just a democracy that votes to do some stuff it will later feel ashamed of.

    For proper fascism, you really need the jack-booted thugs, blackshirts, leading a populist movement from the ground up. Naomi’s point about the use of mercenaries is really reaching.

    You could get an actual fascism in the US, built around the militia movement, in particular those ‘volunteer border guard’ types, the ‘minutemen’:
    http://marccooper.com/minuteman-fizzle/

    The path to it would be longer and rather different:

    1. visibly lose iraq, in some way that could semi-plausibly be blamed on ‘washington politicians’.

    2. big economic recession

    3. military downsizing, unemployed vets left to brood about the last war.

    4. large-scale immigration continuing despite the lack of an economy to support it, leading to collapsing real wages, and a depression.

    5. thugs taking direct action against economic competitors of american-owned businesses – immigrant-owned shops, large farms that employ a lot of immigrant labour, and so on.

    5. a general feeling of everything going to shit, and desperate measures being needed

    6. collapse in belief in free trade as a non-zero-sum thing, a perception that the economic problems were caused by failure to successfully steal oil

    7. collapse in interest in news, it being too depressing, and participation in elections.

    8. a new Leader arises, above the petty bickering of party politics: anyone who bickers gets a kicking from the Leader’s thugs.

    9. a rearmament campaign, getting the economy going again

    10. a short, victorious war

    Naomi’s scenario may be more likely, but it is far from the the worst thing that could happen.

  22. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:20 am  

    Its worth reading the ‘The Plot Against America’ by Philip Roth, in which Walter Winchell a popular broadcaster is ‘removed’.

    “Maybe leave it ’til when Jon Stewart is disappeared, eh?”

    People are being disappeared -

    Some would argue David Kelly may have been one – this is according to the lads re-roofing my house. Not me.

    And there are hundreds, possibly thousands of others being renditioned.

    Unless of course we wait ’til Sunny is disappeared.

  23. Roger — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:24 am  

    “To summarise, last year, one Muslim attack, no fatalities, out of a total of 498, with only two fatalities and those down to Basque Seperatists.”
    It could be argued that this shows the virtue of concentrating on muslim would-be terrorists; after all, if you compared the number of dead with the year before you’d get a rather different- if equally misleading in the long term- perspective.
    Muslim terrorists seem to have killing- killing in general- as their main purpose, rather than aiming at specific people or making a [often symbolic] point or just reminding people they’re still around as the others do.

  24. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:25 am  

    Douglas

    Have a look at this thread:

    “On the “The last thing the Middle East’s main players want is US troops to leave Iraq

    Across the region, ordinary people want the Americans out. But from Israel to al-Qaida, political groups and states have other ideas

    Hussein Agha
    Wednesday April 25, 2007
    The Guardian ”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2064703,00.html ”

    This comment on that thread I found most appropriate:

    “Vernon

    April 25, 2007 9:20 AM

    Excellent article. The US led invasion has set the interests of state, ethnic and sectarian leaderships against the wishes of their own people. The same is less catastrophically true in many countries in Europe: Italian demonstrators want US bases out; Italian and German prosecutors want to stop US abductions and torture; and across the continent, the majority of people want nothing to do with wars of aggression and torture. But nearly all state leaderships (maybe with the honorable exeception of Spain) are obliged to disobey their people in order to placate the US Administration. One legacy of this war will be the undermining of democracy in Europe and as the article clearly points out, in the region where it is being fought.”

  25. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 10:28 am  

    And here is the Rolling Stones getting political:

    Rolling Stones
    Undercover Of The Night

    Hear the screams of Center 42
    Loud enough to bust your brains out
    The opposition’s tongue is cut in two
    Keep off the street ’cause you’re in danger

    One hundred thousand disparus
    Lost in the jails in South America
    Cuddle up baby
    Cuddle up tight
    Cuddle up baby
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover of the night

    The sex police are out there on the streets
    Make sure the pass laws are not broken
    The race militia has got itchy fingers
    All the way from New York back to Africa

    Cuddle up baby
    Keep it all out of sight
    Cuddle up baby
    Sleep with all out of sight
    Cuddle up baby
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover
    Undercover
    Undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover of the night

    All the young men they’ve been rounded up
    And sent to camps back in the jungle
    And people whisper people double-talk
    And once proud fathers act so humble
    All the young girls they have got the blues
    They’re heading on back to Center 42

    Keep it undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Keep it undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover of the night

    Down in the bars the girls are painted blue
    Done up in lace, done up in rubber
    The John’s are jerky little G.I. Joe’s
    On R&R from Cuba and Russia
    The smell of sex, the smell of suicide
    All these things I can’t keep inside

    Undercover
    Keep it all out of sight
    Undercover of the night

    Undercover of the night
    Undercover of the night

    Undercover
    Undercover
    Undercover of the night

  26. douglas clark — on 25th April, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    Yikes! Crivvens!

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Chairwoman,

    Yes. And I was tending to forget the weekend when I thought the whole planet was about to explode. The Cuban Missile crisis was really scary. Distance does lend enchantment, as does an early death. I do wonder what would have happened if the sniper had missed. It is one of the great ‘what ifs’ of the modern era.

    —————————————————-

    Bert,

    Yeah, I don’t know what the answer is either. It would be a bit late if we waited until the very funny Mr Stewart disappeared. The point seems to be that laws are in place that would let that happen, although I’d agree that he’s unlikely to be an early target. It is the lack of due process that’s the issue.

    ——————————————————

    soru. Yes. But her arguement seems to be that the framework is being put in place. I’ll retreat a bit on the military takeover, ’cause it’s not necessary for a dictatorship. Let’s just suppose something aweful happened again. What further rights would US citizens be willing to give up to stop it happening yet again? Why is the reaction to terror to move rapidly towards quashing civil liberties? Given that civil liberties are one of the main distinctions between the philosophy of Al Quaida and democratic governance. And, even if it is necessary, why is it not out in the open, with genuine audit of the benefits / disadvantages?

    —————————————————–

    Roger,

    Maybe the Police and security services are doing damn fine job. We won’t really know until all the accused are tried and convicted. Seems to take forever though.

    ——————————————————

    Refresh, Very thought provoking link at 24, thanks. 25 was good too.

    —————————————————-

  27. Soso — on 25th April, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    Naomi Klein is the good-looking one, wife of Avi Lewis.

    As for Naomi Wolf; if America is as fascist as she claims, then why isn’t she a lampshade?

    I propose a moratorium on the use of such terms as ‘fascist’,'racist’, ‘bigot’ etc. Those terms are very, very important and should only be used in the appropriate context.

    Were true fascism to one day arrive in the U.S. what words would Naomi still have in her arsenal to accurately define it?

    I think that continuously engaging in overblown theories, using overblown language, contributes, in the long run, to the erosion of democracy

  28. Robert — on 25th April, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

    The entire point of Wolf’s article is that the decay of democracy happens so slowly and inperceptably, that we barely notice the loss of freedoms. As Refresh says, people ARE disappeared already… I think she uses words like ‘fascist’ precisely because of the hyperbole/shock factor, to make people jump up and take note. But you are right that we might see a kind of language inflation, whereby a word’s impact is devalued by its overuse.

    Linking this back to the original thread. The idea that someone could be arrested for ‘inciting’ terrorism fills me with unease. Its not that I am like, pro-terrorist or anything… but what precisely does ‘Inciting’ me in this context? It sounds like something that can and will be used as a catch-all charge to mop up agitators.

  29. Refresh — on 25th April, 2007 at 11:48 pm  

    Undercover of the Night is one of my favourite songs from the 80′s. Rarely heard on radio. In fact I’ve never heard it played on radio.

    It related to the last outing for the neo-con boys then with Reagan at the helm; Oliver Reed* and Oliver North were household names. I am sure Negroponte was around in the background, as was Rumsfeld. All there running around funding their little pet projects: setting up death squads, the Contras, School of the Americas and whatever helped them sleep through the night – fascists then fascists now.

    Why nobody ever sacked them I’ll never know.

    *For those that don’t know, Oliver Reed was an excellent British actor and a lovely fellow and had nothing to do with the Neo-cons, but thought it’d be worth dropping his name in as it helps set the scene.

  30. El Cid — on 26th April, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

    Remind me Refresh, what’s your position on Afghanistan and Bosnia? (It might look like a loaded question, but it isn’t.)

  31. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

    Firstly, I blame Thatcher and Kohl for the disastrous breakup of Yugoslavia. It was appalling how supposedly ancient ethnic claims and hatreds were allowed to fester into cleansing of whole areas.

    First Croatians V. Serbs and then Serbs V. Bosnian muslims. From clearly mixed areas, mixed marriages to absolute hatred and close to genocide as you could get. In a very short space of time.

    If after that there was to be a break up then it made sense for Bosnia to be a republic in its own right, hopefully then to become a member of the EU. To watch it further disintegrate into Serbian-Bosnia and Muslim-Bosnia was deeply depressing.

    As for Afghanistan where do you start? Its so easy to only look at it in the light of September 2001, and forget the huge investment made by the US and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (money and men) in defeating the Soviet Union.

    Why do you ask?

  32. El Cid — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

    My question really related to the general merits of intervention to quell strife, not to the contributary causes of strife
    (I think it was Germany principally which encouraged breakup, not the UK, let alone Mrs T.)
    Just trying understand context when you talk about “wars of aggression”

  33. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    Just trying understand context when you talk about “wars of aggression”

    Don’t recall using the phrase myself – but I am totally opposed to wars of ‘rape and pillage’. Self defence is the only cause worth fighting for.

    Is it all relevant on this thread? You’ve obviously got a line of thought which looks like worth exploring.

    Perhaps in the context you are talking about, have a look at this rather pathetic piece from Timothy Garton Ash:

    “Like it or loathe it, after 10 years Blair knows exactly what he stands for

    Sitting in the Downing Street garden, I ask him what is the essence of Blairism in foreign policy. ‘Liberal interventionism’

    Timothy Garton Ash
    Thursday April 26, 2007
    The Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2065549,00.html

  34. Chris Stiles — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:36 pm  

    It was appalling how supposedly ancient ethnic claims and hatreds were allowed to fester into cleansing of whole areas.

    ‘Allowed to fester’. It only worked as they were ‘supposedly’ ancient. The Ustashe regime was still within the living memory of some, and as the main perpetrators had got away scot-free it was easy to build on each communities grievances.

    The ‘Balkans conflict’ was a replay. Even Tito could only move them from mutual antipathy to suspicious toleration.

  35. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

    Chris, it presumably would also mean that those capable of pulling strings would have had some fore-knowledge of possible outcomes.

  36. The Common Humanist — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    I seem to remember it was the non entities of Major, Hurd and Riflind that prevented much earlier intervention in Bosnia (and elsewhere)

    Interestingly it was the French that wanted to send many troops and early. Good for them – we might have saved 100,000′s lives.

    No doubt the doughty ‘peace campaigners’ at the SWP etc would have campaigned tirelessly to get the troops out so the Serbs could finish the ethnic cleansing they started. Sigh.

  37. The Common Humanist — on 26th April, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

    One of the problems in the Former Yugoslavia was that after ’82 the media ineach consituent republic fell into the hands of extremists.

    I remember once reading a Serb women say ‘Well, you would hate them if all your media was controlled by the KKK’ – She was speaking to a US journalist.

  38. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    “I seem to remember it was the non entities of Major, Hurd and Riflind that prevented much earlier intervention in Bosnia (and elsewhere)”

    Also correct.

    I was all for the equivalent of the Spanish Brigade that took on Franco – against the wishes of the British government of the day. Alas a different era.

  39. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 26th April, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

    Self defence is the only cause worth fighting for.

    I disagree. Self preservation is the only cause worth fighting for. If you leave it as open as “self defence” you’ll find people thinking that they can attack you because you offended them, even if you didn’t mean to cause the offensive in the first place.

    TFI

  40. The Common Humanist — on 26th April, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    My Grandad’s Pit raised money for Spain during the civil war (for the Republican side, obviously)

    I think some of his mates were very tempted to go but He’d just got married and it never came off.

    I must one of the few people who really like ‘Land and Freedom’.

    I too am an International Brigade fan.

  41. El Cid — on 26th April, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    I’m in favour of liberal interventionism — i think the defence of others is also worth dying for, although you have every right to point out that I’m not a soldier or would want my son to go to war when he becomes a man. (I embrace the inevitability of my hypocrisy, unlike others, and trust that greater transparency will lead me closer to the truth.)

    Of course, it helps not to be hijacked by an imperialist regime changing-agenda and to have the full support of the UN Security Council. Otherwise, you risk being utterly discredited and can lose public backing for years/decades, until the next Rwanda comes along and we all ask ourselves: “how the fuck did we let this happen” and blame those yankee bastards again.

  42. The Common Humanist — on 26th April, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

    El Cid:
    Largely agree with that. The strong have a duty to help the weak or those in need.

    It is however beholden upon those wanting to do the helping to do so in a manner that is befitting (AKA a proper attempt at regime change and nation building, rather then a weak ass bananarepublic-esque coup and then hope for the best as country in question falls apart)

    Hopefully that is something that has been learned from the past six years.

  43. Chris Stiles — on 26th April, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    Chris, it presumably would also mean that those capable of pulling strings would have had some fore-knowledge of possible outcomes.

    Refresh – you can’t have it both ways. Either these things were ‘ancient conflicts’ that would have never exploded in the way that they did but for the fact that they were ‘allowed to fester’, or these conflicts had enough present day resonances to necessitate immediate action.

    Personally, I think the truth was probably in the middle. I think the scale and speed of the break up of Yugoslavia surprised virtually everybody – there was an assumption that this just could happen in a European nation (perhaps based in part on ethno-centrism). The government of the day probably had two reference points in mind that stopped them doing anything initially – the number of occupying German troops that Tito’s resistance managed to tie up during WWII, and the number of troops required to keep order in NI bandit country. There were also very few horses to bet on inside the country – most communities were calling for the ability to retaliate rather than peace itself.

    Of course, once everything had gone to hell in a hand-basket it was too late – and the normal UN Security Council horse trading started – with Russia virulently against any sort of intervention involving the West.

  44. Roger — on 26th April, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    “Of course, it helps not to be hijacked by an imperialist regime changing-agenda and to have the full support of the UN Security Council.”
    Given the governments of someof the countries on the UN Security Council, it’s dubious whether they’d support getting rid of governments or, if they did support getting rid of them, their motives would bear inquiry.

  45. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 26th April, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    Of course, it helps not to be hijacked by an imperialist regime changing-agenda and to have the full support of the UN Security Council. Otherwise, you risk being utterly discredited and can lose public backing for years/decades, until the next Rwanda comes along and we all ask ourselves: “how the fuck did we let this happen” and blame those yankee bastards again.

    Sorry to bring facts to your Yankee hate fest, but I think that you will find it was Kofi Annan and the African politics that is at fault for not preventing the Rwanda genocide, not the USA.

    Also the war in Bosnia was an illegal war because the UN didn’t authorise it, good job the UK and USA troops got sent in.

    Finally, the most important point, in Europe we don’t have a military instead we spent it on welfare and then try to take the high moral ground while America mostly populates the UN troops. Without them to call upon we wouldn’t be able to put out fires like Bosnia that happen at our own back door.

    Not to mention all the money they donate via charity to fix up places like Rwanda and Bosnia.

    But hey, its easier to spit in the guys eye and blame him for everything isn’t it?

    The UK doesn’t have a better friend than the USA, and like all good friends that are bigger and better at everything than you, he can take the piss with the friendship.

    The Big Satan my arse, don’t fall for it kids!

    TFI

  46. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    Setting aside the rest of your post, can you elaborate on this:

    “America mostly populates the UN troops”?

  47. Don — on 26th April, 2007 at 6:18 pm  

    from ( ‘sigh’ where else?) wikki;

    ‘Despite the large number of contributors, the greatest burden continues to be borne by a core group of developing countries. The 10 main troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations as of March 2007 were Pakistan (10,173), Bangladesh (9,675), India (9,471), Nepal (3,626), Jordan (3,564), Uruguay (2,583), Italy (2,539),Ghana, Nigeria and France. …About 4.5% of the troops and civilian police deployed in UN peacekeeping missions come from the European Union and less than one percent from the United States (USA)’

  48. Bert Preast — on 26th April, 2007 at 6:30 pm  

    “The Ustashe regime was still within the living memory of some, and as the main perpetrators had got away scot-free it was easy to build on each communities grievances”

    Who got away with it? The Ustase were defeated and duly massacred.

    “Interestingly it was the French that wanted to send many troops and early. Good for them – we might have saved 100,000’s lives”

    You’re thinking of the Germans. In those days they couldn’t send troops, of course – but they could and did send some lovely bits of kit.

    “I was all for the equivalent of the Spanish Brigade that took on Franco – against the wishes of the British government of the day. Alas a different era.”

    There was an International Brigade, ironically run by a Spaniard. Of course, they were utterly useless. But a large number of mercenaries did fight on the Croatian and Bosnian side who were effective. Same same with Russians on the Serb side.

    “There were also very few horses to bet on inside the country – most communities were calling for the ability to retaliate rather than peace itself”

    More defend than retaliate at that stage, to be honest.

    “America mostly populates the UN troops”

    They don’t – but they do pay their wages. And in many places a US presence would be a hinderance to peacekeeping, and not through any fault of their own.

  49. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

    “They don’t – but they do pay their wages.”

    Even that is debateable considering Reagan and his disciples refused to pay their subscription for quite a period – until and unless the UN did what it wanted.

    In a democratic world – its still those with the money who call the shots.

  50. Refresh — on 26th April, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    “There was an International Brigade” – yes sorry it was the international brigade, how could I have forgotten.

  51. Bert Preast — on 26th April, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

    And the US pays a lot of money in lieu of troops. It’s all they can do and it’s good enough. The image of their troops is tarnished (unfairly) in many regions so it’s counter-productive to send them.

    Not sure what you mean about the International Brigade?

    BTW, it’s the anniversary of Guernica today. Thousands more died from air attacks on the road east out of Malaga, but as Picasso never painted that no one knows or gives a shit.

  52. El Cid — on 26th April, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    TFI — do you know what irony is my friend?

  53. soru — on 26th April, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

    Let’s just suppose something aweful happened again. What further rights would US citizens be willing to give up to stop it happening yet again?

    But that’s a bit of a non-sequitor – if ‘something bad’ happened, there would almost certainly be a reaction, whatever policies had been in place before hand. If a lot of very bad things happened frequently, the reaction would be unlikely to be good, at least by the standards set by a society in which such bad things are rare.

    I don’t see any reason why that reaction would not be democratic in form though – as Israel shows, it is perfectly possible to have a 100% democratic country that can do just about anything to people the electorate consider to be its enemies. If there is a concensus on some issue, all non-fringe candidates will support it.

    There isn’t a commonly-used word for ‘democratic country that freely and fairly votes to violate human rights norms’, but it is a very different thing from fascism, dictatorship, military rule and so on.

    Also different from ‘democratic country some of who’s tax-funded agencies covertly do bad things’, which is what the Rolling Stones song is about.

  54. Abu Ghrayb — on 27th April, 2007 at 10:06 am  

    has he done anything illegal?
    i wait with baited breath

    He messed with John Reid in public, you expect him to get away with it? Sheesh.. as if politicians don’t want to do anything with their POWER.

  55. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    soru,

    The point that I was making, that you avoid, is that the roll back of civil liberties in the US, and to a lesser extent here too, is the reaction to terrorist threats / actions. The issue that the author, Naomi Wolf raises, is one where we creep into a dictatorship by the back door, by surrendering libertarian ground in a spurious attempt to maintain freedom. If a democracy votes in a dictator, does it make it any less of a dictatorship if elections are subsequently cancelled? Usually for the duration of the ‘emergency’.

    The rise of Benito Mussolini is a good example of that.

  56. Chris Stiles — on 27th April, 2007 at 2:43 pm  

    Who got away with it? The Ustase were defeated and duly massacred.

    It took them sometime to finally get Pavelic, and the very way in which he got away led to the suspicion that there was some kind of underground deep state that had colluded to assist him. Not to mention the various Ustashi related killings during the 60s and possibly the 70s.

    More defend than retaliate at that stage, to be honest.

    I’d suggest that the defense would look rather like Iraq, but worse as at least two sides had heavy weaponry. None of the sides particularly covered themselves with glory over the manner in which they treated their opponents when they had local superiority.

  57. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 27th April, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    America’s contribution to the UN

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=10&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.genevabriefingbook.com%2Fchapters%2Fbudget.pdf&ei=-QQyRpbDL43SgQPlp8HvAg&usg=AFrqEzcXAgvpizYR3id0L6q__RO0wXj7Hw&sig2=srHu6VIBthSjlvJr7p9ArQ

    Three billion a year, that’s about a third of the total budget.

    UN peacekeeping operations

    http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/bnote.htm

    Troop and Other Personnel Contributions to Peacekeeping Operations: 2007

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/peacekpg/data/pko07-1.htm

    So we can summarize the countries that have contributed the most troops is in part due to them having conflicts on their doorstep.

    But the country that pays for the biggest percentage of their salary is the USA.

    When I was looking at the malaria contributions, I noticed that America has a clause saying that they won’t pay more than the 1/3 of the entire budget – so mean of them to expect the rest of the world to contribute.

    El Cid – No, I don’t know what Irony is. Do you know what rampant bigotry and hypocrisy is?

    TFI

  58. Refresh — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    TFI – I really wish you would read some of that material.

    On contributions, the members pay on the basis of assessment ie on the ability to pay. Reading further down on your first link, I would ask who benefits the most from some of the bodies the UN runs? WIPO for example? You are a technologist and it shouldn’t take you long to appreciate the value of WIPO to a country like the US.

    One way to look at what may seem an appropriate method of funding the UN is of course the tried and tested ‘Poll Tax’ method. Per country or per head of population? Perhaps?

    And then your conclusion “So we can summarize the countries that have contributed the most troops is in part due to them having conflicts on their doorstep” is woefully lacking in any analysis.

    Not so. The basis of troop contributions is down to a simple matter of revenue to the contributing countries. In other words if you are a poor nation, and have the capability of supporting a trained army then you can sell their ‘labour’ to the UN. Pure and simple.

  59. soru — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    The issue that the author, Naomi Wolf raises, is one where we creep into a dictatorship by the back door, by surrendering libertarian ground in a spurious attempt to maintain freedom.

    The point I’m making is this: that’s not actually how you get to a Mussolini, it’s how you get to an Andrew Jackson or a Lincoln.

    Mussolini’s regime was not a an illiberal but consensual response to unfortunate circumstances. He seized power by being the leader of a fascist militia the state was unable or unwilling to defeat.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini

    ‘Victor Emmanuel feared that if he did not choose a government under either the Fascists or Socialists, Italy would soon be involved in a civil war.’

    ‘The Matteotti crisis provoked cries for justice against the murder of an outspoken critic of Fascist violence.’

    ‘The king, fearful of violence from the Fascist squadristi, kept Mussolini in office. ‘

    ‘The more violent were angry that Mussolini had only killed a few dozen, and a bloodbath ensued that killed thousands.’

    ‘Before his speech fascist militia beat up the opposition and prevented opposition newspapers from publishing. ‘

    At that point, Mussolini controlled the state and could do anything he wanted, openly kill any political enemy. There was no gradual or subtle takeover of power; he already had it all in reality, even if all the enabling acts took a few years to be issued.

  60. Arif — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    soru’s post #53 – some really important distinctions we should get words for, our political terminology really seem blunt for discussing what kind of society we want/are wiling to tolerate/believe we are heading towards.

    Now that there are so mant States which describe their systems as democratic, it would be useful to have words like demohate-ic, for the first type you describe or demochivellian for the second, maybe demohumane for a nicer kind, and so on so we know what kind of democracy we are criticising (or, say, HuT are criticising!) or trying to achieve for ourselves or are trying to impose (demolyingly).

  61. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

    soru,

    Please read the same article, here:

    “Then as now, Italian governments were frequently formed without a majority, resulting in weak and indecisive administrations. Many conservatives saw Mussolini and Fascism as the best answer to the possibility of a Communist takeover. They also feared a Socialist government might take away what the Italian left called excessive war profits, give too much power to labor unions and force higher wages. They also feared possible government control of key industries. The king accordingly asked Mussolini to become Prime Minister, obviating the need for the March on Rome. However, because fascists were already arriving from all around Italy, he decided to continue. In effect, the threatened seizure of power became nothing more than a victory parade. Fascists from all over Italy came to Rome to cheer the “revolution.” Thus, the March on Rome became a piece of fascist legend: that Fascism had taken over through force rather than compromise. But it is not entirely accurate to say that Mussolini came to power solely through legal means.”

    Whatever you make think of the jurisdictions and mores, it is pretty clear to me that Mussolini took control by playing on peoples fears. You could argue, as you do, that it was consensual. Leaving the legal side of the discussion to one side, it is pretty plain that a fear of terrorism is just as strong a fear as that of socialists or communists. It is the ability to play on peoples fears that is the key to it. Clearly, subverting a strong democracy like the US’s is easier if you firstly subvert it’s due process. That may not have been necessary in a weaker democracy like Italy. But the key to a takeover is the same, weaken the peoples’ will to think for themselves by creating a bete noir, and then present yourself as the only party able to save the people. That is the scenario.

    Incidentally, I am not convinced that that is the most likely outcome, but is surely more likely now than it was ten years ago?

    Quite what Lincon has to do with it, I don’t know. And Andrew Jackson sounds like half a Boys Own hero and half an Imperialist. Perhaps you could explain how either are relevant?

  62. El Cid — on 27th April, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    TFI, ahem, how do I put this?
    YOU MISREAD MY POST.
    Everybody else: The end of #41 was obviously sarcastic right?

  63. Rumbold — on 27th April, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

    “The end of #41 was obviously sarcastic right?”

    Indeed El Cid. At least I hope so.

  64. Bert Preast — on 27th April, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    Chris Stiles wrote: “I’d suggest that the defense would look rather like Iraq, but worse as at least two sides had heavy weaponry. None of the sides particularly covered themselves with glory over the manner in which they treated their opponents when they had local superiority”

    Again, I disagree. The Croats had enough weaponry to stop the JNA at Osijek and Slavonski Brod, whereupon things settled down into a fairly quiet front line stand off situation. Pretty soon peace was made.

    The Bosniaks were severely lacking in weaponry, and took a 4 year pasting. The Serb units were often militia – if they met serious resistance they almost always went on the defensive. They were only up for a bit of a party when they knew they wouldn’t be doing the suffering.

    How a bunch of fat blokes beat the formidable JNA:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZiSr1XJlic

    Za dom – Spremni!

  65. soru — on 27th April, 2007 at 7:37 pm  

    They also feared a Socialist government

    It’s all very well finding similarities, but if the ones you find are as broad as ‘fear-mongering’, you are not getting very far, given that warning of bad things or promising good things are about the only options for any politician explaining their position.

    If you paint with such a broad brush, it seems to me Naomi could easily said to be closer to fascism than Bush – she:

    1. fears what the government could become
    2. distrusts the outcome and procedures of democracy
    3. distrusts market capitalism

    Not to mention that, according to wiki, In foreign policy, Mussolini soon shifted from the pacifist anti-imperialism of his lead-up to power to an extreme form of aggressive nationalism.

    Fearing the government the people would elect, if they were allowed to, is a very different thing from fearing an external enemy with miniscule domestic support. In the Middle East, there are dictatorships that get their elite and military support from the fear ‘if there was a fair vote, the religious nutters would win’. You could compare those to Mussonlini, but that’s not a fate america faces, at least with respect to islam.

  66. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 8:36 pm  

    soru,

    Look back at what she wrote:

    1 Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

    Has the GOP done that or not?

    2 Create a gulag

    Well that’s pretty much a given, is it not?

    3 Develop a thug caste

    I think that’s a bit of a reach.

    4 Set up an internal surveillance system

    Certainly seems to be the case, wouldn’t you say? What with wiretapping and biometrics at airports, etc.

    5 Harass citizens’ groups

    True, and not to mention the defence lawyers for the Gitmo inmates, eh?

    6 Engage in arbitrary detention and release

    Again, it is a bit of a reach, not being able to board a plane is not quite the same thing as it says on the tin.

    7 Target key individuals

    Best example there is the US attorneys, but Valerie Palme comes to mind to, and has the ex-head of the CIA not got a book coming out soon?

    8 Control the press

    She goes on about specific examples, the fact that large chunks of the media are run on the GW Bush agenda in real time seems to me to be more of an issue. And a minor point, the 650,000 figure is never mentioned in the US in MSM.

    9 Dissent equals treason

    Her arguement here, whilst theoretical for the moment, is correct.

    10 Suspend the rule of law

    Or just make it so flexible it has no meaning any more.

    So no, she has not got a watertight case, what she does have though are causes for concern.

    I happen to agree with you that the threat is minimal. I do not for one second think the US is about to succumb to militant Islam. It is the overblown reaction to the threat that is odd. Much as it was in Italy. The fear is not about who the people would elect, the fear is about what venal politicians do once they are elected, asked to form a government, whatever. There are plenty of historical examples of politicians saying one thing and doing another. See points 1 through 10 above for my take on it. That is not a country that is at ease with itself.

  67. kepler — on 27th April, 2007 at 10:07 pm  

    douglas clark says:

    “1 Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
    Has the GOP done that or not?”

    Which “terrifying internal enemy” ?

    “2 Create a gulag
    Well that’s pretty much a given, is it not?”

    From Wikipedia:
    “Gulag system has become primarily known as a place for political prisoners and as a mechanism for repressing political opposition to the Soviet state. Though it imprisoned millions, the name became familiar in the West only with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1973 The Gulag Archipelago, which likened the scattered camps to a chain of islands.
    The word “Gulag” has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself”

    i.e. a system of internal prisons for suppressing internal dissent. So, I don’t think it is really “pretty much of a given”, more a slipshod bit of rhetoric.

    “3 Develop a thug caste
    I think that’s a bit of a reach.”

    So, “a bit of a reach” means “absolutely no evidence for”

    “4 Set up an internal surveillance system
    Certainly seems to be the case, wouldn’t you say? What with wiretapping and biometrics at airports, etc.”

    Biometrics at airports, as far as I know, applies to international flights.

    “5 Harass citizens’ groups
    True, and not to mention the defence lawyers for the Gitmo inmates, eh?”

    Which citizens groups, and how harassed ? And, as far as I know, the Gitmo defence lawyers are still there, so any harassment there hasn’t been that effective

    “6 Engage in arbitrary detention and release
    Again, it is a bit of a reach, not being able to board a plane is not quite the same thing as it says on the tin.”

    So this time, “a bit of a reach” means “absolutely no relevant evidence for”

    “7 Target key individuals
    Best example there is the US attorneys, but Valerie Palme comes to mind to, and has the ex-head of the CIA not got a book coming out soon?”

    This would be slightly more convincing if Scooter Libby hadn’t been convicted. And, fascist states *always* let those they’ve targetted publish books with the gory details, don’t they …

    “8 Control the press
    She goes on about specific examples, the fact that large chunks of the media are run on the GW Bush agenda in real time seems to me to be more of an issue. And a minor point, the 650,000 figure is never mentioned in the US in MSM.”

    Have to say I don’t follow the U.S. media at all, but are you saying that none of it supports the Democrats ?

    “9 Dissent equals treason
    Her arguement here, whilst theoretical for the moment, is correct.”

    ie, absolutely no evidence for

    “10 Suspend the rule of law
    Or just make it so flexible it has no meaning any more.”

    Last I checked, the constitution was still in force, Gitmo defence lawyers still defending, Scooter Libby still convicted.

    Finally, you say:

    “So no, she has not got a watertight case, what she does have though are causes for concern.

    I happen to agree with you that the threat is minimal. I do not for one second think the US is about to succumb to militant Islam. It is the overblown reaction to the threat that is odd. Much as it was in Italy. The fear is not about who the people would elect, the fear is about what venal politicians do once they are elected, asked to form a government, whatever. There are plenty of historical examples of politicians saying one thing and doing another. See points 1 through 10 above for my take on it. That is not a country that is at ease with itself.”

    What’s the “I do not for one second think the US is about to succumb to militant Islam” diversion for – is anyone seriously suggesting that ?

    And, at the moment, a Democrat seems more likely to succeed Bush … are you saying that Obama or Clinton are “venal politicians” ?

  68. soru — on 27th April, 2007 at 10:35 pm  

    ‘Look back at what she wrote:’

    What she wrote was a list of 10 things the Bush administration could be said to be doing. On that list, I’d score them 3 out of 10, kepler 1 or 2, you about 5, Naomi maybe 7.

    Right?

    Point is, even if it was 10 for 10, it would not be a list of 10 things that described Mussolini, fascism, a dictatorship. It would be a list of things that described an ugly democracy: the USA under Andrew Jackson, Russia under Putin.

    In politics, you can rarely defeat anything you don’t understand. Just knowing the name amd nature of your enemy gives you power; get it wrong, and you can cause more and worse trouble than they would.

    The name of this particular ill is Illiberal democacy:

  69. douglas clark — on 28th April, 2007 at 3:21 am  

    kepler,

    As I thought only soru and I were interested in this any more, I have shorthanded my responses.

    Have you actually read what she wrote? My comments are on her text, they did not come out of a vacuum.

    Read what she said here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/ten-steps-to-close-down-a_b_46695.html

    and then get back to me when you actually understand what the issues are. For the record I do not think she has a watertight case, and that was the point I was making. I do however think she has highlighted some points that are worrying.

  70. douglas clark — on 28th April, 2007 at 8:05 am  

    soru,

    You quite reasonably characterise the US now as an illiberal democracy. On that, we have no arguement. It is the direction of travel from this point onwards that is of interest, not where it was, not where it is, but where it is going. Perhaps Naomi Wolfs most telling arguement was that addressed to the war on terror, where she said;

    “But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda has noted, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space – the globe itself is the battlefield. “This time,” Fein says, “there will be no defined end.”

    I assume you’ve read 1984? I’d put a bet on that everyone who signed the PNAC had read it too.

    You have a great deal more faith than I in historical precedent, I hope you are right. It is my somewhat dystopian belief that the US is not the country you think it is. There is no current evidence to suggest that the US government thinks that it has any responsibility to either it’s own electorate or to the world at large. This illiberal democracy, as you rightly characterise it, stands behind Gitmo, failing miserably over Katrina, and still does not fund research to count the dead Iraqis in Iraq, and it is still war mongering against Iran. The list goes on. Ad infinitum.

    What’s not to say it’s citizens are not sleep walking towards at the very least a Roman model? Bread and Circus’s, – provided on demand. And what does that do, soru? It is either the dictatorship of the consenting sheep, your illiberal democracy, or it is a random walk on the blindside towards dictatorship, perhaps with the consent of Diebold.

    It is no bloody use to the rest of us, that’s for sure.

    No, I am not impressed with your arguement.

  71. Refresh — on 28th April, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

    Douglas I don’t know if you’ve heard or are listening to tonight’s Reith lecture by Jeffrey Sachs, but I think you’ll appreciate it as I do.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2007/schedule.shtml

    I’ve not heard the previous ones, but now feel compelled to do so.

    He refers to one of Kennedy’s speeches. Once I’ve worked out which one, I shall post the link to it here. I think it fits in nicely with the debate here.

  72. Refresh — on 28th April, 2007 at 10:51 pm  

    In fact it should be compulsory listening for any future Prime Minister and contributors to Pickled Politics.

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