The mayor, Daniel Pipes, Salma Yaqoob and others


by Sunny
23rd January, 2007 at 1:12 am    

On Saturday the Mayor held a conference / debate with the American polemicist Daniel Pipes as guest speaker. The event was seriously over-subscribed, with interest and passions running high. I only attended the morning event since the rest of the conference was peppered with boring sounding discussions with people who would end up largely agreeing with each other. My bet is that Livingstone didn’t want to invite too many of his detractors other than Pipes and Murray.

The morning opened with Ken Livingstone going first, then Daniel Pipes, then Salma Yaqoob and finally Douglas Murray. Each said nothing new but their arguments were interesting. I managed to ask Pipes a question at the end, with hilarious results. I’ll come back to that.

Livingstone’s was a rambly sort of speech without structure. He is an idealist and in essence said that London set an example of how a city can be multicultural, thriving and dynamic without descending into anarchy. He didn’t pre-empt any criticism that would be forthcoming nor venture into controversial territory – he stated in a round-about sort of way that the example of London illustrates that people generally want the same things in life and can easily co-exist. That would be fine in its own but it did not address the central point – how do you deal with people who want to destroy multi-culturalism and hate democracy.

Daniel Pipes’ speech, I will admit despite my distaste for his politics, was much more structured, well thought-out and argued. There were of course holes in his argument (and I’ll come back to that) but his central point was this – there isn’t a Clash of Civilisations as much as a Clash of Civilisations v Barbarism. The latter is defined as totalitarianism akin to fascism where (religious) supremacists want to destroy democracy and forcibly convert the rest to their ideology.

It is a simplistic analysis of course and will appeal to anyone who has watched a video by Osama Bin Laden, heard a speech by Hizb ut-Tahrir or even watched last week’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme. It’s not like there is a scarcity of religious nutjobs loudly demanding complete submission to their goals. Pipes said this is war and the west should not be afraid to fight it till death. He ventured into history without mentioning any American funding of Mujahadeen groups during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Salma Yaqoob followed with an ok performance. She made some good points, calling it a fight between two barbarian groups (the neo-cons and the Islamists) who thrived on war and confrontation, with most people stuck in the middle. While it was clear she had given thought to countering Pipes’ arguments in advance, she didn’t put forward any coherently argued solution except blaming the west for everything. She was happy to play to her own audience rather than win over new recruits. She shouts and rants a lot too, putting words into Pipes’ mouth, without carefully dissecting his words. He always came across as the more reasonable thinker.

Douglas Murray followed with a calm speech although he couldn’t help sneering every minute or so when mentioning anyone Muslim. He might as well have spat on the floor everytime he mentioned Salma Yaqoob or her links to various organisations (Birmingham Central Mosque, the trial of seven Yemenis, Respect party etc). Anyway, he didn’t say much that was new other than parrot the neo-con line.

A Q&A session with the audience followed with lots of people making rambly, incoherent speeches and lots making good points. Of interest to me were these points: Inayat Bunglawala pulled up Pipes on an interesting point – that while Pipes claims his problem is only with ‘Islamist’ Muslims in the speech, he had written an article in the Jerusalem Post recently implying the problem were Muslims in general. Or anyone that did not fit into his ‘Judeo-Christian values’ framework. In other words Pipes likes the kinds of Muslims who will do what he likes rather than just those who stay within the law. The latter will all be branded as ‘barbarians’ and presumably liable to indefinite stints in detention. Pipes didn’t counter well enough. That round went to Inayat.

He tore apart Salma Yaqoob though, who called 7/7 “reprisal attacks” against American aggression and firmly put herself into ‘should think carefully before speaking’ category. If Livingstone had invited someone a bit more thoughtful like Maleiha Malik then the neo-cons may not have won the day. Someone also pulled up Daniel Pipes on his infamous McCarthyite campaign ‘Campus Watch’, which was dismissed as an attempt to “provide more information”. Aren’t they always.

Livingstone let it be known he was against faith schools. He also made an interesting point about Al-Qaradawi. He clearly stated he didn’t agree with a lot of the latter’s policies but the dialogue was necessary and Qaradawi was a progressive. The change would come within Islam, he said.

Of course people are going to complain, but KL inviting Qaradawi over isn’t that different to Tony Blair inviting over the Chinese government, giving Narendra Modi a visa or selling weaponry to Saudi Arabia. No one seems to seriously suggest Britain cut off diplomatic ties with China, India or KSA.

My bigger worry is that he sees Qaradawi as a “progressive”. Compared to who, Genghis Khan? I don’t want to call myself progressive if Livingstone is bloody well going to put Qaradawi in the same category! Livingstone is also confused. He should try and understand there are already liberal strands within Islam and more progressive thinkers so he would be better off courting them instead of an establishment man like Qaradawi. There are plenty of popular reformers within Iran, Saudi, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Lebanon and other places for example. Qaradawi certainly isn’t likely to lead a call for Muslim women to be given more rights in the Middle East.

The problem is that Livingstone, who I sympathised with most out of a bunch of bad choices, does not have a solution. He even seems reluctant to admit there may be a problem. Unofrtunately no one managed to land a ‘killer punch’ (metaphorically) on Pipes.

After the event finished I approached him. This is essentially how the conversation went: “Mr Pipes I’m a great believer in democracy, freedom of speech and liberty etc, so I guess that puts me in the “civilised” camp according to your analysis. But how do you respond is your government is spying on its people, curtailing the rights of people and generally behaving as if it doesn’t take civil liberties seriously? Isn’t that what the barbarians would do?”

He replies: “Well… uhh… those people are the enemies… uh.. we are in a new era and we need to take those measures to figure out how to deal with them. The traditional methods don’t work… uhm..” *tries to move away*

But I persist. “What about places like Belmarsh prison and Guantanamo Bay? Aren’t we denying those people the same rights that you claim makes us civilised?”

He says, with a straight face, I kid you not, “Well you know, those people are treated marvelously they have their rights and facilities. Ask that lady there (mentions some name) who went there only last week and she’ll tell you how well they are treated.”

“Erm… thanks Mr Pipes I’ll, err… do that….” *still shocked by the fact he said that seriously.

Anyway, it shouldn’t be news that neo-conservatives generally live in their own world devoid of reality. According to them, actions have no reactions and other people behave exactly as the US military commands them to. If something goes wrong, it isn’t because the plan was bad but because they didn’t put enough military resources into it. These people are a threat to society.

Overall, the debate was indeed a “pro-wrestling exhibition” and I wasn’t convinced by either side. Livingstone and Yaqoob tried to sell an idealised version of society without dealing with problems (both saw US foreign policy as the only problem, a point most Londoners have gone past I’d say), while Pipes and Murray identified the problem but presented a terrible solution.

More commentary on Adloyada and Harry’s Place.

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  1. Could have been a contender » Archives » The wisdom of Lynne Jones

    [...] This is what Salma Yaqoob thinks: [...]


  2. Livingstone Conference Round-Up

    [...] A number of different blogs provide summaries or commentaries on the debates at the Mayor of London’s conference “A World Civilization or a Clash of Civilizations”. The first I read was written by Jonathan Hoffman and hosted at Adloyada. Here is Adloyada’s collection of links: [Eustonian] Oliver Kamm’s excellent commentary on the Conference is here. Daniel Pipes’ own account is here; more good commentaries from Ami here and from Sharon Chadha here. A very interesting account from Sunny at Pickled Politics is very hostile to Daniel Pipes but acknowledges he and Murray had far better arguments than Livingstone and Yaqoob. [...]


  3. Only Winding

    @GarethFCompton It appears she said it on 20/01/07: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/973


  4. Clive

    Yaqoob DID describe 7/7 as reprisal attacks http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/973 #bbctbq


  5. Ben Cooper

    @yeskatiedear here you go: http://t.co/h8ICucyN


  6. Ben Cooper

    @cjmckeon here you go: http://t.co/h8ICucyN


  7. Anthony Cox

    @DPJHodges Report on the reprisal attack views in a report by @sunny_hundal http://t.co/EGIi5Spy




  1. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 2:22 am  

    Sunny,
    We had 4 tickets, but due to last minute problems with arrangements we were unable to make the journey. If we had got there, I would have sought you out to say a mighty hello.

    With regards other perspectives do you have any other links? I’ve read both Adlyada and HP, but since both share the same attitudes, I don’t feel particularly enlightened.

  2. Leonard Poeler — on 23rd January, 2007 at 2:49 am  

    Journalist ‘Sunny’s self professed shock at Dr.Pipes response to his question about Gitmo is a reflection on his own ignorance and bias.

    That “lady” whom Dr.Pipes suggested he speak to in response to his questions about Gitmo, explaining that she had returned from there ‘only last week’ and whose name Sunny chose to ignore,was MSNBC news analyst and anchor Monica Crowley.

    Sunny would have done his readers and himself a service if he had spent less time trying to bash Dr.Pipes and more on presenting them with accurate information.

  3. Nyrone — on 23rd January, 2007 at 3:54 am  

    The opening debate certainly had an electrifying atmosphere, as if the future of our world was about to be decided in the next 3 hours in this posh London auditorium.
    I had to look down at my ticket stub to confirm I had not accidentally stumbled into a heavyweight boxing match.

    As someone mentioned during the Q & A afterwards, the entire debate had a beautifully theatrical feel to it, but was lacking in terms of solidified arguments, with logical rationalizations backed by real-world examples and set proofs.

    I thought all 4 individual speeches were strong and suave, but the obvious selectivity of all information relayed was a little disappointing. I was waiting for Ken Livingstone and Salma Yaqoob to actually address the issue of pseudo-Islamic extremism and how the rising ideology could be realistically handled…and simultaneously I was waiting for Daniel Pipes or Douglas Murray to get off their war-horses and show some small trace of humility or empathy, alas it never happened.

    Douglas Murray was practically drenched in his own arrogance and superiority throughout, and as for Daniel Pipes trying to deal us his slight-of-hand ‘I want victory, not war’ statement, it was pure crap, unadulterated. Am I alone in wondering if Pipes and Murray may not actually be human at all, but ultra-sophisticated high-tech neo-con androids?

    I was actually quite impressed at the range of oratory skills on show, and was surprised to see Salma making witty on-the-spot dissections and rebuttals of Pipes points, which made him so mad that he kept accusing her of putting words in his mouth! (How dare this Muz-lem woman know about stuff??)

    She wisely reminded the public not to be fooled by this softly-spoken man who actually advocates a policy of eternal bloodshed to spread his ‘democracy’ into ‘civilisation’ by all means necessary.
    Ken Livingstone also made me really proud to be a Londoner, he may have rambled slightly, but his knowledge of history was impressive and his left-leaning comments were both refreshing and necessary to keep things in context with the fact we were having this debate in London.

    I realised watching the debate that Pipes and Murray must be 2 of the sharpest neo-con minds doing the rounds. They actually managed to strategically squirm their way out of various specific questions directed at them (not least by Sunny! ha-ha), and even switch the entire situation around at times. There was at least once during Douglas Murray’s speech that I felt myself strongly agreeing with him about the need for us to re-group civilization and fight the ‘enemies’ of justice and freedom… and then I stopped in my tracks, aware of what I was doing…now THAT is what I find scary, they made their madness look delicious to me for a couple of seconds! Was I in some kind of hypnosis or something? I’m guessing their mastercard is to play that melody on everyone forever, kind of like ideological pied-pipers, leading us all to a collective suicide.

    However, my highlight of this debate was undoubtedly Inayat Bunglawala’s question at the end. I’ve never liked much of his writings, but credit where credit is due, his question and delivery at the end was fucking perfect.
    It was the most direct smack between the eyes I heard in 2 hours, and Daniel Pipes’s inability to answer it coherently said a lot more about the weakness of his position than another hour of poised attacks from Ken Livingstone and Salma Yaqoob ever could.

  4. Nyrone — on 23rd January, 2007 at 3:55 am  

    Ps: Sunny, the metaphorical ‘killer punch’ you refer to against Daniel Pipes did occur, but it was made hours later by a pumped-up Tariq Ramadan in the seminar ‘Is there an Islamic threat’ in which he rationally ripped-up what he heard in the morning’s debate. It seems there is some long-standing ill history between the two, due to the fact Daniel Pipes stitched-up Tariq Ramadan to the US Gov as an Al-Qaeda supporter who had met Osama Bin Laden on several occasions. The truth? Tariq had once met Bin-Laden’s half-brother for 3 mins at a conference in the Middle East.

  5. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2007 at 4:51 am  

    Leonard – thanks for the tip, that’s the name I couldn’t remember. It doesn’t detract from my original article however.
    You may think that Gitmo is a ‘marvelous’ place for those concerned, and may think I’m biased… I don’t mind one bit that you think that.

    Nyrone – nice one… Salma did do well in places but I’m afraid I noticed she twisted his words at times. And I would have preferred a more surgical incision of his arguments rather than constant rhetoric. She seemed to be under the delusion that she was preaching to the converted as she does most of the time. Pipes and Murray on the other hand knew it would be a hostile audience and played it slick.

    I wanted to listen to Tariq Ramadan but I’ve done so many times nows so it would have been nothing new. The title of that discussion was absurd enough.

    Refresh – You should have! Would have been nice to get together for a chat. I haven’t seen many other reviews although someone may write something for eteraz.org

  6. Arif — on 23rd January, 2007 at 8:31 am  

    It sounds to me like Ken Livingstone is looking for dialogue while the other speakers were looking for debate. Each has its place, I guess. Dialogue implicitly assumes that someting constructive can come from talking to people you currently disagree with or don’t understand. But it doesn’t get very far with interlocutors who don’t trust you. And Salma, Daniel and Douglas sound (in this context) as though they believe that people who disagree with them are just too bad or stupid to have anything to teach them.

    And what about the role of the audience? If Ken is trying to bring people together in a vision which celebrates different perspectives, but the audience is pumped up for a boxing match, I guess it affects the speakers to want to give their supporters the emotional rush that is expected. They wouldn’t want to let down their fans.

  7. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 9:19 am  

    I’d say the lads in Guantanamo are being treated far better than their expectations. That doesn’t often occur with captured soldiers.

  8. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 9:25 am  

    “KL inviting Qaradawi over isn’t that different to Tony Blair inviting over the Chinese government, giving Narendra Modi a visa or selling weaponry to Saudi Arabia. No one seems to seriously suggest Britain cut off diplomatic ties with China, India or KSA.”

    You gave the main difference yourself. We don’t have diplomatic ties with Qaradawi, nor can we be sure who he’s representative of.

  9. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:48 am  

    Nyrone, thanks for that excellent contribution. If you come across any more from others (or wish to add more) I for one would be pleased.

    Arif, I believe Ken Livingstone has always been one for dialogue. And I guess this was one way to get this particular dialogue started.

    The whole anti-Ken cult really got going because of his views on imperialism and Iraq. Imperialism in Ireland and his opposition to Saddam Hussein’s and then Bush-Blair’s Iraq. Lets hope this cult is in its final throes.

    I have yet to find any serious contender for Mayor, in fact I have long (and I mean long) held the belief that Livingstone is a future Prime Minister. Who knows it may happen yet.

  10. zahed — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:08 am  

    Thanks so much for this update! I had a ticket, but couldn’t go at the last minute. Fascinating stuff!

  11. Anas — on 23rd January, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    Is any of this online at all — or was it filmed with a view to putting it online? At least if it was we could make our own minds up.

  12. Lee — on 23rd January, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    It would seem that the one person who seemed to be able to argue against Pipes was Innat, you say that “Round One went to Innat, because Innat said that Pipes had said that “all Muslims are the problem not just militant Islam”.

    Whereas I am no expert on Mr Pipes, it is clear from this interbview that Mr Pipes believes that it is only militant Islam:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2307

    It may be worth researching whether the only person to be able to counter Pipes, was in fact being truthfull/factual?

  13. Chris Stiles — on 23rd January, 2007 at 1:34 pm  


    My bigger worry is that he sees Qaradawi as a “progressive”. Compared to who, Genghis Khan?

    Sure, he isn’t progressive at all in the liberal sense. However he has a relatively large constituency of people who listen to him – and for now he is willing to talk. That’s progress of some small sorts. To talk to isn’t to condone. If your argument is that he is one of the lesser nutballs of this world, then I might agree. To group him in with genghis arguably does Pipes’ work for him.


    Qaradawi certainly isn’t likely to lead a call for Muslim women to be given more rights in the Middle East.

    Didn’t he release a fatwa regarding the suitability of women candidates in the Bahrani elections? AFAICT you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is both mainstream and makes anything more than highly equivocal statements on this issue – even inside academia, witness Tariq Ramadan’s ‘pleading the fifth’ on the issue of stoning.


    There are plenty of popular reformers within Iran, Saudi, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Lebanon and other places for example

    So name names – so that we can discuss their suitability or otherwise. Though, ISTR the last time you did this Sir Golmal of the Malformed URL managed to imply that they were spiritually impoverished.

  14. Jagdeep — on 23rd January, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    in fact I have long (and I mean long) held the belief that Livingstone is a future Prime Minister. Who knows it may happen yet.

    hahaha

  15. Jagdeep — on 23rd January, 2007 at 2:10 pm  

    Ken has his heart in the right place, but he is naive.

    Sunny, did you say that Salma Yaqoob was chastised by Bunglawala or Pipes for her ‘reprisal attacks’ comment?

  16. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

    Jagdeep

    Yes its a funny thought. Consider where he is today and where he was when Blair chucked him out of the Labour Party.

    Its just a shame that his age is now probably against him.

  17. lithcol — on 23rd January, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    I was there. Some interesting points made. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We really are seeing the death of monotheistic religeons, the last and most primative being Islam ( given the inferior role it gives women).

  18. Sid — on 23rd January, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    It doesn’t take an expert to separate Pipe’s academic work from his personal prejudices. His incendary position is an embarrassment to most of the sensible right.

    But kudos to Bunglawala for being able to indentify Pipe’s real agenda, which is to demonise “Muslims” by knitting up a conspiracy theory and keep “Muslims” out of American academia.

  19. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    Bert# 7 is appalling and as a soldier you had the geneva convention unlike those poor sods.

    As for the debate as has been said on Harry’s place Ken selected some easy placemen from the right to shoot down. Sadly he does not pick his allies as well as he picks opponents.

    “I noted that Livingstone had invited two speakers – Pipes and Murray – who are very much located on the right of the political spectrum.”

    “I wasn’t keen to get involved in what seemed to me to be a fake debate, the purpose of which was to allow Livingstone to suggest that you were either with the political right against “the muslims” or with Livingstone with “the muslims”.”
    David T in Harry’s place comments.

    Ken could have invited Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji or many liberal and reformist Muslims to the debate. Instead he goes for the men of straw. It also sums up Kens patronising attitudes towards muslims.

  20. Anas — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    This is pissing off. Everytime someone mentions Harry’s Place in here I click on the HP link above, and 8 out of 10 times I get a 403 Forbidden message telling me I don’t have permission to read the page. Does Harry have some special kind of internet Muslim detecting software or something? Or does anyone else get this?

  21. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

    Anas, be thankful you are forbidden. Your talents are much better appreciated here.

    HP and Pipes would love to have ‘internet Muslim detecting’ software.

  22. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    ZinZin – Our soldiers are under the protection of the Geneva convention? It must’ve undergone some pretty radical changes since I was in then, as dragging bodies through the streets and sawing heads off with kitchen knives was more or less frowned upon in the old days. Can you name a single instance since WW2 where captured British soldiers have had reason to thank the Geneva conventions? I can’t.

  23. Jagdeep — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Anas has talents?

  24. lithcol — on 23rd January, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    It is not a matter of left or right. It is a matter of equal rights for men and women in the public space that allows free debate. Religeons are ideological world views invented by earlier civilization to control their peoples. Like recent ideologies they seek to constrain the free exchange of ideas. In the long run they do not work. The belief that some supernatural being has mandated for all time how we should behave is so primative that it itself beggers belief. I grew up in the 60′s. I threw off the relatively liberal Christianity that I was exposed to, only to confront a more primative Islamic ideology in the 90′s. Clearly we are going thru a transition. Possibly a very bloody one. Fortunately most peoples of the world are not interested in following Islam and its primative views. It is a clash of free thinkers against blinkered primatives.

  25. Lee — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

    Sid

    Perhaps you could enlighten us as to how you have formed the opinion:

    “It doesn’t take an expert to separate Pipe’s academic work from his personal prejudices.”

    It should be easy for you to provide some info if it really does not take an expert?

  26. Dave Surls — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    ‘But I persist. “What about places like Belmarsh prison and Guantanamo Bay? Aren’t we denying those people the same rights that you claim makes us civilised?”’

    People who get captured fighting out of uniform customarily have the right to decide whether or not they want a blindfold before they’re hung.

    That pretty much sums up the rights captured guerrillas have.

  27. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    Sorry Bert But i am not accepting a fools errand. As for the radical changes it has undergone well thanks to GWB it has been junked.

    To insist that they are treated better than soldiers who have recourse to the Geneva conventions is ludricous as they are denied recourse to this document which is there to assist them. Saying that it does not help British soldiers is not a good enough argument. Laws against murder don’t help murder victims but thats no reason to scrape them.

  28. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

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

    4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

  29. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    ZinZin – the Geneva conventions were not junked by us. They were junked by people like those in Guantanamo, part-time soldiers who hide among their own population. Nothing wrong with that of course, but don’t start bleating about conventions when you fuck up and get caught, eh?

    Can you give me some names of innocents detained there? From what I remember all the released Britons have since showed themselves up as guilty as hell to all but the terminally gullible.

    And the British have Belmarsh. Which is nothing to do with the army.

  30. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:55 pm  

    “provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.”

    Answered your own question, really. As they don’t, they’re lucky to still be breathing.

  31. mirax — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:58 pm  

    >>So name names – so that we can discuss their suitability or otherwise.

    A bit scary that qaradawi is considered the least worst of the lot of mainstream muslim leaders.
    But there are reformers/liberals – very much a minority, but not deried or despised like I. Manji who is really considered beyond the pale.

    Amina Wadud, Khaled abou el fadl, Farish A Noor etc off the top of my head

    There is a longer list at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_movements_within_Islam

    But a religion of over a billion people should have thrown up a few more names.

  32. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 6:59 pm  

    “Can you give me some names of innocents detained there? From what I remember all the released Britons have since showed themselves up as guilty as hell to all but the terminally gullible.”

    No smoke without fire is that your new line of attack. Pathetic.

  33. mirax — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    not deried – not derided

  34. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:07 pm  

    ZinZin – claiming you were there to fight for the Northern Alliance just doesn’t wash. All the propaganda was for the Taleban, and UK muslims travelling there were joining them. What do you think they were up to?

  35. Sid — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

    But a religion of over a billion people should have thrown up a few more names.

    I’d blame that on Ken’s rolladeck, not a billion people.

  36. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

    A POW who breaks specific provisions of the laws of war may be penalized, but not penalized worse than the tribunal would penalize its own soldiers for the same offense (and usually a disciplinary, not judicial, punishment if its own soldiers normally wouldn’t be brought to trial for a particular offense) and POW’s may not be penalized based on rank or gender, nor with corporal punishment, collective punishments for individual acts, lack of daylight, or torture/cruelty (GC IV, Art. 82 through Art. 88).
    Still doesn’t make Guantanomo right does it Bert?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_war

  37. Sid — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    It should be easy for you to provide some info if it really does not take an expert?

    I’m sorry I don’t have an exhaustive list of talk points on Pipes that I can reel off for you Lee. But from what’ve read its apparent Pipes’ “academic rigour” wrapped in a highly subjective, derisory polemic isn’t designed for centrists.

    Relying on a reading of Pipes to form your views on Muslims is analogous to relying on a reading of Chomsky to form your views on USA.

  38. mirax — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    >> As they don’t, they’re lucky to still be breathing.

    You have frighteningly low standards, Bert. Nothing, not even the behaviour of the detainees, justifies Guantanamo and the junking of the Geneva Convention by the USA. Maybe you’d next be ambiguous on the issue of internment of civilian populations like Pipes has been.

  39. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

    Never said it did. Personally I’d say you have 48 hours to gain useful information then you may as well slot the snidey bastards. Which is why I said it’s better than they could expect.

    As the US has the death penalty I’m unsure as to why you’re quoting GC IV, Art. 82 through Art. 88 at me. Also you may remember the horrendous photos of British troops abusing prisoners in the Mirror – that turned out to be standard British army training. I’ve done the escape and evasion course and it’s rough and you get tortured. But soldiers still volunteer to do it.

  40. Sid — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:19 pm  

    But in the meantime, you can read this article on Pipes by one of America’s more sensible right-wing commenters.

  41. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:21 pm  

    Mirax – it’s a war. It’s all about the business of killing the other lads. I have not condoned Guantanamo, just admitted in my book they’d have been lucky to see more than the next dawn or so. I don’t see how they’d be more of a loss than their comrades who fell in combat?

  42. ZinZin — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

    Bert your rewriting history that mirror photo was a hoax carried out by some squaddies unhappy with the Mirrors anti-war editorial line.

    I brought up the GC IV articles82-88 to prove that you are wrong to state that despite their alleged crimes that guantanomo is justified.

    Anyway this wil be my last post on this issue as rage has overtaken you and your IQ has dropped as a result. Shame really as you usually make a good contribution to PP.

  43. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:35 pm  

    ZinZin – Military conspiracy theories? Soldiers these days have a weary acce4ptance that the media will do all it can to undermine them, and they’re pretty used to it. See Rose Gentle, Cindy Sheehan etc. What exactly makes their opinions worthy of mainstream media coverage? Frankly they haven’t a clue what they’re on about.

    I didn’t state that Guantanamo is justified. See above. To my mind it’s pointless holding mere foot soldiers.

  44. Bert Preast — on 23rd January, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

    Sid – Good linkage. Hitchens has a handle on Pipes there, I think.

  45. Rumbold — on 23rd January, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

    Anas- I get that 403 message sometimes, and I tend to agree with Harry’s Place.

  46. Graham — on 23rd January, 2007 at 9:06 pm  

    This is pissing off. Everytime someone mentions Harry’s Place in here I click on the HP link above, and 8 out of 10 times I get a 403 Forbidden message telling me I don’t have permission to read the page.

    I get it myself Anas and I post there.

    You wouldn’t be using AOL would you? I have a feeling its something to do with their software.

  47. David T — on 23rd January, 2007 at 9:46 pm  

    My thoughts on the choice of Pipes (and indeed Murray) as debating opponents at the time was this.

    Pipes and Murray are very much located on the right of the political spectrum. Both have expressed views which I find distasteful and somewhat disturbing.

    I also an early draft of the titles of the other debates at the conference, which included a number of frankly nonsensical motions being debated based on presuppositions which I do not accept. I could expand on my point: but Oliver Kamm makes the point well, when he points out:

    “The conference’s title is a disparaging allusion to a book by the political scientist Samuel Huntington. Yet Huntington’s ostensibly conservative-realist argument is echoed in the assumptions of the multiculturalist Left. “Western universalism is dangerous to the world, declares Huntington, “because it could lead to a major intercivilisational war.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2530241,00.html

    Kamm expanded on the point on his blog:

    I also commented on the singular fact that the Mayor of London had put on a conference, with an explicit reference to a celebrated book by the political scientist Samuel Huntington, while plainly not understanding the book’s thesis. Huntington is an opponent of Western universalism, which he believes is a threat to peace.

    http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2007/01/livingstones_fo.html

    Similarly, the list of invitees was significantly drawn from within the red-green coalition: including, as it originally did, Tariq Ramadan, Lee Jasper, Salma Yaqoob, Denis Fernando, Soumaya Ghannoushi, Inayat Bunglawala, Tariq Ali, somebody from Al Jazeera, somebody from a Venezuelan TV, and the spook, Alastair Crooke.

    By contrast, Oliver Kamm and I were invited very late in the day, essentially as an afterthought. I thought that odd. Others formed a similar conclusion, independently of me:

    In fairness, I should add that I and another liberal writer scornful of Mr Livingstone’s identity politics received an invitations to speak, apparently as an afterthought, a few days ago. Perhaps the event’s exhortatory character had become too blatant.

    So, I wasn’t keen to get involved in what seemed to me to be a fake debate, the purpose of which was to allow Livingstone to suggest that you were either with the political right against “the muslims” or with Livingstone and “the left” with “the muslims”.

    The idea, I surmised, was to allow Livingstone to say – “Look, we had a debate, and Pipes and Murray bashed the muslims. But me and Salma stood up for you. Which side is your bread buttered, eh?”

    I may have been wrong, in the event, about the day. But I spent it looking at the Sutton Hoo treasures at the British Museum, so I can’t say I’m that sad I missed it.

  48. Montag — on 23rd January, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    , it shouldn’t be news that neo-conservatives generally live in their own world devoid of reality.

    Actually, it’s you who are “devoid of reality”. The reason that Gitmo exists, that the government is “spying” on people, that civil rights are being curtailed, is that the US and Britain ARE AT WAR. That’s what happens in war time — the state goes on to a military footing. The vast majority are supportive of these measures because we don’t want to be killed by the enemy: crazy Islamicists. It’s only the insignificant mintority like yourself, reading from the Marxist hymnbook and other conspiracist tracts, who can’t see the wood for the trees.

  49. Chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:12 pm  

    I see Harry’s place has directed their readers over here and are not openeing a thread on this subject.

  50. Chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:12 pm  

    typo – opening

  51. Montag — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:16 pm  

    One more thing — the left likes to tell itself how free-thinking and broadminded it is, but the original post really gives the game away, doesn’t it? After all, if Sunny didn’t restrict his reading to those who agree with his world-view, and genuinely engaged with all shades of opinion — especially those who disagree with him, as a genuine free-thinker does — then he would hardly be left speechless when Daniel Pipes made an utterly standard (on the right) defence of Guantanamo Bay.

  52. Leon — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:20 pm  

    Great just what we need a bunch of loony Eustonites infesting PP…

  53. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

    Leon – I agree!

    DavidT, get your tanks of our lawn!!!!!

    Just because HP is all screwed up doesn’t mean you wreck our little haven of reasonableness.

  54. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 10:53 pm  

    Anas,

    Its all your fault. If ever you have problems getting into a ‘forbidden’ site do not mention it here. Its obviously considered an open invitation for the forbidden to come and initially assist you in your local difficulties; followed swiftly by a wholesale invasion.

    Didn’t history teach you anything?

  55. Montag — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

    Great just what we need a bunch of loony Eustonites infesting PP…

    I’ve got news for you — there will always be people who disagree with you. And people who disagree with me. So the sooner you get used to it, the better. Conservatism 101.

  56. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    David T, cheers for the link.

    Similarly, the list of invitees was significantly drawn from within the red-green coalition:

    That I agree with. Although they did have other people like M Malik and Martin Bright also speaking. Unfortunately it seems Livingstone has developed his own clique and only calls them up during such events. This list of speakers is almost half identical to the recent one on equality or something. No doubt future events will have the same people saying the same things to the same audiences. It’s getting rather tiring.

  57. Don — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:28 pm  

    Montag,

    Ignore them, they’re just commie robots. I’m interested in your idea, ‘That’s what happens in war time — the state goes on to a military footing.’

    This has put into words what I have felt for some time (in fact I’m going to have a bumper-sticker made up) and I look forward to you expanding on it.

    But should we limit it only to war? After all, Falklands was only ever a ‘crisis’, and there have been several ‘emergencies’ and what-have-you’s. These also warrant a pragmatic look at how helpful ‘freedom’ is to the war on terror.

  58. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:32 pm  

    Sunny, David, can you make your mind up. Was it a worthwhile event or wasn’t it?

    Having Bush’s High Priest of Discord speak at this event was definitely worth doing, lets see the colour of his eyes. But I get the feeling even that isn’t good enough for you two.

    You are being entirely silly picking over the chicken bones.

    You got a problem with a left-green alliance? I suppose yours would be pink-blue? So bloody childish.

  59. David T — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    Freedom is essential to a ‘war’ which is unlike war in the traditional sense. This is a war between competing visions of the ideal form of society, or – if you like – an ideological conflict between those who advocate no more than self-realisation and those who wish to propagate and enforce submission. This, after all is the nature of the conflict according to the theocrats, who are quite open about it.

    What follows from that is this. It is impossible to advocate freedom without being scrupulous to ensure that that value is not subjugated to expedience. To forget that is to lose the battle.

    Anyhow, don’t gripe about me directing people to PP. We argue from all positions at HP. A bit of variety does you good. I close threads and direct to other, open ones, out of courtesy. And we’ve had two open threads on the Livingstonefest already.

  60. David T — on 23rd January, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

    Refresh

    Well, it seems to have turned out O.K.. But I still expect Livingstone make a habit of referring back to the time he defended “the muslims” from Pipes and Murray.

    You got a problem with a left-green alliance? I suppose yours would be pink-blue? So bloody childish.

    Yes, I do have a problem with a red-green alliance, just as I’d have one with a red-brown alliance. We famously had one of the first type of alliance in Iran 20 years ago. And one of the second type about 60 years ago. Neither turned out well. Neither will this one.

    What has in fact happened, as a result of this alliance, is that the clerical fascist (as Tony Cliff correctly called it) fringes of politics have been brought into the political mainstream, and have been given a platform on which to spread their message.

    A pink blue alliance is unlikely, and isn’t going to happen. What there is, however, is a basic agreement that the sine qua non of engagement in democratic politics, is a fundamental commitment to the values of democracy and equality.

    What makes the red-green alliance so unlikely, and so objectionable, is that it does not share that commitment. More than that: those it has chosen to ally with are antagonistic to all the values that it shares. There’s no agreement on socialism v. bourgeois theocracy. There’s no agreement on equality, on the basis of gender, nor sexuality, nor faith or lack thereof. There’s no agreement on secularism. There is only an agreement on the need to oppose the United States, and the destruction of the State of Israel. Oh, and a vague fondness for street politics, and public posturing.

    So, yes. I do think that a red-green alliance is a bad idea.

  61. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    DavidT – oh to have such clarity!

  62. Lee — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:21 am  

    Sid

    I am glad that you responded in an honest and thoughtfull manner, and I agree with your Chomsky analogy (I would also add George Galloway to that- so predictably and inevitably anti American). However, accusations of racism are cheap and are really a sign that you are loosing an argument.

    So, at pain of seeming tedious. I would suggest that if your only argument against Pipes is that he is racist, then big up to Pipes. He has won.

  63. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:38 am  

    One thing that has been hugely encouraging about the last couple of weeks is the realisation that its ok to call a racist, racist.

  64. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:40 am  

    I’ve done the escape and evasion course and it’s rough and you get tortured. But soldiers still volunteer to do it.

    I don’t know what scares me more, this log or your past.

  65. Anas — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:52 am  

    Bert Prest, what I’m wondering is whether the army training destroyed every last vestige of human feeling and compasion in you, or whether you joined the army because you had none in the first place?

  66. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:35 am  

    Lee

    I don’t think I’ve said anywhere that I think Pipes is a racist. Although, it would be difficult to label this, which is his advocacy of Muslim internment as mirax as already alluded to, as anything else.

  67. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:50 am  

    This reflexive and frequently hysterical condemnation of Gitmo by the left really does the debate over precisely what can be done about 4th Generation captives in a war no favours at all. It should not be answered by a reflexive defense of Gitmo either – but the fact is that by Historical standards – and even modern Historical standards (e.g Post WW2) the treatment of the those held at Gitmo has been exemplary.

    Conventionally the Geneva and Haugue documents have been treated as reciprocal bindings on Combatants – even if strictly speaking they are intended to be unilateral – that is to say that even in theatres where in general the conventions were observed (e.g the WW2 western and Desert fronts) a breach by one side would usually evoke a retaliotory breach by the other – the SS jugends divison in Normandy and Falaise murdered Candian captives and afterwards SS soldiers in that campaign rarely survived capture at Canadian hands, similarly there was a period in which US soldiers adopted a “take no prisoners” approach in the wake of an SS massacre, in both cases conventional overall respect of the conventions – at least between these particular comabatants was re-established on the principle of reciprocity. In the case of the Warsaw uprising the AK went to some lengths, despite being a guerilla army, to establish a discipline over it’s soldiers and enforced respect for the customs of war despite the fact that the Germans deployed against them such formations as the Dirlewanger and Kaminsky brigades who were murderous brigands in uniformwho went on an especially murderous rampage in the suburbs of Warsaw. But the codical to the Battle was that on the whole the Polish AK ultimately surrendered as soldiers to the Werhmacht and were treated as such.

    This detour through some historical examples is merely to show that a) Conventions of war are reciprocal arrangements b) and the conventions do provide a path for even iregular forces to adhere to them.

    In the case of AQ and the Taleban it is very hard to see how they were spontaneous resistance to a foreign invasion when they had been military formations in training camps and in the battle against the Northern Alliance for near a decade. Nor is it easy to see how they inadvertantly caught up in one war when they had gobe there to fight another – after all AQ’s war against America had been long declared – and was a part of the indoctrination that all the AQ and Taleban soldiers recieved, and that is backed by mountains of dcuments as well as the accounts of the preachings offered by the religious/political leadership.
    Likewise even if AQ or the Taleban did not recognise them as war crimes they were fully aware of the actions which we as well as the Conventions define as war crimes were being committed. The Embassy bombings as well as the generalised rulings about the permisability of killing any American , not just soldiers, were not the secrets of an inner cadre as might be said of some German war crimes, after all the reason the likes of the Taleban or AQ do not adhere to the likes of the Geneva convetion is that they are openly contemptuous of the very notions behind it.

    None of this answers the question of what is to be done with captives fighting for non state (or unrecognised states) organisations dedicated to a battle plan in which the commision of atrocity is the central tactical order, and whose combatants don’t just break one or two of the provisions which would disqualify them as combatants under the conventions , but each and every one. And it does seem lunacy to find objectionable their classification as unlawful combatants – even if we are to disagree about the implications of such a classification.

    The lefts position of Gitmo is further confused because it seems impossible to discern whether they are campaigning for these captives to be subject to Criminal law in the jurisdiction of the country they wage war against or whether they are subject to the provisions governing POW’s – as the two are contradictory. If POW’s their rights to the court system are nearly non-existent, and they are generally understood as being subject to being held for the duration of the conflict – in this case it would seem to require an A.Q surrender to change that status.

    I don’t think the legal limbo they exist in at the moment is satisfactory – but if the left wants to be part of the debate about how that is to be resolved then they need to get serious. Calling Gitmo the Gulag of our times is not serious. Playing from the A.Q playbook in lending credulity to simultaneous allegations of both innocence and brutality without very careful examination is also not serious – particularly because the polemical use made of such propoganda is the recruitment of Jihadists for the continuance of a terrorist war.

  68. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:03 am  

    This is beginning to feel like a mugging.

  69. Sunny — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:59 am  

    Still making excuses for Gitmo I see Johan.

    but if the left wants to be part of the debate about how that is to be resolved then they need to get serious.

    The left is serious – it needs to be shut down. And sorry to burst your bubble but the consensus among British politicians is the same. The same goes for most American politicians except Bush and his little crew. Do you not remember the Supreme Court ruling?

  70. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:21 am  

    David T:
    What follows from that is this. It is impossible to advocate freedom without being scrupulous to ensure that that value is not subjugated to expedience. To forget that is to lose the battle

    I could be flippant and suggest that losing the battle might be preferable to losing the war, but it would obscure the point that Lincoln made about suicide pacts and every democracy has had to face in time of war since then, and before as well. This really should not be a binary debate – and it is unfourtunate that too much of both the left and right turn it into one. Quite simply the values any society fights for in a war, if it is even remotely a mortal struggle, will always be at least partially subject to expedience. I think that is true of Tyrannies as much as Democracies as perverse as that sounds. In the case of Democracies that really means that debate has to happen – and it ha to happen on the basis that some of the values being defended or fought for are going to be compromised by the exigencies of war, just as on the other side there must be an admission that some expediencies are more costly in the long term than the immediate crisis they address (Japanese internment is a good example). But the real commandment has to be that both sides of the debate keep a level head – and in the case of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib I think the critics have done little to protect the values they purport to defend, whilst doing very great damage to the cause of fighting a far greater threat to those values. In that respect Abu Ghraib is of particular concern – it would be one thing if “our” side ( and the necessity of those quotes itself speaks volumes) had decided to cover-up an incident that revealed official policy – but Abu Ghriab was instead an example of the US military having absorbed the lamentable lessons of My Lai and doing things differently – albeit in difficult circumstances. But the tenor of the criticism became such that it is difficult not to feel that parts of the left (and the right – e.g Sullivan) insist on a standard of perfection for the prosecution of the war which appears to me to be simply unobtainable, and that if that standard cannot be met then it is better to withdraw from the struggle and hope for the best, and retreat before an enemy to whom which we will have handed allies foolish enough to trust our commitment, an enemy who has far fewer scruples. The left should have vigorously defended the fact that the Abu Ghraib prosecution was a concrete example that “our” side was quite serious about the values it fought for – and instead it vigorously assisted in making of Abu Ghraib the greatest propoganda coup for the terrorists of the war so far. It is not just to make the ideal the enemy of the good but the strongest ally of the bad.

  71. Sunny — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:50 am  

    Again, spurious accusations:

    and in the case of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib I think the critics have done little to protect the values they purport to defend

    You mean by excusing what happened there presumably? Just because for reasons of “expediency” you prefer to overlook some of the values you claim to want to defend, it doesn’t mean you start condoning torture. Where does this “expediency” end by the way? Any ideas?

    insist on a standard of perfection for the prosecution of the war which appears to me to be simply unobtainable

    I think I prefer the neo-cons to instead have an understanding of what they’re getting themselves into and not pretend people will roll over and do their bid at the click of a finger.

    By the way, you may be interested in this:
    At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom or wash for prayers. They have wrapped me in the Israeli flag and told me there is a holy war between the Cross and the Star of David on one hand and the Crescent on the other. They have beaten me unconscious.

    If, for the sake of expediency and fighting a war, you want to do away with your own values (temporarily of course!), then why can’t your “enemy” claim the same? Why can’t others use that silly excuse?

  72. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:04 am  

    Sunny:
    You accuse me of spurious accusations but then proceed to insinuate that I condone torture or overlook the values being fought for.

    I thought that the debate cannot be conducted in binary terms – I want to be fair and not make assumptions that may be unwarranted – do you think that it is possible to prosecute a campaign – for example such as that being face in relation to the insurgency in Iraq – without any compromise of liberal secular values at all? Or is it your position that the strictest of adherence to such values will always be worth the short term, or even long term cost ?

    The reason I ask this is that usually when you try and get an answer on , for example, the classic ticking bomb scenario it is virtually impossible to get from a values absolutist any answer that does not dismiss the scenario itself as unrealistic or entirely hypothetical. Well there are in fact ticking bombs going off almost every day in Iraq at the moment – almost always with very great loss of civilian life, do you have some idea that I have not heard of that would enable one to prosecute such a war without any compromise at all of liberal democratic values ? And if not, is it your position that when a war gets to that stage democracies must simply quit the battlefield and not have anything to do with what happens afterwards beyond remonstrating with the remaining combatants and offering such humanitarian assitance as can be provided ? And to do this even when the violence spills over into the Democracies home territory?

    I really want to know if you think that the demonstrable expediencies adopted in the prosecution of both the Second World War and the Cold war as well as the interventions in the Balkans were such as to have fatally damaged the democracies that made them? And to be clear that question is not the same as asking whether any such compromises were justified – which is a seperate question – which I will also ask you – can you think of any cases where there was a justifiable compromise of liberal values in a war or struggle against an illiberal opponent or in every case would it have been preferable to bear whatever cost was entailed by refusing such a comropise?

  73. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:10 am  

    Johan W,

    What you don’t address in your huge post is whether or not the people detained at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib, or come to that any of those rendered elsewhere – away from the spotlight – are in fact enemy combatants, or even dropped litter in Kabul or Baghdad.

    There has been no evidence presented that has stood up.

    What we are seeing is an updated Bedlam. Except your good self of course, who is so full of legal precedent you can’t see the wood for the trees.

  74. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:39 am  

    Sunny:
    And PS on the link to Jumah al-Dossar’s claims that he was/is being tortured at Gitmo.

    This is one of those cases that I am pretty sure that the dichotmy is that either one believes this testimony or it is obvious that one supports torture. I actually think there are good reasons why this testimony and other like it should be treated with a good deal of skepticism, and that it is possible to be skeptical of such testimony and still oppose the use of torture at Gitmo or generally.

    The reasons I have for being skeptical are that contrary to Jumah’s testimony the red cross have not claimed to have witnessed torture at Gutanamo – what they claim is that they have received testimony.

    Secondly the instructions given to AQ members in the event of capture are quite specific about the making of spurious claims of ill treatment as a propoganda tactic where the captive can still contribute to the Jihad. These instructions are well documented.

    As a practical matter and to be as honest with you as I can I do think that in general it would be true to say that those most likely to believe Al-Dosarri’s testimony are also the most likely to be absolutists on the question of torture, and that those most likely to disbeleive his testimony or believe it to be grossly exagerated and embellished are also those more inclined to accept that Torture may be necesarry in exceptional circumstances, and also be very restrictive in what they think qualifies as Torture and what fails to merit that label, whilst those inclined to accept thsi testimony as proof that trumps any other evidence or testimony to the contrary are also most likely to accept definitions of torture that encompass loud music or uncomfortable chairs.

    So Al-Dossari’s testimony may be false but those believing it would still be correct that those disbelieving it do not share their absolute position on the question of torture and would right to question any protestation that they do.

    But what would I think be an entirely unwarranted assumption is that just because someone may believe that Torture or some coercive duress may be sometimes necessarry, they also beleive that it should be routine or resorted to in other but the most exceptional circumstances.

  75. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 6:46 am  

    douglas clark:
    I will try to adress your question – becasue it is an critically important one – but I will offer the rueful observation that it would be nice if there was some reciprocity when it came to answering questions on this subject.

    You say there has been no evidence that has stood up – I was unaware that any trials had concluded in matters affecting detainee’s arrested outside the US or on grounds that they were detained and their acts of what they are to be charged with does not easily render itself subject to US legal jurisdiction. The proposed military commision has been successfully challenged and it’s purported replacement has not yet concluded any proceedings so that it would be fairer to say that no evidence has been tested in a satisfactory court yet rather than insinuating that all the evidence has failed such a test.

    That said it is the case that a number of detianees have been released so obviously there is some process at work that tries to ascertain whether a detainee is in fact a combatant or not – and in a number of cases that process has concluded that the detainee either is not a combatant, or if they were are now judged to not represent a serious risk, or in some cases it appears that detainees may have been released despite the possibility that they were in fact combatants but that their country of citizenship successfully petitioned for their release into their jurisdiction. In 19 known cases, irrespective of their status before being detained at Gitmo, detainee’s have been released who subsequently have been apprehended or killed on the Battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan.

    My in principle answer to your question is that yes it is critically important that some method of ascertaining at the least whether a detainee actually is an enemy combatant, lawful or not, be put in place that is rigorous enough to satisfy most public opinion.
    My practical view is that such an arrangement might not actually mean the war is lost, but that the enemy gets to fight with something approaching impunity. Of course if we are very vigilant we may well be able to prevent or forestall most attacks in the more settled parts of the world – and will probably conclude that the odd 7/7 or Madrid or 9/11 is not enough to make very big changes to how we handle domestic terrorism, but less settled and organised societies will be pretty much on their own against such threats – and we will avert our eyes I think rather than risk dirtying our hands. I suppose we could have recourse to some august international tribunal for such cases like the Haugue or ICC – places where even if one is able to be convicted at all – the penalty for massacring a whole village or blowing up a few hundred people is less than what a couple of Jewelry smash and grabs would get you – and even then you will only face that prospect if you were incompetent enough to actually lose whatever conflict you were engaged in when the atrocities were comitted.

    I don’t want the operations of this war to operate in a legal limbo land – or be in the position where junior grade officers are judge and jury over peoples life or fate. But I do want the difficulties of prosecuting a conflict against non state actors and irregulars by a democracy to be acknowledged and the debate as to how it can be done to be serious and those who suggest that there really are some very morally and legally ambiguous decisions which must be faced in such a conflict not be automatically accused of seeking to abandon liberal democratic values altogether.

  76. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:59 am  

    Anas #66 – the latter I suppose. But no panic, fun and substance abuse has since reintroduced me to humanity. Though I can still get uppity when people whinge about the treatment of those who torture their own detainees to death as a matter of course. I’m struggling to grasp how this makes me inhuman.

  77. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:10 am  

    Montag, quite simply, you’re an ass.

  78. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:23 am  

    Johan W,

    I take your point that it has not been tested in court, although I think you would perhaps agree that those third party victims who were released – UK, Canadian and Australian citizens if memory serves – have not even faced charges in their native countries. Which is fairly damning on the standard of evidence used to hold the rest in what are, by British standards at least, well below what we’d apply to mass murderers. So, whilst my point was moot, on that point at least, yours looks increasingly shaky too.

    You say that there are 19 known cases of ex Gitmo detainees who have subsequently been re-apprehended or killed on the battlefields of Afghanistan. The problem is not that 19, but the thousands and thousands that were radicalised by the disgusting treatment that the US meted out.

    Does it occur to you that there would have been no problem with detaining enemy combatants, whether in or out of uniform, if the conditions that applied to regular combatants had been applied to these folk? It was an incredible piece of double think to deny them the protection of the Geneva Convention on what is strictly, a technicality. Whilst lawyers can argue how many angels can sit on the head of a pin, it does seem to me that the US took the wrong approach with folk that are at least alleged combatants in a war declared by the President himself. It was a spectacular own goal.

    And done to appease the red necks in his electorate. If you can’t be tough on terrorists, or even catch them, then round up a few folk and treat them like shit to encourage the others. It also showed that GW Bush was tough on terror. This played out quite well for him in the last election for President, did it not?

    It may well be that judicial review is difficult, it does not excuse the condition that these people are detained under. During the Second World War a lot of people were rounded up and kept in captivity by both sides, without the almost universal disapproval that Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have achieved.

    You have an administration in the US that is not really interested in the Human Rights of detainees. Their developing theme nowadays is to hide these folk in compliant third world torture states. This is known as outsourcing in more mainstream businesses. In other words, it is all of a piece. An essentially corrupt policy.

    Thanks to apologists for torture as a means of gaining intelligence, there is a growing opinion that torture is necessary. I have seen not a shred of evidence that supports that viewpoint either. We are being asked to take on trust that useful material is being obtained. I think that is a bare faced lie, and one swallow will not make a summer.

    My fundamental point is this. You do not win a war by becoming exactly the same as your enemy. Otherwise you might as well just surrender now, as you have become your enemy.

  79. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:39 am  

    Montag and Johan W, yikes! Interesting that HP regulars come to PP, spouting Nick Cohen’s new-found value system of WAR and torture, and their bullshit gets thrown into sharp relief here. Such as this rubbish from Johan W:

    But I do want the difficulties of prosecuting a conflict against non state actors and irregulars by a democracy to be acknowledged and the debate as to how it can be done to be serious and those who suggest that there really are some very morally and legally ambiguous decisions which must be faced in such a conflict not be automatically accused of seeking to abandon liberal democratic values altogether.

    Which is class Cohen double-speak for, we’re in unchartered territory, the enemy is stonger and more vicious than ever before so we as Liberal Democracies should be permitted to bypass “legally ambiguous decisions” and utilise torture and civilian bombings.

    Use any utilitarian ideology you want to perform your illegal and anti-humanitarian acts of war and torture. But you forfeit the right to do so in the name of Liberal Democracy.

  80. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    “we as Liberal Democracies should be permitted to bypass “legally ambiguous decisions” and utilise torture and civilian bombings.”

    Saddam made many public appearances – what would have been your view had we dropped a 500 pounder on him during one of these, killing him and the hundred or two civilians who were unlucky enough to be near him at the time?

  81. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:49 am  

    After the Iranian Holocaust-Denial conference in Tehran comes the Israeli ‘Global Jihad Warning – The Muslims Want to Take Over the World’ conference in Tel Aviv.

  82. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:59 am  

    After the Iranian Holocaust-Denial conference in Tehran comes the Israeli ‘Global Jihad Warning – The Muslims Want to Take Over the World’ conference in Tel Aviv.

    What a surprise…

  83. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:09 am  

    Sunny

    This is a genuine question – something I’ve been meaning to ask for quite a long time, but I beleive you were not ready for it – why is Harry’s Place listed as a comrade to PP, when you have removed far better ones?

    For goodness sake adopt DavidT (nice guy) if you must – but we don’t need his unruly fascist tribe.

  84. wonder what’s worse? An unruly fascist tribe or one that rules?

    crap observation.com

  85. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:10 pm  

    Mr Square

    Good observation – at least it made me laugh.

  86. art — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

    I hope a lott more bombs will go off in London. This BS about neo-cons is so degrading for the excellent analyses of Mr Pipes.
    When Winston Churchill warned for the Nazi’s, starting in 1932, he was called a war monger and maybe also a neo-con; aren’t you making the same mistake or are you willing to take the gamble?

  87. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    Man, I feel all human again.

  88. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

    “I hope a lott more bombs will go off in London. This BS about neo-cons is so degrading for the excellent analyses of Mr Pipes.”

    This is truly a grave turn – where people start hoping for more bombs so they can justify their stance. One might be given to think, it almost doesn’t matter who plants the bombs as long as there are bombs.

    Isn’t one Pearl Harbour, one Iraq, one Afghanistan, one million dead enough for this fantasist.

  89. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

    @ art, cheers for proving me right about loony Eustonites.

  90. Anas — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

    I apologise for statement #66 BP I was just getting a bit frustrated. I should cut down on the ad hominem.

  91. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:10 pm  

    No worries mate. It’s all in the best possible taste.

  92. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:10 pm  

    “..forcibly convert the rest to their ideology.”

    :-)

    golly! could apply to forced application of ‘democracy’ couldn’t it. as well as all sorts of other things. of course the central point is if you’ve forced it on people it by definition ain’t democracy anymore.

    the issue of ‘hating’ democracy is an interesting one. who hates democracy? people clearly have different definitions of democracy. some might say that after the florida debacle that ‘Bush hates democracy’. hating democracy is a funny term – i’d say a lot of people want power, and will find different ways of defining democracy accordingly. if it gets them more power – great. if not – then they’ll probably diss it.

    differentiating between ‘clash of civilizations’ and clas of civilization and barbarism is hardly useful actually. huntington’s underlying premise is pretty much that – although not said so specifically and explicitly of course, he implies in his reasoning that some ‘civilizations’ are inherently more ‘barbaric’ than others.

  93. It’s pointless hating the rain

  94. Rumbold — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:15 pm  

    No, it is not.

  95. Yes it is. Because you can’t do anything to stop it happenning

  96. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

    yes, isn’t it funny when people say things like “this is war and the west should not be afraid to fight it till death.” all they’re doing is being uncannily similar to Osama bin Laden and other nutty fundamentalists. i always did think they had plenty in common.

  97. Anas — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    We ain’t got no money, Honey, But we got rain

  98. Nature brings rain, human nature brings democracy, inhuman nature brings fascism

    Hating any of the above is pointless. Instead, decide whether you want to get an umbrella, hide away or splash in it

  99. Rumbold — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    Or can you? Actually, you are probably right. It is pointless, though that will not stop most people from carrying on hating it.

    sonia- Good point about Huntington; he sees one type of civilization as barabric.

  100. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    Like the creature from the Black Lagoon they come crawling, without introspection, self-awareness or understanding, the hirsute keyboard war-mongerers of Hairy’s Place!

  101. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    Sonia,

    Good point at 97.

    An American comic once said, “if Capital and Labor ever get together, God help the rest of us’. Well, it made me laugh.

    Seemed strangely apposite to this debate.

  102. Rumbold — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    A bit unfair on the creature, don’t you think Jagdeep?

  103. What’s Harry’s Place? Are they like Stormfront? I had fun on Stormfront. It took two whole months before they banned me. I got banned on ligali after a day. I’m trying to get banned from as many places as possible so I can have my life back

  104. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    I got here via Harry’s Place. Today is full of surprises, eh?

  105. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

    Andrew Sullivan is a right winger I genuinely respect. He is a man with guts, integrity, introspection, principles. He saw what was wrong about his support for the war, and has been unrelenting in examining the moral failure and assumptions that lay behind it. Big respect to him — even when I disagree with him, he gives the right a good name because he is a man of moral integrity and honour.

    Compare the likes of him with the band of Hairy’s Place, whose whole take on everything is mediated through the need to do the opposite of what that other moron Lenin’s Place regardless of the rights and wrongs of the issue, and the gutlessness and moral cowardice of the Hairy’s Place Lagoon becomes clear. Not an ounce of critical self awareness, introspection, acknowledgment of failure.

    Put Andrew Sullivan in your links Sunny — we need more Anglo-American Gay Republicans with integrity and honour like him.

    I would say to anyone fed up with the craven apologists for suicide bombing that part of the morally decrepit Left has become, and the inverse of that, the moronic war mongerer’s of the Hairy’s Place school, who want critical self awareness on the pressing issues of our time, to make their home at Pickled Politics, the natural home of the truly decent left.

  106. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    Qaradawi is “progressive” ? *smirk* oh right well i suppose that all depends on one’s definition of progressive! ( this is a man who thinks all muslim men would be ‘aroused’ if there was a female imam in a mosque..!!)

  107. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:47 pm  

    sonia

    Qaradawi — That’s why I say Ken Livingstone has his heart in the right place, but he is naive as hell.

  108. ” this is a man who thinks all muslim men would be ‘aroused’ if there was a female imam in a mosque..!!)”

    I get aroused by those domes atop mosques because they make me think of breasts

    phwooar, cop a load of her minarets, I enjoy saying at such times

  109. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 1:51 pm  

    chuckle – well done sunny for your questions – heh heh what a laugh.

  110. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

    102 – douglas – heh that’s a good one.

    rumbold – yep, and then based on later texts he’s written, huntington appears to think lots of people are barbaric – judging from what he’s written about Hispanics in Who Are We? he’s well worried about the issue of bilingualism (and ATMs in california!) i daresay he thinks britain ought not to be complaining ‘alf as much ..(given that ATM’s don’t offer Hindi as the primary langugage ) *chortle*

  111. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    yes, isn’t it funny when people say things like “this is war and the west should not be afraid to fight it till death.” all they’re doing is being uncannily similar to Osama bin Laden and other nutty fundamentalists. i always did think they had plenty in common.

    Exactly and that’s part of the problem. Too many people have bought into this idea that the Neo Cons are sane and Bin Laden is the devil incarnate when in fact both are extremists willing to use violence to get their way.

    As usual it’s us that get caught in the crossfire…

  112. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

    precisely Leon – and to use their own terminology they’ve ‘expanded the theater of conflict’.

    if we could say to them – ‘take it somewhere else!’

  113. ami — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

    “Andrew Sullivan is a right winger I genuinely respect. He is a man with guts, integrity, introspection, principles:” On the contrary, I find him capricious and unstable in his views, and has performed a complete about face not on questions of general principles but on the basis of his personal baggage. He used to write the most absurdly adoring pieces in praise of George Bush in every area of his policy, be it domestic or foreign. Bush could do no wrong in areas which which went way beyond support for the war, so that even I, who supported the war and some of the actions of Mr Bush, found it absurd. Against all evidence of a particular stupidity of the day of Bush, he would bend over backwards to say in fact Bush was being so clever that only he, Sullivan could detect the deep clever strategy Bush was pursuing. Until, one day the Bush administration did something which did not accord with Sullivan’s libertarianism in general and gay rights in particular, and Sullivan switched like a light.

  114. I liked Sullivan when he was a giant and really little but it all went weird with those talking horses

  115. Richard — on 24th January, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    I think you should have done some more research. Guantanamo Bay is not a restriction of rights. Those detained their were in contravention of the Geneva Conventions, being unlawful combatants. As such some were potentially risking summary execution on the battlefield. None had the right to prisoner-of-war status. Had they been left in Afghanistan that is the outcome that would have been likely. Guantanamo Bay actually now extends to them the rights they would have had as prisoners of war had they been lawful commbatants, although initially that was not always the case.

    I actually had to learn parts of the Geneva Conventions. I do not just make assumptions from news reports of pressure groups.

    Belmarsh prison was a farce caused by the ridiculous unwillingness to deport people from this country. Those detainees could at any time have left prison, and several of them did. They simply were not allowed to remain free in the UK. They were not UK citizens, and they had shown hostility to the UK. What gives them the natural right to freedom within the UK? What rights are you claiming they were denied?

  116. Richard — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    P.S. Someone mentioned “disgucting” treatment the US “meted out” at Gitmo. That is a lie. In fact the conditions are very good for such detention, and got more lax for many prisoners until they abused the conditions to train other prisoners in terrorist techniques and to try and foment revolt in the detention camp. Many of the stories of abuse have been completely untrue, lies made up by left-wing opponents of the camp (remember the Koran down the toilet? A lie that caused rioting round the world. So who is radicalising muslims, those that set up Guantanamo or those that lie about it?)

  117. Richard — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    P.S. Someone mentioned “disgusting” treatment the US “meted out” at Gitmo. That is a lie. In fact the conditions are very good for such detention, and got more lax for many prisoners until they abused the conditions to train other prisoners in terrorist techniques and to try and foment revolt in the detention camp. Many of the stories of abuse have been completely untrue, lies made up by left-wing opponents of the camp (remember the Koran down the toilet? A lie that caused rioting round the world. So who is radicalising muslims, those that set up Guantanamo or those that lie about it?)

  118. “I think you should have done some more research. Guantanamo Bay is not a restriction of rights. Those detained their were in contravention of the Geneva Conventions, being unlawful combatants.”

    Moazzem Begg anyone?

    PS. You’re mad

  119. Montag — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    Very interesting — so people hear a viewpoint that they disagree with, and instead of arguing their own — such as why the US/UK are not at war, or why the fairly extreme measures being taken by the state will be ineffective or counterproductive — they hurl insults — “fascist”, “ass”, etc. In my book this places you on the same continuum as the terrorists, because you have rejected reasoned debate as a way to resolve differences between civilised people. Perhaps you ought to get out more because the arguments here against Gitmo etc are very familiar to me, and provoke no shock in me at all. I happen to believe they are quite reasonable, if mistaken. Unfortunately some here can’t say the same, and are acting like medieval clerics confronted by heresy. The Left — which is required, IMHO, by a healthy democracy — is going to remain on a downward spiral, doomed to obscurity, if it continues to act like outraged spinsters in the presence of sex toys, instead of doughty intellectual warriors able to operate in all terrains.

  120. Getting bounty hunters to arrest people, chaining them up, putting them through audio technique torture by blaring Metallica into their ear drums, without trial isn’t a restriction of rights? I take it back. You’re insane

  121. And making them wear orange. It’s so last season

  122. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    Odd how no bugger was bothered about the rights and treatment of these chaps:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4314223.stm

    And Kismet, I’m sure Begg was and quite possibly still is working for or with Al Qaeda.

  123. I know the bloke. He’s a nutter but he’s harmless

  124. Those in charge of the western civilisations should not have concentration camps or think you can get any valid ‘intelligence’ by torturing people

  125. Anas — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:28 pm  

    Living here in the West, I was sure we were supposed to go on a bit more than opinions, hearsay, intuitions, or not liking the look of somebody when condemning people to rot in torture camps. Oh maybe I was wrong.

  126. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

    Kismet – you know him or you knew him?

  127. I’d love to tell you the story bert, but it’s one of them pub talk things

    Point is, if the country you live in thinks he’s innocent and the country that put him in a camp couldn’t find anything to provce he’s guilty, then:

    you either don’t care about the law

    which makes the whole sham all the more bogus

    Fact is, if I’d gone to afghanistan at that time ‘for a laugh’ or even to pick some poppies or just be an inquisitive journo type, I’d be banged in there

    It’s weird you believe all those people held in there are 100% guilty

    You probably think those ‘suspects’ the US bombed in Somalia the other day were all guilty too. Even that 4-year-old girl

  128. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    Montag

    my book this places you on the same continuum as the terrorists

    Yeah, and that just sums up your own pathetic intellectual decrepitude. Get your head out of your ass you pompous ignorant buffoon. Go and crouch before Andrew Sullivan and learn about how the right can be dignified and moral and righteous, you low rent two-bit poundshop remaindered Anne Coulter.

  129. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

    Montag

    my book this places you on the same continuum as the terrorists

    Yeah, and that just sums up your own pathetic intellectual decrepitude. Get your head out of your ass you pompous ignorant buffoon. Go and crouch before Andrew Sullivan and learn about how the right can be dignified and moral and righteous, you low rent two-bit poundshop remaindered second hand junkshop version of Anne Coulter.

  130. Jagdeep — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    Don’t worry Ami, your post just throws into even starker relief Andrew Sullivan’s qualities in comparison to you and others like you.

  131. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

    Well its quite feasible that “Even that 4-year-old girl” could, would, should become a terrorist.

    And they want a civilised discussion – its fascism! I do not use the term lightly.

  132. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    Kismet – I don’t think 100% of them are guilty, any more than I think 100% of prisoners anywhere are guilty. If you’d gone to Afghanistan at the time as a journalist you’d be able to prove this with press accreditation, and if you’d gone to build wells for charity you’d be able to point to the charity for which you were working.

    I don’t expect to find anything to prove Begg guilty, but there’s even less likelihood of finding something proving him innocent. I don’t see him as a foot soldier like the others – they made a special effort to lift him, presumably as they believed he had useful information. As he admits he broke down mentally and physically as soon as he realised the serious shit he was in they probably got what they wanted and were then at a loss for what to do with him. So he was sent to Guantanamo. I don’t know why either – I assume it was just nobody had a better idea. Bit dumb really – which is why I’ll say again what I’ve had to say in every post in this thread – I don’t condone Guantanamo.

    But it’s not a torture camp, nor a gulag or any of this other sensationalist crap. The Yanks are doing their best to keep these people alive and in good health, I suppose while they also ponder what the fuck to do with them.

  133. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

    if we could say to them – ‘take it somewhere else!’

    Indeed, if only…

    Living here in the West, I was sure we were supposed to go on a bit more than opinions, hearsay, intuitions, or not liking the look of somebody when condemning people to rot in torture camps. Oh maybe I was wrong.

    Yep me too.

  134. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    Even the US seems to have worked it out now. Not capturing many these days, are we? And the casualty figures put one in mind of England/Australia cricket scores.

    Bizarrely, taking prisoners is now a very bad move in the propaganda war.

  135. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    seeing as many people don’t know jack shit about the ins and outs of the Geneva Convention its easy for anyone to say pretty much what they like.

    this is precisely the sort of stuff John Bellinger III ( legal adviser to the US Dept of State et. al ) came to speak about at LSE last halloween. ( sent by Condi to defend the US position to the ‘Europeans’) it was a most amusing session – seeing as it was sponsored by the Law Society a whole bunch of experts on international law showed up and plenty of raucous laughter peppered much of the poor man’s speech. – you had to give it to the guy – as the Chair said at the end it was like daniel in the lions’ den. if anyone wants to read the transcript here it is.

  136. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    shame the Q & A wasn’t recorded – when he was asked about the ‘water torture’ comments Cheney’d been making at that time – the poor thing – what could he say? Everyone just kept laughing.

  137. “Well its quite feasible that “Even that 4-year-old girl” could, would, should become a terrorist.”

    Madness.

    Let’s lock up all the kids on rough council estates. They could, would, should become thieving wife-beating junkies

  138. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    Eh?

  139. bananabrain — on 24th January, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    reading this thread and seeing what are in many cases quite hysterical reactions to what seem to me to be perfectly reasonable objections, i think there’s a lot of groupthink going on here. i don’t think things are as cut and dried as many people seek to suggest. yes, the prolonged imprisonment without charge at guantanamo is wrong. however, to suggest that they are all victims of mistaken identity and a sort of all-american deliberate vicious stupidity is simply pandering to the sort of peanut gallery mentality that thought it was a good idea to elect ken in the first place. he doesn’t understand anything other than grievance/identity politics and, like an earlier poster said, only seeks to find out who the goodies and baddies are in order to locate them in his personal fantasy universe. only a complete nincompoop could have thought that “sheikh comparatively-moderate” qaradawi was actually the same thing as a moderate.

    furthermore, i don’t think anyone who hasn’t had to wait to hear if their loved ones were dead or not because of some showboating bastard coward terrorist who hides behind civilians and lawyers knows the first thing about “ticking bombs”. soldiers know about this. intelligence operatives know about this, but most of us, thankfully, don’t. that is not to say, of course, that many people in the “security community” are not averse to hiding behind process and euphemisms in order to do things which we wouldn’t agree to if we had to explicitly agree to them. some of this i am afraid i have to put down as the price we have to pay. fortunately, i believe what with a free press and freedom of speech and democracy, we have adequate safeguards for our liberty.

    hurrah for bert and jagdeep who remain the most sensible of them all.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  140. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

    Compare the likes of him with the band of Hairy’s Place, whose whole take on everything is mediated through the need to do the opposite of what that other moron Lenin’s Place regardless of the rights and wrongs of the issue, and the gutlessness and moral cowardice of the Hairy’s Place Lagoon becomes clear. Not an ounce of critical self awareness, introspection, acknowledgment of failure.

    wow. Go on Jagdeep!

  141. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    I would say to anyone fed up with the craven apologists for suicide bombing that part of the morally decrepit Left has become, and the inverse of that, the moronic war mongerer’s of the Hairy’s Place school, who want critical self awareness on the pressing issues of our time, to make their home at Pickled Politics, the natural home of the truly decent left.

    raucous woohoo’s all round!!

  142. Leon — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    Pickled Politics, the natural home of the truly decent left.

    That could almost be our tagline!:D

  143. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    Bananabrain

    Surely the groupthink you are referring to is also known as ‘consensus’? There is a consensus against Guantanamo Bay and extra-ordinary rendition (what I call ‘off-shored torture’) – amongst a whole host of other things to do with Bush and Blair.

  144. bananabrain — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    with the small caveat that “true decency” is by no means the exclusive province of the “left”. left and right are no longer adequate for today’s politics. they are only dinosaur expressions of historical affiliations (in the sense that they are extinct, but don’t know it yet) with no more connection to their original meanings than the terms “whig” or “tory”.

    i co-wrote a piece a while back as part of my MBA where i think i said that the true battle was now between pragmatists and ideologues, which was where the conservatives had gone so horribly wrong and been beaten by labour. it’s also the reason labour wasn’t elected until the smith and blair reforms.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  145. bananabrain — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    it would be “consensus” if there was less sense that anyone daring to question the consensus was somehow a homicidal, repressive, warmongering nutjob. i’m afraid that, to me, david t sounds far more reasonable than you or leon, refresh.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  146. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:47 pm  

    Bananabrain

    I am not sure you’ve seen the rest of the contributions on Guantanamo then.

    DavidT is not the issue – he has said he opposes Guantanamo and by extension ‘off-shored torture’.

    The others actually do support and justify their homicidal, repressive, warmongering tendencies.

  147. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    Oh my god, do we have to choose between different Picklers now?

  148. Sid — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    Whatever happens, I’m with sonia.

  149. Don — on 24th January, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

    “Well its quite feasible that “Even that 4-year-old girl” could, would, should become a terrorist.”

    Did somebody actually say that? Can’t find it. I thought OP was the only one who thought that way. And, Kismet, you’re a step behind Blair; he’s already mooted the idea of ‘intervening’ in the case of nippers who fit the profile for presenting future problems.

    Two points. On surrendering our freedoms to help the war on terror; before I grudgingly and temporarily give up one iota of my existing freedom I will need to have it explained in great detail, backed up by convincing evidence, exactly how this will work, and I want it explained by someone who has not forfeited all trust and goodwill by persistently fibbing about stuff that matters. If and when that happens, I’ll take it under consideration.

    The likes of Montag seem to me to be rather too eager to give away freedoms (which other people won at considerable cost) so that they can sit at a keyboard convinced they are doughty intellectual warriors. Such people actually seem to relish the thought of surrendering their will to the state on a ‘military footing’. Frankly, I think that is a chicken-shit attitude.

    As Utah Philips said ‘Freedom is what you are born with, and then they try to take it away. The extent to which you resist is the extent to which you are free.’

    On torture; we don’t do it and if anybody is doing it they should be prosecuted fully. Of course no-one should expect troops at the sharp end to behave with punctilious delicacy but as far as I know the British Army has clear expectations of what constitutes acceptable conduct and has, so far, acted appropriately against those who cross the line. But once away from the hurly-burly then we observe the rules meticulously. Because if we don’t, who will?

    For a long time I retained considerable regard for Nick Cohen, particularly his analysis of why a large part of the Left chose to make common cause with clerical facists. But his equivocation (at best) over torture suggests he has parted company from whatever moral compass he had. (Shuggy posted an excellent critique of this, but I can’t be bothered to track it down.)

    For me, it’s simply not an option we can take up and still claim to be fighting for something worthwhile. And out-sourcing it is, perhaps, even more morally reprehensible.

  150. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    sid :-)

    left and right were never adequate for any type of politics..

  151. sonia — on 24th January, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    yeah well said Don

  152. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

    Don,

    It was I who posted the comment “Well its quite feasible that “Even that 4-year-old girl” could, would, should become a terrorist.”

    Because that’s where the argument being put up by the HP regulars is heading.

    With regards Nick Cohen, I had long appreciated his contributions – but no more and haven’t done so since his dubious justifications for war. Unlike Johan Hari, who I do believe has admitted he was mistaken, Nick Cohen digs and digs.

  153. Montag — on 24th January, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    The likes of Montag seem to me to be rather too eager to give away freedoms

    Funny how the British left knows all about the imaginary depradations of Gitmo, but can’t even organise a little protest outside Belmarsh — where conditions are much worse.

    Perhaps it’s plain old anti-Americanism that explains their sentiments, rather than any belief in cherished freedoms. Especially as the tradition spent the 20th century apologising for one socialist dictatorship after another. Just a thought.

  154. Don — on 24th January, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

    Thanks, Refresh. I was confused. The thing about HP is that the articles are often very good, but it has been so infested by hysterics and smug idealogues from both sides that debate there is pointless. But I suspect I was not the only one to think we had a real psycho in our midst, maybe you could clarify before putting something in quotes if you’re just extrapolating?

    Montag,

    Relevance to my point?

    ‘…Belmarsh — where conditions are much worse.’ Links? Evidence? We’re all such fans of Belmarsh here we are loath to hear ill spoken of it.

    ‘Just a thought’ You flatter yourself.

  155. ZinZin — on 24th January, 2007 at 7:28 pm  
  156. Montag — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:13 pm  

    Don, just curious, but the consistently inflammatory language you and others are using in this thread against myself and other you disagree with, is this just an affectation, or are you genuinely as angry about the discussion as you seem to be? Either way, I’d respectfully suggest that you tone it down a little. It’s a mistake to believe that virtue is measured by the intensity of loathing of vice. And most people would say that in an argument, it’s a mistake to lose your rag first, as it suggests you are on the losing side.

    Have a nice day, y’all.

  157. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:19 pm  

    Refresh:
    Ok, I was going to say at the end of my last post that I thought it was important that raising the questions about the difficulties of pursuing a war against a non state entity like AQ and what compromises or difficult choices such a conflict may impose on us should not lead to one being labeled a fascist. But I thought that was going too far and was an unfair assumption, so I left it at a different formulation. Obviously I was wrong about that – even raising the question makes one a fascist.

    Douglas Clarke:
    I don’t know all that much about the British detainees who were released, and don’t know enough about the cases of the Canadians to comment.
    In the case of Mamdou Habib – the Australian who was released – he was by his own admission (on australian 60 minutes no less) a member of an organisation that is currently banned as a terrorist organisation in Australia, however it was not illegal at the time he was detained so he is not being prosecuted. The consensus of opinion is that he is being closely watched, but that is opinion rather than fact, and the video evidence supposedly proving such surveillance struck me as highly ambiguous, and officially that question is answered with a no comment – make of it what you will – just as the allegations about his alleged association with the French terrorist Willy Briggitte is equally shrouded in so much mis and disinformation that no conclusion should be drawn either way.

    There are however a fairly large number of Afghans who were seized during the campaign there who were pretty much definitely innocent of everything but being in the wrong place at the wrong time – a number of them minors at the time of their arrest, and often seized for no other reason that it was a quick way to make some money from the Americans by selling them for the bounty, or as a result of local feuds .

    Most of these captive’s innocence was ascertained fairly quickly once they were able to be interviewed by more skilled interrogators at Guantanamo – and were moved to a separate section of the camp. It was not as easy to repatriate them as it had been to seize them, sometimes because their families were hard to track, but also because even though they were entirely innocent of any association with enemies of the US in general or the Taleban or AQ in particular, they frequently were in that high risk group of people who for various local reasons were viewed with enmity by some of the people and groups who were now US allies in Afghanistan, and whose fate on repatriation was uncertain. There is a considerable class of other prisoners who are in the same boat – either they are from countries where their rendition would expose them to peril despite the US not having an especial beef with them, or the US wants to repatriate prisoners that it does not want to hold, but neither does it want them released either , and fears they might be. Many of them are religiously devout, and hostile to the US, but they are not viewed as dangerous terrorist’s either, and if religious devotion combined with Anti-Americanism was itself a criteria for detention the US would need a prison the size of a continent. That is the other side of the much talked about rendition. That the US is holding a number of Prisoners that it would like to release, but either the home country does not want them, or it is prepared to take them but is not prepared to undertake not to imprison and abuse them in a way that will likely prove injurious to the US reputation, or the home country is prpared to accept them but is so hostile to the US that their release will possibly pose a threat to the US (Syrian captives are in this boat). Other countries and the US itself is not especially keen on taking in Salafist fundamnetalists with Terrorist sympathies as refugees either.

    But I must say I find your argument a strange one – that because those who have been released because the processes in Guatanomo have adjudged by them to not pose a sufficient threat or be of sufficient Intel value have mostly confrimed the accuracy of that process in making the determination about their innocence we should conclude that the same process which sees fit to hold other prisoners must be faulty and that they to are therefore likley also innocent. I mean if a similar logic were applied to a judical system we would conclude that becasue the Judicial system determines that some people who have been arrested were in fact innocent of the crime they were arrested for, we should conclude that those dtermiend guilty by the same judicial process. Or perhaps I have misunderstood you ? And just so you do not misunderstand me the above should not be taken to infer that I believe that the non judicial procedures employed to screen thsoe who were released from Gitmo are an adequate demostration that the remaining detainees are guilty – because I don’t think that is the case, but I do think that the fact that some detainees have been released on the basis that they have been determined not to be combatants is a strange basis for inferring that those who have not been released are also not combatants.

    It would appear that the thousands and thousands radicalised by the US’s disgusting treatment of their prisoners pose a threat. I think that is probably true. Of course given that this treatment followed rather than preceded some rather serious manifestations of radicalised rage agaisnt America one must conclude that there are other sources of such hatreds besides the treatment of prisoners. Perhaps given the provocations offered by America such radicalism is equally undertsandable – not I undertsand that it is excusable or condoned, but the agency affecting it’s severity is Americas rather than the radicals. But I have a problem with the indigantion with which your observation about the radicalisation is made. For a start you readily admit that the perception of American perfidy can result in the dangerous and combustible radicalistion of thousands. Given this don’t you think that perhaps a certain amount of proportion and judiciousness should be employed when treating both allegations and actualities in relation to American or Coalition actions ?

    Do you really think that the treatment of the Abu Ghraib abuse was treated judicously ? Do you think it makes it easier to argue for a presumption of innocence in relation to terror suspects as an important part of maintaining the values we are seeking to defend when there appears to be a widespread insouciance in relation to such a presumption when allegations are made against the US ? Whether Koran flushing or torture allegations or bombed weddings or Gulag references or the actual abuse at Abu Ghraib or the actual Atrocity at Haditha – it does not appear to me that there is overly much concern displayed to judicously examine allegations – nor is there much concern evident in avoiding making of particular allegations and indictments a more general indictment of the US or Americans. I remark upon it becasue it seems the same people who are very concerned that we not jump to conclusions WRT to terrorist suspects or captives, and show very great skepticism WRT American allegations of the same seem to have a somewhat different standrad of both sketicism and caution WRT to allegations of American atrocity. Likewise it seems that whilst the importance of not tarring all muslims with the actions of violent Islamists is a very great concern (and one I wholeheartedly agree with – though I think that by the same token there is a great deal of mischeif performed by thsoe who wilfully misrepsent critcism directed with many caveats and care at Islamism specifically as being in fact a symptom of Islamophobia – to the point it risks becmoing a spurious charge), no such discretion is employed WRT to real or alleged American actions. To take the very real absue at Abu Ghraib – despite both the trial, apology and punishment of the offenders by the US military there appear to be few objections to the use of Abu Ghraib as a generalised indictment of the US military or the country.

    I do think that it would have been possible, and perhaps prefereble to hold those who came into US custody in Afgahnistan as normal POW’s, given that such status would not have precluded criminal charges were such warranted at a later date. But such an arrangement really does have some major problems. For a start there is of course no reciprocity – and this goes beyond the obvious flaw that the rights of POW’s would be extended to an enemy who is not expected to do the same to any captives it holds – becasue POW status is also dependent on a sort of gentlemens agreement that the surrender is not perfidious. In addition the lack of uniform is more than a technicality – part of the deal of a POW is the right not to be interrogated beyond their name rank etc, but when you hold a POW on the proviso that they are in fact a comabtant , and they deny that they are such, and you are not allowed to interrogate them beyond asking them questions which in the context are meaningless – becasue if they deny combatant status there will be no military ID it appears that there is a real problem and that you are back to square one – requiring some procedure to determine that status. And I still can’t see what the point is in declaring combatants lawful when the convention you use to make such declaration is very clear about them being unlawful. This is why it is hard to see how the arrangments for Gitmo really is an own goal – it would have been to strecth the definition of a lawful combatant under the convention to the point where the distinction is meaningless to have classified – for example – non Afghan nationals who had launched a terroist war gainst the US from the territory of a state not recognised by them, fighting without uniform, and openly in contravention of the convention on matters such as spearation of civilians and comabatnts, or the treament of enemy prisoners. None of that is to say that the US should not have very early on that declared that although clearly these comabatants are strictly speaking unlawful, their treatment shall neverthelss fall under the UMCJ in relation to the treatment of enemy comabtants until congess or the courst can make a more satisfactory determination. This would have done no damage to Geneva conventions. So really it was a shared goal – but that is my point – whilst there is room for criticsim of the way in which the US handled the issue of captives – it was always stupid and a little hysterical to argue that the US was breaching the Geneva conventions.

    And done to appease the red necks in his electorate. If you can’t be tough on terrorists, or even catch them, then round up a few folk and treat them like shit to encourage the others. It also showed that GW Bush was tough on terror. This played out quite well for him in the last election for President, did it not?

    Do you think that a paragraph like that is going to inspire much confidnece that critics of how values are being compromised in the WoT are being serious? I mean FFS – this is Micheal Moore stuff.

    And do you really beleive that the difference between WW2 and todays disaproval is down to the actuality of the conditions or the change in standards / ideology ? I mean in WW2 they simply rounded up the Nisei and put them in camps for the duration with nary a word of protest – when there should have been, whilst today you wil be lucky to make a terrorist case unless you let your suspects actually get as far as beginning the assembly of a bomb, and (given events) credible threats of mass murder can be made in the streets under police protection and you will have a tough time even thinking of making a prosecution stick – when it probably should not be so hard. In WW2 spies were given the choice of turning or they would be subject to capital punishment, and being out of uniform would get you shot out of hand on pretty much all sides. These sort of things were not even regarded as compromises at all – just the conventions of war. The true compromises – even at the time were, rightfully, seen to be the area bombing campaign and the alliance with Stalin as well as the unease in some circles about the involvement with Partisans. There is enormous disaproval over abu ghraib and Gitmo – which is not the same as saying that the disaproval level is proportionate. It is certainly riddled with hypocrisy – it really should be possible to both crtiticise the arrangments at Gitmo, condenm the abuses at Abu Ghraib whilst simultaneously applauding the transperency and swiftness with which that case was both brought to light and prosecuted , and to do this at the same time as condenming as hypocritical in the extreme those who hail AQ as an anti-imperialist resistance – and use Abu Ghraib to recruit suicide bombers to kill masses of Iraqi civilians.

    You have an administration in the US that is not really interested in the Human Rights of detainees. Their developing theme nowadays is to hide these folk in compliant third world torture states. This is known as outsourcing in more mainstream businesses. In other words, it is all of a piece. An essentially corrupt policy.

    This is really nonsense – the legal challenges in the US have effectively curtailed the latitude that the Authorities had in the early period after 9/11 – for both good and ill. Go and read some of the Military bloggers – the people actually charged with fighting the war – to get a feel for their opinion on the catch and release of insurgent suspects in Iraq.

    On the question of torture are you saying that if it did work you would change your view on it’s permisabliity ? The sad truth is that most people talk under duress if it is severe enough. The Germans and Russians both employed torture as a matter of routine and on a massive scale through the life of both Hitler’s and Stalins regimes, and moreover were assidious in collecting data about it’s efficacy. There is good news and bad news- on the plus side Torture does not produce anything beyond very low grade intel, or information that the Interrogator is in a position to swiftly confirm or deny. People talk but they are good at lying even (especially) under duress. the interogator is more likley to hear what the subject beleives his interrogator wants to hear than anything of much use. Torture is useful for producing spurious confessions and simple intel – like where is your gun emplacment – which is often useless becasue usually you will glean information that you know already. Both Regimes persisted with the practice becasue they had a need for spurious confessions and used it as a matter of routine to confirm other forms of intel. The bad news is that whilst torture by itself is a very poor method of gathering intel the combination of the really sinister good cop bad cop psychology , in the hands of skilled interrogators can be very effective – simultaneously breaking and building someone up , establishing and abusing trust, George orwells description of the efficacy with which control over a person can be establishe in 1984 is unfourtunately accurate for most people. But on the plus side the absolute best intel comes either from defection that is not co-erced, or from establishing some level of trust. But even if Torture was completely effective that should not prejuidice the moral judgemnt about it’s use – which is that it should not be used on moral grounds and also becasue it is not necesarry.

    There is still the ticking bomb scenario that I think cannot simply be dismissed becasue it does contain an importnat moral question. If you have reliable information that a large and very destructive bomb has been placed somehwere in a large city (and it does not have to be nuclear, lets just say something on the order of the Oklahoma bomb) where it will cause casualties in at least the scores, and you have a captive who may be openly taunting you with the fact that he or she knows where the bomb, or you have other reliable information that the suspect knows the bombs location you are faced with the fact that in the limited period of time available you do not really have many options. It does becomes a question of what you are prepared to do to avoid significant loss of life, what rules are inviolate and for what stakes. For raising the question Dershowitz and others were treated as morally irresponsible – whereas I tend to think it is more irresponsible to treat the question as if it had an easy answer. Some of the answers are easy – if scores of lives are at stake many rules can obviously be broken – traffic rules for example. What about privacy laws ? Lets say the Bomber was a medical patient – possibly psychiatric – and there is information in his records pertinent to finding the bomb ? How many lives would be worth preserving the sanctity of medical records? I think there are a whole series of rules and principles that you make judgements on every day as to how inviolate they are and contingent on what stakes. In war, any war – as well as any situation of life and death these questions become more pointed and I can’t see how it does any good pretending that the answers are always easy or settled by absolutes. I think in Iraq today something like the ticking bomb scenario presents itslef fairly regualarly.

    You do not win a war by becoming exactly the same as your enemy.
    What do you even mean by this? Do you think that the fact the Abuse at Abu Ghraib happened “we” have become exactly the same as our enemy? Is it a case of a binary choice between moral purity and evil. That the principle makes the proportion or context meaningless ? This really is a meaningless platitude unless you insist that all the hard questions put to people in often hairy situations have easy answers.

  158. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:19 pm  

    Don, I was beating them to the punchline so-to-speak. But perhaps I shouldn’t have – better out of their mouths.

  159. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:23 pm  

    Johan W

    As I say, I am not known to use the term freely.

  160. Don — on 24th January, 2007 at 8:29 pm  

    Montag,

    Fair point. I am using consistently inflammatory language because your initial post and subsequent expansions upon it did, in fact, inflame me.

    May I remind you? ‘…that the US and Britain ARE AT WAR. That’s what happens in war time — the state goes on to a military footing. The vast majority are supportive of these measures because we don’t want to be killed by the enemy: crazy Islamicists. It’s only the insignificant mintority like yourself, reading from the Marxist hymnbook and other conspiracist tracts, who can’t see the wood for the trees.

    So no, not an affectation, nor have I ever laid claims to virtue. People like you do actually piss me off. As for losing my rag, am I incoherent?

    My point, which you have failed to address, is that there is an element which is over-eager to give up hard won freedoms in order to be protected from the Big Bad by the excessively empowered state. If you are refering to the phrase ‘chicken-shit’ then I stand by it.

    gan canny.

  161. Montag — on 24th January, 2007 at 9:05 pm  

    My point, which you have failed to address, is that there is an element which is over-eager to give up hard won freedoms in order to be protected from the Big Bad by the excessively empowered state.

    There could be, although I’m not sure it’s the Right who fit that picture. Consider this article. I do happen to believe that exceptional circumstances probably warrant exceptional measures, but at the same time I am suspicious of state power in principle. Mind you, the measures being taken or proposed, in many ways, fall far short of the emergency powers invoked by the state in WW2 — which were surrendered afterwards. So often you hear people argue that once these powers are granted, they will never be relinquished. History doesn’t support that view, in truth (especially since the liberalisation of opening hours — hurrah! :) )

  162. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 9:35 pm  

    So Refresh:
    Let me get this straight: by your definition of fascist one can oppose torture and extra judicial detention in principle, but merely urging that these questions are not simple absolutes one is a fascist ? And you say do not use the term freely ?

    I will relate an anecdote that I beleive had some element of truth to it given similarities between the person telling it and certain features of the anecdote.

    An executive of a large multinational was stationed in a Latin American country that had fairly severe security problems.

    Due to some severe familial problems involving his ex-wife and daughter it eventuated that despite his best judgment of the dangers she ended up joining him in this fairly dangerous posting.

    Needless to say the worst happened and she was kidnapped, his company, although initially baulking because he was not supposed to have any dependents in country eventually relented and brought it’s rescources to bear in the form of a negotiator for the Daughters release. After some tense days it was ascertained that the particular group they were dealing with had a poor record in returning hostages alive – and had only seized the daughter because they had believed that she would not be covered by insurance and thus no professional negotiator would get involved. The details of the inside information involved in the kidnapping as well as other features of the case led both the negotiator and the father to suspect a household employee of involvement. When confronted she admitted involvement but insisted that the people involved had threatened her own family. From his questioning the negotiator came to beleive that the hold the kidnappers had over the maid made it likely that both they and the daughter were close, and that the maid knew their location. The father was told that he would be unlikely to see his daughter alive again even if he paid the ransom, that her best chance was rescue, and that he would, if instructed, take such measures as to ascertain her location from the maid, and force her co-operation. He made it clear that such measures were not at all guarenteed, and that because of the maids own fears for her family and her lack of faith in police protection the measures required may be extreme.

    I was not told what happened next or what instrcutions the father gave the negotiator. All that I know is that the man who told me the anecdote had been stationed in a Latin American country for a period of time, did have an ex-wife who could be very undependable, and had a daughter who had recently married. I also knew that the man who told the anecdote (whether he was the man in the anecdote or not), was an extremely gentle pacific person, an introverted geologist consumed by his work.

    Wake up to yourself – believing that there are some very hard questions in the world does not make anyone a fascist.

  163. Johan W — on 24th January, 2007 at 9:45 pm  

    Refresh:
    For some reason my last comment hit a spam filter, in any case I wanted to get this straight – I am a fascist for simply urging that a war may pose some very hard questions in relation to moral absolutes such as torture and extra judicial detention? Even despite being opposed to both ? And you say you don’t use the term fascist lightly?

  164. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:18 pm  

    Johan, quidquid praecipies, esto brevis.

    But I read and agreed with most of it for all that.

  165. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:22 pm  

    Refresh wrote: “I was beating them to the punchline so-to-speak. But perhaps I shouldn’t have – better out of their mouths”

    Someone of your age ought to know better.

    *daggers out*

    Seriously it was uncalled for and made me wince.

  166. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:30 pm  

    Bert,

    What made you wince?

    Me or the thought that anyone should hold such views?

    Put the dagger away – your fighting days are over.

  167. Lee — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:52 pm  

    Sid

    Perhaps you are correct in that you never said that Pipes is “racist”, you were probably saying he is “religionist”. However, the principles are the same, you have still not really explained why he is incorrect. You have no facts. The only thing you can bring up is an srticle by Christopher Hitchens whom you refer to as “one of America’s more sensible right-wing commenters”.

    Of course, Hitchens would be disgusted with this asessment as he is a Marxist, about as far from right wing as you could get.

    Moreover, if you believe that Mr Hitchens is “sensible” then you should agree with the invasion of Iraq, since he has long been a supporter of the “liberation” of Iraq?

    PS: also quoting somebody from the comments of Pipes website is not the same as Pipes saying it. Anymore than my comment represent the views of this website.

  168. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    Sorry, I didn’t make it very clear. The daggers were when I took the piss out of your age grandad, looks like both our fightin’ days are over. :(

    The wincing bit is that you think anyone might believe we kill or support the killing of 4 year old girls on the basis they may become future terrorists. No one said or insinuated that, and you were either over enthusiastic or paranoid.

  169. douglas clark — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:03 pm  

    Richard,

    Re post 111. I have read the Geneva Convention. What I think I said pretty clearly was that extending the protection given to uniformed combatants to people accused of being combatants, who are almost by definition not uniformed, would have been better legal advice than the bullshit State came up with. Y’know, little things like being allowed to write home, receive parcels, easy access for the Red Cross, etc. And be treated as a human being and not a piece of meat.

    Article 13 makes an interesting compare and contrast:

    “Article 13

    Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

    Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

    Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.”

    Not what the US administration wanted, is it?

  170. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

    Bert

    Right that’s it! I challenge you to a virtual arm-wrestle. We shall then see whether your military training means anything.

    How old are you Bert? I’ve got you down as approaching 43.

  171. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:18 pm  

    No one has commented on the statement I made above.

    Going by the casualty figures and those captured, we’ve realised that thanks to Amnesty International and all the other people calling Guantanamo a torture camp there is far more to be gained by killing than capture. And they’re right. Imagine if Guantanamo was being expanded to house the extra thousands, what would AI etc. say?

    So now nobody’s taking prisoners. And nobody’s breaking the Geneva convention. No matter what the lawyers read into it, a soldier assaulting a position will fight through – that is he knows mortars will arrive on the position as soon as the enemy understands it has been lost. Being a cunning sort, the soldiers move a hundred meters or so beyond the position. Also being rather paranoid about the intentions of the enemy in the position he has just fought through, the standard method is to shoot and bayonet everyone you see on the way through, making good and sure you’ve killed them.

    If they wanted to surrender they should’ve taken the chance when they knew you were gathering for the assault, otherwise they’ll be bloody fortunate to survive it. It’s deeply annoying to have to fix bayonets, nobody wants that shit. Enemies may surrender as a unit or a position, but in small unit action you never expect the opportunity of jacking it in and you can consider yourself bloody lucky if you get it.

  172. Bert Preast — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    Refresh – I am not yet 40.

    Yaa boo suks.

  173. Refresh — on 24th January, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    My victory will be all the sweeter.

  174. Bert Preast — on 25th January, 2007 at 12:26 am  

    I was once black flagged from a karting track. I complained on the grounds the maneuver I had executed was the very same as Schumacher had got away with the previous weekend. There was some argument, and I agreed to compromise in that if I could beat him in an honourable armwrestle I would get another go for free.

    My advice is don’t armwrestle professional kart racers. It will hurt. They gave me another go anyway for being a good sport, and I now believe more in human nature than in the righteousness of Schmacher.

  175. de — on 25th January, 2007 at 12:29 am  

    Flip, some people comparing a conference in Israel to a holocaust denial conference

    I suggest it is those who do such are closest to Stormfront, not harrys place as some accuse

  176. de — on 25th January, 2007 at 12:32 am  

    i mean those who compare the conference in israel to the holocaust deniers should find a happy home at stormfront

  177. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2007 at 12:39 am  

    Johan W,

    So, lets try to tease out what we agree on and what we don’t. If I’ve commented further, I’ve stuck it in brackets at the end of the point.

    1. Torture is wrong. It has a very chequered history and has very very little utilitarian value. It is, in fact, used to confirm the preconceptions of the torturer, rather than to elicit Intel. (I apologise for reading your post as an excuse for torture, which was what I was reacting against. I take it you equally object to the torture lite idea?)

    2. What went on in Abu Ghraib was counter productive and disgusting. (Whether it went far enough up the chain of command is debateable, I think)

    3. Many folk still detained in Gitmo are entirely innocent. (If your scenario is right, and there is evidence to suggest it is, then the US should release them into their own community until such times as they can arrange their repatriation, if ever. ‘If you break it, you own it’, comes to mind. As does substantial compensation.)

    4. You do seem to see some merit in treating prisoners in a humane way.

    Beyond that, there is not much agreement. You keep trying to impose your morality by precluding the arguements of others. Despite your agreement that torture is wrong, you skirt the edge of it with your favourite ticking bomb scenario. It is a Jack Bauer fantasy, and indeed would probably be resolved in an extra judicial way if it ever came to pass. It does not require laws. I would put it at fifty fifty whether or not the bomber would give you the true location or not. If he did and you defused it, your a hero, everything forgiven, if not, you take your bumps.

    Finally, and it is really just an example of your style of arguementation, you admit that many detainees were rounded up largely on the heresay of locals. You agree that they were no more guilty than most folk that hate the US, and as you say, that is not a crime in itself. Then you have the doublethink to suggest that I am wrong to characterise that as:

    “And done to appease the red necks in his electorate. If you can’t be tough on terrorists, or even catch them, then round up a few folk and treat them like shit to encourage the others. It also showed that GW Bush was tough on terror. This played out quite well for him in the last election for President, did it not?”

    You go on to say:

    “Do you think that a paragraph like that is going to inspire much confidnece that critics of how values are being compromised in the WoT are being serious? I mean FFS – this is Micheal Moore stuff.”

    How do you square, in your own brain, the fact that folk were rounded up for no good reason – your words – and then dispute mine when I say essentially the same thing, albeit in more colourful language?

    You do this all the time, and I frankly feel this post is long enough.

    Johan, could you please go away and reconsider your whole approach to this subject? There is no-one suggesting that there is any likelyhood of reciprocity of the treatment of captured combatants. My point stands. It was Neitche that said it best:

    “If you look into the abyss, the abyss looks back.”

    And the US administration in particular seems keen to knock down what took years to build up.

    Figure out what you are defending and get back to me.

  178. Sid — on 25th January, 2007 at 1:10 am  

    Lee

    Yeah, the comment about Christopher Hitchens being USA’s only sensible right wing commenter was tongue in cheek and intentionally incorrect on 3 scores. You only picked up two.

    As for my Pipes’ Muslim internment link being from one of his accolytes rather from the horse’s mouth, there is this link and also this has some useful links to M Malkin’s support of the same denial of right to Muslims in the USA.

  179. Sunny — on 25th January, 2007 at 3:10 am  

    Good points douglas.

  180. Carla — on 25th January, 2007 at 11:06 pm  

    Sunnis commengts are biased against real democracy.
    Couldn’t expect anything better from a person who is accepted at The Guardian- a group of monkeys, stuggling to be picture and funny and The independence, a group of monkeys and pigs, struggling to be accepted a human beings, aiming for 72 virgins…poor things…so much for a virgin. wshat a hell their lives…eh, eh, eh

  181. Don — on 25th January, 2007 at 11:07 pm  

    Well, I’m convinced.

  182. Carla — on 25th January, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

    Sid,

    what mueslis should have any right in any country of the western civilization, if in their own lands, robbed from others, after the extremination of these others by mueslis, this granting mueslis what is called today as “Islamic Land” barely all mueslis have rights, imagine infidels.

    How hipocrite a creature from islam is.

    So much for a virgin…Oh,,,,I see the light….

  183. Don — on 26th January, 2007 at 12:11 am  

    She’s got you there, Sid.

  184. Joe DiFrances — on 26th January, 2007 at 1:31 am  

    As to your shock when Dr. Pipes stated straightforwardly that the Guantanamo inmates are well treated, you might want to consider reacquainting yourself with the documentation on their conditions. E.g., the IRC which has enviable access to the prisoners and has yet to offer anything to give justification to your disbelief. And yes, to paraphrase Mr. Pipes’ response to you, we are fighting a new kind of enemy for whom the ‘old methods’ are inadequate. This is all new, and your disapproval, is not an error per se. Indeed, I see it as a healthy aspect of democratic instincts. But in the context of the stakes involved, I find it, like the old methods themselves, antiquated, not up to the seriousness of the task at hand and the most dangerous of indulgences.

  185. Sid — on 26th January, 2007 at 1:41 am  

    Carla

    I think you’ve understood me better than I could ever have done myself. I like a virgin before my muesli in the morning but that’s the hipocrite creature in me. You want to do the goat dance with me sometime?

  186. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 2:06 am  

    Joe,

    ‘Course your pals have moved the goalposts again, haven’t they? Smoke and mirrors, ain’t it?

    Your friends’ new hobby is rendition to torture states. Do try to keep up. It is an evolving business model for the modern lunatic.

    The seriousness of the task at hand is not assisted by people like you.

  187. Refresh — on 26th January, 2007 at 2:46 am  

    Well perhaps I was right about the 4 year olds.

    They’ll be taking them into care lest they get too embedded in their family and community.

    I think in another context its been termed child-abuse.

    No, I won’t use that F-word again. But that is exactly what it is.

  188. Refresh — on 26th January, 2007 at 2:49 am  

    Douglas

    “The seriousness of the task at hand is not assisted by people like you.”

    The seriousness of the task is dealing with the mindset exhibited here, regardless of sides.

    DavidT, where are you? I think we need to have a chat about the company you keep.

  189. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 9:40 am  

    Douglas Clark wrote: “1. Torture is wrong. It has a very chequered history and has very very little utilitarian value. It is, in fact, used to confirm the preconceptions of the torturer, rather than to elicit Intel.”

    That’s how it happens in films or when you fall into the clutches of sadists. Someone actually trying to extract information will not give you any idea as to the type of information he’s looking for. If it’s done properly you’ll literally tell them everything you know before they have to go near physical torture – if they know what they’re about the fear will do the job.

  190. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 10:35 am  

    Bert Preast,

    Sure, a decent interrogator should be able to get info without recourse to torture. That is not what I think this is about though.

    It is about a reign of terror.

    The nature of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the rendition policy are designed, not to obtain intel, but as a very public statement of the willingness of the neo-cons to get down and dirty. It is inhumane treatment as war propoganda.

  191. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    Abu Ghraib comes under the “falling into the hands of sadists” category, something I do not condone and won’t try to make excuses for. Guantanamo is not a torture camp so doesn’t count. For rendition, I’m uncertain. They don’t go to all that bother for a bit of sadistic fun, and I don’t doubt it gives them valuable information. If that is the case, then I shan’t condemn it except from the hypocrisy angle – if we’re going to torture people we should be doing it ourselves rather than getting others – many of whom I suspect are sadists – do it for us.

  192. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:05 am  

    Bert,

    If I may, or I am going to write Pert Breasts sometime soon.

    I don’t think the sadism is for fun. I think it is to send out a message. The more confusion, the missing folk out of a community, the suspicion that anyone can be picked up at any time and treated that way, is the tactic of a runaway police state. It is a globalisation of the ‘disappeared’ in Argentina, a tactic based on ‘there is no rule of law, only our law’.

    I’d be interested if you are aware of any results that have come out of this whole policy. Y’know, like capturing or killing OBL. AFAIK nothing has been made public, which you take on trust and I don’t.

  193. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:25 am  

    Keep your mind on the task in hand, Douglas.

    People don’t stand up to torture very well at all. They may think they’re brave but when they believe they are cut off from help and in the hands of sadists they tell you what you want to know, in between puking with fear of course. It’s been used in all wars throughout history, because it works.

    The disappeared in Argentina were trying to subvert the government – but even though it was hardly democratic they weren’t bombing cities as a subversive method, and it would never have even occurred to them to try to detonate a nuke or go for a gas attack in Buenos Aires.

    Our current case is different, we are a democracy and therefore ‘there is no rule of law, only our law’ does not bother me, as it’s correct. It’s the other lot who are against the rule of law. I don’t think people are picked up at random, as I said it’s not an easy process so it’s unlikely they do it without good reason.

  194. Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:37 am  

    I am amazed to realize that – more than five yuears after 9/11, the are plenty of people who are able to grasp this evident circumstance: people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Tariq Ramadan are international leaders of the islamofascist organization called “Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun” (the Muslim Brotherhhod), a pro-terror sect whose founder (Hasan alBanna, Ramadan’s grandfather) was an admirer of Adolf Hitler and wrote him messages of admiration and support.

    The Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology is based to on putting an Islamic dress on fascist totalitarianism. In the name of “Islam”, a group of professional militants, bound by a oath of loyalty until death to the leader, want to impose to the Muslims first and to the rest of the world after a totalitarian regime based on the denial of basic liberties and on the persecution of every form of opposition.

    Consequently, the Muslim Brotherhood represents a threat for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Al-Qa’ida was born INSIDE the Brotherhood because of a tactical disagreement. Al-Qa’ida considers terrorism as the only way to conquer the world, while the mainstream group thinks that terrorism is advisable in some cases (Israel, Iran, etc.,), but is not the best option to conquer the West. They think that the west can be infiltrated by agents who play the “progressive”, by people like YUsuf al-Qaradawi and Tariq Ramadan. From this point of view, those people are more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden is. At least Bin Laden is clearly perceived as a dangerous criminal; people like al-Qaradawi or Ramadan, on the contrary, are given freedom of action in the West and are even courted up by blind, suicide-inclined Western politicians like the Mayor of London. Curiously enough, the more politicans are left-oriented, the more they consider thenmselves “progressive”, the more their are incline to side with the fascists of the Muslim world. That is a palpable contraddiction, and I hope the West awakes before it is too late. To fight the fascist of the 20th century a leader like Churchill was needed. To fight islamofascism, i.e. the fascism of the 21st century, such a leader still does noit exist.

  195. Refresh — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:40 am  

    Excellent points Douglas. Exactly right.

    Its wholesale fear. Keeping everyone fearful, so no one objects and accepts torture as a necessarily evil. Just as Bert does.

    Bert, in your case you presume to show a professional interest, so mastery of torture is more your subject.

  196. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:48 am  

    Refresh – an infantryman has no need of torture, as when we need information from an enemy we need it like now. We’re also the ones who actually capture the enemy, normally in circumstances that can be described as rather fraught. So a few kicks and a rifle barrel in the mouth and the hapless prisoner is blabbing frantically. He knows full well what sort of mood you’re in, and he knows you can just kill him then and there if you fancy it.

    Very different kettle of fish if you’re going after the top men and the financiers.

  197. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 11:54 am  

    Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi – I agree with all of that except the split from the Brotherhood by Al Qaeda. I’m not convinced it is a split, and not just a deniable operations wing.

  198. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 12:04 pm  

    Bert,

    Well I think I see where our differences lie now. You see the unfettered police state as a good thing, and I don’t. You believe that confessions or intel gained through torture are useful and I don’t.

    You fail to understand the nature of a bureaucracy, where, lets say, one old hag is made to accuse another and they write up their annual report praising their pro-active and successful witch hunt. With a foreward from the Witch Finder General pleading for more funds for this dangerous and important work. The Witch Finder General obviously gets a higher salary and more perks. And gets to hob nob with politicians warning them of the dangers. And round and round we go. Down the centuries from Salem to McCarthyism to now.

    We moved some time ago to a justice system where evidence was open to question, where legitimate defence was not a crime. The destruction of habeus corpus was tried out first in Gitmo, and is now rolled out in the USA. As the UK does nothing that the US doesn’t do first, when can we expect habeus corpus to be abolished here too?

    Glad we’ve resolved that.

  199. Bert Preast — on 26th January, 2007 at 12:30 pm  

    Almost entirely wrong. As an enthusiastic drug muncher I have more to fear then most from an unfettered police state and don’t see it at all as a good thing. Torture is pointless for confessions, but does have some value for intel.

    You misunderstand how intelligence agencies work, they aren’t after witches naimg each other, they want the big picture. You get that by questioning as many witches as you can and looking at how it all fits together, that’s how you find out which witches waffled and which witches told the truth. Many of the most important witch-finders are former witches themselves – and one of the hardest things is to have confidence that they actually have renounced witchcraft. Getting this right is what leads to promotion and glory, getting it wrong leads to filing things and making tea for the ones who got it right.

    The modern justice system is fine for most criminals, but tends to stagger when faced with organised crime – because there’s a whole web to uncover and as soon as you bring your evidence into the public domain, i.e. the courts, you will have to expose evidence that tips off the rest of the web you’re after. Of course dealing with international terrorists makes this even trickier.

  200. Anas — on 26th January, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

    Hey Douglas great, great points.

    There are in my opinion many important and extremely convincing arguments against torture. Forget all the important moral grounds against the use of torture and on the implications of possibly torturing innocent people (moral arguments carry no weight anymore anyway, especially now we’re on a war footing); or the numerous significant arguments about how it affects society in the long term: its impact on the relationship between the individual and the state in a supposedly free and open society — the fact is that the widespread use of torture against terror suspects is in turn a major cause of radicalisation amongst Muslims. I mean, who knows how many deaths have been a direct consequence of fury and outrage about Abu Gharib and Guantanamo. How the torture and imprisonment of innocent people has played out in the Islamic world, and the extent to which it has done the propagandists job for them and served to add even more recruits. (Anyone see Power of Nightmares? Adam Curtis puts forward the idea that the gruesome and brutal torture that Qutb and many others were victim too, including Al-Zawahiri, in Egyptian prisons may well have played an important contributory role to their message becoming ever more extreme.)

    But there’s the obvious consequence — especially of these extraordinary rendition flights, which it’s now obvious have had their fair share of innocent victims — are that these practices act to discourage Muslims in the West from cooperating with intelligence services — and thereby serve to reduce the supply of data from what must be an absolutely vital source of intellgence. I remember an edition of Shariah TV during which someone the venerable assembled scholars what the Islamic stance on joining MI5 given their backing of rendition. I suspect that it hasn’t just deterred potential Muslim candidates from applying to the intelligence services. There there are also issues relating to the reliability and quality of the data received.

    I suppose one of the most important questions we have to ask is, what values are we supposedly fighting for? — apart from the right to access to cheap oil obviously. As Don pointed out earlier, it’s essential that we ask whether the short term benefits of abandoning habeus corpus, the Geneva Conventions, international law, and in fact basic human decency, outweigh the massive implications.

  201. Anas — on 26th January, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    Sorry that should be:

    “I remember an edition of Shariah TV during which someone *asked* the venerable assembled scholars what the Islamic stance on joining MI5 *was* given their backing of rendition.”

    and

    “*Then* there are also issues relating to the reliability and quality of the data received.”

  202. Sid — on 26th January, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    There’s two schools of utilitarianism, act and rule.

    Bert is an act utilitarian whereas someone like Nick Cohen would be a rule utilitarian.

    From wikipedia:

    Some critics reject utilitarianism, both rule and act, on the basis that it seems to be incompatible with human rights. For example, if slavery or torture is beneficial for the population as a whole, it could theoretically be justified by utilitarianism. Utilitarian theory thus seems to overlook the rights of minority groups. It might also ignore the rights of the majority. A man might achieve such pure ecstasy from killing 100 people so that his positive utility outweighs the negative utility of the 100 people he murdered.[original research?]

    Utilitarians may argue that justification of either slavery, torture or mass murder would require unrealistically large benefits to outweigh the direct and extreme suffering to the victims (although some may support one of these practices as being justifiable by the consequences achieved). Utilitarianism would also require the indirect impact of social acceptance of inhumane policies to be taken into consideration; for example, general anxiety and fear might increase for all if human rights are commonly ignored.

    Act and rule utilitarianisms differ in how they treat human rights themselves. Under rule utilitarianism, a human right can easily be considered a moral rule. Act utilitarians, on the other hand, do not accept human rights as moral principles in and of themselves, but that does not mean they are rejected altogether. First, most act utilitarians, as explained above, would agree that acts such as enslavement and genocide always cause great unhappiness and little happiness. Second, human rights could be considered rules of thumb; although torture might be acceptable under some circumstances, as a rule it is immoral. Finally, act utilitarians often support human rights in a legal sense, because utilitarians support laws that cause more good than harm.

  203. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 7:59 pm  

    Bert,

    Thanks for indulging me. You do appreciate that I am trying to balance a serious point with a degree of satire. I don’t want to be arm wrestled or any of that shit.

    Just so you know, I do appreciate the distinction between the heat of battle and it’s aftermath. Although some of my fellow Glaswegians do not.

    I think your version of intelligence is out of text books, or something. Sure, that’s how it is meant to work. They are supposed to be looking for the ‘big picture’, the overall mastermind. It is surprising, when you read books about spycatching, how little the reality seems to stand up to the theory. It seems to apply equally to the war on terror, and I won’t mention the dodgy dossier, if you don’t.

    I am particularily unimpressed by the catch all approach the US took, post conflict, to locking folk up. It seems that there was quite a lot of score settling by Afghan Warlords and the like. If you weren’t flavour of the month, you got stitched up and next thing you knew you were in a private jet headed for Gitmo. That is not to say that there are probably some very dangerous people in Gitmo, but we don’t really know, do we?

    I am also mightily unimpressed with Bushs’ first six months or so, where he did the three monkeys act with the intel that was being put in front of him or his cabinet. He didn’t want to know. As Clinton said recently, he had at least tried to get OBL killed, Bush didn’t, during that pre 9/11 time…who knows why?

    Cheers.

  204. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 8:07 pm  

    Anas,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Just one point. On the consequences: they’d discourage me from joining up, and I’m about as far away from being a Muslim as you can get. Not that they’d have me. The security forces I mean, not the Muslims ;-)

    Just to say that your final sentence is, for me, exactly what this is all about.

  205. Montag — on 26th January, 2007 at 9:42 pm  

    I don’t think the sadism is for fun. I think it is to send out a message. The more confusion, the missing folk out of a community, the suspicion that anyone can be picked up at any time and treated that way, is the tactic of a runaway police state

    That doesn’t make sense. Both the British and American governments have bent over backwards to reassure people that this isn’t a war on Muslims. In the UK, government policy is vetted and trimmed according to the concerns of moderate Muslims. The Metropolitan police are virtually paralysed by political correctness, allowing trainees to snub its chief at a passing-out ceremony, and other officers to obey the dictates of their “conscience” with regard to the protection of the Israeli embassy.

    The picture you paint of Western governments trying to terrorise Muslims into submission is a figment of your overactive idelogical imagination and bears no resemblance to the truth.

  206. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 10:13 pm  

    Montag,

    Of course, if you had an imagination at all, it might make some sort of sense to you. Or, if you had followed the thread rather than picking out a selected passage….

    I am not talking about local policing in Metroland. I am talking about rendition, people disappearing out of communities world wide, and, if reports are to be believed, never seen again. The picture I am painting is not restricted to your little neck of the woods. Believe it or not the world does not end at Watford Gap. It is a global message aimed mainly at the third world.

  207. Montag — on 26th January, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

    I am talking about rendition, people disappearing out of communities world wide, and, if reports are to be believed, never seen again… It is a global message aimed mainly at the third world

    Muslims in the third world are being cowed by the threat of rendition to the third world?

    Whatever will they think of next?

  208. douglas clark — on 26th January, 2007 at 10:45 pm  

    Montag,

    I suspect they will think up lots of other ways to divide and conquer. It’s what they do. And it is pretty well documented. Do a Google or something.

  209. Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi — on 27th January, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

    Dear Mr. Preast,

    At the beginning, the disagremment between al-Qa’ida and the Brotherhood existed, but was easily overcome by a criminal agreement: “You do you job and we do our job, since our goal is always one”.

    As a matter of fact, it is only AFTER 9/11 that al-Qaradawi and Tariq Ramadan started playing the “moderate”. The sad reality is that today al-Qa’ida is the stick and the Brotherhood is the carrot, while the West is unfortunately the ass which is eating carrots hoping he will avoid being beaten. One of the consequences of 9/11 is that the Brotherhood is more powerful in the West than it ever was before. Some of their leaders were fearing that al-Qa’ida could damage its plan of infiltration, but on the contrary it gratly contributed to the camouflage: Tariq Ramadan is today an “anti-terror” consultant of Her Majesty’s government. Which is tantamount to appointing a paedophile to director of an elementary school or Dracula to custodian of a blood bank.

  210. Nyrone — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:27 am  

    Yo Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi,

    Could you please provide proof that Hasan al Banna wrote love letters to Adolf Hitler?

  211. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

    Dunno about love letters to Adolf, but Hasan al Banna was certainly very supportive of Hajj Amin al Husseini, who was clearly a great mate of the nazis.

  212. bananabrain — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    as indeed were rashid ali’s lot in iraq and the people who started and grew the baath party in egypt and syria as well as iraq. it wasn’t even all about “well, we both hate the jews”, although that was quite handy. plus they got all that expertise from those fleeing nazis that didn’t make it to paraguay or get snapped up by the americans (sad but true) for their rocket programmes.

    i’m not at all clear what tariq ramadan’s ever done to support the brotherhood. i mean, i know he’s the grandson and everything, but i’ve never seen anything he’s written that would indicate he supports its aims. qaradawi, on the other hand, is completely convincing as the “so-called moderate”; and to describe livingstone as “suicidal” is probably true, albeit he’ll probably manage to weasel his way out of it, unfortunately.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  213. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    Ramadan’s father was also Brotherhood. And his brother. I think it’s pretty safe to assume Tariq is too, as afaik he’s done nothing to disassociate himself from them.

  214. Sunny — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

    You mean apart from state everytime he is asked to speak that he does not represent the MB or part of them?

  215. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

    Does he?

  216. bananabrain — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    afaik. i mean, he could be lying, of course, but i find it a bit difficult to believe that by being reasonable he is actually helping them. it seems more likely to me that he is showing everyone what a sensible alternative to “crazy arab with a hook” (thanks omid djalili – find the clip on youtube) might actually look like. of course, if anyone wants to post links to things he has said which contradict this, go right ahead. i mean, i would love to see someone as credible as sheikh tantawi, for example, talking in similar terms to irshad manji, or even the eminently sensible ali eteraz, but i’m not kidding myself it’s going to happen any time soon. unfortunately, although manji’s criticisms are long overdue, she’s ruined it by a) being a woman b) not having a beard and c) being a lesbian, which means that everyone immediately “plays the man, not the ball”, although she’s a woman, but you know what i mean. plus of course manji’s criticism (like hirsi ali’s) has been a gift to the really unreasonable/islamophobic who have just used her as a stick to beat all muslims with – which is just as counterproductive.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  217. Nyrone — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:56 pm  

    Why should Tariq Ramadan have to constantly re-state that he does not represent the views of the MB?
    Just because his grandfather founded it, doesn’t make him the heir of the movement. Do people usually have identical views to their grandparents?

    Listen to the content, Ramadan is as far from the dictatorship-mindset of Hajj Amin al Husseini as can possibly be.
    Anyway, I still want more proof of Hasan al Banna’s or his son’s support for the Husseini policy on the Jews.
    Could anyone point some out?

  218. Bert Preast — on 2nd February, 2007 at 1:12 am  

    Sure. Straight from the horse’s mouth:

    “Sheikh Al Banna rejected Balfour Declaration and saw that Britain broke its pledges of liberation and independence with the Arabs, and he expressed his anger over the British repressive policies, quelling freedoms, intimidating civilians and banishing leaders, and he declared his solidarity with Haj Amin Al-Husseini the leader of Palestine”

    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/Home.asp?zPage=Systems&System=PressR&Press=Show&Lang=E&ID=5835

  219. ZinZin — on 2nd February, 2007 at 1:20 am  

    Bert
    Ramadan has been found out in France why do you think he is in the UK. He is just a brighter version of Inayat Bunglawala.

  220. Bert Preast — on 2nd February, 2007 at 1:44 am  

    Found out in France?

  221. Sid — on 2nd February, 2007 at 8:38 am  

    Yes, what do you mean “found out” in France?

  222. ZinZin — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

    Fair enough
    Ramadan is equivocal over the issue of Palestinian suicide-murders explaining them as “contextually explicable”. More damningly and more pertinently French Journalist Caroline Fourest has analysed his books, writings, interviews and 100 recordings and concluded that he is conducting a double discourse that he is a War leader and the political heir of his granfather as Bert constantly tells us.

    “What is clear from Ramadan’s writings is that, for young Muslims, integration into western society as it exists is not an option. He refers to the concept of tawhid, faith in the unity of God, which he sees as a universal value. It is the west that has to be integrated into this totality. In other words, he does not see Islam adapting to local conditions – as is the case with many more progressive Islamic thinkers such as Mohammed Taleb or Malek Chebel – but as an extension of the “house of Islam” into the land of the unbelievers. Muslims in Europe should not consider themselves a minority in alien territory but as leaders in the spiritual redemption of the west.”
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200406210020

    Funny ideas on integration. More to the point can all of his critic be wrong?

  223. bananabrain — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    interesting. the thing is, it’s not necessarily conclusive. i note that the main people who think he could be a shill for the brotherhood are the secret services. but aren’t a lot of people here rather distrustful of taking everything they say on trust. i mean, i personally tend to believe them, but then again this is being reported second-hand. i don’t have a source i trust.

    i don’t like the sound of his “communitarian politics” accusations, but then again an awful lot of people engage in that kind of tactics against jews in public life, not just muslims and not just in france.

    as for “tawhid” – that is something all monotheists believe in and i myself support a better accommodation than we currently have between religion and society. i also don’t see it as necessarily a bad thing that muslims should see themselves as “leaders in the spiritual redemption of the west” – it just depends on how that is done.

    i think my jury’s still out until i hear from a source i can really trust.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  224. ZinZin — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    “i think my jury’s still out until i hear from a source i can really trust.”

    Which source(s) would that be?

  225. Sid Love — on 2nd February, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

    I agree with bananabrain.

    Also, Ramadan is as good as it gets for both Muslims and Non-Muslims as a bridge between Western liberal discourse, Muslim moderates and Brotherhood-esque radicals. He speaks all the languages and is therefore your classic man for all seasons. Personally, I think he’s excellent.

  226. Anas — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:56 pm  

    Pipes V Livingstone is now up on YouTube if anyone wants to see it:
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D0189DEFE4FD3413

  227. londonsound — on 12th February, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    you can download an unofficial mp3 of this debate from

    http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=21601

    I thought Pipes said properly monstrous things in a soft voice, and many there who i spoke to agreed.”we didn’t run out of bullets in vietnam….we ran out of will”
    This is a man who thinks there wasn’t enough american carnage in southeast asia, after 1-3 million vietnamese deaths, chemical weapons causing birth defects to this day, 50,000 plus US soldiers dead in combat and 180,000 US vietnam vets committing suicide in the years since the conflict….. but not enough blood spilled in Pipes’ opinion. Good God!

    both Murray and Pipes arguments rely heavily on complete ignorance of contemporary history or geopolitics to sound credible. It’s as if Rebuilding Americas Defences, the grand chessboard, Vision 20/20, and the US National security strategy 2002 were not available, mostly for free, on the web. Can’t work out whether these guys are just completely ignorant or consciously lying about geostrategy. All you need is a map, for pete’s sake

    The debate was exciting because of the mix of constituencies but the pro-zionist lobby was clearly robust. (before you complain, listen to the recording. it’ll be obvious)

  228. Lee — on 17th February, 2007 at 9:22 pm  

    Sid

    Given that you readily admit to saying things only “tongue in cheek”. Is it fair to say that you have nothing sensible to say and are making up things as you go along?

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