Friday, 25 December 2015

The Christmas spirit of Billy Bob Thornton



Following his instantly classic performance as the hypnotically charismatic and psychopathic hitman Lorne Malvo in the first series of the TV adaption of Fargo (who Bokeem Woodbine's equally as smooth Mike Milligan in the second series was obviously based upon), I have keenly followed the acting career of Billy Bob Thornton.

Christmas can be pleasantly utilized as a time of contemplation and relaxation, but it can also be a depressing and anxious period of the year, much like birthdays can be. As Jackson C. Frank sullenly sang: "It's already over in October, it's already Christmas every year..." The New Year festivities, overcast by gloomy winters, frequently induce self-consciousness existential crisis about the passage of time, goals unaccomplished and future uncertainties, probably why the seasonal alcoholism is traditional for those partaking.

Being a Billy Bob fan has helped to assuage my negative vibes, however, as I noticed that he is to star in Bad Santa 2 - a sequel to a 2003 cult classic that is set for release in the Christmas of 2016. This announcement provided a surreal glimmer of hope. I decided that my 2016 will be relative in anticipation to the release of Bad Santa 2. I appreciate any concern, but my role model is not Billy Bob's portrayal of a chain-smoking and misogynistic robber who uses his position as a supermarket Father Christmas to engage in grand larceny.

My role model is Billy Bob himself. A masterful character actor who was not granted a big break as an actor until his mid-thirties after years of graft, eventually winning Oscars for his absolute determination and artistic integrity. A lesson in self-belief and an antidote to the angst that the season can plague us with, Billy Bob's visage in a Santa outfit shall be the iconography of my transpersonal mental health self-medication at Christmastime.


Saturday, 12 December 2015

What Bernie Sanders means for freethought and equality in the US



Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination in the 2016 US presidential election. The significance of the first woman president likely succeeding the first African American one should not be trivialized. But given the longstanding hostile treatment of religious and social minorities and nonbelievers in US society and politics, the election of her nearest rival—the Jewish democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as "not particularly religious"—would be just as historically momentous.

Sanders’ identity as the son of Jews who fled Nazi-occupied Europe for poverty in New York City, with his father’s family being murdered in the Holocaust, is particularly prescient given the ongoing Middle East refugee crisis. Refugees seeking asylum in the US are being attacked and scapegoated by multiple states, as well as politicians and commentators, as toxic and sinister elements, just as Jewish refugees from Nazism in the 1930s were labelled as potentially communist undesirables and denied safe havensome of them, such as Anne Frank and her family, ultimately falling victim to the Holocaust due to this nationally disgraceful dereliction. Sanders himself made note of his family history in October when he consoled Muslim-American student Remaz Abdelgader and reiterated his stance against Islamophobia, which he compared to the antisemitism his ancestors faced: while Donald Trump and Ted Cruz advocate barring the entry of Muslim asylum seekers, with the overtly fascist Trump advocating the complete exclusion of all Muslims and mass deportation of preexisting refugees, it is Sanders who cites the rise of Hitler as his reason for becoming politically conscious in his youth.



Republican xenophobia slurs professed Christian Barack Obama as a Muslim, and associates his caricatured blackness with dangerous, apparently socialist radicalism. Historically, even white Americans were targeted by the religious right simply for not being Protestants, many of them sharing movements like working class trade unionism with targets of white supremacist racism. The liberal Irish Catholic John F. Kennedy, dubbed a communist by his opponents, was accused of being in thrall to the papacy and thus unable to serve as president with integrity, and his far-right, segregationist enemies perpetrated terrorist attacks against Jewish communities and synagogues just as they did against black churches and civil rights campaigners. Sanders was among those Jewish allies of the civil rights movement, as a student activist organising sit-ins and civil disobedience against segregation; today he is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Having referred to Michael Brown, a teenager shot dead by a white police officer while unarmed, as a "bad actor", Republican favorite Ben Carson dismisses BLM with the retort "all lives matter", a frequent dog whistle of white commentators seeking to deflect focus from endemic anti-black racism in America. Carson also portrays Muslim refugees as savage and animal, the same kind of dehumanization black Americans like him are commonly subjected to.

In contrast, Sanders acknowledges racism as critical to the systemic police brutality faced by ethnic minorities in the US, recognizing the corrupt criminal justice system that impacts non-white Americans—especially those impacted by gross socioeconomic inequality—pervasively.

In the US, Christian fundamentalism has operated in tandem with racism, oppression and discrimination, from the genocide of indigenous peoples to slavery and segregation. It continues to wage misogynist wars against reproductive rights, force through homophobic and transphobic legislation and obstruct the teaching of science, orchestrating the cruel and reckless indoctrination of children with creationism and abstinence-only education. Though Sanders has not specified a view on the question of God, he displays the humanism of a secular Jew: "It is not a good thing to believe," Sanders states, ‘that as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people."

Throughout his career, he has been consistently committed to the separation of church and state, a congressional bulwark against the efforts of his country’s Christian Taliban to enforce antediluvian theocratic agendas. He has done so in a country where, at the dawn of the nineteenth century, deistic anti-Trinitarian Thomas Jefferson was smeared as an "infidel" and "atheist", forced to declare a belief in God in order to become president. In seven US states, atheists who refuse to pledge to serve God are barred from public office, with a 2014 opinion poll revealing that atheists are the second least trusted religious group among the US public, with Muslims the least tolerated.

Regardless of how one views his politics and actions, Barack Obama’s election as the first black president remains an indisputable landmark of social progress in the American nation. And the same would have to be said if a Jewish socialist humanist from Vermont inherited his office.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

International Men's Day and awareness of "privilege"



The University of York cancelled recognition of International Men's Day (IMD) on its campus, after women's rights campaigners lobbied against the university doing so on the basis of IMD failing to recognize the "structural inequalities" that women, rather than men, are affected by. In the UK, women are the most predominant victims of domestic and sexual violence, are being adversely impacted by austerity such as cuts to benefits and public services, and have marginalized representation in the media, politics and employment. All of us committed to advocating for social justice and inequality can and should acknowledge these facts. We should also bear in mind the appropriation of the cause of "Men's Rights" by trolls and misogynists who tend to care little about the legitimate issues highlighted by IMD anyway.

However, modern feminism frequently makes reference to the concepts of of "privilege" and "intersectionality", which in practice are supposed to identify that social discrimination and inequality varies throughout social groups according to various factors, including gender, race and sexuality. But it does not appear that those who lobbied against respect for IMD at York are willing to apply these ideas to their own standing in life and society.

During International Men's Day I noticed many commentators, not limited to women, making a mockery of IMD on the apparent basis of it being an absurdity for there to be a day commemorating the gender that socioeconomically, or perhaps patriarchally, dominates society. Which is distasteful given that one of the prime issues affecting men and boys that IMD focuses on is male mental health and suicide.

Men in middle age from disadvantaged backgrounds are the social group in the UK most at risk of dying from suicide. Interrelating with this statistic is that white boys from poor households suffer the most in terms of low attainment of employment and academic success later in life. Austerity, as well as deepening poverty and inequality as a whole, has had a disproportionate, arguably systemically racist impact on black and ethnic minority communities, with men from BME communities working in part-time jobs more prevalently than their white counterparts. Cuts to disability benefits and mental health services are worsening rates of mental illness and suicide in all groups.

So there is a certain ironic cruelty women at a Russell Group university, socially privileged in contrast to these men and boys, belittling the annual event that intends to raise awareness of such inequality.

In the criminal justice system men are less likely than women to report already underreported crimes such as rape and child sexual abuse, with sexual and domestic violence against men and boys being among the prime issues that IMD focuses on. In terms of discrimination, in 2014-2015 police forces in the UK registered a 22% increase in homophobic hate crimes and a 9% increase in transphobic hate crimes, with the victims presumably including gay, bisexual and trans men. Trans and gender nonconforming men are also face deprivation in NHS treatment for their mental health and gender identity, a problem being worsened by cuts to these services.

It clearly a disservice to the cause of equality for feminists to trivialize awareness of these forms of inequality, violence and discrimination that intersect with the same that also harm women and girls in the UK and internationally. Feminism does not need to degrade this awareness to advance its own cause.




Thursday, 1 October 2015

Comrade Corbyn or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb




As the mushroom clouds of existential annihilation bloomed over the horizons of Great Britain, Len McCluskey was jubilant. Staring at the wall of the official Labour Party fallout shelter, a wry smile spread across his face. "Unite won the internal party debate", he nodded to himself. Dan Hodges, at the other side of the room, concurred, scribbling his newest opinion piece onto an scraggy piece of piece of paper with his last remaining pencil: "What does the nuclear holocaust mean for Jeremy Corbyn?", satisfied that it would be published in the Telegraph once most of the radiation had cleared. 

Dan was certain that Labour was now a "credible, pragmatic and progressive force" following the deposition of the former anti-Trident leader, who was replaced by none other than nuclear weapon enthusiast Luke Akehurst. Akehurst had won the by-election forced by Liz Kendall, who voluntarily stood down so he could take her place and mount a leadership challenge against Corbyn. Akehurst was coronated when the majority of Labour MPs decided to reform the party's election rules to make themselves the sole deciders of the party leadership. A grassroots that obstructed the pressing of the nuclear button, and thus "British Values", was too much to bear, and the trade unions, in a rare alliance with the Blairites and Labour's establishment, agreed that a hesitancy to retain the technology used to mount a nuclear holocaust compromised its members' job security. Labour won the 2020 election when they pledged to consider using the "nuclear deterrent option" against refugees in Europe, winning back Tory and UKIP supporters in the process.


The hippie tendencies of Corbyn's Labour contrasted to the "strong", "moral" and - most importantly - middle England focus group friendly approach of Prime Minister Akehurst, who triumphantly instructed the Royal Navy to fire Trident's nuclear missiles at Moscow when Vladimir Putin threatened to take "disciplinary diplomatic action" against Great Britain while shirtless and riding a horse. The PM could simply not tolerate the level of Putin's machismo, so Attack Warning Red it was.


As the Russian IBMs rained down on the UK, obliterating tens of millions of lives in minutes and resulting in the nuclear Third World War that would ensure the extinction of humanity and make Earth inhospitable for all life, Labour's election strategists wept with despair in the far corner of the fallout shelter. "All the communication networks are down!", one wailed. "How can we see what the opinion pollsters say about this?"

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Why I joined Labour



Jeremy Corbyn's win was presumed, but it was even more colossal than expected. With nearly 60% of the vote, he won the overwhelming support of every category of participant in the election: from registered supporters, to trade union affiliates, and full members alike; categorically refuting the idea that Corbyn's popularity is built only on entryism and the influence of trade unions in the Labour Party.

His win confirms that there is a broad consensus in favour of the policy platforms that he advocates, with belief in housing and healthcare and freedom from poverty as human rights, free education, public ownership of transport and utilities, restructuring of the financial and economic systems to address the gross inequality and systemic corruption that plagues the UK, a holistic approach to mental health and social care, foreign policy including the abolition of nuclear weapons and a welcoming and compassionate attitude to refugees, and the recognition of climate change as a pressing international crisis. This also exhibits a categorical rejection of the aping and conceding to the ideological Tory austerity narrative that Labour Party leadership has adhered to before now.

Though I remain supportive of the values and purpose of the Green Party I was previously a member of - a party that should cooperate with a Corbyn-led Labour Party wholeheartedly thanks to a mutual commitment to these values - the Labour movement is now one I am proud to be loyal to.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Edward Heath, paedophilia and homophobia

In response to multiple police investigations being opened into reports of child sexual abuse by the former prime minister Edward Heath, the Spectator magazine has published a column (which in the name of moral decency and prevention of them profiting from it I will not link to) in defence of Heath by the convicted paedophile Johnathan King, titled: "Edward Heath wasn't gay. Trust me, I tried – and failed – to seduce him".

The magazine does not state that King was imprisoned in 2001 for sexually abusing numerous underage teenage boys between the 1960s and 1980s. The police investigations into his crimes found that he had attempted to groom and sexually abuse literally thousands of boys and, when successful, used his professional position and status in the music industry to do so in order to sexually assault and rape them. (King's rapes were prosecuted as "buggery" due to the laws in the time they were committed defining them as such, so he was given a sentence more lenient than he would likely have been given if prosecuted under current criminal laws for sex offences).

Despite his convictions and the overwhelming evidence against him, King has never apologised for his crimes, and following the common practice of sexual abusers and predators shamelessly attacks his victims as liars and fantasists. King, a predatory paedophile who targeted boys for rape and sexual abuse, also happens to be gay. In his claim to have unsuccessfully attempted to seduce Ted Heath, rumored to have been gay, he implies within the context of the reports of child sexual abuse and rape by Heath that they are equatable to speculation about Heath's possible homosexuality, thus deeming them invalid. This would logically be the ulterior motive of a dangerous and remorseless paedophile like King, unashamedly attempting to justify and legitimise his own rape and sexual abuse of children while denying it at face value, in order to foster a cultural environment that assists paedophiles to cover-up their crimes while shaming and disbelieving victims into silence.

In Ted Heath's lifetime, sexual activity between men was a criminal offence in the UK, which necessitated secrecy and covert sexual practices like cruising in public places among gay men, which Heath was allegedly cautioned by the police for involvement in (presumably treated more leniently because of his position as an MP and Cabinet minister). Male homosexuality, between consenting partners, was criminalised because it was deemed salacious and "grossly indecent" by the prevailing prejudices at the time; to frame child sexual abuse within the same narrative portrays in a positive light in the present, rather than as a violent criminal act against children it is. Which is a pro-paedophile agenda unsubtly advocated by Johnathan King that the Spectator has chosen to give a platform to as a form of damage control to Heath.

The accusation of paedophilia is an age old homophobic slur that has been historically commonly used to undermine and repress social movements to advance the rights of gay men and other LGBT+ people alike. A prime example is the Thatcher's government's homophobic Section 28, many of the proponents of which supported its aim to prevent issues surrounding gay rights being taught in schools on the basis of the normalisation of paedophilia being linked to educating children and young people on sexual and gender identity topics, in reaction the AIDS crisis and advancements in anti-discrimination and age of consent laws.

It is factual that paedophiles, who were marginalised by gay rights groups at the time and are completely now, attempted to appropriate the causes of gay rights and social liberation in effort to socially normalise the sexual abuse of children. Among them was the Paedophile Information Exchange whose major figures were linked to the UK's establishment paedophile rings, involved the rape and murder of children and the organised cover-up of these crimes, that Ted Heath was reportedly involved in. In 1984, the Metropolitan Police seized a dossier from the journalist Don Hale, who attempted to provide it to the Home Office at the time, that named Heath as involved in PIE. PIE is an organisation that, in response to the equalisation of the age of consent for gay sex, advocated that the age of consent be abolished entirely, therefore legalising adults engaging in sexual activity with children of all ages. PIE was disbanded in 1984 and its core members have been convicted and imprisoned for child sexual abuse and child pornography offences since.

It is the mutual vested interest of paedophiles and homophobes to equate male homosexuality to child sexual abuse. The latter rely on it an effort to excuse their behaviour and the latter manipulate it to promote hatred and discrimination. The Spectator has managed to condense both of these agendas into a column by a child raping paedophile motivated by the former agenda while playing into the bigotry of the latter. And for this reason it has no moral or intellectual credibility as a publication whatsoever.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Wiltshire Police's child abuse cover-up

The national story broke today that Wiltshire Police is under Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation for failing to investigate child sexual abuse claims against the former prime minister Edward Heath. A retired officer from the force relayed them to his superiors in the 1990s but no action was taken. But those of us who have been paying attention to Wiltshire Police's dealings with such cases know that it was already under IPCC investigation for mishandling and misconduct in regards to historical child abuse.

Wiltshire Police's former chief constable, Patrick Geenty, has been under an investigation into his alleged gross misconduct since 2014. Geenty and other senior officers in the force are reported to have misled and withheld information from police complainants who came forward about historical child abuse. (I previously wrote about Geenty's connection to criminally convicted Chief Superintendent Colin Andrews when he worked at Humberside Police).

Edward Heath as an establishment paedophile is also old news to those who have heard of corroborating descriptions from UK establishment and intelligence insiders who for over years have described his sexual abuse and murder of children. Most infamous are the stories of Heath's participation in establishment paedophile rings in Jersey, who raped, tortured and murdered children from the Haut de la Garenne children's home, and then incinerated the children's bodies to destroy the evidence; a crime which, if true, thus can only be described as a Holocaust. Major establishment paedophile Jimmy Savile was said to have supplied Heath with children to sexually abuse and murder aboard his yacht. So, on another note, why is the Jersey child abuse and its cover-up, like the same perpetrated at Kincora Boys' home in Northern Ireland that was similarly covered up by government and military intelligentsia, not included in the recently opened Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse establishment by the UK government, despite it including establishment paedophiles also involved in child abuse crimes on the mainland, including at Westminster, where children were also abused and murdered by them?

Graham Power led the Jersey Police investigation into the Haut de la Garenne child abuse, but was suspended when he ordered forensic investigations to potentially uncover the remains of murdered children, following the documenting of witness accounts of children at the home being taken from their beds in the night and then disappearing forever. For doing so Power was accused of mishandling the investigation, and the investigation into him was conducted by none other than Wiltshire Police. Power was later fully exonerated of any misconduct and remains convinced that his deposing from the Jersey investigation was his challenging of the cover-up of the crimes by top level establishment figures.

The vanishing of children is common theme in historical establishment child abuse cases and is not reserved to Jersey. Tom Watson MP recounted survivors of child abuse in North Wales describing the same, and the Metropolitan Police is investigating child murder cases that are said to have involved Westminster paedophiles at Dolphin Square. The 1981 murder of eight-year-old Vishambar Mehrotra and 1979 disappearance 15-year-old Martin Allen are suspected to be among the murder cases of the covered up Westminster paedophile rings.

So in light of the paedophile prime minister Heath's offending not being investigated by Wiltshire Police, and Heath's documented involvement in paedophile rings that murdered abused children in Jersey, it is sobering to consider that the former national Association of Chief Police Officers lead into missing persons cases was none other than Patrick Geenty. Geenty forced the change in missing persons policy which means that police no longer have to investigate all missing persons cases, instead classifying children missing without a "specific" reason for concern for their welfare, as decided by child protection authorities, being deemed "absent" instead. This is despite child abuse charities including the NSPCC warning that this policy change increases the risk children to of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Fundamental to establishment paedophilia has been the procuring and trafficking of children from within the care system; so how useful to the disappearances if those victims are deemed to be mere "absences" rather than emergencies.

All of this seems too coincidental to indicate anything other than Wiltshire Police's systemic and corrupt historical role in organised establishment child abuse, which the police have played a role in nationally covering up in the UK.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Iceland: the European vanguard of democratic resistance


The international Pirate Party movement, which primarily campaigns against outmoded copyright laws and intrusive government surveillance, is generally considered to be a fringe political element by mainstream observers.
But this is not the case in Scandinavia, where the Pirate Party of Iceland is the most popular political party: the opinion polls currently indicate that the Pirates, who are leading in them, will form the next government of this country, one of the most socially and economically developed in Europe and the world.
The Pirate Party’s commitment to freedom of information, and opposition to surveillance statism and warrantless mass retention of internet data, is exemplified in its call to give Edward Snowden political asylum in Iceland. But equally as strong is its belief in political freedom and self-determination, as seen its successful campaign to abolish Iceland’s blasphemy laws. and conditional support for Iceland’s accession to the European Union on the basis that EU-wide economic policies are decided based on the input of elected representatives, as opposed to corporatist technocrats in Brussels.
The Pirate Party of Iceland was only formed in 2012, yet in three years has accelerated to become a nationally leading but anti-establishment political force. It follows the trend of democratic revolution in the country since the financial crisis of 2008; when the financial institutions that caused the economic crisis were broken up and the country’s constitution was rewritten via a people’s constitutional convention. This humanistic approach to governance and economic decision-making contrasts with the sacrifice of the social fabric under austerity to preserve and maintain the vested interests of criminally corrupt financial institutions, enforced by unelected commissioners working on their behalf, as seen in countries such as Greece and Spain.
But the radical, popular political movements in those countries follow the same trend as Iceland’s Pirate Party. Syriza resists usurious austerity imposed the IMF rather than conceding to the vested interests it represents, a previously unheard of stance of any democratically elected government. Podemos, which was formed only two years ago, has harnessed the tradition of mass demonstration into a comprehensive manifesto that includes support for a universal basic income and the decentralization of political power reflected in the protests that it serves as a an organized vessel of.
As these radical, transformational political movements have rapidly gained popular support, the moribund social democratic parties of nominal opposition — which concede to the demands of state capitalist conservatism — have conversely disintegrated in their support and legitimacy.
Elsewhere in Europe, xenophobic and far-right elements have manipulated economic crises and political disillusionment to promote reactionary platforms that scapegoat migrants and other marginalized groups as the cause of social ills.
They are counteracted by the anti-establishment parties — like Syriza— who attack the root causes of inequality and socioeconomic breakdown while compassionately defending immigrants from xenophobic attack. They inverse the support of the fascists and far-right who rely on the scapegoating that mutually deflects attention from the social injustice that perpetuates the vested interests of the ruling economic classes.
These radical democratic parties reflect that the vision of freer and more equal technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable societies — fundamentally based on democratic and humanistic socialist values — are not fringe elements; but a popular current that clearly voices that there is indeed an alternative.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Jeremy Corbyn: the majority candidate for Labour



After managing to scrape together enough nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn is participating in the Labour leadership contest, resulting from Ed Miliband's resignation, as a representative of "the left". The fact that being a left-wing candidate for the leadership of a party that claims to stand for democratic socialism, social democracy and trade unionism, makes Corbyn perceived to be a minority oddity, exemplifies how far the indecisive and capitulating Labour establishment has deviated the party from the core values it was founded to represent.

Corbyn is an irrelevant ideological relic of the past, say his detractors. He may be popular among grassroots Labour members who actually believe in socialism, who are inspired by Corbyn's passionate advocacy of social justice rather than (like most mainstream Labour candidates, particularly Blairites) pandering to Tory rhetoric, and the deceitful narrative it propagates on the economic crisis caused by Thatcherite policies, which is used to justify ideological austerity. But Corbyn would doom Labour to an even steeper defeat in the failure to appeal to the centrist mainstream, if he were to lead Labour into the 2020 general election, they insist.

But the facts indicate that the democratic socialist principles Corbyn stand for are by any estimation majority opinion, even if the identifying labels of left-wing or socialist are much maligned. UKIP, a hard-right party which advocates neoliberal socioeconomic policies even more extreme than those endorsed by the Tories, have become a viable political force in the Labour's North of England heartlands, winning a sizable number of second places at May's general election and displacing the Liberal Democrats, who used to be the populist anti-establishment party of choice, as the third party in terms of vote share (under a fundamentally undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system). (UKIP has found substantial success in Wales as well, more than the social democratic Plaid Cymru).

An opinion polling of UKIP supporters in 2014 indicated that a majority of them believe in socialist policies in clear contradiction of what that their vote of choice actually represents. UKIP backers support an NHS free from privatisation; public utilities, transportation and rail networks nationalised and run in the public interest rather than for private profit; the banning of exploitative zero hour contracts; increasing the minimum wage to a living wage; and counteracting tax dodging by the rich and multinational corporations as an alternative to cuts to public services as a means of deficit reduction. Owen Jones fervently agrees with the average UKIP voter.

Disillusioned voters in England, who would usually turn to Labour to represent them being met with vapid messages about "aspiration" and an approach to austerity indistinguishable from that of the Tories, protest in the form of a UKIP vote instead, even if that party's cynical and calculated scapegoating of migrants does not appeal to them. Of course, the Tories did well in the South of England, and benefited from the near total collapse of the Lib Dems. But Labour were able to win new seats and actually increased its overall share in the popular vote, including a seven percent increase in London, even though Ed Miliband's "left-wing" platform was apparently electorally untenable. But in its uncritical conceding to Tory austerity being inevitable, it certainly seemed hypocritical.

As Tory and Lib Dem support in Scotland in minimal, it was Labour who faced the most obvious electoral decimation in Scotland at the hands of a Scottish National Party, that takes a firm, compassionate stance against austerity as well as nuclear weapons, in contrast to a Labour leadership in London and Scottish Labour Party that allied to push for austerity in Scotland at Holyrood and rallied behind the maintenance of weapons of Trident mass destruction on the Clyde, which Corbyn rallies against as a vice-chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Again, Labour's essential abandonment of its basic philosophical values ingrained a disillusionment in the electorate, this time in Scotland, that hammered in the final nail in the coffin of its relevancy in that part on the UK.

But as Corbyn, as an unashamed democratic socialist and decades-long campaigner for social justice and anti-war movements, stands on a platform of the anti-austerity policies and principles that UKIP and SNP voters alike evidently believe in, then far from being a fringe candidate of predestined failure, he could be leader of a national movement that would turn the tide of mass disenchantment in the Labour Party; most importantly in effective opposition to the devastating attacks on society and its most vulnerable by the Tories. Which is why I have paid my £3 to become a registered Labour supporter in the hope of voting for him.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Israel and Nazi Germany





Israel is the country that is most similar to Nazi Germany existing in the world today. There are countries like Greece and Hungary, that have insurgent neo-fascist political movements in the form of Golden Dawn and Jobbik that promote discrimination and bigotry towards ethnic minorities, including Jews. But in terms of the actual perpetration of state-sanctioned racist criminality, the situation in Israeli is the most grave. Comparing it to Nazism could be cited an example of Godwin's law; the shallow comparison of political action and ideology to Nazism to portray it in the possible worst terms for purely self-serving purposes. But if we are to say "never again" to what took place in fascism and the Holocaust, then an analysis of the present through the lens of the worst crimes of the 20th century is always justified and relevant. Only those with a vested ideological and political interest to trivialize this would do. Which is why I say that there is no other country where racism, in this case towards the Palestinians as well as African Jews, is more politically normalized. And within this normalized racism is a genocidal dehumanization of the Palestinians that is a mainstream political discourse in Israeli society. It is perhaps more controversial to do so given that Israel was founded as a Jewish state in the aftermath of Holocaust; which only makes the reality of the Israeli brand of genocidal fascism even more tragic, and contemptible given that the legacy of the Holocaust is used as a propaganda tool by Israel and its apologists to justify the crimes against the Palestinians. Could there be a worse abuse of the memory of the victims of the genocide than using it to excuse another genocide?

The rhetoric referred to Haaretz journalist Ms Hauser's tweet is only example of this: the description of the Palestinians, by Israeli government Head of Civil Administration Eli Ben-Dahan, as "beasts" that are "not human"; thus subhumans, or Untermenschen as the Nazis described their victims. Ben-Dahnan's colleague, education minister Naftali Bennett, said he was "proud" of his involvement in the mass murder of Palestinian civilians and UN peacekeepers in 1996, in his own words there being "no problem" with such crimes against humanity if Arabs were those who fell prey. Bennett's colleague in the Jewish Home party, Ayelet Shaked, advocated the outright genocide of the Palestinians in a 2014 Facebook post, decidedly equating the Palestinian race as an enemy combatant group, describing them as "snakes" and their children as "little snakes". It is exactly how Heinrich Himmler justified the mass murder of Jewish children on the basis that they would eventually pose the same liability to Germany as their parents.

In conclusion, we observe a narrative that embodies a bloodthirsty desire to exterminate an ethnic group, compared to animals and seen as subhumans, on the basis that as a collective Other they post an inherent existential threat to the political bodies that are encouraged to perpetrate their ethnic cleansing. What could be more Nazi-like than this, both ideologically and materially? In 2008 defence minister and IDF general Matan Vilani, currently Israeli ambassador to China, indicated the agenda in the most explicit terms: he warned of a "Holocaust" of the Palestinians. In 2007 this Holocaust threat was precipitated by a group of Israeli rabbis who advocated the mass carpet bombing of Gaza in response to rockets fired by Hamas: "if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000, even a million." As Professor Hillel Weiss personally informed a Palestinian in 2014: "To annihilate you as a rabble is a mitzvah [a divine commandant from God]", and because "you aren't a people therefore there's no genocide". It is just as Hitler and Himmler promoted the "Final Solution" as a divine mission.

I have indeed, as Ms Hauser suggests, read extensively on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. I am currently reading KLA History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsman. Naturally we historically reflect on the the Holocaust as its worst apex, when the genocide became official policy and when the killing squads and gas chambers began to operate. But in reading Wachsman's book it becomes clear that the Holocaust began as a gradual chain of events long before then: it began from the early 20th century with discrimination and persecution, motivated by rhetoric and propaganda informed by decades of antisemitic stereotypes and scapegoating - promoted by intelligentsia such as academics, journalists and religious leaders - that portrayed the Jews and the Holocaust's other victims as subhumans that were verminous, animalistic and an enemy to society and the nation: ultimately, the extermination became the logical end of this policy when prevalent discourse became an echo chamber of hatred, in which dissenting voices were marginalized and seen as enemies themselves, gradually reaching to the crescendo of the mass shooting and gassing of the "subhuman" pests.

The Israeli blitzkriegs in Gaza could be described as Holocausts within themselves; the systematic obliteration of the innocents by fire, and their homes, schools, hospitals, justified on the most tenuous grounds of military self-defence. No wonder the Netanyahu government, assisted by the United States, has gone to every length to obstruct Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court that would facilitate UN criminal investigation and ICC prosecution of Israeli war crimes; such as the 2014 offensive that was condemned as genocide by 300 Holocaust survivors and their descendants from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

Ironically, to attack the Palestinians as a whole on the basis that they are equatable to a minority of extremists is playing the same extremists at their own game: it deepens their grip on power as well as the sectarianism within both Israeli and Palestinian territory. It stands for a mutually symbiotic acceleration of extremism, which the Israeli extremists have no problem with for propaganda purposes given that their overarching goal is evidently ethnic cleansing. 

So don't take my word for it, Ms Hauser: the perpetrators of the Palestinian Holocaust celebrate their own crimes as genocide, and so do the few survivors who stared into the abyss of Nazi evil. Extensive Israeli crimes against humanity and war crimes motivated by ethnic cleansing have already been perpetrated over the past sixty years. There may be deniers of the Palestinian Holocaust, but the wisdom of history indicates that this death cult will fully accelerate into an outright attempt at extermination if we naively and selfishly choose to turn a blind eye and stay silent. Let's conduct our new Nuremberg Trials at the ICC and root out the cancer of Israeli fascism from the world before this does indeed become reality, as history indicates it will.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The UK crisis of democracy

According to the media, a political and constitutional crisis is to take place at the UK's general election. That is the representative democratic election of a political party to parliament. The Scottish National Party looks to take the majority of Scottish parliamentary seats in a landslide, eradicating the Labour Party and pockets of Tories and Lib Dems that have imposed a neoliberal austerity regime on them with no mandate. During the independence referendum of last year, the 'Yes' to separation from the UK side briefly polled ahead of 'No', but was assuaged when Westminster's main party leaders pledged to ensure further devolution of power to a Scotland within the Union. It's clear that Scots, a body politic with a prevalently social democratic character, are opposed to the dismantling of civil society embodied in austerity being complimented with nuclear missile submarines being maintained on their shores which the three Westminster-based establishment parties are committed to, which is why the massive SNP is a force they must reckon with. But rather engage with Scottish concerns in the very same parameters they set during the referendum, they obstructively and contemptuously see them as a liability. David Cameron has mounted an English-centric campaign in opposition to Scottish influence in parliament while Ed Miliband has indicated that he would rather facilitate a Tory government taking power than cooperate with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament. Labour, supportive of austerity and Trident, are popularly known among Scottish nationalists as the Red Tories. If they were allow to the Tory Party to take power to obstruct the SNP from holding any from Westminster, it would confirm this accusation.

The fundamental problem that this status represents, both the Westminster contempt for the SNP's representation of the Scottish electorate and its failure to confront the reality of hung parliaments resulting the need for multi-party cooperation to govern, is an opposition to democracy itself. When Scotland voted 'No' it assumed that its voice would be heard and respected rather than silenced and ignored by a London-based establishment that begged it to retain its status in the Union beforehand. Like the colonial American revolutionaries, Scotland will respond in kind to its representation being held in contempt in this is perpetuated if a likely second referendum takes place. Russell Brand has rescinded his anti-voting stance, but the blunt reality is that his protest that voting is a pointless endeavor remains true for the majority of voters. As the majority of MPs can complacently rely on being elected in seats with safe majorities under the first-past-the-post electoral system, which has resisted many decades of efforts to reform it under the pretense of providing stability and direct representation. Under FPTP, most voters' votes are worthless under them as a statement of belief; but one that has no practical effect in terms of the democracy this broken, non-proportional electoral system claims to achieve. How can the British public, the majority of whom are non-voters, be blamed for apathy and disinterest in politics when the political system and its politicians are so overwhelmingly dysfunctional and ineffective when it comes to representing them?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

No more Activity or Discover: Twitter's self-destructive user-unfriendly update

On 20 April, Twitter rolled out changes to its interface which it states it hopes to "help you connect more easily – and directly – on Twitter with the people, causes and businesses you care about most." The problem is that they have achieved the complete opposite.




Twitter only refers to this update as a quaint and practical change: a simple, streamlined redesign that makes direct messaging between users easier. It doesn't mention that this update has completely got rid of the 'Activity' and 'Discover' tabs, a bewildering so-called advancement that actually makes Twitter a less interesting and convenient platform to engage on.

Whenever I logged onto Twitter, I would check the 'Activity' and 'Discover' tabs to see content I might have otherwise missed, tweets favourited and retweeted by my followers and those I follow, as well as tweets from accounts that I didn't already follow which were popular among my network. As I follow over 2,300 accounts, this automated curation system was very useful for me to engage with my network and find new content and accounts of interest, as the 'Activity' and 'Discover' names imply. Now all I have is my timeline and a searchbox: I have no immediate means of finding out what interests my network or what it being discussed by them. And this inherently undermines the ease with which I can use and interact with Twitter as a platform. I'm on my own in these respects.

I find it staggering that such decisions are okayed as good ideas by tech higher-ups, and even more staggering that people are paid substantial sums of money to make them. I am ultimately insignificant to Twitter as one user, but I can definitely state that this pointless and counterproductive alteration makes me a lot less interested in using Twitter at all. I assume that there are many thousands of others who feel the same. What harm would restoring these completely useful utilities do? For what purpose were they even done away with?

Friday, 17 April 2015

Katie Hopkins, scapegoats and the rhetoric of genocide



In October 1943, Adolf Hitler's deputy Heinrich Himmler was recorded speaking to senior Nazi generals in the Polish city of Posen about the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question": the ongoing Holocaust, the Nazi Party's mission to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Himmler justified the Holocaust on the basis of the Jewish people being a "bacillus", comparing them to a viral infection which needed to be eradicated. This mentality was indoctrinated into the national consciousness of Nazi Germany by Hitler's chief propagandist Joesph Goebbels, directly leading to the social and institutional conditions in which the Holocaust could be carried out. Fifty years after the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide was perpetrated. The mass murder of the Tutsi minority population, by gangs of Hutu slaughterers, was encouraged and coordinated by shortwave radio propagandists who referred to them as "cockroaches". In both cases, the scapegoated minorities were blamed for economic struggles and the diminishing of national prowess, and the systematic annihilation of the pests was promoted as the solution to these ills.

Seventy and twenty years passing since these atrocities has been a cause for remembrance, which evidently has not affected the popular UK media commentator Katie Hopkins, who used her column in Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper to refer to refugees from North Africa precariously travelling to Europe via the Mediterranean by boat, with hundreds dying in the process, as a "norovirus" and "cockroaches". Shades of Nazism and a direct appropriation of Rwandan Genocide rhetoric. Hopkins advocates the use of gunboats to sink the refugees' boats and - in admiration of the Abbot government's treatment of asylum seekers in Australia, which has been considered for UN investigation on the basis of international human rights law violations - she amuses herself by suggesting that they be killed through a pelting of Fosters beer cans. A Nazi-like fetishism and enthusiasm for the ruthless destruction of dehumanized human beings' lives runs through her piece. She notes that she no sympathy for images of "skinny people looking sad", similarly as apathetic as Himmler when confronted by starved victims of the extermination camps he toured. And of course, she cites migrants as a parasitic burden on public services and the welfare state; a convenient detraction from inequality and austerity resulting from and justified by the financial crisis.

Hopkins has an establishment reputation as a professional controversialist. But she is not a random internet troll: her hate speech is featured in the UK's second bestselling newspaper and she regularly appears on national television and radio shows. Ruthless politicians (see above) will undoubtedly aim to garner support by appealing to her fans with their policies. Human rights abuses against refugees in the UK, as seen in institutions like the Yarl's Wood Detention Centre, exemplify xenophobia and hate-mongering put into political practice. We may be keen to dismiss Hopkins' motives as publicity and financially driven, and refrain from contributing to it with our outrage. But lest we forget that the genesis of the worst crimes in human history have always begun with the dehumanization and scapegoating of a minority group in the collective psyche.

Incitement to racial hatred is illegal under criminal law for good reason.

#BlockedByGalloway

Seemingly like anyone who disagrees with him, I am blocked by George Galloway on Twitter, presumably leaving him with a comfortable insular cadre of Galloway personality cultists with V for Vendetta masks in their avatars.

When I learned that Galloway had threatened legal action against those who apparently accused him of antisemitism, I noted his long-standing affiliation to Press TV, an Iranian government-controlled media network with a history of promoting antisemitism: including through its publication of an opinion piece in May 2011 that portrayed the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as legitimate and advocated the cliched antisemitic trope of Jews controlling the media.

Galloway blocked me when I publicly challenged his unapologetic allegiance to antisemitic propagandists. He is not necessarily an antisemite, but definitely a friend of them when it politically and financially convenient to be one. So why not sue me for pointing it out?

Shoah business: Holocaust-washing of Israeli racism and atrocities

For the record, there is no such thing as a Holocaust denier. Nobody, not even a neo-Nazi, can be literally idiotic enough to actually disbelieve the reality of the Final Solution despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. An undeniably crude and disgusting trope popular among its deniers is "There's no business like Shoah business". In this case it refers to their insinuation that the historical event of the Holocaust was fabricated by elite Jews as a brand for financial gain. But "Shoah business" can be used in the context of those who manipulate the reality of the Holocaust as a propaganda tool to perpetuate their political and military agendas: by which I am referring to the State of Israel and its supporters.

Pinkwashing is the term the status of LGBT people in Israel being used to portray the country as a bastion for human rights and democracy. There can be no doubt that LGBT rights are vastly better in Israel than in other Arab countries. But this is no excuse for the covering up and trivialization of Israel's military slaughters and state-sponsored racism.

As I previously wrote, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre promotes apologism for Israeli war crimes in the name of the memory of and historical research into the Shoah, despite the fact the innumerable Jews worldwide - including Holocaust survivors - oppose and condemn these atrocities. Even the Auschwitz Memorial Museum is up to it.




Here the blood-soaked flag, under which the fiery annihilation and evisceration of Palestinians is perpetrated by, is brandished where the gassings and cremations took place. The names of the mass murdered under the Swastika are used as a Star of David seal of approval for the new mass murder. (The latter is increasingly a symbol of death for this reason, like the former which has stood for peace and enlightenment for millenia). You can argue, if you wish, that it is distasteful of me to appropriate a Holocaust denial phrase of "Shoah business" to refer to this phenomena. The use of the word Holocaust to reference the extermination of two-thirds of Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany seventy years has only been the popular terminology for it since the 1970s. The targeted bombings deemed to be war crimes by the United Nations, resulting in Israeli's obstruction of Palestine's secession to the International Criminal Court, can be referred to as a Holocaust in its own right. There is nothing more distasteful than the legacy of the worst crime of the 20th century being denigrated and expropriated as a commodified propaganda tool to justify the worst of the 21st.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The iconography of Kurt Cobain




The approximate lapse of time since Kurt Cobain committed suicide is now as old as I am. Though I was only an infant when he died, the strength of his songwriting and Nirvana's music was powerful enough to affect my generation as much as it did his own. There is good reason why Nevermind became one of the best-selling albums of all time after it was predicted by record company bosses to be modestly profitable by merely catering to indie niche like Sonic Youth did. Like punk, and actually unlike most contemporary grunge bands, Nirvana's songs were catchy in adherence to pop sensibilities with a guitar heaviness complimenting this, and with empathic lyrics addressing everyday romance and childhood insecurities appealing in contrast to the turgidity of mainstream 80s and early 90s rock.

Growing up, as my serious interest in music became intense, I was frequently made a mockery of by my peers for being such a voracious Nirvana fan. It seemed that there was a particular stigma associated to Cobain's demise and the emotionally and personally honest songwriting that preceded it. Nirvana was labelled as an "emo" band (more like Weezer, you plebeian dweebs), the fashion sense that reached its apex in the mid 2000s and was banned by authorities in Russia for apparently promoting self-injury. Over the years, including during his heyday, some have even accused Nirvana of promoting and glorying depressive and suicidal tendencies. One Christian fundamentalist on YouTube claims to have had a vision of Cobain burning in hell for encouraging people to "give up on life" in his songs.

When he took his own life, Cobain sadly accomplished the self-fulfilling prophecy imposed upon him by the mass media, in which he was portrayed in the most one-dimensional terms as a celebratory and self-destructive drug addict and depressive whose music was a confirmation of these tendencies, not an artistic expression of his suffering; and not a reaction to the very presumptions and stereotypes imposed upon his public identity. It was this very pressurization that self-evidently contributed to his death. On the contrary to the accusation of his nihilism, he was keen to express in interviews the value of life and the waste of it that drug abuse results in. Like most of us, he was a frail, flawed mammal, who suffered significant trauma in his childhood. And he suffered from mental illness. To a media with a vessel with which to project the anxieties and cruelties of the public consciousness onto their self-engineered spectacle centered on the idol of Kurt Cobain, that was unforgivable. As if, to appropriate the crankery of our bible-bashing friend, he was already condemned to a torment of his own making. As homosexuality was known as the love that dare not speak its name, mental illness appears to be the suffering that dare not speak its name

Cobain was a visual artist who designed the cover art of Nirvana's albums. Biographies describe his intricate and obsessive design of Nirvana's last studio album, In Utero, the front cover of which features an anatomically detailed skinless human figure with angel wings in a pose indicating divinity. The song "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" references the actress who was subjected to brutal psychiatric institutionalization and torturous "therapies" which by all accounts mentally destroyed her; no doubt he would have related to the blaming of the fragile victim by the horde.

The legend of Kurt Cobain portrays him as a bearded Christ-like savior of rock music, a messenger of his generation. In his own time he wryly resented such labels, rejecting the very pedestal he was placed upon. Ironically he can be compared to Christ on the cross: the spears plunged into his body by the public eye, torn open for dissection like his In Utero angel, while being forced to don a crown of thorns ridiculing his distinction.

Like Frances Farmer we should remember Kurt Cobain in awareness of how mental health patients are treated in our societies. In 21 years, stigma still exists, but awareness has increased substantially. Cobain through his transparent empathy and compassion, as expressed in his music, will have undoubtedly contributed to that. We should celebrate him for this, along with his ingenious talent.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Joining the Green Party

Today I joined the Green Party of England and Wales. Why? In the past few days I have been suffering from an unidentifiable fatigue. I've felt short of breath and had headaches and joint pain. The explanation came when I read that a cloud of smog and pollution has blanketed across Britain, causing significant health effects for asthmatics, the elderly and sufferers of other chronic illnesses. Also in the past few days a hurricane has caused death and destruction in Vanuatu, with the president of that country attributing it to the effects of climate change. These epiphanies of anger and literal sickness have spurred me into finally joining the political party, the Greens, whose values I have agreed with ever since my interest in political began in my early adolescence. There are few human rights more fundamental than the rights to clean air and water, yet they seem to be a non-issue to our mainstream politicians and commentators.

It is bewildering that the crises of environmental derogation and climate change - which according to the overwhelming scientific evidence will pose a massive and existential risk to humanity in the upcoming century unless they are counteracted - are seemingly trivial or niche concerns among the left, even when they are integral  to socioeconomic exploitation and injustice across the world. 

Yet the Green Party's commitment to environmentalism, the motivation of its founding, is not the primary reason why I have been inspired and impressed by it. The Green Party, unlike Labour, opposes ideological austerity and has a party platform, motivated by fundamentally humanistic values, for a just, healthy and free society, including a universal basic income and the abolition of workfare, and NHS free at the point of use and free from privatisation, the right to secure housing, an education system centered around the individual abilities and needs of all children, the abolition of tuition fees and an expansion of investment into science and technology, and an social unconditional support for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. As Jack Monroe has stated, a Labour Party which apes and Tories and UKIP on scapegoating of immigrants and benefit claimants has no right to claim to stand for social justice. For its conformity to the ideological austerity agenda, Labour are known as the Red Tories in Scotland for a good reason. 

Yes, I remember standards in the NHS, and the state schools I attended, improving when Labour were in power in my youth. But I also remember the frighteningly oppressive nature of state bureaucracy and surveillance that expanded under Labour. I remember the Iraq War. I remember the beginnings of state-sanctioned cruelty against social security claimants, such as workfare, sanctions and outsourced disability benefit assessments, that was the genesis of the barbarism and cruelty imposed against them by David Cameron's government. 

"But if you don't vote Labour the Tories will get in". I hope not; I would be happy to see a Labour government tempered by the Greens and perhaps SNP, hopefully abolishing the bedroom tax and protecting the NHS from privatisation, but also one less likely to exactly coopt the rhetoric of the Tory Party on taking "tough decisions" to deal with the "inherited" deficit, caused by the very Thatcherite ideology that Labour aligned to resulting in the economic crisis, as the Labour leadership currently does. An electoral and political system built on blackmail and moral mediocrity is not a democratic one. And the Red Tories seem to rely on it. If Labour supporters have a problem with this supposition then they shouldn't shoot the messengers.

I am one tens of thousands who have joined a Green Party that has massively surged in membership and popularity in recent months. It should consider itself in league with parties like Syriza and Podemos that are part in the Europe-wide movement against austerity. Syriza, relegating the New Labour-like PASOK to minor party status and now govern Greece, and Podemos are leading in the national opinions polls in Spain only a year after its formation. On a concluding note I would advocate that our party defects to the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping in the European Parliament so we can work with what should be our natural allies.



Is Israel the most racist country on Earth?

Benjamin Netanyahu has been reelected for a fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel. He has done so by expressing an overt and racially charged contempt for democracy. Netanyahu warned that Israeli Arabs, who make up around twenty percent of the Israeli population, would vote for opposition parties that advocate two-state settlement with Palestine. This Fifth Column, as a Netanyahu portrays it, merely advocates that Israel complies with obligations with a consensus in international diplomacy and law: to give the Palestinians the right to a state representation and to end illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories.

The surge in support for Netanyahu and Likud was driven by Netanyahu's promise to oppose any recognition or possible establishment of a State of Palestine. This State would provide a diplomatic representation of the Palestinian people, and would give the Palestinian authorities an administration with which to hold the Israeli state accountable for its violations of international law, including its war crimes, therefore making the possibility of an ICC prosecution of Israeli war crimes more likely. So perhaps Netanyahu, as the one of the main conspirators in the perpetration of war crimes, does have a vested interest to oppose Palestinian statehood in order to decide his own fate. But these war crimes themselves are motivated by a racism that is encapsulated in calls for genocide, or even a Holocaust, of the Palestinians among the Israeli intelligentsia; and given his reelection it is clear that Netanyahu has ruthlessly calculated to ferment this hatred to remain in power. His opposition to the Palestinian fate is not only driven by a fear of democracy and justice, but also a mainstream desire among the Israeli right-wing to eradicate the people symbolized by a political entity in Palestine.

There are few societies on Earth, if any, where racism is more acceptable or ubiquitous than in Israel.


Monday, 9 March 2015

Was Margaret Thatcher the head of child sex abuse, rape and murder cover-up?



The mounting historical evidence is revealing Margaret Thatcher as having been complicit in the abuse of children by establishment paedophiles when she was Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. The Daily Mirror reported in July 2014 that Thatcher "personally covered up" child abuse by a "rising star" paedophile in the Conservative Party, whom she demanded "clean up" his sexual activity. Apparently no police action was taken against this paedophile when he was caught preying on boys at Victoria railway station in London.

It would appear that child abuse by paedophile allies was primarily a political liability to Thatcher, not criminality to be intercepted or punished. The victims were collateral damage. This is the defining attitude of the corrupt, covering up authorities in high-profile mass child abuse cases of today like in Rotherham and Oxfordshire. After his death last year, Thatcher's Home Secretary Leon Brittan was named as a serial abuser of children involved in the Westminster paedophile ring, now subject to ongoing police investigations, that abused children at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square, where children were reportedly abused, raped, and murdered by Members of Parliament and other paedophile elites. The same Brittan was handed a dossier by Geoffrey Dickens MP detailing child abuse by Westminster paedophiles (which, conveniently, has gone missing since).

Now declassified Cabinet Office documents reveal that Thatcher was aware of multiple police reports of child abuse against paedophile Cyril Smith MP - a prolific, serial, sadistic abuser of children in the Rochdale residential homes he presided over as a governor - and despite this insisted that he be conferred a knighthood. The police did conduct criminal investigations into Smith's abuses when he was still alive and yet, somehow, prosecution of him was always obstructed. Another serial abuser and rapist of children, who Thatcher also lobbied for the knighting of, was paedophile Jimmy Savile, who was feted on multiple occasions by Thatcher at Chequers. Both Savile and Smith, whose combined victim tallies likely reaches four figures, were never prosecuted for their crimes despite the overwhelming, corroborating evidence proving their guilt. It is well documented that both men's crimes were systematically facilitated, not only by their maleficent, influential and manipulative natures, but by the complicity, victim blaming and cover-up of the institutions they offended in: including local councils, police forces and prosecuting authorities. Only after their deaths did the majority of survivors feel secure to speak out.

Police believe that Smith and Savile attended "sex parties" where children (many procured from the social care system) were abused at Elm Guest House, the same believed to have been attended by Leon Brittan and other Thatcher Cabinet paedophiles, that were organised by paedophile Sidney Cooke. Cooke is a serial rapist and torturer of children who is serving two life sentences for the killing of two young boys (one of which was a manslaughter as the boy died from his injuries after a gang rape by Smith and his paedophile ring, and another was murdered).

It logically figures that Thatcher, at the apex of political power and influence, with a mindset permeated with ruthless self-advancement - as seen in her underhanded and brutal repression of opponents like trade unions, and unwavering sympathy towards corrupt and abusive police - was both directly and indirectly integral to the cover-up of establishment paedophilia.  Her friends and political allies were involved in paedophile rings that raped and murdered children. And, more broadly, paedophiles like Jimmy Savile pathologically exploited corrupt public institutions that adhered to the same culture of silence and intimidation and disbelief of the victims. A related exemplar of Thatcher's mentality and moral compass was her avowed allegiance to General Augusto Pinochet, a mass murdering war criminal who sanctioned rape and sexual assault by his men as a method of torturing imprisoned political dissidents, and who Thatcher publicly defended after his indictment and arrest in London for crimes against humanity in 1998. Perhaps new evidence on Thatcher's role in the UK's child abuse cover-ups will reveal why her associates were able evade justice and continue perpetrating their own atrocities so easily. It is already evident that covering up child abuse was a defining feature of Thatcherism; for the sake of child welfare today, this conservative icon should be remembered for it.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

More on the Goole mafia (recommended reading)

James Forrest of the Comment Isn't Free blog has written an enlightening blog post covering corruption in Humberside Police, as previously described in my own blog post on the subject, including 1) its connection to the Ian Huntley murders and 2) the Goole mafia involving criminally convicted CS Colin Andrews, and the Chief Constable Patrick Geenty under investigation for gross misconduct in handling of  child abuse cases; who was involved in formulating the child protection policy of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council retaining staff involved in the Rotherham child abuse cover-up and obstructing investigations into historical child abuse.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

East Riding of Yorkshire Council shields former Rotherham officials

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has "investigated" - emphasis on the quote on quote - the integrity of its Child Protection procedures and standards, publicly incited to do so in the aftermath of the Rotherham abuse case; it reports no concerns, other than an increase in child sexual exploitation cases which it attributes to an increased awareness among professionals and the public, which is indeed a positive. But the ERYC, as noted by Councillor Paul Hogan, has failed to investigate cases of historical child sex abuse; an approach highly out of touch with Britain's advent in seeking to investigate abuses from the past, pioneered by the bravery of survivors and their advocates, and to address the institutional failures and injustices which facilitated them.

The full extent of the abuse in Rotherham became apparent following the publication of the Jay report in 2014, which described the widespread, organised rape, sexual slavery, trafficking and torture of hundreds of children and young people (1,400 as a reserved estimation) in the town by paedophile gangs. The Casey report published this January detailed a culture of institutional bullying and willful ignorance in Rotherham Council that reached the highest levels of the corrupt authority, that was deliberately orchestrated to cover-up its failures in protecting the victims and preventing further abuses, an approach which functionally aided and abetted the perpetrators. Whistleblowers were harassed and intimidated. Computers with research detailing the abuse and council failures had their hard drives wiped. Offices with documents documenting the same were stolen, presumably to be destroyed. South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency are making inquiries into the conduct of Rotherham Council staff. One of those named in the Jay report was Pam Allen, who since 2009 has been the head of children and young people's support in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council; two other staff members working under Allen also worked at Rotherham.

Despite all of these comprehensively documented malpractices, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has refused to make any inquiries staff members that worked at Rotherham Council, including Pam Allen. Councillor Kerri Harold, the chairperson of the East Riding's CSE investigation, argued that would be "wrong" to make any inquiries into the former Rotherham staff; Councillor Stephen Lane accused the media focus on them as being a "distraction". It would therefore appear that to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the ruination of innumerable lives in Rotherham by mass child abuse, and the involvement of their staff members in the authority that covered it up, is a trivial irrelevancy; the only liability being journalistic and public criticism and concerns about institutional accountability and the welfare of children. It reflects that they would prefer it to be buried in the past.

How can the people of the East Riding of Yorkshire possibly trust their council to protect children and young people from harm if it takes such an apathetic and self-serving approach to considering the legitimacy and competence of its senior child protection staff? This should be a cause for massive concern.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Is atheism to blame?

Because the perpetrator of the Chapel Hill shootings was an atheist, atheism is being blamed as the ideological motivator of the murders. It seems illogical to blame a philosophy which is only defined by a lack of belief in gods. There are neo-Nazi Social Darwinists and pacifistic Buddhists who are atheists. There are Ayn Randian Objectivists and radical communists who are atheists. And yes, there are atheists who kill their fellow human beings in cold blood simply because of a hatred of their religious belief or skin colour. Conversely, there are atheists across the world, such as in Saudi Arabia, who are killed, tortured and persecuted because of their apostasy; as are the personally religious advocates of political secularism. There atheists who are great scientists and humanitarians, and there are atheists who advocate all bigotries and quackeries imaginable (other than, perhaps, religious creationism). Bill Maher, for example, advocates anti-vaccination quackery, while Christopher Hitchens was a shill for neoconservatism.

Mentioning Nazism, it is evident that Hitler was anti-religious but ruthlessly exploited Christian belief for political gain (and incidentally viewed Islam as a more practical vessel for Nazism). Holocaust architect Himmler, in contrast, pursued the extermination of Jewry as part of a holy war within an esoteric belief system which promoted the God-given divinity of Germanic Aryans. Similarly, the agnostic Dutch far-right demogauge Geert Wilders aligns himself with Christian fundamentalists and fascistic Zionists, in a xenophobia-charged culture war against Muslims, in the name of secular humanism. Wilders and his ilk manipulate atrocities such as 9/11 to smear the majority Muslim population, the very kind of propaganda exercise the reactionary anti-atheists have engaged in with these shootings.

The anti-atheists in this case will thus retort that this is a matter of the influence of New Atheism; a belief system within itself they say, nominally headed by high priests like Dawkins and Hitchens (presumably since 2006), homogeneously habituated by white, heterosexual western males who promote crypto-racial and cultural supremacy in the name of so-called enlightenment. No doubt such prejudices should be challenged regardless of ideological mediums they project themselves through, whether this be by those self-justified by theological belief or otherwise. (And as stated in the aforementioned paragraph, both are keen to collaborate to further their bigoted ends).

The central falsehoods of such arguments is that they depend upon the presumption of an actually organized and ideological unity between atheists, which even within the narrow western parameters they refer to there is none. The closest demonstrable thing to philosophical belief system among secularists is humanism: which stands for the human rights of all people, including the right to life, freethought and religious freedom. These are values which all reasonably minded people, in opposition to all repression and willful ignorance whether religious or atheistic, can stand for.