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FAUX KIDNAPPING?

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2007 at 4:55 am

You can’t have missed the many media stories concerning the alleged kidnapping of BBC Middle East reporter Alan Johnstone. And one knows how sympathetic the BBC is to the Palestinian point of view. So what to make of the news that Palestinian security forces are investigating the possibility that the missing BBC correspondent Alan Johnston staged his own kidnapping? According to London-based Arab language newspaper, Al-Hayat, Johnston may have staged his capture by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip after he received notification from his superiors that he would be forced to leave his position in the near future. Surely not? Are these Arabs lying or might things be rather different to how the BBC makes them appear?

Hat-tip to the eagle eyed ATW readers for the story.

NOT ALL ARE EQUAL…

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2007 at 4:54 am

hewitt372ready.jpgThere are so many politicians to dislike and those in power in the NuLabour Government provide a rich variety of targets. But some are outstanding figures of ridicule. I’m thinking here of the appalling Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, the super-incompetent Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, the "I am not of this planet" Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Tessa Jowell – but the most PATRONISING has to be Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

You will recall she raised a few laughs last week when she expressed her deep concern at the fact that when Iran had taken British sailors hostage, one of those sailors had been shown..gasp..smoking. How dreadful. Now comes the news that Nanny Hewitt is embroiled in a row over political interference after it emerged HER local hospital had escaped huge cuts to Labour’s flagship NHS building programme. The University Hospital of Leicester, which serves the Health Secretary’s constituency, has instead seen a £137million boost in controversial Private Finance Initiative funding.  Do as I say, not as I do. Hypocrite.

STOP REALITY DAY CONFIRMED – FROM GENESIS TO MADONNA

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2007 at 4:51 am

earyh.jpgHey, did you see that July 7th is now confirmed as "Live Earth" day, with the Rev Al Gore announcing that rock concerts being staged on that day will attract a world wide audience of "billions."  (And that’s not even counting any extra-terrestials who pick up the vibes from Earth) The likes of Madonna, the Police, Genesis and Pink Floyd will be doing their humble bit to save the Planet on this momentous day! We’re told that the aim of the day is "raising awareness" of global warming. How cool.

I wonder will all these wise and informed clowns performers be taking advantage of their media provided platforms to make the point that;

1. Man made emissions make up less than 1% of the atmospheric reservoir of carbon. That being the case why would this miniscule figure have any statistical impact of planetary warming?

2. There has been NO long-term increase in sea level over the past century. What’s the sinking feeling, Al? 

3. Whether it be extremes of heat and cold, droughts, floods, hail, tornadoes or hurricanes, there is absolutely no evidence that these phenomena have increased globally over the twentieth century.  In fact, there is much empirical evidence to suggest that more warmth leads to a more stable climate.

C’mon Sting, C’mon Madonna – we know how independent minded  YOU are, we know you wouldn’t be so shallow as to use this global circus to plug more product, so let’s hearing from you. Will it be "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" or is it more a case of "Borderline" junk science propped up by half-wits from the crazy world of rock? 

WHY THE IRISH MODEL BEATS THE SCANDINAVIAN ONE…

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2007 at 4:21 am

No, I’m not going to cover some sensational beauty queen fisticuffs on the catwalk! Instead I want to make you aware of this very interesting article which shows the absolute folly of EU countries following the social and economic example of the Scandinavian countries. You may recall that the UK MSM and the left wing parties all hold up the "Scandinavian model" as a preferred destiny for our country. High taxes appeal to most of our political class, and in Scandinavia you get taxed ’till the pips squeak. You also get declining public services. Since 1981, the Nordic nations have created ZERO nett private sector jobs. Again, that probably appeals to the British left since they hate the idea of a flourishing and independent private sector but it hardly augers well for the UK economy. NO, if you want to follow a much more effective economic model – try the Republic of Ireland. The article clearly explains why.

THE “GIFT” OF NUKES!

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2007 at 4:03 am

Nuclear_fireball.jpgWere YOU amongst those celebrating Iranian "Nuclear technology Day"? I note that Iran, now basking in its well- deserved reputation as a giver of "gifts" to those it kidnaps and praised by the likes of the Bishop of Rochester for "moral and spiritual leadership", has shown how much it respects the international community by defying three United Nations resolutions and setting itself on a collision course with the United States. The maniacs mullahs in charge of this dark ages theocracy have declared that their energy rich nation has taken a step forward in its nuclear programme by moving to industrial scale enrichment. And we all know that Iran’s pursuit of nukes is entirely peaceful and driven by profound environmental concerns, and NOTHING to with wiping Israel off the map.

Liberal Forces For Liberal Times

By ATWadmin On April 10th, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Focusing on these young soldiers’ behavior is losing sight of the truly serious problems that this entire situation actually brings right to center stage. For decades now, we have told our young people that all the old values are passe’ and should be replaced with a "new consciousness". The stiff upper lip should loosen up. Real men can cry. Don’t hide your feelings. Values are determined by your feelings about the current situation, not some dry, abstract rules laid down generations ago. Use of force is always suspect, even in self-defense. Life is the most important thing, especially the lives of hostages and captives, which trump duty, honor, and even country. A soldier’s real loyalty is to his or her fellows, not some distant Queen or national ideal. And, above all, caution. Caution, caution, caution. Don’t do anything rash, don’t precipitate an incident, don’t start any trouble, don’t "shoot first and ask questions later", don’t be a cowboy. Go with the flow. And so they did. They’re our children, these young marines. We raised them, taught them, instructed them in what we wanted them to be, hugs, and tears, and caution, and all, right down to running out and cashing in on their 15 minutes. Always get the cash, and get as much as you can, as quick as you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re fighting and screaming on Jerry Springer—you’re still a celebrity. Good, bad, or indifferent, these are the chickens who have come home to roost. If you don’t like what you see, it’s not the fault of the products, it’s the process that made them what they have become. Since time immemorial, elders have asked, "What’s the matter with these kids, today?" Want to see the problem clearly? Go look in the mirror.

 

– Commentor ‘veryretired’ with his usual considered words, in this thread at samizdata, on the now infamous and ever more shameful episode in the Gulf. I actually believe that there is still a great restless energy and martial spirit in our blighted land. Unfortunately it’s constrained by the forces and movements of which veryretired speaks of, and emerges sporadically, violently and unpredictably in town centres, council estates and (lately) foreign football stadia. We then send to war a couple of Marines, a bunch of fairies and a woman who went AWOL the day she became an absent mother.

MC WORDSWORTH AND HIS DAFFODIL CREW

By ATWadmin On April 10th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Did you see that William Wordsworth’s most famous poem has been set to rap music in a bid to encourage youngsters to visit the Lake District? Cumbria tourist chiefs, those people curiously insulated from all forms of reality, have released a rap version of ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud’ to mark the 200th anniversary of publication of the poem. The new version, which features..ahem…" some variation" on Wordsworth’s original words, is accompanied by a pop video featuring the Lake District’s red squirrel mascot MC Nuts and shot on the banks of Lake Ullswater. Frankly, it would be kinder if MC Nuts had been shot on the banks of Lake Ullswater.

A SNAPPY PALI….

By ATWadmin On April 10th, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Here’s an odd one which you may not have seen! A Palestinian woman was found to have three live crocodiles strapped to her stomach when she was stopped by EU officials at Gaza’s border with Egypt. The reptiles, each around 40-50cm (15-20 inches) long, were taped to the woman’s body beneath her dress. But despite her loose fitting robe, suspicions were raised by her girth, an EU spokeswoman told the BBC. (Are they fat-ist?) The woman told border guards she intended to sell the crocodiles to a zoo in Gaza City.

Two things struck me; 1. How did she manage to even walk with three crocs under her dress? 2. They have a ZOO in Gaza City, that alleged hell on earth with poverty and unemployment everywhere?

CIVILITY ENFORCED?

By ATWadmin On April 10th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Hi all – hope you all have had a good Easter break! I’m just back and I wanted to thank my fellow-writers for keeping the place alive over the past several days. Now then, where to start? OK – do YOU believe in the concept of "civility enforced" when it comes to blogs?

I picked up that it is being suggested that readers should be warned when they are reading blogs that may contain "crude language", a draft blogging code of conduct has suggested. The code was drawn up by web pioneer Tim O’Reilly following published threats and perceived harassment to US developer Kathy Sierra on blogs.

The code begins: "We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation." The draft says people should not be allowed to leave anonymous comments. Blogs which are open and uncensored should post an "anything goes" logo to the site to warn readers, the code suggests.

Well, I understand what Tim is trying to do but I disagree. I don’t agree with this sort of regulation. If people want to come here and post anonymously that is fine by me.  I prefer it is people leave their name, but again, how do I know it is a real name? If someone’s posts content that I find obscene or offensive, I reserve the right to delete it and ban them. This happens rarely and I find that most of those who come here are civil and make fair points. Let’s be clear, when you enter ATW, our rules apply but thousands of you seem happy to visit and we are happy to hear from you. So I rather agree  with blogger and commentator Jeff Jarvis, who calls this attempt at imposed regulation "misguided".

On his blog, he wrote:

"This effort misses the point of the internet, blogs, and even of civilized behavior. They treat the blogosphere as if it were a school library where someone… can maintain order and control. They treat it as a medium for media. It’s a place. And when I moved into the place that is my town, I didn’t put up a badge on my fence saying that I’d be a good neighbor. I don’t need anyone lecturing me and telling me not to be disagreeable."

Too many want to control the net and I do understand the need for civility – just don’t try and make it mandatory.

Talking Point – 10.04.07

By ATWadmin On April 10th, 2007 at 11:37 am

‘Had the captured naval personnel been American, there is no way Iran would have emerged with the major propaganda coup that it did after the detention of Turney & Co.’  Discuss.