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Which side are you on?

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Aug 06, 04:10 PM

Can you be neutral in the so-called war on terror?

Tonight we'll be exploring the arguments for and against the proposition that the time is coming when everyone will have to decide which side they're on.

A majority of the British public opposed the Iraq war and Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon, yet the vast majority also abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK. Are those positions compatible? Bush and Blair seem to think not.

But what of the other argument, that these events can't be lumped together, that problems with the Islamic world could be resolved by a change in foreign policy, and the West's current approach is only making matters worse?

What do you think?

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:40 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Stephen Jones wrote:

The vast majority of the British Public do absolutely abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK and indeed in the rest of the world. This is an absolute position and not a relative position. So I don't understand your question of compatibility. It doesn't exist.

  • 2.
  • At 05:01 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • J.G. wrote:

“A majority of the British public opposed the Iraq war and Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon, yet the vast majority also abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK. Are those positions compatible? Bush and Blair seem to think not”.

What a ridiculous statement. What makes you think Bush and Blair think this way? In fact this is the opposite of what they have said. They pointed out that people can be against foreign policy, can be against terrorism, yet MUST make their views known in democratic ways. 8500 reporters and the BBC gets this basic fact wrong. It really is sloppy/biased journalism.

  • 3.
  • At 05:03 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Atiq wrote:

I guess the question was if you think that the war in iraq and backing is Israel is wrong then you must be ok with the terrorist viewpoint.

That doesn't make sense. I think we were wrong to interfere in another country's issues when nobody asked us to. We are definitely wrong to side with Israel who have illegally occupied a piece of Lebanon (an invasion if you prefer the term).

However as a Muslim I cannot side with the islamic fundamentalist groups that say that because of the above two actions it justifies mass murder.

I see no reason why I cannot be against both Blair/Bush and against the Islamist terrorists.

The middle east must be stabalised - Israel must go back within their own border. Lebanon must be given rights liek any other country. The USA should not be World Police and not try and dictate policy for every nation - or is that the slower method of taking over world domination? The UN needs to have a larger bite than its bark. Both the UK/USA should leave Iraq and let them fend for themselves. If they need our help they can ask for it.

It's simple if you say it, and its just as simpel to do unless you have an ulterior motive to keep hostilities alive in the world.

  • 4.
  • At 05:07 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Ryan wrote:

Given that terrorist action (of any hue) inevitably affects innocent citizens I would hope that all Britons are firmly FOR the war on terror.

Unfortuantly they are not, especially the BBC.

Obviously you don't want to be reactive (act after an innocent) so therefore you must be proactive.

Finally you need to consider whether there is the potential for terrorist action to affect our country from external parties, not only internally. If so, we should proactively seek them out and neutralise them too.

9/11, USS Cole demonstrates terrorist action against western interests that needed to be dealt with. Iraq and Afganistan were terrorist safe-havens.

  • 5.
  • At 05:10 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Scott wrote:

Being a credible news organisation can you please cite your source for the comment "A majority of the British public opposed the Iraq war and Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon"

.. or was this a straw poll at the BBC canteen?

How do you know that "A majority of the British public opposed ... Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon"??

  • 6.
  • At 05:13 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

From my POV, Islam is a religion and not a democratic political system. On its fascist fringe (fascist as in blindly objectivist, intolerant and agressive) it is positively anti-democratic and has become terrorist. The problem here is that when you point at a terrorist, he says he's defending Islam (when in fact he is actually attacking democracy), and when you speak to ordinary Moslems they disown the terrorists. When you attack the terrorist, you get accused of attacking Islam (when in fact you are merely defending democracy) - most ordinary Moslems are too scared to speak out and are forced play a two-faced game that makes their critics very angry. Islam as a theocracy is not compatible with democracy, which is why there should be a separation of church and state, allowing religious matters to be private and political matters to be public. Many Moslems, being devout, put Islam first and secular liberal democracy second, hence their mental somersaults.
Our political system is a liberal democracy, so we generally support other democracies strongly, other tolerant(ish) systems mildly, and important trade partners get their failings overlooked for more material, practical reasons.
The Iraq war was to get rid of a practical threat and a case of proactive strike. It had nothing to do with Islam, but, of course, many Moslems see it differently. The present mess in Iraq comes from not imposing the rule of law right from the start, by force if necessary.
The recent Israel/Lebanon thing was simply a case of self-defence - Israel was attacked from Lebanon and Lebanon suffered the consequences - which politico-religious shade of Lebanese actually did the attacking is pedantry. It, too, had nothing to do with attacking Islam, but again Moslems see it differently.
If you can separate church and state in your mind, it becomes straightforward to fight a war against terror (i.e. defend democracy) and, at the same time, afford religious freedom to all who want it provided they do not break our democratic laws. If you can't separate church and state in your mind ("It's your way of life"), and your church happens to be an undemocratic, misogynist theocracy, then I suggest you move to somewhere more suited to your needs because you are never going to understand what's going on.

The conflict between the West and the Islamic world was inevitable, the only question was when it would happen. Blair's policies have simply brought forward the date. Now we have to decide what we want to do about it.

  • 8.
  • At 05:22 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • terry wrote:

please tell me how you know that the majority of people are or were against the governments position on the war in Lebanon? I think your getting mixed up with a genuine majority view and a minority that shout the loudest.

The conflict between the West and the Islamic world was inevitable, the only question was when it would happen. Blair's policies have simply brought forward the date. Now we have to decide what we want to do about it.

  • 10.
  • At 05:22 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Nick Murphy wrote:

I think it is clear that we are seeing a blurring of the arguments as far as these debates go. There seems to be an increasing number of people advocating an absolutist position ("You're either with us or against us") which can only damage the ability of many to have a rational debate. If you do not support the American/British line you are branded as a supporter of terrorism; conversely if you do not support the Islamic line then you are condemned as a Zionist and an Islamophobic. In labelling people in this way, we simply reduce the arguments to a series of insults and misunderstandings which cannot in anyway help to end this "war".
It is the case that millions detest Islamic militancy, but at the same time they are able to understand and even sympathise with the underlying issues that fuel such actions. This is clearly a compassionate stance: people do not wish to see death and destruction - either at home or abroad.
The growing calls for people to make up their minds will only help to fuel religious intolerance and mistrust as people on both sides become polarised. If we wish to avoid excessive future conflict, then we should not approach the situation as if it were black and white, but rather look at it as a whole.

  • 11.
  • At 05:24 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Mike Constable wrote:

In the excellent film The Fog of War, Robert Macnamara discovered it was essential to understand what motivated the other side.
This current debate often appears to be a dialogue of the deaf.
Of course, appeasement does not work but as Churchill said "jaw jaw is better than war war"

  • 12.
  • At 05:32 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Nick Murphy wrote:

For those people that dispute the fact that the majority of the British public opposed the stance taken by the British and American governments, there was an opinion poll carried out by the Daily Telegraph.

63% of respondants said that Israel's response "has been disproportionate". This directly counters the current government line and justifies the statement made at the top! Further more, 53% responded that the British government did a poor/very poor job in response to the crisis.

  • 13.
  • At 05:34 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Pete Williams wrote:

To abhor Islamic terrorism and oppose the Iraq war can be compatible if, like me, you consider that both the Iraq and Lebanese wars have only served to radicalise and as such have done nothing to counter the terrorist threat, rather that threat has been increased.

  • 14.
  • At 05:36 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Doreen Richards wrote:

Of course you can be against the war in Iraq and against the war on terror
the war in Iraq was not our business and should have been left to the United Nations to sort out, this interferance of ours has just given the terrorists an excuse, all this apparently in the name of religion,
what utter rubbish, Saddam Hussain had a way of keeping order, considering the deaths since the war one has to ask was he so very wrong

  • 15.
  • At 05:37 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Doreen Richards wrote:

Of course you can be against the war in Iraq and against the war on terror
the war in Iraq was not our business and should have been left to the United Nations to sort out, this interferance of ours has just given the terrorists an excuse, all this apparently in the name of religion,
what utter rubbish, Saddam Hussain had a way of keeping order, considering the deaths since the war one has to ask was he so very wrong

The 'War on Terror': Does it make Sense?

It is almost five years since George W Bush launched his war on terror, in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. From the outset its advocates saw it as a war for freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights - a struggle between the forces of good and modernity against those who fundamentally oppose these values.

Since then Afghanistan and Iraq are still far from being delivered any real democracy or rule of law. Some argue that that human rights and freedom have become casualties of this war and that Guantanomo Bay, Abu Ghraib, control orders and the practice of extraordinary rendition are the proof for this. Governments in the Muslim world, Russia, China and Israel have all used the war on terror as their excuse to repress opposition by force.

But the questions remain: Can you ever win a war of ideas by military force? Can the battle for hearts and minds be won if you compromise the values you espouse? Has the war on terror made people feel more secure? When and where will this war end?

Our distinguished panel will discuss these points and other related matters that might arise.

Philip C Bobbitt (Former US Director for Intelligence)
James Astill (Terrorism Correspondent for The Economist Magazine)
Sajjad Khan (Editor of New Civilisation Magazine)
Dr Azzam Tamimi (Director of Institute of Islamic Political Thought)

Dan Plesch (Author and Broadcaster)

  • 17.
  • At 05:41 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Doreen Richards wrote:

Of course you can be against the war in Iraq and against the war on terror
the war in Iraq was not our business and should have been left to the United Nations to sort out, this interferance of ours has just given the terrorists an excuse, all this apparently in the name of religion,
what utter rubbish, Saddam Hussain had a way of keeping order, considering the deaths since the war one has to ask was he so very wrong

  • 18.
  • At 05:41 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Tim wrote:

The clash of civilisations debate is being had when for the vast majority of the people in the world, basic values are identical across different societies, cultures and languages. The debate instead should be re-focused on how people form opinions about the 'war on terror'. Some people (the minority) simply refuse to beleive anything their government tells them: this breakdown of trust is at the heart of the matter. How trust is regained is the key policy matter and one which Blair and Bush have given little though to. When trust in institutions (political, economic, social, religious) fails then what replaces this should be thought about long and hard.

  • 19.
  • At 05:41 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Doreen Richards wrote:

Of course you can be against the war in Iraq and against the war on terror
the war in Iraq was not our business and should have been left to the United Nations to sort out, this interferance of ours has just given the terrorists an excuse, all this apparently in the name of religion,
what utter rubbish, Saddam Hussain had a way of keeping order, considering the deaths since the war one has to ask was he so very wrong

  • 20.
  • At 05:49 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • George Ross wrote:

"The hottest place in hell is destined to those who adoopt a neutral attitude in a moral conflict." Thus Homer, in Dante's Divina Commedia.
The Rennaissance thought constitutes an important step in the development of European culture and this dictum is as valid now as it was in the 14th century.
Of course we can't be neutral on the war on terror. Nor should we allow ourselves to be blackmailed by an unrepresentative gang, ignorant of democratic procedures, who uses gangsterist methods to influence the decisions of a lawfully elected government.

  • 21.
  • At 05:49 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • a m brown wrote:

I do also feel like many English and European people borne here of true European families that we have never bothered to forsee this Islam threat becomming what it now is.

Of course the people who have immigrated into France, England and the other countries in our small European lands were in the beginning actually the minority population. We now realise, years later that they have been bringing their families into the country and also having more children than perhaps the average European family would do.

Naturally that implies that these people bring with them many cultural and religious beliefs which they are allowed to develop in their communities.

If there was a mass immigration of Europeans to the Islamic countries, do we really believe that we would be able to take our lifestyles and religions to their part of the world. We all know the answer is NO.

So given that, how can we be at all surprised that things are going in a way which is not quite what we believe in as regards the 'free world' which princliple we have always believed in and upheld?

We could also not have predicted that our leaders here would wage war on an Islam country, thus creating a 'revenge' type situation as we now experience.

It's too late now to change anything but for sure we are less able to cope with a terrorist situation than they are as we do not and never will be prepared in our society to bring our children up to become terrorists as quite many do in their countries now.

  • 22.
  • At 05:50 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Patrick Moore wrote:

You mention that a change in foreign policy would resolve the current problems in the Islamic world?
What 'foreign policy' are you referring to, and how would that affect a small group of radicals, intent on starting the next 'Crusades'?? How much further can the 'west' be conned into giving, and givng, and giving every time the so called 'middle east' erupts into violence. Is there enough of an effort from the rest of the world to ensure that the end result from 'On the Beach' (Nevil Shute 1957) becomes reality?

  • 23.
  • At 05:53 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • victor wrote:

A clash between Christianity and Islam is unavoidable because these great religions are drifting further apart, Christianity has moved from eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth to turning the other cheek. On the other hand Islam a once peaceful religion of mercy is going through a series of abrogations each one rendering it harsher and more alien to Christianity

  • 24.
  • At 05:56 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Maurice Lovat wrote:

It seems that the difficulty is that we in the UK fail to distinguish between the different sects of Islam and what their tenets are. We see Islam as monolithic when in fact it is made up of Shia, Sunni, and other smaller subsects. These sects only marginally abhor each other less than the West or Israel. So that Hizbollah and the east of Iraq, which are Shia, tend to go along with the major Shia power Iran, which has its own grouse with the West. The Sunni tend to be more pro-western, except if it affects Israel, when they agree to support the Palestinians - but not 'wipe Israel off the map'as the Shia wish. To compound this Al-Qaeda with its anti-Western agenda is Sunni - but based on a strict Wahabi viewpoint. So that the combination of radical viewpoints, united against Israel and the West, and in the extreme case wanting to restore the caliphate across any areas that were ever Muslim, means that every Muslim despite their sect can find a cause, if they want. In the meantime, the lack of integration of young Muslims within British societies also tends to radicalise them. The difficult choices facing young Muslims must be addressed by non-factional, Western orientated leaders, rather than the Imams imported from the East. What we need to produce are 'Britons of the Muslim faith' not Asians living in Britain. To that end both Bush and Blair are correct, and the likelihood of eliminating extremism can only be done if the roots of extremism are removed. Appeasement will only serve to bolster support for the extremists who are thus seen to be 'winning'.

  • 25.
  • At 05:57 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Popo Pruthi wrote:

Shifting the war against terror from Bin Laden in Afghanistan to Iraq, in response to 11/9/2001, without valid cause exposed Bush's secret agenda: it also branded the war on terror to be a religious war against Israel a state founded on religious grounds. The situation is now out-of-hand and I doubt if Bush can handle it. The Palestinians have been promised a state of their own but whenever it comes close to fruition the west creates a situation when this does not happen. Blair is incidental in all this and is there to support Bush as
apparent from his claims now that he will stay till 2008 viz., when Bush goes as well. He is inconsequental. Such mistakes as have been made are impossible to rectify. New strategies have to eveloved taking current realities into account. Unfortunately Bush and his advisors are incapable of startegic, realistic thinking. A question I would like to ask is 'Has Blair sold his soul to the devil?'

  • 26.
  • At 06:00 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

It seems to me talking about values is problematic. Blair says he wants to promote western values. He means democracy and opportunity, but many Muslims must hear promiscuity and binge drinking. What he should really promote are democratic institutions, nationally and globally, which allow people and communities to make their own choices within a broad range of acceptable values. But that would mean taking the lead by promoting significant shifts in membership and voting rights at places like the UN Security Council and IMF Board. Giving up the appearance of power is never easy politically, but the history of democracy would seem to suggest that is the path to security, prosperity, genuine freedom and a progressive legacy.

  • 27.
  • At 06:04 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

We invaded Iraq for the wrong reasons... remember the dodgy dossier!.. Lebanon/Israel too distant to have a definitive view... "The Arabs can disarm & there will be peace. Israel can disarm & there will be no more Israel"... Bush & Blair have a lasting legacy of being warmongers...& not very good at it!!

  • 28.
  • At 06:06 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

We invaded Iraq for the wrong reasons... remember the dodgy dossier!.. Lebanon/Israel too distant to have a definitive view... "The Arabs can disarm & there will be peace. Israel can disarm & there will be no more Israel"... Bush & Blair have a lasting legacy of being warmongers...& not very good at it!!

  • 29.
  • At 06:15 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Stephen Jones wrote:

The vast majority of the British Public do absolutely abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK and indeed in the rest of the world. This is an absolute position and not a relative position. So I don't understand your question of compatibility. As to you headline question - Can you be neutral in the so-called war on terror? Your position appears skewed. By implication you suggest there should be two camps - 1) For the Iraq war, therefore against Islamic Terrorism and 2)Against the Iraq war therefore for Islamic Terrorism. the truth is the terrorists would love this to be the case. You do not have to help them in a skewed debate.

  • 30.
  • At 06:34 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • paul cole wrote:

Simply put, if I were to change my nationality from British to any other nationality, I would accept the advantages and disadvantages of being that new nationality. I would also owe that new country my total and not qualified or partial allegiance.

It is a pity that some Muslims do not see things that way. Why not go and live in a country that represents their philosophies and ideas more closely?????????????????

  • 31.
  • At 06:37 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Alan C. wrote:

You conflate so many disparate issues that you have no hope of reaching any conclusions or shedding any light on them. Afghanistan was a response to 9/11 and an effort to route a particular group of terrorists. Iraq was an effort to resolve a conflict that should have been resolved during the first Gulf War. Islamic terrorism is a more general global problem that is based on a supremacist ideology of Islamic world domination. They no doubt intersect but if you want to shed some light on Islamic terrorism you had better start taking a hard look at Islam, the press and media in the Muslim world, and the self serving and contradictory views held many of these extremists. For example, why do some Muslims glorify 9/11 yet also believe it was a Bush plot? How do you have a rational dialog with people who are impervious to rationality? I first became aware of the problem when Channel 4 ran a documentary called “Beneath the Veil”, an undercover expose of the Taliban in Afghanistan (spring 2001). In one interview, a Taliban official was flummoxed by the problem caused by the lack of female doctors (females can’t be educated under the Taliban) and the fact that male doctors were not allowed to treat female patients. The obvious solutions to this problem eluded him. Blood libels and Zionist conspiracies (e.g. the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) are standard fare in the Middle Eastern press and media. This mode of thinking infects young Muslims in the West through the Internet, Arab TV, jihdist imams, jihadist media etc. How do you have a rational dialog with a party that despises rationality? I would like Newsnight to shine a light on this issue and dispense with the Bush/Blaire baiting for one night.

  • 32.
  • At 06:40 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • paul cole wrote:

My country right or wrong - ALWAYS.

Many generations of British, English, Welsh and Irish have demonstrated that sentiment and they have nearly always served you well.

The same is true for many other nations who have supported us. Why change now? Why be subservient to Muslim fanatics, who according to Shariah TV (Channel 4), expect subservience from everyone, even their own womenfolk?

Scott (5)

Here are the polling figures we are planning to use tonight:

It is never justified for anyone to attack British civilians because of Britain's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan
83% agreed
YouGov /The Sun 7 July 2006

How would you rate the US and British government's performance in the (Israel/Lebanon) crisis?
60% very poor
YouGov/Telegraph 27 July 2006

Do you think the war to remove Saddam Hussein was justified?
51% opposed.
ICM/Guardian 23 July 2006


  • 34.
  • At 06:51 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Colin Watson wrote:

Just to return to your initial statement. Whether a majority view or not, I disagree with my countries actions in Iraq. I also oppose anyone who threatens and kills civilians. No problem. I've always voted labour, but will not do so again until there is a stated change in foreign policy. I don't expect answers from British politicians regarding the problems in the middle east just the right intent. This has to come via the united nations which of course means challenging the USA stance over that organisation.

  • 35.
  • At 06:59 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • stephen frankling wrote:

I have no problem with most muslim people being muslims first and british second.
I have had catholic and jewish friends in the past who thought the same.
But in a very secular society that britain now is, there is fear that muslims have a sort of hidden freemasonary within their mosques.
Most of these people are as diverse in their dreams for the future for themselves and their families as any of us not of the muslim faith.
There have always been young hot heads willing to give their lives up for various reasons political or religeous.
However in regard to the searches being carried out by I suspect to be a somewhat racist british police force (after all what would we expect from a mostly working class backgrounded police force of little education in the ways of others) if you are looking for a dog that has been attacking people in the area, you won't be concentrating on cat owners.
So I would say to the muslims keep talking, show us your ways, get us interested in you as people and join us here in the uk fully intergrated and happy to bring up your families with us.

  • 36.
  • At 07:06 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Patricia Tabram wrote:

Tony Blair has taken the "Great" out of great Britain. The Israelies have broken the Law for years, by trying to steal land from the Palestinians and the Lebanese. Whenever they strike another country - they do a George Bush "Shock & Awe.. I come from Tyneside, and I have Jewish friends, but the Jews in Isreal are doing to other countries exactly what the Nazis did to them. No wonder they are not popular....Let England be great again. Cut the friendship with America and get rid of Tony Blair - his arrogance makes me want to throw up.

  • 37.
  • At 07:06 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Brian Dickenson wrote:

I detest terrorism in any form. However, it has proved an effective weapon over the years. One only has to think of Kenya and Kenyatta. Israel and the Stern gang,Cyprus and Makarios etc. The list goes on. Unfortunately when a course of action is proven to work it will be used.
The illegal war against Iraq only exacerbates the situation giving people a reason to terrorise.
The sooner Blair distances the UK from Bush and Co's colonial ambition the better.

  • 38.
  • At 07:10 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Patricia Tabram wrote:

Tony Blair has taken the "Great" out of great Britain. The Israelies have broken the Law for years, by trying to steal land from the Palestinians and the Lebanese. Whenever they strike another country - they do a George Bush "Shock & Awe.. I come from Tyneside, and I have Jewish friends, but the Jews in Isreal are doing to other countries exactly what the Nazis did to them. No wonder they are not popular....Let England be great again. Cut the friendship with America and get rid of Tony Blair - his arrogance makes me want to throw up.

I despise both the terrorists in Khabul and those in Washington.

The joyless anti-human darkness of religious fundamentalism and the joyless brain-death called the Consumer Society.

Whose side am I on?

  • 40.
  • At 07:41 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Jammi wrote:

I think its perfectly rational to be both opposed to the Bush/ Blair wars in Iraq and Lebanon, AND to crimninal acts by terrorists.

Its also impotant not to conflate 2 linked but separate questions.
Does US/UK foreign policy lead to so cllaed islamis terrorism. Answer: No.
Does it make the problem worse? Answer Yes. It provides a focus for latent anger and frustration to coalesce around a convenient set of targets. In fact US and UK troops in Iraq has merely provided a large target for terrorists.
To that extent it is disinegnuous to suggest that those who suggest a link between our foreign policy (which seems mainly to consist of blindly doing Americas bidding) and the rise of home grown terrorists are seeking to justify terrorism. To understand a problem is the first step to resolve it. To deny it on the other hand is foolish, arrogant and ultimately self defeating.

  • 41.
  • At 07:42 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

Responding to Peter Barron [Newsnight Editor] (34):

The poll taken in 2006 does *not* show a majority of people opposed the war in Iraq: it shows a majority oppose it *now*.

All the polls I'm aware of from when hostilities commenced showed a slight majority then were in favour. This includes YouGov (and I see their "tracker" polls at the time are still available online -- ) and the unscientific viewer polls which were run at the time by News 24 and Sky News.

  • 42.
  • At 07:47 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Ken Bate wrote:

War in the current world climate has a lot to offer. This is the politics of fear. The politics of control and how to bring that about. January 1981, Regan in a speech by Alexander Haig stated,"International terrorism will take the place of human rights concerns." Terrorism keeps the world destablised. The power of nightmares, post the fall of communist Russia, was picked up and sharpened by Cheney and Rumsfeld who found a great mentor in the Bush regime. He was what they had been waiting for and here we are up to our necks. Do you want a, "Pelican Brief. I'll give you a Pelican Brief. A thermonuclear detonation on mainland U.S. Martial Law initiated first in the U.S. and thence of course to the U.K. The power of nightmares has only just begun.


Stranded in Baylon (44)

You're right, we should have said oppose, not opposed. At the time of the war there was a slim majority in favour. The 51% opposed figure is from latest polling, and opposition has been falling from a higher figure earlier this year.

  • 44.
  • At 08:33 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • David Brown wrote:

Stephen frankling (post 37),

Luckily for you it's okay in political correct (PC) lala land to call the British police racists as you do (as long as they are white police of course), though I'd be a little careful of referring to their "working class ignorance" as this is certainly not PC. Having said this, as our glorious leader Tony B famously stated a few years back, "we are all middle class now" though where this leaves people like John Prescott who are proud of their working class background (in fact he's based his entire "career" on this fact despite never actually doing any work in the true sense of the word) is a moot point?

You also say that you have no problem with Muslims being Muslim first and British second. How very tolerant and liberal of you (are you a New Labour MP by any chance?) but have you ever considered that if Britain was attacked by a Muslim country then according to their faith, no British Muslim would defend Britain as it would be the greatest of Islamic crimes to fight another Muslim? Okay this is an unlikely hypothetical example but you really ought to think of the potential consequences before you make such comments.

Have you also ever considered that non-Muslims have every right to not be interested in the ways of Islam in the same way as an atheist may not care less about say Christianity? The subtle difference I am sure you will not be able to make is that as long as a person considers themselves to be British first and by British I mean a person who respects the rule of law and Parliamentary sovereignty, whatever their personal faith, favourite football team or whatever, "we" will not generally find ourselves being blown out of the sky by such a person even where the British government does something he or she fundamentally disagrees with.

Finally I share the more intelligent posters opinions above that the BBC question posed is sloppy journalism at best. Perhaps the question was hastily written by a work experience AS student? How else could this sentence have come about: "The vast majority abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK" Who on earth are the minority who do not abhor Islamic terrorism in the UK? If the BBC actually know who these people are I think they have a duty to pass the names to the security services!

  • 45.
  • At 08:33 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

The war on terror is a sham. Bin Laden's primary demand was to remove US troops from Saudi Arabia and after 9/11 that's exactly what Bush did. If that's not capitulating to terrorism I don't know what is. Bush & Blair's rhetoric is simply designed to justify their wars of aggression and take away our civil liberties. If you critically examine what they say and do none of it makes any logical sense.

  • 46.
  • At 08:50 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Tovarisch wrote:

The public are being given a choice by the UK (and US)Governement - either you're with us or against us.

The reality is that most people don't want to be in anyone's gang. We just want to get on with our quiet lives.

I am not sure that the majority oppose foreign policy. I am utterly convinced that they don't understand it nor do they believe that the Government is honest with the facts.

The terrorist threat has been reduced from Critical to Severe. Wow! This is still a tactic to unite a nation through mutual fear of "our enemies". It won't work.

Many see the Iraq war and the whole WMDs myth as just a great big lie to justify another agenda. When you have a reputation for telling lies people stop believing a word you say and the Government has done the British public a huge injustice by bringing us to the psoition we're now in.

I like this country. I detest self-serving dishonesty. I accept that The Government has painted our whole nation into a corner. Now they are obliged to get us out of it.

Bumping Prescott out of office would be a good gesture to start with. As long as Dr Dire (Home Secretary this month) doesn't fill the vacancy.

I don't know if it's kosher to quote my own work but it is extremely relevant to today's question. In short, not only do I refuse to take sides, I am vehemently opposed to both. In the conclusion of one section of my online book I address the American establishment thus:

"Many of us now perceive you - the American Regime currently led by Neocons and supported by the Religious Right - as the single greatest threat to global Security and Liberty on the planet. You have demonstrably killed vastly more people around the world than your MIFT (Militant Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorist) enemies and you have imposed repressive and intrusive restrictions on your own population and potential visitors which are probably fully in line with what MIFT would like to achieve but way beyond their capabilities. You have already succeeded in persuading other governments around the world to begin following your perverse and dangerous lead. We hate MIFT and what they represent too. But the threat they pose to us is tiny compared to the threat you have become. That is why we now fear and oppose you even more than we fear and oppose them."

As you can see I am most certainly NOT neutral in the War on Terror. I call a plague on both their houses.

This next point may confuse some readers. I recognise MIFT as the greatest THREAT but the Americans pose the greatest RISK.

Confusing those two is a common human failing. It is why we're more frightened of being killed by terrorists than the car crash which is far more likely to kill us.

The fact is that we are far more likely to be damaged by what America is doing to the world than what MIFT are doing. Not least because almost every action they take to try to squelch the hostility against them increases the number of people who are beginning to think that any and all forms of violent opposition to the American Empire are becoming increasingly legitimate.

  • 48.
  • At 09:18 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • libertarian wrote:

I’m sorry, but really why this positions cannot be compatible? And also since when terrorism can be sorted by accepting pressure and changing the “foreign policy”? And even worst since when these two things are dependant or related?

Let’s put it in this way: You can or cannot approve the war Iraq, you can or cannot approve the war in Lebanon (funny enough, in the first we complain in part because Britain it shouldn’t intervened and in the second because it should), you can protest against it in a lot of ways, from pacific protest to rallies, or even better using the best tool that democracy has, the vote, but what you cannot do is terrorist attacks on innocent people. And please, to the hypocrites dressing a pacifist don’t come with that moral lecture of “they are bombing innocent people in Lebanon” because that is pure moral relativism, a real pacifist wont use this a justification to commit a terrorist attack, in all case the first step to peace (like or not) is not returning the aggression.

During the last days, the Muslim Council of Britain was using the “foreign policy” as an excuse for the terror, and no, there is not justification, a really small minority of people if being turned extremist so while instead they don’t try to find out was going wrong in their communities and try to tackle all this? I heard moderate Muslims complaining about this and feeling even misrepresented by the council, due that they also don’t think that terror is acceptable. And don’t forget the opportunistic politicians like Khan, MP for Tooting, who with that open letter far from stop terrorism, is acting like a terror advocate to gain votes in his constituency.

  • 49.
  • At 09:29 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Andrew Ross wrote:

The argument that being *against* the US/UK foreign policy on Iraq and Israel/Lebanon is incompatible with being *for* the war on terror requires that we conflate three issues.

It requires that we agree that our policy towards Iraq and our policy towards Israel/Lebanon are consistent with the furtherance of the war on terror.

In the case of Iraq, it's possible to be very clear-cut: the war in Iraq was demonstrably nothing to do with the war on terror. Although many people still try to conflate those two issues, the evidence doesn't support that argument and those that make such an argument are largely regurgitating talking points from a government that depends upon our acceptance of that fallacy.

In the case of Israel/Lebanon, it's not so clear. The kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is a terrorist act (by definition). The question then becomes: is it possible to oppose the British and American governments’ support of Israel’s response to that act while also supporting the governments’ position on the war on terror?

If the answer is no, the implication is that we should stop at nothing to achieve victory in that war, regardless of the innocent who may be killed or injured in the process.

If the answer is yes, the implication is that there are limits to what we would consider an appropriate response.

A “no” is an absolute position while a “yes” requires that we ask of ourselves where the line should be drawn. What does constitute a proportionate response to a terrorist act?

The right answer to the question surely comes from looking at policy choices and policy outcomes. Israel’s decision to inflict large scale death and destruction upon the people and infrastructure of the Lebanon (and the British/American support for such a decision) has not resulted in the achievement of their stated objectives: the destruction of Hezbollah and the safe return of the hostages. It’s quite correct, therefore, that we question the efficacy of such a policy and, therefore, I believe entirely consistent for individuals to oppose the governments’ policies towards Israel while at the same time supporting their efforts in the war on terror.

In essence such a position says, “This policy isn’t working: find another way”.

  • 50.
  • At 09:41 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Niels wrote:

Do people in the UK think it's normal, that their prime minister goes on holiday after being informed about the biggest threat to UK national security since World War 2, and that he doesn't even come back while his government, after the arrests, claims that the plot can still be carried out, putting the country at risk of a terrorist attack which could be worse than 9/11 ?

Do you actually believe him, or do you see through this propaganda and understand that he tries to push through the control orders and other counterterrorism measures which were rejected by UK courts during the first week of August ?

Do you see he is positioning John Reid as the new Prime Minister, staying out of the spotlight so Reid can show his statesmanship (sic).....

  • 51.
  • At 09:56 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • cheikh wane wrote:

How come the the media in general and the bbc in particular never explore this debate from a negro- African perspective? What I mean is that Islam as practised by an British Muslim of negro-African descent specially if he/she was born in it rather converted like most West Indian muslims, is very different from both the Middle eastern and far-eastern version of the religion. So different that to my knowledge no negro-african muslim from anywhere in the Islamic world has ever committed as terrorist attck in the name of Islam let alone a suicide attack.
I am of senegalese descent, have lived in this country for the last fifteen years and in Western Europe for the last 20. I was born in a devout muslim environment and until I came to Europe I have never thought that Islam could be a synonym of violence. Muslims who are so angry that they cannot contain that anger should take a leaf from Negro- African Islam book.

It is not about which side I’m; I think it is about what is right and not right.
I have always supported PM Tony Blair for his charisma and the way he comes up with a detailed explanation, he is very articulate. And having worked for Labour Party as a student, I have voted for Labour every election since I was 18 Even last year I kept my loyalty to labour, but recent behaviour of Tony Blair is out of the question it's uncharacteristic of a British labour politician, in another note Tony lost the plot.

I agreed and supported the idea of attacking former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan (After September 11), but then Iraq came he lost a trust of the public and the voters.
No one excuses when a British born terrorist tries to attack it's own citizens, that is treason in my view and no British Muslim, Christian or any other religion person would not consider doing that. And as the European like the French- Britain needs to consider it’s people when doing something out of its citizen interest.
And as you know France and German have the largest population of Muslims, but you don't here them attacking their country and you need to ask why for that?

Look at the evidence. Do, as Sherlock Homes did, and eliminate the impossible, and not what is simply improbable.

The best place to start is to see who has deliberately lied, and then discount any pleas of truth from these people.

Start with September 11, 2001. Is it really possible to totally destroy THREE World Trade Centre buildings with two aircraft? The most obvious way to guide an aircraft so precisely into those buildings was by using GPS? Why did the US not disable the GPS system when a condition of the service operating is it can be instantly turned off when the USA is attacked? Bush just sat there when the WTC was hit, why didn't he even rush to watch a TV? He calls himself "commander in chief", is this the TURTH?

Look at the way some people put around phrases like "conspiracy theorist" to dismiss anyone who wants to look at the evidence. Did you know that they just dragged off the remains and have turned it into part of a warship?

Is it more likely that the event was staged – the irony of the date being on every picture of the day because it is the US emergency services number – to allow the right-wing republicans to have a state of war?

Did Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W Bush not decide they were going to war anyway?

And the treatment of our government Dr David Kelly told us via the Hutton report, and the whole Iraq was thing was based on Powerpointed heaps of untruth.

Wasn't it another coincidence that London was bombed whilst George Bush was in the UK?

It is impossible to conclude that last weeks use of some bogus security scare which has cost millions and scared the pants of everyone who was going on holiday this week might be as much a public relations stunt as many other things appear to be.

Don't get me started on the rest…

  • 54.
  • At 10:34 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Matthias H. wrote:

“War on terror” is the biggest smoke screen ever invented by politicians.

The real worrying question is, why is Bliar so unconditional supportive of Bush? He is currently the pivotal figure in world politics. Blair is the Trojan horse, enabling Bush to brand all his interventions as a "coalition". Briton-Parliament-Cabinet wake up and question Blair! Without him, Bush will be singled out and "common sense" can come back into world politics.

  • 55.
  • At 10:35 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Ian Couch wrote:

I find it hard to believe that the BBC is so leftwing and blind.
If anyone is to blame it should be the UN as it's always been a spinless and weak corrupt organization and has help very few people. Ever since the 50's it has done nothing.
So the UN has been in Lebanon for 29 years, letting the terrorists build bunkers and store missiles in a thriving country over the last 6 years like so many other countries.
I hope there is a Third world war so the playing fields are leveled and we get rid of the PC's.

  • 56.
  • At 10:36 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

We hear Condelisa Rice talking about a new Middle East, but where is the new thinking?
Still they characterise the views of Iran and Syria as despicable, but although their is much wrong with both countries, there is an Arab case which is not being addressed.
I am neither Jew nor Arab, but I have to agree with the president of Syria that this was was not caused by the capture of two soldiers and was clearly sanctioned by US and Blair policy in advance. Extremism is born from oppression, and the Israili's are masters of this. This never justifies the killing of innocents but Israel has much blood on its hands too.
Blair neither represents his cabinet, his party, nor the country with his foreign policy. He knows he does not stand again and acts without the Nation's support.
He is niave in his views of the terrorism question, and does not give sufficient weight to the western/israeli oppression which generates support for (unexcusable but understandable) extreme Arab measures.
A "New Middle East" must include rectification of genuine Arab concerns, and demonising countries is no way to forge a solution.
The way forward in my view is to support the moderate Arab view, not exclude it when it asks for justice, extremism will wither when there is social justice and prosperity

  • 57.
  • At 10:38 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • David Wilson wrote:

Whilst the friends of Israel around the world have the power to control the US and UK governments we will remain targets for terrorists. The terrorist state of Israel must be forced to comply with UN resolutions, International Laws, and the Geneva Conventions, this means sanctions and frezing bank accounts of its supporters. This will not happen because the friends of Israel control the media, government, and banking, they finance our political parties so politicians will not risk upsetting them. Israel has WMD, lasor guided bombes and an airforce, Palestinians only weapons platform is the bodies of freedom fighters. There are tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians in jail without charge or trial, Israel murders any Palestinian who disagrees or tries to resist and the world lets them do what they want.The majority of people in the office where I work opposed the war in Iraq and British policy in the middle east. I am English and ashamed of my governments policies.

  • 58.
  • At 10:43 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • dodge wrote:

Dubya's puppeteers policies are not new :-

“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Hermann Göring(Nazi) 1946 Nuremberg Trials

  • 59.
  • At 10:45 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • The Realist wrote:

The expression 'Islamic fascists' is puerile.

Fascism was the Italian system of government from 1922 until 1943 Nothing else. Nowhere else.

As its founder said: 'Fascism is not an export article'.

Case closed. Bush convicted of misleading the world with emotive and inapposite invocations.

  • 60.
  • At 10:54 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Zoran Novakovic wrote:

"Can you be neutral in the so-called war on terror?"

I think that your question is somewhat late in coming. I would argue that the War On Terror as we know it is over, and that current policy proposals allegedly aimed at combating terrorism are in fact designed to deal with an aftermath of war on terror itself.

First, consider this article for a moment:

If 10,000 pieces of luggage went missing, could a bomb or two ended up onboard..? Apparently, instead of changing "image" and disguising itself as a middle class, middle age white European male, the terrorist treat can simply stop dispatching suicide bombers and load only bombs aboard a plane instead - provided that the terrorist treat is still so singlemindedly dedicated to blowing up airliners. This indeed potentially dangerous confusion with lost luggage came as a result of police and security services measures introduced to improve (airport) security and increase public safety. So much about combating terrorism.

Now, back to the point: here is the key to this "end of war on terror" notion:

(this link has been already posted on Newsnight Blog earlier, by one Rick B in response to Daniel Pearl's "Terror questions - do you have answers?", August 10 2006, response no 211)

Now, this is an election year for the Democrats too, isn't it? As Lieberman fiasco has shown, the biggest challenge facing them is to distance, and distinguish, themselves from Bush and his policies. More specifically, to explain why they supported the invasion of Iraq, and the war on terror paradigm in general. Now they have an elegant answer: they have been lied to, deceived into supporting the administration. The exact nature and the scope of the lie is not important once it becomes a political issue.

Would the Democrats jump on a "conspiracy" bandwagon? You bet! -

"A Scripps Howard News Service/Ohio University poll taken from July 6 to 24, 2006 concluded that "more than a third [36 percent] of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them, so that the United States could go to war in the Middle East." A poll done by the Zogby polling organization two months earlier, between May 12 and 16, 2006, and using questions worded somewhat differently, concluded that 42 percent of Americans believed there had indeed been a cover-up of the true events of 9/11, and an additional 10 percent of Americans were 'unsure.'"

If they win the Congress this year, they may actually use that power to further dismantle the WoT paradigm in a runup for the big one in 2008. The problems any new administration will inherit, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, etc... are difficult enough to tackle even without the war on terror with all its (quasi)legal paraphernalia.

The template upon which it was built, the 9/11 and its basic premises, images and narratives, has changed way beyond it's original simple design by now. It has mutated like any good old memetic virus would, to the point at which it cannot be re-enforced in any meaningful way anymore. Most critically, the public's perception of it has changed - the 9/11 template was designed to feed on human imagination to begin with; it's little wonder that it "escaped" and now lives a life of its own.

So, am I saying that next breaking news coming from America will be reports of a lynch mob gathering on the White House lawn..? No, not really, but Bush and Cheney may still long for good old times when the angriest people around were women who shaved their pussy in protest.

  • 61.
  • At 10:56 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • h.marph wrote:

Not so sure that one of guests’ claims is true! That ‘every Muslim’ that he spoke to stands against our foreign policy. The ‘foreign policy rhetoric’ is nonsense. We cannot surrender our foreign policy to a bunch of nutters, idiots, and psychopaths. Only an elected government can change our foreign policy. Extremism must be defeated, look at Iraq, Muslim extremists murdering Muslims in that country. Why did not you invite a modern Muslim thinker tonight?

  • 62.
  • At 11:05 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • sarah webb wrote:

having just watched shahid Malik on newsnight i am appalled at his defence of muslim extremists by blaming foreign policy. like many brits i dont like foreign policy, i dont like DOMESTIC policy either but i have no desire to kill citizens from a country that educated me, fed me, clothed me, op-erated on me, and has offered me a safe place to live. the muslims will never fit in because they do not want to. the quran statesz in its opening pages that teh Jews will face the wrath of allah and us christians have gone astray. all are doomed according to islam. so what do we expect? them to fit in, we are the non-believers who are veiled according to muslims. and veiled is the right word..but not from a stupid medieval god but from the ememy in our mist.

  • 63.
  • At 11:06 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Ian Couch wrote:

The forieng policy that we made the biggest mistake was that we gave so much in the past and receive so little back to so called third world countries.
Why not cut all aid off to all so called Third countries and see how they get on.
Isn't that what started to happen in the West Bank when we weren't paying them to hate us? Oh that is right they started fighting each other. Opps killing each other.
Whatever happened to the Natural Selection process in nature? This so called war has been going on for decades now, not just now. Algeria 1989 so many slaughtered and many before then.
It made me laugh tonight that the BBC interviewed an Hizbolah fighter whilst in having a AK-47(Russian/Chinese) and sat in a nice shinny BMW (German). I have never seen any Arib products and if it wasn't for the Wests technology they still wouldn't be able to get the oil out of the ground (1920).
I'd like to see the Muslims try for once to intergrate here in the (UK) and try and treat their women a little better.
I doubt it some how

  • 64.
  • At 11:06 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • sarah webb wrote:

having just watched shahid Malik on newsnight i am appalled at his defence of muslim extremists by blaming foreign policy. like many brits i dont like foreign policy, i dont like DOMESTIC policy either but i have no desire to kill citizens from a country that educated me, fed me, clothed me, op-erated on me, and has offered me a safe place to live. the muslims will never fit in because they do not want to. the quran statesz in its opening pages that teh Jews will face the wrath of allah and us christians have gone astray. all are doomed according to islam. so what do we expect? them to fit in, we are the non-believers who are veiled according to muslims. and veiled is the right word..but not from a stupid medieval god but from the ememy in our mist.

  • 65.
  • At 11:07 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Stuart Manger wrote:

Who on earth edited this porgramme tonight (Tuesday, Aug 15th)?

This was a fantastic opportunity to debate a HUGE and divisive issue, and it was CUT SHORT - how much frustration in the Muslim and Non-Muslim population would that have been ? and where dis Newsnight in its infinte and tactful wisdom then take us? Oregon, USA!!!!!! Good Grief!!

Kirsty Wark handled that discussion like a fish on a bike, and actually stirred people up. Oh for Gavin Essler!

Why did the BBC not have the courage to continue the discussion, junk other items, not put people under time pressures, and so let them talk more rationally? Instead we tried to fit in other totally irrelevant subjects that could easily have waited until another night.

Sorry, guts, but appalling mis-managment and frank cowardice. The BBC quite rightly set up the situation, and then pulled the plug on it! How about that for creating frustration and tension!! Why?

  • 66.
  • At 11:08 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Twana Suleyman wrote:

I was watching news night and the debate about the relation between UK foreign polices, and the increase in support for the extreme Islamic organisations. I was appalled by the level of bios towards Islamic extremism by the program and some of whom appeared on the program. I had to switch the channel as I feel BBC is betraying the very people who pay for their existence!

  • 67.
  • At 11:09 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

'If you're not with us, you're against us' is, surely, the mantra of the extremist? It's another way of saying 'don't think, follow'. Whether you're Bush, Bin Laden, or Blair, if you're pushing this philosophy you're part of the problem.

  • 68.
  • At 11:17 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

The argument that we can't change foreign policy because that would be "giving in to terrorism" or that we are letting terrorists dictate to us is facile.

It is irrelevant what terrorists say. If a terrorist says DON'T jump off a cliff does that mean you automatically SHOULD jump off a cliff?

My answer is that we change foreign policy because that is THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

If it reduces the threat of terrorsim then that is an added bonus.

And by the way, Tony Blair is at 23% approval according to the latest FT poll, so it is not just muslims who disagree with his policies.

  • 69.
  • At 11:22 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • David Walker wrote:

The split is between the Enlightenment Fundamentalists and the Islamic Fundamentalists. The former ideology is now de-facto in the politics of Western societies - it is hard to see any intellectual difference between an organisation like Amnesty International which surely considers itself to be left-wing, and wants a product of the Western enlightenment, namely Human Rights, imposed on all societies, and the neo-conservative position so clearly outlined by Fukuyama and acted upon by Bush & Blair (western forms of government as the final form of political organisation). On the other side is a religious movement, founded largely on conquest, that attracts followers with the temptation of ultimate truth. Both rely on a form of absolutism. Both ignore historical and cultural realities in their attempts to impose their beliefs on ordinary people.

Both sides are attempting to shape the world in the image of their ideology, which they consider to be the the only possible way to live. In the west we have signally failed to learn lessons from the disastrous consequences of the two great ideologies of the twentienth century - Communism & Nazism. Great idologies cannot encompass the complexity of human societies.

We need less Plato and more Epicurus. Culture, which evolves slowly and naturally, must take precedence over ideology. Do not concern yourself with the wrongs and rights of a society which you are not a part of, those societies have evolved in their own unique ways and are, like our own, historically conditioned. We need more localism and less globalism. Concern yourself with things within 50 miles, not 5000 miles away. Live on a human scale.

  • 70.
  • At 11:29 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • High Wycombe resident wrote:

Is it any wonder that anti-government feeling has increased amongst young Muslims post 9/11 given the rhetoric from the Muslim lawyer on Newsnight tonight. He is a skilled orator who young Muslims will look up to and listen to. What a travesty he cannot put his talents to better use and follow in the footsteps of his democratically elected Muslim co-interviewee and advocate dialogue as a means to peace through the democratic process. Vote William Shawcross!

  • 71.
  • At 11:34 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Keith Donaldson wrote:

Having just listened to the debate, it would seem that there is some common ground. No matter what the degree of frustration, no matter what the injustice, killing is unacceptable and is not the answer.

To tackle the frustration and disillusionment leading to violence and extremism, a display of tolerance and a willingness to listen is fundamental. Inflammatory dogmatism, such as “You’re for us or against us,” will only serve to increase alienation. Pseudo-historical analogy, through the employment of words like fascism and appeasement is misleading and counterproductive. Likewise and critically the term ‘War on Terror’ is a flawed concept and in the long run, pursued as it has been so far, will only bolster terrorism. Terrorism is a much more complex threat than any the world has previously faced. It will only be countered by greater degrees of impartiality, integrity and sophistication than have so far been demonstrated.

  • 72.
  • At 11:39 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Andy Gil wrote:

David Wilson's intemperate and lying diatribe against Israel (post 61) is truly appalling.

He does not mention the terrorist attacks against Israel and Jews around the world that Islamic extremists have been carrying out for decades. Remember Munich David? That was 1972.

He doesn't seem to know the Arabs have declared a war of annihilation on Israel 3 times. 1948, 1967, 1973. He doesn't seem to care about Hezbollah-Iran's policy of ethnic cleansing.

Typical of the double standards that terrorist apologists use.

  • 73.
  • At 11:49 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Abu Ayman wrote:

William Shawcross sees the struggle as one between reactionary Islam and moderate Islam. he explains moderate muslims to be those who follow the path of democracy and the reactionaries as the jihadis. What he fails to take into account is that many of the jihadis are those same people that have tried and tread on the path of democracy and found that this has led them nowhere. Tell the man in Algiers who voted for an Islamic government only for the result to be pulled from under him. Tell the woman in Cairo who can only vote in a rigged election whilst the US and the West prop up the corrupt Mubarak regime. Tell the refugee in Nablus who voted out a corrupt Fatah government only to be told by the West that his choice of an Islamist party was not appropriate.
Democracy is a process which must be allowed to evolve . Bush and Blair cannot impose their idea of democracy on the muslim peoples of the world. It is resentment of this idea that the West knows better what is best for the muslims that is fanning the flames of hatred.
Shawcross has failed to grasp the nettle. Followers of Islam have tried the democratic route only to find it barred by the same people who claim to espouse it. They see their only alternative in the desperate acts that have sadly become too common today.

Zoran Novakovic (post 64) I went to the youtube link you posted and this is what appeared:

'This video has been removed due to terms of use violation'

Which is a shame as your comments were interesting and cogent.

  • 75.
  • At 11:54 PM on 15 Aug 2006,

What Ayatollah would not rouse the moral of his men to overcome their fear of death their fear of being a victim?

All over the world you could feel the natural humanity forgiveness and love of muslims

The terrorism is Blair's and Bush's..

Our war mood is a war of anger and justribution... agains the violence and victimisation by the selfish

The world must pick better targets and defeat their character and politics... why hate public kill travellers kills your worthyness...

  • 76.
  • At 12:06 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • mimsy wrote:

We should never have gone into Iraq we should never have responded to the provocation that the Muslim world has used to avoid its own reformation. We are a diversion. Wahabism has corrupted Islam to the point whereby it is now no longer a religion, its a psychosis. The Muslim world is refusing to face the demise of its gender based power and that is why it hates the West and its modern liberal democracies. Its not Christianity or Judaism that worries them, it's the secular world that threatens their male centred power. It keeps using seemingly just causes to complain about, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palistine but the real elephant in the room is the demise of their gender based patriarchal power.

My advice is to leave the Muslim world alone to wallow in its own mess and to follow Ms. Hirsi Ali's advice and be proud, not apologetic about our modern liberal democracy. Zero tolerance for these failed and whinging youths who do victimhood par excellence, and the anachronistic imams who goad them on.

  • 77.
  • At 12:08 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • mimsy wrote:

We should never have gone into Iraq we should never have responded to the provocation that the Muslim world has used to avoid its own reformation. We are a diversion. Wahabism has corrupted Islam to the point whereby it is now no longer a religion, its a psychosis. The Muslim world is refusing to face the demise of its gender based power and that is why it hates the West and its modern liberal democracies. Its not Christianity or Judaism that worries them, it's the secular world that threatens their male centred power. It keeps using seemingly just causes to complain about, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palistine but the real elephant in the room is the demise of their gender based patriarchal power.

My advice is to leave the Muslim world alone to wallow in its own mess and to follow Ms. Hirsi Ali's advice and be proud, not apologetic about our modern liberal democracy. Zero tolerance for these failed and whinging youths who do victimhood par excellence, and the anachronistic imams who goad them on.

  • 78.
  • At 12:10 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • mimsy wrote:

We should never have gone into Iraq we should never have responded to the provocation that the Muslim world has used to avoid its own reformation. We are a diversion. Wahabism has corrupted Islam to the point whereby it is now no longer a religion, its a psychosis. The Muslim world is refusing to face the demise of its gender based power and that is why it hates the West and its modern liberal democracies. Its not Christianity or Judaism that worries them, it's the secular world that threatens their male centred power. It keeps using seemingly just causes to complain about, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palistine but the real elephant in the room is the demise of their gender based patriarchal power.

My advice is to leave the Muslim world alone to wallow in its own mess and to follow Ms. Hirsi Ali's advice and be proud, not apologetic about our modern liberal democracy. Zero tolerance for these failed and whinging youths who do victimhood par excellence, and the anachronistic imams who goad them on.

  • 79.
  • At 12:11 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • donald aurthers wrote:

which side am i on? Its not about sides and the more we treat it as such the closer we get to a situation from which we wont be able to retreat from.

Watching the debate tonight scared me, not because I would ever empower terrorists (state, or radicals) by ever being scared of them, it was because despite our lessons from history we appear not have learnt nothing.

Everyone would aggree i hope that killing someone by whoever for what ever reason is wrong. Yet thats all i have heard and seen on TV news for the past five years. Muslims killing jewsd, christians killing muslims, it dosent seen to matter what ytou believe, the point is no one has a better idea on how to move foward apart from killing people.

Have we learnt nothing from two world wars and countless local conflicts? Does our experience of terrorism, mot lead us to any solution except for sending in the troops. it didnt work for us in ireland, and its not going to work for us against fundamentalists in the middle east.

Peolple have grievences and unless they feel like they can air these and move foward to help solving them ythey become desparate and eventually, however missguided will take radical action.

Forinstance if i was treated like a second class citizen, never had any chaance of getting a good education or a decent living because of my ethnicity or my religious beliefs, and was persecuted and downtroden I would fight for my empowerment, no matter what it took. I would obviously hope that i could gain some satisfaction without the use of any kind of violent action but if i could not and my kids could not and their kids could not then perhaps you can see how radical views start and how years of injustice and persecution can breed hatred.

So unless we start making changes to empower those who consider they have a genuine grievence and cant improve their situation, then we will never live in peace again.

the debate this evening was so polerised and intransigent, on all sides, that i cant see how this is going anywhere except for total destruction with another world war.

Neithert side has the moral high ground, neither side can claim to be right, but unless we can find a way of living together then we are doomed.

The majority of people in this world are actually good. not that you would know it by some of the rubbish some people arr spoutting at the moment. Yes this all sounds very hippy and very namby pamby but if all the peace loving people of the world actually ran it there would be no wars, there would be no conflicts, we were given a brain so why cant we use it??? And this plea si not aimed at the islamic fundamentalists only its aimed at the capitalist powers who stay rich by keeping two thirds of the world poor.

At the end of it all there i no one race or religion who has it all right. But I do know that trying to impose your views on someone is a great way to start a conflict that will only be solved by usibg your brain and learning about that which is different to what you are.

Fear is a powerfull motivator and thats all i see from all parties right now. Bin Laden failed to insight fundamentalist coups in all the countries he attempted to start them in, saudi arabia, yemen etc etc etc, the people just didnt want to play.

But now the nmore we impower the terrorists by making them this huge thing that will change the world, the more we kill innocent civilians in our crusade like wars, the greater the likelyhood theat we alienate and create a source of conflivt, a reason to fight.

Your real peace loving christian jew or muslim does not want conflivt but the more we are pushed the more likely this isd to happen. OPushed by our own leaders who seem to only play the power politice game and not remember who they serve.

we live in a dangerous world made more dangerous by the very countries who should have learnt from history and not make the same mistakes again.

we the people need to start making the world a betetr place, and not letting power hungry money mad polititians and raving religious nutters govern our reality. Your average person loves peace and does not not want conflict whatever religion they are. Do everything you can to promote peace and love wherever you are. Who ever you are, dont think in terms odf polar nlack asnd white, its an awsome planet we inhabit and we are destrying it little by little each day.

Write to your MP remind him that you dont want to bnecome embroiled in pointless conflicts the ultimately solve nothing. Tell them you want a clean polution free planet for your kids. Mention taht its youer vote and the vote of the countless millins in your country that give them power and not to abuse taht power as polititians have historically always done. You can make a difference and you can defet awrs and conflict just by saying i dont want this. Not by sending in the troops or with bunker busting bombs!

And for those who are going to say its unrealistic to talk in these terms, well yes it is, unless you are willing to accept that the way tings are is not working and has never really worked. we have been fighting for our entire history its about time we put our relentless desire for death to a far more productive and positive use, or there wont be a future for this sorry species.

Scoff at your peril, believe what you want. But at laest consider tae possibility that there is a betetr way.

  • 80.
  • At 12:14 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Aunty Madge wrote:

Which side are we on?
I live in a country.
Within my borders I expect the indigenous culture to be dominant - I feel comfortable with that and expect my government to defend the culture that has developed.
Step outside those borders and all I see is other countries.
Who has the right to interfere in those?
Only the International Community and then only to stop the inordinate use of violence or the murder of innocent people.
In the current crisis I can only blame the International Community for not disarming both sides years ago.

Aunty Madge

  • 81.
  • At 12:14 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Rob S wrote:

This blog subject is about whether the time has come to 'pick a side' in the conflict that bestrides us today. Of those taking an explicit or implicit anti west viewpoint some people (largely, but not exclusively, on the old left) base their rather immature opinions on that old arab saying that 'my enemies enemy is my friend'. In doing so they therefore flock like lemmings to support any 'cause' that appears at odds with 'ye olde enemy' the yankees (and their 'poodles'- currently Blair). Others try to pin all the blame on 'the Zionist state'- the principal offenders here being the increasingly hysterical and out-of-touch with reality 'Independent' journalist Fisk and his avid readers and the very sane (sic) President of Iran plus supporters such as Syria and hezbollah-hamas terrorist militia and similar across the arab and shiite world. Others look towards a muslim khilafah-not just where muslims have previously ruled in times past (for 'what was once islamic soil is forever islamic soil' as Bin Laden and followers said about Spain) but also where muslims now live.

Some of the 19/20 year old students I teach (those with an islamic culture) brought my attention to a whole series of videos when we discussed the idea of a 'war of civilisations'. They were (the muslims)- to a man and woman- convinced that such a clash/ war does exist and that it is the muslims who are winning it (the "loving death like you love life" argument for eventual breaking the will of non muslims via ratcheting up the atrocities and fascist behaviour until the middle and upper class liberal cowards sue for peace). They told me of heroes like 'Khattab'- "the sword of islam"- an afghan and Bosnia and Chechnya arab fighter popular and well know across the UK muslim population but almost unheard of outside of it. There were many more, not least the martyrs and heroes of 7/7 (where they believed the suicide videos- many believed that MI5 had undertaken these bombings). Notwithstanding alleged 'youthful bravado' (which- given the patience with which their political and ideological positions were communicated and the deep thought that had gone into them- I dispute) this is the kind of stuff you constantly hear from TV and Radio interviews and by even the briefest of sojourns into blogosphere.

A fundamental crux of this current disater we find ourselves in (and it came up time and again with the students) was 'do where do you owe your allegiance'? Now the Trotskyite, rabid anti American and (perversely!) the libertarian lunatic fringe will all say "not to the state". But- sadly for these morons the rest of the UK have an opinion: and it is "to the UK"……until you talk to a lot of muslims. Then the answer is "to my muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir…" (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) We live- in the west- in a series of post enlightenment, secular nation states. The populations of these states- and previous religious and ethnic migrants to these states- have given loyalty and allegiance to those states. After an election, if you’ve lost and the government pursues ridiculous or nasty policies (as those of us on the centre and left during the 1980's can testify) then you argue and persuade so that the vast silent majority of swing voters supports your viewpoint again. You don't- covertly or openly- support violence and cowardly terrorist activity and say in the same breath "change policy". That’s not the post enlightenment secular way.

The question of this blog- and indeed the newsnight discussion slot cut ludicrously short- should be phrased "do whom do you owe allegiance". And to those who say anything other than "the UK" then I would say: this is not a muslim country and it never will be. You maybe ought to be careful for what you wish for. This last statement is borne out of looking at history and particularly the history of Europe whose peoples have a rather nasty and violent dark side (even those silent ones in the centre ground). This is not a throwaway comment it is something that is likely to become more and more apparent over the coming years if history teaches us anything (look at the etymology of the word "Balkanisation" along with the desperate and failing attempts of the Governmnet to increase feelings of 'community cohesion'). This is a point which needs to be debated and NOT CENSORED (vis early deletion of this mailing).

  • 82.
  • At 12:15 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • ge4orge brigham wrote:

I do not trust Tony Blair or George Bush.They have violeted international law by invading Iraq and allowed Israel to kill hundreds of innocent people in Lebanon.
- Lies were told to justify the invasion of Iraq and U.S arm Israel to kill Hisbollah/Palestinians.

We are being told about a war on terror yet it is us who are responsible for the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere.Is it any wonder that people do not like what is going on and want to fight back,be they terrorists or muslims/people in general?

- Because of the weakness of our P.M
we are being asked to sanction our Govts activities abroad.But I disagree with terrorism and also with our foreign policy in supposedly combatting it.

Our country has lost its tongue because of our PM following US initiatives.And our tradition of diplomacy and fairness throughout the world is being eroded,which really upsets me.

I recently watched a Conspiracy Theory programme about events of 9/11.The programme produces some evidence that the US may have had a part in the killing of their own people as an exercise to dupe the world into justifying their aggression against
Iraq,Afghanistan.It may be that Bin Laden is working for US(as he did before) - and providing the excuse for our activities in Afghanistan.

We all know that we are running out of oil and that these countries are key to preserving our future supplies.

I would have scoffed at such a programme once upon a time but not now,I'm afraid to say.

Until the democratic process allows us to remove Blair and Bush I trust them no more than the terrorists.

  • 83.
  • At 12:15 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • ge4orge brigham wrote:

I do not trust Tony Blair or George Bush.They have violeted international law by invading Iraq and allowed Israel to kill hundreds of innocent people in Lebanon.
- Lies were told to justify the invasion of Iraq and U.S arm Israel to kill Hisbollah/Palestinians.

We are being told about a war on terror yet it is us who are responsible for the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere.Is it any wonder that people do not like what is going on and want to fight back,be they terrorists or muslims/people in general?

- Because of the weakness of our P.M
we are being asked to sanction our Govts activities abroad.But I disagree with terrorism and also with our foreign policy in supposedly combatting it.

Our country has lost its tongue because of our PM following US initiatives.And our tradition of diplomacy and fairness throughout the world is being eroded,which really upsets me.

I recently watched a Conspiracy Theory programme about events of 9/11.The programme produces some evidence that the US may have had a part in the killing of their own people as an exercise to dupe the world into justifying their aggression against
Iraq,Afghanistan.It may be that Bin Laden is working for US(as he did before) - and providing the excuse for our activities in Afghanistan.

We all know that we are running out of oil and that these countries are key to preserving our future supplies.

I would have scoffed at such a programme once upon a time but not now,I'm afraid to say.

Until the democratic process allows us to remove Blair and Bush I trust them no more than the terrorists.

  • 84.
  • At 12:16 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • john wrote:

What a breath of fresh air from William Shawcross tonight. It is ages since I have heard such lucid comments on this topic especially in a BBC program. He made so many good points to which there were no answers from the others present: muslims are being killed in Iraq by muslims; more muslims are being killed in Somalia by muslims; Saddam killed more muslims than any other Arab leader; thousands of muslims were killed in ALgeria by muslims. How is the West to blame for this? Who is oppressing who? How is 9/11 both a triumph for Bin Laden and a plot by Bush and the Jewish lobby? Why do young muslims in the UK blame our governemnt for roadside bombs which slaughter thousands of innocent Iraquis which are placed by other muslims. As others have said it seems impossible to deal with such irrationality. It is a blind hatred which is being deliberately created and stirred by those in control. As always religions are just another way of controlling and manipulating people with promises of heaven just as communism promised heaven on earth. Perhaps we should admit defeat now in Iraq and allow the civil war to continue so that the various muslim communities can decide eventually what sort of society they want. If the Iraqui people really want democracy as was hoped then now is the time for them to fight for it and stop blaming the west. This would also take away the current grounds for complaint against our government. No doubt we will then hear the cry that the "international community" is ignoring the horrors in Iraq and must do something to stop the slaughter. Incidentally why does not Saudia Arabia or the Gulf states donate a part of their huge wealth to rebuild Palestine? Why is the Palenstine state depended on Europe and the US for funding when their muslim neighbours are so obviously rich. Surely it is time for other Arabs to help Palestine in a more concrete and generous manner. It would be useful if there was more plain speaking and clear analysis such as William Shawcross demonstrated tonight. It is a pity the debate was as usual cut short and over-managed.

  • 85.
  • At 12:23 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Steve Crawford wrote:

Tony Blair's simplicity is scandalously irresponsible. Following the stupidity of supporting an Israel slaughter of innocent civilians, it shows either a distinct cynicism or a crass naivete in his understanding of the islamic world. To lump al Qaeda in with Hamas and Hezbollah is to effectively declare psychological war on islam itself. This will humiliate and alienate 'moderate' muslims within their own communities. It is either a deliberate own goal or crass incompetence.

  • 86.
  • At 12:30 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi, Abu (77)
Maybe the woman in Cairo voted the way she did and not the way she was expected to? Wimmin do the strangest things when they are not kept in a bin-liner.
And Benedict (79)
Would the natural humanity, forgiveness and love of muslims be the ones demonstrated at the World Trade Centre or the ones flying out of Lebanon into Israel?
A tad sarcastic perhaps, but these are the kinds of things that define which side you're on.

  • 87.
  • At 12:32 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • mimsy wrote:

It is possible that British Muslims ironically might be responsible for turning Enoch Powell into a prophet.

  • 88.
  • At 12:36 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • george brigham wrote:

I do not trust Tony Blair or George Bush.They have violeted international law by invading Iraq and allowed Israel to kill hundreds of innocent people in Lebanon.
- Lies were told to justify the invasion of Iraq and U.S arm Israel to kill Hisbollah/Palestinians.

We are being told about a war on terror yet it is us who are responsible for the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere.Is it any wonder that people do not like what is going on and want to fight back,be they terrorists or muslims/people in general?

- Because of the weakness of our P.M
we are being asked to sanction our Govts activities abroad.But I disagree with terrorism and also with our foreign policy in supposedly combatting it.

Our country has lost its tongue because of our PM following US initiatives.And our tradition of diplomacy and fairness throughout the world is being eroded,which really upsets me.

I recently watched a Conspiracy Theory programme about events of 9/11.The programme produces some evidence that the US may have had a part in the killing of their own people as an exercise to dupe the world into justifying their aggression against
Iraq,Afghanistan.It may be that Bin Laden is working for US(as he did before) - and providing the excuse for our activities in Afghanistan.

We all know that we are running out of oil and that these countries are key to preserving our future supplies.

I would have scoffed at such a programme once upon a time but not now,I'm afraid to say.

Until the democratic process allows us to remove Blair and Bush I trust them no more than the terrorists.

  • 89.
  • At 12:37 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • David Bayliss wrote:

Hello - I am very mild mannered. I've never hit or threatened anybody, ever; hardly even raised my voice let alone get angry or let my temper win over me (unlike John Prescot). I'm white-british but I'm very much a terrorist by Bush's statement: you're either with us, or against us. Statement's like that make my blood boil and if given a chance to shoot him whilst he's saying that to me, I might just do it. Relax Dave (me). Get him psychiactric treatment instead - the guy has learning difficulties. Try to be bigger. More mature. But if it does that to me with all my constraint and limited interest then what does it do to people with more to lose than their sensibilities? I believe in honour - and humility. In freedom and respect for others. And a great respect for life. The rhetoric of Bush and Blair distresses me more than the terrorist activities. I want freedom and peace in this country. True democracy would be nice. At least the internal terrorist activities could be thwarted without bloodshed simply by not playing. Politicians, their armies, and terrorists are children. Bush and Blair however don't know when to stop. I don't think they know how to. Else scarier still - they don't want to.

  • 90.
  • At 12:41 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

The "war on terror" is not about a clash of religions (Islam _is_ compatible with Judeo-Christanity, no matter what the leaders of both sides would have us believe), it is not even about protecting civilians from nutcases with bombs. Our leaders couldn't care less about our safety. Security precautions in the wake of attacks are about desensitising people to the unaccountable power of the state. The "war on terror," like most wars, is about control.

Control over land, control over oil and gas reserves, control over defence contracts, control over the geopolitical and economic forces that shape our world. The factors that require our governments to grab control of the planet are becoming ever more urgent; from dwindling domestic energy reserves, to global warming; from booming populations and rising unemployment, to growing economic instability that top economists admit will inevitably lead to a worldwide currency crash if the monetary system continues on its current path.

And control over civilians in the western world. To everyone blindly following the wolves in sheep's clothing into world war three: I hope you enjoy a world of ID cards and omnipresent surveillance, where any innocent person can be imprisoned for at least 90 days. Because I won't. As people wise up to the way in which western economies, in the post-industrialist "information age," are raping and pillaging everything the rest of the world has, political dissent is bound to increase. The excellent democratic system we once had is becoming more and more impotent, as described by Baroness Kennedy's Power Inquiry. The shining beacon of a democratic republic, the US constitution, has already been gutted by the "Patriot" Act. The growing police state will stifle any remaining voices of dissent with ease.

Every "terrorist" atrocity only aids western governments and harms Muslims. You'd have thought the "terrorists" would've learned that by now. Every time a bomb goes off, Bush and pals are laughing all the way to the bank. He has twice stated publicly that it would be better if he was a dictator. He said it jokingly, but that's not the sort of thing I'd want to be seen joking about, especially in his position.

The west is the aggressor in the new world crusade "war on terror," and alleged, unproven terrorism has provided the perfect pretext for war of an unprecedented magnitude, with civilians the main victims. Hitler had his Reichstag fire and his SS; Bush has 9/11 and the CIA; Blair, 7/7 and MI5/6. We are entering the Fourth Reich. Wake up, world, before it's too late. Because there is a better way. Western capitalism _can_ be reformed; I am not an extremist, I'm for finding a healthy balance.

From a white, atheist student in the home counties.

  • 91.
  • At 12:50 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi Steve (89)
Which bit of Mr Blair's statement that he abhorred the civilian deaths in Lebanon do you understand to mean he supported it?
If three separate people who are bright purple go around punching people in the nose crying "Purpleness is Great", it is hardly psychological warfare against purpleness to object to punching in the nose. It is their action as terrorists that gets them lumped together, not their religious beliefs.

  • 92.
  • At 12:55 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Aftab wrote:

Trying to understand a community by standing outside its compound wall and using binoculars is not going to work. You must enter the compound first and use your own eyes and ears! Only then will you grasp the reality on the ground and street level!

When within the community, you must try to put people at ease by showing genuine interest so that they can open up to you with the issues. At present, all that the media is doing is firing salvoes of accusations at the Muslim community. No wonder the growing tide of resentment at this unwelcome scruitiny!

Let me tell you the majority of Muslims in UK are moderates who are media shy and so appear silent and appear as if they support the 'mischeif' that their very vocal minorty are upto. This is the weakness that that this community has evolved into.

There are very few people in the muslim community who are willing be the devil's advocate so to speak. Very few are willing to stake the middleground and hold the stake! There is a general fear of being ostracized from the community and even if they could wiiling had they been single, they will not sacrifice the family. In fact any hint of dissent and you are almost branded as a heretic and 'Kafir'!

Then there is rapidly developing chasm between the original immigrants who are more 'docile' compared to the their sons and daughters who were born of the British soil and are more 'vocal' or 'militant'. They do not relate to docility of their parents and are willing to slap right back at anyone.

These are mainly teenagers who are undergoing an emotional turmoil anyway. This is very well known to the extreme fringe and they target these suggestible, confused group of developing adults at a very vulnerable age to the extent that some become brainwashed and remain so into their adulthood.

Unfortunately, the so called 'Muslim leaders', not all, but considerable majority, are self proclaimed and very arrogant in their outlook. They function as if they know all and are extremely patronising. Very few invite dialogue from youngsters. The young are often reprimanded to be quite and listen to their 'elders' when they speak rather then express themselves. Very few have real empathy. No wonder this growing alienation.

This is not due to Islam as a religion which repeatedly asks people to use their logical brain rather their emotive heart. Rather this is due to the ambient culture of the parent population from where these muslim immigrants originated.

Islam is a way of life and is emotive by its call for submission to the Path of God. However, it ALWAYS asks one to be balanced in the approach to humanity - whether muslim or not. It has always asked to 'Live and Let Live' except in the face mass persecution. It is not the fault of Islam, if people twist it for their own ends.

The problem within is that the majority of Muslim population are those whose knowledge of Islam exists at the fringes without depth. For whatever reasons, the majority are unwilling to study the Islamic religion beyond what they were taught as a child and are just happy to remain smug. This is why their minds have been 'hijacked' by those with 'leaders' who sound impressive to the rest because they have this ability to be dazzingly eloquent. Can you not see how they would appear to those emotive teenagers are still trying find firm ground?

The solution does not lie with the so called 'Imams' of the mosques because, in the majority, they are imported, elderly, narrow-educated [educated only in religion rather world affairs and religion] and arrogant.

It is high time to change this status quo. It is high time for all those moderate, well educated muslims to take the reins of the community and lead by example rather than ritual. Imams [leaders] should only be elected [not selected] from those who have widest knowledge of the community they are communicating with in their own language i.e English. This should be norm not the exception.

Only then will we see a change towards 'Live and Let Live' rather than 'Live and Let Die'!

  • 93.
  • At 12:56 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • priya wrote:

Islamic terrorists indiscriminately kill 100s upon 100s of innocent civilians.

The Israeli attacks on Lebanon indiscriminately killed over a 1000 innocent civilians.

Condemn both or neither.

A more consistent foreign policy would certainly stem the recruitment of new terrorist, BUT the Muslim British population also needs to take a long hard look at its self.

Why are so many of them hell bent on excluding themselves from mainstream Britain. Why leave a country with Sariah law only to demand it in their adoptive country. If such things are so important to them perhaps they should have remained in a country that already has them.

  • 94.
  • At 12:59 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Benedict Davey wrote:

Bushkind Blairkind
have a perverse desire for public insecurity and vulnerability to make them seem the needed protectors...

The terrorism is Blair's and Bush's..the unified ideology is theirs...they are the radical every altercation they do not beleive in democracy only in the injustice of not getting their way.....they spread their terror through the panic they feel..the feedback of their violent victimisation.... and their perverse desire for insecurity and vulnerability to make them seem the needed protectors..

What Ayatollah would not rouse the morale of his men to overcome the fear of death, the fear of being their victim

Our war mood is a war of anger and rouses us to full health

All over the world the natural love of Muslim's is greater than the violence of the selfish

But why hate public transport? kill a traveller is to kill your worthiness... every Muslim helps travellers in need and with that custom we travel safely around the world

The world must pick better targets...and kill off their character and politics so that history sees and records that that kind of character that kind of politics was defeated not martyred

They are no respecter of persons.. we are better respecters of persons than they are... because we are allowed to love and they are only allowed to hate

From a man who loved his travels and hates his home because of Blairism...

  • 95.
  • At 01:02 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Richard wrote:

I keep hearing from Muslims and Lefties that the thing that angers young Muslims is British foreign policy. Yet rarely to we hear a coherent argument to justify this anger. They moan about Bosnia, where the West went to the help of Muslims being persecuted by Christians, and they moan about Iraq, where the West removed the worst killer of Muslims in recent history. They lay the blame for the current chaos in Iraq at the door of the West, where it belongs, but I suspect that it is not for the reasons that we may find, i.e. incompetence. Figures of numbers of dead are plucked from websites and blamed on the Coalition as though our soldiers had bombed or shot all these people, when in fact it has been mostly due to the actions of viscious militias that some of them support.

The West is accused in its interventions of hypocrisy, but those who make such accusations seem unable to see the wild inconsistencies of their own positions.

With Muslims, the "grievances" seem to depend more on the day of the week than to conform to any rational or moral position and show a complete disregard for timelines. Those who killed the UN delegation in Baghdad, and those who committed the Bali bombing were more exercised about East Timor than about Iraq. And East Timor was a case of a genocide being committed by Muslims on Christians. Why no anger about that? Or Darfur, or Ambon?

Why of all the conflicts around the world does one which involves a tiny country and comparatively small number of casualties (i.e. Palestine) figure above the many far worse conflicts in the minds of Muslims?

I can only conclude that the only reason for the "frustration" that Muslims feel about our foreign policy is that it does not conform to the dictats of Jihad, and amounts to little more than the incoherent, petulant and parochial tantrums of a two year old. They will have to do much better than that if they expect to be taken as serious and moral agents.

  • 96.
  • At 01:12 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Gil wrote:

The Khmer Rouge were said to have been spurned into power through popular reactionary support as a reuslt of the US bombing viet cong postions across the border into Cambodia, their backing on Lon Hol's government and general ideological stance against "US policy" worldwide. Does that make the Khmer Rouge Just?

We were all laissez faire about the Taleban in the 90's only until we realised what they were actually doing, endorsing and sponsoring.

The Major government was said to have done nothing to stop the massacre at Srebenica, which enflamed Muslims. But when when Blair and Clinton bombed Serbia for 72 days to help Kosavar muslims, there was quiet. In fact, it wasnt seen as enough.

Why dont British muslims ask and demonstrate for boycotts of Russian gas supplies to the UK because of Chechnya?
Rather than "Jew bashing" Lord Levy's role.

When Iran and Syria arm hezbollah, operate alongside them in the field and is seen doing it with racist purpose; but then Iranian President "Majnoun Ameshugganeh" flatly denies it. Despite being proved that they did (this is not blairs saddam WMD line - this is dead bodies of Revolutionary guards being found alongside hezbollah fighters) where is the "moral public's" righteous indignation?

Is it absent because as a first world country Israel doesnt belong to the Lawrencian "noble savage" club anymore? Liberals have replaced Colonials in the UK but shoulder the guilt they feel about the parents. They could still be liberals and fight terror, isnt that the way to beat the terrorists?

In regards to reactions to UK foreign policy, isnt it time that we didnt believe this type of emotional blackmail?

Terrorists were trying to blow up the WTC in the 90's under Clinton; go figure?

Places bombed by terrorists to date: London, Spain, New York, Moscow, Bombay, Istanbul, Baghdad (daily), Tel Aviv, Egypt, Beirut (Hariri); the list goes on.

Wake up and be responsible and stop listening to internet conspiracies that say "it's all Mossad" because any sane person can see that it isnt.

Sort out YOUR House and you'll find people will warm to you as a result of your efforts.


  • 97.
  • At 01:20 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Benedict Davey wrote:

We cannot say who are the good muslims or the bad muslims... we can only ask the good muslims who the bad ones are... and similarly with the americans... and yet the good must be selfish because they want to kill the bad..and the bad must have been good otherwise they would not be angry or courageous enough to do something about it... so therfore we are on the wrong side for the right reasons because we are misled by the left wing in each country and never liked them in the first place

  • 98.
  • At 01:22 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

I think that the West should pull out of all foreign wars and affairs, not because of the occupation of foreign lands, and the loss of life being just simply wrong, but because the western concepts of Democracy and Freedom are are not material objects that can be given, as we seem to think they are, but are indeed concepts that evolve over a period of time through internal actions.

Throughout this countrys history the actions of our forefathers(and mothers) has given every civillian, the basic rights that we take for granted today. The uprisings and revolutions that can be found in all the centuries, and include all the levels of the social-strata have given the population a voice and the right to vote. But, a voice and the right to vote is not Democracy in action, Democracy in action is accepting the democractic decision, but how can a state accept a democractic decision if all the levels of the states social-strata do not have the basic civillian rights? This is why Freedom and Democracy need to evolve from internal actions. Unfortunately the sad fact of these internal uprisings and revolutions is that they wouldnt have had effect if they didnt include bloodshed, and I know its easy to say that living in a generally peaceful circumstance, but if it wasnt for the actions of my contempories centuries ago, it would be a far different circumstance. This is partly aswell why I dont agree with asylum and once again its easy to say that in my situation and will definately sound heartless, but the legitamate asylum seekers are the exact same people that will change a regime from within, which unfortunately takes time and the loss of life, but all the time the more liberal societies of the west keep giving a safe haven, the prevailing conscientious of a dictatorship will always exist, for when my contempories centuries ago were fighting for their rights, there wasnt a safe haven state were their could seek absolute asylum, so they had no choice, but fight, which eventually changed the ideology towards the issue concerned, whether it be the attitude towards the peasant or farmer, or the more recent 20th century revolutions of gender,sex and race.

But, unfortunately all the above is now "pie in the sky" as the west has a greedy streak, and refuses to stop arming the world with modern technology, and while the east now has the capabillities of producing modern technological warfare, what chance do the oppressed have of uprising and making that ideological change.

So, once again, unfortunately I think we are stuck in our international situation of trying to spread our presentational concept of Democracy. I think this because the main preacher of this democracy is the self proclaimed "leader of the Free world", America, and as we all know, they can have a very self absorbed, gun-ho attitude towards warfare(its ok, they're a western state, so I'm allowed to stereotype and generalise them as the West aren't included in our concept of racism)and now of course they have the right to defend their own country, now their mainland has been attacked and under constant threat. So, unfortunately, I think our present situation will not change, as we have taken on the burden of holding America's hand whilst on their, I believe, good intension,but yet naive crusade, and although the Western society is always grouped together, each country has their own interpretation of liberalism, civil rights, Democracy, state identity and beliefs, and I feel as though America are our closest cousins in our interpretation of life, so if there is any threat to that interpretation, we must stand with them.

  • 99.
  • At 01:25 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi, Matt (94)
I guess your observation that the World Trade Centre and the exploding underground trains and bus were only alleged terrorist events, and my observation that they actually were terrorist events, puts us on opposite sides, at least in perspective on the terror question.
I understand your point about the searches going on in the airports being evidence of the unbridled power of the state, but I can't quite work out how the airport searches are going to make the judges (who over-ruled our state's attempts to hold certain people in custody) any less able to over-rule our unbridled state.
Matt, we are not following the wolves in sheep's clothing - we're searching at the airport to find the little boogers.
I must admit I'm a bit peeved to be part of the western post-industrial age and missing out on all its raping and pillaging - point me to it, mate.
I take note of you're claim that you're not an extremist, but I can't help thinking that if you equate Mr Blair with Hitler, I dread to think what an extremist is.

  • 100.
  • At 01:27 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Rob S wrote:

John (88) wrote cogently about Iraq.

But I think the Iraq problem will have to be resolved by a three way carve up necesitating the pull out of all western forces: A Shiite south with Iran as sponsor and interloper/ a Sunni middle supported By Saudi Arabia and Syria (with peace in the city of Badgdad enforced by soldiers sent there by a multi national force of the Arab League/and a Kurdistan north which is also set up encompassing territorial claims on historical Kurdistan with lands to be ceded from Turkey, Syria, Armenia and Iran following a UN conference and 'mandate'.

Anyone who knows their history will note that this Kurdistan was a functioning entity around 800BC (though mentioned in contemporary written documents at least 2,000 years before that)- if divided amongst different spheres of influence.

In this way it would be similar to the state of Israel- although officially set up in 1947 by the western powers, Jews had been present there for 3000 years over time losing masses of their numbers to constant expulsions and repressions- particulalrly by the Romans who found the jewish tribes very difficult to rule, and also by islamic rulers for whom the Quran gives written justification to repress jewish people.

This northern Kurdish state will, of course, be a friend and supporter (along with its oil) to the west. Its territorial claim on parts of Iran will also disturb and harrass that irritating and troublesome state.

  • 101.
  • At 01:46 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Martin Gilbert wrote:

Can someone teach Kirsty Wark to pronounce names correctly?? Three examples from just the last couple of programmes:

It's not Sayeed (Warsi), it's Sayeeda.

It's not (Jean Chalres de) Menenez, it's Menezez.

It's not Faood Sinora, it's Fouad Siniora.

Bit pedantic perhaps, but we expect better from Newsnight, although not from her I have to say. Come back Jeremy, your country needs you!!

  • 102.
  • At 02:15 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Patricia Londono wrote:

I think that all this ('you are for us or against us') is the foundations being laid for the type of foreign policy that will eventually involve 'clearing' the Middle East of Islamic regimes. If the alleged foiled attacks on airlines would have exceeded 9/11 in terms of loss of life, and 9/11 took us into Afghanistan and then Iraq, what would be the effects, in terms of foreign policy, of another large-scale attack on American and British citizens?

I think that Bush is looking for a reason to tackle Islamic regimes in the Middle East, such as Iran and Syria, and another successful attack involving American citizens will give him exactly the ammunition he wants. He is likely to find an ally for such a course in Israel, and in the event of thousands of our own people dying, I wonder whether the views that were prevalent concerning the invasion of Iraq would be softened, and the public would be more willing to support that kind of action.

Finally, if I were Tony Blair, I could not think of anything LESS likely to persuade me to alter my foreign policy than the threat of further attacks involving UK citizens if I didn't.

  • 103.
  • At 02:25 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Though I would not say that the BBC is ever above bias, in their defence I would ask following: when a news service is faced with a powerful contraversy, what is the best, and perhaps only, indication that it has got the balance right?

Answer: when it it is attacked from all sides.

Interesting that according to your poll, 13% - more than 1 in 10 of the sample - actually disagreed that it was never justfied to attack British civilians over Britain's foreign policy.

Given a total population of just under 60 million, this would mean that as many as 7 million of our citizens sympathise with this view. Peter, can you shed light on how large a sample was taken?

Though I am definitely among the 83%, I beleive that this poll, if accurate, is a macabre indictment of the times we live in and of our own government.

Bush and Blair have both made it clear in their many statements that they would like to see a united World War II style confrontation with 'Islamic Facism'. It seems to me they are both caught up in a dangerous distortion of reality.

When we were fighting the Nazis, and specifically when the United States finally entered the war, it was not a contraversial decision that caused major outrage or disagreement from the rest of the world, much less in Europe. There were not protests in front of British and US embassies cliaming that Roosevelt and Churchill were destabilising the world. Nor did we hear Ghandi stand up and say "the greatest threat to world peace was the United States" - which is a quote from Nelson Mandella a few years ago.

Sadly, in today's world, phraseology like "Clash of Civilizations" and "Choosing which side you're on" is the kind of rhetoric that is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • 104.
  • At 02:28 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Ismailnoure wrote:

Bush and Blair have made matters worse when they interfer in countries internal affairs in the name of fithing terrorism. So look at the outcomes .Irak is torn apart, a pathetic situation.Then, hundreds of people were killed in Lebanon in a war endorsed by Bush and Blair.And let's not talk about Aphganistan.Yet, these 2 people could have Kindly intervened to avoid those deadly wars and solved the problem peacefully.Most people worlwide often demonstrate against their racial positions and among them the Muslim world.It's high time these 2 wise people changed their policies to Muslims and Islam. I am sure a change in the West foreign policy ( especially England together with that of USA)will help to yield peacefulness and coexistence. Let's not be too selfish . We are all people and must have the right to live in dignity.

  • 105.
  • At 04:04 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Campbell wrote:

The question, "Can you be neutral in the so-called war on terror?" is patently fatuous but serves to illustrate the BBC's shallow and squeamish coverage of the reality of Islamic terrorism.

And it's an obvious distortion for Barron to equate one *current* poll ( with an ambiguous question), "Do you think the war to remove Saddam Hussein was justified? 51% opposed.", with "A majority of the British public opposed the Iraq war." At the time, the majority were in favour of the war on Saddam!

The issue of real concern is that only 83% agreed with "It is never justified for anyone to attack British civilians because of Britain's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan."

  • 106.
  • At 04:05 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • David Hopwood wrote:

There are quite a few duplicate posts on this blog -- can the moderator fix that? It is quite easy to accidentally post duplicates. They should be replaced by "Duplicate of post N" rather than removed entirely, to avoid any appearance of censorship.

  • 107.
  • At 05:21 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

I got that figure wrong. According to the poll it's actually 17% of us - nearly 1 in 5 - who think that attacks on British civilians may sometimes be justified becasue of British Foreign policy.

How big was that sample?

And no, I don't see how you can put one fifth of the population under house arrest for saying this!

  • 108.
  • At 07:07 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

Bush & Blair's idea of "democracy" is to enforce it with guns and bombs abroad and to stifle dissent at home.

  • 109.
  • At 07:45 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Huang Siew Hock wrote:

The World is very complex; and hence to ask viewers to choose between the Western World and the Muslim World is too simplistic and naive. It is not a case of either white or black; not a case of FOR or AGAINST; not a case of if you are FOR me, you MUST be AGAINST the other Party. There is a GREY area which is neither white nor black.

You must acknowledtge that there are many good Muslims just like there are many good Westerners. The West is making a grave mistake by lumping moderate Muslims with terrorists. There are many, many Muslims who are NOT terrorists. There are also many, many Westerners who do not agree with President Bush or Prime Minister Blair for going into Iraq.War on terror is different from war against Islamic terrorists. Why should terrorists be named Islamic ? Mind you, there are terrorists in UAS, UK, Australia, etc. and they are Whites! So, should militants say that ALL Christains are terrorists ? Definitely not!.

Religion has nothing to do with terrorism. All religions teach tolerance, goodwill, peace, etc. But soem militanst make use of religion as a cover to promote and popularise their war against the West.

Terrorism has take away innocent lives.

S.H. Huang

This argument is simply leaning towards tolerance and which religion supports tolerance. Secondly,leadership is lacking in todays world just as it was in history(Hitler and Stalin gives example of consummate skill in the manipulation of mass psychology). The personal problems arising from poor leadership in the muslim world has become a social problem giving rise to a sick society. Muslims in Arab world and a few elsewhere,have become indoctrinated and brainwashed in the name on preaching Islam of hate and intolerance. Whatever foreign policy Bush or Blair or future leaders of those countries, Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism can never be eradicated. We have to live with the consequences. If you believe in the Bible,it was predicted to happen and you haven't seen anything yet.
As for enemies of Israel,try and fight God's will!

  • 111.
  • At 08:38 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • A. Hauss wrote:

I would like to see some evidence for the allegations that Muslims comitted the terrorism before judging about the motivations.
Where are the CCTV photos in the Metro and in the bus on 7/7? Where are the tickets of those who allegedly tried to bomb 10 planes on August 10th ?
Where is the evidence for all the plots reid talks about ?
Where is the lifelong sentence of the police who murdered deMenezes ?

  • 112.
  • At 08:39 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Stephen H wrote:

The Muslim community always say that the vast majority of Muslims do not sympathize with the terrorists. It was mentioned on Tuesday night's programme that 1 in 3 British Muslims now sympathize with Al Queda. So which is it? If the latter, this is deeply shocking.

  • 113.
  • At 09:34 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • A. Hauss wrote:

"This is deeply shocking" ?
What exactly ? Do you know the exact phrasing of the question ? Just an example: "Do you prefer to be blamed as terrorist, being enjailed - or do you prefer to stand up like AlQaeda does?"

What is your gues what people would answer ? What would you answer yourself ?

And this does not even argue about the wrong spelling of AlCIAda and the misjudgement that Osama does not represent any Muslim at all but gives the impression in the media.

  • 114.
  • At 09:54 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Keith Donaldson wrote:

Apologies for a second post. However, having stated already that there appeared to be a degree of consensus on one issue, namely that violence and killing were not justifiable and not the answer, it would appear that two other areas of broad consensus are emerging from the majority in this debate.

Firstly, on the whole we are united in agreeing that secondly, the issues are far too complex and important for a “For us or against us” approach. To our democratic representatives - please take note!

  • 115.
  • At 10:14 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Scott wrote:

Peter Barron (33):

When I challenged you to (Scott, Post 5) justify the initial comments made by on the blog that "A majority of the British public opposed ... Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon", you cite three polls of which only one is relevant to the Hizbollah-inspired crisis, and then it doesn't ask if you SUPPORT or OPPOSE our governments position, only how you rate its performance!

How would you rate the US and British government's performance in the (Israel/Lebanon) crisis?
60% very poor
YouGov/Telegraph 27 July 2006

This is a completely different question to whether you support our position.

I'm disappointed you've blurred the lines, and made such a basic error.

  • 116.
  • At 10:43 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • name wrote:

"A majority of the British public opposed the Iraq war and Tony Blair's position on the war in Lebanon"

Wrong. Pro-war parties got the most votes at the last election.

False statements like that show that the BBC is not neutral on the war against terror and indeed is pro-Islamic terrorists.

One thing last night's program didn't cover is the idea that not every international incident the UK has been involved with in the past five years can be considered part of the 'war on terror'(if we have to call it that, since it isn't a war on 'all' terrorists).

I'm a non-religious Brit with both American and moderate(westernised) Muslim friends.

I'll never forget 9/11 and believe that anyone capable of not only killing themselves but thousands of innocent people at close quarters for any reason is the scum of the Earth, no questions asked.

I believe that the people behind the attacks in Bali '02, Madrid '04, London '05 and the attempted airline plot are made of similar stuff. These people should not be cut any slack even if they were born in the UK.

I believe that the war in Afghanistan was/is a neccersay response to 9/11 in that the country was governed at the time by Al Queda's main allies the Taliban.

So 9/11, Afghanistan, 7/7 and the airline plot are all part of the same conflict.

However I don't believe the Iraq war has anything to do with the above. That's just a case of Bush having this big idea of taking out the main bogeyman of the 90s(Saddam Hussein). Why Blair went along with it I'm not sure but I never supported it and it has proven to be a major distraction for both the US and UK.

I also don't consider Israel vs Palistine or Hizbollah to be any of my business one way or another. I have little time for the likes of Hizbollah but their main grudge is against Israel alone.

So what would Bush and Blair make of me?

  • 118.
  • At 11:02 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

Kirsty Walk's opening statement in the debate was “Is our foreign policy responsible for the rise of extremism OR would changing it amount to appeasement”. This statement makes more sense if you replace the OR with AND since the construct subtly denies the possibility that foreign policy is not the cause. I guess that this was intended. I recall seeing interviews with Muslim youth shortly after the WTC attack and many appeared jubilant. One young kid said “It was funny seeing all those yuppies trying to fly…” (referring to the office workers jumping from the buildings). If you want to understand the psychology of these would-be jihadists then you need to understand why 18-year-old Muslims were jubilant about the WTC attack before British foreign policy impinged on the issue. The panel was also loaded towards the apologist side of the arguments (with Malik, Awwan and Jagger against Shawcross and McShane). This topic needs to be seriously debated in a public forum with a balanced panel and more time explore the arguments and discuss the conclusions..

This War of Terror has far more to do with trading oil in euro-dollars instead of the US petro-dollar. This is what is really behind the attack on Iraq and the plans to attack Iran. American banks would see a run on the dollar and face bankruptcy and the end of their world domination as the currency for trading oil.

Just as WWI had precious little to do with the murder of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo and far more to do with the Berlin-Baghdad railway. But we aren't taught that in school are we.

We are not going to be told the truth, we never are. Who would risk their lives invading countries for the sake of the dollar and finance capital? These are the true 'values' of Blair and Bush, the value of money. It is the only value they know, despite all the rhetoric.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State. – Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda

Islam is not the real enemy, that's just a part of the lie as is this war of terror. 9/11 Madrid 7/7 are also part of the lie. But fascism knows all too well that ordinary people cannot conceive of such deceit. Goebbels and Hitler's techniques live on, and will do whilst Capitalism and Imperialism exist:

"All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation." Hitler

We all need to wake up to the Big Lies we are being told. this is not about religion, democracy or freedom, this WOT is about Capital.

As Orwell so succinctly realised:
'In times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act'.

So to answer "Whose side are you on?', the only side that ever deserves my allegiance, the truth.

  • 120.
  • At 11:36 AM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Tim Ellis wrote:

I agree with Scott (5 & 119), shoddy journalism: When I first read your introduction, I too felt that such absolute statements i.e. "A majority of the British public opposed ... " should have been avoided in journalistic terms. There should have been a preface along the lines "Indications are..." or "Certain polls show that...". Otherwise you are in danger of being perceived as using this medium as a channel to voice and reinforce certain personal views as 'fact', when there is simply no way on earth that you or anyone else can 'know' such things for certain. I put results from polls in a similar camp to "lies, damned lies and statistics". If you were polling a survey to undermine Government anti-smoking policy, you'd probably avoid someone with a cigarette in their hand... And along those lines, just by saying it often enough doesn't make it fact either !

We are each entitled to have our own opinions and it feels 'nice' or even safe when we place ourselves within what we see as a majority..... But, and a big "but", this is a cheap tactic that was used to great effect by Hitler and still to this day by both sides in this messy conflict, the "good guys" (I guess this being our naturally assumed 'default' position) and the "extremists": Select a conveniently visible external group and play them up to being the 'bad guys'... there is no easier way to achieve influence and from that derive power.

  • 121.
  • At 12:33 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • M Hunt wrote:

Does anyone know/remember the title of The War Against Terror film that was featured during this item's intro on the TV show last night?
I think it's just been released in the US but missed the name last night.

  • 122.
  • At 12:37 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • george brigham wrote:

How can I answer weather I am with Blair and Bush or the terrorists,when I'm with The Woolwich?

  • 123.
  • At 12:47 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • chris wrote:

mimsy @ 79 - dare newsnight do a piece on this ?

  • 124.
  • At 12:47 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • george brigham wrote:

How can I answer weather I am with Bush/Blair or the terrorists, when I'm with the Woolwich?

  • 125.
  • At 12:50 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Which side are you on?

How many sides are there?
Al Qaeda are Sunni Muslims who have declared their ambition to destroy Israel. They also wish to destroy the Shia branch of Islam, including Hezbollah. They also wish to destroy of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia who are, like them, Sunni Muslims.
The ruling family of Saudi Arabia wants to destroy Al Qaeda. They also want to destroy their fellow Arabs in Hezbollah who they fear give the Shia too much power. In the recent war, the Saudis declared themselves to be ‘on the same page as Israel’, i.e. not on the side of the Arab nation of Lebanon.
Hezbollah wants to destroy Israel, and Israel wants to survive and will mercilessly attempt to destroy any group that they feel threatened by.
That is at least four ‘sides’ without even mentioning Britain or the US, and there are many more. In fact, there are so many more that, in answer to the question, I think it would be sophistry to even delineate ‘sides’ in the current situation. And hopefully that situation will persist. If the plethora of disparate groups and opinions ever divide themselves into two roughly equal groups we would be in real trouble.

  • 126.
  • At 01:38 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • j.levinson wrote:

the question is facile and indeed dangerous since it seems to assume that just because you hold a particular position on foreign policy, in some way justifies you to take a non-democratic route to pursue that position.

If we heed the calls to change our foreign policy just to minisise the risk of muslim extremism,what kind of signals are we giving?Are we then to change our laws on abortion just in case the american religious far right should start blowing up abortion clinics? the mind really boogles.

at the end of the day,it really is so simple-every minority has to respect our democratic principles whatever their beliefs or customs-and talk as to whether our foreign policy increases the terrorism threat is not only missing the point but also dangerous since it serves (whether deliberately or otherwise)to shift the blame for the terrorist acts from the terrorists (who hate democracy) onto our democratic processes themselves.

Are labour`s left (and sections of the BBC I am afraid to say) really so blind (or filled for hatred of america`s neocons)that they can not see this?

  • 127.
  • At 01:46 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Tim Ellis wrote:

I refer to Brigitte's valuable contribution (121) - which, interestingly enough, appeared during the delay from pressing the "Post" button. Interesting how Brigitte's arguments dove-tailed with elements of the point I was trying to make (in 122)- Perhaps the parallels are not entirely surprising... that there are grey lines separating propaganda, fact, truth and lies etc. Add to that the notion of summary versus a full account - e.g. how exactly do you precis the events leading to the current Middle East crisis... Just how far back do you go (1 month... 10 years... 2,000 years )? Which bits do you include, which bits do you leave out ? Where and how do you draw the boundaries (geographic..... national.... sectarian.... religious... political... ) Any attempt at summarising will prejudice someone's account or truth... deliberately or otherwise. Impartiality in such emotionally charged times is close to impossible.

Sadly though, to rely simply on an absolute "truth" isn't enough as each of us in effect create/recreate our own truths as a function of inputs and experience. Even the written word (increasingly so it seems with the internet) can not be relied upon (as Brigitte so clearly demonstrated). And therein lies part of the problem: What we hear or see is as much a function of what we want to hear and see as to the inputs we experience.

Is there a conclusion here in this context ? Simply put, for me this situation is far too complex to try to put into two perhaps overly simplistic camps or schools of thought. No, not a cop out - as I truly believe that this does not undermine our collective responsibility in seeking out a solution. But it is less likely to be found in the black and white as understanding what is going on in the grey.....

I really think the way the Guardian is treating Ms. Lipman with regard to her (admittedly) outspoken views on the Israel-Lebanon conflict is nothing short of scandalous:

I always thought it was supposed to be a *liberal* newspaper.

(With a small 'l', obviously...although usually mispelt - bilreal or similar. Which would make it bilreal with a small 'b', I suppose...)


Robert Jededia Swipe

  • 129.
  • At 02:07 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • chris wrote:

Bridget Dunne @ 119
"We all need to wake up to the Big Lies we are being told"

its happening - Bush and Blair aint as smart or psychotic as Hitler.

  • 130.
  • At 02:30 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • chris wrote:

Martin Gilbert @ 102
Kirsty is a very good presenter who doesnt concern
herself with or is inhibited with absolute specifics
and precise details but has emotional and
psychological gears that she goes through
- one minute getting at some lie ridden
politician then carefully supporting some
hard done by disabled artist on Review.

I loved it when she interviewed David Mellor
who tried to belittle her lack of knowledge
on football - with the camera on him she
looked away and with a bit of emotional
melt down Mellor lost it ordering her,
she put him down just by slightly ignoring him.

  • 131.
  • At 02:31 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Aamer Anwar has exposed himself as a terrible hypocrite.

In last night’s programme he said:
“Tony Blair declared that those who support Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine or Lebanon are equated with the homicidal and paranoid tendencies of Al Qaeda (which) is completely an insult to the whole Muslim world.”

Yet only a few minutes earlier he had said:
“Tony Blair is responsible probably in the last 30 days of the Lebanon conflict in recruiting more people to Al Qaeda, converting more to the cause of martyrdom than any other individual.”

Is this not the exact same association for which he lambastes Tony Blair?

By his own judgement, Mr Anwar has delivered “an insult to the whole Muslim world”. I hope that they hear of it and judge it correctly – as a serious blow to Anwar’s credibility.

It is unfortunate that the debate did not go on long enough for his hypocrisy to be exposed on the programme rather than in the more limited confines of this blog.

  • 132.
  • At 02:51 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Zoran Novakovic wrote:

hello Bridget (75),

Yes, it's a shame that the video is not available anymore. I would suggest, seriously and without cynicism, that Newsnight takes a closer look at it, after all it is an important development in this twisted war.

Also, there are reports now that it was Americans who apparently determined the timing of this event (à propos the original Q3: why did the police decide to swoop today?). British wanted to wait for another week or so in order to gather more evidence, but the Americans seem to had been in a hurry. So, it was Dick Cheney (proverbially), rather then Pakistanis, who fired the starter pistol.

Also, check this out:

"The mood of many seemed to be one of profound caution, even scepticism, over the allegations of a murderous scheme in which 50 people would try to bring down up to 20 planes between Britain and America.",,1851078,00.html

How many planes? 20? 10? 9? 3? 3 by 3? Somebody help, please.

I suggest a new discussion thread:

A week later: are we any wiser (or safer)?

  • 133.
  • At 03:43 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Marcus wrote:

Message to M Hunt: the name of the film featured at the beginning and end of last night's Newsnight piece on Terror is "Obsession". It has not yet been released in the UK and few copies are in distribution. It is a necessary wake-up call to all people, Muslim and non-Muslim, who believe in freedom, whether you believe in changing foreign policy or not, whether you agree with certain policies of Israel or not. It is not a neo-Con manual but a fascinating insight into the biggest problem facing the world today, which we ignore at our peril...reminiscent of the 1930s.

  • 134.
  • At 04:37 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • shirley wrote:

'War' on 'terror'? What does that mean? Are we trying to 'frighten' terror? Of course no sane person would agree with supporting the targeting of civilians.

I'm sure that Muslims along with everyone else would rather live in peace.

References to sloppy journalism (some of it ought not to be allowed the label of 'journalism') earlier are, in my opinion justified. Here's an example: 'in a recent poll 20% of Muslims questioned said they could understand why 7/7 was carried out'; there are 1.5million Muslims so that means 300,000 Muslims support terrorist acts in some way.

However what the above extrapolation of figures ignores is that as much as 60% of Muslims in the UK are probably under 18 years of age. Therefore, if there was to be any exptrapolation, it should be 20% 0f 40% of 1.5million which equals 120,000 -- still a large number but very different to 300,000.

And journalists have been neutered/tamed by acquiescing to being 'embedded' during the Iraq invasion. Can you imagine what would have happened if that had been the norm in Vietnam? We would never have known about My Lai, never have seen the footage of that little girl, Napalm-singed, running down the road, screaming.

Any journalist, worth his/her salt should NEVER agree to be embedded. When 'exclusive' footage is valued more than facts/truth, it is the beginning of the end for journalism.

Also, journalists shouldn't accept propaganda-driven labels, without questioning their meanings. For example, 'shock and awe': how perverse an expression that was, in our 'war against terror'! Sure, an on-looking US teenager, watching the firestorm may have exclaimed: 'awesome!'
But to the average Baghdadi it would have been absolutely terrifying, that is it was terror pure and simple. It was a terrorist act. No journalist corrected that.

When Cherie Blair said that she could 'understand' why a Palestinian may fight against Israeli occupation she was universally vilified for 'supporting terrorism' and being 'anti semitic'. Yet, when Israel bombed the life out of civilian areas in Lebanon, from the Wailing Wall to Washington we heard the chant: 'Israel has the right to defend itself'. Are there no brave journalists left? Why do they not question these obvious hypocrisies?

And, now the journalists have been given the green light by Dubya, to use the term 'Islamic fascism' or 'Islamofascism'. However, the so-called 'neocons' who are rooted in their televangelist ethos of 'everything we are not, is sinful'. Indeed one of them advocated the invasion of Islamic countries, toppling of their regimes, conversion of their people to Christianity and the installation of Western liberal democracy. Yet, did anyone call them 'CHRISTO-FASCISTS'? No, they are still allowed the anodyne label of 'neocon', utterly obscuring the severity of their views and the virulence of their ideas.

Many, who have visited Israel, have remarked how the Israelis treat the Palestinians: they are treated as sub-human, they say; indeed they are considered 'unter menschen' in all but name. And Israel's land grab is but an example of 'lebensraum' they also say. Further, is not the whole State founded on race alone (since a Jew who becomes an atheist, is still a Jew)? So, how far is that from ZIONAZISM? But the label isn't being used.

Islam is more than 1400 years old: if indeed it was a fascist ideology how comes it has lasted so long? Why did we not hear about it at all during the great fascistic upsurge in Europe and the Far East during the last century? What was the Islamic basis for Apartheid, where black adherents to Christianity could be beaten for worshipping the same God in a church full of white people? European fascism was born on the bed of Christian culture. The holocaust was engendered in the so-called 'Judaeo- Christian' civilisation. Apartheid was tethered to die-hard Afrikaans Christian beliefs.

I shall say this: the holocaust could NEVER have happened in an Islamic country.

Fascists? Not the Muslims, I think.

  • 135.
  • At 04:44 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • mimsy wrote:

Chris @123 referring to my post @ mimsy 79. I think this elephant will be ignored indefinitely...too painful. The crisis in Islam is a crisis of patriarchy.

  • 136.
  • At 04:54 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Marcus wrote:

Shirley - you're utterly deluded and I find your comparisons between Zionism and Nazism a disgrace and totally offensive. People like you make rash and ill-informed statements about Israel without any evidence. Do you actually know the history of the existence of Israel or did you read it in the Guardian? Were the 'Palestinians' brought onto the land on which Jews already populated, well before any formal Zionist state? Did the Israelis argue for a two-state solution but the Arabs reject it and argue for the destruction of all Jews? Was Israel attacked by all sides on three occasions? Did they capture land as any other country would to create a buffer to avoid further attacks. Your lack of comparative analysis with any other country of the world makes me think of one thing...if not, then I suggest you learn your facts before making facile and racist comments.

  • 137.
  • At 05:22 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Ozoda Muminova wrote:

John Nash (post no. 6) wrote:

>From my POV, Islam is a religion and >not a democratic political system. >On its fascist fringe (fascist as in >blindly objectivist, intolerant and >agressive) it is positively anti->democratic and has become terrorist.
>Many Moslems, being devout, put >Islam first and secular liberal >democracy second, hence their mental >somersaults.

Just like many others Mr Nash assumes that the motives of the so-called home grown terrorists are religious, whereas they are purely political, with affiliation to Islam being irrelevant to the acts themselves. 3 out of the recently caught 24 people accused of plotting a terrorist act were converts to Islam - clinging to the religious group in the same way as they would have done to any other organisation associated with opposing current government policies.

Religion as a non-political system cannot be democratic or non-democratic. And despite the UK being secular, there are home-grown terrorists - people with homicidal minds, who would have committed crime in any case.

Media has a lot of thinking to do in terms of how they create artificial affiliations, e.g. constantly asking the opinions of British muslims on the war in Iraq, or home-grown terrorism or the Lebanese conflict. This only contributes to the feeling of alienation among British Muslims.

Muslim leaders should also stop portraying government actions as the 'war on Islam' and try to segregate religion and politics.

But answering your question: YES, it is possible to despise terrorism (which is a mass-murder and everyone in the right state of mind would) and oppose or debate government foreign policies (as they are neither the cause of, nor the answer to home grown terrorism).

  • 138.
  • At 05:31 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Tim Wilkinson wrote:

Bush says: you either with us, or with the terrorists. What a load of rubbish. Of course you don't have to be a terrorist sympathiser to object to US/Israeli aggression.

But this kind of statement does openly encourage those who disagree to become terrorists.

mimsy (78), I couldn't agree more with you except for one little detail - you quite correctly speak about an elephant in a room, and you have identified it with a pinpoint precision. Yet at the same time, you seem to imply that the elephant is in fact in a mosque. However, I'm sure it was spotted in Brazil, India and Romania among other places. Apparently, the secular world, as far as usual suspects are concerned, is very elephant friendly. Beyond the usual suspects routine, in this country here, the Netherlands in my case, women are paid 10% (on average) less than their male counterparts doing the same work. This extraordinary feat is achieved by adding a set of virtual tasks to a man's job description, tasks that no man doing that job ever performs, but nevertheless they offer a legal loop around about the rules of law and the civil society, equal rights and opportunities, "our way of living", you know the rap. Admittedly, this is a neatly administered elephant, but nevertheless it's just as obvious, don't you agree?

chris (123), you're right too, damn Newsnight has failed us again. But not so the wider BBC - have you seen The World Uncovered: Killer's Paradise, reported by Olenka Frenkiel?

Highly recommended, but word of caution: it's about life in a secular country populated largely by Roman Catholics and thoroughly democratised by Reagan and Bush Sr.

  • 140.
  • At 07:45 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi, Ozoda (137)
I am not sure how you came to the conclusion that I assume the motives of the terrorists are religious, and you exhibit perfectly the problem I was attempting to highlight, perhaps not very well.
Anyone watching the videos of terrorists going to their deaths can hardly miss the fact that Islam figures quite prominently in their rhetoric, or miss the fact that many claim to be doing what they are doing in the name of Islam, of with the Great Prophet's blessing, peace be upon Him, so your argument about irrelevance won't stand even a cursory challenge.
I have no idea if they are even religious, let alone Muslims, and I cannot imagine ANY motive powerful enough to excuse 9/11 etc.
You may, of course deny that at the extreme end of the spectrum, there are a number of Muslim Clerics who publicly advocate some pretty undemocratic behaviour, thus earning a label for their end of the spectrum of Islam, but I won't believe you.
A religion is a religion. Islam as a religion is fine because I happen to believe in religious freedom. What I don't agree with is commissioning or committing crimes in the name of that religion.
As I said in my blog (6) Islam AS A THEOCRACY is incompatable with demnocracy. It may or may not make a very fine religion, but it makes a useless political system in the eyes of people who prefer democracy, equal rights and political, cultural and other freedoms.
I also said MANY (not all) Muslims - being devout, have to turn mental somersaults. They seem to find it hard to condemn this terrorism publicly because, no doubt, they are either afraid of extremists or, sadly, they may think that they are being somehow less than devout if they condemn a young man who says he is acting in the name of, or to defend, Islam. In fact, such devout Muslims have my sincere sympathy, not my condemnation.

  • 141.
  • At 08:32 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

After reading through the comments on this debate it is quite clear that our society has no sense of history, and a total inabillity of reading history in the wider context of the development of mankind.

All of our liberal concepts and interpretations of ourselves are predetermined by the events of our recent history, and not by the events of the entire world history, we seem to transpose our social revolutions onto the rest of the world, when in reality, our social revolutions are western concepts. Our minds are now predetermined by the concept of the liberal Ideal, just as our predecessors were predetermined by the imperial ideal, an imperial ideal that wasnt confined to the western states, but a imperial ideal that was part of a universal conscientious, that defined a roughly four thousand year old epoch. Our modern society uses this imperial ideal as a guide on how not to live your life, but unfortunately we only apply this to our own society, we seem to have drawn a line at some point in the 20th century were we have cut off our past, and any reference to the past is always in a negetive context. It has come to the point were we have turned into a self loathing society and blame ourselves for the worlds troubles. When in reality we should be celebrating our past and be proud of our past, because if it wasnt for OUR imperialism, I wouldnt be writing about the end of an epoch, or the world wouldnt have the oppurtunity to discuss issues of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference, and the imperial ideology that seems to be so inconcievable to us today would still be a reality.

But because of our self loathing, we have turned into the true victims of the imperial epoch. Because of the liberal ideal that predetermines our social psyche and the imperial ideal that we despise so much, we seem to have lost the abillity of rational thought and have basically turned into a hypocitical race towards ones self, which I sure historians centuries from now, will actually wet themselves laughing at, as a lot of our european cousins already do.

So I thank all you self loathing idealistic idiots, for creating this extreme liberal conscientious who's only identity and concern is to prove that they are more evolved, modern liberal citizens then the next man, who's idealisically moulded brain has the only capabillity of taking from history the abillity to point the finger and say "thats wrong", purely to prove that they are the better person, and who will generalise to the extreme all our institutions and cultures, but will shout the loudest at accepting all foreign cultures on the individual persons merit. So until all you extreme liberals remove your head from your backside and start upholding the ideals of liberalism to all and not just the privilidged foreign few, then I fear what should be the herald of the new liberal epoch, will actually inplode on itself and will end up being yet another human concept that works on paper, only to be scrumpled up and thrown into the dustbin of history, because of peoples hyprocracy.

  • 142.
  • At 09:06 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I was interested to see the Iranian President on TV. Now to my judgement he seemed a reasonably rational man who is defending a minority viewpoint aginst a journalist who is in no way sympathetic towards his cause. The thing is we simply don´t know whether he is bluffing. Does he really control the extremists born of his country. Is it not a natural reaction to ones enemy to say they want to "blow him off the face of the earth" something which is seen as politically correct in his country.

The key to this is not to "win" a war on terrorism it is to deal with the barriers between us and the muslim majority. One of them is the completely baised westernised views we have of the Muslim and Arabic world. The Iranian president is defending what he sees as his cultural identity. I think what his arguement would be is that it is not for us to judge it, but to accept it and embrace it without seeking to disrupt or destroy it.

It is the new social darwinism to suggest that our cultural ideas are the BEST. He is clearly not dumb, in the nineteeth century we thought African Culture was inferior now it is the same with the Arabs. We must accept that our western or world culture views are not the Bible or the Koran and some people passionately oppose our views. I think we should not play the cold war on Iran and others but accept them. We should not make others accept our human rights values, for example I´m sure there are some very happy fundamentalist wives and we should accept this.

What would heal the human rights issue is more freedom of movement. Let the more liberal women come to the west, let our muslim converts go to the east. Let´s make the world our playground and allow people to move to a system under which they feel happy, and not seek to destroy other peoples values and ideas even if the seem repulsive. People would vote with their feet, if we could move around more easily, then we would know we were right if all the women in Iran moved out within ten years,if
they don´t then I think we are the ones with the blinkers on.

Lets be open to new ideas take them onboard and solve this issue of terrorism and by the way, I have a strong feeling that Bin Laden is only doing what he does to cause us to move Islam and Arabic values up the agenda in the west, he is achieving this. Maybe if we didn´t interfere so much in things as we do he would see his task as accomplished? I don´t know if he´s a madman I´ve never met him, so why brand him automatically as so? This is the problem with the western media and governments, we are still fighting the cold war and our rhetoric matches this, we need dialouge, a new approach, openess, a
rethink of our old values. Remember Spain withdrew from Iraq and he kept his word no further attacks on Spain have been made. I think we should at least try to talk to him and make a peace such as in NI.

  • 143.
  • At 10:14 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

In response to the rose tinted specticle wearing comments of #142.

Of course we have completely biased westernised views, because we come from the west, and I am part of the social darwinism that believes our cultural ideas are the best, which means I am not part of the social mohammedism who thinks their cultural ideas are the best, but then again I arent trying to settle in a mohammedistic nation, and I definately dont recieve millions of pounds in Aid from the tax paying social Mohammedistic East.

Has any one out there ever met Fred and Rose West, because having never met them personally, I'd hate to pre-judge them, they my be a lovely couple.

  • 144.
  • At 10:18 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

The thing is until more people learn more languges and read things first hand
until more English and American people live in other countries and integrate into a different way of life, not just live as expats they are completely institutionalised by our dictated national curriculum in schools, by our media, by our politicians by our universities, by our markets. It forms an institutional racism, which is referred to by the extremists as the Washington, London, Jerusalem triangle for want of a better phrase.

If this is what they think, this is what we must attack. This invovles partly educating them about us but it also must also involve a lot of self analysis in how we can best accomodate these people into the international community, this I´m afraid WILL involve sacrifice and tolerance on our part

Most people do not mean to be predudice but they ARE becuase of the way they are brought up, this happens on both sides of the debate. The arabic people I know have a very different sense of humour they do not believe newspaper reports but prefer to meet people face to face, they trust people, this is the primary law of soing business with arabic people, it takes a lot of time and negotiation and rapport building, which is why there are so many conspiricies concearning US involvement in 9/11 many people simply don´t believe pictures.

Living abroad, I have also seen a vast difference in the way things are portrayed in society and in the media compared to England in a culture which is closely related to our own. There is a vast difference between our culture and that of Iran, Iraq and others but this can be a positive thing, we should stop fighting and start embracing. Talking tough is not a good idea in this situation it´s cultural exchange getting to know your neighbour that´s the answer!

  • 145.
  • At 10:19 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi, J Last 141
Part of what you shout is correct - we are indeed products of our history.
The difference between "us" and "you", apparently, is that we have learned from history. We have learned through our previous mistakes that the right to individual freedom and equality, given in exchange for receiving individual freedom and equality from others, results in a massive release of human potential.
We are thus prepared to defend individual equality and freedom from those who would seek to take it from us. This defence does not include inserting our crania into our recta as you infer. In fact, it is quite the opposite - we remain vigilant and prepared to defend individual freedom and equality, a condition that appears to piss you off no end.
It is therefore a reasonable assumption that you choose to be on the opposite side to us. It also follows that, because we are on the side of human freedom, you are not. It only remains to work out whether you are on the opposite side to freedom or the opposite side to humans.

  • 146.
  • At 10:55 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Andy Gil wrote:

Shirley's post 134 is typical of the hysterical left, and I find it anti-semitic. She screams her head off about the term Islamo-fascism, and then dares to use the abusive term Zionazism.

This is of course designed to cause as much pain as possible to Jews, many of whom lost whole families to the Nazis. But she knows that of course. That is exactly why she said it.

Never mind that 1 million Arabs live quite happily in Israel, accuse Israel of apartheid. Never mind that Islamic terrorists have been killing Jews around the world for 50 years, call Israel a terrorist state. Never mind that Palestinians teach Jew-hatred in their schools, lets blame Israel for the failure to make peace.

So lets call a spade a spade for once. What Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran want is actually known as ETHNIC CLEANSING. Their attitude to non-Muslims is a form of RACISM. Their totalitarian anti-semitic philopsophy is a form of FASCISM. And as its based on the Koran, we can rightly speak of ISLAMOFASCISM.

I'd get used to it Shirley if I were you. You are going to hear it a lot in the future.

@ Andy Gil (post 146)

The Stern gang.

  • 148.
  • At 11:35 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Hi John (99), thanks for your reply,

9/11, 7/7 and the rest were terrorist events, in that they were designed to cause terror. I cannot see how they were designed to influence foreign policy, though, because if they were, they failed miserably. And yet they keep happening. They have no effect on foreign policy except for being excuses to allow the widening of attacks against Muslims and others, and have a negative effect on domestic policy, and the public's opinion of Muslims. Why then do they keep happening? We are left with the sole explanation that the terrorists are religious crazies who have no idea of what will be the real consequences of their actions. I find that explanation wholly inadequate in explaining the size and scope of the terror phenomenon in economically "developed" countries.

We have no evidence that some organisation called "al Qaeda" was involved in New York/Washington or Madrid. The FBI's wanted poster for Osama bin Laden does not list either of those attacks, because they have no court-admissable evidence linking him to them. No-one has ever been tried for the 7/7 attacks, because we are told they were suicide attacks with no outside help. On the other hand, there are many unanswered questions linking western intelligence to them: Building 7 of the World Trade Centre complex was not damaged by any aircraft, so why did it collapse on 9/11 in a similar way to buildings 1 and 2, indicative of controlled demolition? Why were the hijacked planes not intercepted by the Air Force? They can't plead incompetence, because on more than 50 occasions during the 12 months prior to 9/11, fighters were scrambled within 10 minutes in response to relatively minor events, such as loss of radio contact, loss of transponder signal, or deviated flight plans. It took 1 hour 45 minutes to scramble fighters on 9/11. We now know they were running drills that day, with hundreds of simulated hijacked aircraft on their radars flying towards buildings, which was a source of confusion; this does not sit well with the politicians' claims that they couldn't foresee planes being used as weapons. Who sold record amounts of United and American Airlines stock shortly before 9/11? The money obtained from those sales was never claimed. How were the black box flight recorders destroyed, but the hijackers' passports remained intact? How were the hijackers, some of them already known to the authorities as highly dangerous, wanted terrorists, allowed to gain visas and enter the US from Saudi Arabia, a known terrorist stronghold? Government documents show they were aware they were terrorists when the visas were granted under the Visa Express Program, a temporary arrangement in which Saudi citizens were fast-tracked visas; the programme was not extended to any other country. Some of them even trained at US military airbases! And how does the administration defend the fact that the war in Afghanistan was already in the final stages of planning before 9/11? I could continue, but you get the idea. Debunkers regularly use straw man arguments, attacking theories such as "the hole in the Pentagon wasn't big enough for an airliner," which are not usually pointed to by most credible theorists as the main points of proof, or they accuse of anti-Semitism by misrepresenting arguments which show Mossad had advance knowledge, twisting them into "Mossad carried out the attacks," which is a claim no sane person would make.

The last resort argument of government apologists is "don't criticise the government during the war on terror because it aids terrorism." That argument falls apart when you realise there is absolutely no real, credible terror threat. It also reveals the motive to permanently stifle dissent in this "war" which we are told will last 100 years or more.

The evidence of government involvement in London and Madrid is not so voluminous, but there are still questions to be asked: Peter Power said on Radio 5 Live on the afternoon of 7/7, that his company, Visor Consultants, had been running an exercise based on a scenario of bombs going off at precisely those stations where bombs actually went off. Why have the Police not spoken to Mr Power or anyone else in Visor Consultants about this unbelievable coincidence? Haroon Rashid Aswat, who we were told early on in the investigation was the mastermind behind 7/7, was an MI6 asset; he should've been arrested by US law enforcement several years ago for running a terrorist training camp in Oregon, but the UK protected him through diplomatic channels. Mohammed Sidique Khan was being monitored by MI5 and may have been an informant. This blows apart their assertion that they knew nothing about the alleged bombers. What explanation is given for the pound's strange drop in value in the run-up to 7/7, and why did the US Federal Reserve double its liquidity pool, pumping almost $40 billion into the system, a couple of days before the attacks? Other, less indicting questions include, why did the supposed suicide bombers purchase return tickets from Luton to London, and other similar inconsistencies. What was the man accused of supplying the explosives for the Madrid bombing doing with a piece of paper on which was written the private phone number of the head of Spain's bomb squad? Is there anything to be said about reports that two of the Madrid bombers were police informants? Every single terror scare and foiled plot in the US, Canada and UK has been revealed to be an unfounded story that would never stand up in court, either an entrapment sting, intel op or complete fabrication. All these points I have listed are from mainstream news sources or public records.

Airport searches are not just evidence of unbridled state power (what might recently have been called the nanny state), they are designed to desensitise people to that power. The mass media is complicit in this.

I agree that our judicial system is still fair and honest as far as its mandate allows, and I praise that fact. But it can only uphold the law, so when parliament can pass any law with enough of a pretext, our only line of defence is EU human rights legislation. By analogy, the last line of defence in the US could be said to be the constitution and bill of rights. The USA-"Patriot" act is largely unconstitutional, but no court has ever upheld that fact, and very few senators or congressmen have been brave enough to challenge it. However, some state legislators have passed laws that repeal the act in their respective states, and that is to be applauded.

As for post-industrial pillaging by the economically "developed" against the economically "less developed," I urge you to watch the Carlton TV documentary "The New Rulers of the World," by ITV journalist/film-maker John Pilger:"new+rulers+of+the+world"

I did not equate, I compared, Blair with Hitler. I would equate Bush quite closely with him though. And Blair seems to obediently follow Bush's every word. Either that, or they both obediently follow some other shadowy figure's words. But I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of an ordinary German citizen in 1933 and consider how different from today it would seem.

J Last @ 98, you are right to say "concepts of Democracy and Freedom are are not material objects that can be given, as we seem to think they are, but are indeed concepts that evolve over a period of time through internal actions." In fact, bombs and bullets set countries on a path that leads away from democracy.

Gil @ 96, you wrote "terrorists were trying to blow up the WTC in the 90's under Clinton; go figure? Places bombed by terrorists to date: London, Spain, New York, Moscow, Bombay, Istanbul, Baghdad (daily), Tel Aviv, Egypt, Beirut (Hariri); the list goes on." I reply: the explosives for the 1993 WTC bombing were supplied by the FBI. Places bombed by their own governments to date: New York, London, Spain, Bali, Bombay, Egypt; the list goes on. No reason to think some of the bombings in Iraq couldn't be the work of western governments. Remember the SAS guys arrested by Iraqi police for dressing as arabs and shooting at them? That mirrors the Army's old tactic from Northern Ireland designed to keep the population divided.

I heartily applaud and endorse Bridget @ 119, except to say I don't think capitalism deserves to be completely thrown out. It can and should exist alongside socialism in a kind of yin/yang relationship where each one depends on the other to balance it out. Going all the way in either direction can lead to something akin to fascism.

Chris @ 129: no, they're smarter. Bush subscribes to the school of thought which states "you are more powerful when people underestimate you."

  • 149.
  • At 11:40 PM on 16 Aug 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

To 143. J last

I am certainly not looking through rose tinted spectacles. I live life differently I live in Germany. My girfriend is Eastern European Jewish and suffered terrific anti semitism.

I have worked and lived with arabic and muslim people and I love both sides. Admittedly no one has absolute experience but I have learned from experience of these different cultures. I actually prefer the arabic way of meeting someone face to face before judging them. If you actually listen to what the extremists say on BBC reports there is an anomele what they say is totally ignored by the journalists. It seems irrelevent to them. Why don´t we try listening and trying to understand them.

I feel that unless you actually have had experience as I have with normal people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Libanon, and the Sudan then you are the one with rose tinted spectacles boy!! If you live in Arabia, are the majority of your friends arabic? Do you have an arabic wife, or do you just mix with the English people who´d rather be at home but can´t afford to live there any more?

I do not say we should live under sharia law I am just saying we should
tolerate peoples right to run their own countries and if they don´t like it let them in somewhere else.

I didn´t like life in east anglia so I moved to Europe. I didn´t like my identity as a public school boy so I got into a flat with some hardcore lefties who don´t have much money. Let them run their country the way they want to and let the people move out if they don´t like it just like a
disconted man can leave his wife or vice versa. It´s perfectly simple.

I love everyone including you and it works: Jewish girlfriend, plenty of arabic friends. Isn´t that the way it should be???!!What´s you telephone number by the way??

  • 150.
  • At 12:06 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

To Mr Last 143

And the biggest liars I´ve ever met face to face are the high class Americans not that I don´t like them everyone has their own qualities which can either be used for good or evil so that´s just a description.

We must seem to the Iranians and others like the attack of the clones, we don´t listen, we all have the same ideas, and we are all utterly self rightious and they are merely reflecting our "strengths" our "tough talk" qualities in themselves.

Many of my russian friends complain of the meddling of the Americans in their affairs and a lot of Russias economic problems are due to adverse speculation against the Russian market from "anti communist" and inexorably rich American speculators with a hang up. Some welcome to the that was to the world community for the Russians!!

A lot of people do not hear these views becuase they are media dependent. Lets get everyone into politics lets roll out discussion forums all over the country, that are separate from political parties and get the people involved!!!

  • 151.
  • At 12:44 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Andy @ 146

If Shirley is being anti-Semitic (which she is not, by the way) then you're being Islamophobic. Don't you see that both sides in the Middle East conflict are just as bad as each other? Don't you see the similarities between Israel's actions in the West Bank and Lebanon and the Blitz of WW2? No, because their leaders lie, just like they do in Iran.

Talk of "wanting to cause as much pain as possible to Jews" is absolute stupidity. I dislike all religions equally (note I said religions, not the people who follow those religions). They provide leverage for politicians to get what they want. But they do have their good side, if you ignore the hype.

Zionism has no credible religious basis (and neither does "Islamic fascism"). Zionism is the complete anti-thesis of true Judaism. It is a racist and purely political ideology. You should not defend all actions of Israel, no matter how abhorrent, just because it is the "Jewish state" and can therefore do no wrong, just like moderate Muslims should not defend the actions of Islamic fundamentalists. The racist idea that the Jews are "God's chosen people" is wherein the similarity to Naziism lies.

Israel _is_ committing terrorist acts, following the lead of America's "shock and awe" (how's that for Orwellian newspeak?)

The vast majority of Muslims and other rational people dislike Israel because of its actions, not because of its religion. Muslims and Jews have coexisted peacefully in the region for thousands of years before Israel was created. And I don't suggest removing it, I only note that it is a puppet of the US and UK, who are _using_ well-meaning Jews to rally support for it.

Hamas and Hezbollah would accept peace if we try hard enough, and accept that they have been wronged and deserve some sort of justice, not a resolution that completely sides with Israel. War is not the only option. It only looks that way if you believe the lies.

But I concede, we are going off-topic.

  • 152.
  • At 01:03 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • shirley wrote:

Hi Andy Gil(146) & Marcus (136):

I take on board your remarks.

And yes, you are right Andy, we ARE going to hear much more of Islamofascism (however offensive to Muslims, and oxymoronic to boot, that terms is -- Islam was considered, by us in the West, as a bulwark against the spread of communism). Also, Islam has no central 'church', no intermediary between individual and God, and is strongly rooted in free-trade/private enterprise.

For a long time I've considered an hypothetical scenario: were the victims of the holocaust (by far the worst crime in history) to come alive by some miracle, would they be proud of what Israelis have been doing in their name? In the light of their indescribeable suffering, will they condemn Israel's oppression of Palestinians? Will they be puzzled by the fact that only 39% of world Jewry actually lives in Israel? Will they be ashamed that Israel was one of the few countries that continued close relationships with the South African apartheid State? Will they be amazed that Israeli Arabs are subject to different rules regarding marriage than those of other ethnicity (an Israeli Arab marrying a Palestinian from occupied territories is not entitled to bring that spouse to live in Israel)?

I cannot understand why world Jewry doesn't see, that just conduct is the best defence for Israel.

Coming back to Islamofascism and its anti-Jewish stance, some illustrations from history are required. Recently a very important anniversary was marked: it was 350 years since Jews were allowed back into Britain. When they were expelled all those centuries ago (not only from Britain but also from hostile Europe)where do you suppose they went to? Why, Islamic lands, of course. If Islam was inherently anti-semitic why did the Jews feel safer under Islam than under fundamentalist Christian nations of that time (where, the adherents of a God that was love personified, were burning to death those who disagreed)? If muslims really wanted to annihilate Jews, because it was 'based on the Koran', they could have done that centuries ago; but they didn't. Instead Muslim Spain gave them sanctuary, and but for those, and other, Muslims, we might never have seen an Albert Einstein, a Sigmund Freud or indeed Golda Meir. Jews also continued to live without persecution in Moghul (Muslim) India for centuries.

In their entire history, nowhere have the Jews been so persecuted than in Christendom.

It is worth remembering that the some of the worst events of the last 500 years: the holocaust, apartheid, Hiroshma/Nagasaki,30 million deaths in 2 world wars, all happened either, in Christian countries or were carried out by Christians!

My suspicion is -- and I'm not a 100% certain, that even after many centuries of living in Europe, Jews are still not accepted: they are merely tolerated. And that is a very cautionary tale for all the, more recent, non-Europeans who have settled here and consider this to be their country too.

In my view, the actions of the Israeli State are an insult to the memory of the millions of victims of the holocaust. When a nation, in pursuit of Hizbollah terrorists, is prepared to kill a hundred babies to free one of its own soldiers, deep questions must be asked, and not least by its own citizens.

Also, given that 61% of world Jewry lives outside of Israel, it is time that criticism of the State of Israel was excised from the label of anti-semitism. If I was a Jew, I wouldn't get hung up about living in Israel. What's the point? There is zero tolerance of anti-semitism in that great country, USA (already, more Jews live in America than do in Israel), so why not live there?

Yes, I did use the term Zionazism, but that is because I've heard people say 'they are doing what was done to them' -- people (Christian pilgrims, tourists) who have visited Israel. Of course they are wrong to draw exact parallels, for the severity nowhere near approaches Germany in the 1930s. But I guess they draw comparisons at a rudimentary level, and are anxious to stop it now.

I detest the misogynistic social codes in many Islamic countries (so-called) -- for instance women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia (but in all the most populous Muslims countries -- Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh etc there is no such ban -- all three of which have also had women Prime Ministers/Presidents). Therefore, I see these as 'cultural' and not religious restrictions. That isn't Islamofascism: it is just Men and their patriarchy!

So, if you want to use that word, Islamofascism, then do, if it allows you to let off steam. All I'm saying is: it's not accurate, my dear.

  • 153.
  • At 02:35 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

Hi, John Nash 145.

You are right, this subject does piss me off no end. The reason being is not because I havent learnt from history, its because of the 21st century mis-interpretation of history. We seem to have singled out our own history and view only our own history through the eyes of modern ethics. History, all history whether British or not, should be viewed as a collective human development, approached through an analytical method, and not judged through a modern liberal mind.I am quite aware our my own country's past and the atrocities committed by my ancestors in their colonial years, but I can also accept my history and all the barbaracy that goes with it, because I know that the empire building mind of my colonial ancestors had more in common with the empire building mind of the Ancient Egyptians, then the modern liberal mind. So taking a stance and condemning actions of history and installing these in forms of liberal correctness, whilst not promoting the development or advance's of a culture is not only wrong, but can have a negative effect on the identity of the future generations of the culture concerned. If your start condemning history then you have to condemn the entire world, because no race, religion, or culture is innocent, so in essence, whats the point? Why not concentrate on highlighting and promoting a cultures acheivements so a culture can feel as equally proud and as important as the next culture? I wouldnt condemn Alexander the great for his imperialism, as it spread a culture of analytical thought throughout the hellensic world,I would never condemn the roman empire, as they spread christianity throughout tribal europe, which inadvertently prevented the growth of the pagen state, I wouldnt condemn the islamic empire for their imperialism through the middle east and europe, as their advanced the sciences we depend upon today, I would never hold any of the decendants of these cultures responsible for their ancestors actions, and definately not try to eradicate any reminiscence of a trivial nature within their modern culture, but yet we still see references to British history and comparisions to World War 2 as reasons to justify a viewpoint in the modern discussive arena, and if we applied this to every culture, we would be stuck in a state of arrested development, always relying on the pointed finger that says "well, you did this so many years ago."

My issue has always been equality within identity and the conscientious towards that identity, and I strongly believe that if we dont accept our past aswell as our future, then we will always be making allowances within our liberal framework based on the quilt of our past, Which may, as you so rightly noticed, piss me off, but my concerns are if these inequallity issues dont get "nipped in the bud" early, then they can only escalate, because future generations might not just get pissed off, but actually take negative actions when they start realizing more then we do that their social group seems to be the only one who gets satricalised, or the only group who have no acting body for their own social circumstance, the only group has to be the victim of racial proportional represention within industry, or the only social group who can be branded racist, be yet cant be a victim of racism, the only social group who councils order to remove anything reminiscent of a by gone era, or the only social group who have to tone down a long standing religious festival because it may offend

There is absolutely no reason why all of the above should happen, but it does, and it does simply because of our interpretation of recent history. So in your vigilence and preparation to defend individual freedom and equality, dont forget about the social group who are victims of all of the above, because they are slowly losing their identity, and as I said, if it carries on escalating, future generations may take more drastic actions to find an identity. so, as you may have noticed, my beef isnt with muslims, Hindus, chinese, or black (apologies if I left anyone out), but the the white liberal left who havent accepted their history, and who consequently try to change their, and everbody elses identity.

Believe it or not we are all after the samething, but we dont realise that there maybe other ways of acheiving the same goal, and I dont beleive that the sacrifice of identity is the way forward, and because liberlism is foetal in context of the development of man, everything we do will be trial and error.

  • 154.
  • At 03:10 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

To Mr Waldock 149

I must commend you on you approach to life, I genuinely would love to view life as you do.

I do have some experience with the eastern world, mainly Egypt and the surrounding area when I visit through egyptology, were I usually end up staying with local families, who do show you enormous hospitallity, but unfortunately having witnessed the massacre at hatshepsuts temple, it has left me feeling a certain unease everytime I visit. And what I have found with that part of the world is that half of them seem to want to hug you to death, while the other half look at you as though they want to gut you to death.

And the statements you made about "we", well unfortunately all them negative aspects you mentioned are universal and not just confined to "we", thats why were all in this mess.

Could you please lend me a pair of your specs, as I may have to start wearing sunglasses to avoid the temptation of social comment, honest!

  • 155.
  • At 10:37 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • chris wrote:

J last @ 153
Do we not see a different value through the
filter of change over time to the extent that
it becomes extremely difficult to be objective
and accepting.
How difficult it is for us to get a handle on
Greek and Roman mythology as understood
in their time through the filter of reasoning
and experiment that is science of our times.
Seems to me "truth" is a difficult concept
that is in flux and distortion of human will,
belief and understanding and god knows
what else at any point in time.

  • 156.
  • At 11:58 AM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • John Nash wrote:

Hi, J Last (153)

So... you're upset about the inequalities of the world....we all are, JL. By there will always be inequalities - I wish I had been born tall, good looking, with a powerful personality and a dong two feet long, but it didn't turn out that way - I'm a short ugly geezer with a dick like a cockroach, facts that have probably contributed to a gross personality defect and my becoming cocky blogger.
But what I don't do is go around blaming all the tall, good looking people for my condition. I most certainly don't go around blasting planeloads of tall, good looking people out of the sky. I get on with my life and do the best I can with what I've got, because I am only going to get one life and I am determined to enjoy it.
I therefore extend the same freedom and enjoyment to others - it's up to them if they want to enjoy their lives - I don't impose it on them, geddit?
If they decide not to pay for the necessary surgical reconstruction and therapy needed to make me like them, that's fine. It's up to me, not them.
However, my bile is raised when I see people who are being refused these freedoms and are being held down, so I am tempted to assist them to be free. I couldn't care less if they don't adopt all my other strange cultural habits. It's their freedom to blossom that I want to help them with, if they want it.
In the same way, my happy go lucky ways disappear when someone else take offence at my happiness or objects to my spreading the idea of freedom amongst his slaves and he decides to attack me.
It is then he discovers that although I appear to be a happy chap, I can become very nasty in defence of my happiness or the resources I require to maintain a standard of living conducive to my happiness (and before you start, I am prepared to pay a reasonable market price for those resources).
None of this amounts to imposing on other people unless they impose upon me. None of this amounts to judging people by past or present political hyperbole or your political perspective upon what I am - its about people's freedom. Yours included.

Chris @ 155 said: "truth" is a difficult concept.

That's because truth isn't a concept as such, it is objective reality which exists outside of our own heads whatever our individual beliefs etc. Truth is fact or are you saying facts are concepts? A fact exists whatever an individual's 'will understanding flux or distortion'. Denial of facts is delusion. Belief in fiction is delusion.

We are 'told' that 4 young British men acting alone built powerful explosives and for some reason only known to them decided to kill themselves and others on the London transport system on 7/7/05. This is the concept or the 'truth' that we are told to believe. We are told to believe this despite having seen no evidence other than one grainy image outside Luton station, over 30 miles from the scenes of these crimes, with 3 of the 4 faces unidentifiable. If this is the truth of what happened that day there should be hours of CCTV footage from Luton and KX stations, platforms car parks etc. Yet we have never seen anything that proves this 'truth', or would stand as evidence in a court of law to prove the guilt of the alleged perpetrators. Hasib Hussain's father said he had been shown no evidence of his son's guilt. Do we no longer require evidence to prove something did or didn't happen?

Is it the truth? Is it what really happened? Or has 'truth' just become a set of images and a story told in such a way as to somehow fool us into thinking that this is the truth, fiction becomes fact and fact becomes fiction. Truth becomes a concept which just needs planting in our heads whether it is based on what truly happened or not?

Truth as fact I can understand, truth as concept is frightening.

  • 158.
  • At 01:07 PM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • J Last wrote:

chris @155

Do we not see a different value of ones self through the filter of time and through the knowledge of personal change in the stages of ones own life to the extent that it becomes extremely easy to be objective in accepting ones own self.
How easy it could be for us to understand Greek and Roman mythology as felt in their time through the reason of emotion which is experienced from the dawn of ones own time.
Seems to me "truth" is a scientific concept that will unfold through the determination of human will, belief and acceptance of what we really are at some point in time

  • 159.
  • At 04:43 PM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

#148 Matt say’s “I heartily applaud and endorse Bridget @ 119, except to say I don't think capitalism deserves to be completely thrown out…” I read this penultimate paragraph first, which saved me the trouble of reading rest. Matt and Bridget, capitalism is not really a system or an ideology or a construct; it is simply what free and industrious people do when allowed to get on with their lives. Socialism on the other hand is an ideology. It fails to recognise that society arises out of the complex interactions of free individuals who are able to make choices and exercise their free will. All socialist experiments have ended in failure, or in the case of Cuba, will end in failure. More to the point, all socialist experiments end in capitalism. Thus socialism is simply the longest path from capitalism back to capitalism.

Alan @ 159

Capitalism is simply a system of production, based on profit and ownership.

As for what 'free and industrious people choose to do when allowed to get on with their lives', nice idea but naieve. Where is the choice?

Capitalism will be seen at some point in the future as feudalism or slavery is viewed today. Systems that were once progressive but whose social relations became fetters on development.

Freedoms? I read something interesting about these the other day:

"Bush, Blair, and the rest of these anti-democratic rascals would like to keep us in a permanent frenzy of fear, punctuated by shopping. Freedom to shop, freedom to fear. I don't like those freedoms. I don't support, and don't want to live in, a society which the rest of the world hates, not for its freedoms, but because of its selfishness and its bullying cowardice. "

We are, more importantly than just individuals, social beings and it is the nature and quality of our society that is important to me and I hope the majority of people.

  • 161.
  • At 09:42 PM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Thankyou for your comments, Alan @ 159. I mostly agree, but I think you have misunderstood me, probably because I did not explain myself well enough.

Capitalism as we currently know it in the west is not based on personal freedom. The current trend is away from the freedom of the individual and towards the centralisation of wealth, i.e. the wealthy getting wealthier and the poor getting poorer. Our global monetary system is heading for inevitable collapse if it carries on like it is now, as the central banks are losing the ability to bail out regions affected by localised monetary crashes. Our globally interdependent system is like a house of cards, and it is only a matter of time before one of those cards falls. There are many different ways that capitalism can be implemented, and I believe we are using the wrong one.

Several sections of the UK's socio-economic system are based on socialist ideas, the most obvious example being the welfare state. The "socialist experiments" you mention were a complete rejection of Liberal capitalism, which is not what I am suggesting. The two can coexist. Perhaps my use of the term "socialism" was erroneous, though. In some ways, things like the welfare state are simply a reaction to a lack of balance in the money system, addressing the symptoms but not the cause. Let me be more clear...

Money is to blood as the monetary system is to the circulatory system, and the way our money works has a profound impact on the way our society functions. Since the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971, when Nixon floated the dollar off of the gold standard, our currencies have been based completely on fiat, that is, bank debt. This puts banks and their wealthiest clients in a commanding position over the rest of us, but also makes the system more susceptible to crashes.

What I am advocating is the use of complementary currencies based not on fiat but on mutual credit, perhaps along the lines of the LETS or TimeDollar systems, where money is created at the moment of transaction with a simultaneous debit and credit. Fiat currencies have a built-in accumulation of interest and inflation, whereas mutual credit does not. Interest encourages competition, whereas mutual credit fosters cooperation. Competition is often stated as a good force that makes capital efficient, but it is important to note that we should not take one system to the extreme of efficiency at the expense of the other systems that drive our society. Interest also creates a need for continual growth, which looks quite scary when taken to the extreme, and it also encourages the concentration of wealth. It should come as no surprise that the big three monotheistic religions specificially ban the giving of loans with interest (the sin of usury) in their holy texts. Islam is the only religion that has continued to remind its followers of this fact to the present day.

Traditional and complementary currencies are both required to maintain a sustainable system of capital. Mutual credit is needed to counterbalance artifically-scarce fiat currencies with naturally-emergent sufficiency, and could pull poor communities out of their lack-of-money predicament, where bank loans only create more problems.

I don't claim to be an expert on money matters, but I have been reading the words of experts (see the first link above).

It would take a long time to get the world's money system back on track, but it is infinitely preferable to world war 3.

  • 162.
  • At 11:44 PM on 17 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Q. which side are you on?

Not on the side which is against progressive democratic societies & mutual shared values ensuring continued peaceful coexistence between different cultures.

Islamic Extremism is not an enemy that will be defeated by the approach of the liberal left/supposed intelligentsia - 'kill with kindness' *

* accommodation & tolerance is seen as weakness, esp since the aims & objectives of the religious fanatics is not countered by loaded/reasoned argument of atheists, as many of left tend to be :)

In the UK we do not give any truck to those who commit terrorism, those who support terrorism (individuals or communities) nor those who blur the lines between perceived injustices & religiously inspired mantra.

The liberal left & supposed intelligentsia intentionally have blurred that line (for reasons of own multi agendas) or unintentional blur (naïve & ineffective attempts at appeasement), during their attempts at moral equivalency & parity arguments between terrorist mantra & atrocity & elected government of progressive societies policy & actions.

The terrorist acts are self evident ref Islamic extremism (Sunni or Shia variety) in action in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza by terror states (Syria, Iran) & terror groups (Hamas, Hezbullah, alqaeda etc). The liberal left supposed 'intelligentsia' overlook both murderous methods & discount the corrosive methods such groups use to manipulate theirs & other peoples.

In the UK, the distinct minority of appeasers /apologists/ supporters of Islamic Terrorist (at home or abroad) should be mindful that mainstream British Society, is not obliged to sit back & take any/all manner of social/domestic terrorism & intransigence.


  • 163.
  • At 02:43 AM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

Bridget Dunne at or around #119 and #160, and Matt at or around #148 and #161...

...thank you both for sharing some fascinating and salient insights into the realities of the dreadful and frightening world that continues to confront us

i only hope that voices such as yours are given audience on the likes of newsnight (BIG HINT THERE, NEWSNIGHT PEOPLE)

at the risk of seeming like a sceptic, i challenge newsnight to put its editorial money where its highbrow mouth is, and let some of these serious aspects be discussed, or are you not allowed to do so ?

anyway Bridget and Matt, thank you for saying the sorts of things i was aware of, but lack the literacy to articulate, bravo, bravo indeed

from another matt (little 'm' !)

  • 164.
  • At 03:16 AM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

and while i'm telling you what to do, newsnight, why not devote a week of hour long specials to the observations of the likes of Bridget Dunne and Matt (reference my above post), and include the related issues raised by F. William Engdahl...

  • 165.
  • At 03:55 AM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

***Dear Mrs or Mr Moderator...i placed the following post and it was put on the page, but i notice it has since disappeared, i hope that the original has just temporarily gone missing owing to some ghost in the machine, i cannot think of any reason why it would need to be deleted, unless of course you want to go with my programme suggestion and want to publicise it youselves in the first instance ? i am not attempting to double post, so please disregard this present post if the original is to make a return, regards, matt hill***

Bridget Dunne at or around #119 and #160, and Matt at or around #148 and #161...

...thank you both for sharing some fascinating and salient insights into the realities of the dreadful and frightening world that continues to confront us

i only hope that voices such as yours are given audience on the likes of newsnight (BIG HINT THERE, NEWSNIGHT PEOPLE)

at the risk of seeming like a sceptic, i challenge newsnight to put its editorial money where its highbrow mouth is, and let some of these serious aspects be discussed, or are you not allowed to do so ?

anyway Bridget and Matt, thank you for saying the sorts of things i was aware of, but lack the literacy to articulate, bravo, bravo indeed

from another matt (little 'm' !)

and while i'm telling you what to do, newsnight, why not devote a week of hour long specials to the observations of the likes of Bridget Dunne and Matt (reference my above post), and include the related issues raised by F. William Engdahl...

  • 166.
  • At 11:54 AM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

#160 Bridget says "We are, more importantly than just individuals, social beings and it is the nature and quality of our society that is important to me and I hope the majority of people."

This gets to the heart of the utopian fallacy that has given rise to 100 years of failed socialist experiments. The idea that society is more important than “just individuals” sounds good but it inverts reality. This idea is the basic premise of the social engineer; it subverts the natural industriousness and creativity of the individual and leads to social decay because individuals are encouraged to believe they are cogs in a machine rather than free agents who can control their own destiny. The best societies emerge from the infinitely complex interactions of free individuals pursuing their own goals. To describe this as naïve is to ignore the preponderance of evidence. Just compare the success of any free democratic western society to any of the major socialist experiments. People risk their lives on perilous sea crossings to flee Cuba; there is no equivalent flow in the other direction.

Bridget (#160) quotes an “interesting” denunciation of western freedoms. This is a preposterous rant. I personally hate shopping (my kids love to shop but they are also very well rounded kids generally). I don’t know anyone in a “permanent frenzy”. What the heck is “the freedom to fear”? If “rest of the world” hates us why do they beat a track to our door? This is all empty rhetoric and I find it a bit depressing that so many contributors to this blog find this stuff fascinating and insightful.

  • 167.
  • At 02:20 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • Valentino Ferdis wrote:

Here is an opinion I hope the UK adopt!!!!!By the way I am an immigrant, coloured and have enjoyed my life in this lovely country.

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law should be told to get out of the UK, as the government needs to target radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
I believe extremists should face a crackdown.
Radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they do not accept that the UK is a secular state and its laws are made by parliament.
I would say to them "If these are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then the UK is not for you." I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in th UK, one the UK law and another the Islamic law, that THIS is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law,
independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option.
Muslims who do not want to accept local values should "clear off".
Basically, people who don't want to be British first, and don't want to live by British values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off.

I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on 7th July 2005, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of British citizens.
However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to the UK.
However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.
This idea of the UK being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As British, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought to make this land the land it is today.

I would say to them that we speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese,Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!
Most British believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. We will accept your beliefs and will not question why, all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.
If the St.George's Cross offends you, TOUGH. You should seriously consider a move to another country.
We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means keep your culture but do not force it on others.
This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great BRITISH freedom, "THE RIGHT TO LEAVE".
If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy, really, when you think about it.
If you feel you are being targeted then please check the religion practised by ALL who succeeded in the 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Bali and Indian attacks. It speaks for itself. On the other hand, if you support this stand against radicalism and find some extremists coming to the mosques to preach hatred, and you are against this, have the courage to dial 999 and call the police who can pick them up..and then, please find the courage to stand up in court and condemn them so they can be convicted. Denounce hatred, call yourselves BRITISH first, and MUSLIMS or whichever religion you practice, second. This is true Democracy and Secularism.

Alan "168

Presumably satisfied that what I felt was an important contribution to this debate was deleted.

How is that for the 'freeedom of the individual'? Freedom of thought and speech I take it are included in your vision of a free people.

Doesn't your analysis of a free individual apply to me, as you imply that I am a part of some homogenous 'group' that you label the 'loony left'?

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire

  • 169.
  • At 04:13 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

Alan at or around #166

individuals LIVE in society, far from being a suggestion by Bridget that she wishes to consider herself a small insignificant cog in a larger important machine, i (correctly i believe) interpreted her comment as meaning that the quality of society and the quality of individual existence are mutually inclusive entities

society is an important component of your own [superior] existence as an individual

empty rhetoric ?...i disagree, fascinating and insightful, it most certainly is, but only if you are equipped to look beyond simplistic this OR that - polarised reasoning

  • 170.
  • At 04:58 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

#168 Bridget “Presumably your satisfied…”

No I’m not. The deletions annoy me and I think the moderator is making a mistake. So I wrote the following on another thread:

Comment #39 on Redesign Newsnight’s Website
“The moderation seems a bit heavy handed. I noticed that a perfectly reasonable post appended to the “Which side are you on” thread today, was deleted. You should not delete posts unless they are gratuitously abusive. Abusive posts should be shown. Readers can click the complain link to have these removed. It is also a good idea to leave a marker that indicates that a post has been deleted, and perhaps why. This is “our” BBC and censorship should be avoided if you don’t want to be accused of partisanship.

In this case I complained to the moderator that the post you were commenting on had been removed (I said “you deleted the original post #166 by Vikingar (replaced by mine) but then append #167, which is a response to the original #166. Why?). I couldn’t understand what was objectionable about the original #166, and deleting it makes the rest of the thread nonsensical. I had no objections to your post.

The loony left is by no means a homogenous group. Lefties come in all stripes. A common feature is adherence to unlikely alternative explanations of events when there is sufficient evidence to come to a reasonable conclusion.

I also get a bit annoyed by the gratuitous use of quotations to add gravitas. For example, I would not “defend to the death” the hate speech of Al-Muhajiroun. In addition, Germany does not “defend to the death” the hate speech of neo-Nazis, in fact they criminalise it.

  • 171.
  • At 06:30 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • shirley wrote:

Valentino Ferdis @ 167

Your attitude doesn't sound very British to me (nor does your name)!

I think you'll find that our options are limited by a few complications, not least for the fact that soon, the majority of the Muslim population will actually be British-born. And, we cannot ask British-born people to 'leave', any more than we can ask YOU to leave.

I think that your suggestions could be very useful to Native North Americans, Native South/Latin Americans, Australian Aborigines and other peoples whose culture was swamped by the uncontrolled population growth of the Europeans.

Are you saying that all persons of European origin should head back to Europe, unless they adapt to local, native cultures?

Please note that just twenty years ago, it was part of the 'British way of life' for shops to remain closed on Sunday. Then came the Asians, opening all hours. Now Sunday shopping is a major part of British family life.

Immigrants do change the cultures they go to: better GET USED TO IT!

(PS: As I understand it, Sharia Law can only be instituted in an Islamic State. What the Muslims want is for some aspects of Sharia Law to be recognised as being valid, when applid to THEM, without breaching the local British law.You may not know this but Jews have their own marriage laws: a Jewish lady cannot divorce her husband under Judaic law, whichever country the couple happen be citizens of).

  • 172.
  • At 09:34 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • andrew wrote:

One needs to understand that the war on terror will truly never cease as it is against US interests.

To do so would be to accept the notion of the Palestinians holocaust and displacement of the Palestine State and from a legal stand point legitimize the native American right to claim its occupied lands.

  • 173.
  • At 09:58 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • petshrew wrote:

To me it beggers belief that with the knowledge man has gained about the world and it's history that people are still falling for either Muslim or Christian retoric. It is time people realised that religion is just a controlling tool and evil is still being commited in it's name. It saddens me that it is felt that I should take a side when I believe that both sides are as evil as each other.

  • 174.
  • At 11:16 PM on 18 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

shirley at or around #171

i think you'll find sunday opening has more to do with tescos than anything else, in fact, i understand that resco is lobbying the government to change the name of 'sunday', to 'tescoday'. and i belive 'saturday' is soon to be renamed 'mail on saturday'

  • 175.
  • At 04:28 AM on 19 Aug 2006,
  • Tiberius wrote:

Which side am I on? What a remarkable question, but one which really doesn't surprise in modern Britain. It seems that gone are the days when the hard working British subject who pay their taxes, obey the laws, and contribute to the society have a voice in this country.

The government of the day will bend to the whims of every minority group and wishy washy liberal idea that is presented to it, but without any regard for this unfortunately silent majority that doesn't want its society over run by minorities or its culture changed. Certainly the current Labour government is not a representative of the silent majority and when Mr Blair finally departs things will most likely get worse and the true left wing face reasserts itself in the form of Gordon Brown.

But for me the real question isn't 'which side am I on' but which side is the government on and which side are the myopic liberal elite on. Do people who believe that by continually bowing to the demands of an irrelevant and unwanted Muslim community in this country they will in some way introduce a new era of harmony. The reality is that the Muslim faith is one which is leant towards extremism and no amount of concessionary behaviour will appease it until we are all converted to their vile doctrines.

So for all of the liberals out there reading this and reaching for the email to have this comment deleted, you should reflect on the fact that you are a minority, and just because the mass of people in this country can't or, more likely these days, are to afraid to voice their disagreement with you, it doesn't mean that you're right.

Alan @ 170

I agree with you about the deletions. it would seem that the moderator deletes them for no apparant reason. As for quotes, these are not just added for gravitas, it's that they sum up a position or argument in a few words.

Your description of lefties as 'A common feature is adherence to unlikely alternative explanations of events when there is sufficient evidence to come to a reasonable conclusion.'

I would claim the precise opposite. Sadly all our 'post 9/11 age' requires is a couple of images, a story, often unfounded and the conclusions reached are reflected in the post at 174 by tiberius.

There has been, to date, no evidence in the public domain that supports the conclusion in the narrative, that 4 young British working class men acting alone are guilty of the crimes committed in London on 7/7/05. Due to research carried out independently by people like myself, Dr John Reid has had to announce that the narrative contains inaccuracies.


You and I have seen only one image taken outside Luton that morning, over 30 miles from London, with 3 of the 4 faces unidentifiable. This would not count as evidence in a court of law. Neither would so-called martyrdom videos which make no claim to these acts.

Yet, post 7/7, one innocent man has been murdered by armed police, another innocent man has been nearly murdered and 250 rampaging armed police terrorise a family and destroy their home and now we have 24 people paraded in the press as being guilty of another murderous plot which is a ludicrous one to say the least. 3 vans of gestapo like armed men turned up to arrest a heavily preganant young woman.

Welcome to post 7/7 Britain. not unsimilar to post Reichstag fire Germany. It seems to many that Muslims are the new jews of Europe.

Is this what we want? Is there enough evidence to prove these 4 young men were responsible for the atrocities on 7/7? Where is this 'sufficient evidence to come to a reasonable conclusion' and why haven't we seen it?

  • 177.
  • At 02:06 AM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • Kate wrote:

Well said Tiberius @175

If the wishy washy liberal posters hate this countries practices so much why are they still here enjoying its evil capitalist benefits and trappings. I hear the Sudan is nice this time of year.

  • 178.
  • At 07:42 AM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

fairness [being willing to make the just choice, not based on allegance, alliance or deference but as a protectorate of some other moral boundary] is, by its very nature, not something that one should compromise on, for any reason, that is of course, as long as one wishes to remain 'fair'

Kate (177 +/-), are you really willing to lump any poster who calls for fairplay (something we often strive for as a people) in with 'lefties'? even so much so as to risk misrepresenting those posters who were calling for fairplay (rather than imbalance be it to the left or right), and call them by a name which is innacurate in many cases to say the least ? all effort to be fair [honourable/honest/moral/strong enough to make difficult and universally righteous decisions] is 'wishy washy leftie liberal' ?

does that then mean that anything that is not 'leftie liberal' according to your definition is about being unfair ? anything 'right of centre' is designed to be unfair ?


said it before, will no doubt have to say it again, but it is a shame when an 'agenda' (left, right or anywhichway) is superimposed over an isolated comment, when that isolated comment may 'seem' to be the tip of some apologist, weak ideological iceberg

just 'cos i eat peas, doesn't automatically mean i also want sprouts

in fact, i think it is possible to love peas, and hate sprouts, that is after all, how i feel about spherical green vegetables

indeed, i may dislike eating meat, but have to admit that i love bacon

my taste in food, like my ability to pick various realisms, is varied and not so easy to predict, i think that many (and in all likelihood, you too ?) are not so different to me...if you'll forgive the presumption

  • 179.
  • At 11:40 AM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

#176 Bridget

Well, I will say this for you; you are definitely not sitting on the fence! Your language is very telling though. The narrative may well contain inaccuracies but the fact remains that 4 young men did the deed and you don’t try dead men in a court of law. Many leftist narratives are based on minor details that are misinterpreted and magnified to an extent that the preponderance of the evidence is ignored. For example, “men didn’t land on the moon because the American flag in the film can be seen to be waving in a breeze and there are no breezes on the moon” (anyone with GCSE physics would recognise this as the undamped oscillation of a springy flag pole). Your allusions to the Reichstag fire and Nazi Germany must warm the hearts of the Islamists here and abroad but they have no basis in facts and events whatsoever.

A study was done by the French a couple of years ago to quantify the “problem of Islamophobia” in France by recording incidents of violence against Muslims. It was not published because they found that religious violence was being perpetrated mainly on Jews, and no one is interested in publicising THIS fact. Do you ever recall seeing Jews holding placards suggesting that anyone who insults Judaism must be put to death? Yet you are calling Muslims the new Jews of Europe! In America a documentary team tried to demonstrate “Islamophobia” by filming a female dressed in Islamic garb, wandering around a NASCAR event. They figured, I imagine, that this would have the same impact as taking your pet pig into a mosque. No one paid any attention to her. “New Jews” indeed!!!

  • 180.
  • At 05:34 PM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

Tiberious, if this reasonable majority of which you speak, doesn't like what is happening in its country, perhaps it might be advised to raise its voice a tad so the leaders can hear it ?

or would that silent majority suggest that it is unheard no matter how audibly it speaks, in which case, perhaps it should take to the street with the 'wishy washies', and stand out for doing so as an obvious loud minority and get itself heard that way, there is, afterall, very little else that any of us seem to be able to do in order for this governemt to hear us

and even then, the governement hears but ignores

Alan @ 179

Back to the evidence that these men did indeed commit this atrocity on 7/7/05. What have we seen apart from one image outside Luton with 3 of the 4 faces unidentifiable? Does this constitute irrefutable proof?

Just a cursory compare and contrast between the events on 7/7 and 21/7 throws up enough questions to make one wonder why we haven't seen any of the hours and hours of CCTV that must exist:

7/7 - 52 people died, no arrests made, no one else awaits trial, no images of the alleged on trains, in subways or on buses, type of explosive used still unclear.

21/7 - no one died, 43 people arrested, 17 await trial, images of all the alleged on trains, in subways and on buses, details of explosives and containers used.


The July 7th Truth Campaign calls for the release of the evidence to support the now discredited narrative.

  • 182.
  • At 11:50 PM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • Anne wrote:

It's 2006 and here we are still arguing the rights and wrongs of male violence. Fact: violence is male - be it christian US/UK jewish Israel
/US muslim Middle East.

  • 183.
  • At 01:50 PM on 22 Aug 2006,
  • Neil Farrow wrote:

If anyone is interested in my opinion it is this-terrorism is wrong as is the `war on terror` if it involves the torture of people by whatever means or the invasion of other peoples` countries on spurious grounds.

The taking of innocent life can never be justified. Civilians are innocent regardless of location. People should stop killing in God`s,W`s or anyone elses name.

Changing foreign policy re Iraq or anywhere else is not appeasement to terrorism if the majority of people believe the policy wrong-it is called democracy.

  • 184.
  • At 02:39 PM on 22 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref terrorism question.

Newsnight recently did an excellent piece about the methods of radicalisation of Muslim children by Hamas & efforts of one Doctor (whose own brother was killed in the intifada) to counter these efforts.

These are similar/identical to efforts by Hezbullah & also in Iran, whereby the state provide materials to manipulate & condition young minds to continue the circle of violence (websites, books, cartoons, video/tv, satellite airings) & encourage 'suicide & sacrifice' etc.

(Incidentally, Panorama also ran a similar piece "Faith, Hate & Charity" - Sunday 30 July 2006, schools being used for Islamic Extremist) -

Q. so why Newsnight, did you not follow your stories up with blogs, esp the Hamas one & broaden the debate which such stories often start/highlight?


  • 185.
  • At 07:58 PM on 23 Aug 2006,
  • Linda Lieberman wrote:

Marcus (136) – The Palestinians (please do not insult them by placing their identity in quotes)were certainly NOT brought onto the land on which Jews already populated. It is well documented (with credible historical evidence) that Israel displaced thousands of Palestinian families in order to accommodate Jewish immagrants. This is why approx. 40% of Jordanians are actually Palestinians and why there are such large Palestinian refugee camps into which a second generation have been born who have known no other than the hardship of living in a refugee camp. They have been born with nothing to loose. A dangerous position and one which was created by Israel and Great Britain. So don’t let me hear these countries winging now!!!

May I suggest you learn your facts before making facile and racist comments

  • 186.
  • At 12:40 AM on 24 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Linda Liberman (185, 186)

Marcus (136) made several reasonal comments & observations.

To quote you "May I suggest you learn your facts before making facile and racist comments"

whatever they were they ain't 'racist' (wrong label).

As to timelines & claims, think the issues predate 1947 (even as a Brit Christian, I know that)


  • 187.
  • At 07:37 AM on 24 Aug 2006,
  • Pearce William wrote:

In 1930 Winston Churchill warned Germany was rearming. They called him a "WAR MONGER" do we now remember what that resulted in. The Vendetta against the Western World has been made pretty clear. I certainly will not be around to worry, but our childrens children will pay the prise unless we bring this to a holt

  • 188.
  • At 11:16 AM on 24 Aug 2006,
  • SG wrote:

War On Terror? The UK and the US have stepup to the mark, been weighed and measured and found wanting.

The West does not have the mettle to take on this fight properly. They try to appear "reasoanble" at all turns. Like for like. Smash all states that sponsor terrorism or threaten the West, back into the stone age. Stop worrying about wether you "hurt" anyones feelings, just get on with the task.

This is a big boys game which should be played by big boys rules.

There are a growing number of us that are sick and tired of one way reporting and the portraying of the enemy as the "victim". This all stems from their hatred, their racism and their forced march throughout the world, of their utterly intolerant religion. Domination is their goal. There are no moderates.

Turning of people into extremists is not a one way street............

  • 189.
  • At 01:38 AM on 25 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:


i think that history may judge the likes of bush as the hitler in this - who, after all, has invaded what ?

in thirties germany they too accused others of a vendetta against them, and said that they must expand to create zones of stability for themselves

which side has killed more in this to date ?

there may be many a valid reason to dislike some of the states of government abroad, but that doesn't justify killing many of their civilians in the name of 'freedom' or 'democracy' - whichever 'side' those civilians may be on

it would be appropriate to decouple our 'victim of terrorism' status from our foreign policy, as our invasions of other sovereign nations, are acts of terrorism that WE have commited

i too hope that things are brought to a halt, but actions of the west is what i'm thinking about, the vendetta against the west, has more of the appearance of a reaction against our own vendetta against the islamic community in its home, than some hatred without reason

i suspect that the majorority of peoples, wherever they are from, just want violence to stop, our violence will only beget more violence upon us, whilst killing many thousands of innocents in the process

  • 190.
  • At 10:40 AM on 25 Aug 2006,
  • Andy Gil wrote:

No-one can be neutral in the war on terror. Slowly, and belatedly the peoples of Europe and the UK are beginning to realise that terrorism is a real threat and has already damaged our societies.

The age of 'Londistan' where the spineless British government allowed terrorists to operate freely here, has ended. The fatwah against Salman Rushdie could never be tolerated again.

Now the left-wing in this country, whose shameful support of Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah amounts to criminal complicity, have painted themselves into a corner. Their increasingly hysterical responses, as seen on many BBC bulletin boards are evidence they have lost both the argument and the plot.

There is a long way yet to go, but at last we can see the signs that the British worm is turning.

  • 191.
  • At 02:46 AM on 27 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref SG #183

"There are a growing number of us that are sick and tired of one way reporting and the portraying of the enemy as the "victim"

Hear Hear

Also why are the liberal left, various protest groups & supposed intelligentsia still remaining quite about the true extent of Islamic extremism & causes.

I argue combo of the following DND:

- denial
- naivety
- dishonesty

Even some on The Guardian are wising up to reality [1]

Then again most of the Left (including militant liberals) & Islamic Extremism share common enemies:

- The US
- Israel
- The West
- Capitalism

Same coin of intolerance, one side engaging as PR Commissare the other side armed & dangerous.

Both equally divisive, ruled by mantra, driven by myopic agenda & both ultimately not representative of the societies they attempt to undermine.




  • 192.
  • At 04:24 AM on 27 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Matt #189

1. 'vendetta' - the wrong word in respect of Western countries (progressive democratic societies) taking issue with societal injustices, political & economic threats emanating from the ME & Asia, which happen to be Islamic.

The West (if not on occasion the UN) has a modern tradition of squaring up to various threats (albeit some slow to do so) threats such as Fascism & Communism. The latest threat is Islamic Extremism.

Such terror & failed states are not targeted because they are Muslim, in the same way Germany, Russia, China were/are not targeted for religious reasons (esp since worship of state was above any notion of God).

Terror/failed states are targeted because they are terror/failed entities, that have demonstrated a proven threat to themselves, the region, global economic & political stability.

2. domestic terrorism in the UK is not a reaction to a perceived 'vendetta' against various Muslims communities. Lord knows such communities have had the run of the place virtually unhindered & they have grown in numbers from tens of thousands to 1.6 million (1960-2006) this is the problem. Cultural enclaves transposed into our societies, where they have largely self ghettoised is the issue & cause of domestic Islamic Extremism. The fault is not with the underlying progressive societies, rather with unreformed & non integrated religious based minority Muslim communities living in the past, at odds to the very society that gave them a home, when many others would not. Simply put you cannot have domestic Islamic extremism without domestic Muslim communities. The former would unlikely to happen if the latter had been reformed & integrated.

3. 'hatred without reason' - why is it that the Islamic faith has become so open to abuse & highjack by antagonists, to serve their political ends. Why is it that over 50% of Muslim recently polled into in UK would rather believe the US government was behind 911 & large sections believe the British government was behind July Bombings. Why do many sections of such communities still pursue cultural practices at odds to their mainstream host society & hold the such societies in contempt [1a] [1b] [1c] [1d]

As to 'reason' argument - some Muslims may with to lay claim to empathy for other Muslims abroad (they are free to do so).

But such claims need to be put into context:

- Firstly, geographically speaking most have never been to the countries or actually know anyone from these countries they 'empathise' for. Its purely an association by religion, which itself has a long history of being composed of many differing sects, the biggest two are often waring sects (Sunni v Shia).

- Secondly, more Muslims kill other Muslims around the world (look to Iraq burgeoning sectarian massacres) than such are killed by non Muslim. After all the Sunni v Shia conflict predates the creation of the UK or the British Empire. In Afghistan, post Russia, pretty sure it was Muslim on Muslim killing each other until the Western forces ousted the Taleban & have legally occupied Afghansitan since, UN Resolution 1361 [2]. Also what of Islmaic violence in Chechnaya, Nigeria, Sudan.


There is an undoubted notion of 'perceived injustices' in British Muslim communities (if not such western based communities period) but these do not make for a credible & sustained argument when examined under closer inspection. Its disappointing & alarming that many prefer to indulge in conspiracy & denial rather than face some unpleasant home truths & realities. Either way it does not justify domestic or international terrorism.

BELATED HOME TRUTH - even if Islamic terrorism was not manifest in the UK, there would still be a pressing need for British Muslim communities to reform & integrate/ assimilate. A reality even some of the liberal left are belatedly acknowledging.

Lets hope British Muslims believe this also (some individuals have already) since maintenance of the previous failed status quo between such minority communities & UK's mainstream society, is not an option.




  • 193.
  • At 06:12 AM on 27 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:


i was replying to Pearce in regard to his post, so my use of words was in reflection of his own

naturally, a more integrated society would be a safer happier one, goes without saying doesn't it ?

my comments in the post you have retorted about are simply descriptions of the way other nations may judge our actions, i suppose those nations don't count because of the actions of a violent few ? equally, according to other peoples in other countries of the world, it could be argued that we don't count either (or is one latitude/longditude more important than the other ?)

don't be so short sighted as to think thst there hasn't been what one might call a vendetta against the middle east for some time, again, unless that is, another persons experience is somehow worth less than ours over here

it has oft been said that the romans brought us out of barbarity, and civilised us, which is tosh, we were before, and continued to be after rome, a sophisticated and evolving society, roman imperialism wasn't about bringing us what we needed, it was about their taking what they wanted, we were developing steadily for ourselves

treating women badly in a society isn't much better or worse than bombing them from far away, there seems to be something of a violence hypocrisy at work here [our violence is 'good' because we press buttons rather than hit with our bare hands]

IF what we're up to is just (and i have to say as if it wasn't obvious, that i'm not convinced), we need to be able to address these kind of issues, history will do it for us with the benefit of hindsight if we don't, i'd prefer a good change of course now, that actually helps, than a theoretical 'if only we had' far off in the future

and yet again i feel it relevant to point out that if our invasions are about saving the victims within the invaded society, why have we left so many other injustices untouched ?

i have nothing against america as an idea laid down in its constitution, however the current administration has strayed far and wide from the spirit of that nations laws, and has become a nation that puts its own [powerful] citizens ABOVE the other citzens of the world, not how it was meant to be at all, it was meant to be about parity, not domination, i think you'll find many of its citizens are waking up to the fact that it has recentlty become a terror state too

lastly, not all CT is so laughable, Prof Steven Jones will surely be hailed one day as a savior of his once great nation, he seeks a just america, whose influence is with open arms, not open fire

  • 194.
  • At 08:18 PM on 27 Aug 2006,
  • Kate wrote:


By CT do you mean not all conspiracy theories are laughable and would you point out which ones you believe to be true. Explain away.

  • 195.
  • At 09:32 PM on 27 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref matt #193

Thank you for clarifying the sources of the words, but I still question your use/interpration of them.

Please clarify what you mean by 'other injusticies untouched'?

As a liberal conservative (Brit Christian & humanitarian), I may be selective in the interpretations I place on others actions, but I do not suffer the permanent myopic mantra of the liberal left & 'supposed' intelligentsia.

We in the West, whose nations have matured to progressive democratic societies (after 500+ years of political & religious intolerance & war) are able to claim a moral high ground, esp in comparison to so many dysfunctional nations/societies/cultures around the world & domestically of emergent communities.

Nations who themselves are the product of serious cultural impasses within their societies. The evidence which condemns them, are the behaviour & attitudes of such peoples to each other & those around them (esp of people/nations of different backgrounds). In the ME, more Muslims are killed by other Muslims than anyone else (look at the issue of sectarian killings) yet the perception is the allied coalition are to blame for historical sectarianism, that predated the formation of the US or the British Empire. These 'Muslims' by their own actions place different value on life (that of their own 'brothers' why should they then be surprised that the rest of the world becomes sceptical of their aims/protest. [1a] [1b]

Yes, the West has made mistakes & continues to make mistakes, but its more of two steps forward then one step back. In the ME & Asia certain nations & cultures are determined to moonwalk against progressive norms (of the type even the UN support, the bundle of basic 'rights' etc).

Q. should we allow violent minorities to moonwalk themselves & others (civilian hostages) into cultural obscurity, to continue counter productive behaviours, or do we intervene? (for variety of reasons: national interest; social, political & economic stability of such nations; regional & global impacts etc), are we entitled & justified to save them from themselves?

As to the notion of 'invasion' & 'victims' - read INTERVENE & PROTAGONISTS.

Attempts at 'perceived' injustices' for political gain, are as immoral & dishonest. As are failed fusions attempts at moral equivalency & parity of terrorist aims & atrocity v policy & actions of progressive democratic societies. For example, the US is not a terror state & nor are those countries which support it (a great example of parity/equivalence argument, that may play well in western political circles/pressure groups/'elites', but an argument that only confuses & influences the vulnerable in our societies & embolden our enemies abroad).

Other examples, which undermined parity/equivalence & 'perceived' injustices arguments, regarding Islam/Muslims:

a). Muslims - Lebanon : in Berlin during the WWII, allied air forces carpet bombed the capital of Nazi Germany. How many genuine tears were shed for injured/killed members of the Nazi party who lived next to and/or worked for Nazi Party Headquarters & state agencies / infrastructure. Same to Shia civilians who choose to support Hezbullah, an organisation itself who used its own supporters as human shields & body bags, operating from within civilian areas (Nazis did the same, as history will inform you).

b). Muslims: Serbia/Kosovo - The West has intervened (often belatedly) in several cases to the betterment of the people on whose behalf they were looking to protect e.g. Muslims in the Balkans also NATO did not wait for a green light from UN to act in Kosovo & Serbia (which makes the current Iraq impasses more 'legal' in comparison).

c). Muslims: Palestinians - the US up to this year, has been the largest contributor to this Muslim society (Europe big contributor as well) - but to what ultimate end? to what benefit?

d). Muslims: Afghanistan - the US supported, armed Muslims to oust the Soviet invasion. The country then went to hell in a hand basket (rise of Taliban & Alqaeda). Now NATO, fully supported by UN resolution 1361, are assisting democratically elected government (it helped to bring about) in order to bring peace & order & turn the country eventually away from being the heroin capital of the world & home to Islamic terrorism (its only exports). [3]

e). Muslims: Iraq - the occupying allied forces, enabled sufficient stability to enable the election of first democratic government in 60+ years (made up of members elected by 70% of Iraq electorate) an international recognised government, who have asked forces to stay in the interim. The allied forces belatedly operate under UN resolution. [4] *

* yes open to debate, but if people insist on condemning the occupation & invasion 'illegal' then by the same measure the Afghanistan operation is wholly above board & legal.

The biggest issue that condemns Muslim societies at home/abroad is their intentional persecution of women. When a culture intentional enslaves 50%+ of its own peoples, conditioning them to a lifetime of servitude & acceptance, should we not intervene, esp when such practices are imported into our emergent minority Muslim communities in the UK?.

I would argue that if women emancipation occurred in the ME & Asia (predominately Muslim cultures) the national, regional & world politics would be dramatically different. Esp when such cultures deal with the rest of the world.

As to your criticism of the US valid or not, it’s the only nation able to significantly turn around many of the problems in the world (ones which often it has responsibly for e.g. global warming). 5+ years working for the yanks have informed me of the strengths & weaknesses of that society, but its able to take the lead so others can follow. Constructive criticism is one thing, relentless attempts at divisive vilification is another.

In the UK, the US for a distinct minority is no more than a representation of ideas/actual state, which all the evils of the world can be easily attributed too (elements of liberal left / supposed 'intelligentsia' as well as supporters of Islamic Extremism prescribe to this simplistic & dishonest model).

As to - Prof Steven Jones [1] no thanks, do not subscribe :)




  • 196.
  • At 10:51 PM on 28 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

Kate - watch 'loose change', have a laugh if you think it funny

  • 197.
  • At 11:54 PM on 28 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

you make many valid points vikingar

i don't subscribe to any 'camp' be it liberal, convservative or any, as these are often misapropriated by various factions in this [what IS] psychological war

i hope it is clear from my previous post that i do not vilify any peoples of any nation, as any nation has many people like me, who do not endorse their leaders simply because they are so

i am not anti american [citizen], any more than anti lebanon [citizen], if it is possible for me to dislike aspects of the state to which others assume i am allied, then the same is also by definition true of many a lebanese citizen

most victims [killed/maimed/bereaved] of western action abroad are not the 'protagonists', similarly not many victims of terrorism here are 'protagonists against islam, iraq or whatever'

if america is not becoming a terror state, then why has the current administration made provision for home schoolers, christians and defenders of the constitution to be categorised as terrorists ?

why is the american government aclimatising its citizenry to marshal law and use of shock and awe operations [by cross trained military and police personnel] and on is own soil ?

these are disturbing developments, brought to my attention by american people i know personally, whose judgment and honesty i trust, and whom i will not openly source and name, they fear their own country to that extent

america as an idea, is being misappropriated toward unclear goals, are you so sure you can be confident that in this pstchological war, the 'other side' is wrong on all counts ? even when the 'other side' is often american good citizens, whose only crime is struggling against the loss of their freedom and independance of thought and action within basic universal moral boundaries ?

and you would stand by your assertion that there is not one single aspect of Steven Jones case that you could ever subscribe to ?

not even the quite glaring lack of similarity between the four and the fifth osama tapes ?

have you seen loose change ?

i emplore you to watch the film loose change, to the end, if your views are based on strong logic then you have nothing to fear from emersing yourself in the possibly wrong or ill-motivated views of others

at the end of his seminar Jones states that he is a god fearing christian, who has hope for his great nation to recover, i suggest to you that it is only by being willing to hear the question, that the answer can be found

  • 198.
  • At 12:49 AM on 29 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

please note, that i am matt, not Matt, Matt and his comments are seperate and not my own

  • 199.
  • At 06:15 AM on 29 Aug 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref matt #197

As I said, I do not prescribe to such 911 CT & esp the work of Prof Steven E. Jones [1] for very good reasons

Yes, I wasted time watching recording in a mix of humour/horror of what an alleged academic/sceineist does to support theories. Jones goes off WTC 1hr 8 min into the recording & goes into religious fundementalist mode) a mix of bible quoting & exploring other associated theories 'Bin Laden' fake video etc , neo cons, insurance claims etc.

Ref 911:

SCENARIO [A] - it happened as we saw, an atrocity caused by Islamic Terrorism.

SCENARIO [B] - other reasons *

* if people wish to undermine the reasons that the vast majority of peoples within progressive democratic societies accept (Scenario A) you have to question the motivations & vested interests of those behind such challenges (Scenario B). Esp when no matter how 'reasonable' & 'mild' their manner, no matter the alleged 'competency' of people like Jones. Reasons like: political, socio & religious interests and/or personal issues like self importance. publicity/exposure, fame/celebrity, ego & greed/money etc.

PSE NOTE: do not waste your/my time getting into another CT 911 debate (been round that block a few times before) I AM NOT A POTENTIAL CONVERT matt.

Meantime, what do Brigham Young University, employers of Prof Steven Jones say (a Mormon educational facility run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [2]) :

"Professor Jones’s department and college administrators are not convinced that his analyses and hypotheses have been submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review. The structural engineering faculty in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology do not support the hypotheses of Professor Jones.” [3]

If believers in 911 CT are going to cite the 'research' of Prof Steven E. Jones then they are advised to look at the credibility of Jones other work, which perhaps gives some bearing on his motivations & sincerity:

"Jones has written a paper entitled "Behold My Hands: Evidence for Christ's Visit in Ancient America" in which he used archeological evidence to support the claims of Joseph Smith Jr. (founder of the Latter Day Saint movement) that Jesus had visited the Native Americans after his Resurrection, an event chronicled in the Book of Mormon." [4]

…. yeah :)

Prof Jones other noted works as an Elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…. "In this essay, Elder Jones shows how death before Adam makes sense from a scriptural sense. He is not necessarily saying that evolution of man is true or untrue" [4] …. "The details of the physical creation are not given in scripture. Indeed, why should they be? The Lord gave us the testimony of the rocks and bids us read" [5]

So in essence, Prof Steven E. Jones an alleged academic/scientist, a Mormon, who spends their time & resources to carry out:

- pseudo research to support Creationism.
- pseudo research of 'archaeological evidence' to support the visit of Jesus Christ in North America.
- pseudo research to support dubious inventive CT behind 911

matt ……. you have to be kidding surely … with 'research' credentials like that & such a demonstrated flexibility in the belief of interpretive 'truth' Prof Steven E. Jones should convert to Scientology :)




  • 200.
  • At 03:15 PM on 29 Aug 2006,
  • matt wrote:

yeah yeah, vinkingar, i hear what you're saying :)

but the reasons you give to mistrust jones, are no more compelling than anyones reasons to mistrust bush, he goes further than jones and claims dialogue with god, after all

i would never intend to convert you or anyone else, just wanted to know if you'd at least seen the likes of that semina, or indeed, loose change

even though you may consider all these films/documentaries etc flawed and mostly ridiculous, there may be in any one of them, one single reason to question the whole OV

i do not subscribe to any CT any more than any OV, i am simply aware of the power of the various media to tell any truth deemed to be the appropriate one, and would rather see what may be nonsense in the hope that it enables me to filter what is and is not true more effectively, i suggest to you, that i am better equiped than some to see potential future situations, than someone who resolutely decides to become a subscriber to A or B

for example, despite all the fear, doubt being and public vigilance infused into society, the massive defence budgets and so on, i will not be in the least surprised if and when 911/2 kills many, probably by dirty or nuclear bomb, it'll be blamed on guess which country, and then that country will be attacked, meanwhile at home, civil liberties will become an overt joke rather than a quiet one

id cards will become compulsary, but guess what ?...they won't stop the real terrorists, as they'll be able to make fakes more convincing than the state issues

of course, i do have the ability to descriminate between 'probashite' and probably true, but these are maleable concepts, sometimes the truth isn't what it used to be, i hope that the various conspiracy theories turn out to be utter tosh, but i feel it relevant to keep them under the mental file "not actually disproven yet", in the subfolder "one eye on the 'enemy', one eye on the state"

disbelief [of CT] may a weapon used against us to bring all the CT nightmares to us

of course, we all hope that these forums are well read by a diversity of people, and i hope that it is clear that to ask questions, and be willing to doubt, do not a terrorist make, but they do encourage debate, the world was, after all, once flat, and you could die for the hereticism of thinking it

  • 201.
  • At 11:34 AM on 05 Sep 2006,
  • matt didn't mean to double post wrote:

...wasn't ! (typo)

My name repeatedly comes up whenever armchair / conspiratorial thinkers consider the terrorist exercise my company ran in London at exactly the same time as 7/7. This is only the second time I have formally reacted to these numerous statements. I’ve also appeared many times on BBC News / Newsnight to explain post 9/11 & 7/7 concepts such as ‘new normal’ etc. I think anyone familiar with likely terrorist targets will release our exercise scenario was coincidence rather than conspiracy, but it does start to raise some interesting points on a wider scale.

Several features now exist to create a much more generic and all-hazards approach to numerous risks and threats that are uniquely starting to appear on the global / corporate radar screen irrespective of country, culture, geography or sector. Some of these are already occurring such as a new form of terrorism that has no ‘political’ objective, the effect of high volume and unrestricted information on the internet, spread of disease / mass travel (230m people passed through UK airports last year / all major air hubs are less than 72 hours apart), ineffective world leaders & UN, the consequences of accelerating global warming, the positioning of key essential / physiological supplies (Critical National Infrastructure – CNI - UK) in the private sector (e.g. electricity, water etc.) and an associated failure to understand how vital the private sector is not only in terms of employment, economy and wealth generation, but to maintain almost the entire CNI in most if it not all countries.

In several cases these threats and risks combine to create a series of problems that we are presently unable to deal with as a result of silo based attitudes, incompetence, proprietorial behaviour or just complacency.

There is I suggest, a need to start building a new approach based on conceptualising and hopefully influencing others since we are presently lacking a truly forward thinking and pan global collective body of influential advisors, practitioners and academics that transcends the otherwise valuable but discrete institutions in many countries and their individual agendas. It might just inform many others as to what terrorism is all about and get them to think twice before alleging my own company was some how implicated in 7/7. My aim is to help stimulate, collaborate and disseminate effective and non partisan advice without the handicap of parochial restrictions, silo constraints or inhibited vision.

  • 203.
  • At 02:24 PM on 18 Sep 2006,
  • Leigh wrote:

If you are looking for terrorists - take a good look at the government and the security services!

  • 204.
  • At 08:35 PM on 18 Sep 2006,
  • cmain wrote:

Peter Power

If your exercises on 7th July 2005 were such an unremarkable coincidence, why then did you go on Radio 5 Live and ITV News to draw attention to them? Why did you think they were at all newsworthy? Why did those broadcasters think they were sufficiently newsworthy?

  • 205.
  • At 01:52 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • Muncher wrote:

Mr Power,

For those of us who were affected by the events on the 7th July 2005 and who are seeking to make sense of what happened we would welcome your contribution as to what yourself and Visor Consultants were doing on that day.

  • 206.
  • At 09:06 PM on 19 Sep 2006,
  • Jim Duggan wrote:

Mr Power,

It has been reported that there were more 'drills' on the morning of 9/11 in America than on any other day in recent history.

These included scenarios where jets were hijacked.

This has been well documented in the mainstream media. I also point you to:

These drills were used as a cover to allow the real 'hijackings' to go through unhindered, so as to allow the attack on the Reichstag, oh sorry, the attack on the WTC to succeed.

It seriously seems to me that your exercises were used as a cover to allow the 7/7 bombings to take place. If those who planted the explosives (which appear to have been military grade, and planted underneath the carriages) were caught, they could say that they were part of the drill.

Even if you personally are not involved, it matters little. Similarly, the generals running the exercises on 9/11 need not have been aware that their wargames would act as a cover for the real hidden agenda.

In any case, we need an independent investigation, as a matter of urgency, even though Blair considers an investigation a "ludicrous diversion".

  • 207.
  • At 01:01 AM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • Mark Gobell wrote:

The question posed by the BBC is devisive by design. You paraphrase the global village idiot when he tells the world that we are either with him or the terorists.

Do you really expect anyone, other than fanatics to support terrorism ?

Equally, do you really expect anyone, other than idiots to support illegal wars ?

What evidence do you have for Islamic terror in the UK ?

London 7/7 per chance ?

Maybe Peter Power could enlighten us all.

You insult the memory of the dead, the maimed and their families.

All you have to rely on is a government narrative.

Liquid Bombs on planes - even the dumbed down journos at the BBC cannot really believe that.

Is that your evidence ?

Would you accept a government narrative if your family was wiped out by a bomb ?

Until Bliar and the rest of the war criminals who voted for these illegal 9/11 Wars consent to a full investigation of the events of 7/7 your question remains a non sequitur.

I am old enough to remember the IRA bombing campaign in England. Did the BBC attempt to divide us with such "questions" then ?

Were we asked to align ourselves with the Catholics or against them ?

Did we bomb Belfast or Dublin in retaliation ?

More to the point did we bomb Boston or New York to punish those who helped fund the IRA ?

The BBC is little more than Bliar's state propaganda machine these days.

You should all hang your heads in shame.

  • 208.
  • At 11:02 PM on 21 Sep 2006,
  • There is an elephant pyramid in the room wrote:

Mr Power, we await your response

The so-we-are-led-to-believe coincidence does not explain your televised low key boast of your preparedness

It seems clear there is a critical mass now, of people for whom the murders committed on 7th july '05 are synonymous with the murders on 11th sept '01

To be clear - Reichstag events

Now, there have been strenuous efforts to create an orgy of confusing evidence in relation to these events, so we may not be in the position to prove, with clarity, government complicity in these shock and awe attacks...but many expect more of the same any day now

You [the government and associates] may be watching us in more invasive ways than ever before (which is about wholesale oppression and won't stop the war OF terror), but we're watching you lot too

  • 209.
  • At 06:18 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Need to know wrote:

"Urgent notice to all - A higher vision than choosing sides...

Which side are we on ? Please, surely this is a time to understand a few things...

1 George Bush is a reflection of the potential for evil in us all

2 Ousting George Bush would be a good start, but we need to understand that as long as we allow ourselves to be easily sent into polar opposites, we can be manipulated into tribal conflicts rather than identifying the true cause of the worlds problems

3 Urgent, this one - Iranian president Armanijhad's interview says 60 million died, 2 million soldiers the rest civilians, why are they not important as well, why just 6 million, HE IS BEING MISQUOTED BY OUR MEDIA, my understanding is that he is being painted as denying the Holocaust, he is NOT saying that it never happened, he is asking why the people who lived in what is now Israel, and those surrounding it, should have been removed by force, in essence, the President is saying "WHERE did the Holocaust HAPPEN ?" - NOT "the Holocaust DID NOT happen"

Newsnight should be shamed for this, they are complicit in the undoubted escalation and onset of new wars, wars that the majority of us DO NOT WANT"

Need to know

For more information on Peter Power and his Terror Rehearsal:

  • 211.
  • At 01:59 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • Captain Collamity Coincidence wrote:

Mr Power - In reply to your market research reccie here in the Newsnight Forum...

Are you, or are you not, the same Peter Power who in 1984 was trapped along with a thousand other people as a result of a fire on the underground? and are you not the 'Pied Piper of the underground'. That WAS HEROIC, but...

Are you not the Peter Power who was on the scene in Kings Cross in 1987 and who discussed the fire with Insp Ian Blair (whom you "knew very well") and who said "Peter, I think we've had a bomb explosion here" due to the "metal [that penetrated] deep inside a victim" of the Kings Cross Fire, Blair was certain then that it was terrorism, but was wrong, he's quite the definitive fellow.

Kings Cross and the underground and Fire/Bombs/Explosions seem synonymous with you.

Silo thinking - Is also an activity of closed off underground darkness and isolation, something like marching off the future into a mountain never to prosper.

Rather than the pied piper (interesting name, most appropriate), perhaps we should call you:

'Captain Collamity Coincidence'

In all seriousness, I do admire your efforts in 1984.

Newsnight, you propose "Islamic terrorism in the UK" as though it was an established and accepted fact. Please provide some EVIDENCE for your assertion of Islamic terrorism in the UK.

  • 213.
  • At 01:57 PM on 15 Oct 2006,
  • Euan wrote:

Bush and Blair are wrong to invade Iraq. That war is about Americas control of oil. Islamic terrorists are also wrong as are all terrorists. If Israel Arabs sat down and talked pragmatically realising Israel has a right to exist and co habit with the Arabs as it is there continent largely then they could live in peace. However that is not likely. Americas backing as a super power who have nuclear weapons as well as Britain and other countries does not help(against the Arab powers). All empires/super powers expand by war or economic enlargement and don't always care about countries they occupy or poor countries they trade economically with like Bangladesh, Pakistan etc.

  • 214.
  • At 02:59 PM on 09 Dec 2006,
  • nain wrote:

fighting in one's home (IRAQ) not means you will always remain safe in your home. killing one innocent mean you are giving licnese to the terrosist to kill an innocent at your home. Dealing with the terrorism in my view is to kill the argument that is used by the terrorist. thats how one can stop supplies in shape of suiciders to terrorism. thats where bush and blair are failed and make their arguments on lies which are now exposing to the public.

  • 215.
  • At 04:51 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Nietzscheskloset wrote:

This of course all operates on the assumption that al Qaeda Islamic radicals - and those alone - are responsible for the triggers to the War on Terror. Osama bin Laden has no indictment against him pertaining to the 9/11 attacks, and the FBI has admitted to holding no 'hard evidence' connecting him to the attacks. The December 'confession' tape does not contain the accused, and various governments have offered bin Laden for trial prior to and after 9/11. The NATO article 51 and UN article 5 have been invoked without the necessary legal case provided. Colin Powell and Condi Rice have promised a white paper without producing one, and Downing street asserted a case against al Qaeda/OBL without citing evidence.

Does this make me a sympathiser? Does this make me anti-American/anti-Western? Does this make me a traitor or a conspiracy theorist? To many it certainly does. What they keenly avoid is that all of the above is true.

  • 216.
  • At 06:09 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Jon Laswell wrote:


  • 217.
  • At 05:38 AM on 21 Jun 2007,
  • Jag Mahal wrote:

I think people should read Noam Chomsky who says that the greatest risk is
by multinational corporations (who elect and run governments ) and this is really
what the European nations have been doing for centuries in their empire building
strategies which amounted to nothing more than genocide and theft in the name
of king/queen , country and God.

I ask you which is the biggest killer across history of the three?

To uphold the west's lead in living standards, capitalism to which we all ascribe,
dictates dominance over resources. This is what Middle East strategy is at its core and
you can shroud it in Religion or whatever you will.

As for Islam if you read the history of its rise it was anything but peaceful.
Look at how it's spread by the sword ... just read Indian History.
As for christianity its past is not any rosier .. read North & South American History.

Interesting that you hardly read anything about an eastern philosophy being aggressive in the same

Capitalism needs to wake up to the fact that we only have one world.

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