We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Let’s just defund the UN and leave it immediately

Hidden deep below the headquarters of the United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinians here is a Hamas complex with rows of computer servers that Israel’s armed forces say served as an important communications center and intelligence hub for the Islamist militant group.

Wall Street Journal. ($)

Part of a warren of tunnels and subterranean chambers carved from the Gaza Strip’s sandy soil, the compound below the United Nations Relief and Works Agency buildings in Gaza City appears to have run on electricity drawn from the U.N.’s power supply, Israeli officials said.

A Wall Street Journal reporter and journalists from other news organizations visited the site this past week in a trip organized by Israel’s military. A tunnel also appeared to pass beneath a U.N.-run school near the headquarters.

The location of a Hamas military installation under important U.N. facilities is evidence, Israeli officials say, of Hamas’s widespread use of sensitive civilian infrastructure as shields to protect its militant activities. Tunnel complexes have also been found near or under some of Gaza’s largest hospitals.

Someone kindly explain to me the utility, at any level, of the United Nations. Take all the time you need.

Moderate by Rochdale standards

Three days ago the Muslim media outlet 5Pillars expressed doubts about the Labour candidate for the forthcoming by-election in Rochdale: “The troubling backstory of Labour Rochdale candidate Azhar Ali”

What was it about Mr Ali that troubled them? The fact that he advised the government on counter-terrorism during the premiership of the hated Tony Blair. The fact that he has been involved with the government’s “PREVENT” strategy. Perhaps the fact that he is a Sufi Muslim did not go down too well with other sorts of Muslim. Above all, the writers at 5Pillars think Azhar Ali is… I was going to say “too pro-Israel”, then I corrected it to “pro-Israel”, then to “not as vehemently anti-Israel as they think he ought to be.”

They are not the only Muslims who think this. Four days ago Mr Ali was aggressively accosted in a local restaurant by people shouting “Free, free Palestine” and “Fuck Labour”.

However 5Pillars and the people in the restaurant may have softened towards Mr Ali since last night, when the Mail published this story:

“Outrage after Labour candidate claims Israel deliberately allowed 1,400 of its citizens to be massacred on October 7 in order to give it the ‘green light’ to invade Gaza”.

Israel deliberately allowed 1,400 of its citizens to be massacred on October 7 in order to give it the ‘green light’ to invade Gaza, a Labour by-election candidate has claimed.

Azhar Ali, who is defending a Labour majority of more than 9,000 in Rochdale on February 29, also claimed that Sir Keir Starmer had ‘lost the confidence’ of his MPs over his stance on the conflict.

The bombshell remarks – contained in a secret recording obtained by The Mail on Sunday – will intensify the row within the Labour Party over Sir Keir’s refusal to condemn Israel’s right to besiege Gaza in the wake of the attacks.

I must stress that I strongly support Mr Ali’s right to believe and propagate whatever theories he wants. However, a Labour candidate with these views (which were clearly only recanted under pressure) tarnishes Labour’s reputation, so in normal circumstances I would have expected Labour to deselect him and look for a more moderate candidate – probably another Muslim, given the demographics of the seat. Unfortunately for Labour, nominations have closed. And unfortunately for all of us, Mr Azhar Ali OBE – adviser to governments, director of the Sufi Muslim Council, champion of the “Preventing Extremism Together” programme – almost certainly is the most moderate Muslim candidate they can find in Rochdale.

UPDATE, 19:50 12/02/24. The Sun‘s political correspondent, Noa Hoffman, tweets that “Following new information about further comments made by Azhar Ali coming to light today, the Labour party has withdrawn its support for Azhar Ali as our candidate in the Rochdale by-election.”

That could mean George Galloway gets back into Parliament.

Samizdata quote of the day – Where’s the anger?

There have been numerous foiled attacks on politicians, too. Just weeks after the Westminster Bridge horror, Khalid Ali, a Taliban bombmaker, was tackled by armed police near Downing Street. He was armed with knives. He also said he was there to send ‘a message’ to those in power. A few months later, ISIS supporter Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman was arrested for plotting to bomb his way into Downing Street and behead Theresa May.

The response to this sustained, years-long assault on our elected representatives? Not silence, exactly. There has been plenty of chatter and commentary. It’s just been about completely unrelated issues. There has been a desperate attempt to change the subject, and to downplay the threat posed by Islamist extremism.

Tom Slater

Meme of the month… Gazalighting

Samizdata quote of the day – sage geopolitical wisdom edition

Why we can’t leave the Houthi’s to shoot at us in peace is completely beyond me.

– the indispensable Zarah Bukake MP echoing nice Mr. Corbyn.

Non-sarcastically, why am I so sure that this image is generated by AI?

This post is reposted from a source I do not trust (Double Down News) by a person I do not trust (Dr Susan Michie, adviser to the SAGE committee and literal communist) on a topic (the Israel-Hamas war) where AI-generated fakery is rampant. Remember the six-fingered Palestinian child?

Closer examination give yet more causes for doubt – the bizarrely elongated finger on the left hand of the soldier second from the left, the way that, perhaps in compensation, the right hand of the rightmost man seems to have no fingers at all. There is something wrong about the bipod of his rifle, too. The angle of the windows on the left of the picture looks off. The flame coming out of the window is too neatly defined.

But what interests me is that I thought “AI-generated” before I looked closely enough to see any of that. Possibly the thing that tipped me off, if I am right at all, was that all the elements of the alleged photograph looked exposed to the same degree, when one would think that the glow of the flames would dominate. Even that form of words, which I got from my husband, is more explanatory than whatever it was that screamed “fake” to me.

That said, this image is a great deal more realistic than those of only a few months ago. My spidey-sense for fake pictures will not last much longer.

Sad about all those people killed in the Lockerbie air disaster. I guess the stars were against them that night.

First Minister
@ScotGovFM
On the 35th anniversary of the Lockerbie air disaster, First Minister @HumzaYousaf has expressed sympathies to those who lost loved ones on board Pan Am Flight 103 and on the ground.

The word “disaster” has its origins in astrology. It means “ill-starred”. But the people killed on 21st December 1988 were not killed by bad weather, human error, or an unfortunate conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. They were murdered.

Pan Am Flight 103 (PA103/PAA103) was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via a stopover in London and another in New York City. The transatlantic leg of the route was operated by Clipper Maid of the Seas, a Boeing 747 registered N739PA. Shortly after 19:00 on 21 December 1988, while the aircraft was in flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, it was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing.[1] Large sections of the aircraft crashed in a residential street in Lockerbie, killing 11 residents. With a total of 270 fatalities, it is the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

[…]

In 2003, Gaddafi accepted Libya’s responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims, although he maintained that he had never given the order for the attack.

Scottish people pay taxes so that an Iranian-linked mosque can get £372k for promoting climate awareness among ethnic minorities

The Times reports,

A mosque which has been linked to the Iranian state received £372,000 from the Scottish government.

Exiled dissidents claim the Al-Mahdi Islamic Centre of Glasgow has become an unauthorised base for the Tehran regime in Scotland.

It is a sister outpost of the Islamic Centre of England based in London, which hosted a vigil for Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander, after he was killed in an American drone strike.

Last month The Times disclosed that the Scottish government paid more than £193,000 to the Al-Mahdi Foundation, a charity based in the same premises in Southside.

However, it has now been confirmed that the total amount of grants given to the charity was almost double that sum. The foundation has displayed the flag of the Islamic Republic and an image of Ayatollah Khomeini, who issued a death sentence on the British author Sir Salman Rushdie.

It emerged after Russell Findlay, the Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, raised the issue with ministers at Holyrood.

In a written response Mairi McAllan, the transport, net zero and just transition secretary, said: “The Al-Mahdi Foundation received £372,000 of Climate Change Fund grant funding for two projects between 2014 and 2020 to support awareness raising of climate change issues among disadvantaged and ethnic minority communities and to make their community building more energy efficient.”

(Archived here.)

This was one of Humza Yousaf’s initiatives [Edit: my apologies to Mr Yousaf, it was actually one of Nicola Sturgeon’s initiatives], but let’s not kid ourselves that it is only in Scotland that this sort of thing happens. All Western governments pay vast sums to enemies of the West in brown envelopes marked “Climate change”.

The way the new world functions

In a Telegraph article ostensibly about the pro-Hamas protests, Jordan Peterson describes the emerging new system:

If you are successful, in any guise, by any standards of comparison whatsoever, then you are a victimiser. If you are not, you are a victim.

A rigid moral claim accompanies this act of starkly black-and-white comparison: there are, as well, only two forms of acceptable and laudable moral conduct or reputation. If you are a victim, or an “ally,” you are with no further effort goodness incarnate. This is supposed, on “philosophical” grounds, to be self-evident, following as it does so deservedly in the wake of your loudly trumpeted compassion. If you are a victimiser, however, look the hell out: you are evil incarnate, and inescapably so: a predatory parasite, rightly subject to the most brutal of treatment. Indeed, the terrible treatment you thereby experience does nothing but redound to the credit of your so-Godly-and-compassionate persecutors.

If you are a victimiser, after all, you have no moral standing whatsoever. No punishment is therefore undeserved, or sufficiently severe. This is true even if you are “only” a member of a victimising group, and have done nothing wrong other than that, because “individual” is a category that within the postmodern philosophy no longer exists.

If you are a victim, by contrast, any and all moral outrage is justified, worthy and laudable – even morally required – even if you are merely a self-aggrandising, vindictive and hypocritical “ally” of some marginalised group. The fact that such latitude in reactive or vengeful action fully opens the door to the worst possible actions by the worst imaginable narcissists and psychopaths is also something rapidly glossed over or ignored by the vengeful ideologues of the postmodern Left – most likely because it is an outcome most intensely desired in the their most resentful fantasies.

Jeremy Corbyn meets some new friends

JEREMY CORBYN MEETS KNEECAP Last week, @jeremycorbyn sat down with @KNEECAPCEOL for a quick chat about their music and the importance of artists to speaking up for Palestine. #MusicForACeasefire

Just lovable Grandpa Jeremy, the one who wanted to see a “kinder, gentler politics”, having a friendly chat with a band who talk about “the Resistance” in Palestine and named themselves after the trademark form of mutilation and torture carried out by the IRA.

At 3:22 Corbyn asks the lads to explain why they have joined his campaign called “Music for a ceasefire” (I’m sure that slogan will resonate with young people who go to music festivals), and the one on the right says, “It’s mad that we have to even take a stance on people being blown up”, and the guy in the knitted tricolour gimp mask nods along.

*

Added later: Regarding the choice of “Kneecap” as name of a hip-hop band from Belfast, commenter John said, “Presumably they will be touring universities with their South African support act The Necklaces and middle eastern special guests The Gay Free-Fallers.”

Why you can be a free speech absolutist and still think the presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn should resign in disgrace

David Burge explains all:

I am confident David Burge, a.k.a. Iowahawk, will forgive me if I put the text of his tweet below in case something happens to it:

David Burge
@iowahawkblog
Fun facts:

(A) calling for genocide against Jews, if not delivered to incite a mob to violence, is 100% Constitutionally protected speech- only in the sense it can’t be punished by government.

(B) You are not the government, you are a cowardly college administrator and in no way does the 1st Amendment force you to accept brain dead neo-Nazis in your student body.

The context is that Presidents Claudine Gay of Harvard University, Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were all asked by New York State Representative Elise Stefanik whether calling for the genocide of Jews constituted harassment under the rules of their respective universities, and all three were, like, “Ooh, that’s a tricky one.” You can see the video of their responses in in this tweet from Nicky Clark.

As reported by the Times of Israel:

In a high-profile congressional hearing Tuesday evening, the presidents of three of the top universities in the US refused to explicitly say that calls for genocide of Jewish people violate campus rules on harassment.

When New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik asked directly if “calling for the genocide of Jews” is against the codes of conduct of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, all three presidents said the answer depended on the context.

“It is a context-dependent decision,” Penn president Liz Magill responded, leading Stefanik to reply, “Calling for the genocide of Jews is dependent on the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer ‘yes,’ Ms. Magill.”

Responding to the same question, Harvard president Claudine Gay said, “When speech crosses into conduct, we take action.”

Calling for genocide is OK at Harvard so long as you don’t do any actual genociding within the precincts of the University.

MIT president Sally Kornbluth said that such language would only be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”

I would hate you to think that these illustrious universities did not care about harassment. Why, MIT has its own Institute Discrimination & Harassment Response Office, which is hard at work producing pronoun stickers.

Harvard is so focussed on combatting aggressive speech that it will even investigate cases where the aggression is unconscious: “Harvard to interrogate profs accused of ‘microaggressions’”. You see, the whole point about microaggressions is that the microagressors do not know they are committing them, so they have to be educated. In contrast those who call for genocide know exactly what they are doing, so there is no need for the University to bother them.

And I don’t know why everyone is making such a fuss about protests at the University of Pennsylvania. All that UPenn faculty members like Distinguished Professor of Political Science Anne Norton want is for more of its students and staff to feel “joyful and empowered” like UPenn student Tara Tarawneh did when she saw “the joyful and powerful images that came from the glorious October 7th”. See how happy and supportive everyone at that rally was. That’s because they knew Penn was a safe environment for them.

No evidence will ever be enough for those determined not to believe

I was relieved to see this article by Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian: “Whatever your view of the Israel-Hamas war, rape is rape. To trivialise it is to diminish ourselves”. At least some on the Left have not lost their humanity.

Midway through the article, Ms Hinsliff wrote the following:

Look away now if you would rather not read about women and young girls found dead with their pants pulled down, and telltale evidence of bleeding, bruises and scratches; about smashed pelvises, semen samples, and graphic details I wouldn’t normally go into on these pages except that otherwise it seems people don’t believe it. Though some won’t, even then.

Rape is a war crime as old as war itself, and yet still often invisible thanks to the stigma surrounding survivors, the practical challenges of gathering evidence under fire, and bleakly, sometimes also the lack of survivors.

That point – that murdered women cannot speak – seems to have escaped “feminist” Briahna Joy Gray, who was National Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. In a tweet quoted by tech writer Antonio García Martínez, she starts by saying, ‘“Believe all women” was always an absurd overreach: woman should be heard, claims should be investigated, but evidence is required. The same is true of the allegations out of Israel”‘, which would have been common sense if she had stopped there, but then she brightly adds, “But also, this isn’t a “believe women” scenario bc no female victims have offered testimony.”

Briahna’s Joy Gray’s next tweet is also… memorable. She says,

“Zionists are asking that we believe the uncorroborated eyewitness account of *men* who describe alleged rape victims in odd, fetishistic terms.”

That “uncorroborated” was revealing. One eyewitness account of the rape of a woman is not enough for Briahna Joy Gray, if that witness is a man and a “Zionist”. How many such witnesses would be enough to substantiate an accusation of rape in her eyes? Four?

And what did Gray mean by “*men* who describe alleged rape victims in odd, fetishistic terms.”? Judging from the two newspaper front pages she includes in her tweet, she is referring to (and casually libelling) Yoni Saadon who witnessed from hiding a woman being gang-raped and murdered on October 7th, and said how he was haunted by her face which he described as “the face of an angel”.

One of the better points feminists made repeatedly over the years was that victims of rape, and victims of other violent crimes, do not always react in ways that make them the type of witness who sways juries. Sometimes they cope with the horror of what they experienced by distancing themselves from it, which makes their account come across as lacking appropriate emotion. Sometimes the opposite happens and when the time comes to give their testimony their memories come spurting out as series of flash images, vivid but unstructured. Perhaps their vocabulary choice is not as good as Briahna Joy Gray’s would be in like circumstances, which, because I don’t wish to sink to her level, I pray she never experiences. Astonishing as it may seem to her, all these factors can apply to males as well. Astonishing as it may seem to her, for a man to watch, powerless to stop it, the rape and murder of a woman is a traumatic experience. Gray has has spent years denouncing the type of juror who dismisses a woman’s testimony because of superficial factors such as these, and then turns round and says that she can deduce in mere seconds that a man is lying – and that he is a “fetishist” – because the image that stuck in his head was the horrifying contrast between the woman’s beauty and the horrible thing being done to her.