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]

Blasphemy laws return to Europe

Guido Fawkes reports:

ECHR: Defaming Muhammad beyond “Permissible limits” of “objective debate”

and comments,

The Austrian court found that “by making the statements the applicant had suggested that Muhammad was not a worthy subject of worship”. The ECHR has now agreed that this is a crime which trumps a person’s right to free speech. On the same day that Ireland is finally voting to take blasphemy laws out of its constitution, the ECHR seems determined to put them back in…

Calling all Samizdata-reading lawyers! Is this as bad for free speech as it sounds, or are there complicating factors? How specific to Austria is it?

Note that the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) is not the “supreme court of the EU”, that would be the European Court of Justice (ECJ). We will probably stay in the ECHR when we leave the EU.

Finally, what’s with “… he was not a worthy subject of worship”? Muslims strenuously deny that they worship Muhammad; worship is for God alone. At first I thought this might be a sloppy paraphrase by Guido, but those very words do appear several times in the original judgement.

Grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham raped with impunity and you won’t believe why!

I really should not have laughed out loud when reading an article by regular Times columnist Jenni Russell entitled “Women victims still can’t get a fair hearing”. These are serious matters. Judge me not; this bit would get a laugh out of a stone:

Even men without high standing tend to be seen as more credible than the women they attack. That’s why grooming gangs in Rochdale, Rotherham and many other towns could rape girls with impunity over years, as police and social services dismissed it. “Believe the men,” has always been the instinctive, effective, protective response of the male-dominated power structure.

The grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham had an “identity” trump card all right, one that sent the police and social services scurrying away with their tails between their legs. And it did begin with M. Perhaps Ms Russell could ask her Times colleague Andrew Norfolk what the following letters were?

The rest of the article is about US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, recently accused of attempting to rape Christine Blasey Ford thirty-six years ago when he was seventeen and she was fifteen. She made this claim a couple of months ago in a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D). However it seems to have slipped Senator Feinstein’s mind to bring the issue up during the weeks of nomination hearings convened for the express purpose of assessing Kavanaugh’s suitability to be a Supreme Court judge. As this letter (Hat tip: Instapundit) from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, says,

There were numerous opportunities to raise the serious allegations made in the letter during the course of this nomination process.They could have been raised in your closed-door meeting with Judge Kavanaugh on August 20.Sixty-four other senators also met with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation hearing. These senators could have asked Judge Kavanaugh about these allegations if you had shared the letter.

Your staff could have raised these allegations during routine background investigation phone calls in late-August. Questions about these allegations could have been asked of Judge Kavanaugh during his more than 32 hours of testimony before the Committee over the course of three days. You could have asked him about these allegations during the closed session of his confirmation hearing, where sensitive material can be discussed. But you did not attend the closed session. Finally, these allegations could have been addressed in one of the nearly 1,300 written questions issued to him after the hearing-more written questions to any Supreme Court nominee than all prior Supreme Court nominees combined.

Fortunately Senator Feinstein did eventually remember to bring up this allegation, just in time. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? It’s like the way I only just remembered to tell you about the rest of Jenni Russell’s article in the Times for the benefit of those who don’t have a subscription. It did make one point with which all should agree. Professor Ford has been subjected to harassment and threats. These should be treated like the crimes they are. Apart from that, well, let us say that the evidence for Jenni Russell’s instinctive, effective, protective response being “Believe the women” is a great deal stronger than the evidence that the Muslim grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham raped with impunity because they were men. Russell writes,

Dr Ford’s life has been shipwrecked. She has had so many death threats that she has had to go into hiding, take leave of absence from work, send her children away and employ security guards. No such danger has troubled Kavanaugh, who has a security detail provided by the state and whose wife has been giving out cupcakes to the camera crews outside their house.

No such danger has troubled Kavaugh? Given how close left winger James T. Hodgkinson came to killing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in his attempt to massacre as many Republicans as he could at a charity baseball game between politicians, I would not dismiss the danger so lightly. And of course, Kavanaugh’s wife handing out cupcakes shows how untroubled she is at having her husband accused of rape. Why should that trouble her? Why should it trouble him? How can they be treated unjustly? They’re Republicans!

On This Day

On 3 September 1939 the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany. But we are in no danger of forgetting that.

When did you last think about Beslan?

Jeremy Corbyn, cultural appropriator

As all should know, cultural appropriation is Not OK. It is particularly offensive when white westerners imitate the religious practices of others despite having no belief in that religion.

So I was shocked to see pictures of Mr Corbyn assuming the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer on this solemn occasion:

Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath under a distinctive red canopy as other politicians look on. This canopy runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games

hands held in the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer

That picture comes from this Daily Mail story, third picture down. The caption reads:

Jeremy Corbyn raises his hands in what appears to be an Islamic prayer position as he stands beside other politicians. A source said he was not praying but ‘copying the others out of respect’

One must also question the culturally insensitive way in which Corbyn referred to a convicted Hamas terrorist as a “brother”. From the Evening Standard:

In August 2012, Corbyn (right) appeared on Iran’s Press TV with a convicted Hamas terrorist named Dr Abdul Aziz Umar. “He got seven life sentences for helping to organise a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2003 that killed seven people,” Rich points out. The bombing at the Café Hillel took place during the second intifada. Among the victims were Dr David Applebaum, head of the emergency room at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Nava, who was due to be married the next day.

Umar was charged with providing a safe house for the terrorists and guarding the property as they fitted the bomber with a suicide belt. He was released a year before his Press TV appearance as part of the prisoner swap arranged to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

“You have to ask the question why they are in prison in the first place,” said the now Labour leader. “I’m glad that those who were released were released.”

Umar was appearing on the show by video link but Corbyn pointed out the pair had met before.

“I met many of the brothers, including the brother who’s been speaking here when they came out of prison, when I was in Doha earlier this year,” he said.Rich also notes that this appearance on Press TV took place seven months after the channel lost its Ofcom licence. This followed a £100,000 fine for broadcasting the forced interrogation of a Newsweek journalist held prisoner in Iran.

You can hear Mr Corbyn saying those words at 15:55 – 16:05 in this video clip from The Muslim TV.net: [12 Aug 2012] Israeli prisons increase repression during Ramadan – English

As everyone ought to know, the use of the terms “brother” and “sister” among Muslims implies that the speaker and the person being addressed or described are both Muslims. Surah 49:10 “Al-Hujarat” says, “The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” How shocking that Mr Corbyn would crassly insert himself, a non-Muslim, into this expression of shared Muslim faith.

The dream of peace

“Jeremy Corbyn: I was present at wreath-laying but don’t think I was involved”, reports the Guardian.

Jeremy Corbyn said he was present but not involved at a wreath-laying for individuals behind the group that carried out the Munich Olympic massacre, a partial admission that led to a row between him and Israel’s prime minister.

The Labour leader had been asked if Palestinian leaders linked to the Black September terror group were honoured at a memorial event he attended in Tunisia in 2014, at which victims of the 1985 Israeli airstrike in Tunis were remembered.

Corbyn said “a wreath was indeed laid” for “some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992” and added, in response to a question: “I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

The Guardian picture shows Jeremy accidentally holding a great big wreath.

He added: “I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence; the only way you can pursue peace [is] by a cycle of dialogue.”

Samizdata mystery quote of the day

Something horrible flits across the background in scenes from Afghanistan, scuttling out of sight. There it is, a brief blue or black flash, a grotesque Scream 1, 2 and 3 personified – a woman. The top-to-toe burka, with its sinister, airless little grille, is more than an instrument of persecution, it is a public tarring and feathering of female sexuality. It transforms any woman into an object of defilement too untouchably disgusting to be seen. It is a garment of lurid sexual suggestiveness: what rampant desire and desirability lurks and leers beneath its dark mysteries? In its objectifying of women, it turns them into cowering creatures demanding and expecting violence and victimisation. Forget cultural sensibilities.

– Before you click on this link to see who wrote this about burqa-clad women, take a guess…

Culture ‘War’ – in the Lebanon – Mayor hires ‘sexy’ police officers

News reaches us, via the BBC, of a small-town Mayor in the Lebanese town of Broummana, where the Mayor has hired traffic police, who appear to be only young women in shorts. This seems to have gone down fairly well, but not all are happy, as one vox pop showed. Some of the quotes ‘It’s a free country‘, ‘Everything is allowed in Lebanon, why not?‘ do make me wonder. Closer examination suggests that this is a marketing stunt involving hiring University students. And the blatant discrimination against men would not be allowed anywhere in the EU.

As the Mayor said ‘Do you want them ugly?.

Now, we are not told if this is a Christian locality, but the Wiki page above suggests that it is predominantly Christian.The BBC found one woman who objected, but didn’t want to show her face, and she had covered her legs. I feel her pain.

Everything is allowed in the Lebanon, why not?‘. You can’t imagine a British politician saying something like that any time soon. You can almost hear the feminist cogs turning, thinking of air strikes.

You have to wonder when, not if, Obama is arrested

This story, via that well-known extreme rightwing news outlet, Associated Press (sarcasm alert) ought, given the enormity of what is stated, surely lead to former President Barack Obama having his collar felt by the Feds. But he won’t of course because he was “hope and change”:

WASHINGTON (AP) — After striking an elusive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration found itself in a quandary in early 2016: Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank.

To spend it, Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system.

Those assurances notwithstanding, the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate.

Yet two years later, the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran.

All those friends of mine on the libertarian side who rightly get annoyed by Donald Trump will, I trust, be equally oxidised about what the Obama administration has got up to. The situation is shocking because, in recent years, dozens of foreign banks have been punished by US authorities for breaching sanctions against countries including Iran. The most egregious breach was by French banking group BNP Paribas, paying a fine to the US totaling $8.9 billion. (One wonders if President Macron of France will lobby Donald Trump to refund some of this cash to France, if the previous administration was crapping on its own rules about sanctions.)

Here is Ben Shapiro going into the increasingly unhinged one-sided media coverage of US public affairs.

Back to the original article, it seems important to me that it is AP, not just a blog or some YouTube commentator, that has spelled out in devastating detail the dishonesty of the Obama administration over Iran. I recall (yes, I am that old), how White House shenanigans over Iran (the 1986 Iran-Contra scandal) nearly brought down Ronald Reagan and led to multiple hearings, firings and resignations. Obama may now hope that, as a former POTUS, he can relax, do his netflix thing, play golf, give socialist speeches for big bucks, and occasionally vent on how terrible it is that Biff is reversing some of his policies.

But I do wonder. What powers, exactly, exist to bring a former Prez. to book for what appear to be lies on an epic scale, on matters affecting national security? OK, I do doubt that it could happen against the first non-white man to be elected to the office, but if there is any justice in this world, Obama should be contemplating life behind bars or at least, being made to sweat under intense questioning. The man is a snake and yet far too many intelligent people treat him as a sort of secular saint. It is nauseating.

Douglas Murray on Tommy Robinson

If you want to understand the ongoing Tommy Robinson affair, then this article by Douglas Murray strikes me as as very good next thing to read. Read the whole thing says Instapundit, quoting a big chunk of it.

It occurs to me that Tommy Robinson’s public performances are a lot like President Trump’s tweets. If Trump phrased everything perfectly, his tweets would be ignored. But faced with a spelling mistake or some such vulgar blemish, his critics can’t help themselves, and they wade in, making pedantic fools of themselves, thus drawing attention both to what Trump is saying and to the fact that they typically have no actual arguments against it.

Tommy Robinson makes legal “errors”. And people whose real objection to Robinson is that he is an oik who speaks truths to them that they don’t want to be told, about Islam and about Muslims, likewise can’t help themselves. They loudly pontificate about what a bad person Robinson is. Such persons are now linking to pieces like this.

Thereby drawing attention to what Robinson says.

If you read the comments on our previous Tommy Robinson posting, you will see claims that he is an “idiot”, or even a “tit”. But I think Robinson is quite a formidable operator, saying important things with skill and flare and drama. He is getting himself heard.

In my opinion the Gandhi comparison is also a good one. Gandhi also used to break laws and provoke public dramas. He also got himself imprisoned. And heard.

The only way that respectable citizens will shut Tommy Robinson up is if they are willing to pay proper attention to the things he says. Douglas Murray has been doing this for quite a while.

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m not making up my mind on Gaza until I’ve heard what Gary Lineker and Lily Allen think

Jeremy Briar offers sage words of advice 😜

Why Corbynites think that antisemitism is a feature rather than a bug and why Corbynite antisemitism won’t go away until Corbynism itself is destroyed

Labour is now described as having an antisemitism problem. But those who talk like this are neglecting the fact that for many Corbynites antisemitism accomplishes something very important. It helps to drive out of the Labour Party all of those Labour supporters who think that the badness of antisemitism ought to be publicly talked about, instead of these Labourites silently or vocally caving in, for now, to the Corbynite project. And that, as far as the Corbynites are concerned, is a feature rather than a bug.

We can see this process described in this piece, by “New Labour” (i.e. the kind of Labour that the Corbynites are determined utterly to destroy) Prime Minister Tony Blair’s senior shouter-down-the-phone, Alastair Campbell:

In a speech to centre-left campaign group Progress, Mr Campbell said: “All my life I have been tribally Labour. But my Labour tribalism is being pushed to the limit – by the return of Militant style nastiness in local politics; by my revulsion that any anti-Semitism has been allowed to fester; by the feeling that some in the leadership, and their supporters, feel much greater animus against other Labour supporters than against Tories.”

Campbell is right. The Corbynites do indeed hate Campbell and his ilk far more than they hate the Conservatives. The Conservatives, by allowing themselves to be lead by people like Theresa May, are bringing the day of glorious socialist triumph ever closer. Campbell and his sort are a far more immediate threat to Corbynism. So if antisemitism serves to cure Alastair Campbell of his tribal love of Labour, … good for antisemitism.

As of now, the Corbynites are far more interested in establishing themselves in unchallengeable command of the Labour Party than they are in merely winning elections. Their thinking is that, sooner or later, capitalism will be hit by another crisis, and that at that point they’ll win a general election, and then the question will be: will there be any New Labour Alastair Campbell type bastards around to prevent them from turning Britain into Venezuela or worse? Meanwhile, they can agitate, do local activism, recruit the right sort of unswervingly loyal cadres, on the internet and in real life, and generally speed up the arrival of that crisis of capitalism and be ready for it. Having helped to bring about their crisis of capitalism, they can then blame capitalism for it and sweep to power.

At some point during all this, Corbyn will step aside and be replaced by a younger, better dressed and better shaved personage, more emollient, more “centrist” in tone, in appearance more like Alastair Campbell. Britain as a whole will be fooled. That “crisis” general election will be duly won, and then the “project” can really begin. And an essential part of that process is clearing out backsliding scum like Alastair Campbell, who, if they hang about and continue to attend Labour events, might blow the gaff in time to stop all this. At the very least such persons will be an unwanted nuisance.

Personally, I think that this is all a very long shot. But I wish it was a whole lot longer than it is.

The other thing to be said about antisemitism is that eradicating it from the Corbynite clan will be impossible. The Corbynites may, any year now, once all the Blairites are flushed out or permanently silenced, tone it down in public, once that besuited and beshaven person steps forward. But they will still all be antisemites.

→ Continue reading: Why Corbynites think that antisemitism is a feature rather than a bug and why Corbynite antisemitism won’t go away until Corbynism itself is destroyed

So, what do we think about Syria?

Some questions:

Was there a chemical attack?

If so, who was the perpetrator?

More to the point, do we care? Yes, I know there is a treaty and all that but is chemicalling someone so much worse than shooting them? And is it worth fighting a war over?