Archive for July, 2005

The war on terror has reached my back-yard

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

It is late afternoon in North London. Behind my house, maybe 50 meters away, is the North Circular Road. Here, in this part of London, it’s a six-lane highway. We tell people that we can hardly hear the sound of the trucks and cars as they pass, 24 hours a day. But right now we hear something we’ve never heard before: absolute silence.
The North Circular Road in this part of London has been shut down for several kilometres, stretching from Muswell Hill in the east to Golders Green in the west, by police. They have done so following the discovery of a white car, parked at a housing development called Strawberry Vale, a fifteen minute walk from my home. The white car was apparently used by at least one of the men suspected of involvement in last week’s attempted suicide bomb attacks in London.


7/7 – Provocation or genuine terror attack? The two views of George Galloway’s Respect Coalition

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

Under British law, political parties are obligated to inform us of the names of their major donors. A visit to the website of the Electoral Commission reveals that nearly half of the money donated to George Galloway’s Respect Party comes from one man, Dr Mohammed Naseem. Google searches quickly reveal that Dr Naseem, in addition to having been a Respect candidate for Parliament, is also a leading figure in the Islamic Party of Britain. And that party, whose website is largely dormant, did have some things to say about the recent terrorist bombings in London in a document posted yesterday (16 July).
That document, entitled “In Times of Terror the Truth takes a Tumble” makes the case that Islamic fundamentalists were not responsible for the terrorist bombings. The reasons given include:
* They could not have been Islamic fundamentalists because one of them was “married to a Hindu lady”
* The Israeli politician Netanyahu was warned not to leave his hotel before the general public was informed that there had been a bombing — tipped off by the Mossad, which somehow knew what was really going on.
* Critical evidence, such as a CCTV camera on the number 30 bus, suspiciously disappeared from the scene.
* Finally, who benefits from the attacks? Why the Blair government, of course!
There is more, but here’s a typical sentence:
“London needed a real terror attack in order to numb people sufficiently for the government to push through legislation that they had not been able to push through even before their electoral fiasco.”
(By “their electoral fiasco” the author means Labour’s unprecedented third straight election victory.)
These are the views of Dr Mohammed Naseem’s organisation, the Islamic Party of Britain. They were written by the party’s general secretary, Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, a German-born convert to Islam.
Contrast this with what George Galloway told the House of Commons on the very day of the attacks:
“I condemn the act that was committed this morning. I have no need to speculate about its authorship. It is absolutely clear that Islamist extremists, inspired by the al-Qaeda world outlook, are responsible.”
Dr Mohammed Naseem is a leading figure in the Respect Coalition. He is its single largest donor, providing nearly 50% of the funds reported to the Electoral Commission. He was a Respect candidate for Parliament in the general election. The organisation he leads, the Islamic Party of Britain, is today saying that the attacks were a provocation, staged by the police, the Blair government, or the Mossad — or all of them together.
George Galloway — do you stand by what you said in the House of Commons on 7 July, or do you share the views of your colleague Dr Naseem and his Islamic Party of Britain?

Unite against terror

Saturday, July 16th, 2005

I have added my name to this statement. I encourage all readers of this blog to do so as well.

A very short open letter to George Galloway, MP

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dear Sir:
Last week, following the attacks in London, you wrote:
“No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.”
Today a suicide bomber killed two women and injured 24 others in an attack on a shopping mall in Netanya, Israel.
Do you condemn the attack in Netanya today?
I look forward to receiving your reply, which I will publish on the web.
Eric Lee

Ed McBain

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Ed McBain has died of cancer at the age of 78.
I discovered his books relatively late in life, nearly 20 years ago. And then I read through them one by one, all the books of his 87th Precinct series and his Matthew Hope series and then the books he wrote under his “real” name, Evan Hunter, as well.
I don’t think there’s another author who has given me so many hours of reading pleasure.


Terror attacks on London

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Thanks to all of you who wrote in asking if we were alright.
I don’t want to add my own voice just yet to the many who have already written about this, but let me just refer you all to two excellent websites which contain many postings that are quite similar to the way I am feeling right now:
Harry’s Place
Labour Friends of Iraq

Every six minutes

Monday, July 4th, 2005

When LabourStart began back in 1998, news was one of its three main features (the others were a directory of union websites and links to online campaigns run by unions). One of the three columns on the website consisted of the day’s labour news — all five or six items. I remember well a discussion I had with a colleague that year who told me that in the future, we should probably stick with that format — five or six news stories a day was more than enough.
Fast forward to 2005: We’ve just had to completely re-vamp LabourStart’s front page because the number of news stories appearing in English on the average day had become so large as to require endless scrolling. If you were looking for news from the USA or the UK, you’d have to scroll through pages and pages of news from all the other countries, listed in alphabetical order.
In the month of June 2005, our 340 volunteer correspondents published no fewer than 7,300 links to labour news stories — an average of 243 news stories per day, every day. Let’s put that another way: on average, every six minutes we link to another labour news story.