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The Flight Path to Damascus

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:14 am    Post subject: The Flight Path to Damascus Reply with quote


At my sons' Cardiff school, the kids' parents came from all over the world. The children learnt to be very tolerant. It was a happy school. In deference to the Muslim majority, they almost never had nativity plays but had a secular play at Christmas instead, although they did celebrate Eid. That was fine with me. If you've seen one nativity play, you've seen them all.

I gave up my half formed plan to send my kids to a Welsh medium school quite happily because I did not want my children to grow up with blinkers on. My adoptive parents tried to persuade me that they should not go to a school 'full of Bangladeshis', and that just stiffened my resolve.

It's not that there was no bigotry at all. Some of the Muslim kids hated Gypsies. On the day after 9/11, my son [ * CHILD'S NAME REMOVED - REPWBLIC ] came home from school and said. ''Mummy, I know who did it. The Jews did it to make trouble for the Muslims in America.'' I said, ''Well, if that was true, it would be crazy. America's the best friend Israel's ever had. Israel couldn't survive without America.''

When I was working in market research, I found respondents of Muslim background uniformly patient, hospitable and kind. Other people were often affable too, but there was always a danger that secular or Christian people would tell you where you could stick your survey.

The Muslim parents of my sons' friends were always delightful. In Cardiff there was none of the mutual suspicion and dislike you could find in Oldham or Blackburn. So why have Cardiff teenagers who would have been peers of [ * CHILD'S NAME REMOVED - REPWBLIC ] at school taken the high road to jihad in Syria?

Some of them were bright boys with great potential. One had plans to become prime minister. Had they become disaffected because of the high rates of unemployment as one of them said? Had they been radicalised by manipulative preachers in a mosque? One youth specifically denied this.He said he had had a dream in which Allah himself commanded him to take the high road to Syria. I feel sceptical that it was - literally - a road to Damascus experience.

After all, who is financing them? The school leaving age was raised to 17 in Wales last year. It's going up to 18 this summer. They can't have been in full time work for very long.

For all the great things in Islamic culture, people like Sam Harris and the ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali think that Islamo-fascism is not a perversion of Islam but the true dark and original face of Islam. They would say uncompromisingly that we are at war with Islam. This could itself be harmful and inflammatory.

It's impossible to say with confidence as the Koran and hadith were not written down until a considerable time until after the time Mohammed is supposed to have lived. It's all based on 'isnads', sayings passed on by word of mouth like Chinese whispers.

The Greek Orthodox Christian Robert Spencer has written a book which makes Mohammed out to be a breath takingly evil man, based, he says, purely on Muslim sources. But as Spencer supports the EDL, he is far from an impartial writer.

We must be thankful that preachers at most Cardiff mosques, strongly condemn teenagers going on jihad. But I notice that, even then, they do not always appeal to humanistic values.

I remember a Muslim on 'Question Time' repudiating the idea that Islam oppressed women by saying he still had to obey his mum although he was grown up. He said it as if that was a good thing.

Similarly, a preacher at a Cardiff mosque denounced these youths for disobeying their parents. But what if their parents had told them to do it?

There must be fears that these youths will be killed or injured. Some people will hope for their safe return. But as they have bragged of participating in gruesome activities such as beheadings, they could only expect to face jail time if they do return.

The idea of restoring the Caliphate sounds like a pipe dream and I hope it is. One young Jihadi said he would return only with an invading army to fly the black flag of Islam over Buckingham Palace. Max Hastings was just being inflammatory in referring to this as treason. Technically, it may be. Lord Haw Haw was hanged for less.

But let's not stir things up. Let's get a grip. These youths are still young enough for us to hope they will mature into something better. They may be redeemable.

*Perhaps I should say that my very bright and hereinafter nameless son who is now 22 - yes he is older than I was when we met for we have known each other such a long time - no longer believes that the Jews were responsible for 9/11. He only ever believed it momentarily as a comparatively impressionable boy of six. That's the sort of thing that kids in his school repeated.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:29 am    Post subject: I'll be the one to take care of this forum. Reply with quote

I know a lot of details in Frostburg message.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:33 pm    Post subject: Strike Reply with quote



Hi, Fanpasu, maybe you can tell us what's going on. The attitude of the British State to very young teenagers going on Jihad is that they are misguided kids who need care and attention.

If they are a few years older, the idea is that they are witting criminals for whom nothing can or should be done. They can never be allowed back.

A Danish psychologist has published papers to the effect that it is impossible for them to be rehabilitated or debriefed. Their mindset is not open to modification.

There must be sharply differing attitudes in Cardiff's Muslim community. A good number of prominent Muslims urged their co-religionists to take part in the democratic process by turning out to vote in the recent general election. But we know there have also been yellow posters all over the city denouncing voting as unIslamic.

Whatever sympathy and anxiety were felt about Nasser Muthana, the 21 year old former medical student, have evaporated since he was seen taking part in beheading videos in Isis occupied Syria. His father in Cardiff was devastated. He was seen weeping in interviews.

Yet he took a harsh stance, throwing all the pictures he had of his son away, saying, ''You do not keep the devil in your house.'' He also said his son should be executed.

It would have been understandable if anyone else had said that. Maybe, it's not what you expect of a father. Gee, thanks Dad!

Yet, we can't blame the father as he was speaking under stress of extreme emotion. He deserves sympathy. Muthana has apparently now been killed in Syria.

Reyaad Khan was pictured next to Ed Balls as a schoolboy. He was idealistic and ambitious. I suppose it was he who hoped to be Britain's first Asian prime minister.

He became disillusioned, quite understandably, by Tony Blair's illegal wars. His idealism became dualistic. He hoped to rid the world of evil. I don't say that evil doesn't exist. It obviously does.

But we should be very cautious about labelling individuals as evil. As during witch hunts for instance, it can disinhibit you from carrying out aggressive and sadistic acts, so it is you who are perpetuating evil.

Apparently, Khan was killed in a British air strike on 21 August. He was deliberately targeted at the behest of David Cameron.

Cameron has of course been responsible for the deaths of all sorts of benefits claimants on arbitrary grounds. In my opinion it is democide.

As I dislike - in fact hate- Cameron, and as Khan was only 21 and in the same year in school in Cardiff as my son, my instinctive reaction is to take his side, and see his death as regrettable.

Yet it's likely it was quite true that Khan posed a danger to the UK, and was planning a 'barbaric' attack on British people. We don't know how good the intelligence was yet. The details will probably not be made known for decades.

It is apparently legal for the Conservative government to kill ex-soldiers and other people dependent on what used to be a welfare state, in an indirect way, using a scattergun approach. To directly kill a British born person in a targeted way is unusual.

We have known nothing like it since three IRA members were taken out in Gibraltar, a mission dramatized in 'Death on the Rock.' If I remember rightly, it was held that the British state was in the wrong on that occasion.

My entirely appropriate antipathy for Cameron is making it hard for me to take a measured attitude. I probably wouldn't feel sad or compassionate about this guy Reyaad Khan if I knew the details of what he was capable of, what he was planning and what he had already done.

He was almost certainly a real and present danger. The mind boggles at what he had in mind for the UK. Why did Cameron have a personal stake in taking him out, as opposed to anyone else?

But let's be clear that the Danish psychologist can't be entirely right about Jihadis being irreclaimable. We know of at least two Jihadis who have had a total change of heart.

There is a programme in Cardiff called 'Prevent' which aims to stop teenagers and young adults going out to Islamic State in the first place. I feel this is a critical time for the Muslim community in Cardiff, and I'm waiting anxiously to see how things develop.

I suppose you could argue that there is a difference between being radicalised on a cerebral level, and actively participating in crucifixions, beheadings and the like.

Maybe, it is like the Israeli army says of its recruits who have committed war crimes in Gaza. Once, the line is crossed, it stays crossed. You can never become a 'normal' person again.

In the first post I suggested we 'get a grip' before designating these young men as traitors or demonising them in any way. I said they might be redeemable, that they might mature into something better.

Tragically, it was a misplaced hope. They will never get a chance to mature into anything, and it's not very feasible that they could have been rehabilitated into western society.

My sympathy is with the families. You might say we should be thankful they were eliminated before they did anything worse. It might have been worse than 9/11 or 7/7. That is possible.

I'm just baffled about what Cameron knew about Khan. I don't suppose he's going to share it with us. Just because Cameron makes a virtue of unpleasantness does not mean that Khan was a good guy.

Perhaps this was the best thing that could have happened, and we can be thankful that there were no civilian casualties. I wish Cameron would come clean about the intelligence, so we can make up our minds based on real information.

Even if this was a strike that indirectly saved many lives, I can't feel exactly happy about it. It's a bleak day.

I suppose I feel sad because it's such a different outcome from that we would have expected for Khan when he was an ambitious schoolboy. It just shows that it's not always a good thing to be idealistic.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:32 am    Post subject: Drone Reply with quote



Leanne Wood has expressed concern about the use of a drone strike to kill a British national in Syria after the British government ruled out military action in the area. Plaid Cymru have fears that this will be a precedent.

Cameron has not ruled out further targeted air strikes, although they are of doubtful legality. Many would shrug off any concern for Khan as inappropriate.

He is someone who boasted on Twitter about carrying out many executions the previous day. He was also seen in a video with a lot of blood stained corpses in the background.

He was proud of taking part in executing these people, or said he was. And that was without a shred of legality or justification.

This was the same young man who had been excited as a boy to meet members of the then Labour government. He had been a straight A student who had expressed disapproval of spending money on wars in the middle east which could be better spent on preventing kids from taking 'the wrong path.'

Reports indicate that he had been directing attempted attacks on British commemorative events this summer, such as VE Day, none of which came off. Maybe it was what he had attempted to do in the recent past, rather than what he was just about to do, which led to the order to the RAF to take him out with no further ado.

People at a mosque near his home in Riverside, Cardiff, expressed sorrow.
A few said that they would have preferred to see him appearing in a British court than summarily slaughtered.

I'm almost certainly being an idiot in feeling bad. Those who are merciful to the merciless are merciless to the merciful.

But to me, young men of this age still seem like kids. This was the generation that grew up with the Tellytubbies, Harry Potter, Dora the Explorer, Toy Story and Bananas in Pyjamas. This boy was about seven years old when 9/11 changed the world for ever.

No doubt, I'm being a maudlin old fool. It may be that this drone attack, as bloody as it was, has saved countless lives.

But it doesn't feel like cause for celebration. It feels like a terrible human tragedy.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:00 am    Post subject: Extra-judicial executions Reply with quote





Before the internet really took off, Amnesty International used to publish books at regular intervals giving countries marks out of a hundred on their human rights records. They made comments on how they were doing in specific areas.

In the category of freedom from capital punishment, they were quite harsh with the UK. They acknowledged that no one was any longer formally executed in the UK after due judicial process.

But they added sternly that the not infrequent shooting of civilians by police must be seen as a form of extra judicial execution. After all , no policemen have been convicted of any crime whatsoever in relation to these fatal encounters.

They have sometimes been charged with offences, but they have never been convicted, not even in the case of Ian Tomlinson who was just walking past a demonstration when the police set on him, nor in the case of the shooting that led to the 2011 riots.

No one was convicted over the death of Blair Peach. I think juries just feel unable to bring in guilty verdicts in these cases.

I'm not denying that the police are often put in an unenviable situation. A police marksman could have shot Michael Ryan cleanly during the Hungerford massacre without endangering anyone else. But he felt unable to do so as 'it would have made me as bad as he was!'

As Ryan went on to pick off a lot more innocent civilians and then shot himself anyway, we can see with the crystal ball of hindsight that the policeman made the wrong decision in this case. In the case of the shooting of the innocent Brazilian electrician on the tube, we can see it was a genuine error, and the police were under great pressure. But their lying about it later does them no credit.

Dickheads tell us that the guy was not innocent. He had overstayed his visa and was in the UK illegally. You can only reply, ''Oh of course, that should be a capital offence, shouldn't it?'' In any case, as the police had his identity wrong, they couldn't possibly have known he was in the country illegally, so that is beside the point.

Journalists like Carole Malone said the police were protecting the public in shooting an innocent man on the tube. No they weren't. They were doing the terrorists' work for them.

But had they shot the right person, it would have been a fair point to argue that it was a cruel necessity. If he had been about to blow himself and the tube up, there would have been no time to mess about.

No officer has served prison time over this. I don't know what attitude to take. Yes, they were under pressure. But the family has been denied justice.

You could see the RAF as being in an analogous situation in Syria, although the difference is that they did get the right man. That we were not officially taking part in military action in Syria is not the point,in this view.

The police don't have to declare war before taking a presumed trouble maker out. But is this germane?

You can justify lethal force in the interests of preventing further carnage. But it must still make us uneasy.

I fully acknowledge that my attitude to Reyaad Khan is based on the foreshortened view we acquire as we get older. Because he is about the same age as my son and went to school in the same city, I think of him as if he was still a little boy.

But if I was in my twenties now, I would see him as an adult who was fully responsible for his actions. He was really.

But this is a grim situation however you look at it. I hope Cardiff will be spared any further grief and turmoil.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:08 pm    Post subject: stricken Reply with quote

Yes, thanks Dai. They're really interesting links. And we should remember the list of extra judicial homicides by the British State and its representatives is incomplete.

When I see pictures of Khan in class photos and at the 'rec', the recreation ground at Roath Park where I often went with my kids, I feel stricken and empty although, as far as I know, I never met him. Of course I might have done without registering the fact.

There must be some haggard and long faces in Cardiff today. His mother is already devastated and broken, and it won't make her feel much better to go to the newsagent and see headlines like 'Wham! Bam! Thank you Cam!'

It'll be a time of grave reflection for some of the high school teachers who still remember him. A hundred years ago, the high school - if it then existed- had to endure news about gruesome deaths of young men who had been at school a few years before.

But at least they could be proud of their old boys and raise memorials. Khan's name is sullied by a bizarre and almost unprecedented disgrace.

It's difficult to know how to deal with the feelings we have about him, or even which feelings it is appropriate to have. Maybe some citizens feel that the whole of Cardiff is under a cloud.

He was described as a 'jolly' well adjusted boy who got on with pupils of all backgrounds. None of his peers at school could have foreseen this coming in their wildest nightmares.

I was so flustered and shocked yesterday that I made a terrible omission. I expressed sympathy with Khan's family.

Unless he was lying and just playing the hard man on video, he was guilty of multiple homicides himself - and perhaps other crimes too. Shouldn't we feel sympathy with his victims and their families? Aren't they much more worthy of it?

Yes, of course they are. But I feel more emotional about Khan and the Muthana brothers just because they grew up in Cardiff and went through the same education system as my son at the same time. I acknowledge this is a form of moral idiocy.

People are equally important wherever they live. But we can't command our emotions.

Cameron said there was no choice. Khan posed a clear and immediate threat to the UK and there was no other way to stop him. It was legal homicide because it was in self defence.

Self defence is certainly a defence to a murder charge. So is necessity.

But we might think it was for a jury or an inquiry to decide if it applies in this case. Even trigger happy policemen usually have to go through the motions of explaining themselves to a jury before the inevitable acquittal.

Or is this case exceptional because the facts must remain secret in the interests of national security? The acting head of the Labour party, Harriet Harman demanded independent scrutiny of the air strike.

She said, ''Why didn't the Attorney General authorise this specific action rather than merely 'confirming that there was a legal basis for it?'

''What was it about this individual and his actions that singled him out from all that had gone before? Did he represent an ongoing threat or was the threat based on a specific act he was plotting?''

I am not of course arguing that we should hold the UK to an extremely high standard of probity and respect for human rights while overlooking the complete breakdown of civilised values in the part of Syria occupied by Islamic State.

Unless Khan was simply making up his physical involvement in IS atrocities, he had obviously become extremely dangerous.

I have not consulted videos in which Khan allegedly called for other people to take part in deadly violence. I suppose he was guilty of this.

Perhaps it is frivolous and inappropriate to mention that Cameron's propaganda and attacks on benefits have also led to the deaths of people most of us would consider to be innocent.

Cardiff may be in shock today. It would be wrong to think that the rest of Wales is. In a Brecon pub today, somebody commended my cheerful grin. (I usually have an inane grin on my face, even when I am depressed.)

We fell into conversation, and I gestured to the front page of a newspaper, saying ''It's shocking, isn't it?'' ''Oh yes, bastards! Serves them right!'' he said.

But when I said where I was coming from, he became sympathetic to how I felt. One of his friends became aggressive. The first guy said, ''She's not defending them.''

His friend then accused me of being a Muslim and demanded to know where I came from. When I said ''Wales'', he said, ''I mean originally!''

Unfortunately, although my pink skin and dark hair and eyes are not at all unusual in Wales, a lot of people seem to think I come from the Middle East or even the Far East. This has led to a few minor racist incidents in the past.

I came close to causing a breach of the peace. A friend with me was quite disgusted, and I was left feeling as if I'd lost a pint of blood.

My thoughts are at war with my emotions here. Empathising with people who have done bad things is not entirely inappropriate. But it's the innocent victims who we should be really bothered about .

I acknowledge that. But we can look back at the promising boy Khan was and feel regret that things have turned out as they have. I have to say that I feel drained and shocked. So God knows how people close to Khan are feeling.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[ This is dai - I am still in the administration mode " Repwblic " after deciding to remove the name of one of Marianne's children : since we have been fellow travelers for over thirty years its sort of natural for us to talk about political matters in the way that we encounter them in our everyday lives i.e. we are not the posh academic lot : they are only allowed to discuss the hi-falutin' sorts of Republicanisms provided that they do not embarrass any of their various University of Wales colleges by holding these discussions in public - which would then threaten the funding of their politics and history departments by The Democrats in Wales who absolutely rabidly do not want The Republicans in Wales to be treated as a respectable political alternative.]

BBC Radio 4 P.M. ( the weekday late afternoon news magazine ) see 56.00+ for James Bond - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b068w44z

In terms of what happens in our lives and our diverse and multiple political encounters and connections, one of mine is with ( Sajid Idris / Abu Hajar ? ) whom I first met on the corner by Marianne's children's school where he had set up his stall and since unlike many older Muslim leaders he does not have a superior condescending manner and behaves as I deem a true Muslim should behave ( OK - like my old Muslim friends from when I was in university : that non-Muslims are not to be treated as if we are either to be vigorously seized hold of or vigorously pushed away ) ... well, naturally I allowed him to entertain me for an hour or so ... A year or more later ( may be two ? ) I found myself coming to a stand still and just watching with a big grin on my face because Eileen was also seeking entertainment with him and a friend of his who had set up stall in Queen Street's pedestrian precinct ... after a while I decided that this was a very unbalanced contest so I decided that I ought to have a bit of pity for them and go over and devise some light-hearted way to get Eileen to ease off - more or less for the sake of inter-faith, multi-cultural and public order reasons I casually contrived to rescue them from her pursuit of her publicly conducted private Feminist Republican Jihad ... and so I ended up thereafter having a very pleasant and very long conversation with Sajid Idris / Abu Hajar and his friend at the end of which we exchanged phone numbers and later a number of texts ... but it was just a bit of a pity really that Eileen felt that she had to storm off in that way though ...

... sorry - I have got to break off there tonight, mostly because whilst I was writing this I was listening to PM which led me to drop them a ... well I just do not do " a line " do I ?

Dear Eddie Mair, presenter of BBC Radio 4's P.M.

the the other week you commented that I had flagrantly disregarded the " no listeners' poetry rule " ... now about two years ago I finally got a smart phone and discovered to my delight that it enabled me to start a new game with my friends : to compose " found " poems which ideally fit into a single text ... these do not have to be great poetry so to play down the idea of them being " artistic " and to play up the fun these are variously referred to as " texter-tricks " " textricks " " proems " etc ... I composed the one below about 8pm and then to relax I decided to listen to P.M. on iplayer because I had missed it : serendipity or what ? P.M. today talked about the drone strike on the Cardiff jihadi and I had already heard that on the news and as a Cardiffian and a well-known public advocate of Republicanism in Wales my response to that was that it was an extra-judicial killing - and so I wrote the proem below - and then your programme had an item on Republicanism in Australia - and now I have just heard your programme ending on the subject of James Bond themes !

My given name is Cam-era-on -
David Cameron : a double woe upon
Those that now ... I'm licenced to kill -
And I'm not shaken - but stirred to will
The deaths of my own citizens ...
Hey ! ... I'm The P.M. ... I'm The Don !

dai repwblic - Dai Saw - David B Lawrence - the author asserts his moral right - not to sue for copyright !

P.S. - there are too many " David Lawrences " around - so my name is always - " David BEE Lawrence."


Subject: LIMERICK ( ISH ) sent to BBC RADIO 4 ( PM ) - " My given name is ( - Cam-era-on ? - ) "
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2015 00:50:45 +0000

Dear Enemies of Literature,

some of you may not have heard from me for a long while and others may be surprised to receive a limerick not an essay.

I am chilled by the use of drones to execute our own citizens - indeed anyone - in the sovereign territory of another country.

Laying aside the fact that this was an extra-judicial killing ( and that I doubt that the legal opinion of the Attorney General would be upheld in any court beyond the United Kingdom ) I do not believe that any aggressors - foreign or domestic - can now ever again be defined as terrorists by the United Kingdom because our government, having already trespassed across the line several times in recent decades, has now imagined that it can unilaterally define itself to not be a terrorist state.

The United Kingdom has now become a terrorist state and no amount of debating in The House of Commons can undo that.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34184856 - Who, What, Why : When is it legal to kill your own citizens ?

David B Lawrence,

... and it is always a bad idea to send in a revised version ... bugger ...

" I hope that you will read this amended version : I did not get my own gag in the first line for a few hours ... "

My given name is ( - Cam-era-on ? - )
David Cameron : a double woe upon
Those that now ... I'm licenced to kill -
And I'm not shaken - but stirred to will
The deaths of my own citizens ...
Hey ! ... I'm The P.M. ... I'm The Don !

dai repwblic - Dai Saw - David B Lawrence - the author asserts his moral right - not to sue for copyright !

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:22 pm    Post subject: Delete Reply with quote

Oh yes, I've just noticed you've taken out my son's name. My husband chose a very silly name for our eldest son which I went along with in a moment of weakness.

Perhaps it's just as well it's been deleted. I don't want anyone to think I chose it.

Actually, he was not a friend of Reyaad Khan as a child. I didn't mean to convey that impression.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah - I'm glad that you have spotted that I did that : I hope that you do not mind ... it is just that his name is very unusual ... personally I think that he has been blessed by the imagination of his father - at least I hope that he feels that way ... at least he is not yet another David ... the trouble with names is that they are not unique identifiers - whereas numbers are ... wouldn't it be more conducive to more order and greater efficiency in our society if we adopted one of those sorts of schemes advocated back in The Enlightenment ... yes - I know that the Nazis did it but really they were too prissy about it, the fact that they tattoo'd people on their forearms just goes to show that they were not truly German : surely a truly efficient system for identifying individuals would be more streamlined in its operation instead of being constantly brought to a halt whilst somebody struggles to undo their cuff-buttons ... and what about those they have already torn the arms off ? ... And it is far too easy to fake an industrial accident in order to conceal your identity ...

... Whereas you can hardly remove your head and survive : in these modern times surely we should be using modern technologies in order to thoroughly integrate our society's identificatory requirements ... if we were all bar-coded on our foreheads at birth then everything would become so convenient and social relationships could be so much more safe e.g. we would not have to carry cash or credit cards, we could simply have the check-out operatives scan our foreheads or we could use those self-service check-outs with ease simply by bashing our heads against them - as most of us are already doing anyway ... e.g. when you go on a date with somebody a handy pocket scanner linked to the government's computer data-bases would be able to put an end to all of the bullshit and lies and ... oh ! ... Marianne ! ... Just then - just out of curiosity - I just decided to just hack into GCHQ ... Your file says that you are " probably a sleeper for Al-Qaeda " and - WOW ! - oh ... I had better not say any more ... I must look mine up again some time ...

... You know, I think that the trouble there is that they really ought to find a better class of informer - ( - I know, I know : this is all about money, and they have to make cuts in these times of austerity - ) - I mean, I do not particularly mind the informers in Wales being cut-price liars ( after all, we are supposedly living in a free-market economy ) but what pisses me off is their lack of pride in the job ... I guess that you will probably give me a dressing down now for portraying the Welsh as a nation of liars, but that is not what I mean ... I am talking about the prevailing lack of imagination - for example : GCHQ are obviously having severe difficulty in conceptualising the existence of The Republicans In Wales Who Are Pacifists And Internationalists ... their whole bread and caviar for two hundred years has been the business of representing Republicanism as consisting of conspiracies for criminalities - they have worked so hard at this that for them it is simply a given, like the earth is flat and Democracy is Normal ...

... Repwblic is so completely beyond their understanding - now they are even resorting to paying informers to read actual Republican literature ! ... They are convinced that Repwblic is some sort of front - but they can not find any liars in Wales sufficiently imaginative to invent anything any weirder ... I mean - why would people like Marianne and Dai and Eileen and Daf be not only encountering but actually talking to a whole series of people who hold extremely extremist views of all sorts - not just Jihadis but also Communists, Fascists, Anarchists ... hell - I mean we even talk to some of the really dangerous ones : Socialists, Liberals - and Conservatives ... but just count the bodies please : Democracy causes Death - that is not my own imagination speaking but their own statistics.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:28 am    Post subject: Not a supporter of Islam Reply with quote

You will understand that when I casually mentioned my son by name, I had no idea how this situation would escalate, or how notorious the name of Reyaad Khan would become. For all I knew, he was going to become disillusioned with Islamic State and slink home.

I have actually mentioned my children by name in other articles, but only to quote them to make a point. They are very clever, but maternal self indulgence is not interesting to anyone else.

My son's cleverness wasn't on full power when he took on board a conspiracy theory about Jews causing 9/11. I had to counter this by providing him with children's novels where the heroes are Jewish children. I find few things more depressing than the tendency to blame 'the Jews' for everything that goes wrong from the genocide in Rwanda to the air conditioning breaking down.

I trust you are speaking rhetorically and sarcastically in saying M15 think I am or might be an Al Qaeda operative? It's not an intelligence agency with much intelligence if anyone thinks that. They had better recruit more alert people.

It's true this site has allowed one mullah to set out a case against voting. But Dafydd and I have both urged people to vote, although I said democracy doesn't always deliver because the electorate are often gullible, and people in general are not good.

I've also expressed fear and consternation about emergent theocracies. I've expressed sympathy for the people who lost their lives on 9/11. I have voiced support for Yazidis and Christians who are persecuted by Islamic State and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

I've also put up posts in defence of human rights, more specifically, women's reproductive rights, - in a desultory sort of way - gay rights, and disability rights. I've become a bit of a bore on the subject, perhaps.

Maybe the security services have damned me by association. Or perhaps they think I always say the opposite of what I mean as I am operating under deep cover.

The only possible thing that could have given them the impression that I support Islamism is that I tried to look at all points of view when discussing if France should have banned the burqa. I came to the conclusion that it didn't matter much in the first place, but it should now stay banned so as not to give any succour to Al Qaeda.

Of course, I wasn't totally enthusiastic about the killing of Reyaad Khan, but I admitted it was more an emotional than a reasoned response, while also saying that it may not have been legal nor justified on the grounds that he posed an imminent and otherwise inescapable threat.

Oh, I have also stood up for endangered languages including but not confined to Welsh. I would have thought that would have looked like a tiresome irrelevance to the security services unless they have become infiltrated by truly paranoid individuals.

Of course I urged Scottish independence which, purely incidentally, would lead to the end of the UK, but I think that is a legitimate position. In any case, I can have influenced very few people if any, as my posts had hardly any hits while the referendum was still pending.

Anyone who thinks I would be any use as a spy, needs to know that I've never been given work that would provide me with access to any information that is not in the public domain. I've never been in a position to sign the official secrets act. I don't have the personality for espionage as I am naturally blunt and impulsive in speech.

Although friendly to individual Muslims, and fascinated by religion in an academic sort of way, I am a secularist. I hate obscurantism. I support women's rights and minority rights. I'm an egalitarian. I think I've made this obvious in just about every post I've put up on this site.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:32 am    Post subject: Clarity Reply with quote

Anyone who suspects that I support Islamic terrorism need only look at my posts, 'The Peacock Angel and the Gnostics on the Mountain' under 'Women's Forum' and 'Ohhh Rowww -annn!' under 'Propaganda', to see that the opposite is the case. I am terrified of it naturally - which is what terrorism is all about.

I also express antipathy for religious oppression in 'Savita Died For Ireland' under 'Women's Forum' and on Alwyn ap Huw's 'Miserable Old Fart' blog when I hijacked his post called 'Pussy Riot Hypocrisy.'

I am aware that believing Muslims may read this site, and that's why I have not been more vocal about my admittedly tentative and limited interest in the works of Douglas Murray and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I don't see the point in offending sensitive people for the sake of it, and I cannot totally subscribe to Hirsi Ali and Murray's view of Islam as it is too extreme for my liking. Nor do I agree with them about economic policy and other issues. They are much too right wing for me.

Nevertheless, I think they make some good points, and I have some respect for them. I believe Al Qaeda wants to kill Hirsi Ali. I have read most of her books and really admired the first one. Does anyone still think I support Al Qaeda?

I stuck up for Salman Rushdie when people who were not even Muslims made nasty remarks about him shortly after the fatwa. Again I don't see eye to eye with Richard Dawkins about everything, but I think he has made some good points on religion and others which are not so good.

I did blunder on to a site which said that Cardiff itself may be subjected to terrorist bombings, with special mention of the Assembly building, the Millennium Stadium and the main shopping centre as areas that are particularly at risk.

The site master does not live in or near the area but he has a low view of Islam. He believes that once a city gets a Muslim population over a certain percentage, it reaches a tipping point where terror becomes inevitable.

That's one thing I found disturbing about his site. I suspected it might be a case of demonising the 'other.' I don't know what evidence he has to support it.

An even more disturbing reflection is that he might be right, even if right for the wrong reasons. As so many friends and relatives are in Cardiff, this is the last thing I want to happen. If I survived such an attack myself, I would be devastated.

I voted for devolution in 1997. I'm not keen on the Senate being blown up. Until recently, I did not publicise this alleged threat in case it became a self fulfilling prophecy. Somebody might think, ''Oh yes, that's a good idea!''

Perhaps I'm making a mistake in mentioning the perceived threat now. In any case, I can't emphasise enough that I am in favour of civilised values and a culture that respects human rights with no exceptions. I also think that religion should be a personal thing, not a means of controlling society.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Marianne,

I am very much enjoying this thread - you have a nice broad sweep and concise style and make comments which always put a smile on my face ... I am sorry if it is the case that my tease about GCHQ made you feel anxious and defensive ... I am shocked to hear that there is somebody around alleging that Muslims may be considering bombing targets in Cardiff ... But then I guess that they must have just dragged out some old rag ( The Western Mail ? ) and gone through it deleting the word " Republican " and replacing it with " Muslim." ... If people killing people are really a cause of concern - other than for their uses in excusing politicians killing people elsewhere - we might ask why these many more killings by the police do not cause more concern ?

Meanwhile this nasty small-minded rhetoric by The Democrats in Wales is surely resulting in other small nasty minds believing themselves to be licenced to kill Muslims e.g. this horrible case in North Wales of the " White Supremecist " supposedly revenging us all upon that poor dentist ... Yuck ... What do you think of that ?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:31 pm    Post subject: Psyche and Terror Reply with quote

What I notice is that race and religion are often conflated in the minds of ignorant individuals. Sikhs often feel the need to reassure others that they are not Muslims, let alone Islamic terrorists.

It wouldn't have made any difference to Zak Davies. For him it was enough that a person was brown. He had Nazi leanings.

In a statement read out by Sion ap Mihangel, Davies said with surprising insight that '[M]y personal issues and paranoia and political events all combined.'

The insight is probably his solicitor's, not his own. The whole point is that a paranoid person has no insight.

Davies said, ''It was irrelevant what religion [Dr Bhambra] was...it was his racial appearance.'' You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, considering that he shouted, ''This is revenge for Lee Rigby!'' as he lunged with the machete.

While grateful to the person who intervened and the support of local people, Dr Bhambra's family felt there had been a display of 'ignorance' even by the legal profession. Sikhs had fought for British freedom in two world wars.

They felt the attack itself was an act of terrorism, given Davies' neo-Nazi proclivities. Had the perpetrator been other than white and the victim had been, they suspected this would have been taken into account.

While opposition to Islamism can easily morph into racism or be used as a cover for it, I don't go for the concept of Islamophobia.That is , I don't think fear of political Islam is a symptom of mental illness as 'Loonwatch' would have us believe.

Traditionally, anti-Semitism was based purely on paranoia. It was not evidence based. Salafism and Wahabism really are scary developments of Islam.

About eight young Jihadis left Cardiff a few weeks ago for Isis. Who's to say they are not planning an attack on Cardiff?

David Cameron expects a terrorist attack on Britain imminently. Perhaps he really does have insider information.

Opponents of Islam such as Sam Harris and Douglas Murray are impatient with those liberals who think Jihadis have emotional problems.

They say things like, ''Why don't you believe what they say? They say it is Islam that is making them do it.''

That's what they say when they are in the grip of the ideology.

Maajid Nawaz was once an embittered Islamist. He has found his way back out of the fog.

He says he was alienated from Western society by racism. He was viciously beaten up by racist yobs at 15. He would probably have been killed, were it not for the intervention of a passerby who may or may not have been called Matt.

The yobs turned their attentions to 'Matt.' Maajid was able to slip away.

British Asian playwrights also thought the denunciation of Salman Rushdie by Muslims in the West, was a displacement of long pent up anger and frustration about racism. Khomeini had given them 'permission' to be angry.

In a video, Reyaad Khan spouts the usual patter. His friend, who looks like a character in 'The Banana Splits', tells the 'brothers' at home that if they are feeling depressed, if they feel their lives have no meaning, they should come out to IS. They will not be depressed there.

So is that their problem? They're depressed and without purpose?

In 2014, Reyaad Khan's mother made a video in which she begged him to come home. The standard issue Cardiff wheelie bin seen through the window in the background looked incongruous as she pleaded, ''You are my only son....we need you...we love you...why can't you understand?''

Whatever problems Khan had, I don't think lack of maternal love was one of them.

An uncle tried to shock him back into his senses by telling him that his parents were so distraught that they had turned against Islam itself. It is shocking when you consider that apostacy is punishable by death in many Muslim countries.

It's terrible - if healthy - for them to have to question the core tenets of their lives. For them, it's as if reality is dissolving. It's good to hear that their neighbours don't hold against them anything that has happened.

Friends say that a few years ago, Khan was expressing disgust for Al Qaeda. They say, ''God knows what happened to him.''

Today, a friend demanded in exasperation why I cared about him, considering that he had been planning treason.

I discuss this apparent aspect in '63 Glorious Years and the Meaning of Treason', my latest post under 'Royal Visits' in the 'English Language' Forum.

Most of my friends are profoundly sceptical about this. Even one, who was disgusted by what he saw of political Islam in Saudi Arabia, expressed grave doubts that the government was telling the truth.

Another quite conservative friend was confident that the 'queen at VJ Day' story was a convenient hook for Cameron to hang his own action on. He didn't believe there was any truth in it.

Those who knew Khan said he was 'uncharismatic' and could not have co-ordinated such an attack. No one would have taken any notice of him.

I'm not in a position to know if they're right. What we can be fairly sure of is this drone strike homicide is exceptional only by its timing. Stand by to see more drone strikes on Britons soon.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:04 pm    Post subject: Helpers not combatants Reply with quote

Today, I stopped to make a small donation to a Red Cross worker outside Tesco. He was collecting money for refugees from Syria. He told me that 20 Red Cross aid workers have recently been killed in Islamic State.

He had seen a banner at an event in the Mansion House in Cardiff, protesting that the Red Cross are there to help not to be shot. We are so used to the cross on the Red Cross logo that we don't think of its meaning, though I've a vague idea it's an inversion of the Swiss flag.

Of course the cross originally was a Christian symbol, even in this context but we don't give it a thought. To paranoid Islamists, it is a hostile statement, redolent of Crusader intent.

In vain the Red Cross workers say that they are impartial, not partisans. They are there to provide humanitarian relief to whoever needs it. They could, of course, use the symbol of the Red Crescent but even that could be taken as representing the Shia interpretation of Islam. If your only weapon is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The Sun tells us that Islamic State have just lost a quarter of their territory and either half or a third of its fighting men. But when it gave real numbers, it wasn't consistent with the fraction quoted.

The Sun quotes a military expert who thinks Islamic State is on the brink of defeat, that it can only be a matter of time. I hope he's right, but I can't see why he's so confident.

Things can change suddenly. For a good part of the battle of Waterloo, it looked as if Napoleon was winning.

But when he says it's only a matter of time, it does ring true. When a pseudo-state is that unstable, it doesn't look at all compatible with permanence.

But it's no comfort to those for whom the worst has already happened, including families in Cardiff.

On the minus side, it is expected that Britain will experience attacks at home in the next few weeks or months. The terror alert is higher than it's been for the last thirty years.

Last edited by marianneh on Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: rhon Reply with quote

A white boy from Rhondda Cynon Taff has now been convicted of planning a terrorist attack in Cardiff at Birmingham Crown Court. The youth who is now 17, prayed, 'May Allah bring terror to Cardiff on July 30.'

But he wan't just leaving it to Allah. He planned an attack on the Principality Centre, and has also considered targeting the New Theatre, the Capitol Centre, and the Central Library among other places.
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